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 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. Bill says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Extraordinary women: courage and defiance through war and hardship – in pictures

    Sarajevo, 1992
    Sheltering from a heavy mortar bombardment, 67-year-old Antonia Arapovic hugs her neighbour’s terrified child in the darkness of a underground cellar in Sarajevo

    Stopped me dead in my tracks.

  3. CSK says:

    Marvelous pictures. The woman striding jauntily to work reminded me a bit of Sofia Loren or Claudia Cardinale.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Heh, Sofia Loren is exactly who I thought of.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Robert Samuels

    The more I hear about President Trump’s covid treatment, the more I think about the late James Brooks, an 80-year-old black man who lived outside Detroit. He left Mississippi for Detroit and built a middle-class life for his family as a company man at Chrysler.

  6. CSK says:

    From what I’ve read, Loren was a pretty gutsy lady, too.

  7. sam says:
  8. Bill says:
  9. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sofia Loren. Now there’s a nice thought to start your day! My voice added to the thanks for the photo spread.

  10. Monala says:

    From the Lincoln Project:

    Don’t cry for me, White House staffers

    “I broke my promise
    Won’t keep my distance.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And still is.

  12. sam says:
  13. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: a comment on this thread:

    Replying to
    This one hurts, just because a story is common, doesn’t mean it’s not a story. If these stories came out by the hundred as they happened, by the thousand as they are happening, it would be a lot easier to refute truther nuts denying this virus and its impact.

  14. CSK says:

    Yep. She’s 86 and still going strong.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: Grandfathers too.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This’ll make your asshole pucker:

    Rex Chapman
    Horse racing

    Medellin, Colombia

    An insane 2 minutes of bicycle racing…

  17. Kathy says:

    The spread of COVID-19 keeps getting worse in Europe and other pales outside the White House.

    The short version is that reopening measures coupled with half-assed testing, tracing, and isolation are hurting the European countries that had tamed their first wave of infections.

    Also, there’s a sense of a sufficiency of measures. Like “we closed down for three months, surely that’s enough.” Or some coworkers at the office who get tired of their masks and remove them around 5-6 pm, arguing it’s ok because they wore it for hours beforehand. Or go back to the very beginning in February/March, when we thought it spread mostly through contaminated surfaces, and there was advice to wash your hands 20 times per day.

    There is no set time nor set amount of hand washing, testing, tracing, or isolating. you keep doing it until the epidemic stops, much as you keep pouring water over a building on fire until the fire is put out. You wear the mask all the time you’re around other people, not for x hours per day. All the hours you wore it won’t protect you for the time you don’t wear it.

    Countries like New Zealand and Taiwan understand this. The rest don’t seem to get it.

  18. CSK says:

    I’m committed to mask-wearing, social distancing, and fanatical (in my case) hand-sanitizing, and so are most of the people I know, but when I see or hear something like this, I understand perfectly why people get exasperated by the rules:

    Gavin Newsom has requested that people dining out keep their masks on between bites. Now, really…if you’re outdoors and your table is well-spaced from every other restaurant patron’s, is this absolutely necessary? California restaurants are already running at 25% indoor capacity, which would seem to allow for adequate distancing. Sure, keep your mask on while you’re speaking to the server or when the food is being delivered to your table. But removing it and putting it back on every time you take a mouthful of food or drink? Seriously?

    Maybe Newsom wants to discourage people from restaurant-going.

  19. Kathy says:

    Another Nobel Prize has been awarded to someone other than Trump the Covidiot in Chief.

    Seriously the Chemistry prize went to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the CRISPR/CAS9 tools to edit genes with precision.

    Well deserved.

  20. KM says:

    Some idiot decided to show up armed to the vigil for Jonathan Price because he “just here to protect my city.” He deliberately showed up to stir up trouble; he walks around the mourners, gun in hand. If he was just there to observe “jut in case”, the gun should have not been at the ready and he could have stood at a far distance. Why we was right there in there among them if he wasn’t try to provoke a response?

    I understand he didn’t commit a crime (unless you can claim disturbing the peace) but the police really need to do a better job of making sure these idiots are kept AWAY. It’s bad optics to let a visibly armed white man stroll up to peaceful POC mourners, stroll around and disrupt their vigil, only to lightly scold him and send him on his way. It looks like they’re letting driveby intimidation happen – something I do not believe was the case here since the cops were quick to intervene and get rid of the guy but I can see where one would get the impression. He clearly wasn’t there to be part of the vigil so why was he allowed to approach them armed?

