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. MarkedMan says:

    “Nobody likes me”. What a pathetic whiny ass b*tch. People are dying and this is the shallow wreck that Republicans simper for.

  2. Teve says:

    New Pulse Oximeter says O2 saturation is 97%. Probly don’t have COVID.

  3. Scott says:

    This amused me: POLITICO Playbook: How to translate congressional code

    AFTER A FEW DAYS OF NEGOTIATIONS, it seems like MEADOWS, MNUCHIN, PELOSI, SCHUMER and Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL are speaking to us in Swahili, played backward.

    It goes on but my question is this: Is it time to bring up the fact that the Great Negotiator (TM) has not, in 31/2 years, negotiated anything of substance?

  4. sam says:

    After yesterday’s fiasco, I wonder if Trump will hold another coronavirus presser? After Kaitlin Collins asked him about the witch-doctor’s claims about alien dna and drugs, he shut the presser down immediately. Probably some flunky in the back of the room frantically making throat-slicing gestures, lest the next line of questioning concern having demon sex in your sleep.

  5. Kathy says:


    I’m sure Donald the Colossal Wreck would have been able to claim he sleeps only with the best demons and most beautiful witches.

  6. sam says:

    Lincoln Project’s anti-Collins ad running on Maine tv. Wicked.

  7. Jen says:

    @sam: Time for me to send them more money.

  8. wr says:

    Since we haven’t heard any music recommendations from de stijl lately, I’m going to take the opportunity to say that Taylor Swift’s new album is terrific. Produced by the leader of The National, it combines that band’s moodiness with her instinct for musical and lyrical hooks and ends up coming across like Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell.

    And de stijl, if you are out there listening somewhere, this bit of ultra-80s is for you:

  9. CSK says:

    According to the Daily Beast, Trump told Axios that he didn’t bother to confront Putin over the issue of the Taliban bounties because it was “fake news.”
    Actually, Trump said that “many people” thought it was “fake news.”

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: A prediction for the record: we are going to learn that C19 does something to blood that gives false oxygenation readings, giving a lower reading than actual. Reports of people walking into the ER on their own power and behaving completely lucid with 75% blood oxygenation levels just don’t make any sense. Under normal circumstances anyone below 80 is out of it, perhaps unconscious, and is not walking around. I’ve worked on two pulse oximeter projects and one of the things that we ran into with the last one was the FDA considering rejecting the forty year old protocol for testing, which necessitates taking healthy volunteers down to 70%. Their concern is that more recent evidence indicates that taking people down to that level, sometimes rendering them unconscious, for even a short time may cause low level brain damage. The idea that someone could be walking and talking for hours, and then answering questions about health insurance and next of kin just doesn’t make any sense to me. I saw one report that a patient was down into the 60’s and was still coherent.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan: That’s fascinating — and suggests that apparent blood oxygen level is a great differential diagnostic for C19, like the “loss of taste” effect. No other condition is going to have you reading 80% without being totally wiped out.

  12. Tyrell says:

    Actress Olivia DeHaviland passing away Saturday at 104! Are you kidding me? I had no idea that she was still around. Ironic that she was the only major star in “Gone With the Wind” that died in the movie, yet outlived them all by far. She is one actress who always seemed to have class.
    When I was younger I went to Atlanta a lot, especially after the Braves moved there. It was still a hot, sleepy southern town. I went to the theater where “GWTW” premiered, and saw the home of Margaret Mitchell. I saw that movie quite a few times, more than enough. Director David O’Selznick managed to pull everything together out of chaotic changes and problems. As it turned out he never came close to that sort of epic accomplishment. I always enjoyed the big screen movies that were common in the 1950’s and ‘60s.

    We went out into the countryside around there looking for famous sites and some of General Sherman’s old haunts. Atlanta does have an incredible aquarium, and Six Flags. I saw a lot of Hall of Fame players over the years play baseball there.

