I was struck by the fact that none of the reports so far have mentioned that Joe is not just the brother of a politician. Joe himself served in the Legislature a few years back. He briefly held a House seat — I want to say just one term — before being defeated for re-election by Joel Lourie in 1998.
He represented District 78, the same seat held today by Beth Bernstein.
I wasn’t positive at first that he was the McMaster brother who held the House seat until I saw the mug shot released by the county jail, and thought, yep, that’s Joe. A little worse for wear, mind you, but that’s Joe. (In his defense, I should probably say what the character Ives said when a German remarked negatively on a POW ID photo of him: “I’d like to see one of you under similar circumstances.”)
Anyway, I thought that detail was worth taking note of…
But I like to find fault with the people who still get paid to work for newspapers (especially prestige publications such as the NYT), and don’t do the job as well as I would in their place. Which is not a trait I’m proud of, but what are you gonna do?…
Also, did Don Draper ever wear a fedora? Seems like he’s more of a trilby man all the way, although he could have worn a broad-brimmed hat some time, and I’ve just forgotten…
Very recently, it looked like the Secret Service had the whole Outrageous Behavior by Feds with Guns Sweepstakes wrapped up. It was, as Bryan wrote during my absence, an entirely intramural competition, and it was fierce.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.
The report did not specify the country where the parties occurred, but a law enforcement official familiar with the matter identified it as Colombia.
Seven of the 10 DEA agents alleged to have participated in the gatherings — most of which took place at an agent’s “quarters” leased by the U.S. government — admitted to having attended the parties, the report found. The agents, some of whom had top-secret security clearances, received suspensions of two to 10 days.
Former police officers in Colombia also alleged that three DEA supervisory special agents were provided with money, expensive gifts and weapons from drug cartel members, according to the report….
I don’t know what the Secret Service guys (yes, I know there are women in the Secret Service, but this sort of behavior is definitely something guys are better at) are going to do to top that. Taking gifts from drug lords? The Secret Service equivalent to that would be taking gifts from would-be assassins. And that they won’t do, I feel quite certain.
So what will they do to uphold the dishonor of their storied agency? We wait with bated breath, and considerable apprehension…
But beyond that, can you think of anything about Reid’s tenure as majority/minority leader that was good? Neither can I. His name just conjures up a lot of unpleasantness for me. He’s not alone in that; I have similar impressions of names such as Boehner, Pelosi and McConnell. Together they’ve presided over a particularly ugly and unproductive period in congressional history.
As I’ve boasted in the past, I tend to test well, but that does not apply to the Slate news quiz — something about the quirkiness of the topics, or the fact that it’s timed (which tends to rattle me), or something. Anyway, I’ve developed kind of a complex about it.
But this morning, I did not totally stink at it! Which for me is a minor triumph. Take that, Features Editor Jessica Winter! Bow down before me, you merely average folk! I edged you out (barely)!
“Red state, blue state” by Angr – self-made; base map is Image:Blank US Map.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_state,_blue_state.svg#/media/File:Red_state,_blue_state.svg
While I was gone, one of my ADCO colleagues pinned this item on Pinterest, and my attention was drawn to it today when I saw it had gotten some repins.
It was a fun graphic from Digital Information World about all the associations we have with various colors. But what grabbed my attention was the observations about the political meanings of two colors in particular:
Indeed, I have found this whole business of calling conservative states “red” and liberal states “blue” confusing ever since it got started.
Red has always been the color of revolution, of overturning the status quo, of charging the ramparts in the cause of radical change. Blue is the natural color of conservativism, as in blueblood, or the blue associated with royalty. Red is hot and dynamic, while blue is cool, sedate, satisfied with the status quo.
So why have we so widely accepted the opposite in recent years? Well, it was pretty random. Here’s Wikipedia’s account:
It was just that random. Whoever made up the graphic just happened to use those colors that day, and it stuck, contrary to all reason.
And in the very next graf, Wikipedia acknowledges the contradiction:
This reverses a long-standing convention ofpolitical colors where red symbols (such as the Red Flag or Red Star) are associated with revolutionary movements, and conservative movements often choose blue as a contrasting color.
That’s what I thought of when I saw these competing comments as I was cleaning out email from when I was gone.
