Wednesday’s Forum

Tuesday's gone.

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. Mikey says:

    Gone with the wind.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So this happened in the suburban STL town I grew up in: Grandmother and son wrongly accused of TV theft sue police over beating I am soooooo proud. Making it all the way to the pages of the Guardian.

    A 68-year-old Missouri woman has filed a lawsuit against four police officers and their suburban St Louis department after they were captured in a since-viral video beating and arresting her and her adult son over a claim that the pair had stolen a television.

    The allegation turned out to be false. All four officers are white; the mother and son are black.

    The lawsuit alleges that while Marvia Gray and her 43-year-old son Derek were attempting to get a refund for a television they had purchased at a Sam’s Club when the police officers grabbed them, “throwing them to the floor, beating them, handcuffing them, then arresting them”.
    The elder Gray suffered severe injuries to her tailbone, back, rotator cuff, knees and arms. The son shattered three front teeth, had a concussion and face injuries that required nearly 20 stitches and seven staples, according to the suit.

    Des Peres police department released a statement following the incident in March, maintaining that store personnel had told them that products were stolen. They also insisted that the Grays were arrested for failing to comply.

    From KSDK:

    The release confirms officers were dispatched to the store less than an hour later for a reported theft. Officers were made aware that the call was for the same suspects involved in the prior incident, but the officers said this time they were notified the items were stolen.

    The narrative released from the department on March 25 states the scuffle between Derek Gray and the officers started when Gray was told he was being detained. The press release described the incident as a “struggle” involving Gray attempting to remove a fire extinguisher from the wall “in a manner to attempt to use it against the officer” before it was removed from his hand as he was wrestled to the ground.

    Des Peres police confirmed their officers were assisted by neighboring agencies. The department stated four officers were transported to a medical center for treatment.

    Derek just wouldn’t stop hitting their hands with his face.

    I’m a little surprised the Gray’s would shop there. That place is whiter than white. It’s gotten so bad that I’m not welcome there anymore. I’ve spent time in their jail on 2 occasions. Haven’t been back since my father died. These days I tell most folks I grew up in Kirkwood, the neighboring town where I went to school. It’s not near as embarrassing.

    The name being French in origin the “s”es are silent, but but when I entered my sarcastic teens I began pronouncing it as “despair”. Yes, I was raised in Despair, Misery.

  3. Teve says:
  4. senyordave says:

    Lead article on Yahoo News: Pompeo’s elite taxpayer-funded dinners raise new concerns

    The gist of the article is that these dinners amounted to very elaborate get togethers to expand Pompeo’s donor base to fund his political aspirations. They don’t even bother trying to hide the corruption anymore, but since the rot starts at the top why bother.

  5. Teve says:
  6. Teve says:
  7. Mikey says:

    The post-American world is now on full display

    It is not that the United States has ceased to exist — far from it. But it has left behind any ambition of global leadership and any function as a global inspiration.

    And that is very new. Tragically so.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A photograph of a migrant labourer, his face contorted with anguish as he sits on the roadside in Delhi speaking to his wife about their sick baby boy, has come to symbolise the ordeal of India’s daily wage workers; penniless, and unable to get home to their families because of the lockdown.

    Rampukar Pandit, a construction worker in the Indian capital, had heard that his 11-month-old son was seriously unwell. With no public transport to reach his home in Begusarai in Bihar, 1,200 km (745 miles) away, he started walking. He reached Nizamuddin Bridge where, exhausted and hungry, he could go no further.

    Atul Yadav, a photographer with the Press Trust of India, was heading home from work on 11 May when he saw Pandit, 38, sobbing his heart out. Pandit refused his offer of biscuits and water, saying food would “choke” him because he couldn’t eat while his son was unwell. “He was so emotional I had to stop shooting. He had been sitting on the road for three days,” said Yadav.

    ‘We labourers don’t belong to any country,” Pandit told Yadav. “All I want is to go home and see my son.”

    Later that evening, he reached a nearby police station. He was still waiting for the police to help when a group of well-wishers, having seen Yadav’s tweet about Pandit, arrived in the area and managed to find him at the station.

