Tuesday’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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kylopod says:

    Does anyone here know anything about radiculopathy?

    Basically, for the past couple of months I’ve been experiencing acute pain in my right arm and shoulder. It feels like my muscles are tightening without my control, and I feel it everywhere from the middle of my arm to the back of my right shoulder blade and the base of my neck. It shifts between pain and a tingling numbness along my arm. It increases when my arm is active, subsides when I’m relaxed, but I’ve also often felt like my arm has to be propped up horizontally for it to subside, and it continues if my arm is down. Since I work from home, I’ve shifted from working at my desk to working lying down on a couch with my laptop–a definite advantage to working from home.

    I think I had it for a period of time last year, but it subsided on its own, then later came back. At first I thought it was connected to my lower back pain which I’ve had for years but also flared up late last year (I had a bad moment where I was in my parents’ house and I was stuck in a standing position at a counter for a half hour), but it appears to be separate, and doesn’t seem to affect my mobility at all. If I was an anti-vaxxer I’d be screaming online about how the vaccine caused the condition, as I first noticed it a few weeks after my first dose of Moderna.

    The doctor put me on prednisone, meloxicam, and baclofen. The first two I’ve already finished, taking once a day for five days. The pain has become less intense but hasn’t totally gone away.

    From what I’ve read, this condition has several possible causes, and currently I’m leaning toward thinking it’s due to repetitive motion from working at a desktop computer. If it persists I’m supposed to see an orthopedist about it.

  2. Jen says:

    An interesting little mess in a NH town.

    The town meeting format works when you have decent citizen participation, but it’s easily hijacked by Free State types, so you always, always must have it on the calendar. Cutting the school budget in half is probably legal, and if the state steps in to fill the gap the lesson is going to be “any other town that wants to do this–there’s a lifeboat available.”

  3. Mu Yixiao says:


    Is the pain in the muscles or in the joint?

    If it’s the muscles, it sounds like rotator cuff issues. If it’s in the joint, it sounds more like what I have (primarily issues with the labrum–the pad in the joint). There are a number of exercises to help (gently) stretch things out and aid in range of motion, but you’re going to want to see an orthopedist. I know what shoulder pain is like, and I know how amazing it is when it goes away.

  4. Beth says:


    Have you had an MRI of your spine done? That kinda sounds like when I broke my neck. It started off as pain kinda in my right arm and then got progressively worse until I couldn’t feel my right arm/hand and my left leg started to go numb.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: This is why it’s so important to remember that however silly and immature Libertarians are, they (like open carry gun nuts) are also dangerous. They need to be watched at all times lest they get the whole town/city/state/country into a mess.

    God protect us from blowhards who believe their own nonsense.

  6. Scott says:

    @Jen: The answer to these bozos is not to keep trying to make it work but rather extract the most pain and put the blame where it is. Since the education is outsourced to other districts, they should call it a day and just vote to dissolve, then resign, and toss the problem to the state.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    The state constitution has language to the effect that the state has the responsibility to adequately provide for public education, That’s why we have the whole donor-recipient school district issue that has been percolating for about 25 years. It may come down to whether or not the legislature has mandated communities to provide for an adequate education of their students. If so, the courts will quickly overrule the town meeting and impose an adequate budget. While I can’t sight an instance, I’m pretty sure that this trick has been tried before and has failed.

    This is a problem peculiar to the very small towns that have minimum government. Most communities have established a process whereby funding proposals go through the Select Board or School Board and then are viewed by the Budget Committee before going to the town meeting with recommendation. Additionally, many if not most towns have gone to a town meeting that happens in the voting booth concurrently with the municipal elections that has be preceded by a “Deliberative Session” to get citizen input. Since the vote is by ballot it eliminates those type of shenanigans.

  8. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep, I understand the process (I’m a library trustee and so am very familiar with town budgets!), and even our little town is an SB2 town (with the deliberative session first, then a vote).

    It’s something that small towns need to be cognizant of, however. Slashing budgets via town meeting is one of the primary reasons that NH is a target of the Free State movement, and there’s risk even in an SB2 process, in that the deliberative session is considered affirmation by a town’s governing body. If you have a poor turnout for the deliberative session and people mess around with the budget, the only real recourse is to vote down the proposed budget and force a lapse to the default budget. That’s a challenging message to get to voters.

