Thursday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    This may be the first story of many concerning people in the workplace who refuse to get vaccinated spreading disease to others who are more responsible. Basically it describes two nursing homes where almost all of the residents were vaccinated but only half or less of the staff were, and in both instances one infected staffer spread COVID far and wide. A significant number of the vaccinated tested positive and while most of the cases were asymptomatic, in each location one elderly resident died.

    The idea that nursing homes aren’t mandating vaccines because, “FREEDOM!” Is beyond political correctness.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Railway worker saves boy from being run over by train – video A very close call, the slightest slip would have ended very badly for him.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dog breaks loose to win relay race in US high school track event – video

    A pet dog escaped its owners to join the home stretch of a 4×200 metre relay race at a high school athletics meet in Utah. The dog, Holly, can been seen running on to the track to chase Logan high school’s Gracie Laney down the home straight. Holly clocked the final 100m in about 10.5 seconds, which is 1 second behind Usain Bolt’s world record, track and field website MileSplit reported. The crowd roared as the dog overtook Laney just before the finishing line, almost tripping her over. Race officials still awarded Logan a win for the heat with a time of 1 minute 59.27 seconds. Video courtesy of FloSports & MileSplit

    If you need a smile that video will provide one.

  4. @MarkedMan:

    The nursing home should have barred her from unvaccinated residents and staff

  5. Kingdaddy says:
  6. @OzarkHillbilly:

    They should have given the dog a medal too

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So much pure joy in his/her running.

  8. Mikey says:

    @Kingdaddy: There are good people and shitty people, but not that many people are consciously and purposefully evil. Tucker Carlson is one.

  9. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: Did you catch his weird Joker laugh the other day?

  10. Jen says:

    A really good and thoughtful piece from a cop (but, not just any cop, take a look at his background).

    Slow. Down.

    I’m a cop. The Chauvin verdict is a message for me, and for my colleagues.

  11. India set a dubious and worrying record yesterday, registering 314,000 new Covid-19 cases in one day. The country is also lagging in the vaccination department.

  12. @Kingdaddy:

    So basically Tucker Carlson has always been an asshat

  13. Michael Cain says:

    @MarkedMan: The courts are never going to uphold employer mandates for vaccines in use under an EUA. Nor mandates by educational institutions. The big research university across town from me is trying a carrot, not a stick: if you are fully vaccinated, you will be allowed on campus without submitting to the every-two-week nasal swab test.

    I’m hoping Pfizer and Moderna are close to having sufficient data on efficacy, safety, and production to file for full licenses. And that when they do file, the FDA can move at least a bit faster than usual. I’m not holding out a great deal of hope for the latter. mRNA is a new tech, so I believe there are more than the usual number of hoops to jump through.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    We’ve known for some time that Senate Republicans were laying the groundwork to obstruct the new administration, particularly when it came to opposing President Biden’s Cabinet nominees. And today, even though almost all of Biden’s crisis-tested and historically diverse Cabinet has been confirmed, we cannot forget that Republicans tried — and ultimately failed — to derail the incoming Biden administration. And we cannot forget that this opposition was driven not simply by Senate Republicans’ partisanship and a desire to score political points, but also in a deliberate effort to protect their special interest allies and corporate donors.

    Gearing up for obstruction

    Following President Biden’s win, but before losing their majority in early January, Senate Republicans blew up the longstanding bipartisan tradition of moving the confirmation process forward during the lame-duck period. Instead, they did nothing, waiting to see if they’d maintain control of the Senate — where they would have the power to obstruct Biden’s nominees even further. The obstruction continued as Mitch McConnell, soon to lose the majority when Vice President Harris was sworn in and became the tiebreaker in the 50-50 Senate, refused for weeks to agree to a simple organizing resolution — a procedural step that would allow Senate Democrats to start confirming Biden’s nominees, the work he and his party refused to do.

    We don’t have to wonder what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. In 2001, in a 50-50 Senate with Democrats in control ahead of President Bush’s inauguration, Senate Democrats put political differences aside to make sure the incoming administration had its Cabinet in place as soon as possible. In 2021, amid a global pandemic and after former President Trump and members of their own party helped incite a violent insurrection on our U.S. Capitol, Senate Republicans failed to do the same.

    So no, both parties are not the same.

  15. It’s getting crowded on the ISS. For the next month or so there will be 11 people on board, the most since the Spacr Shuttle era.

  16. Northerner says:


    That’s what a hero in action looks like. Thanks OzarkH, that made my day.