    By now, he was full of grief. His wife, Bimal Devi, had just called to say their son had died. One of the well-wishers, a woman, paid for and arranged for his train ticket home. “He wept with gratitude at strangers helping him,” said Yadav.

    Yadav’s photograph illustrates the anguish of millions of migrant labourers in India who are desperate to get home to their families. After waiting in vain for the government to provide them with transport (belatedly some trains are now being laid on for them) they have embarked on astonishing odysseys, from cities all over the country, journeys that have left Indians transfixed and distressed.

    Whether by truck, bicycle, auto-rickshaw or on foot, they have been heading out under their own steam, some making journeys of nearly 1,000 km to reach home. Hunger, thirst, and the scorching heat of the Indian summer are slowing them down. Some have died of exhaustion and sunstroke. Last week a group of 16 who fell asleep on a railway line they had believed was not being used were killed by a goods train.

    “If I am to die, I want to die with my parents,” said one young daily wage labourer leaving Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh.

  9. Bill says:
  10. CSK says:

    As of yesterday, 5938 have died in Massachusetts.

  11. Bill says:

    The Pope isn’t in Miami again? headline of the day-

    ‘CBS Evening News’ fails to air on East Coast due to ‘technical difficulties’

    Up till about 6 months ago, I would have noticed this. Dear wife changed our evening news viewing habit from CBS to ABC sometime very late last year.

  12. Jen says:

    I might need to shut off news today. This morning has already been rage-inducing.

    We have the Pompeo dinners noted above by SenyorDave.
    Trump Administration considering giving the go-ahead for Israeli annexation in the West Bank
    Michigan’s flooding issues (there’s a Very Large dam that is about to fail)
    And our ridiculous president is tweeting about absentee ballots being sent, when NOPE, it’s absentee ballot *applications* (perfectly legal)

    I am so, so tired.

  13. Teve says:

    @Jen: With any luck in the next six months I’ll be out of the deep south for good and back in a decent size city. And I’ve already told people that if Trump wins reelection, I’m going to spend all my free time at the zoo, and reading, and cooking, and who knows, watercolors, poetry, I’ll literally take up any and all hobbies and never look at politics again.

  14. Teve says:
  15. CSK says:

    Trump wants to know why he can’t have mega-rallies any more, like the good old days. Perhaps its because 60,000 people squished into an enclosed space for hours on end isn’t…healthy?

  16. CSK says:

    I think McSally gambled that glomming onto Trump would buoy up her fortunes. That plan backfired badly.

  17. Moosebreath says:

    Don’t Stop thinking about Thursday?

  18. Jen says:

    @CSK: Wow. I mean…wow.

    Okay, then, let’s see how it goes. 😐

  19. Jax says:

    @Jen: If he’s that determined to kill off his base voters, we’re just gonna have to let him, I guess. I’m going to start calling this “The Age of Darwin”. It will be interesting to see how many actually show up.

  20. Jen says:

    @Jax: Agreed. It will be interesting to see how many show up…I am curious.

    As an introvert who detests crowds to begin with, rallies are so far from something I’d participate in they are practically foreign concepts at the outset. But during a pandemic? I am agog.

    I do see that it could be used against Biden, perhaps to a meaningful effect. If Trump decides to do this, it could be an effective campaign strategy. Risk vs. reward.

  21. CSK says:

    I think his campaign workers, who are slightly saner than Trump is–talk about damning with faint praise–are trying to figure out ways for him to have virtual rallies, like at drive-ins with him on a stage projected onto a big screen, and the rally-goers sitting in their cars. I don’t believe this would satisfy Trump; I know of no drive-in that can accommodate the kinds of mob scenes he wants. And what fun is it if you can’t see and hear 60,000 faces, all twisted up with gleeful hatred, screaming “build the wall”?

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    Question for my fellow Angelenos: I’ve taken a couple of freeway drives lately. I think we can all agree that LA drivers are assholes, but now I’m seeing something else: really stupid moves. While LA drivers are dicks, I’ve never thought of them as incompetent or stupid dicks. I mean, they know how to drive on a freeway.