  9. Slugger says:

    @Kylopod: As you mentioned, radiculopathy can be due to several different causes such as nerve compression from a ruptured disc or a some swollen soft tissue or inflammation intrinsic to a nerve. It can be due to these pressures at some anatomical distance from the painful area. Improvement with the meds you’ve taken is nonspecific; everything feels better on prednisone. You need a diagnosis. Orthopedic surgeons are very good at what they do which is surgery, but they tend not to be good diagnosticians. I’d be inclined to see a neurologist.

  10. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m very curious about the definition of “adequate” funding. The state constitution has a similar provision mandating that towns provide “adequate” funding for libraries, but as far as I’ve been able to glean, that’s never been defined through court cases. “Adequate” is a very ambivalent word.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: I can only speak to personal experience. Twenty years ago I woke up one morning with shoulder pain and unable to raise my arm above level. I was under a fair amount of mental stress at the time and had slept on an uncomfortable motel bed. My MRI showed various spurs and narrowing. (As does everybody’s beyond a certain age. Doctors can seldom point at one thing in the report and say that’s it.) Orthopedic surgeon wanted to fuse a disc. For various reasons I decided to get a second opinion, Took two months to get an appointment, at which time it was loosening up. She said sometimes these miracles happen and referred me to physical therapy. (I suspect most medical miracles are misdiagnosis.) After several weeks, no problem.

    After the first week or two I had no pain, I just couldn’t raise it above level. Every doctor or nurse I met asked if I needed pain meds refilled. Disbelief when I said I had no pain. The guy who wanted to do surgery finally decided I was somehow nuts and suppressing the pain.

    Years later I developed sciatica. Sometimes felt like what you describe, like every muscle in my thigh was pulling in opposite directions. Came and went, even moved from one side to the other. When it was bad I could only stand for about ten minutes. Saw various doctors over a couple years and got no relief, Then one day I moved wrong and threw my back out bad. MRI, back specialist, again a list of flaws in the MRI including a cyst. Put me in therapy. It got better. One day the therapist said she’d done all she could do, I should get in a gym. My gym happened to have a PhD in physical therapy. In a few months the back pull was gone and in four the sciatica was too. The cyst went away with time and the unrelated narrow vertebral gap pinching the sciatic nerve opened up with stretching and exercise. (I blame jogging with aggressive prescribed orthotics.) Never got a good diagnosis of the earlier shoulder thing, but believe it was also a cyst. They go away with time. (My current primary care said, rather condescendingly, that cyst isn’t a medical term. Maybe so, but it’s in the radiology report.)

    Reading about backs I found several people recommending Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill, hugely helpful. Long story very short, if it’s trauma it likely needs surgery, if not, maybe not.

    If you see a physical therapist, I’ll pass on the advice the PhD gave me when I moved, find a DPT or other advanced degree. Insurance likely won’t cover much therapy. But if you can afford it, the $150 an month or so I spent on the PhD therapist was the best investment I ever made.

    Only my personal anecdote. Hoping you have a rapid recovery.

    ETA: Let me second what Slugger said. I think they’re getting better, but the old saw about surgeons is true of orthopedic surgeons, cutters cut.

  12. Kathy says:

    So, the new airport formally began operations yesterday. Day three of a three-day weekend is not the best time to start, even if it’s a major holiday. That’s when people return home, not when they leave. A start on Thursday March 17 would have looked better.

    Anyway, as airports operate for more than one day or even one weekend, the other big news is the Mexico City airport has been declared officially so saturated, no slots will be awarded to anyone ever.

    I find that hard to believe because two years ago Interjet still flew and now it doesn’t. I can guarantee they had lots of slots at MEX, and not all have been filled by other airlines. Hell, some Mexicana slots were still available ten years after it ceased operations. the intent is to push new routes to Toluca or Santa Lucia.

    I should note it’s possible the most popular slots are full. it’s easier to move some routes to other times than to set up new ones. But there should be slots really available still.

    We’ll see how that goes.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    I can’t answer that specifically. The history is that in mid 90’s(?) the state supreme court ruled that the state needed to ensure that every school district needed to provide a minimum level of funding per student and if the town was too poor to afford that level, then the state needed to make up the difference. The state decided to do that via a property tax surcharge. Towns like Rye pay in simply because they are so wealthy and property values are high. Hampton pays in due to a combination of property value and resort businesses and property. Towns like Salem pay in due to all the retail/office/industrial property.

    Opponents, mostly Rs of course, spent a better part of 2 decades trying to amend the constitution and placed amendments on the ballot several times that failed. Mostly folks like the ruling, since most school districts either are neutral or recipients. A friend whined every year about Hampton being a donor district. Of course besides his residence, he also owned commercial property in the beach district. To be honest, most people no longer realize they are paying in, as the surcharge is buried in the mill rate, at least here. Plus the property tax bill that I receive is the least transparent tax bill that I’ve had anywhere.