    Olivia would later achieve fame acting with iconic Bette Davis in the thriller “Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte”, directed by the amazing Robert Aldrich. She replaced Joan Crawford, which probably relieved everyone on the set.
    “Chop chop sweet Charlotte”

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: Here’s an interesting article about what happens when your blood ox goes down under a couple of scenarios. This caught my eye:

    If, for some reason, the oxygen concentration in your lungs were to fall to 10%, your blood would still be 95% saturated, a level at which you would experience some discomfort but not be at any immediate health risk. If the oxygen in your lungs falls to 7% and the corresponding blood saturation falls to 85%, you are likely to pass out and fall to the floor.

    Note that he has a rule of thumb of 85% for when you might pass out. My impression is that while that may be true if you are walking around, in a hospital bed that number may be more like 80%, but that’s just an impression. The reason it’s not widely available is that if you are in a situation where your oxygenation level can be measured then supplemental oxygen is also likely to be present. At anything below about 93% you are likely to get that extra O2. By 85% you are either being intubated or on your to be intubated.

  14. CSK says:

    This really is fascinating. I’ve heard medical people express concern about people whose levels fall under 95, and certainly under 90. I always assumed that any reading below 90 would put your life at risk.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: @DrDaveT: I got aspiration pneumonia after surgery once and got down to 82. Didn’t think I was gonna make it to the hospital.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Federal authorities are using a new tactic in their battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon: arrest them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and then tell them they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail.

    Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.

    “Defendant may not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gathering in the state of Oregon,” states one “Order Setting Conditions of Release” for an accused protester, alongside other conditions such as appearing for court dates. The orders are signed by federal magistrate judges.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    In a rebuke to European Allies the US is officially withdrawing 12,000 troops from Germany.
    Win – Putin.
    Trump fails to discuss bounties put on our soldiers by Russia, with Putin.
    W – Putin.
    What sort of gift, in return, do you think Putin is going to give his best employee this fall?

  18. Kylopod says:


    Ironic that she was the only major star in “Gone With the Wind” that died in the movie, yet outlived them all by far.

    There’s a similar irony with another Victor Fleming* movie: The Wizard of Oz. (Fleming was the credited director, though he left the set quite early to work on GWTW.) Buddy Ebsen, the original actor to play Tin Man, had to quit the role after becoming ill from the face paint and was replaced by Jack Haley. He went on to be the only major cast member to make it into the 21st century.

    P.S. A couple of corrections. First of all, it’s David O. Selznick, not David O’Selznick. (You thought he was a Jewish Irishman or something?) Second, Selznick was the producer, not the director, who was, as mentioned, Victor Fleming.

  19. wr says:

    @CSK: “Actually, Trump said that “many people” thought it was “fake news.””

    And the reporter then failed to ask the obvious follow-up: “Mr. President, why would you listen to “many people” when you could simply ask the intelligence agencies of the US, all of which report to you?”

  20. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I came upon a piece on Putin’s presidential plane. I think this explains why Trump slobbers over him so pathetically.

    On oxygen levels, and speaking of aviation, there are two notable accidents which involved low oxygen levels. One a commercial plane with Helios Airways,a dn another a private jet carrying golfer Payne Stewart.

    In both cases, crew and passengers became incapacitated due to lack of oxygen. It’s scary that this may happen gradually enough, and impair judgement enough, that one doesn’t even realzie there is a problem.

  21. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “Director David O’Selznick managed to pull everything together ”

    FYI, he was not the director, he was the producer. And his name was David O. Selznick, not O’Selznick. Jewish, not Irish…

  22. Moosebreath says:


    “And his name was David O. Selznick, not O’Selznick. Jewish, not Irish…”

    I had an ancestor whose last name was Shamus, and I have trouble convincing people he was Jewish. We believe the name is a misspelling of Shammes.

  23. CSK says:

    That was Trump’s reply when he was pressed on why he didn’t raise the matter with Putin. He added that the phone call was “about other things.”

    I agree that reporters don’t usually push Trump hard enough when he says something egregiously stupid or fake. Remember when someone from the NYT (I think) asked Trump is he’d read the letter written by Lori Klausutis’s widower begging him to stop accusing Joe Scarborough of having murdered her? Trump said he had read it. The reporter asked for his response. Trump said, “I’m sure they want to get to the bottom of this.” A total evasion of the issue.