First, from Lindsey Graham:
Obamacare’s Five-Year Anniversary
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today issued the following statement on Obamacare five years after it was signed into law.
“Obamacare isn’t getting better with age.
“Five years after it became law, we’ve seen millions of Americans lose the health care coverage they were promised they could keep, while many other Americans have had their work hours and incomes reduced because of Obamacare. I’ve opposed Obamacare from Day One and oppose it still today. I believe we should ‘Repeal and Replace’ or allow Americans to ‘Opt-Out’ of Obamacare as I fear the worst is still to come.”
Then, from Jim Clyburn:
CLYBURN STATEMENT ON 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
WASHINGTON – U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn delivered the following statement today on the Capitol steps about the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:
“Speaking at an international health care conference in 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” I profoundly agree with that view. Affordable access to quality health care should not depend on the circumstances of one’s birth.
“More than five years ago, during House debate on the Affordable Care Act, I labeled it “the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century,” and I am pleased and very proud that the law is living up to that moniker.
“Under the ACA, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against the 129 million Americans who have pre-existing conditions. 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their health coverage. No longer can women be penalized by insurance companies simply for being women. Thanks to the ACA, 16 million Americans who were previously uninsured finally have the security of health insurance for their families.
“Despite repeated Republican claims that the ACA would kill jobs, our economy is creating jobs at the fastest rate since the 1990s. So, as we gather to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I’ve got a message to our Republican friends: The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Let’s work together to make it better.”’
– 30 -
Kinda hard to believe they’re looking at the same animal, isn’t it?
When I saw the above headline this morning, I immediately assumed that the quote came from a Democrat.
Not that most Republicans in the Legislature wouldn’t have been peeved at the governor over her latest outburst. In fact, privately, they would probably be more perturbed than the Dems.
But there’s a protocol to these kinds of things. Most lawmakers of both parties may be ticked off, but the Republican response to their own governor will normally be more muted, in terms of on-the-record comments, while the Democrats will say the over-the-top stuff in an effort to, well, get quoted in a headline. Because there’s no political cost for them in doing so.
So my eyebrows rose considerably when I read this part of the story:
Speaker Lucas took to the House floor Wednesday — flanked by House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, and House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland — and called the governor’s remarks unwarranted and unprovoked.
The speaker said the governor’s comments were inappropriate when speaking of lawmakers who include military veterans and working mothers.
“I believe the comments of the governor were below (her) office,” Lucas said. “I believe these are serious times with serious issues, and they demand serious people with serious answers — not name calling, not middle-school insults that serve no purpose but to poison the well.”…
The governor has really outdone herself this time.
We know she never had a good relationship with the former speaker. But he’s gone now, and good riddance. And he’s been replaced by a guy with a reputation for trying hard to work constructively with everyone, including Democrats, and especially with the governor of his own party.
Given Lucas’ reputation, he must have reached the point of thinking things are pretty far gone to have gotten up and said something like that.
Not that he’s wrong. “Middle school insults” is pretty much dead-on. I was thinking just this morning that the way our governor uses social media reminds me of the “slam books” that used to get passed around campus when I was in junior high in New Orleans all those years ago. If you don’t know what a slam book is, boys and girls, it’s like a particularly virulent form of low-tech Facebook. It was a notebook that got passed around, and kids would write things “slamming” their classmates, competing with each other to see who could be the most insulting.
But he must have concluded that things could not be improved by walking down to the governor’s office and having a chat with her. And that, as I say, indicates a pretty bad situation, the kind Strother Martin would decry as “a failure to communicate.”
Which is bad in terms of our chances for sound policy to come out of the State House.
After a couple of years in which not much got done while Bobby Harrell underwent his political Götterdämmerung, I had hoped for a more productive atmosphere in the State House. This does not bode well…
Below you can see and hear the governor making the remarks in question:
I’m trying to bring myself back down to Earth by reminding myself that not EVERY moment of my trip was ecstatic. There was, for instance, those several hours we were trapped on a bus that was supposed to be air-conditioned and wasn’t, watching a loud Thai TV show that was some sort of cross between a sitcom and a game show — hard to describe, especially since I didn’t understand a word of what was being said.
Of course, other than that, every moment was fantastic, and even that brief experience I’m trying to remember as negative was interesting… so it’s going to take me awhile to adjust to ordinary routine. Bear with me. And be patient as I unfold bits and pieces of our trip and share them with you, beyond what you’ve already seen on social media.
