Wednesday Forum

Have at it.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I had to call in for refills on Woof’s meds. I was pleasantly surprised when the vet’s office told me I would have to pay by phone from the parking lot and they would bring it out to me. Knowing it is the vets, who are well versed in infectious diseases for animals after all, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but this is a small red town, in a very red county, in the reddest of states. It’s nice to see the fact that the stupid isn’t universal be demonstrated.

    A nice employer story from Redville too: As previously reported my wife’s employer asked all their employees to work from home if at all possible last week. Sadly, my wife was unable to make it work via our satellite internet. So she went back to working the evening shift at the office. The very empty office. In an employee chat room she made a comment about how “eerie” it was being alone in this building that she was used to having at least a dozen and a half other people inside when she was working, and when she walked out at 11:30 PM, her car was the only one in the lot. That was all she ever said about it. In fact, when she had told me of it I offered to drive up and meet her in the lot and she just pshawed the suggestion saying it wasn’t that big a deal.

    One of the bosses saw her comment tho. Monday she got a call and they told her her shift had been changed to day shift and her night shift had been given to someone who could work from home.

    As one who is extremely distrustful of all things corporate in America, and am always waiting for the shiv to slip between the ribs, it would appear that this is a company that really does care about their employees and are proving it every day with all the proactive measures they are taking now, up to and including a very generous paid leave program of, iirc up to 18 weeks.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The world may soon run out of space to store its extra oil as Saudi Arabia prepares to increase its fossil fuel production even as global demand for energy continues to fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Oil storage levels across the world’s storage facilities have climbed to about three-quarters full on average since the January shutdown of major refineries in China’s industrial heartlands to stem the outbreak of the coronavirus.

    The oil industry is expected to keep filling oil storage with crude in the weeks and months ahead as the pandemic’s economic contagion spreads through the rest of the world, cutting demand for natural resources including oil.
    The global oil industry may increasingly look to offshore oil tankers to store their extra crude oil, but for this to be economic it would require oil prices to fall further.

    The global oil price fell to lows of $25 a barrel a last week, from more than $65 at the start of the year, and remains below $30 a barrel. Credit ratings agency S&P has warned the industry that the oil price may fall to $10 a barrel this year.

    The hunt for affordable oil storage will be made more difficult after Saudi Arabia’s “vessel booking spree”, which has pushed freight rates “through the roof” in the past three weeks, the analysts said.

    The world’s oversupply of oil is expected to balloon next month when an agreement between the Opec oil cartel and Russia to hold back oil production is due to end. The collapse of the deal allows Saudi Arabia, Opec’s de facto leader, to race Russia to increase oil production in a bid to grab a greater share of the market.

    The oil price war is expected to raise the world’s oil production by more than 2.5m barrels of oil a day, which would outpace demand for crude by 6m barrels of oil a day.

    Some things make no sense at all to me. An oil price war just now is among them.

  3. Kari Q says:

    Chloroquine may not be a miracle cure for covid-19 after all. A Chinese study found it was no more effective than regular care. It was a small study and not conclusive, but it’s still disappointing.

  4. Mikey says:

    @Kari Q: But dipshit Trump is still pushing it like it’s a miracle cure and people who actually need it can’t get it now because of his refusal to shut up about it.

  5. sam says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Clinics in Ohio and Texas ordered to stop ‘nonessential’ surgical abortions I’ve never heard of a ‘nonessential’ surgical abortion. Kinds of like suspending ‘nonessential’ surgical appendectomies.

  7. Mu Yixiao says:

    Wisconsin is on lockdown.

  8. Kit says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You gotta hand it to these guys: they keep the eyes on the prize! The economy in meltdown? That doesn’t mean you can’t create a huge slush fund to dole out to the rich. Covid-19 biting hard enough that you need to ask granny to do her part for the market and take the honorable way out? That doesn’t mean you gotta stop being pro-life! They are relentless.