  21. CSK says:

    Trump thinks CRISPR is something KFC does to fry chicken parts.

  22. Jen says:

    A Rasmussen poll that was just released has Biden up +12 among likely voters.

    A *Rasmussen* poll.

  23. CSK says:

    Rasmussen will immediately be deemed a Fake Poll amongst the faithful.

  24. Teve says:

    Jesus. Rasmussen shows Biden +12. Multiple others showing 14-16.

  25. Teve says:

    Got scooped. 😀

  26. Teve says:

    Political journalists on Twitter are suggesting McConnell was behind Trump’s nixing of the stimulus, on the basis that if they’re going to lose the Presidency and the Senate, they’re going to give Dems the shittiest economy they can, like when they tried to stop the recovery in 2009.

  27. a country lawyer says:

    If there is any doubt that Trumps treatment at Walter Reed has affected his already diminished mental capacity, yesterdays actions and tweets should remove all doubt. After directing his Treasury Secretary to stop all negotiations on the covid relief bill until after the election and crashing the Dow Jones, last night he sent out a series of bizarre tweets seemingly indicating he forgot his executive orders of a few hours before. He tweeted for Congress to direct the $1,200 payment to all Americans saying “I’m ready to sign now” and “Are you listening Nancy?”. He also tweeted that Congress should “Immediately” revive the lapsed small business loan program and aid to air lines. No wonder his staff in disarray.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: As an election gets closer, Rasmussen tends to decrease their Republican lean. Otherwise, they would be an obvious laughing stock when they predict every single close race wrong.

    They prefer to be a less obvious laughing stock.

  29. Kathy says:


    Just maybe, we’re moving away from Bizarro World.

    Christmas in November 3rd-10th would be nice.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: WA! I took a few pretty spectacular falls riding my bike as a kid, but I’m not up for that–even back then. (These days, those stairways look like a pretty steep pitch for my vertigo impaired balance. 🙁 )

  31. Northerner says:


    A very well deserved award. And they look young enough to continue doing research (which was Nobel’s original intent), unlike many Nobel prizes going to scientists well past their active research lives.

    Not that someone like Penrose isn’t a physics changing genius, but he probably could have used the award at a bit younger age than 89.

  32. Kylopod says:


    Rasmussen will immediately be deemed a Fake Poll amongst the faithful.

    I’ve noticed that Trafalgar (wasn’t that the aliens from Slaughterhouse Five?) has increasingly taken over as the Trump-friendly pollster of choice. I saw a piece where they were bragging about how they were one of the few pollsters that got Michigan right in 2016, as well as Florida in 2018. First of all, this was massive cherry-picking–they were just selecting a few individual races where they turned out more accurate than other pollsters, and ignoring the many elections they’ve gotten wrong. 538 gives them a C-. Second, if a poll has a strong pro-R bias, there are invariably going to be a few examples where it appears to be more accurate than other pollsters–namely, those instances when the majority of the polls happen to underestimate the R candidate which by the law of averages will happen from time to time, just as there are many elections where Ds were underestimated. That doesn’t prove it actually has more insight, it’s just a version of the stopped-clock principle. Finally, I looked back at that Michigan poll from 2016, and it turned out they had Trump winning it by 2 points. Trump ended up winning it by just 0.3 points. That means their poll was actually less accurate than some of the other pollsters, such as those that had Hillary up by 1 point or tied (and there were a few of those–I checked). This is one of these fallacies that crops up, where people look only at the binary question of winning or losing and not at how close or far the poll was from the final result. Apart from the questions about their methodology, Trafalgar’s marketers are peddling a totally pseudoscientific understanding of how polls should be read.


    As an election gets closer, Rasmussen tends to decrease their Republican lean.

    That may have been true in 2008. I do remember their final estimate was quite good–Obama 52-46, which was very close to the final result and better than a lot of other pollsters at the time. I’m not sure if they showed a pro-R skew prior to that point or not. What I do know is that after 2008 that’s when they morphed into essentially agitprop for the GOP. Their polls in 2010, 2012, and 2014 strongly overestimated Republicans, and for much of Trump’s presidency they were literally the only pollster giving Trump positive approval–according to every other pollster, he’s been consistently underwater after the first few weeks of his term.