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @Kylopod: @Slugger:
    Whole-hearted endorsement of neurologist!

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    Both writers should be considered neo-conservatives, particularly Cohen, but to dismiss either article due to that fact would be intellectual malpractice. The world is at a point where a Ukrainian victory is possible, what that victory could look like is yet to be determined, and as Applebaum points out, the terms should be what Ukraine decides.

    Ukraine Must Win

    Why Can’t the West Admit That Ukraine Is Winning?

  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I read Cohen’s piece yesterday. It was worth reading. And, I’m going to remain cautious. My first reason is “it ain’t over til it’s over”. Yes, the UA has had lots of success. They’ve slowed things down, blown up a lot of equipment, and hurt the Russian army in many ways. Good on them. Yesterday I saw aerial photos of artillery positions set up within range of Kiev, near Hostomel. The RA is still making progress.

    The first casualty of war is truth. So, I am acutely aware that I’m not getting a good take on what’s happening only what certain people want me to know. I’m not a military guy, so I am in no position to evaluate, either.

    I know in the long term, the situation doesn’t look good for Russian ambitions. Maybe they think Ukranians just aren’t up to doing what the Afghanis did? But what happens in the short term is up for grabs. Other than, more shells will be fired at Ukranian cities, and more suffering.

    That’s not to say I don’t recommend the piece. It’s worthwhile.

  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    Last night, Governor Holcomb vetoed a ban on trans girls participating in K-12 sports in Indiana. His veto statement could’ve been written by the ACLU of IN…because it contained a bunch of language we provided his staff. This is on top of the ACLU-IN and the teachers unions organizing the successful resistance to the anti “Critical Race Theory” law that would’ve allowed any student to opt out of anything that made them uncomfortable, while penalizing teachers who mentioned race.

    And we neutered the bill attempting to make our voter ID requirements even tighter, instead amending it to make the requirements slightly looser (but in language that makes it seem like the conservatives won).

    Due to some process vagaries, were weren’t able to push for prosecutorial transparency reform (that’s next year), but we did stop an attempt to end Indianapolis’s soft decriminalization of weed. (It’s still completely illegal but the prosecutor here has no interest in prosecuting.)

    And while we were at it, we ended Indiana’s practice of shackling pregnant incarcerated women while they deliver their baby. Alone. Often with no medical help except for the charity of their corrections officer. That passed without a single dissenting vote.

    Did I mention we stopped all anti-abortion bills from making it to committee? The first time there won’t be a new abortion restriction passed in Indiana in 10 years.*

    We went into this legislative session thinking it would likely be the worst in our modern history. It was definitely the hardest, but in no other session have we been able to claim 100% victory on every priority bill we were involved in, passage or defeat. 100%. Victory.

    *Until Roe is overturned. I’m not living in fantasyland here. The abortion fight is coming.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Well-done to you and the Indiana ACLU. Impressive and effective work.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Really great to hear some positive news!

  20. just nutha says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    (but in language that makes it seem like the conservatives won).

    Congratulations especially on that feat. That’s hard to do effectively.

  21. Neil Hudelson says:

    @just nutha:

    They can now use gun registrations as a valid ID in registering to vote, and college students can now use their college ID. Last night, Holcomb did sign into law a bill that effectively makes firearm ownership in Indiana unregistered.

    So students get more leeway to register to vote, and conservatives can use their now-nonexistent registration.

  22. Kathy says:

    About the China Eastern 737 that crashed, if you look at available video, the plane is in a near-vertical dive. This is very rare. I can think of only one other such accident offhand, the Aeroméxico DC9 that collided with a Cessna, then crashed in Cerritos, CA. Photos also show it in such a dive. This happened in that case due to the loss of the horizontal stabilizers in the tail because of the mid-air collision.

    I’m not suggesting there was a collision over China, but that there may have been damage to the stabilizers. But, of course, it’s too soon to know anything. We have to wait for the investigation to take place.

    And even if it was a stabilizer issue, the question would remain why they failed.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I hope Applebaum and Cohen, at your links, are right. I hope Putin decides it’s best to run away and live to fight another day.