    This is Trump. He NEVER answers a question he doesn’t want to answer. He turns it into something else.

    That’s hilarious about Putin’s plane. Trump probably IS rabidly jealous. He desperately wanted those gold bathroom fixtures on Trump Airlines.

  24. CSK says:

    There’s an old, old story about Selznick receiving a St. Patrick’s Day card addressed to David O’Selznick.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: One story I’ve read about Selznick regarding his Jewishness: He was approached by someone asking for donations to the Zionist movement and the soon-to-be-created State of Israel. He told the person “I am an American and not a Jew” and suggested that he therefore had no reason to be donating to a specifically Jewish cause. The person then made a deal with him: Selznick would name three friends of his, and they’d all be asked whether they considered Selznick a Jew or not, and if they all answered yes, Selznick would agree to make a donation. Needless to say, they all answered yes, and he made the donation.

  26. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: And while we’re at it, can we get a big round of applause for Barry O’Bama?

  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Amazing how much piece of mind $40 can buy you. I have a history of sinus complications but as long as that puppy is in the high 90s–my OCD doesn’t take over.

    In other news–my news blog is averaging a whopping 17 hits per day. Im sure Drudge can feel my breath on the back of his neck.

    Oh and Im up to 2-handed arpeggios on the piano and finished the opening scene of my WWII black veteran story—Im getting alot of mileage out of work from home and quarantine.

  28. CSK says:

    Ah, yes. Black Irish, no doubt.

  29. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Make that eighteen hits.

  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Also on the pulse oximteters–they are only measuring oxygenation at the capillaries of the finger tips using somewhat of a parlor trick of the differential of light refraction between oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood. They are not exact—but a good sensor to alert you of some sort of distress that needs further looking into. When I was a kid with asthma, I always could tell how bad the attack was by the color of the blood when drawn. If it looked reasonable red–no biggie, 1 day hospital stay worse case. If a darker, brownish hue–probably 3-5 days in the hospital.

  31. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Why thank you–welcome to my twisted view of the news! hahahahahahah

  32. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Hey, it looks like a very interesting selection of articles. I hope you have a roaring success with it.

  33. Joe says:

    speaking of aviation, there are two notable accidents which involved low oxygen levels. One a commercial plane with Helios Airways,a dn another a private jet carrying golfer Payne Stewart.

    @Kathy, don’t forget about the missing Malaysian flight as the possible third

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I don’t think 89 puts your life at risk, but hospital protocols mandate supplemental oxygen at that level. I’m pretty sure in practice they put it in place at 92.

  35. Tyrell says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I watched the movie “100 Rifles”, again, A hot, dry western with a good cast and acting. Especially Raquel Welch.

  36. mattbernius says:

    NYTs is reporting that good ol’ anti-masker Louis Gohmert has tested positive for C19.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    See new Tweets
    All In with Chris Hayes

    : “I think it is time in America that we finally have a proper conversation about the F-word. No, not that one—fascism.”

  38. Mister Bluster says:

    Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announces ‘phased’ removal of federal officers from Portland
    Federal officers will begin leaving the city on Thursday under a deal reached between Oregon officials and the Trump administration. State police will help protect Portland’s federal courthouse.

    Trump on Wednesday morning vowed that the federal presence would remain in Portland “until they’ve secured their city.”
    The Hill

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    Esper Contradicts Trump in Announcing Troop Withdrawal From Germany
    Removing thousands of troops and their families from Germany serves a strategic purpose, the defense secretary said, and is not a form of punishment as the president has insisted.

  40. CSK says:

    Thanks. A nurse acquaintance told me years ago that she and her colleagues started to get antsy when the reading dropped below 95.

  41. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Of course it’s retributive. Trump doesn’t understand anything else.

  42. Jen says:

    Stuart Stevens finally comes to the same conclusion I did, circa 1995 or so.

