Open Thread for Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Parker-Mustian

Yes, I’m back from vacation.

While I was gone, there was of course the Democratic debates, which were tiresome and off-putting. I can’t wait to see this nomination process come to an (successful, I hope) end.

Talk of that was swept away over the weekend by violence in Texas and Ohio, and threatened violence here at home.

To plunge in:

  1. Mass murder in Texas and Ohio — Again, the horror sweeps the nation. And again, our political system will prove itself completely incapable of reducing the risk of such incidents in the future. The utter futility is reflective of the soul-sickness in our country. It’s related to why Trump is president. It’s related to why I can hardly bear to watch these debates. There’s so much foolishness, and so little rational action. American government, and American politics, is stricken with an impotence, accompanied by pointless sound and fury. It didn’t used to be like this — and I know that sets off some of you, who simply don’t recall when the nation actually used to rise up and deal with problems when they confronted us. You’re wrong, but I’ve learned I won’t convince you of that. Anyway… will we ever snap out of this, and what will it take?
  2. Threatened violence, and real racial hatred, here at home — There’s the public conversation, which talks about what this former Cardinal Newman student did and threatened to do, and what the school and law enforcement did and didn’t do about it — a circumscribed conversation, limited in the MSM by the longstanding prohibition against identifying minors. Then there’s the sort of sub rosa conversation, in which everyone knows who he is and who his family is, and lots of talk reflects the reverberations of all that. Setting the gossip aside, let me raise a question that addresses the heart of this: I’ve seen a suggestion that what this boy was doing was simply trying to win a competition among his peers to see who could be the most outrageous. Which is more shocking: The threatened violence, or the fact that our society is so sick that children could conceive of such a competition?

You know what? That’s all I’m going to post for now. Somehow I find myself not as interested in utterly unnecessary, manufactured trade wars with China or whatever. But y’all can bring up whatever you like.

Where I was last week. It was crowded this day, but mostly pleasant the rest of the time.

Where I was last week. It was crowded this day, but mostly pleasant the rest of the time.

90 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, August 6, 2019

  1. Karen Pearson

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not that the Republicans are racist, but that more and more the racists are claiming the republican party. Trump spews a mix of overt racism and dog whistles. Lots of people claim that they aren’t racist (some of my best friends…) but demonstrate that they indeed determined to hold on to white privilege. These people, I think, are claiming the republican party.

    Reply
    1. Bill

      And the Republican party,at every level,does nothing to discourage them.By association and complicity,they’ve all become extremists.This can’t be sustained much longer.They’ve bet all their money on the wrong guy.Looks like the end of the GOP…Good riddance!

      Reply
      1. Karen Pearson

        That’s just it: They’re joining; others are at least complicit by their silence. Meanwhile, good responsible people are leaving the GOP.

        Reply
  2. Doug Ross

    As horrible as the Cardinal Newman videos were, it is just as horrible how that kid’s status (prominent attorney father and Republican kingmaker grandfather) more than likely gave him more privilege than he deserved. Allowed to remove himself from school versus being expelled, having the story kept under wraps for weeks… and not naming him. A 16 year old with guns and a desire to show off his stupidity doesn’t deserve anonymity. I’m glad Will Folks has taken the lead on exposing who he is and who is family is.

    As for the tragedies in Texas and Ohio, it has nothing to do with Trump’s language. There are sick people out there — Sandy Hook and Pulse Nightclub murders have the second and third highest death tolls — and Obama didn’t have the political power or will to change anything.

    If you think we need more gun laws and think that will have any effect on reducing the willingness of sick people with criminal intent from accessing guns, go for it. But access to guns isn’t solely Trump’s fault. Blame Trump. McConnel, Pelosi , Schumer and Obama and Biden too while you’re at it. Congress makes the laws and it;s the career politicians on both sides who don’t care. They are unwilling to do anything but talk.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug, I know you don’t believe in the power of words. You don’t believe that having the president of the United States — the most powerful person in the world — say things that encourage you to believe that your hatefulness is NOT weird or bad or marginal can affect the thinking of a twisted person.

      But you are 100 percent wrong. NOTHING is more likely to cause an extreme idea to blossom into action than validation from such a source.