    But I can’t get past that he came to power by bloodily suppressing Chechen separatists after the bombing of Russian apartment building which he blamed on Chechens, but apparently ordered himself. He is a conservative, he may actually believe his own Russkiy Mir bullshit. And he has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

    I haven’t seen anyone else note that at the time there was a theory that a big reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union was demographic. The Russian birth rate was low and they could no longer officer the military with ethnic Russians. So they were forced to either trust non-Russians or reduce the military. The ethnic problem persists. In WWII Germany kidnapped Polish children who were more Aryan blonde and blue eyed than the Germans to be raised by Germans. Ukrainians are more Rus than Russia. Putin may believe that losing is an existential threat to the Russia in his mind.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Kudos. That’s a beautiful little fast shuffle.

  25. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Congratulations to you.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Being cautious about declaring a Ukrainian victory is really the only option. At this point it could be safe to say that Russia can’t win. Even if they were to capture Kiev the insurgency that would follow will make the victory, hollow. We may very well be commenting here in 10 years on the ongoing Ukrainian insurgency and the effect that continued western sanctions are having on Russia and how the rest of the world has adjusted to Russia’s exclusion from the world’s markets.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A Putin failure in Ukraine is what the world needs, otherwise he will move on to Moldova and Georgia, along with any past subjugated nation that was part of some Russian empire.

  28. gVOR08 says:

    Following up my mention above of Putin and nukes, maybe their use isn’t as unthinkable as we’d like to think. Via Atrios

    Perhaps the most alarming revelation to emerge from the new Bush biography is the elder man’s recollection that while Cheney had been his defence secretary, he had commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to eliminate a division of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard.
    Apparently the answer was 17, though a more profound conclusion is that Cheney was a more dangerous figure than anyone knew. It adds weight to reporting by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker that Cheney also contemplated the use of low-yield nuclear bunker-busters against Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities. The more we hear about the George W Bush administration, the clearer it becomes that the global damage it wrought could have been even worse.

    Liz Cheney is so noble and brave yaddah yaddah. How far do you really think the acorn fell from the tree?

    And what will we do if Putin puts a couple of small nukes into Kyiv? And what does Putin think we will do?

  29. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If that happens, I hope that in ten years we’ll also be talking about how renewables and electric cars have reduced oil and coal use by over 50%.

  30. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I read the Cohen piece yesterday, but not the Applebaum. Thanks for posting the links.

  31. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I think Cohen may be overstating how good things are.
    But I have changed my mind.
    I previously thought Russia could take Kyiv, after a horrible fight, and push on south-west.
    I no longer think so.
    Unless the Russians conduct a tactical retreat to unscramble their supply lines north of Kyiv, shut down their offensive in the north-east and transfer forces to Belarus for a new operation on a wider front, I can see no prospect of them taking Kyiv.

    Worse still for Russia: forces seem currently unable to press forward enough even to set up and supply artillery bombardment positions that that can hit central Kyiv.
    They keep trying, Ukrainians keep chewing them up.
    I wonder if Putin has fallen prey to the old Hitler mindset: “no retreats in any cicumstances” = a great way to totally screw your army.

    In the south Mariupol and the old DNR/LNR front still holds, and it looks like the effort put in to breaking them is taking up almost all the Russian effort.
    Accounts that the old DNR/LNR militias have virtually ceased to exist as formations.

    Russia can probably still at least achieve some gains, bu only if the start being a lot smarter and better than they have been

    And in any event, even the most brilliant military turn-around still couldn’t achieve a political-strategic victory.
    It never could. On that point my opinion is unchanged: a fools errand from even before the outset.

    The tragedy is, Putin seems no closer to stopping huffing copium and returning to Planet Reality.

  32. Gustopher says:


    The Biden administration lacks the funds to purchase a potential fourth coronavirus vaccine dose for everyone, even as other countries place their own orders and potentially move ahead of the United States in line, administration officials said Monday.


    White House officials also have warned that they will soon be unable to purchase additional therapeutics, including monoclonal antibodies, a key tool to help those who become infected, especially the immunocompromised and others at high risk.

    But there’s no sign of Congress’s stalemate ending soon, with House lawmakers in their home districts this week and unable to agree with Senate leaders on how to fully finance any package.

    What is the point of even having a deficit if you’re not using it for things like this?

  33. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: The airliner that had a cargo fire and went nose down into the everglades. Spirit airline? My memory fails me.

  34. CSK says:

    I think it was a ValuJet Airlines DC-9.

  35. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: Better memory than mine. Thanks.

  36. CSK says:

    You’re welcome. Yesterday I saw the video of the Chinese plane nosediving; it was horrific.

  37. Kathy says:

    After a very long break, I’ve finally resumed the Great Courses lecture series on Biology. There’s so much stuff going on inside every cell, and so many cells interact with others, directly and indirectly, that it sometimes feels like laundry list of molecules, enzymes, and proteins.