    So my working hypothesis is: LA drivers, while they’ve grown up on freeways, have never experienced a freeway where it was possible to drive over 30 miles an hour for any extended period of time. I think the lack of traffic has thrown everyone off. Any Angeleno over the age of 16 can do 75 mph while no more than 18 inches behind the car in front and then slam to a sudden stop when the inevitable traffic jam appears. But we have never driven fast on relatively unclogged freeways. I don’t think we know how.

    Someone needs to do their PhD on this.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t been to LA since 1980, but I’ve noticed something similar in Mexico City (similar attitude to begin with). We don’t have freeways, but now there’s zero traffic in most places at most times. People are 1) driving faster, and 2) not taking the usual care when merging into traffic, exiting traffic , or crossing intersections. It’s as though they assume the way is clear all the time.

    As a result, I’m driving a bit more slowly than I could. This means I take 21 minutes to get home from the office, rather than 19. I’m ok with that.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Re: Microsoft Fluid Dynamics. 15-20 years ago Microsoft did essentially the same thing. You could embed excel files as tables in word docs and third parties could embed any of the office apps in their products. It was going to revolutionize everything and represented the new world. As in most Microsoft initiatives, it was massively over hyped, unbelievably buggy and limped along for a decade with the eternal promise that the next version would fix all. It still exists today in that you can embed excel and Visio files in Word and Power Point documents, but it’s a pain.

    Bottom line, my Word documents still randomly reformat 30 years after they attempted to copy the styles feature from Ami Pro. When they fix that, then I might believe this second version of their One World strategy.

  25. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael Reynolds says:
    Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 11:48

    Question for my fellow Angelenos: I’ve taken a couple of freeway drives lately. I think we can all agree that LA drivers are assholes, but now I’m seeing something else: really stupid moves. While LA drivers are dicks, I’ve never thought of them as incompetent or stupid dicks. I mean, they know how to drive on a freeway.

    I think LA drivers have always been assholes, and I’m a born and raised Angeleno. I think those of us over 55 from LA, who remember when the 210 was 70-80mph 24/7, and who remember the 405 rush hour being…well during rush hour, instead of 24/7 rush hour, know how to drive in any circumstance. But those who grew up here in the last 20 years, or are transplants, don’t know that Los Angeles.

    I’ve always stated that Los Angeles is two different cities: LA with Traffic, and LA without Traffic, The two are very different. On days with minimal traffic (holidays for example), the city is glorious. On normal days, it’s tedious to get around.

    The single best thing about the lockdown in Los Angeles is the air quality. It’s been amazing.

  26. Constance Kelly says:

    Again from Politico:

    This is a really interesting piece. It not only explains Trump’s dismissal of experts (he’s smarter and more knowledgeable than they are) but provides a mini-history of his spectacular business failures.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: 100% can confirm that this is happening in Baltimore too.

  28. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes but that’s when MSFT was led by the incompetent Steve Ballmer. Satya has about 200 IQ points on him. 😀

  29. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Seattle too.

    I think half the drivers have not driven much in months, and are just rusty and bad.

  30. sam says:


    I’ve always stated that Los Angeles is two different cities: LA with Traffic, and LA without Traffic, The two are very different. On days with minimal traffic (holidays for example), the city is glorious. On normal days, it’s tedious to get around.

    Well, as I said in another thread, I was born in 1941 — in Los Angeles. I can remember when there were no freeways at all. When Southern California really was a paradise. When to get from Woodland Hills (the farthest-most community in the Valley in those days) to Hollywood, you had to use Ventura Blvd. In those days, LA had the finest public transportation system in the world. See, Pacific Electric Railway System. (Look at the map at the link) As late as 1966 when I left California for East Coast, the city was still uncrowded and getting from here to there, even during rush hour, wasn’t that onerous. The great irony, of course, is that after destroying the Pacific Electric system, LA has spent billions trying to recreate it. The movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit is based on the story of the destruction of the system.

  31. Jen says:

    @Teve: Heh. Good one.

    Did you see the one they dropped today? Donald is going to blow a gasket.

  32. CSK says:

    It’s great, but they should correct the spelling of “Ferarri” to “Ferrari.”

