Wednesday’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. Teve says:



    The news in the last 2 minutes: now for some good news a grandma was able to hug her grandchild through a piece of plastic have a good day

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:


    During a recent session conducted over Zoom, my therapist told me I was “glowing.” In the middle of a pandemic.

    I struggled to explain why until she prodded, “No crazy experiences with white people this month?”

    “Not that I can immediately recall,” I replied.

    That’s when it became clear: I’m doing better these days because staying home alone and practicing social distancing has meant I’m avoiding many of the racist encounters that used to plague my daily life.
    All of this adds up. Quarantine has been protecting me not only from the coronavirus, but also from white people.
    These months at home alone, surprisingly happy, have both revealed to me how much I was suffering and motivated me to create a life with more dignity and peace.

    Call it social distancing from racism.

  3. Teve says:


    Call it a hunch, but I’m pretty sure Eddie Izzard is Q.

  4. Bill says:

    The Florida headlines of the day-

    Police: Unemployed Boynton man says he committed armed robbery to feed family

    I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing more of these headlines in the days ahead. Personal note- I live in Boynton Beach and the store that was robbed was within walking distance of the places I lived from 1989 to 2019.

    And our other headlines-

    Florida man in his 70s fatally shoots home intruder who was beating his wife


    Woman taunted boyfriend as he begged to be let out of suitcase, videos show. He later died

    So many headlines, just one day

  5. Bill says:
  6. Scott says:

    Some defense news commentary.

    Report: Pentagon to present Afghanistan timelines to Trump, including one for a withdrawal by Election Day

    Senior military officials will brief President Donald Trump on several timelines to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, including one to remove all troops by Election Day this November, according to five officials cited in a recent New York Times report.

    Now, I believe we should have pulled the plug a decade ago but it just enrages me that we use the military as part of this reality show we are in.

    Pentagon spokesman clashes with New York Times over editorial criticizing bases named after Confederates

    The Army began naming bases after Confederate leaders following the United States’ entry into World War I. At the time, President Woodrow Wilson, a Southern Democrat, allowed segregation to flourish in the federal government.

    To me, this is more evidence (as if we don’t have enough already) that we failed after the Civil War by caving in to the forces opposing Reconstruction and allowed new mythologies to flourish. We are paying still for that failure.

    On the other hand. Sometimes you have to pick your battles and let things be.

    Lawmakers call on VA to remove swastikas from headstones in veterans cemeteries

    This is one of them.

  7. Kathy says:

    SpaceX wil attempt to launch the crew Dragon capsule today. here’s a link to the webcast, four hours from now.

  8. Teve says:
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via the NYT: A Boy, a Bear and a Close Call in the Mountains of Italy

    Showing remarkable aplomb, 12-year-old Alessandro Breda slowly tiptoes down a scrubby hill during a walk in the Dolomites. “Photo,” he whispers hoarsely to his companion, Loris Calliari, who assures him he’s taking one.

    “Come, Ale, come,” says Mr. Calliari. “Don’t turn your back to him.”

    “Him” is the sizable brown bear shadowing the boy as he makes his descent during a family hike.

    A voi il mio incontro con @‘orso di sta mattina sopra la malga Sporminore…
    — Loris Calliari (@loriscalliari) May 24, 2020

    Alessandro loses a smidgen of cool only after his grandmother, waiting below, becomes aware of what is happening and begins howling with fear.

    “Stop! Stop!” Alessandro urges her.

    But even then he manages to keep his grip on a bag of pine buds he has been gathering.

  10. mattbernius says:

    I took a short vacation from online forums/conflict zones so I missed the discussion about the like/not-like. I just wanted to give a big “like” to the single-button solution that was embraced. It’s a GREAT approach.

    Bravo for talking this out and reaching this good conclusion.

  11. Teve says:

    All my moral and intellectual being is penetrated by an invincible conviction that whatever falls under the dominion of our senses must be in nature and, however exceptional, cannot differ in its essence from all the other effects of the visible and tangible world of which we are a self-conscious part. The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is—marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvelous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.