  9. Teve says:

    We know that geezers are Republican and people early-middle-age and below are Democrat, but does anybody know what the age demographics look like as far as abortion?

  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    Okay… shit just got real.

    They’re locking down the coffee machines at work!

  11. Teve says:

    Never mind, I found it. Check out graphs 3 and 7.

    Pew Public Opinion on Abortion

    Tl;dr: Pro-lifers are on the way out.

  12. Bill says:

    I just got some news. Depending on the results of some yet to be done tests, I will be going home late today or tomorrow.

    When I do go home, I have been to isolate myself. That’s no surprise.

    Only one more salisbury steak dinner to go. Boy am I going to miss the food here. NOT!

    When I got heart from open surgery 12 years ago, I sat in the living room watching tv while the wife went to store to get things I needed. Anyway our two cats at the time, Eponine and Misay*, were on the couch behind me and began to fight. Like they were arguing over me. “He’s my human”, “No he’s mine.” It was so good to be home and I will feel the same tomorrow.

    The wife is still working. In fact, the pastor is taking this time to having the maintenance people paint the inside of the church. The bishop’s office sent a memo yesterday. No employees are to be fired/laid off.

    I haven’t looked at my book sales since my hospital admission and am afraid to do so.

    I’m trying to find something funny to say but nothing comes to mind.

    *- We only have Misay, the waray word for cat, now. Eponine passed away in 2010.

  13. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: (Teve starts putting on blue and white face paint)

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Like they were arguing over me. “He’s my human”, “No he’s mine.

    We have 2 dogs, a lab and a spaniel/beagle mix. They quietly compete for the Daddy spot, engaging in all kinds of subterfuge and passive/aggressive behavior to get next to me on the couch. It’s cute, funny as hell, and yes, it makes me feel more than a little loved.

    ETA Click those ruby red slippers together and repeat after me: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…”

  15. mattbernius says:

    Thank you for the spot of good news @Bill! Stay healthy.

  16. Bill says:

    One thing I forgot to mention. The 85-year-old I take to the grocery store called this morning* wanting to know if I could take him to Publix.

    He didn’t know I was in the hospital but when calling me at home one week ago he was informed by my wife that I was not in good health.

    I told my neighbor car trips are out for a while. He seems a little confused at the moment, so I wasn’t harsh with him.

    * I have my cell phone at the hospital.

  17. Teve says:

    From what I just saw on Twitter, Schumer’s office says they’ve gotten a provision in the bill which says that none of this bailout money goes to any businesses owned or controlled by the president, vice president, directors of executive agencies, or members of Congress. Or any of their children.

  18. CSK says:


  19. Mu Yixiao says:


    Do you at least get scalloped potatoes with those Salisbury steakes?

    Glad to hear you’re doing better and heading home.

  20. CSK says:

    Is there another option than Salisbury steak? Like maybe…meatloaf?

  21. Mu Yixiao says:


    Cube steak in gravy.

  22. Kit says:

    Hat tip to whoever it was who recently recommend this: The Risks of Action and Inaction:

    This uncertainty makes it much harder to manage the virus, or to strike a balance between public health and the economy. What happened in 1918 or 1957 isn’t particularly instructive. The virus is different. The world is different. So is our health-care system.

    The goal should be to move from uncertainty to risk, which will take time and data.

  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I am beyond appalled.

    Is this really going to happen, in America? Is this the GOP’s vision for the “Shining City on The Hill”?

    I thought when Trump originally floated the balloon of “end the social distancing / get back to work”, that he was trying to make congress act and pass a resolution.

    I have given him too much credit. He wants to take everything we have learned and ignore it.

    Spain? Italy? Hold my beer, we are going for #1 !

    Hey all you old people that watch Fox News: Prepare to die, because we only needed you to ELECT Trump! Now, his target is the young, as you were gonna die anyway, right?

    Fox’s Brit Hume says it’s an “entirely reasonable viewpoint” to expect that grandparents would be willing to die to protect the economy. ( source )

    USA! USA! USA!