  17. CSK says:

    That was good. Thanks.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain:

    The courts are never going to uphold employer mandates for vaccines in use under an EUA

    I don’t see why not. My kids had to have certain vaccines to attend public elementary, middle and high schools, and I’m sure state universities do the same. When I was going into operating rooms as an observer I had to prove my vaccine history, as did everyone else there. Why would a private nursing home be forbidden to require vaccines?

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: @Michael Cain: Ah. I see. I didn’t read your remark closely enough. You are differentiating between these vaccines which are being administered under an emergency use authorization (EUA) and normal vaccines, which are fully approved. Good point

  20. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Putin wants Russia to leave the ISS by 2025, and to build their own station.

  21. Jax says:

    Interesting article on states stealing SS benefits from kids in foster care. 😐

  22. MarkedMan says:

    TPM is reporting that a significant number of Republicans are planning on skipping Biden’s upcoming speech to congress. I hope they do, as it will just further illustrate that they have no intention of cooperation.

  23. Kathy says:

    Today they are applying the second dose of COVID vaccines to people 60 and older in my area. I passed the long line of cars on the way to work.

    well and good, but there’s still no timeline for the next age group, where I happen to be. Work has let up, for now, so I can look for an appointment north of the border now. This still has the same problems with travel expenses, not to mention exposure in what is the world’s COVID capital.

  24. Michael Cain says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And how many emergency escape seats are available?

  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Cain:

    @Doug Mataconis: And how many emergency escape seats are available?

    Enough for everyone.

  26. @Kathy:

    Let them leave if they want. There are plenty of other potential astronauts in the United States and elsewhere ready to take their place

  27. CSK says:

    India has set the world record for Covid-19 infections, according to multiple news sources: 314,000 new cases in the past 24 hours.

  28. Man fills his bowling ball with his father’s ashes, bowls perfect game

  29. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes. Now.

    I’m not a fan of the Soviet/Russian space program, but they’ve never been without a human rated launch vehicle. Whereas America had a years-long gap between Apollo and the Shuttle, and then another between the Shuttle and Crew Dragon.

    Had Putin pulled this off five years ago, the ISS would have been left empty.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    In another 5 years, we’ll have a fleet Crew Dragons, Starship, and New Shepard.

    The Chinese are working on their own space station. If Russia wants to go solo, let them (I doubt they’ll do very well). The US, Canada, and EU can keep ISS a going concern by phasing in new modules as the old ones reach EOL.

    Personally, I’d like to see a permanent station at either L4 or L5 (or both!), and a large telescope array at L2. Let’s move past LEO.

  31. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I figured there were, but wasn’t sure. I would be mildly surprised if NASA were legally allowed to put/leave people there absent a sufficient number.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain: @Mu Yixiao: SOP seems to be to keep Soyuz capsules docked to take everybody off in an emergency. (If you saw Gravity, Sandra Bullock escaped in a Soyuz docked to the ISS.) A Soyuz can carry three people, so I would assume there are three docked. The Space X capsule is still docked until next week when it’s to take off four crew who’ve been on the station several months. It can accommodate seven people, so at the moment there would be 16 seats available in the life boats. Best I can make out in a quick Google there are eight docking ports.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Cain:

    It’s a few weeks old, but this article at ArsTechnica (and the comments) explain the game of “musical docks” they’ve had to do because there are almost too many ships at the ISS. 🙂

  34. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    In another 5 years, we’ll have a fleet Crew Dragons, Starship, and New Shepard.

    I thought Bezos’ biggest contribution thus far was to recover Saturn V first stages from the bottom of the Atlantic.

    Personally, I’d like to see a permanent station at either L4 or L5 (or both!), and a large telescope array at L2. Let’s move past LEO.

    I’d invest money on Lunar bases. Short of a space elevator, the way to explore the Solar system will lie in building ships and finding resources off Earth. The Moon is the place to start.

  35. Kurtz says:


    But I have seen self described libertarians say deterrence can’t work, and none of the replies I’ve gotten really address why they say that.

    My intention was to address this, and I ended up tangenting.

    I can’t really speak for those people, but I can posit a few things:

    -my impression from a (perhaps small, but vocal) segment of libertarians is that it’s as much about the label as it is about principles. It’s more signal than Weltanschauung.

    for the ones more driven by principle:

    They will live and die by the idea that freedom is messy.

    They are likely using a logic similar to Nozick’s. The added cost or the chance of being caught has to be set so high that deterrence can only be captured by restrictions on freedom.