  12. Michael Cain says:

    @Bill: Earlier this month there were a rash of small restaurants opening in violation of local health dept orders here. Most of them were idiots. The one that you had to feel some sympathy towards was the owner who said, “The drug that keeps me out of a wheelchair costs $1700 per month. I can’t make enough profit to pay that on take-out and delivery alone.”

  13. Teve says:

    … My wife was a true-crime writer and researcher, and the phrase she hated the most was, “You know, everything happens for a reason.” She’s like, “No, it fuckin’ doesn’t. It’s chaos. It’s all random. And it’s horrifying. And if you want to try to reduce the horror and reduce the chaos, be kind, that’s all you can do. It’s chaos. Be kind.” She would just say that all the time. “It’s chaos. Be kind.” Now… I would always… We’d have these huge philosophical arguments where I was like, “I don’t believe in an intelligent creator, per se. I think that there might be a lattice work of logic and meaning to the universe that maybe we’re too small to see.” And she was like, “Sweetie, it’s all random. It’s all chaos. It’s chaos. Be kind. It’s chaos. Be kind.”

    -Patton Oswalt

  14. Bill says:

    @Michael Cain:

    “The drug that keeps me out of a wheelchair costs $1700 per month. I can’t make enough profit to pay that on take-out and delivery alone.”

    As a stage IV cancer patient, I know plenty about expensive prescriptions. My book income pays for those and the rent on my apartment.

    My Amazon book income since March 1st is down by almost 50%. I’m ok for now, thanks to my selling* the movie rights for one of my scribblings, but in a year to 18 months if the present figures hold, DW and I are in financial trouble again.

    * Dear Wife and I only spent a couple thousand of this money. We bought a new office computer and printer for me, plus a television set. We also still have all of our stimulus money. My car can use a few fixes but we’re putting them off. They are cosmetic (paint) or don’t involve driving the car. (A missing cover for the Matrix’ right rear lights and a partly busted control panel on the driver’s side door)

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..everything happens for a reason.

    The most measured response to this that I can come up with to keep my head from exploding is
    “but it is not always a good reason.”

  16. sam says:


    … My wife was a true-crime writer and researcher, and the phrase she hated the most was, “You know, everything happens for a reason.” She’s like, “No, it fuckin’ doesn’t. It’s chaos. It’s all random. And it’s horrifying.

    Chandler wrote, I think in The Simple Art of Murder, that the hardest case for the cops to crack is the murder someone decides to commit two minutes before the actual killing.

  17. Teve says:

    @sam: Usually if you have a reason worth killing somebody over, multiple people are aware of that reason.

  18. CSK says:

    Interesting. A police commissioner once told me that the hardest murders to solve were the premeditated ones, since the murderer didn’t intend to leave any evidence. This was pre-DNA days.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Re: Social distancing from racism.

    This makes a lot of sense, and I know, anecdotally, about black people who have done stuff like this before.

    It makes sense for them to do that, and yet it makes me sad. My life has been enriched, many times, by particular black people who have crossed my path, and I feel some loss at the lessened prospect of that happening more.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I want to say that the laws of nature are not random, we may not fully understand them but they are immutable and inviolate. And then I remember: Quantum mechanics.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: It is a loss we all pay for.

  22. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Teve: I like this quote from Albert Camus, “I opened myself to the benign indifference of the world.” That implies a consciousness since it assigns a quality to the indifference but still there is a sense of chaos. I also like the Camus quote, “Shall I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” A realized sense that ultimately all actions are meaningless. So, Sh!te Happens, be kind.

  23. EddieInCA says:

    Anybody catch Biden’s interview on CNN yesterday with Dana Bash? I thought his demeanor underscored how bad Trump really is at the leadership part of being president.

    Anyone else see it or have thoughts?

  24. CSK says:

    Is there any part of being president at which Trump is any good?

  25. EddieInCA says:


    Fair point.

  26. CSK says:

    I knew you’d see it that way. 😀
    Seriously, I take it this was a good interview. Although again, in comparison to any interview with Trump, that’s a very low bar.