    From an actual adult, Bill Gates:

    Gates’ stance, in short, is that, unless we decide to accept the reality that more than half of the population will fall sick of the bug, the U.S. has no choice but to swallow the huge economic cost from a prolonged shutdown.

    “The U.S. has passed the opportunity to control this without shutdown,” he said, pointing to the dreary fact that the we had missed the nearly month-long time window between the Covid-19’s peak spread in China and its eruption in the U.S. to build up the testing capacity needed to contain the virus.

    “There is really no middle ground,” Gates explained. “It’s very tough to say to people, hey, keep going to restaurants, buying new houses and ignore those piles of bodies in the corner…I don’t know of any rich countries that have chosen to adopt that approach.”

    “It is true that, if you do that approach over a period of several years, enough people would be infected and you’d have what’s called herd immunity,” he added. “But herd immunity is meaningless until you have infected over half of the population.”

    The good news, though, is that isolation is proven to show effects quickly if implemented strictly.

    “The sooner you do it in a tough way, the sooner you can undo it and go back to normal,” Gates said. Drawing experience from China, Gates suggested that an extreme shutdown of six to ten weeks should dramatically slow down the coronavirus’ transmission in the U.S.

    It’s also encouraging to know that testing capacity is ramping up quickly in the U.S., Gates noted. On Monday, the FDA updated its guidelines for Covid-19 testing procedures to allow an at-home “self-swab” method to extract samples so doctors and nurses won’t have to risk contracting the virus during tests.

    And back on the tough question of economy-life tradeoff, “It’s very irresponsible for someone to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds,” Gates said. “Bring the economy back to money is much more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life…Two to three years from now, this thing on a global scale will be over, with a gigantic price tag.”

    ( Source )

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    New GOP talking point:

    How Medical ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn The Tide Of The Wuhan Virus

    Let’s deliberately infect gen-x, millenials, and gen-z to save the boomers.

  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I could just spit…

    It finally dawned on me: He’s going for “ratings”.

    He can be the good guy, he can say he did what he could… If you are still in your homes, if the economy is crashing, if you can’t get food, medicine or ventilators, it’s not MY fault… I opened up the economy again!

    It’s those GOVERNORS that are at fault.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: What about companies owned by their “blind” trusts? I think Mnuchin put that in the bill as a lightning rod and sacrificial bargaining point. I’ll wait to see what else is in the bill, including how much control Mnuchin has over the slush fund. I fear Schumer may have gotten rolled.

  27. Gustopher says:


    I’m trying to find something funny to say but nothing comes to mind.

    *- We only have Misay, the waray word for cat, now. Eponine passed away in 2010.

    That wasn’t it. On funny, I give it a 1/10.

    Glad you’re going home, good luck. Stay healthy if you have the option. Pet the cat.

  28. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: There are a few problems with that strategy.

    The first is that without extremely widespread testing, we won’t really know who is truly immune and who is asymptomatic but still able to transmit the disease. It appears to be increasingly likely that not only are there asymptomatic carriers, but that there are quite a LOT of asymptomatic carriers.

    The second of course is that as we’ve seen, there appear to be plenty of generally healthy people who have had very serious illnesses, and it’s beyond weird to suggest that people subject themselves to that risk.

    Third, the data cited is outdated–there have been both serious illnesses and death in the 0-29 age range in the US.

    Then we get into the technical problems with the idea–where are these “safe infection sites” going to be, who will staff them, how will children/young people be monitored, etc. etc.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    I’ll go with the disclaimer first:

    I work for a company that sells food and related services to government agencies. out biggest clients are social programs, government hospitals, prisons, and police. They will always buy food in great numbers, or require food preparation, and they always have money to pay.

    I work in “sales,” meaning in the department in charge of putting together the proposals for these agencies. Few have suspended acquisitions during the pandemic, so I have plenty of work.