  33. Teve says:

    Now see, This tweet was almost certainly written by Trump:


  34. grumpy realist says:

    @Northerner: I think the reason for that is in physics, quite often you have a bunch of people who were involved in a particular discovery. Since a Nobel can only be awarded to three or fewer people, the Nobel committee is forced to wait until enough of the crowd has died off that they can award the palm to the rest.

    It’s sort of like a “tontine” arrangement for scientists, if you get my drift…..

    (Not the Penrose doesn’t deserve it. Yay!)

  35. Some comments age well:

    There is an up-side and a down-side to a stupid psychopath. A smart psychopath might do more intentional harm but wouldn’t be so plainly incompetent; a stupid psychopath wants to do harm but can’t get his shit together to actually pull it off, but at the same time you run the risks associated with incompetence. God help us if we get an epidemic or a Katrina-level event.
    —me, February 12, 2017.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    And while I’m counting coup, from the Good German blog:

    Trump is a rather stupid psychopath. I love watching the way he thinks, precisely because he is a stupid as opposed to intelligent psychopath. It’s a case where one can watch the effects of pure instinct, unmodified by knowledge, understanding or even thought. Like watching an amoeba or something.
    —me, March 29, 2016.

  37. Kurtz says:


    Yeah, herding is a thing with all pollsters. But the more significant the typical lean of a firm, the larger the adjustment nedded to move toward the consensus.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    (wasn’t that the aliens from Slaughterhouse Five?)

    Close. The alien planet was Tralfamadore. Trafalgar was a naval battle during the Napoleonic Wars [which I assume you knew] and which is probably why a RWNJ group wants to use the name–it’s sooooooooo heroic sounding.

  39. Teve says:

    Just saw a dude say that trumps Covid “stunt” was to distract you from his $750 taxes. God I hate the stupid ‘distraction’ notion.

  40. Kurtz says:


    What gave it away that Trump wrote that one? I couldn’t tell…

    Did you notice the Quote-Tweet? The video didn’t actually say anything. His tweet made it seem like it contained information.

    Then again, this is the Twitter bio of the user he quoted:

    #Proud #Mom #TrumpSupporter #DrainTheSwamp #Law #Order #Yoga #Mindfulness #Buddhism #Judaism #ProLife #Link $LINK #CallMeABot #DontCare

    I’m pretty sure that person would fail a Turing Test.

  41. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: The ones written by his staff are basically sensible notions, at least from their point of view, then they go back and misspell a word or two, maybe add an exclamation point. Also the vocabulary is too big in the staff-written ones. The ones he genuinely writes are embarrassingly unhinged. The staff wouldn’t degrade their boss in such a way.

  42. Mikey says:

    Wow. This is an absolutely epic Twitter dragging. I mean…wow. Start at the top and read them all.

  43. Mikey says:

    @Mikey: For example…

    One day I suppose there will be some small and not much visited library that bears your name

    It will be the type of place where a drunk walks by, staring at the wall for a minute, before deciding it is beneath his dignity to piss on.

  44. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Mikey: You beat me to it! The tea is piping hot today.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    This Beast story is not behind a paywall per Beast policy

    White House Quietly Told Vets Group It Might Have Exposed Them to COVID
    On the same day President Trump acknowledged contracting the coronavirus, the White House quietly informed a veterans group that there was a COVID-19 risk stemming from a Sept. 27 event honoring the families of fallen U.S. service members, the head of that charitable organization told The Daily Beast.
    The White House warning, which came on Oct. 2, is the earliest known outreach to visitors of the complex that there was a risk of coronavirus emerging from the grounds where the president, the first lady, and at least 17 of his aides, according to Politico, have now tested positive for the virus.

  46. Teve says:

    @Mikey: lol.

    @SteveSchmidtSES needs to be arrested for violating the 13th Amendment because he just totally owned @realDonaldTrump

  47. Kurtz says:


    Let me fix that part of my post:



    It’s like music producer Mike WiLL Made-It, but Trumpian.

  48. Monala says:

    Travis View
    The QAnon community was hyped up about a “national security” announcement from the DOJ today, thinking they would announce the arrest of Obama admin officials or something else dramatic.

    When the DOJ instead announced the arrest of ISIS militants, many were disappointed.


