Open Thread for Friday, March 20, 2020

The deli-meat wall at Walmart.

The deli-meat wall at Walmart.

A variety of things we can yammer about as we sit at home:

  1. The breakdown of our food distribution system? — Last night I tweeted the above picture from Walmart with the words, “The deli meats section at Walmart tonight. Every item, gone. This is insane, people. Cut it out…” I was actually getting kind of a creepy feeling walking around the store. No sugar. No rice (except in those microwaveable single-serving packs). What if our food distribution breaks down to where we actually can’t get what we need to eat? But in spite of the specter of imminent starvation, I had to smile when I got Mandy Powers Norrell’s reply to my tweet: “Food Lion in Lancaster didn’t have tofu vegetarian dumplings. I thought I was the only person who ate them.” I’d have thought she was the only one, too, in Lancaster anyway…
  2. Is selling off your stocks really the worst thing a person can do? — This is one of those things where I’m tone-deaf, because it’s about money. But I’ve had trouble getting shocked at Sen. Richard Burr selling off his stocks before the market tanked. Yeah, I get that he sort of had access to extra information, but anyone could have gotten a gut feeling any time this year, and dumped his stocks. But Tucker Carlson says “There is no greater moral crime…” Even if I grant that it’s wrong — and I suppose it is — I think I can think of some worse ones. What do y’all think?
  3. Judge approves $520 million settlement in Santee Cooper lawsuit — Remember when this would have been HUGE news? It was the third story down on an eblast yesterday from Columbia Regional Business Report. What was the top story? Here ya go: “Food truck owner serving barbecue, sense of normalcy.” I guess that sort of is a man-bites-dog story, right now. As for the Santee Cooper thing — I have to confess my eyes starting glazing over at these stories shortly after the nuclear plant project was abandoned in 2017.
  4. Kirsten to the rescue! — Did you see that Kirsten Gillibrand has stepped out on a limb and endorsed Joe Biden? Bryan Caskey tweeted that it was “Like Jeb Stuart showing up late at Gettysburg.” I replied “No, because Lee was actually DEPENDING on Stuart…” People stopped thinking about, much less expecting anything from, Sen. Gillibrand months ago.
  5. Tulsi shows Bernie how it’s done — See, Bernie? You just drop out, and endorse Joe. It’s easy. Yes, the Gabbard juggernaut has come to an end, despite the support she enjoyed from our good friend. I think Doug’s a little disappointed in her.
  6. Earworm of the Day: Elenore, by the Turtles — I’ve actually had this one stuck for a couple of days. Had to look it up. I learned that it was intended to be a bad song, a sarcastic reply to the record company execs who kept pestering the Turtles for another song like “Happy Together.” From Wikipedia: “The band recorded “Elenore” as a parody of the type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, but with deliberately clichéd and slapdash lyrics such as: “Your looks intoxicate me / Even though your folks hate me / There’s no one like you, Elenore, really’…” But as a joke, it failed. Turned out to be another hit.

13 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, March 20, 2020

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    In fairness to Tucker Carlson, his reaction to Burr’s action doesn’t sound so over-the-top when you see the whole quote (as opposed to what I quoted above from a headline): “There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis, and that appears to be what happened.”

    OK, when you put it that way…

    Also, David Leonhardt has explained it in a way that I better grasp the outrage:

    Given the disconnect between what they knew and the public’s understanding, Burr and Loeffler had an opportunity to sound the alarm. They could have broken ranks with other congressional Republicans and told the country to take the situation more seriously. They could have criticized Trump for not doing more. Such criticism, coming from Trump’s own party, would have received major attention. It would have had the potential to alter Trump administration policy and, by extension, the course the disease took.

    But Burr and Loeffler did virtually nothing to protect the health and safety of their constituents or of Americans in other states. (Burr went so far as to co-write an article for bragging about the country’s readiness.) Here’s what the two senators did instead: They sold large amounts of their personal stock holdings, cashing in before the market sharply declined, as the severity of the virus became apparent to everyone….

    And looking back, Carlson said almost those very same things.