    Therefore this downturn won’t affect me much. I certainly won’t lose my job or have to be laid off due to reduced business.

    That said, I’d rather be alive in a bad economy than dead in a thriving one.

  30. Stormy Dragon says:


    Do you seriously think I was linking that because I thought it was a good idea? I’m actually insulted.

  31. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: LOL, NOOOO!

    I just read through it and the problems with it are so glaring…was not at all suggesting you took it seriously!

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    As I mentioned this morning, Wisconsin is on full lock-down. The order came out yesterday afternoon, effective at 08:00 this morning (a little notice would have been nice).

    The company I work for manufactures and services “critical infrastructure” used in hospitals, government buildings, and media broadcasts (news) around the world, so we’re still operating. We’ve been following best-practices for social distancing, hand-washing, and regular wipe-downs of all public surfaces for a couple of weeks now. This morning they removed all the coffee pots in the entire plant (there’s a bazillion of them all over–our company treats us really well) and turned off all the bubblers (those are “drinking fountains” for all you non-chedderhead heathens out there).

    I’d estimate that about 90%+ of our office staff are working from home (or using up vacation time), and our manufacturing lines already have lots of distance between workers. Anyone who wants to go home has been encouraged to do so.

    We’ve also switched over some of our production lines to make needed medical equipment.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    And… just switched to 50% schedule for all employees. (But all medical benefits remain, and the company is covering 100% of premiums).

  34. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I hope our company is doing something better at other places. At the corporate offices, where I work, they just added some hand sanitizer dispensers, and put small posters all over advising against shaking hands, greeting people with kisses or hugs, and advising to wash your hands 20 times a day.

    I’m puzzled by that last. The number of times you wash your hands is not very relevant. I wash when I reach the office, after making coffee, after using the restroom, after handling money, after any visit to other department, after coming back from a break, after going to the 7/11 downstairs, after handling money, after handling papers given me by anyone else, and probably other occasions. also upon reaching home, before and after preparing dinner, before going to bed, upon waking, before leaving home, etc.

    So all told between 15 and 40 times a day. BTW when I say “wash”, about half means using hand sanitizer

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    We’ve convinced our grocery store cashier daughter to stay home.

    We had a text discussion about it, involving our lefty Socialist Daughter who made the case that as Grocery Daughter did not need to work she was taking unnecessary risks and in the process becoming a vector, whereas her replacement would be taking the same risks, but doing so out of economic necessity. IOW if you have to take risks in order to pay your rent that sucks and is unfair but at least involves a person earning who needs to earn.

    Tenuous, but as it protects Grocery Daughter, I’ll allow. Socialist Daughter has inherited her Capitalist Father’s talent for rationalization.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m relieved to hear that you’re doing better. Being trapped at home is a drag, but it has to beat being trapped in a hospital.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    Dr. Steve has the patience of a saint.

  38. Mu Yixiao says:


    We’ve had hand sanitizer all over the place forever. They’ve got dispensers mounted on the walls outside every set of bathrooms. And every table in the “town square” (the open area of the deli) has always had bottles on it.

    And when all of this started, not only did signs go up in all the bathrooms saying “Employees must wash hands”, they’ve always had “how to wash your hands” signs up. (All those women working in Health & Safety have to have something to do).

    And… when this all started, they had mandatory hand-washing classes for the entire workforce (excluding a few with medical experience; I got out of it because I worked in a butcher shop and could probably have taught the class). 🙂

  39. Bill says:


    That wasn’t it. On funny, I give it a 1/10.

    Glad you’re going home, good luck. Stay healthy if you have the option. Pet the cat.

    My cat remark wasn’t meant as a joke. Misay, who was born on Father’s Day in 2007 at our church, got her name thanks to me. I asked the wife what was the word for cat in waray? Sort of like on F troop when the Hekawi Indians got their name. The Medicine man asked the Chief- “Where the heck are we?”