    Anyway, right now it’s the part about energy use in cells. After a brief explanation of why living beings use energy, the lecturer asks where it comes from. This made me realize soemething:

    People eat food for energy (and raw materials, but let’s focus on energy for now). this means dead plants and animales. Animals eat either other animals or plants. Plants consume CO2 from the air and nutrients and water from the soil, but they get their energy from the Sun.

    Since human eat plants or animals that eat plants, humans are solar-powered.

    Think of that the next time you hear solar is no good for energy production.

  38. CSK says:

    More witless babble from Trump on the subject of Ukraine, if you can stand it:


  39. Jen says:

    @Neil Hudelson: This makes me feel very warm & fuzzy about my monthly donation. Thank you for sharing this.

  40. Neil Hudelson says:


    Indeed, ancient plans consumed co2 from the air, their consumption powered by the sun. Small ancient animals ate those ancient plants. The ancient animals, after death, were covered by sand and silt. Over the years, the pressure and heat from the increasing sediment layers sequestered that co2 into coal and oil. Millions of years later we turned that ancient plan carbon into gasoline.

    On a long enough timeline, all cars are solar powered.

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: And coal and oil are “fossilized” plants. Solar evaporation makes the rain and snow that make hydro power. And solar drives the wind. Top of the head, only tidal, nuclear, and geothermal aren’t solar in origin. Or, if you want to go a step further, all that solar comes from fusion in the sun. Damn, and I’ve been reading we’re twenty years away from fusion power for fifty years now.

    ETA – Sorry Neil.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Cars, strictly speaking, are powered by a combination of stored solar power and geothermal power. 😉

  43. JohnSF says:

    And nuclear.
    75% if you have an electric car in France.

  44. Kathy says:


    Right. I remember that accident, and the crucial difference between an oxygen canister and an oxygen generator (not to mention the difference between expired and empty, which aren’t even remotely alike). I did not recall offhand it had also taken a near-vertical dive.

    BTW, the airline later renamed itself Air Tran, after acquiring Air Tran. It was later bought by Southwest, which sold all the Boeing 717s (really MD-95s) fleet to other airlines, as Southwest is a purely Boeing 737 operation.

  45. Kathy says:


    Or, if you want to go a step further, all that solar comes from fusion in the sun. Damn, and I’ve been reading we’re twenty years away from fusion power for fifty years now.

    If you want to go even further, all heavy elements, and most light elements, were synthesized either in the cores of stars, in supernova explosions, or in collisions between neutron stars.

    Therefore all forms of power on Earth, ultimately come entirely or in part from fusion.

  46. CSK says:

    Call me a snob, or a traditionalist, but I’ve always been a bit leery of flying on an airline with a name like “Easyjet” or “ValuJet.” It seems one step up from “CrappyJet” or “SleazyJet.”

    I’m old enough to remember when Allegheny Airlines was known as “Kamikaze Airlines” to the astute traveler.

  47. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m always leery about brands with self-congratulatory names, for any sort of product. The worst computer mouse I ever had was called Genius Mouse.

  48. JohnSF says:

    Though surely if you are Secretary of Defence it’s your job to know what weapons can to what to what.
    Not a pleasant job, perhaps, but goes with the territory.

    I recall talking to a BAOR artillery officer in the late 1970’s and plans for possible use of nuclear munitions against Soviet armoured divisions were most definitely a thing back then.

  49. Sleeping Dog says:


    We referred to Allegheny as Agony Airlines.

  50. CSK says:

    Yeah, I know. It’s like consulting someone who bills him or herself a discount vascular surgeon.

  51. gVOR08 says:


    If you want to go even further, all heavy elements, and most light elements, were synthesized either in the cores of stars, in supernova explosions, or in collisions between neutron stars.

    You might even say,

    The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself. – Carl Sagan

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Texas had a local airline called Trans Texas, or Tree Top. I believe they were the source of the cockpit voice recorder quote. “Hey, the map says there’s a hill around here over four th.”

  53. CSK says:

    If those were their navigational skills, it sounds as if their planes might have ended up in a few tree tops.

  54. Gustopher says:


    I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m always leery about brands with self-congratulatory names, for any sort of product. The worst computer mouse I ever had was called Genius Mouse.

    Budget Movers might cost more than Reliable Moving, but at least they show up.

  55. MarkedMan says:


    I’m not suggesting there was a collision over China, but that there may have been damage to the stabilizers.

    Or, good forbid, it was deliberate.

  56. Kathy says:


    What’s in a name?