    So I guess I’m now pretty outraged, too…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That speaks to my own particular form of blindness. For me, if it was said on TV, it’s like it didn’t happen. You have to put it in writing for me to take it in…

    2. Mark Stewart

      That’s the part that got me…that Burr would say he supported the administration’s approach – when he didn’t, and was instead selling his personal long positions in the market. Now if he bought sort or otherwise speculated on a steep downturn, he should be hung by this thumbs.

      It’s another reason why Congress should also have to place their holdings in blind trusts. Too much inside info is their’s to abuse.

    3. Barry

      tucker Carlson of Fox News went to Mar a Lago several weeks back to convince TRump to take the virus more seriously. Immediately after that conversation, Trump changed his tone, then others on Fox News started taking it more seriously, since they had been mostly dismissing it.

      trump takes orders from Fox and Fox takes orders from Trump. Nothing new about that.

  2. Bob Amundson

    “The Turtles” still exist and are currently touring; from Wikipedia: Flo & Eddie are a musical pop duo consisting of Mark Volman (Flo, short for “Phlorescent Leech”) and Howard Kaylan (Eddie). The two were the original founding members of the Top 40 rock group the Turtles. After the Turtles dissolved, Volman and Kaylan first joined the Mothers of Invention as Phlorescent Leech & Eddie. Contractual restrictions imposed early in their career prevented Volman and Kaylan from using the name “the Turtles”, as well as their own names, in a musical context.

    So the Elenore story is interesting, for sure, but not much of a surprise since they played with Zappa.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, Flo & Eddie is how I came to this.

      I think it was on Spotify that I ran across “Elenore.” It said I was listening to “Flo & Eddie.” And I thought, “That’s not right.”

      So I started digging around, and found the story you relate above. Same guys.

      I guess by joining the Mothers they finally achieved their dream of producing recordings that were not commercially viable.

      Imagine that. Feeling trapped in financial success and popularity, and having to go out of your way to run from it.

      I wish I could write a song as a joke, and have it bring me millions…

      When I post something ironically, people are all like, “What’s wrong with you?…”

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oops, I forgot two other stories I meant to include:

    1. Nikki Haley quits Boeing board — I have two things to say about this: First, I guess Nikki, really, really believes in her principle that the gummint shouldn’t be bailing out private businesses. I’m impressed. Second, I’ll be happy to take her place on the board. I consider Boeing to be a vital part of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. I’ve never been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend seven meetings a year, but I think I could get used to it.
    2. David Beasley has the coronavirus — I was sorry to see this last night. Here’s a statement he put out about it. Here’s hoping and praying you get better soon, governor!
    1. Mark Stewart

      I wonder what Haley thinks of Trump’s comments that government ought to take stakes in companies needing assistance?

      Socialism – figures in hindsight Trump would rant about that which he does.

      1. Barry

        I want to hear Nikki say she disagrees with Trump and the Trump administration.

        Maybe she’ll just stick to disagrees with Boeing.

        Of ourselves if this pays off and the economy bounces back fast, Nikki might look pretty bad.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      David Beasley was part of a stress dream I had a couple of nights ago — one of a couple such dreams in a row the same night.

      He didn’t actually make an appearance, but the stress had to do with him.

      Are y’all familiar with Legislative Manuals? Those slick, thick little books the Legislature publishes every year, full of info about our lawmakers and the rest of state government?

      Well, in the alternative universe of my dream, it seems that the state also publishes a similar book that is a record of each governor’s time in office. Why, I do not know.

      But anyway, somehow it had fallen to me to edit the copy for the book about David Beasley’s four years in office.

      And of course, because of the kind of dream it was, I had nothing but problems. Mainly I kept losing the manuscript — which was a hard copy, for whatever reason — and most of the dream was about going to people and asking, “Have you seen a folder that look like, yadda-yadda?”


      1. Barry

        I use to have several of those manuals when I was a Page at the statehouse. Had to basically memorize parts of it.

  4. Barry

    Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been charged with a herculean task: trying to keep President Trump’s public statements about the novel virus rooted in fact.

    When asked Sunday by Science magazine’s Jon Cohen about having to stand in front of the nation as “the representative of truth and facts” when “things are being said that aren’t true and aren’t factual,” the 79-year-old said there is only so much he can do.

    “I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,” Fauci said, referencing Trump. “Okay, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time.”


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