  33. Kathy says:

    I had a thought while responding in the COVID-19 thread. here it is:

    The human genome, as well as those of other species, contains sections that are identical to viral DNA/RNA (linky).

    So my thought is, suppose the immune system could use these viral genomes to produce viruses. Not the virus which initially infected a distant ancestor eons ago, but a kind of virus. What kind? well, one that the immune system recognizes as being endogenous to the organism, so it won’t attack it. But it could pass this virus to other organisms, which would recognize it as foreign and attack it (as happens in transplants with rejection).


    Well, say you are infected by a common cold virus. So your immune system goes to work with cytokines, antibodies, killer T-cells, memory B-cells, etc. but it then makes a virus that’s harmless, but incorporates the surface proteins and coat of the common cold virus that just attacked.


    To infect other people, who’d then produce antibodies without getting sick. effectively to get the immune system of one organism to produce a vaccine for all other similar organisms.

    This has never happened, and possibly it can’t ever happen. But it would be a great defense against pandemics. Imagine if everyone who recovered could infect others with immunity.

    We’re the big-brained mammals. If it can be done, we can try to do it.

    The downside is that pathogens would adapt to this. However, though we know pathogens have adapted to the drugs used against them, as far as I know none have adapted to vaccines.

    And, yes, I’m aware of a season 2 TNG ep with something similar. but there the immune system attacked pathogens outside the body.

  34. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: We are in the “sub -rural” area: lots of woods, deer, and the town literally closes at 7:00pm. But close to a city, pro sports, parks, and colleges. It is two hours from the Blue Ridge parkway and three hours from beaches.
    Mild weather, hot summers, pleasant winters. I like Charleston, New Orleans and Vicksburg.

  35. Kylopod says:

    I’m surprised this hasn’t been mentioned yet. An upcoming documentary suggests that Norma McCorvey a.k.a. Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade fame, was paid off to adopt a “pro-life” point of view.

    I have for a long time held a suspicion that many right-wing celebrities have created essentially fictional personas, espousing beliefs they don’t hold in private, and over the years I’ve collected bits of evidence to support this hypothesis. For instance, a while back Vox interviewed a former reality TV star who revealed that in the late 1990s she was approached by agents who advised her to become a conservative pundit, even though she was a liberal. They told her there was a market for young, pretty women spouting right-wing talking points. She didn’t follow their advice–but you’d have to be seriously naive to think others haven’t. Today, there’s a lot of reason to believe that figures like Candace Owens and Dave Rubin, both of whom made a very abrupt switch from liberal to conservative after they saw where the money flowed, are less than sincere about their “conversion.” It’s not always necessarily something as blatant as someone taking a bribe to adopt a particular position; sometimes it’s just people following the market.

  36. CSK says:

    I’ve read the DB piece about the Norma Jane McCorvey documentary. Interesting. And I’m not surprised.

    I also agree that some of these young, pretty right-wing “pundits” are following the money.

  37. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: I agree–but do wonder how much is blatant follow the money and how much is remaining in that echo chamber for so long. Back when I worked in politics I knew a couple fairly well–he was at the time a State Representative, and his wife was working on her graduate degree. They were Republicans, but I wouldn’t have described them as right-wing, or even really that conservative. The state rep represented a fairly standard suburban district that was pretty middle of the road. Over the years, they’ve both risen in party ranks, and last I saw she was a commentator on FOX, and is co-chair of Women for Trump. By all appearances, she is now all-in. I can’t imagine it’s just the money.

    On another topic entirely, if this is any indication of the future of dining out, I believe we’re going to see the dining equivalent of speakeasies as the next new trend. Or some version of underground/unlicensed restaurants.

  38. CSK says:

    Speaking of blonde right-wing “pundits,” could someone enlighten me as to how Tomi Lahren pronounces her name? (It is, by the way, the name she was given at birth by her parents, not a nickname, as one might speculate given the cutie-pie spelling.) Is it Toe-me, or is it Tommy?

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @Kylopod: Reading up on the woman’s history, I think it’s also quite possible that a) she’s mentally ill, b) it was a sincere conversion and c) this flip back is just yet another way to get back in the spotlight.