    I suspect what you’re seeing is that a large portion of people aren’t all that articulate, and our communication media are relatively informal.

    Even among our group of sharp people here, clarity isn’t always a prominent feature. It’s to the point that some, @HarvardLaw92 and @Michael Reynolds are good examples, stand out for incisive writing.

    Me? I need at least one editor and Frank Costanza as a real-time interlocutor.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    United States Capitol Police
    Our Mission
    Protect the Congress – its Members, employees, visitors, and facilities – so it can fulfill its constitutional and legislative responsibilities in a safe, secure and open environment.

    US Capitol Police officer allegedly told units to only monitor for ‘anti-Trump’ protesters on January 6

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: This is Putin throwing a trumptantrum because Biden said mean things to him on the phone.

  38. Slugger says:

    I think that prison sentences in the US are too draconian. The Supreme Court just decided that a life sentence without parole for a 15 year old should stand.
    As I understand their thinking it’s a matter of following rules without considering what those rules lead to. For me, this is another example of crushing people to exalt the state above human beings. I’m sure that many people sent to Siberia by Stalin had transgressed laws established in totally legitimate ways. Legalistic but unjust.
    I will agree that the underlying murder was most foul and that I don’t understand the law well, but this sentencing stinks of injustice to me.

  39. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’d invest money on Lunar bases. Short of a space elevator, the way to explore the Solar system will lie in building ships and finding resources off Earth. The Moon is the place to start.

    I’d disagree. The moon has several issues that zero-G manufacturing doesn’t have to deal with. You’re still in a gravity well, it’s full of dust, temperatures swing greatly. Manufacturing at L4/5 saves fuel (no need to climb the gravity well twice). It’s a natural clean-room. It’s a stable point without other stuff in it. And it makes for a good, safe launching point.

  40. The Republican Governor of North Dakota has vetoed a bill that would have essentially barred transgender girls from participating in girls sports.

  41. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The Moon has material resources not usually found on zero-g vacuum.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m surprised you are not finding it more difficult to travel to the US. We are working on getting my son home from Canada for part of the summer and it is a pain. He has to get a PCR test which is only available in three places in Montreal and costs $250. He needs it no more than 72 hours before he travels, but there is no guarantee he will get the results in time. And going back is even more involved. Same thing with the PCR test, although he can get that for free a ten minute walk from our house, but when he lands in Canada he has to spend at least three days in a government chosen hotel (but we pay), and that can last up to 14 if he shows any symptoms.

  43. Good news from Florida, where the State Senate has essentially abandoned a bill that would have barred transgender girls from participating in girls sports.

    Among other things, the bill would have authorized schools to monitor students. Including genetic and blood tests and GENITAL INSPECTION of students.

    Unless the State Senate revives the bill before the end of the session, the bill will die in the Senate.

    Good bews!

  44. Kathy says:


    I haven’t actually traveled yet.

    I do know a few people who went to the US for a vaccine, and they had no trouble. You do need a PCR test. Many private labs do it, and most guarantee results in under 48 hours. The one I took at the hospital for admission delivered results the same day.

    Maybe the problem is that Mexico still conducts few tests, therefore availability is good.

  45. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It’s a stable point without other stuff in it.

    This is a contradiction in terms. There’s already a known asteroid at Earth’s L4 point (2010 TK7) and another candidate asteroid identified (2020 XL5). There’s likely other objects and dust in those areas precisely because they’re stable points.

  46. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The problem facing Republicans is that their position on trans rights is wildly unpopular. That’s especially striking since some of the issues they’re raising (e.g. trans athletes) are fairly complex, and I doubt most Americans are well-informed about them. That’s the kind of situation Republicans used to know how to leverage to their advantage. But now they’re failing and they don’t even know it–because Trumpism is all about naked cruelty and refusing to give an inch, even when it’s counterproductive to their own goals.

  47. @Kathy:

    The Crew Dragon is an awesome thing
    Far better than the Soyuz, which has remained unchanged since essentially the 1970s

  48. @Kylopod:

    Conservatives are oddly obsessed with this issue and the genitals of trans people and kids

  49. In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court has ruled against a prisoner who was given a life without parole sentence for juveniles convicted of a crime.

    Amy Howe at SCOTUSBlog has legal analysis;

  50. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Conservatives are oddly obsessed with this issue and the genitals of trans people and kids

    When have conservatives not been obsessed with other people’s genitals? Yet they used to be better at this, politically speaking. Bush successfully harnessed anti-gay panic to win reelection. Republicans for decades have gained a lot of mileage running against abortion (even though the pro-choice position usually polls better–though it depends on the poll and how things are worded–pro-lifers are a more reliable voting bloc, and it has helped eat into the traditional working-class Democratic base). You’d think they’d be more effective in their war against trans people, given that it’s a new issue for so many people and concerns a very tiny percentage of the public.