      Is it JUST Trump? Of course not. It’s the many horrific social trends that PRODUCED Trump, including the darker corners of social media. For the first time in human history, the one-in-a-million hateful nut who would previously have never encountered anyone like himself can find 100 others like him online, and feel encouraged to live out his hatefulness. In the past, he would be far more likely to repress his darker urges, and keep them to himself.

      I used to have to tell normal, decent people — such as my wife and friends who never encountered such people — that these people were out there. I knew it full well because I was a newspaper editor, and we attracted people who sent anonymous hate mail and left venomous phone messages. Now, with social media, everyone can see them. And they can see each other. And they draw encouragement from that.

      But that’s nothing compared to being encouraged from the White House itself. As was noted in this piece in National Review yesterday, “Think of the thrills, energy, and inspiration they’ve experienced from the highest office in the land — and from parts of the most popular cable network in the land — since Trump came down the escalator in 2015.” It’s powerful stuff.

      I’m sorry you can’t see it. But it’s real…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Now do the Spanish Inquisition.

        Evil exists in the world. It’s not top down, it’s bottom up. Obama talked about hope and change and didn’t stop Sandy Hook. He also didn’t do anything to address gun laws for eight years. I’d have preferred action over words.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          The Dayton shooter was expelled from high school in 2012 for having a rape list and a kill list. I’m pretty sure Trump on the Apprentice didn’t influence him.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Uh-huh.

            Doug, I tell you something, and you “disprove” what I say by making some point that has zero bearing on what I said.

            There is no barrier to communication greater than that between and S and an N.

            There’s no way for me to get a point across to you when you believe, deep down, that words are “just words…”

            Reply
            1. Harry Harris

              Obama used 23 executive orders to control gun violence including mental health, background checks, and information gathering despite Congress-mandated restrictions on collecting information. Congress prevented him from going very far.
              Your argument here reminds me of the talk of “Obama’s economy.” After the recovery act (stimulus) and the ACA of 2009, he was able to do almost nothing on taxes and spending because of a lock-step approach by Republicans after January 2010. The Fed was the only ally he had in stimulating growth while narrowing the deficit from January 2010 until he left office. Prez Trump is finding out how little a President can do legislatively when opposed by a dug-in opposition party. Anything he gets from now on will come at the cost of a pound or two of flesh.

              Reply
            2. Scout

              Then I guess we aren’t accomplishing anything here, since all we’ve got are words. I guess we should just stop communicating. No more emails, texts, phone calls, tweets, social media posts, internet comments, letters, or conversations. After all, they are just words. And words accomplish nothing. Words have no value. Let’s just revert in our evolution back to Apes. Apparently, in the world of Doug, language is not necessary.

              For someone who does not value words, you certainly post here a lot with words.

              Reply
        2. Bill

          The force of evil plans
          To make you its possession
          And it will if we let it
          Destroy ev-er-y-body
          We all must take
          Precautionary measures
          If love and peace you treasure
          Then you’ll hear me when I say
          Oh that
          Love’s in need of love today
          Don’t delay
          Send yours in right away

          Hate’s goin’ round
          Breaking many hearts
          Stop it please
          Before it’s gone too far……

          Reply
          1. David T

            What exactly is your point by posting song lyrics and video after video? I find it incredibly annoying. Say something useful or move on to the next comment if you don’t have anything constructive to say.

            Reply
            1. Scout

              Are you the arbiter of what is useful? There usually is a tie-in in the lyrics he posts. If you don’t see the relevance, does that mean it’s not there for someone else? You could skip over it.

              Reply
        3. Barry

          Nah. OBama tried hard. The GOP wouldn’t go along.

          I still remember him crying at the podium in January 2016 talk8ng about the issue

          “In April 2013, as Sandy Hook parents looked on from the gallery, Senate Republicans ensured that a modest, bipartisan bill to expand background checks did not pass.

          The bill, put forward by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, failed in part due to pressure from the National Rifle Association.”

          https://www.businessinsider.com/why-obama-faced-relentless-opposition-gun-reform-after-sandy-hook-2019-8

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            He should have tried harder instead of giving up. If it is important, you don’t stop trying. He had the bully pulpit. He followed the Democratic motto of “move on”.

            Reply
            1. Barry

              Your dumb argument is dumber than usual.

              He didn’t quit. He tried numerous times until the end of his presidency.

              Why haven’t you cured cancer Doug? Don’t you care? Try harder Doug and don’t be a quitter.

              Reply
              1. David T

                More importantly why haven’t you cured cancer Barry? Don’t care or just waiting for Joe Biden to do it for you?

                Reply
              2. Doug Ross

                Barry – when I say I will do something, I do it. That’s the difference between me and Obama. He said a lot of stuff about what he was going to do and didn’t really do any of it. His signature accomplishment was a mediocre, poorly implemented insurance plan that even most Democratic candidates want to scrap.

                Reply
    2. Scout

      Hate crimes have increased significantly since Trump began his campaign in June 2015. According to FBI statistics, 5% increase from 2015 to 2016 and 17% increase from 2016 to 2017. 2018 FBI data has not been released yet, but the rise continues to be documented.

      Coincidence?

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        So they also have increased since Hillary called a large portion of Americans “deplorables”. Words matter.

        Reply
        1. Scout

          Good point.

          Lets look at it further.

          We have one statement one time vs. many many repeated statements legitimizing and encouraging and validating the idea that certain people are undesirable and that violence against them is ok.

          I suspect the repeated statements by the person who is actually the leader of our country vs. one statement one time by a person who was/is not would have more effect.

          But technically it’s true. Her words also could have had an effect.

          So we are agreed then. Words matter.

          You pointed out on another post that there are sick people out there with bad intentions. Cultural norms are one factor that can hold those people in check. When the President of the United States changes the norms by suggesting and legitimizing that violence against certain groups is ok, it has an effect. These people may be outliers in their willingness or desire to act on their feelings, but we have moved from a time when they are isolated and made to feel that what they want to do is not acceptable to a time when the President of the United States says its OK and they watch crowds of people cheer about that. They think not only am I not alone in this but the President thinks its ok to do.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            We also have had non-stop words about white supremacists, racists, misogynists, etc. as labels for anyone who voted for Trump. On a daily basis, my Twitter feed is saturated with people cursing Trump in the harshest way possible. The number of people on the left who have been in a constant state of outrage since 2016 is significant. Few people on the left ever call out people like Kathy Griffin, Bette Midler, Whoopie Goldberg, etc. for their hatred and divisiveness. That outrage has also become a cultural norm that feeds into the overall tension level.

            For example, this is what Rashia Tlaib said at an event a couple weeks ago:

            ““We’re going to impeach the MF’er, don’t worry!” she said to huge applause at Netroots Nation, echoing a line from January that drew criticism for its profanity.”

            Did anyone condemn her for her inflammatory language?

            Reply
            1. Scout

              I would agree that the level of civil discourse in our country is abysmal and that that comes from all sides. I would agree that encouraging divisiveness happens on all sides. I hate that.

              I would not agree that encouraging impeachment of one person who there are legitimate concerns about in any way compares with encouraging violence against a whole group of people, even if profanity was unnecessarily used.

              Hatred and divisiveness are not good, but it does not compare with openly encouraging violence. I’m not aware of anybody on either side openly encouraging violence, except the President.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Have you heard of Antifa? Do you believe they are a peace seeking organization?

                Did you see Kathy Griffin with Trump’s severed head? Was that just a joke so no big deal? She’s now back and bigger than ever with the liberal crowd because she’s learned that outrage pays the bills.

                Did you see that the Dayton shooter was anti-Trump and tweeted about hoping everyone from Joe Biden’s generation would die? If we are to assign Trump the blame for El Paso, can we assign Dayton’s deaths to Democrats?

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Is “Antifa” the president of the United States? Is this Kathy Griffin anything other than a comedian desperate for attention?

                  Are they some sort of counterparts to Trump, equal in status and effect on the country?

                  Oh, Lord preserve us from “what about” arguments.

                  But I want to thank you for sparing us a “What about Hillary Clinton?” version. You know, “Oh, you think Trump’s bad? Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!

                  There is no action that some minor character on some hypothetical “other side” can take that matches what a POTUS, any POTUS, does or says. As George Will wrote this week, “Trump doesn’t just pollute the social environment with hate. He is the environment.

                2. bud

                  Non-sequiturs. Kathy Griffin is a comedian who ultimately walked back her comments. Not just apples to oranges but apples to microwave ovens. It’s interesting how Antifa keeps coming up. This is a group who is fired up by Trump’s rhetoric. Seems like if they are committing more violent acts because of the President’s words that actually supports the Trump-is-to-blame argument, not an argument against it. But I’m a numbers guy and the numbers on this don’t lie. Trump’s rhetoric is highly correlated to the rise in hate crimes. Therefore Trump is partially responsible.

                3. Scout

                  Yes, there are organizations that promote violence on both sides of the aisle, but we were discussing how public figures influence the actions of outliers by validating and legitimizing violence through their words.

                  Kathy Griffin didn’t even use words so I’m not sure her actions are relevant here. I think she meant it as a joke. It was not a good one and I personally don’t like it or excuse it. But I also don’t think she was trying to encourage violence in others. She certainly didn’t verbally encourage violent actions against a whole group of people, like the President has done, which is what we were discussing.

                  Show me where any elected official besides the President has done this.

                  “Did you see that the Dayton shooter was anti-Trump and tweeted about hoping everyone from Joe Biden’s generation would die? If we are to assign Trump the blame for El Paso, can we assign Dayton’s deaths to Democrats?”

                  Your logic doesn’t follow. In the El Paso case – the President made comments about a certain group of people and when asked if violence against them should be used, he laughed, made a joke, and did not discourage it. Then someone sharing negative feelings toward this group went out and was violent toward that group.

                  In the Dayton case – someone who has a documented obsession with violence and mass shootings committed a mass shooting in an entertainment district at 1:00 am. Did I miss where a Democrat made a public statement suggesting that people in bars at 1:00 am are bad and didn’t discourage it when someone suggested violence against them?

                  The dots don’t connect.

                  It’s pretty clear that people with violent tendencies, who hopefully are outliers, can have all kind of beliefs – they exist on the left and the right. But we were discussing how the words of public officials influence them to act on their feelings or not. Democrats have not made public statements encouraging violence. Republicans haven’t really either – just the President.

                  I don’t know if the President actually wants to incite violence. I would hope not. But he absolutely is irresponsible in his use of words and there are consequences whether he intends them or not.

                4. David T

                  ” Kathy Griffin is a comedian who ultimately walked back her comments. ”

                  Only after she slipped from a D-List celebrity to a Z-List celebrity.

                5. Doug Ross

                  Congressman Joaquin Castro (brother of Julian Castro) has been tweeting out the names and occupations of Trump donors in Texas. Now, if one of those donors happens to be harmed by a crazed Antifa lunatic, should Castro be held responsible?

                  Both sides are filled with horrible people.

                  Personally, I don’t take the words of any President as a directive. They are politicians first and foremost. Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton.. why would anyone care what they say?

                6. Doug Ross

                  Congresswoman Maxine Waters advocating confronting Cabinet members in public:

                  “Cabinet members who defend him are “not going to be able to go to a restaurant, stop at a gas station, shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president: ’No … this is wrong, this is unconscionable; we can’t keep doing this to children.’”

                  Waters called on protesters in Los Angeles to keep the pressure up. “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” she urged. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

                7. Barry

                  “Personally, I don’t take the words of any President as a directive. They are politicians first and foremost. Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton.. why would anyone care what they say?”

                  This isn’t about you Doug. What you take is irrelevant.

                8. Doug Ross

                  I know. It’s about lemmings who are spoon-fed their thoughts. Just like you can’t legislate morality, you can’t stop stupid.

        2. Harry Harris

          You mean distorted words. She foolishly gave Republicans another talking point when she said there was a small portion of Trump’s supporters who were “deplorables” and that the rest were able to be reached by her campaign. It was distorted and misused, and her campaign was too inept to counter it. Their response to every lie, distortion, and attack was to point out what a reprehensible jerk Trump was – which his supporters had already given him a pass on. They still do.

          Reply
      2. bud

        Since the infamous escalator ride hate crimes have indeed increased. There is a connection whether people want to see it or not.

        Reply
        1. Bill

          From SPLC:

          The number of hate groups operating across America rose to a record high – 1,020 – in 2018 as President Trump continued to fan the flames of white resentment over immigration and the country’s changing demographics.

          It was the fourth straight year of hate group growth – a 30 percent increase roughly coinciding with Trump’s campaign and presidency – following three consecutive years of decline near the end of the Obama administration.

          Reply
    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, one more thing I should have said, that occurred to me later yesterday when I was driving and not at a computer….

      You’ll note that I said nothing about Trump in this post. I wasn’t interested in talking about him with regard to this. But I couldn’t let a blanket, ones-and-zeroes assertion such as “it has nothing to do with Trump’s language” go by.

      There’s no way I could sit still for that “nothing”…

      Reply
    4. David T

      Word is the punk is now enrolled at Brookland Cayce.

      Just another example of those in power being treated with kid gloves. Like the drunk teenager who was driving the boat and killed another teenage girl. No field sobriety test, no mugshot wearing prison uniforms, not locked up in jail but was allowed to sit in the hallway. I guess it helps when your family members have been the county judge for the past two generations.

      Reply
  3. bud

    July was the hottest month on record for planet earth. Other issues besides global warming are pretty unimportant by comparison.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, they’re not.

      Don’t misunderstand me. Global climate change is important. It’s huge, and demands action. But sometimes people try a little TOO hard to sell its importance, and saying “other issues… are pretty unimportant by comparison” is a case of exaggerating to the point that people are likely to tune you out.

      Want me to provide an example of something that’s a more immediate threat? OK. Here’s one I ran across just today in Foreign Affairs, a piece co-written by Sam Nunn: “The Return of Doomsday: The New Nuclear Arms Race—and How Washington and Moscow Can Stop It.”

      Nukes are still out there, folks. They didn’t magically disappear when the Wall came down. (The serious Wall, not Trump’s “wall.”) Press a few buttons, and you can have a more dramatic, more destructive effect on the human race in a few minutes than climate change can accomplish in a century…

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And that’s one reason why I tend to be fatalistic about any likely gun control having an effect.

          We are nowhere NEAR ever doing the thing that gun owners claim they fear: rounding up the guns.

          But let’s suppose we were. Let’s suppose the legal and political climate in this country changed to where we actually decided to round up most guns and destroy them — which is beyond my imagination, but let’s say we did.

          Say we rounded up and destroyed 75 percent of guns held by civilians, just to pick an impossible number. (Even if the political resistance to such action disappeared — which we know isn’t going to happen — that would be a surprisingly efficient roundup of anything…)

          That would still leave almost 100 million floating around out there.

          Mass shootings would still happen. It’s an economics problem, an arithmetic problem. There are just so many of them…

          Reply
            1. Bill

              Cain slew Abel
              Seth knew not why
              For if the children of Israel were to multiply
              Why must any of the children die?
              So he asked the Lord
              And the Lord said:
              Man means nothing he means less to me
              Than the lowliest cactus flower
              Or the humblest Yucca tree
              He chases round this desert
              Cause he thinks that’s where I’ll be
              That’s why I love mankind
              I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
              From the squalor and the filth and the misery
              How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
              That’s why I love mankind
              The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
              The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
              They picked their four greatest priests
              And they began to speak
              They said, “Lord, a plague is on the world
              Lord, no man is free
              The temples that we built to you
              Have tumbled into the sea
              Lord, if you won’t take care of us
              Won’t you please, please let us be?”
              And the Lord said
              And the Lord said
              I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
              I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
              You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
              That’s why I love mankind

              You really need me
              That’s why I love mankind

              Reply
              1. David T

                Brad why do you allow this idiot to just post crap on your blog? He hasn’t said a single word of his own in weeks, all he does is copy and paste song lyrics and insert YouTube videos.

                Reply
            2. Barry

              Nah. Other countries aren’t all moral. Most countries do not have this problem like America does.

              It’s also millions of guns.

              Reply
          1. Barry

            Nothing will happen on gun control until much worse gun massacres happen, likely having to – tragically- involve prominent people. Sadly, that will eventually happen as this problem is growing and will continue to grow.

            I was telling my wife this week that it would likely have to be 100 or 200 young children , including some family members of prominent legislators for anything to happen.

            That would get their attention. Regular Americans getting killed via gun violence or mass shootings doesn’t matter to them.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              Whatever is done won’t alter future outcomes. You can’t legislate morality. It’s likely that every one of these young men who decided to kill people had family members who knew they had problems for quite awhile but did not take the difficult steps to deal with them. The Sandy Hook killer used his mother’s rifle and ten 30 round magazines. The kid was mentally ill and demonstrated behaviors that should have raised a bunch of red flags long before he flipped out.

              Whatever is attempted will be a band aid solution filled with loopholes and complicated regulations that will likely face legal challenges that go to the Supreme Court.

              Reply
      1. bud

        Press a few buttons, and you can have a more dramatic, more destructive effect on the human race in a few minutes than climate change can accomplish in a century…
        -Brad

        You only say that because you don’t actually understand how bad it can get. Once we reach a tipping point where we can no longer grow food, humanity dies out. Even with a nuclear exchange people will likely survive. I don’t think the “On the Beach” version of the aftermath of nuclear war is accurate.

        Reply
        1. bud

          People have this fantasy version of how global warming will unfold. Perhaps winters in Chicago will be milder and you’ll be able to enjoy beach front property in Conway. Instead that will just be the start. Ultimately the polar ice caps will completely melt and there will be zero arable land. Humans will die in mass which will in turn make the nuclear exchange more likely. We must address this issue NOW. It’s no exaggeration to suggest the fate of humanity is at stake. It really is.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            What would you recommend, bud, that would restore the climate to your ideal state? or even slow the inevitable?

            What have you done personally to alter your behaviors that contribute to climate change?

            Reply
            1. bud

              The king of the non-sequitur strikes again! Ok, I’ll play. I walk more, much more rather than drive. I also eat less meat. Probably should do more but that really isn’t the point now is it? Whether I’m a hypocrite on the issue or not is irrelevant. What’s important is whether the problem exists, how serious it is and what can be done about it.

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                It is EXACTLY the point. You will moan about politicians not fixing climate change (i.e. spend trillions of dollars) but aren’t really super committed to the cause if it actually hurts you personally. Fine with killing off certain industries wholesale… fine with blowing out the deficits further to pay for something that likely won’t accomplish anything…

                But not fine with turning off your AC for the summer or giving up all meat or voluntarily paying carbon tax credits…. let’s see some commitment if this is really the greatest threat to mankind.

                Reply
                1. bud

                  Doug you really don’t make sense with greater and greater frequency. My giving up AC won’t solve the very real problem of global warming any more than you forking over your entire income to the federal government will eliminate the national debt. So your point is really pointless. But you are right about one thing I do want some industries killed off, coal for instance. Pretty hostile to mankind right now.

                2. Doug Ross

                  The world is ending but bud is living cool at 68 degrees.

                  How much money have you donated to climate change focused candidates?

                3. David T

                  Okay people are setting their thermostats higher and buying cloth shopping bags. Now how does that offset anything that countries like India and China are dumping into the environment? Throw in clear cutting of the rain forest which is natures air filter. I’m no tree hugger but man is screwing up this planet faster than anyone could have envisioned and some countries are just too dumb to realize it. I’m a firm believer in Mother Nature, at some point she’ll have enough and just get rid of us, her version of flushing the toilet. Humans are just a blip on the screen of the planet’s history. I believe we’re on the downward slope of the bell curve.

              2. Barry

                Actually, I have made a lot of changes at my house. I purchased a vehicle with much better fuel economy. I use ceiling fans and set my AC on 78/79 compared to 72-73 just 5-7 years ago.

                I reuse bottles and many items in my home.

                I made some landscaping changes around my home to more natural methods so that I don’t have to cut as much grass (wasting gas, oil, etc) and to help with soil erosion and run-off. I also use compost instead of fertilizers.

                It’s not much but I try hard and I am learning about other ways all the time.

                Reply
                1. bud

                  I bought a battery powered mower and never fertilize the grass. Also, I never buy anything from Amazon. I buy local whenever possible and I certainly don’t keep my thermostat at 68 degrees except in the winter. I hardly ever fly and when I drive it’s one of my 2 small cars. Next I’ll buy a big cloth bag for groceries. No more plastic water bottles. My carbon footprint could certainly be smaller and it will be going forward.

                  But there needs to be more at the federal level to support international agreements and quit subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Thanks to AOC and others this is getting a bit more attention now. We need to act before it’s too late regardless of budget implications or the loss of a few wasteful industries.

                2. Barry

                  Its not much, true. But it’s something and if everyone did a few things, it would matter more.

                  However, I can only control myself and that’s what I try to do. I also try to do more and more each year. I’m buying about 30% less gas than I did just a few years ago. I plan on decreasing my gas and electric use even more.

                  I had rather take that approach than Doug’s perpetually negative approach. That’s truly pointless.

                3. Doug Ross

                  There isn’t a single person who actually knows me who would ever use the term negative to describe my outlook on life. What you call negative, I call holding people responsible for backing up their words. If someone says the world is ending due to climate change, then I’d expect them to do more than trivial actions that anyone can do. It’s all talk about what the government should do…

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Doug, I realize all that you say is colored by your libertarianism, but get real. An individual can try until he kills himself, and have no measurable effect on climate change. Nations — all of them, in fact, because no nation can do it alone (although ours can do more than any other) can actually solve the problem. It takes huge, concerted, COLLECTIVE (there’s that word libertarians hate) action to have a real effect.

                  The sort of thing that, you know, governments do…

      2. bud

        Sam Nunn?? That old fossil is still around? I counted NATO 10 times in the free part of the article. Absent NATO this scenario wouldn’t happen. Time to disband that anachronism.

        Reply
  4. Doug Ross

    Here’s the background on the Dayton shooter. Please tell me how this is connected to Donald Trump:
    From CNN:

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/05/us/connor-betts-dayton-shooting-profile/index.html

    “Former high school classmates said that he had a “hit list” of people he wanted to kill or rape. He was in a “pornogrind” band with extremely graphic, violent lyrics. And authorities searching his family home found writings that expressed an interest in killing people, two law enforcement sources told CNN. But the writings did not indicate any racial or political motive, sources said. In addition, a Twitter account that appears to belong to Betts retweeted extreme left-wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters. The most recent tweet on the @iamthespookster account was on August 3, the day of the shooting, when he retweeted a post saying, “Millenials have a message for the Joe Biden generation: hurry up and die.” The user’s Twitter bio reads: “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / I’m going to hell and I’m not coming back.” One tweet used the hashtag #HailSatan

    Stop being spoonfed a narrative. This isn’t about Trump, it’s about messed up people.

    Reply
    1. Scout

      This case appears to be less about Trump’s hate-mongering than the other one. But it exposes his hypocrisy on mental illness and guns. Of course right now in the moment when it is expedient he’s all about doing something about mental illness and guns. But he signed a bill that removed restrictions on some people with mental impairments being able to acquire guns early in his presidency. And he has worked hard to dismantle Obamacare which requires plans to cover mental illness treatment. His attempt to put work requirements on medicaid recipients means that people who can’t work due to mental illness will lose their medicaid and thus, lose access to treatment for their mental illness. His allowing cheaper plans that aren’t required to cover all the things that Obamacare required means many people now no longer have coverage for mental health that would have had under Obamacare plans.

      It does not seem like he actually cares about Mental Health.

      Reply
  5. Bill

    Speaking of peace,love,understanding,and men who color their hair a baby poop yellow,what’s so funny about that?

    Reply
  6. David T

    Anyone get their SCANA/Dominion refund settlement check yet? On Fits he showed two checks, one lady got one for 50 cents and another for 16 cents.

    Reply
  7. Scout

    It’s all in how you define mass shooting. It’s true that just any incident where 4 or more people are shot
    but not killed (your list) does not often make National news.

    Here’s the list, so you can parse the details yourself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2019#cite_note-115

    Looks to me like the ones that get coverage are usually incidents where the victims actually died, usually more than 4, and its a case where the shooter has gone to a location and shoots indiscriminately for some unknown reason. Most on this list do not rise to that level of out-of-the-ordinariness and I would guess that is why they are not covered – they are more local news stories related to common crime – tragic to be sure, but not National news. Our local tv news is filled with these stories. I see them – do you not?

    The ones that don’t get national coverage appear to be more murder/suicides, fights between two parties, or part of other crimes.

    Shooters that go to a location and shoot indiscriminately for unknown reasons killing multiple people are the ones that get covered. For whatever reason, they often tend to be white guys with assault rifles.

    Reply
  8. Mr. Smith

    Americans are becoming parodies of themselves. American politics is becoming a caricature of real politics.

    Reply
  9. Doug Ross

    How about a new topic…

    Here’s a link to Brad’s post about all the politicians and local groups that supported the Penny Tax Project:

    http://www.bradwarthen.com/2012/10/lott-others-endorse-yes-vote-on-the-penny/

    Leon Lott, Mayor Benjamin, and other cheerleaders sang the praises of “just a penny”. Here’s what the Mayor had to say:

    ““Those who oppose this initiative say it costs too much. But it’s a no vote that costs too much,” said Benjamin. “It would mean the loss of over 16,500 new jobs and billions in new investments. It would mean continuing to pay the terrible cost of having the second most dangerous roads in the state. It would cost our community millions in federal matching funds for transforming our bus system. It would lead to fees that would cost our families twice as much as The Penny. It would put the entire burden of transportation costs on Richland County residents, rather than letting folks from outside share the load.””

    So, now, 7 years later, HOW WE DOING EVERYBODY? Are all those cheerleaders still onboard? Are you all proud of the wonderful things the penny tax has accomplished in such an efficient, cost effective, ethical manner?

    Kevin Fisher from the Free Times has his take:

    https://www.postandcourier.com/free-times/opinion/citywatch/citywatch-elected-officials-should-vote-or-vanish/article_47590fd0-b88b-11e9-8881-2bf769d7dc60.html

    “From the beginning (the bungled 2012 referendum) to the present (Richland County Council’s vote last week to demand documents from the program contractor that both Council and the public should already have), the transportation penny program has been more of a plug nickel.
    Indeed, the overriding question about the whole putrid, political public funds mess — from voting on it to implementing it — has been whether the penny tax debacle is a result of incompetence, corruption or both.
    That’s not much of a choice for Richland County residents who pay the penny transportation tax every day on everything they buy, is it? But that’s the reality.

    Incompetence, corruption or both? Maybe we should go ahead and adopt that as the county slogan.”

    Opponents to the tax saw this coming all along. Richland County has ZERO track record for doing anything on time, on budget, and without handing over piles of cash to well connected people.

    But mark my words.. the next time the County needs some money, the same cheerleaders will get out there lying about jobs and dire consequences of not raising taxes… then disappear when the results don’t match the hype.

    Did we keep the 16,500 jobs Benjamin invented? Did we retain the “billions” in investments he talked about (if so, where are they)? Are the roads a lot better now?

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      And how are we doing on paving the hundreds of dirt roads Lott warned us about? “When sheriff’s deputies and ambulances can’t get down a dirt road because it’s turned to mud, people can die.”

      How many hundreds of dirt roads have been paved in 7 years? Is it more than 200? That would qualify as hundreds, right? Anyone got a list?

      Reply
  10. Phillip

    About the Cardinal Newman kid. I can’t believe the coverage I’m reading, or rather, NOT reading. OK so there’s this idea that he didn’t really mean what he was saying in the videos, just trying to be shocking for shocking’s sake…OK maybe yes, maybe no. But nobody is talking about the guns!!! It’s just stated very casually in the State that “multiple guns were confiscated, including semi-automatic weapons, pistols and at least one shotgun.” Elsewhere I saw the count at 20 guns.

    This is just shrugged off as, I guess, normal in SC. Did the kid amass these guns himself? Are they the parents’ weapons? Who needs 20 guns? The combination of racist vitriol backed by massive firepower is very disturbing.

    Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What question would you ask?

        Seriously, you’re a reporter, notebook in hand, and you’re standing in front of them. What question would you ask about the guns, that would somehow get at something that would make Phillip feel better?

        What I want to know is more questions for the authorities than for his family. A couple of days ago, it was reported that law enforcement wouldn’t confirm whether the boy was in custody or not. Say WHAT?…

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Questions:

          1) How did your son obtain the guns he used in the video? Were you aware that he had them?

          2) What are you doing as parents/grandparents to address his behavior? Will you send him to counseling? Will you prevent him from possessing a gun at least until he is 18 or 21?

          3) Do you think your son was just trying to be provocative with his friends? Are you limiting his access to that group of friends?

          4) Did you use your status in the community/political world to get special treatment that allowed your son to withdraw versus be expelled? If so, why do you think you warrant that special treatment?

          Or we could just ask them to publicly admit their son did a terrible thing and it has embarrassed the entire family. Maybe a little bit of public humiliation will alter their parenting behavior. Although it’s more likely they will get this all pushed aside using their influence and the kid will travel along the path of getting into the college they want him to attend, the right fraternity, then law school, then a job with some local law firm connected to the family. There will probably be some more incidents that will have to be covered up until he actually kills someone. It’s the Kennedy game plan.

          Reply
  11. Pingback: Scoppe: Why you need to watch the racist videos from a Columbia 16-year-old | City of Charleston

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