  27. Kathy says:

    After the 2016 election, I posted on FB “America commits suicide.”

    A poll out today finds only 50% of Americans would take a COVID-19 vaccine.

    That’s as close to a death wish expressed in a poll as I’ve ever seen.

  28. CSK says:

    Kathy. Please. Everyone knows that this Covid-19 vaccine is a plot by Bill Gates and George Soros to implant microchips in us so we can be tracked. Either that or it’s for population control.

  29. Kathy says:

    The SpaceX crew Dragon launch has been scrubbed, at around -18 minutes, due to weather.

    I think the first backup date is May 30th.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Count me among the ones who won’t take the vaccine. Assuming you are speaking of the GREATEST EVER SUPERDUPERPOOPERPOWERED vaccine developed at WARP SPEED (no testing required) put out JUST IN TIME for the election with the free TRUMP CAMPAIGN LOGO TATTOO to show I TOO AM A REAL AMURIKAN!!!

  31. CSK says:

    Larry Kramer has died. He was 84.

  32. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Came here just to say this:

    Trump stating lies about someone killing someone else – Could be a great case for libel by those wronged.

    Twitter stating that Trump may be wrong – First amendment free speech, protected.

    Trump saying that his first amendment rights are wronged by twitter posting a warning about said POUS comment – a dramatic misunderstanding of the concept of the first amendment by the POTUS and , and a remarkable ignorance of the constitution, and the people it is intended to protect.

    The number of people actually shocked by the actions of the POTUS – none.


  33. Teve says:



    7:38AM 5/27/20

    238 days until the choice of senile ignoramuses rides his golf cart into oblivion.

  34. Teve says:

    @Kathy: @CSK:

    I have no reason to believe America will survive the combination of social media, media bubbles, the FSB, the PLA, etc.

  35. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: if Trump puts Jared Fogle* in charge of the CDC and he says the brand new Super Duper vaccine is awesome, then sure, be skeptical. If the Mayo Clinic, Harvard medical school, leading virologists say it’s safe and effective, then take it.

    *At this point, why not.

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I share your concerns that Warp Speed = cutting corners. However I don’t expect anything to come of it but promises. I still remember Oct 1972 when Kissinger announced they were on the verge of a treaty to end Vietnam.

  37. CSK says:

    Trump will sign tomorrow some sort of executive order about social media. Kayleigh Whosis either doesn’t know what’s in it or won’t say. This is after Trump vowed (on Twitter) that “something big” would be coming.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: if Trump puts Jared Fogle* in charge of the CDC and he says the brand new Super Duper vaccine is awesome, then sure, be skeptical. If the Mayo Clinic, Harvard medical school, leading virologists say it’s safe and effective,

    Those two conditions are NOT mutually exclusive. The Mayo clinic said EVERYBODY must wear masks. Unless their name is trump (or was it Pence?) I haven’t paid too much attention to HMS but I wonder how many chairs are sponsored by the Kochs, the Mercers, the Addelsons? And which leading virologists? The ones at the Redfield led CDC? This may sound like conspiracy quackery, and I would not blame you for thinking so, but if trump has demonstrated anything it is how deeply compromised so many of our institutions are.

    This I know: The shortest time for developing a vaccine to date is 4+ years. Do you or anyone else believe trump is going to do it in 4+ months? After 4 months they have yet to develop a viable covid testing program. Do you really believe they will develop a safe and efficacious vaccine in the same amount of time? And that anyone will be able to honestly say it is safe and efficacious? While it obviously lacks the necessary testing? I expect trump to do for vaccines exactly what he has done for vodka, steak, and higher education.

    @gVOR08: I fully expect an Oct 2020 announcement that tRUMP HAS SUCCEEDED where SO MANY OTHERS HAVE FAILED!!! He has SAVED AMERICA and if you VOTE FOR tRUMP he will deliver the vaccine that HE COULD HAVE PRODUCED.

    And given the hydroxychloroquine insanity, I fully expect them to say that IT IS THE DEEP STATE STOPPING US FROM GETTING IT TO YOU, (and here is a drug that works almost as well)