    I’m not trying to get flippant or complacent here–the policies they are managing to put into place (such as in Arkansas where they overrode the governor’s veto) are going to hurt a lot of people. I’m just astonished at how badly they’re bungling the PR element to it–the thing they usually excel at when it comes to culture-war BS.

  51. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    That’s the point. Crew Dragon is the first operational crewed spacecraft designed after the 70s.

  52. @Kylopod:

    The position they’re taking is largely being driven by Evan and other social conservatives.

  53. @Kathy:

    Good point. Even the Sutttle was essentially 70s tech, although they were all upgraded on a regular basis.

  54. The Senate votes to approve anti Asian hate crimes bill. The vote was 94-1. The lone “no” vote was Republican Josh Hawley from Missouri.

  55. Sleeping Dog says:


    You’d think they’d be more effective in their war against trans people…

    A couple of thoughts; R’s have plowed this ground often and the populous has seen the results, which is making the repeat less effective. But more importantly, they are attacking children and for most people, regardless of their uncertainty about trans sexualism, they don’t want to see children abused. Add to that the actual occurrence that at trans-girl dominates high school athletics is rare to non-existent, makes the whole issue appear contrived to many.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I am at a loss to see how Miller, via Montgomery, isn’t applicable to this man’s situation. They really cranked up the taffy puller with this one.

  57. Sleeping Dog says:

    The Former Guy has endorsed Herschel Walker for the R senate nomination in GA v. Warnock.

    It should be noted that for about 30 years a Twin Cities sports writer has awarded a satirical, Turkey of the Year Award, to the most pathetic Minnesota sports figure. The name of the award? The Herschel. nuff said.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Maybe. But I suspect at least part of the equation is that for many years the International Consortium paid the Soviets for launch services, and the Cosmonauts went up on the American and European dime. Now, if they want to launch their own ship they would be completely responsible for the cost, or they would have to pay ol’ Elon to take them up. This may just be a face saving way of dropping out of the program.

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @Slugger: While what you said is technically true, it is more accurate to state that “The Republicans on the Supreme Court unanimously agreed it was fine to imprison 15 year olds for life without parole, and the Democrats unanimously disagreed.”

  60. RNC Chair and Trump Cultist and apologist Ronna McDaniel is apparently considering running for the Trump Cult nomination for Michigan Governor.

  61. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I have a historical question I’m curious about. Has there ever before been a party chair who was kept on after presiding over the party’s loss of the House, the Senate, and the presidency?

  62. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Cain:

    if you are fully vaccinated, you will be allowed on campus without submitting to the every-two-week nasal swab test.

    The anal swab is more accurate.

    Just sayin’

  63. George W. Bush calls the Trump Cult formerly known as the Republican Party as “[isolationist, protectionist, and, to a certain extent, Nativist (a/k/a White Supremacist).

  64. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Conservatives are obsessed with imaginary dangers, and oblivious to real ones.

    Maybe they should read that book that has a quote about a mote, a beam, and someone’s eye?

  65. flat earth luddite says:

    Nope, no taffy puller necessary, boss. They knew the end result they wanted, and turned the knob 3x times anti-clockwise, then 2x clockwise, and pulled the handle. Viola! Another young *KLANG* gets what we wanted him to get. Leaves the taffy puller to work on the salt-water taffy.

  66. @Kylopod:

    Not as far as I can remember

  67. @Kathy:


  68. As if Ronna McDaniel wasn’t bad enough, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is apparently running for the Trump Cult nomination for Governor in Arkansas

  69. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders is apparently running for the Trump Cult nomination for Governor in Arkansas

    And she’s got a good chance of winning. If she makes it through the primary–and I see no reason to doubt her viability, as she’s got the name recognition, her being the daughter of a former governor, and her being as Trumpy as they come–she will almost certainly win. Although Arkansas has switched parties in the governorship every eight years since the early ’90s, I think by now the state is just too hard-red for this trend to continue.

    (Fun fact: Arkansas is the one state that has grown more Republican with every presidential election since 1992. A lot of that has to do with its being Bill Clinton’s home state, of course.)

  70. Michael Cain says:

    @<a href="#commen@Kylopod: t-2609517″>Doug Mataconis: Any idea if the bills in question attempted to extend to college sports? I have the impression that the NCAA is putting the fear of no post-season events into all of them.