    Honestly, she doesn’t come off as someone with much integrity. Allowing yourself to be bought off and throwing your same-sex lover out of your life just so that you can have all that sweet, sweet money? Allowing yourself to be propped up as the marionette for the anti-choice side and mouthing whatever they wanted you to say, knowing how your performances were going to be used as propaganda for the anti-choice position?

    I think she’s just as much a grifter as everyone else involved. Fail.

  40. senyordave says:

    Yahoo news lead right now: QAnon follower wins Senate primary in Oregon
    From the story:
    A follower of QAnon, a conspiracy theory that has been spreading from the far fringes of right-wing social media into more mainstream Republican circles, won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Oregon Tuesday, crediting fellow followers for her victory.

    To me, this seems like the logical extension of the modern Republican party. More from the story on Jo Rae Perkins “beliefs”:
    QAnon is a theory built around belief in an international conspiracy of high-ranking government officials to kidnap, abuse, torture and kill children — the delusion under which an armed North Carolina man attempted a rescue mission at a Washington pizzeria in 2016, the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy seen as a precursor to QAnon. President Trump, in the Q worldview, is working behind the scenes to expose and disrupt this conspiracy but has been thwarted by “deep-state” bureaucrats and global elites.
    Trump has retweeted accounts that promote QAnon, and his rallies have had plenty of attendees sporting Q-related apparel and signs. Last year, Yahoo News reported that an FBI document had identified QAnon as one of the “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” that were potential terrorist threats.

  41. Teve says:


    Engaging with @marcthiessen on Twitter is a good reminder that the Republican Party of 20 years ago established and defended a widespread torture program and somehow has managed to debase itself even further since then.

  42. JohnMcC says:

    @senyordave: The widely reported accusation from young Donald Trump that Mr Biden is a pedophile? Straight out of QAnon. Having learned a little about them, one can find them all over.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    Saw a comment from James Carville earlier, talking about the Lincoln Project and that like all good repug operatives they do brutal very well and they’re not shy about going for the jugular. Says that the Dems should emulate that. He’s right.

  44. al Ameda says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    While LA drivers are dicks, I’ve never thought of them as incompetent or stupid dicks. I mean, they know how to drive on a freeway.

    I’m a NorCal guy, grew up in San Francisco and Marin County, and I’ve gone to L.A. many many times to visit friends and family, and while in college to hange with friends/roommates AND I can tell you L.A. drivers know how to drive on a freeway – so much better than people up here in the Bay Area, its’s not close. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in heavy traffic in L.A. on the 10 or the 210, or the Golden State, going close to 80 with a group all of no more than 2 to 3 feet apart. And, if you want to change lane? Do it fast, get it done. People don’t drie that way up here …. I wish they did.

  45. Monala says:

    “Sometimes you wake up in the morning, all of a sudden everything gels and it clicks an idea in your head. I suddenly realized why all this talk about having a vaccine by the fall, which is not true, why all that language is around. I think it’s because when you listen to the president or Vice President [Mike] Pence, their understanding is that it’s a manufacturing problem. They see vaccines as the same problem as the ventilators or the diagnostics ― that we haven’t scaled manufacturing. The whole emphasis in the White House response has been around getting manufacturing contracts in place. In their mind that’s the whole problem, but what they don’t understand is there’s a good chance many of those vaccines are not going to work and the problem with vaccines is taking the adequate time to accumulate enough data to show the vaccines actually work and are safe. That’s the bottleneck and that’s the part you can’t rush.”

    — Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development

    Quote is from the Huffington Post, “How the Coronavirus ‘Re-Energized’ the Anti-Vaccine Movement.”

  46. An Interested Party says:

    These assholes aren’t even trying anymore…and the so-called “liberal” media still talks to these people? They should turn their backs on these lying scum…

  47. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @al Ameda:

    People don’t drie that way up here …. I wish they did.

    As a former Detroiter, 90 was cruising speed, so 120 is nice.

    Then I moved to Denver. They do speed limit here. On the express way! I can’t even.

  48. Teve says: