Open Thread for Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Williamson

It’s shaping up to be a busy news day. And there’s other stuff…

  1. McMaster forces vote on USC president while students are away — An illustration of the “When the mice are away, the cats will play” principle. Really? It’s come to this? The duly constituted authorities are so afraid of the kids in their charge that they can only act when school is not in session? What a weird, screwed-up world we are living in. And an odd calculation on McMaster’s part.
  2. President Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter, federal appeals court rules — This is fascinating, and here are my three reactions: 1) What a snowflake! The most powerful man in the world feels the need to block the people who disagree with him, and does it in a way that people can see it? 2) It’s always fun to see him lose another court battle. 3) I find the ruling disturbing. Trump’s feed is his feed. It is not a government program. It’s where he expresses his stupid self, and he should be able to edit it as he chooses. This seems a weird, contrary application of the First Amendment. It’s like saying newspapers have to run every letter to the editor that they get — which in the old days was physically impossible, but that’s not the point. The point is that editors, under the First Amendment, are empowered to decide what is published under their auspices. We edited in a way radically different from Trump — giving priority to letters that disagreed with us — but it was our choice to make.
  3. The Meaning of Marianne Williamson — In case you caught her act in the debate and are still going, “What the…?,” I pass this Ross Douthat column along. I like that it includes the term, Great Awokening, which cracked me up a bit, and that the blurb or subhed or whatever says, “There’s more in heaven and earth than what’s dreamed of by normal politicians.” Increasingly, we live in a world that rivals the ’60s for weirdness. We need a Tom Wolfe or Joan Didion to chronicle it for us.

Actually, I think I’ll stop with those three. The first two alone are plenty, and would have been separate posts if I weren’t so busy today…

4. Oh, another thing I forgot to mention: Was I supposed to know who this Epstein guy was before the sex scandal stuff? From the coverage, I get the impression I was supposed to know of him. But I didn’t…

5. Which reminds me: Speaking of billionaires or whatever, what’s with this Tom Steyer guy running for president? I’ll ask him the same thing I wondered when De Blasio got into it: Did you think the world was waiting just for you? You’re no Sexy Sadie

6. And speaking of billionaires and running for president, Ross Perot is dead.

OK, I’m done now.

I told you there was a lot going on. I just forgot some of it for a moment.

155 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, July 9, 2019

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of Sexy Sadie. You ever try to picture her? Maybe you have to have been a teenage boy in the late ’60s to have thought about that…

    I don’t really have a clear picture of her, though. The actress in the movie provides as good an image as any, I suppose, even though that movie is another generation’s conception of the Beatles and their music and their times. (For instance, I think that because of that flick, kids today think “Across the Universe” was one of the major Beatles hits, whereas it hardly registered at the time. Good song, though.)

    I actually named my surfboard “Sexy Sadie.” But I kept it to myself. I knew how dorky that would seem had I shared it.

    Of course, the real, original “Sexy Sadie” looked like this. But George got John to change it from “Maharishi…”

    Reply
  2. Bill

    Speaking of The White Album,the 50th anniversay edition is an incredible improvement soundwise and worth owning for The Esher Demos,alone:

    Reply
  3. Phillip

    Re #1:
    Lot of questions about this, what is McMaster’s game here? Does Caslen have the votes among the trustees at this point? Would Caslen even want the job knowing that A) fairly or unfairly, so many faculty and students are opposed to his candidacy? and B) he would be starting his university presidency under a dark cloud, not merely because of opposition but because of the way he would have been snuck in like a recess appointment. What possibility of success in the job could he have?

    Many reasonable people felt at the time of the previous kerfuffle that Caslen didn’t get a fair shake, that his comment about binge drinking and sexual assault was taken out of context, that his military background (and not so much academic background) should not trigger such a reflexive opposition, that he might be a good bridge to the military-friendly, higher-education-funding-averse Legislature such that USC might fare better in future budgets. I’m not sure I buy all that but it’s a reasonable argument.

    But if McMaster and other Caslen supporters want to make that argument, why not just use this moment to merely “re-announce” his candidacy and begin building a case over the remainder of the summer and on into the early part of the academic year when students and all faculty are back. Make the case and then have a vote if you feel that groundwork has been laid for greater support for Caslen. Trying to ram this appointment through like this is maybe good politics for the base, many of whom would like nothing more than to see the state university and those liberal professors and minority students put in their place. But the longterm fallout, including possibly significant unrest among not only students but faculty and staff of the university, could be dreadful. It could ultimately be the single most memorable (and not in a good way) legacy of the McMaster governorship.

    To be honest I never felt like I knew all that much about any of the previous four candidates…the finalists all seemed to come to town one right after the other, the whole public part of the search seemed to be overly compressed, not enough time for interested parties to learn about each candidate and form an opinion. It’s almost as if the presidential search was no different than the search for a new chemistry or philosophy or cello professor…I wish the process were different. Of course ultimately it’s the trustees decision but seems like there should be more time for input from faculty and students, and more time to rebut opposition as it arises. If it was a hasty rush to judgment against Caslen before, the process itself bears some responsibility for that.

    Will be interesting to see developments in the next 72 hours. As I wrote you on Twitter, if this gets pushed through, the already typically brutal late-August temperatures in Columbia could ascend still further, to the boiling point, when students and faculty are back.

    Reply
    1. David T

      Why should it matter what students think? When you were in college what was your interaction with the university President? Speaking for myself only, I shook his hand as I walked across the stage at graduation. Prior to that I may have seen him once or twice on campus.

      The Trustees screwed this up by allowing maybe 100 faculty. staff, and students protesting out of 35,000 students and 2000 faculty/staff to disrupt their actual voting process. Someone who knows the campus better told me that from the video and pictures that it was mostly the faculty and students from the Social Work department, which is understandable that they would fear a big mean military man being in charge.

      Caslen can run West Point, but a handful of left-wing faculty and students don’t ‘think he’s qualified to run podunk U of SC? Are these the same people who are afraid that the President may actually not coddle them the way Pastides did? Pastides was a yes man for the Board, and now that he’s spent all the money on buildings and the bank account is now empty he’s decided (along with the Provost and the CFO) have decided it’s time to leave. The next President’s primary duty will be as a fund raiser to return the money that was depleted from those accounts.

      Reply
      1. David T

        Am I the only one who thinks Joan Gabel, the former USC Provost who likely knew Pastides was retiring and that she would be a unanimous vote for the next President of USC, took her chances and applied at another university? I also find it a coincidence that the CFO also decided to retire at the same time. What do these three people see that we don’t? I can’t help but think “independent audit” when I first read about this all happening within a month of each other.

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        1. Barry

          She did? A board with only 2 women was going to vote her President? LOL

          It’s more likely she knew she had no chance so she moved on. In fact, that seems clear.

          “The Trustees screwed this up by allowing maybe 100 faculty. staff, and students protesting out of 35,000 students and 2000 faculty/staff to disrupt their actual voting process.”

          Or they realized that forcing 4 male candidates down their throats was a mistake. Some trustee members also had big problems with several of the candidates.

          “Pastides was a yes man for the Board, and now that he’s spent all the money on buildings and the bank account is now empty he’s decided (along with the Provost and the CFO) have decided it’s time to leave. “

          USC’s endowment went from 390m to over 800m under Pastides. Quit making stuff up.

          Reply
          1. David T

            Not from what I’m hearing, including those of two college Deans who reported to her as Provost. Was she a 100% guarantee, nope but pressure would have been on the Board of Trustees because there’s was nothing but praise for her as Provost.

            There was a female finalist who made the first cut and removed her name prior to the final four candidates being named.

            Okay you state endowment numbers, what did spending do during his tenure? The numbers are probably the same as the endowment numbers. The reason renovations have all but stopped on the campus is because if USC borrows more money it’ll downgrade their bond rating. And that’s not making stuff up.

            I wouldn’t worry too much about it, I doubt McMaster would have called for a vote if he knew he didn’t have the numbers to get Caslen voted in as the next President.

            Reply
      2. Phillip

        You’re correct that most students aren’t usually that concerned about who is in upper administration at their university at a given moment. However, there are exceptions in unusual situations when hot-button issues (especially those of racial or gender equity) are poorly or insensitively handled—for example the recent resignation of the president at the University of Missouri, which was preceded by large protests, etc. So yes, the trustees make the ultimate decision but feedback from students is definitely part of that process.

        As for who was involved in those protests in April, I can’t confirm or deny your premise about where most of them came from. I can say though that my Twitter and Facebook pages are abuzz with indignation and anger from faculty across MANY departments, certainly not just Social Work. And they ain’t just liberals either. (Anyway this university’s faculty is far less left-leaning on average than a lot of state universities, in my opinion).

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        1. Barry

          David T is just tossing stuff against the wall at this point.

          If he thinks the faculty at USC is just a bunch of leftists, he’s not a serious person.

          Of course I’d be fine with leftists as opposed to right wing nut jobs, especially as professors. I had a RWNJ as a professor for a class at USC. Nice guy. Conspiracy theory promoter that we laughed at. But when he stuck to the facts of his class presentations, he was a good teacher.

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          1. Phillip

            The USC Faculty Senate has called a special meeting to take place Thursday afternoon, to debate a response (and presumably other various options moving forward) to McMaster’s move.

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            1. David T

              The USC Faculty Senate can meet all they want, the vote will still happen on Friday morning. The Faculty Senate isn’t going to override the Board of Trustees or the Governor’s actions.

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          2. David T

            “Of course I’d be fine with leftists as opposed to right wing nut jobs, ”

            Being a liberal Democrat I’m not surprised at that statement.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              See, you show your ignorance with such ridiculous statements.

              I hate liberals and conservatives equally. So yes, I’d just as soon have what you consider a “leftist”

              Reply
                1. David T

                  You don’t consider yourself a liberal, but have you complained about what any of the liberal Democrats do? You sure seem to have an awful hatred toward conservative Republicans. I bet you’re a straight ticket voter like bud.

                2. Barry

                  “You sure seem to have an awful hatred toward conservative Republicans. I bet you’re a straight ticket voter like bud.”

                  1) I do have an “awful hatred toward so called “conservative” republicans. In fact, that’s probably too gentle of a phrase to describe my hatred of their rampant hypocrisy.

                  “But have you complained about what any liberal Democrats do?”

                  1) if you had been around this blog long enough, – say when OBama was President- you’d realize how silly your question really is

                  2) I hate partisans and ideologues which includes liberals and conservatives.

                  “I bet you are a straight ticket voter”

                  1) that’s laughable. one of us worships Donald Trump and partisan politicians, it’s not me.

    2. Rose

      Even today WIS is mischaracterizing the April opposition to Caslen as based on his sexual assault comments – and yes, they were out of context/poorly worded. The faculty had been complaining about aspects of the search process for months, including the odd whirlwind week in which the candidates were on campus. I have no problem with hiring someone with military service, since I have veterans in the family. However, different kinds of academic institutions have different academic environments. West Point has no graduate program, no tenure process for faculty, no research focus, and so forth. It is a very fine military institution, but it is not a major public research university, and that is the root of most of the faculty’s opposition to Caslen. At today’s Faculty Senate meeting, a professor who is also a veteran and who served under Caslen’s area pointed out that his military career was exclusively a combat trajectory and therefore lacked experience in military governance that someone like Colin Powell had.

      Regardless of the suitability of any of the candidates, McMaster’s pressure to hold a vote during the summer with only a two day notice in violation of state law has poisoned the established process. The search committee has not meet since it gave the slate to the full board in April, and the board did its job in April when it decided to continue the search. For the governor to force a vote delegitimizes the process and introduces inappropriate political influence. The board should have been allowed to proceed with its April decision and then if they had redone the search and hired Caslen anyway, then even if I didn’t like it, proper procedure would be followed.

      Reply
  4. Karen Pearson

    But Trump doesn’t use his twitter account for private, personal disussion. He is a government official who uses it for official political purposes. He announces governmental decisions on it. He definitely uses it for political purposes. As president he uses it to disseminate public information. The paper is a private enterprise, as are your blog and your twitter account. That makes all the difference.

    Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Also, are anonymous replies protected speech? I would hope not. I would think it should be legal to block users who are not verified. They could be robots or non-Americans…

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        1. Doug Ross

          It’s interesting how liberals have tried to co-opt the term snowflake. They perfected it and now think that anyone who complains can be labeled the same way.

          Trump doesn’t read all his Twitter replies. The level of anger, outrage, profanity, and threats from anonymous people are not “free speech”. If you can’t put your name on speech, it’s not worth protecting. He should be able to block any account that is not proven to be owned by a U.S. citizen.

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          1. Barry

            It’s interesting how conservatives recoil when someone calls one of their sensitive idols like Trump, who gets offended at everything, a snowflake.

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            1. Doug Ross

              I’m not a conservative. It’s just laughable to try and take a term that was invented to describe whining progressives who get bent out of shape at the slightest provocation and then try and apply that to every other person who complains about ANYTHING.

              “Snowflake” is an offshoot of all the people who get “triggered” by “microaggressions” like using the wrong pronouns to “misgender” someone… The vocabulary of faux outrage has been defined by liberals.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yep, and it’s stupid wherever it occurs — whiny college kids, or the most powerful man on the planet. If they’re both weenies who can’t take a dissenting opinion, that’s what they are.

                Who cares where the term first came from? It describes a condition that is not limited to one portion of the political spectrum…

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        2. bud

          Trump’s Twitter account is very definitely NOT the same as a newspaper opinion page. The president works for us. He should have no say about what gets published. If Twitter has decency standards then they can decide. Otherwise anyone and everyone should get to respond to a Trump tweet.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            AOC has now been taken to court for blocking users from her Twitter account. So whatever applies to Trump should apply to her. I think she and Trump should be able to block unverified users.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yes, the law should be applied consistently.

              But as I say, I’m not comfortable with the ruling against Trump. Therefore, even thought I’m not a fan of AOC, either (you tell those girls to behave, Nancy!), I don’t think the court should come down on her, either…

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                So “anyone” includes fake accounts not tied to a real person? Including those of Russian bots?

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                1. Barry

                  Yes. Don’t block anyone. It’s not hard.

                  I don’t trust trump or politicians to tell who is a bot and who is just someone that doesn’t agree with them.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Here’s the thing, though, Barry: There is NO barrier to publishing whatever you want to say on Twitter.

                  But I don’t see why anyone has a constitutional right to have their comments appear within the context of Trump’s feed. In fact, I’m inclined to think HE has a constitutional right to determine what appears on his feed…

                3. Doug Ross

                  Ok, then no more talk of Russians influencing elections (which didn’t happen anyway).

                  If I were a politician who was concerned about this, I’d just turn off all replies. That’s the easiest solution.

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The nation’s 17 intelligence agencies say the Russians interfered in our election.

                  Doug and Donald Trump beg to differ.

                  Whom to believe, whom to believe…

                5. Barry

                  “Ok, then no more talk of Russians influencing elections (which didn’t happen anyway).”

                  Baloney. It did happen. We know that. It’s not debatable.

                  Replies to Trump’s dumb tweeting is the least of Russian interference.

                6. Doug Ross

                  So this Russian influence happened when? Who was President and Vice President when it happened? Was Joe Biden VP? What did they both do (since it appears now that they were co-Presidents) to deal with this attack?

                  And could you please identify ONE specific voter who was influenced. Just one. I want to see the person’s social media accounts and what they saw. Surely our all powerful intelligence agencies (who have never lied) would have that information.

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Folks, Doug won’t be satisfied unless you show a physical cause and effect. Someone pushed THIS button, and THAT voter decided as an immediate result that he would vote for Trump, and will provide a sworn affidavit to that effect.

                  As if cause and effect in politics is that straightforward. Of course the bots helped push people toward voting for Trump. (And it’s absolutely impossible to know how many, and to what extent.) And you know what? I’ll bet you every single person this influenced will swear up and down that the Russian effort had NO effect on how they voted, and they will do so with perfect honesty. Because that’s what they believe about themselves. No one likes to think of himself as a puppet.

                  Basically, reasonable people look at the situation, take in the fact that EVERY intelligence agency is convinced, look at Putin laughing at Trump’s jokes about it, and see what happened. And you know what? Even if not a single vote was won by the effort, the fact remains that a country that means us ill went to a great deal of trouble to do something with the goal of achieving EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. Call it dumb luck or whatever you want, it was an extraordinarily hostile act against this country…

                  Anyway, Doug’s asking you to prove it in a very concrete way — a way that will appeal not just to intuitive thinkers, but to the most hide-bound “S” on the Myers-Briggs scale — which is impossible.

                  So this is kind of a pointless argument.

                8. Barry

                  I dont much like doing research for you Doug considering my profound lack of respect for your silly arguments. But I’m bored for a bit.

                  Your playing dumb is really pathetic.

                  A Donald Trump supporter who unwittingly helped a Kremlin-linked operation to meddle in American politics says he only learned of his part in the Russian plot when the FBI showed up at his doorstep https://money.cnn.com/2018/02/20/media/internet-research-agency-unwitting-trump-supporters/index.html?sr=twCNN022018internet-research-agency-unwitting-trump-supporters0903PMStory

                9. Doug Ross

                  Seriously? That influenced the election? That’s a joke, right? Some doofus building a cage with Hillary in it helped elect Trump?

                  Try harder. Find me a link between a social media post and a voter changing his vote from Hillary to Trump.. in a state Trump won by a very small margin.

                  How many actual votes in close states do you believe were influenced by social media posts by the Russians. Give me a number.

                10. Barry

                  Yes, it has influence. That’s obvious to anyone awake and honest.

                  did it change the winner of the election? That’s a different question. No one outside of the most partisan people in the country think it changed the results of the election this time. But it clearly had influence.

                  No, I’m. Or finding you anything on the internet. Someone could show you car sitting in your kitchen fand you’d deny it was there. We all understand that about you.

                11. Doug Ross

                  “We all understand that about you.”

                  I’m glad you’ve got me figured out based on blog comments. I can only determine that you are an anonymous person who spends way too much time analyzing my comments.

                12. David T

                  “Of course the bots helped push people toward voting for Trump. ”

                  Tinfoil hat a little tight this morning?

                  Face it, people (vote for Trump) voted for Trump because they (vote for Trump) didn’t want to vote for Hillary. There were no (vote for Trump) subliminal messages.

                13. Harry Harris

                  Apparently a bunch of posters here don’t understand the tactics of voter suppression Republicans have used since the Harry Dent days. Souring the atmosphere and smearing (usually deceptively) the opposition does suppress turnout by damping enthusiasm for a candidate. It turns a few from one candidate to the other, but it also motivated some to turn out for Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Trump based on false claims. Karl Rove attacked John McCain in SC with a couple of false claims pretty successfully.
                  It also seems that some posters haven’t been exposed to avid Facebook readers, many of whom are so credulous they keep believing stuff after they’ve been warned to check things out.

                14. David T

                  “Apparently a bunch of posters here don’t understand the tactics of voter suppression ”

                  And what percentage of voters decide not to vote period because of something they saw on Facebook or in a Twitter feed?

                  ” Souring the atmosphere and smearing (usually deceptively) the opposition does suppress turnout by damping enthusiasm for a candidate.”

                  So is it just Republicans doing this, or are Democrats doing it as well? Seems to me that in the Democratic debates they all seem to hate each other as much as they hate Trump. Maybe Democrats should listen and not vote for any of them. If the Democrats say something negative about Republicans, should I just roll over and not vote? Because that’s exactly what you’re saying Republicans are doing to Democratic candidates.

                  “but it also motivated some to turn out for Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Trump based on false claims.”

                  What got Democratic voters to the polls, I mean besides church buses showing up at housing projects? How many Democrats will show up in 2020 simply to vote against Trump?

                  “It also seems that some posters haven’t been exposed to avid Facebook readers, many of whom are so credulous they keep believing stuff after they’ve been warned to check things out.”

                  Sorry, I don’t have a Facebook page.

                15. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “And what percentage of voters decide not to vote period because of something they saw on Facebook or in a Twitter feed?”

                  Again, something unmeasurable. But it’s one of the goals of negative campaigning: Get people to feel a bad enough vibe from the whole thing that they just don’t want to vote.

                  “So is it just Republicans doing this, or are Democrats doing it as well?” If we’re talking about the Russian interference thing, we’re pretty much talking about things that were done to try to benefit Trump. Because if you want to see a weak, bitterly divided America, having Trump become president is something you’d really like to see. Ditto if you’re Vladimir Putin and really don’t want to deal with Hillary Clinton…

                  If you’re Putin, it’s the perfect revenge: He blamed Hillary for stirring up protests against the unfairness of Russian elections. To paraphrase Al Capone in “The Untouchables:” Somebody messes with MY election, I’m gonna mess with theirs…

                16. Barry

                  Harry

                  “It also seems that some posters haven’t been exposed to avid Facebook readers, many of whom are so credulous they keep believing stuff after they’ve been warned to check things out.”

                  I routinely interact with an older man on Facebook who, sadly, believes everything that is posted on Facebook if it’s pro Trump or anti liberal. He’s extreme in his views. He actually ran for public office a few times but has never come close to winning.

                  He is the poster child for someone that is influenced by propaganda.

    1. Mr. Smith

      Right. Under NARA rules, presidential tweets are official public records and must be preserved. That puts them in a different category than, say, letters-to-the-editor. As you say, they are a channel for official government communications. Consequently, it’s no more legitimate for the president to bar someone from his Twitter account than it would be for any other government agency to bar someone from accessing its official communications channels simply on the grounds that the person was posting negative things about that agency.

      Reply
  5. Doug Ross

    Someone tell Bernie and Warren:

    “The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, though most states have minimum wage laws requiring higher pay. Earlier this year, House Democrats introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, and most Democrats in the 2020 presidential field have endorsed that plan. That plan builds on an unsuccessful Obama-era effort to set the federal minimum wage at $10.10 per hour. If implemented by 2025, the CBO estimates, the $15 federal minimum wage would boost paychecks for 17 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $15 per hour. About 10 million workers who now earn about $15 an hour might see their paychecks increase slightly as well. The trade-off would be 1.3 million more people out of work. Those who lose their jobs (or are unable to find them in the first place) are likely to be lower-income workers, unskilled workers, and those with little work experience.”

    It only makes sense. Costs have to be covered somehow. Not every business can raise prices to cover the increase.

    The best escape from poverty is education, not artificial minimum wage floors.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      We can eliminate Trump’s tariffs (tax increases) that conservatives now favor which also get passed on to customers and replace it with a livable minimum wage.

      Reply
    2. bud

      The best escape from poverty is education
      -Doug

      Sounds like a damn good argument for free college as Bernie and E. Warren advocate.

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Sure, as long as we don’t raise the minimum wage at the same time.

        Free college won’t save people who are unwilling to put in the effort to educate themselves. A large percentage of minimum wage workers couldn’t even finish “free” high school.

        Education is free anyway… it’s college and that framed diploma that are expensive. A library card and an internet connection can get you all the education you need. Less than the cost of one semester at USC, you could get several certifications online that are more valuable to employers than a $200K liberal arts degree.

        But then you don’t get the dorm suites, the football games, and the Friday night parties.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          “Less than the cost of one semester at USC, you could get several certifications online that are more valuable to employers than a $200K liberal arts degree.”

          Yet thousands of employers still require you to have a 4 year degree and 99% of them aren’t changing their policies because Doug in South Carolina wants them to do so.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Not because I want them to, but the market will work this out. Just because many HR departments (one of the least productive groups in organizations) haven’t figured out that a degree doesn’t mean much, doesn’t mean that other companies have not and will not in the future.

            I’ve done booths a college recruiting events where soon-to-be graduates walk up with a resume that has no experience on it except class work and part time jobs in fast food. Now if a kid with an associates degree from a tech school and a couple certificates from Amazon or Google that he got in three months for $500 walks up, who has a higher probability of being effective day one? This kid or the one with $100K in school loans with a bunch of credits in Intro to Sociology, Geology, and English Literature, etc.

            I can take any number of excellent courses online for free or very cheaply that are exactly the same as the content at a university. Students (smart ones) will figure this out over time. I think back to my four years in college and realize how different it could have been with online courses. I was really only there for the “college experience” versus the education. The classes were mostly useless in the long run and the time spent studying on topics I had no interest in was wasted… and the only reason I took them was because they were mandatory to get that degree. The whole higher ed system is due for a major wakeup call…

            Reply
            1. Barry

              What you personally do or believe is really irrelevant. Some of your points are reasonable.

              But I’ll say this again…

              thousands of employers still require you to have a 4 year degree and 99% of them aren’t changing their policies because Doug in South Carolina wants them to do so. That goes for anyone else on here too.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                I’m not asking them to change. I’m predicting they will be forced to change, I’m predicting that those companies that stick to requiring a 4 year degree will likely miss out on a lot of better qualified candidates.

                Reply
  6. bud

    Was I supposed to know who this Epstein guy was before the sex scandal stuff?
    -Brad

    You’re kidding right? Epstein has been a fairly famous sleazeball for at least 15 years. For his part Trump probably engaged in sexual activity with Epstein’s young ladies. Probably can’t be proven but there is an allegation out there. That particular allegation became prominent when the whole MeToo movement exploded a couple of years back. At the very least Trump certainly knew about Epstein’s illicit underage sex enterprise. Here’s the relevant quote: “‘I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.’ – Donald Trump, 2002”

    Trump should be called to testify in Epstein’s trial as a material witness.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      No doubt with Trump. Maybe Clinton too.

      Trump did admit to purposefully walking through the dressing room of teen girls (some as young as 15) as they were naked. He bragged about being able to do it. So anything is likely.

      Reply
      1. David T

        “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

        – Bill Clinton

        Now explain to me Mr. President how your DNA ended up on that blue dress. And what the hell is wrong with this cigar you gave me???

        Reply
        1. Barry

          “You know, the dresses. ‘Is everyone ok’? You know they are standing there with no clothes on and you see these incredible looking women. I get away with things like that.” – Donald Trump talking about walking through the dressing room of the Miss Teen USA pageant “inspecting” the teen girls, some as young as 15. .

          Yes, Clinton was scum. That is why I didn’t vote for him. That’s back when conservatives were saying the morality of private conduct should matter for a president and should be a disqualification.

          Trump is scum. I didn’t support him either.

          Reply
  7. bud

    Does anyone else but me find this post unusually snarky? Ross Perot is dead? Not a huge fan of Ross Perot but that seems a bit cold.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Perot was right about NAFTA destroying American manufacturing jobs. He also picked one of the worst running mates in history (until McCain picked Palin) with Admiral Stockdale who bombed so terribly in the VP debates. Stockdale was the one who said “Who am I? Why am I here?” and then stood on the stage like a mute while Gore and Quayle(!) basically laughed at him.

      I saw two Perot quotes today that are pretty good and reflect his

      “If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”
      “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.”

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “Perot was right about NAFTA destroying American manufacturing jobs.”

        No, he wasn’t.

        Oh, not that free trade doesn’t aid the flow of less-skilled jobs from one country to another. (That is one thing that happens, and it should be acknowledged, and the pain it causes minimized to the extent we can do so.) He was simply wrong to oppose the liberalization of trade.

        In fact, one could argue that we haven’t liberalized trade enough, that we haven’t removed enough barriers.

        I would think that someone who is as concerned about illegal immigration as you are would appreciate that.

        There’s only one thing, in the grand scheme, that will stop people from being desperate enough to risk their lives coming to this country: Increase the economic opportunities (and security, of course) in their own countries. If people can make a decent living there, they will be far less anxious to come here.

        We need to help lift all economic boats, to the extent possible. And instruments such as NAFTA (and the lamentably abandoned TPP) are steps in that direction…

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          “We need to help lift all economic boats”

          No, we don’t. Drive thru Lancaster downtown and tell me NAFTA helped that town out.. or any of the textile towns. Their Main Streets are basically empty storefronts.

          Despite all the jobs moving offshore and to Mexico, they still keep trying to enter illegally. How has that improved since NAFTA? Paying low wages with no benefits to people in third world countries just makes them a tiny bit less impoverished…. But it’s not the responsibility of the U.S. to help other countries at the expense of our own citizens. How can that be our mission? All that ends up happening is that our lower end, unskilled workers have fewer jobs, less opportunity. All that is left for them for now is serving burgers and tacos.

          Now, if someone from Mexico or Guatemala wants to come to the U.S. legally and work, more power to them. I don’t care if there is no quota on the number that enter. But they have to do it legally… have to stay legal and documented… have to work legally and pay ALL the taxes American citizens pay… have to drive cars legally… have to learn to speak English… it’s pretty simple. Do the right thing. If they can’t do that, I have zero tolerance. They should be deported.. they should be stopped at the border by all means necessary,

          Reply
          1. Harry Harris

            Textiles were mostly gone before NAFTA, and went strongly to Asia and even lower wages. Furniture went to Asia also, only a little later. Companies have chased low wages for a long time, with textile and furniture jobs moving to the American South in the first part of the 20th century.
            Somebody will serve burgers and tacos until automation gets them. Textiles, furniture have been a casualty of our throw-away society. Make it cheap, forget quality (and paying a living wage) and it will be thrown out in a very few years anyway. Rooms to Go is just that. Cheap, stylish, pretty, and disposable – it will be ready to go just after it is paid off. Paying a living wage in a society that chooses minimally palatable $1.49 hamburgers and over-priced easy-order “meals” over a good, but slower and slightly more expensive meal is difficult.
            As far as the work visas you seem to reference, that is the ball both political parties have dropped since it was a possibility back in the 1990’s. Democrats, because of the fear that incoming labor would depress wages, Republicans who once favored it because they feared (and still do) some might someday vote.

            Reply
            1. David T

              “Somebody will serve burgers and tacos until automation gets them.”

              The demand for a $15/hr minimum wage will speed that along quicker than expected. Kiosks and phone app ordering will eliminate the need for cashiers, cooks will be replaced by robotic or automated cooking and burger building. It doesn’t take a person to load, cook, dump, salt and package fries. Fast food restaurants will go from a shift staff of 8-10 employees down to 3-4.

              Reply
              1. Harry Harris

                It likely would speed the process somewhat, but not cause it. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Higher pay on the lower end of the pay scale will increase demand elsewhere. Their money gets spent. Money salted away at the top has not increased jobs as promised by the “supply-siders.” They did not create companies. They bought them. Mergers and acquisitions have been massive. Apple and Amazon have simply bought-out their competition and vertically integrated. Minimum wage hikes that actually happened have not brought about a net loss of jobs though there has been some displacement.

                Reply
              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Normally I like technology, but I won’t use the computer ordering at McDonald’s.

                That’s because I’m deathly allergic to cheese. This used to not be a problem, as a Quarter-Pounder used to be a Quarter-Pounder, but now it’s a “Quarter-Pounder with Cheese,” and you practically need an act of Congress to get them to cook it without that deadly substance.

                So I say “without cheese,” and frequently say “that’s NO cheese” at the end. And sometimes, as they hand it to me, I say, “That’s with no cheese, right?”

                And still they sometimes get it wrong.

                I’ll trust my repeated harassment of humans over pressing a button once and expecting them to get it right…

                Reply
                1. Norm Ivey

                  If all steps–ordering, preparation, delivering to the customer–are automated, it will be right every time. It’s the humans that make mistakes, not the machines.

                  Small comfort, perhaps.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Not in the world in which I live. Not based on my experience with technology.

                  I LOVE technology. But I engage with it enough to see multiple things go wrong daily. It’s usually, but not always, a connectivity issue. Wavering, or failing, wifi signals. Which is why I doubt self-driving cars will be safe within my lifetime.

                  You see, I use PCs, not Macs. So I know whereof I speak. And I’ve only set up ONE device to be controlled by Alexa — the light on the desk in my home office — and about half the time something goes wrong with my simple command to turn the light on or off. Bizarre thing is that she almost ALWAYS turns it on or off. But more than half the time, she responds, “Office Light isn’t responding. Please check its network connection and power supply…” She says that at the VERY SECOND that she carries out the command — it comes on AS she is complaining that it isn’t responding. Which has caused me to, absurdly, argue with her: “Yes, it IS..”

                  But even Apple products can screw up. In the last few months before I got a new iPad, my old one would freeze up for several minutes at a time, and usually crash, multiple times a day. Not because of anything I was doing. Which was super frustrating during the campaign.

                  But in Apple’s defense, the iPad worked great for about 5 of the 6 years I used it, and used it heavily.

                  I’ve never had that sort of experience with a PC. Three years and it’s time to get a new one…

                3. Doug Ross

                  “And still they sometimes get it wrong.”

                  Yet we should pay them $15 an hour to be incompetent?

                  I stopped going to the Wendy’s near me because of repeated mistakes on the orders. Hadn’t been there for more than a year until last Saturday night when I was in a rush and needed to get a quick dinner. Like you, Brad, I don’t like cheese on my burger. So I said at the driveup – Double, plain, no cheese. Saw my order show up on the video board. Pick up my bag of food and drive away.. open the bag, pull out the burger… and there’s a goopy, yellow “cheese” dripping off the side of the burger.

                  $15 an hour for that? I’d suggest a pay cut to entice the people behind the counter to invest a little more time in their own education, skills, work ethic.

                  In the same vein, I went out to get an ice cream the other night and when I drove up to the window, the young woman (maybe 16-17) who took my money greeted me with a smile and a great attitude. I then watched her carefully wipe down the side of the sundae cup to remove the excess hot fudge (mmmm… fudge!).. and just that 60 second interaction made me believe she was someone who was not long for the minimum wage world. When she handed me the bag, I said to her “Thank you for doing such a great job!” and her face just lit up.

                  The point of that anecdote is that people need to be responsible for their own salaries, not rely on the government to give them just enough to get by with zero work ethic.

                4. bud

                  What an interesting lesson to learn. You go to a place that frequently gets your order wrong and yet you continue to go their. And why McDonalds? The place is just awful. Yet your takeaway is to avoid automation. Maybe, just maybe the automation would actually improve the accuracy of the order.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, I want to be able to say, “I told YOU, very clearly, what I wanted…”

                  I don’t want them trying to claim I pushed the wrong button…

                6. Barry

                  I’m not a huge tech guy but I like the computer ordering at McDonald’s. I’ve had good luck with it. No issues at all.

                7. David T

                  All of you that love the new kiosk ordering systems at fast food restaurants. Have you ever read any of the public health testing done on the surface of those screens? They’re typically the dirtiest thing in the restaurant. You might as well go lick a door handle in a restroom stall, it’s cleaner.

                8. Barry

                  Well, I wash my hands right before I eat my meals so I don’t stress out about the screens, or door handle to enter the business in the first place.

          2. bud

            I have zero tolerance. They should be deported.. they should be stopped at the border by all means necessary,
            -Doug

            Why? I just don’t get all this irrational hysteria over a few people wanting to escape oppression and work at a hard job for a living wage. I say just allow anyone in who wants to work. Plenty of jobs. Time to stop with all the deportation cruelty.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              It’s not irrational nor hysterical to expect the law to be followed. There is a process in place. Use it. Or change the law — but that requires Pelosi getting in a room with Trump and agreeing to fund the wall. It’s all politics on both sides.

              If you want open borders with no process, just say so and suffer the consequences.

              Reply
              1. Bill

                There’s already a “wall” ;The Mexico-United States Barrier is a series of walls and fences that covers over 1/3rd of the U.S. / Mexico border or do you want more,like a wall w/a moat or something?

                Reply
              2. bud

                Bizarre Headlines:

                Stormy Daniels becomes advocate for celibacy
                Shaquille O’neal launches new career as a thoroughbred race horse jockey
                Pope Francis comes out as Pro-Choice supporter
                Mitch McConnell endorses Merritt Garland for Supreme Court
                Doug is a credible spokesman for the rule of law

                Seriously Doug your continued denial that Donald Trump has not committed an impeachable crime renders your credibility on ANYTHING related to the rule of law as laughable non-credible. The only entity committing crimes on the southern border are in the Trump administration. They violate human rights and international laws by snatching small children from their mothers, caging children, forcing people to drink out of toilets, packing people into rooms at up to 10 times their capacity. And you have the audacity to suggest people who travel thousands of miles for political asylum are somehow violating the law? Give me a break.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  I haven’t denied anything, bud. All I know is that if Trump broke the law, he should be prosecuted. My stance is 100% consistent. I haven’t said he didn’t break the law. I’m waiting for someone to start the legal proceedings or impeachment process to assess the evidence.

                  Lawbreakers should be given due process according to the law. That includes people who enter the country illegally. There is a process to enter legally. Follow it.

                2. Doug Ross

                  And for the seemingly millionth time, I didn’t vote for Trump and will not vote for Trump (unless he runs against Warren). I am not a Trump supporter, I am simply opposed to the blatant partisan hypocrisy that exists on both sides of the political spectrum.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  That’s an interesting idea for a post: Which Democratic candidate do you hate so much you’d vote for Trump?

                  I don’t think I have one, although there are some that might send me searching desperately for a third party…

                1. Doug Ross

                  That was two years ago, bud. Well before all the hysteria over “concentration camps” and “cages” (that were create in 2015 by the Obama administration.

                  If it’s a crisis, surely Pelosi and Schumer would want to actually DO SOMETHING about it before January of 2021. But they could care less about kids at the border. All they care about is the 2020 election.

                2. Barry

                  Correct Bud. Senator Lmar Alexander tried hard to urge the White House to support that bill saying it was a good effort. Trump I diated he would.

                  He backed out after Stephen miller, the racist in the White House, urged trump to back out. Trump followed his advice.

              3. bud

                Ok, I’m fine with open borders. And the “consequences” will be a better country. It’s the irrational hysteria that’s bringing the country down.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  By “irrational hysteria”, I assume you mean AOC’s photo op crying beside a fence in front of an empty lot? Or calling fenced in areas to detain people who choose to enter the country illegally “concentration camps”? Or exploiting a tragic photo of a father who made a very stupid decision to try and cross a river with his daughter INSIDE HIS SHIRT… when there was no threat to his safety where he was standing in the first place?

                  Yes, I agree. The hysteria is very irrational. But apparently not enough for Pelosi and Schumer to do something about it.

                2. David T

                  Why do I get stopped at the border when entering Canada or Mexico? Why do I have to go through Customs when traveling overseas?

            2. David T

              What about those who come here and don’t want to work? We’re the land of handouts to the lazy, and word has gotten out. Why are these people traveling through 1, 2 , 3 countries to get to the US illegally? Need food, we’ll give you an EBT card, need housing, here’s a housing voucher, need medical attention, here’s a medicaid card, need schooling, here’s free schools and while we’re at it free school meals for your kids, etc… At some point we have to say “enough, we’re full”.

              In the meantime, people who are legal citizens work hard to scrape by to receive the exact same things that are handed out to the lazy and ignorant.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                “What about those who come here and don’t want to work?”

                That doesn’t describe any immigrants I’ve ever encountered, or heard of.

                But I know it’s a favorite fictional character among Trump voters…

                Reply
                1. David T

                  Why are they traveling through multiple countries to get here? I’m sure there’s unskilled labor needed in those countries.

                2. Barry

                  How many business licenses has anti immigration South Carolina revoked because of employers hiring illegal immigrants?

                  Hint: The number is below 1

              2. Karen Pearson

                You might want to check. I did. Those who enter illegally get no assistance, except for food (only if they have chiildren), and damn little for that. They do however get to pay taxes.

                Reply
          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            “No, we don’t.”

            Yeah, we do. We’re fools not to.

            “But it’s not the responsibility of the U.S. to help other countries…”

            You’re missing the point. It’s not about responsibility. It’s about smart policy. It’s about making a better world for all of us to live in.

            Again, a classical liberal (the old term for “libertarian”) like you should get that. Liberate markets to lift us all up…

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              Show me where it has worked to the benefit of the U.S. We currently have the lowest unemployment in decades. That’s a good thing, right? What kind of guarantees can the government (and you) make to the American worker regarding trade policies that will definitely improve wages in the U.S.?

              Reply
            2. David T

              “You’re missing the point. It’s not about responsibility. It’s about smart policy. It’s about making a better world for all of us to live in.”

              And how is that working out for us? How many other countries are helping us or even bothering to say thank you? We’re being taken advantage of at a level we should be embarrassed if many in this country weren’t so blind to see their hand in front of their face. Or is that handout in front of their face.

              Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  ??? Bernie?

                  Of all the candidates out there, Bernie would be one of the last I’d look to for free trade or maintaining the postwar liberal international order….

                2. bud

                  postwar liberal international order….

                  That is an expression that just needs to go away. It has this grating, elitist tone to it that just makes my skin crawl. What we need is to revisit how we’ve conducted international business since VJ day. The Soviet Union is gone. Let’s deal with the world with that in mind. First, we need to dispense with NATO. That is nothing but an anachronism in 2019. Second, let’s reorganize the UN so the nations of the world concentrate on real issues like pandemics and climate change. Third, Trying to make any real difference in the middle east seems unattainable so long as the US continues to support rouge states like Israel and Saudi Arabia. So let’s stop this counterproductive policy. Fourth, and most important, let’s dramatically reduce our military footprint by bringing troops home and shrinking our navy. Perhaps we could call this new approach The New Pragmatic World Order.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Snarky? It’s a simple declarative sentence.

      Maybe you’re hearing an (unintended) allusion to the old running joke on SNL about Franco. If I’d intended something like that, there’d have been some ironic twist in the statement, such as “still dead.” (For you youngsters, the humor was based in the fact that for a long period before Franco actually died, news reports almost daily mentioned that he was near death. It went on and on. You sort of had to be there…)

      Or maybe it’s the “speaking of billionaires and running for president” part. But hey, if I see a common thread between one apparently unrelated news item and another, I find it hard to resist pointing it out.

      You may not know about my old idea for the perfect newspaper. It contributed to my reputation among some, in my younger years, as a sort of Jerry Brown/Governor Moonbeam (I would say “visionary”) type of editor. I’d probably have forgotten it except that whenever I see a certain reporter I supervised back in the ’80s, he mentions it.

      My idea was that someday, I’d like to produce a newspaper that consisted of one story, one that ran page after page, that extended to novel length at least. That one story would contain all of the news of that day, leaving nothing newsworthy out. This would help people see the way things are connected. Because, you see, everything is connected.

      The one drawback, as I saw it, is that such a newspaper would take too long to produce. It would require too much sustained thought by a single writer — a sort of super rewrite man. The thing that historically has made it possible to produce a newspaper (or a comprehensive news website) is that you had many people working in parallel on their respective piece of the overall report. So you couldn’t produce my novelized paper daily. I’d want it all to be the news from one day (preserving the unities), but by the time you read it that day might have been a fortnight in the past.

      And when I spoke of this idea, and got to the delightful point at which my listeners’ extreme skepticism showed fully and they were looking at me as though I had two heads, I would smile and reveal the key that would make it work: “It’s all in the transitions, you see…”

      Anyway, that’s what you were seeing in this post. I was stitching those last-minute additions to the Open Thread together with “”Speaking of billionaires or whatever, and “And speaking of billionaires and running for president.”

      So… to someone not familiar with my love for noting the connections, I admit it might have sounded a tad… breezy

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Self-deprecating humor (at least, it’s humorous to me) aside, after you’ve been in the news trade for awhile — it really only took a couple of years, drummed in day after day — you get to having a sort of matter-of-factness about death that can seem jarring to nonjournalists.

        It’s not coldness or indifference, but it easily turns into that. It’s just more like, “Hey ya know that guy who was in the news years ago? He’s dead. We need to get that in the paper (or into my Open Thread)…”

        There are particularly tragic deaths that will scar a reporter or editor, however hardened by the biz. They usually involve a child or unusual suffering, and I’m not going to give examples because I don’t like thinking about them.

        But an old guy you didn’t know personally, and whom you haven’t heard about in decades, who had lived a long and rewarding life and died a natural death… that’s more routine… Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is….

        Reply
  8. David T

    If McMaster, who had reached out to every Board of Trustee member individually, didn’t have the votes to vote Caslen in as the next President of USC would he have demanded a vote be taken? Friday will be a formality, it’s already a done deal. McMaster knows he has at least 10 of the 19 Board Member’s votes.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      He very well might.

      Hopefully it blows up and causes him deserved shame for ramming through his personal pick instead of following the process.

      We don’t need a politician ordering a board to do anything, USC has had way too much political involvement over the decades.

      Reply
      1. David T

        Even if he’s a member of the Board of Trustees?

        Gov. Henry McMaster
        Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina
        A.B., history, USC, 1969
        J.D., USC School of Law, 1973

        The Governor is the ex officio Chair of the Board and serves for the duration of his tenure as Governor.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          Yes, especially since. McMaster has never attended a BOT meeting.

          We don’t need a politician forcing his pick on a board. Say it again- we don’t need a politician forcing his pick on a board.

          Reply
          1. David T

            You’re like a lost puppy, do you have to respond to everything I comment on?

            With the ruling yesterday afternoon, USC and the Board of Trustees has made themselves look even worse. I hope the BOT does call a meeting, vote Caslen in (word has it that McMaster has 12 of the 19 votes in his pocket) and Caslen tells USC to take a flying leap.

            The only person happy about all this is Pastides, with what’s coming down on Saint Harris in the next couple weeks it takes the spotlight off of him.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              I comment as the notion strikes and on what Brad allows that’s my only consideration.

              I hope Caslan turns it down too because he’s in an unwinnable situation even if he takes the job because he will enter a job with the faculty having zero confidence in him, and many on the board not supporting him. (In the past, USC presidents have enjoyed unanimous or near unanimous support).

              If he takes the job, he looks desperate for any job. He will also carry the stain of getting the job because a politician forced him into the position. What man with any pride wants that over his head? The answer- no one that has other options.

              With McMaster’s boneheaded move, the accreditation body is now looking into the matter. Even the hint of an accreditation issue costs big money to address.

              Reply
              1. David T

                You sound like you wanted Tate, the token black candidate who was also turned down for the job of Chancellor at UT-Knoxville?

                Reply
                1. Barry

                  Calling anyone a “token” is a stupid thing to say.

                  I didn’t “want” anyone as I wasn’t present for the public hearing and don’t know any of the candidates. Tate clearly was the most well received of the candidates in front of the faculty and in the public hearing. He seemed to be well versed in USC’s strategic plan.

                  I’m not smart enough to make a decision based on a resume. If I were making the choice, I’d have to know more.

                  Unlike Henry, I wouldn’t make a hiring decision when I had never met the person.

  9. David T

    This is a good article with information on both sides.
    https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/usc-campus-torn-again-over-president-search-as-board-vote/article_8a0d4c04-a334-11e9-bcc6-43145294455b.html

    I’ve been told there are rumors floating around campus this morning that if true will bring the school to it’s knees and why McMaster called for this vote as quickly as he did. Two words I’m hearing, “federal indictment”. I don’t know if there’s anything behind these rumors, but word is they’re coming from inside Osborne.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      The last thing USC needs is a brand new President with a brand supposed new federal indictment. So that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

      The USC Upstate chancellor is in place and is doing a good job. He can continue on for a few months until a proper search is completed.

      Reply
      1. David T

        It’s July 12th, Pastides doesn’t retire until the 31st. Brendan Kelly does not take over until August 1st. Pastides is still calling the shots on campus. Kelly has j27 months of experience running a regional campus, prior to that he was a glorified communications director at the prestigious University of West Florida, wherever that is. In the upcoming weeks, USC is facing federal indictment charges that rival the Holderman days. At least Brad will have lots to right about.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          Kelly will be fine. At least he has run a public university.

          He can do that a few more months so a proper search can be completed without a politician getting involved in handpicking his choice.

          Reply
          1. David T

            Kelly has not run a public university, he’s been a Chancellor at a regional campus for two years. Maybe he can spend his lame-duck time drawing or at a pottery wheel.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              Under the USC’s system, he leads the public USC Upstate. Upstate isn’t just a branch of USC. They have a distinct mission different than Columbia.

              Caslen hasn’t led a public high school, let alone a public college of any size. Can he? No one knows.

              Reply
  10. bud

    Today’s corporate malfeasance winner: Ford Motor Co. The nation’s second largest car manufacturer was selling Focus and Fiesta models with defective transmissions even though the issue was known by it’s corporate executives.
    USA Today headline: Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2019/07/11/ford-focus-fiesta-transmission-defect/1701433001/

    And yet the company CEO, Jim Hackett’s compensation packet increased to $17.75 million, 6% above his previous package despite a sharp drop in corporate earnings. That is double the average wage increase.

    From Bloomberg: “Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett’s compensation rose about 6 percent in 2018, a year the CEO characterized as “mediocre by any standard” for the automaker.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-15/ford-ceo-s-pay-rises-to-17-75-million-for-mediocre-year

    And yet Republicans continue to resist a modest and loooong overdue increase in the minimum wage. Further, from the same Bloomberg article: “Ford reported in its proxy filing that Hackett’s annualized pay was 276 times the $64,000 earned by the company’s median worker”

    Note the $64K salary is for the median Ford worker. So in a rather poor performing year the Ford CEO makes hundreds of times what a regular worker makes. Here are a few modest changes we need to make to address this absurd income inequality crises:

    . Eliminate tax loopholes that allow giant companies like Amazon to pay $0 in corporate income taxes
    . Tax stock dividends the same or higher than wages.
    . Eliminate the maximum earnings limit on social security wages
    . Cap the salary expense for a corporation to $300,000 per employee
    . Increase the top marginal tax rate to 50%
    . Tax paper wealth for individuals who own more than $40 million in liquid assets
    . Impose a national luxury sales tax on items such as cars, houses, jewelry and paintings. These things are not practical to include in the wealth tax but should be taxed at the time of sale
    . Tax stock transactions

    Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Yes they do. And they frequently go out of business as a result. How often do we see government departments close due to dumb decisions? The DMV would go bankrupt if there was any competition.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          Ford is going out of business? How many people have actually died because of Ford business decisions and shortcuts in their vehicle design?

          They are still pumping out cars left and right.

          I’ve been at the DMV a boatload of times in the last 6 months. It’s been an easy visit every single time.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            You made a blanket sarcastic statement that the private sector doesn’t make profoundly dumb decisions. And I correctly pointed out that when do, they frequently go out of business which is the consequence of those dumb decisions. Now, tell me who has been fired for the Penny Tax that was passed in Richland County and has wasted millions of dollars and already shown projects 100% over budget and late. Who suffers for those dumb (and corrupt decisions)? Oh yeah, the taxpayers who bail out every incompetent and lazy government agency on a daily basis.

            Meanwhile, the CEO of Ford, a publicly traded company worth 40 billion dollars, made $16 million dollars while delivering 3.6 billion dollars in profit and paying out 2.7 billion to shareholders (which include many mutual funds that are owned by retirees including the SC State Pension plan). So his salary is less than half a percent of the money the company gave back to its owners. If they aren’t happy with that performance and compensation, he can be voted out.