  71. Mimai says:

    Well actually, the anal swab paper (never thought I’d write that) was recently retracted.

    The reason….

    wait for it….

    ethical issues!

    How is the Onion still in business?

  72. @Kylopod: l

    Her father isn’t just a former Governor, he’s been a political force in Arkansas for decades. He was elected Lt Governot in 1992 and succeeded Jim Guy Tucker after he was convicted in Federal Court and sent to prison in 1996

    Huckabee then began serving Governor and was reelected twice. He served as Governor from 1996 to 2007 when he was term limited
    This makes him the longest serving Governor in recent Arkansas history.

    He and his supporters are no doubt the reason she has raised so much money and leads in the polls for the nomination that I’ve seen. This being Arkansas if she wins the nomination she will be elected Governor in 2022.

  73. @Michael Cain:

    As far as I know the bulls that have been debated recently only apply to K-12 schools

  74. senyordave says:

    @Kylopod: The modern GOP always needs an “Other”, a group that they can demonize. Trans people are a small percentage of the population, and Republicans can’t overtly go after people of color or homosexuals anymore. Going after trans people will rally the troops. Plus, you have some so-called feminists supporting them, claiming that trans girls are taking away scholarships from “real girls”.

  75. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Ronna’s not getting any love from the hardcore Trumpkins. She’s a Romney. They’re blaming her for the loss of the House in 2018 and for Trump’s loss in 2020.

  76. Kathy says:

    There’s an item in The Guardian about the other officers facing charges over George Floyd’s murder.

    This bit says a lot:

    The defense for both officers can be expected to argue that they were not indifferent to Floyd’s situation, and alerted Chauvin to concerns, but were relatively new to the police department and bowed to the decisions of a more experienced officer.

    This is terrible. It also shows Chauvin to be bad at leadership. You don’t simply dismiss your subordinate’s concerns.

    This kind of attitude is a problem in many areas. It’s part of Crew Resource Management training for commercial pilots, because it was a problem that led to several air crashes in the past (notably the collision of Pan Am and KLM 747s at Tenerife).

    The system, which includes a lot of other subjects*, has been successful, and has been adapted to other instances where people work together. It’ also been adapted for Air Force and Navy pilots.

    So add that to the pile of things the various police forces need to do better.

    *Like not having the whole crew focus on one issue, no matter how vital, to the extent they lose situational awareness. As happened on Eastern flight 401.

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Who was the guy who said Russia would never become a great nation because people get the government they deserve? I think the same principle applies here.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: In much the same way as Andy Borowitz, they have a very refined sense of what can be parodied and what cannot.

  79. Mimai says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I would love for them to do a series of straight-up, sober news reporting (maybe they have and I missed it). Both as a meta-parody of the parody that is real life, and also as a mesoteric critique of the “mainstream” media.

    ps, good call on Borowitz.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The lone “no” vote was Republican Josh Hawley from Missouri.

    I’s sow prowd.

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: This may just be a face saving way of dropping out of the program.

    I’m having a hard time squaring “face saving” with taking on the costs of an entire space station as well as all the expenses of manning it and supplying it, or dropping out entirely. What do you want to bet they build a space station nobody ever goes to?

    Occam’s razor, my friend.

  82. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh. To be more clear, I don’t think they will ever build such a station. But planning could take years and involve grand plans and many things to astound and amaze.

    The tragedy of all this is that the Russian space program was truly heroic. They accomplished amazing things, and we should never forget that when the US and the rest of the world had nothing capable of lifting a single astronaut into space the Russian workhorse rockets lifted crew after crew to the space station, as well as cargo and modules.

    At the start of the Putin era, the Russian space program was capable of anything. His kleptocracy couldn’t allow for all that money to go for something that didn’t line he or his cronies pockets. Now it is a shell of its former self. I hope the engineers and scientists can make their way out to the rest of the world, so we don’t lose their imagination or spirit.

  83. Kurtz says:

    RIP Shock G a.k.a. Humpty Hump. In lieu of flowers, get busy in a Burger King bathroom.

  84. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: Wait, what?! Nooooooooo!!!! That was the first album I picked out on my Columbia Records, Buy 1 get 12 FREE!

  85. Jax says:
  86. Kurtz says:


    How many of the monthlies did you have to send back because you forgot to decline?

  87. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: I don’t even know. I know it was on my early credit report for quite a while, I started moving around a lot after that and definitely did not stay caught up. 😛