    I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse. Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.

    This is essentially what I was saying a few days ago, the warning signs were there but people chose to see what they wanted to see.

    Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

  43. sam says:

    I’m reading Gibbon. His prose is magnificent:

    The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosophers, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.

    The superstition of the people was not embittered by any mixture of theological rancor; nor was in confined by the chains of any speculative system. The devout polytheist, though fondly attached to his national rites, admitted with implicit faith the different religions of the earth.

  44. Kathy says:


    There’s so little information regarding the Malaysian missing plane, that I am agnostic to all reasonable theories and possibilities, until we find something concrete.

  45. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps I’ll make a dollar or 2 in ad revenue someday but frankly, I enjoy finding the articles to link so its therapeutic in a sense– against the backdrop of Florida’s runaway Covid surge, Trumps shenanigans, and stay-at-home cabin fever. There only so much golf I can play– LoL

  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tyrell: adding this to the playlist! Thanks!

  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Trump is now claiming victory in the Battle of Portland.

  48. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Did you not see how badly he mangled that guy’s fist with his face?

  49. Kathy says:

    Ok, for some reason, likely having to do with massive investments, Virgin Galactic is still a thing. Branson just showed off a virtual tour of his “spaceplane.”

    I must admit I was quite excited about developments of the prototype, Spaceship One by Burt Rutan, along with the race for the X Prize. But that was back in 2004, before SpaceX trumped all that by launching actual payloads, and now people, into orbit.

    Virgin Galactic’s vehicle will hitch a ride on a carrier aircraft, also a Rutan design, then be released mid-air, where it will light its hybrid engine and zoom out of the atmosphere, well short of orbital speeds, spend a few minutes in free-fall, then reenter and glide to a landing. The whole trip, from takeoff to landing, takes 90 minutes and a ticket sells for $250,000 USD.

    As space tourism goes, this is likely to be the most affordable option for some time, even if it offers very little for that much money. In time, though, those willing and able to pay will want more, and it’s possible prices for going into orbit, will come down in price, rendering Virgin Galactic rather obsolete.

    But the current design points to other possibilities. As is, the plane climbs almost straight up, then performs a parabolic arc before returning. Scale it up, give it more powerful engines, and you can climb at an angle, describing a long parabola clear out of the atmosphere, and make very long distance flights very quickly. This is the classical suborbital, semi-ballistic type of flight often seen in science fiction. We know it’s possible because missiles exist that already do this. Conceivably, you could go from NYC to Australia in under three hours, at great cost.

    It remains to be seen how much do the wealthy value their time, and how willing they are to engage in hypersonic gliding, mimicking the path of an ICBM partway.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: What’s the link to your blog?

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Amazing how much piece of mind $40 can buy you. I have a history of sinus complications but as long as that puppy is in the high 90s–my OCD doesn’t take over

    Mine is often in the low 90s, and this conversation is triggering my anxiety slightly. Which is good, because then my SpO2 jumps a little bit…

    (There was a giant pulmonary embolism once, so there’s probably some scar tissue getting in the way — I didn’t have a pulse oximeter before then, so maybe it was always that way…)

  52. Jen says:

    Continuing to say the quiet parts out loud.

    Trump: Policy shift will keep low-income housing out of suburbs

  53. Neil Hudelson says:


    Oh it’s so much worse than that. So, so much worse:

    “But I can’t help but wonder if my keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, that if I might have put some germs or some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in — I don’t know. But I got it, we’ll see what happens from here.”

    The video is even more incredible than the quote.

  54. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    On the other hand, it’s reported that Mr. Gohmert chatted up Mr. Barr outside the men’s room in Congress yesterday, causing the latter to obtain a COVID-19 test.

    I’m hoping for the best.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Michael Harriot: 10 Ways Good White People Can Help Black America (If ‘Good White People’ Exist)

    I love Harriot, he doesn’t soften his arguments to protect our fragile feelings. He’s funny too.