    Eastern Air Lines is responsible for the quote “We’re still at 2,000 feet, right?” KLM’s 747 training pilot tried to take off without making sure the runway was clear, and impacted a Pan Am 747 at Tenerife.

    That said, I wouldn’t fly an airline known to have maintenance issues, which ValuJet was known to have.

  57. gVOR08 says:

    YouGovAmerica did a poll I find instructive. They asked people to estimate the size of various subgroups as a percentage of the total adult population. There’s a general pattern that the size of small groups is overestimated, sometimes hugely, and large groups are under estimated.

    est %/actual % – group
    20 / 0 – Household income over $1 million
    21 / 1 – transgender
    27 / 1 – Muslim
    30 / 2 – Jewish
    30 / 3 – gay or lesbian
    32 / 12 – live in CA
    39 / 17 – are Hispanic
    41 / 12 – are Black
    54 / 32 – own a gun
    58 / 57 – have at least one child
    62 / 50 – have a household income over $50,000
    66 / 88 – own a car
    65 / 89 – have a HS degree

    If you really think 21% of the country are trans, I can see why you might find them scarier than I do. Or 40% Blacks and 39% Hispanics. A few years ago I had a co-worker observe that there seemed to be an awful lot of Muslims in Ohio given how many cars he saw with a palm tree and crescent moon symbol. I said not possible and went online and showed him it’s a symbol of South Carolina and it marked tourists. I don’t think he believed me, or Google.

    We all judge truth by whether a statement is consistent with what else we know. If our understanding of the world is off, it’s easy to believe in nonsense.

  58. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: That estimate of gay / lesbian seemed low to me, I had it in my head that it was around 7-8%, so I looked it up. A Gallup poll found around 7% ID’ed as gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender–so that poll combined the group.

    While I didn’t wildly overestimate, I do see how my brain translated the numbers, which could be a small part of the issue?

  59. dazedandconfused says:

    re: morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/djt-reminds-us-again?s=r

    Authentic frontier gibberish!

  60. Joe says:


    You might even say,
    The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself. – Carl Sagan

    You might even say,

    We are stardust. We are golden, and we’re caught in a devil’s bargain

    – Joni Mitchell

  61. CSK says:

    Yes. I sometimes wonder if Trump saw how well gibberish worked for Sarah Palin and decided to imitate her. Only he upped the game and made it even more incomprehensible.

    Trump has the best gibberish. Many people are saying that.

  62. Jen says:

    @CSK: Holy mother of g_d, what did I just read? Trump seems to be getting worse? if that’s possible?

  63. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jen: no, thank you!

  64. CSK says:

    Beats me. I’m still trying to figure out what he meant by bringing ultraviolet light inside the body.

    The beauty of Trump’s babble, like Palin’s, is that his fan club can interpret it to mean whatever they wish.

  65. Kathy says:


    It seems pretty clear to me. Here’s my non-literal translation:

    Benito: Me threaten Putin. Putin go away. Me wins!!1!

  66. Beth says:


    I find that poll to be so absurd. If we were 21% of the population everyone would be tripping over us constantly. We’d have actual political power. Personally, I think the 1% number is wildly high too though. I really wish I could understand how so many people came up with that estimate. It’s bonkers.

  67. gVOR08 says:

    @Beth: 1% is their number, probably rounded up considerably. I had occasion to look it up a few days ago. Forget the source, but it said one million. Which sounds like a huge number, but it’s like 0.3%.

    The survey also asked individually for the population of NYC, TX, and CA. The estimates total 94%. No wonder Kansas is so empty.

  68. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: The overestimation of Jews in the population is an old phenomenon. There’s an anti-Semitic component to the assumption, but it’s also due to an overrepresentation of Jews in some very visible sectors of society. And I see the fallacy crop up from time to time even from people who should know better. For example, in 2008 after a speaker at Sarah Palin’s church made some anti-Semitic remarks, Andrew Sullivan commented that the McCain campaign “just lost Florida.” Roughly 4% of Florida’s electorate is Jewish–not insignificant, but less than I suspect Sullivan had in mind. And a majority of them are solid Democrats anyway. I suppose their vote has the potential to matter in a close election (we all remember the Butterfly Ballot fiasco in Palm Beach County), but Sullivan almost seemed to be implying that Jews dictated who won Florida, based on which campaign offended them more.

  69. Kathy says:


    1% seems low to me if you include serious, occasional, and fetishistic cross dressers.

  70. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I just heard someone (a late night TV host? The fantastic Amber Ruffin? Probably not, as she is one smart cookie) make a sarcastic comment that only 1 out of 10 characters on a show was black, with the implication that therefore blacks were under represented. In reality, that is the “correct” number according to current population statistics. Of course, there should have been 2 latinos.