            Running one of the world’s largest automobile companies isn’t a job any schlub off the street can do. People who can do those jobs are few and far between and they are paid market rate salaries.

            Why do so many people admire athletes like Lebron James – who made five times as much money or actors like Robert Downey Jr. who made three times as much money last year? No, it’s better to go after the guy who made $16 million for running a company that employs 200,000 people.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              Yes, I made a sarcastic statement poking a hole in your private sector is always best baloney.

              And it’s a load of baloney Doug.

              Of course plenty of folks in government are corrupt- and plenty of people in the private sector are just as corrupt – if not more so.

              “Running one of the world’s largest automobile companies isn’t a job any schlub off the street can do”

              despite your CEO Worship, plenty of CEOs cant find their own reflection in a mirror. Plenty of them have sunk companies deep into the ground in world record speed ruining thousands of jobs and careers.

              There is nothing inherently magical about a CEO.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Name them. Name the CEOs who have run failing companies for many years…

                It’s not CEO worship. It’s recognizing that this country depends on large companies as it’s economic backbone and the ones who do it well should be appreciated and not villified for making money. I know I owe much of my career to a company built by one of the richest people in the world . Someone who started a company by himself and worked to make it a global enterprise that employs hundreds of thousands of people directly and probably millions indirectly.

                Meanwhile, who is the most effective manager in state government? What have they done that is equivalent? Would they last a month in a job that required real accountability and performance measured on a daily basis like the stock market does? Whoever runs the SC DOT couldn’t run a Subway sandwich shop.

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                1. Doug Ross

                  Here’s a perfect example. There was a fatal crash in NH a couple weeks ago involving a truck driver and a motorcycle group. Turns out the truck driver had a DUI in a different state and the paperwork was sent to the Mass. DMV where he was supposed to have had his license suspended. But, instead, it turns out all the paperwork for these suspensions were just being filed away on a shelf and not processed. More than 1100 similar cases have been found since the accident.

                  The head of the Mass DMV resigned (good move but I doubt she had any knowledge of this)..

                  Now, how many DMV employees will be fired over this? How many layers of DMV management and staff didn’t care to do their jobs for years? I’m guessing there will be a lot of “early retirements” to latch onto the state pensions before they are incriminated.

                2. bud

                  I used to work at a fast food place. Some of the managers were really top notch. Many were just awful. As for the SCDOT. Really? It’s a complex place with many moving parts. The Director has to work with the General Assembly to get money to run the operation. It’s a tricky political environment that requires much skill. Much tougher than the Ford CEO who only has to sign off on shoddy cars hoping the inevitable law suits won’t be as expensive as fixing the safety problems. This has happened at least 3 times now with Ford (Pinto, Bronco, Focus) yet they are still in business.

                  Let’s face it, capitalism is a highly flawed way of doing things. That’s why some combination of capitalism and socialism is the best way. A sort of checks and balances approach. The extremes, pure capitalism (21st century Russia) or pure socialism (1950s Soviet Union) can never work.

                3. David T

                  It sounds to me like the Director of the SC DMV could run Ford, but not vice-versa. I hear they only hire the best of the best of SC state employees to work at the SC DMV.

                4. Barry

                  Bud,

                  Great example.

                  Wells Fargo keeps pumping out ineffective, incompetent buffoons as CEOs. It’s like their entire leadership team was built on liars who were intent on lying to and abusing customers with no repercussions except to resign with tens of millions in severance. . As soon as one gets pressure from the public eye and resigns, another twin steps up and does the same incompetent, lying job.

                5. David T

                  You know how you deal with bad CEO’s? Don’t use or buy their products. Don’t drive Fords and don’t bank at Well’s Fargo. Simple as that.

                6. Barry

                  But it’s not as simple as not banking at Wells Fargo. If you are a financial customer of any type or means, you are doing business with Wells Fargo in one fashion or another since they are neck deep in the investment products world.

                  It’s not as simple as not driving a Ford. You can be a passenger in a Ford vehicle or be hit by a Ford vehicle and suffer the consequences.

                  Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway

                  “The cars, many of which randomly lose power on freeways and have unexpectedly bolted into intersections”

                  https://www.freep.com/in-depth/money/cars/ford/2019/07/11/ford-focus-fiesta-transmission-defect/1671198001/

  11. Barry

    Curtis Loftis went nuts on Facebook regarding McMaster and USC. Of course he fully supports McMaster. (McMaster could shoot a grandma on Assembly St and Curtis would say she deserved it).

    He deleted his comments but he’s accusing students of being marxists and other name calling. He sounds like a mental case. Wow.

    My wife has actually met him a few times and worked with him a little on some economic based teaching issues. She had no idea he detests some of her now college students so much. Her days of working with him or over after reading his comments.

    Reply
    1. Phillip

      Yeah, the Loftis rant was really unbelievable. I was thinking about that today while attending the emergency meeting of the USC Faculty Senate, which is covered with a good photo that gives some sense of the attendance in this article.

      From the senate chairman through each speaker, and looking around me, all I saw was restrained comportment, measured words, no sense of “storm the barricades,” a desire for clarity of expression but keeping a cool head and trusting (perhaps futilely) in the powers of persuasion, of reasoned discourse. But the radicals, the angry ones, the ones itching to “settle a score,” are the ones in public office—the guy sitting in the State Treasurer’s Office is more wild-eyed than anybody in that room today. The Governor, behind his oh-so-genteel-gentlemanly Southern demeanor, is willing to throw his state university into turmoil and moreover to do so as sneakily as possible (until a court today at least temporarily put a hold on that), all to score political points with his Dear Leader and perhaps facilitate a ticket to Washington for himself and Gen. Caslen. And of course there is Trump himself, the angriest of all, firing off another series of unhinged tweets today touting his Stable Genius-ness.

      All I saw today in that room were a bunch of people very faithful to and trusting in and calling upon the processes of democracy, while those who seem most agitated and angry about the constraints of a democracy are these officeholders. State universities, public education, a free press…I fear we’re going to see more and more institutions of a functioning democracy under greater attack, rhetorical or beyond (Loftis wrote ominously in his FB rant about “moves to counter these elements”).

      Anyway, it was good to see that there was broad (over 200 faculty in attendance along with the faculty senate members) opposition to the process, and with the injunction against the meeting going forward perhaps there’s some small chance that cooler heads will prevail and that the search process can restart with a fresh slate.

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    2. Bill

      I took French classes with Curt back in high school.The French teacher was adorable and a former airline stewardess;most everybody else took Spanish or Latin cause they were easier,so I respected him for that…

      Reply
  12. Bill

    All this talk about immigration is making me HUNGRY! And they will leave off the cheese if you ask(although Queso Fresco is not that unhealthy)! Tell it,brother James:

    Reply
  13. Bill

    I would vote for Hillary,again,in a skinny minute.I had no idea how much people truly HATED and despised her.Comedian,Norm MacDonald said people hated her so much they voted for someone they hated even more(Trump),just to rub it in..;)
    Maybe someone besides Biden could win the next one(I doubt it),but with all his faults,I do LIKE him more than anyone else.None of the others seem that real to me;they’re more like media creations and caricatures of candidates,almost like Trump chose them himself…
    https://history.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/07/Marx-on-Capitalism.pdf

    Reply

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