    I just got back from the last of my tests. Cross your fingers that the results are gotten to Dr Nguyen soon so I can get out of here tonight. Misay, a bombay cat, will probably greet me by jumping in my lap.

    Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.

    Oh the Salisbury steak. I eat it with Mac & Cheese. Everything on the patient menu is either overcooked or has no taste (Chicken, Meat Loaf, Cod, Lasagna) or both. SS and the Lasagna are the most tolerable dinner menu selections. The cafeteria here is very good. When I been admitted in the past, Leonita would bring me food from downstairs.

    I’m going to try taking a nap before leaving, I’ll try signing off with something from The West Wing episode Shibboleth that watched yesterday.

    C.J. Cregg: They sent me two turkeys. The more photo-friendly of the two gets a Presidential pardon and a full life at a children’s zoo. The runner-up gets eaten.
    President Josiah Bartlet: If the Oscars were like that, I’d watch.

    Don’t anyone tell Kathy that in another episode, Toby Ziegler claimed Lockheed 1011s were still being made in 1998-99. She might blow a fuse or a head gasket.

    Now that might be worth watching.

    PS= Forgive my typos/missing words. I’m prone to it because of my medical issues. Take for instance- The ‘man walked into the elephant’. Elephant/elevator. Nothing too different there.

  40. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I just saw that Twitter has apparently pulled down Federalist’s tweet linking to the post as violating community standards.

    The doctor who wrote that article is a dermatologist.

  41. Kathy says:


    Don’t anyone tell Kathy

    Me? I let slide a reference to the mythical 787 MAX.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’ve used hand sanitizer since 2007 or so, when it was convenient to have while out on the city. The company started providing it to janitorial staff last year, when there was a reduction and then a suspension of water service over much of the city, due to maintenance to the aqueducts.

    This was placed in restrooms. But the supply has kept up since, so now we keep ours in what passes for a break room. they added dispensers in the stairs landings since last week.

  43. Kingdaddy says:

    Rod Dreher thinks Andrew Cuomo is more pro-life than Rusty Reno, the author of the infamous “Say ‘No’ To Death’s Dominion” article in the Catholic journal First Things:

  44. Monala says:

    @Kingdaddy: Great article. Rod Dreher, just like Andrew Sullivan, can often be insufferable, but sometimes be profound. Here’s an important quote:

    And what will the regular pro-life conservative Christians have to say about it? Where did they stand on the sanctity of life when the lives at risk weren’t the unborn? When they expected impoverished pregnant women to bear the sacrifice of raising a child, because life is sacred, but they weren’t willing to bear the sacrifice of not being able to walk freely down the street to get a latte? It’s a bad, bad look.

  45. DrDaveT says:

    @Monala: I was just about to quote the same passage, but you beat me to it. Well done.

  46. Kathy says:

    When we have very long days at work, especially all bunched together, I make it a point to spend even a few minutes watching TV, reading, or browsing the web, even if it costs me a few minutes more of badly needed sleep.

    Why? Because it’s tiresome and stressful to work that much and that long, and if all you do is work, eat, and sleep, it’s even worse. A few minutes doing something else, just about anything else, provides for some relaxation.

    I think we’re at a similar juncture with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hard to talk of something else, or to not bring it up.

    So how about a thread now and then about anything else, here in the open forum?

    It doesn’t need to be deep or profound or even relevant, just unrelated to respiratory diseases.

    I’ll start: does anyone else watch Rick and Morty? IMO, it is, in part, what all SF animation should be. the specific part is the very imaginative, near-magical, outrageous advanced technology.

  47. Teve says:

    @Kathy: what’s up, my glip-glop?

  48. Teve says:


    So today I didn’t realize I was off mute and told the Democratic Caucus (including a couple recent presidential candidates) that “…mommy is working honey, please go potty and wash your hands then mommy will come downstairs.” How’s your working from home going?

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: Fuck Rod Dreher and all his holier than thou fellow travelers.


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