  71. Beth says:


    It would be absolutely wrong to include cross dressers in as Trans. There are a LOT of Trans people that would get instantly hostile and deeply offended at the insinuation that they should be. I am not one of them. I am very well certain that the vast majority of “cross dressers” are not Trans (over 75%). Especially the fetishists; more power to them, but they are not us. However, I am certain there are a large number of people passing through, I was one of them.

    There are similar debates in the Trans-Femme community about Drag Queens. A sizable percentage of Trans women DESPISE Drag. The same reason applies about Cross Dressing. A lot of bad faith arguments about how we are just faking/pretending/perverts/blah blah blah. It’s a very sore subject in the community. A lot of Trans Women see the intentionally campy extremeness of Drag and see the hurt that they’ve been fed all their lives. Personally, I like Drag. But my mom took me to see Rocky Horror when I was a kid and it was one of the most horrible traumatic parts of my childhood. I despise that movie and how much it taught me to loathe myself.


    Personally, I think the .3% number is closer to accurate. I had some discussions with friends about that poll and they seem to think depending on how you account for Non-Binary people and Eggs (closeted baby Trans) you might get up to 3% but I disagree. I think 1% is wildly generous.

  72. MarkedMan says:


    If you really think 21% of the country are trans, I can see why you might find them scarier than I do.

    I think you are right, but doesn’t that just point to a bigger problem? I mean, so what if 21% of the country was trans? Why would that be scary? On the other hand, the fact that 32% own a gun? Now that is scary. Especially since I am willing to bet that in the 5-10% of the population that really shouldn’t be owning a gun due to general belligerence and dumbf*ckery the proportion of gun ownership is more like 75%. And the NRA has their back!

  73. CSK says:

    The trucker convoy is still screwing up traffic around D.C., or so I heard from a friend who was desperately trying to drive to a dental appointment there.

    All I can think of is a toddler on a tricycle relentlessly pedaling around in circles…

  74. Kylopod says:

    @Beth: There’s also a distinction between drag queens (where the cross-dressing is part of a performance) and men with transvestic fetishism (where the cross-dressing is often done in secret).

  75. Gustopher says:


    If you really think 21% of the country are trans, I can see why you might find them scarier than I do. Or 40% Blacks and 39% Hispanics.

    If 1 in 5 people is trans, then how are they scary? They really can’t all be men wearing dresses to rape and pillage women in public bathrooms or no woman would have survived more than a few weeks.

  76. Kathy says:


    The thing is these kinds of surveys rely on self-reporting data.

  77. Beth says:


    Yes, absolutely.


    A real fun* overlap are the Trans gun nuts. There’s a fun time.

    *not fun at all, absolute sarcasm.

  78. Beth says:


    Right, I would guess that would lead to under-reporting for various reasons. Personally, I don’t see how the number could get about 1%. Maybe it’s a failure of my imagination. But for example, the population of Chicago is 2,741,994. The entire metro Chicago population is 8,901,000. 1% of that is 27,419 for Chicago and 89,010. Those are shockingly large numbers. I know a lot of Trans people here and I’m always shocked there is more. I would be flabbergasted to find out that there were 27,000 of us running around the city.

    For a laugh, 21% is 575,818.

  79. Kathy says:


    My guess is that 75% of people, that’s like 1/74th, do not understand fractions of percentages.

  80. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: I could see someone putting the transgender, non-binary, gender-fluid and gender-playful all into a single gender-queer category, which might get up to 1-2%, and lazily call that entire category “trans” as that’s the most visible segment.

    Likewise, the survey’s “gay or lesbian” label technically excludes bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, asexual, omnisexual, etc., but I’m sure they are lumped in there.

    The ever-growing LGBTLMNOP acronym simultaneously amuses and frustrates me. I’m in there, but I’m not sure all the different gradients are useful.

    I couldn’t tell you the difference between Bi and Pan, despite being one of them, other than Pan wasn’t a word 30 years ago, but I’m sure the kids today would carefully separate it out to something about whether you’re attracted to multiple genders because of the gender or don’t care about the gender or… anyway, useless. Tells me nothing about who I want to boink, and tells me nothing useful about who other people want to boink (specifically do they want to boink me).

    But, I know that if the wrong people get their way, I will be given a pink triangle and sent off to the camps, and it really doesn’t matter if I think I should have a periwinkle triangle to better express my specific sexuality. Queer is queer. It’s the only letter in the pile that matters.