  56. An Interested Party says:

    Can’t they just turn off people’s mics? Sheesh

  57. JohnSF says:

    President Smeagol

  58. Kathy says:

    Trump joke of the day:

    Q: How many Donald Trumps does it take to read an intelligence briefing?

    A: Trick question. Next!

  59. Slugger says:

    @Moosebreath: I have long thought that some Yankel Cohen fresh off Ellis Island encountered a cop of Hiberian ancestry who said that his name was “Seamus.” To which Yankel responded. “Of course it is.”
    The fall off in oximetry is not linear. It is more of a waterfall shape with a flat portion between 100 and 85 and then a rapid drop.

  60. Kylopod says:


    I have long thought that some Yankel Cohen fresh off Ellis Island encountered a cop of Hiberian ancestry who said that his name was “Seamus.” To which Yankel responded. “Of course it is.”

    I have a cute Ellis Island story in my family. According to the story, my great grandfather was asked his name, and as a teenager who spoke no English he thought they were asking him for his occupation, so he said “Einbender”–“book binder” (which he wasn’t, but he just thought it sounded good). So his name was put as “Eibender” (which was in fact my paternal grandmother’s maiden name).

    Truth be told, I was skeptical about this story long before I found out that the Ellis Island name-change stories are a myth.

  61. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: or–you can click Jim Brown 32–its linked to my screen handle

  62. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..I love Harriot, he doesn’t soften his arguments to protect our fragile feelings.

    Great minds think alike…

    I believe that most people are neither good nor bad—they’re just people who exist and sleep and occasionally have sex, thereby making other people who exist.

    There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do Is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say.

  63. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: I thought that one of the problems with COVID-19 was that the supposed blood saturation percentage was dropping below what doctors considered acceptable and they were frantically insisting that patients be put on ventilators even though the patients didn’t feel they had any problem breathing.

    I read somewhere that they’re starting to rethink (measured saturation percentage) as opposed to (how hard it feels to breathe.)

  64. MarkedMan says:

    @Slugger: The pulse oximeter standard is (I think) +/- 2% from 93 to 100 (whoa I’m really going off an old memory here – don’t trust the exact numbers) then works it’s way down to +/- 5%. I can tell you that below 70% there is very little signal left in the noise so it’s readout is essentially meaningless. But of course we always assumed people were goners by then.

  65. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    From what I’ve read, ventilators are used when the patient has difficulty breathing. They are machines that in essence do your breathing for you, or help with that function.

    So maybe some other means of providing supplementary oxygen is required for patients who can breathe perfectly fine on their own, but for some reason have low oxygen absorption levels.

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    Illinois High School Association postpones HS football to spring 2021.

    Wise move.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Check on different fingers at different times. When I go for my Protime test (to determine my next weeks Warfarin dose) the numbers can vary as much as 5 or 6 percentage points depending what finger we measure. 😀

  68. Bob@Youngstown says:


    They are machines that in essence do your breathing for you, or help with that function.

    The machine I think you are referring to is an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that takes over the function of the lungs. (the function of the lungs is to oxygenate the blood)

    ECMO machines are similar to heart-lung bypass machines used in cardiac surgery. As I seem to recall there was a suggestion that ECMO machines may be required to be pressed into service if ventilators were not available.

    That said, if the coronavirus altered the blood chemistry such that oxygenation was grossly inhibited, the next step might have been blood transfusion, with the hope that viral activity would not attack the newly transfused blood. I have not heard any reports of transfusions failing in that fashion.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: 94 was what the emergency room doctor told me when I went to the emergency room for a sudden paradoxical bronchospasm after having taken my evening dose of Albuterol, but as Jim Brown 32 notes the technology used in the finger cot meter gives only a rough approximation to begin with.

    It’s not uncommon for my O2 reading to be 94 or 93 when I go in for a test. It generally means that they should try a different finger. Or even the other hand.

  70. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Check on different fingers at different times.

    Reminding you that the human body is a very complex and highly dynamic system.

    PulseOx readings are most useful to identify trends, a single PulseOx reading, in absence of any other diagnostics or symptoms is not diagnostic of Covid19