  49. Kathy says:


    (which was Nobel’s original intent)

    Overall, the founders’ original intent tends to be left behind by actual practice.

    Partly the high prestige of the prize means a heightened standard for choosing winners. Then, too, some breakthrough theories need to await confirmation. Like Peter Higgs, who first proposed the Higgs Boson in 1964, but its existence was confirmed only in 2012.

  50. Kathy says:

    Is anyone else sick and tired of the prevalence of the phrase “out of an abundance of caution,” when used to minimize the importance of an obviously necessary action?

    Seriously, I feel like people are saying things like “My throat and mouth were dry, and I felt tired and light-headed. Out of an abundance of caution, I drank a bottle of water.” Or maybe “A car ran over me, so out of an abundance of caution I dialed 911.”

    An older version of the catch phrase was “as a precautionary measure.” But that never caught on like the current one did.

  51. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Also “Let that sink in”. Or “That’s it. That’s the Tweet”. Or the effing #wakeup hashtag. I’m plenty woke, you self-righteous, conspiracy-flingin bastards. That one goes for both sides, they both do it. 😉

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    Just got a text from “Jan” with the Democrats asking me if I was going to cheer on Kamala in the debates tonight. The text addressed me by my proper first name and not a shortened version.
    My name and phone number are likely in endless databases around the world so I never really think about how a caller or text got that information. I am kinda of curious how I am targeted as a Democrat as I have not stated that info on Facebook or anywhere else that I recall.
    Not that it matters. Since I already voted for all the Democrats on my ballot I see no need to reply to “Jan” or watch the debates.
    I should be able to watch the Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees in the AL Division Series at a National League diamond in San Diego and the San Diego Padres v. Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series at the American League yard in Arlington Texas.
    I can follow the debates on the internet.

    LOOK! There’s the Edit function! Haven’t seen that all day no matter how many time I reloaded the page!

  53. Kathy says:


    Also “Let that sink in”.

    Yeah. Isn’t that what pauses are for?

    If I have to say something to emphasize it, I prefer “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.” 😉

  54. Teve says:

    @Jax: there are lots of idiotic trends. Thank heavens injecting “wait for it” randomly into sentences is over, but it’s been replaced with “checks notes”. There are visual cliches, like the woman in the turquoise tank top about to do a spit take. When i see those i just block the poster immediately. Reposting a cliché is no substitute for a sense of humor.

  55. Mister Bluster says:

    Top Marine Corps officer tests positive for Covid
    The Marine Corps’ No. 2 officer has tested positive for coronavirus, the service announced on Wednesday.
    Assistant Marine Commandant Gen. Gary Thomas was among top military officers who put themselves under quarantine this week after Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray tested positive on Monday.

  56. Kurtz says:


    Oh, i used to vote Democrat too. Then I found out that Satan controls them.

    #thatsjustwhattheywantyoutothink #sheeplemakemesick #Qdrops

    What did Chandra Levy find out about the Demonrat Blood Rituals?

    Was the Da Vinci code originally about the Pedophilia ring, but Brown was more scared of the Clintons than the Church?

    Was Seth Rich Vince Foster’s illegitimate child?

    Do your own research. But if you care at all about your children, I suggest, out of an abundance of caution, as a precautionary measure, lock your doors. Antifa is coming.

    #KAG #wakeup

  57. Teve says:
  58. Northerner says:


    True, they want to be careful about not awarding it to something that eventually is proven inaccurate. Its why Einstein got his Nobel Prize for the photoelectric effect rather than either special or general relativity (not that the photoelectric effect wasn’t important too).

  59. Teve says:

    @Northerner: Einstein is, to my knowledge, the only person in history who could reasonably have won the Nobel prize four times. Brownian motion, photoelectric effect, special relativity, general relativity.

  60. Northerner says:


    I agree. And even if the Nobel prize had been awarded in the distant past, Newton probably only would have won three: his laws of motion, his law of gravity, his various discoveries in optics. Though of course Newton also would have won the Field’s medal for calculus, which is the math equivalent of a Nobel prize and gives him four Nobel prize equivalents.

    There’s a reason almost every poll among physicists for greatest physicist has Einstein and Newton as the top two (usually split about half and half).

  61. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Mister Bluster: In many states your voting record is included in the publicly accessible voter list. How they can key you for a democrat is if you have voted in the Democratic Primary.