    (This is also my answer to the question of whether trans folks should be part of LBGetc… there are lots of different experiences that trans folks have compared to cisgender queers, but we’ll all be wearing the pink triangles in the death camps if things go bad.)

    Anyway, I’m betting that survey effectively counts trans folks both as trans and gay, even if they are perfectly straight trans folks. And any man with long hair or woman with short hair as trans.

    I kind of assume that a lot of the discussion of queer microlabels is just a way for queer people who don’t know how to flirt to try to flirt. Which should make me far less dismissive of it, but then people start writing academic papers about it, and you don’t flirt by academic paper!

  81. Gustopher says:

    Also, I am now looking up Nazi concentration camp categories on my work computer. Given the things this company did in WWII, though, they probably just think I am researching our company history.

  82. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Beth: I’m a bit surprised at your reaction to Rocky Horror, but only a bit. My personal estimate for the number of trans people is 0.2% so I won’t quibble about 0.3%. That’s pretty close. The “1%” was rounded up, for sure.

    Now, since we are talking movies, how do you feel about the animated Mulan of the Nineties? My daughter really likes it, but opinions can, of course, vary.

  83. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: @Gustopher: @Beth: I did phrase that badly. The point I’m trying to make, clumsily, is that people who feel threatened may be prone to feeling trans people are far more numerous than is the case. With a more accurate estimation, perhaps they’d feel the issue is less salient.

  84. Beth says:


    I couldn’t tell you the difference between Bi and Pan, despite being one of them, other than Pan wasn’t a word 30 years ago, but I’m sure the kids today would carefully separate it out to something about whether you’re attracted to multiple genders because of the gender or don’t care about the gender or… anyway, useless.

    Lol, I watch this discussion in the Bi/Pan community all the time. I find it hilarious. Younger people would describe me as being Pan, but I go by Bi cause that’s what we had in the 90’s. LOL, gather round children and lets all learn about how awful the 90’s were when you only had 4 sexuality descriptors and you had to make due with what you had.

    I agree with you on the other stuff. We can all fight on the same side together, cause other wise we’re all getting tied to the same fence.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    My Mom thought she was young and hip and would take me to something fun. I only realized much later just how much lasting damage that did. I don’t remember a whole lot of my childhood. Trauma did a number on my brain, but that’s one bright scary moment for me. I’ve always looked at Frank N. Furter as what Cis people saw Trans people to be. Some sort of grotesque joke to be mocked. Kid me was terrified that was what I was and shut down.

    I know I’m an outlier when it comes to Rocky Horror, lots of queer people are inspired by it. For me that experience was just too terrible.

    As for Mulan, the animated one came out right after Highschool for me which is also another black hole in my brain. I know things happened between 1996 and 2000, but I can’t really place anything or remember a ton about it. LOL, thanks PTSD (sad trombone). Having had see parts of it now that my kids watch it, every time that “make a man out of you” song come on I think to myself, “why would anyone want to do that, it’s terrible!”

  85. Beth says:


    Lol, if you watch Fox News or listen to Joanne, we’re everywhere doing all sorts of terrible things. And ruining women’s sports. Constantly. We’re omnipresent.

  86. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    you don’t flirt by academic paper

    Oh shirt, maybe that’s what I was doing wrong in the 70’s… well, that and I thought a brushed denim leisure suit was the height of fashion.*

    *the worst part is, I can’t even blame the drugs

  87. Gustopher says:


    Lol, I watch this discussion in the Bi/Pan community all the time. I find it hilarious. Younger people would describe me as being Pan, but I go by Bi cause that’s what we had in the 90’s.

    If I were a flag person, I would go with Pan because it’s just a nicer flag.

    On the other hand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisexual_lighting exists, and it is the funniest thing. Does any other sexual orientation come with a lighting scheme?

    But the actual meaning of the two? A complete nonsensical mish-mash ultimately derived from the number of angels on the head of a pin and the nature of dark matter.

    Is pan just a rebranding of bi, to get away from the seedy connotations bi came with back in the day? Biphobic people afraid that their partner would slip out behind their back to be with someone of the other gender, and all that? Pan just seems bright, hopeful and optimistic.

    I mean, look at this flag! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pansexuality#/media/File:Pansexuality_Pride_Flag.svg

    It’s so relentlessly cheerful.

  88. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: It reminds me of Der Fuhrer’s rants in April, 1945, where he was moving nonexistent armies around to stop the Red Army from encircling Berlin.

  89. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Dead thread. But dyam that looks like the unfortunate logo the Trump-Pence campaign came up with.