In the meantime, here’s some stuff for y’all to discuss:
Hey, didn’t Bryan do an awesome job while I was gone? — Be careful. That’s a fargin’ trick question. No, seriously, I’m deeply appreciative of what he did to allow me to concentrate on being a tourist, which was pretty all-consuming. Now, I’d appreciate some feedback: What did Bryan do that you’d like to see more of going forward here on the blog? Maybe that can be arranged…
Bergdahl charged with desertion — Well, this was pretty much predictable from the moment the president swapped five high-value Taliban terrorists to get this guy back.What a mess. What an embarrassment for the country. But I’m glad the Army is confronting the problem, and not just ignoring what happened.
Legislature tries to do the right thing in spite of governor — Trying to catch up on the latest bad craziness here in SC. At long last, lawmakers are facing up to the fact that we need to raise the gas tax, and doing it despite the governor’s insistence that we won’t ALLOW us to have a tax increase, even if we want one. No, really; I’m not making that up.
I’m not just jet-lagged today. I’m experiencing a sort of sensory trough after being overwhelmed by stimuli that unfairly increased what my brain expects to be fed.
After the many gorgeous sights — and tastes, and smells, and sounds — of Thailand, there were those ridiculous couple of days in Hawaii. I had been there before, of course — it was where I had graduated from high school. But I was reminded of why I had trouble, back in my college years, adjusting to the mainland scenery.
This was underlined by my wife’s reaction, during the tour our friend Burl Burlingame gave us of Ford Island, and on a drive the next day around Diamond Head, and on up the Windward coast as far as Kailua — then back across the mountains with a stop at Pali Lookout. She had never been there before, and every place we stopped, she got out and started shooting video with her iPad, turning and exclaiming over the water, the mountains, the colors, the light, that incredible Hawaii air…
A most satisfying experience. I’d be like, “I think you’ll like this next thing,” and she’d be all like, “Wow!” I was never disappointed in her reaction.
My eyes have been filled these last days. Now, back on the diet…
“Because I know many of you are going to the State House, which I love, just make sure you take a good shower when you leave,” Haley told the S.C. Realtors on a recording of her speech posted on the governor’s YouTube page.
File this one under: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
The question I have is: Why? There’s already a federal law in place that prohibits anyone convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” or even “subject to a domestic violence protective order” from possessing a firearm.
So why do we need a state law? It’s already the law. I’m just a simple ol’ lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that a federal law works just as well as a state law.
My three year old son, Henry, was really excited about flying back home today. He loves airplanes, so actually riding on one is a big thrill. I mean, seriously. AIrplanes are a big deal to him.
Unfortunately for him, our flight back departed at 6:00AM, which meant we had to wake up substantially earlier to get dressed, get to the airport, and go through all the hoopla before boarding.
Despite the early morning, he was fired up. He actually didn’t mind going through TSA because there was the payoff of getting to ride in an airplane waiting for him afterwards.
Getting on the plane was fun, and he’s very compliant when I tell him that buckling up and sitting still is an order from the pilot. He was really excited about just getting on the plane. Taking off was the highlight, but as soon as we took off, he was fast asleep.
I didn’t have the heart to wake him. Sometimes you just gotta sleep.
Last Rays of Sunlight, Early Spring in San Antonio – Onderdonk
I’m still in Texarkana, TX visiting with my wife’s grandfather who is very ill. He is in his mid 90s and has congestive heart failure and lung cancer. He’s just had in-home hospice set up, so we wanted to come out and see him with our children (his great-grandchildren) while there was still time.
I’ve finally gotten a few moments to catch up on things, so here’s your Virtual Front Page for today:
1. Ted Cruz announces his Presidential candidacy: He’s making an already crowded field even more crowded. I doubt he’ll get much traction, but this doesn’t really surprise me. The odds of him winning the nomination are pretty low and he’d probably be a disaster in the general if it ever came to that. Personally, I’m looking forward to liberals suddenly discovering freshmen Senators aren’t experienced enough to be President and conservatives discovering they are.
2. SCOTUS upholds Wisconsin’s Voter-ID law: The law will be fully in effect for the 2016 election, and in general, this is a big blow the Obama administration’s efforts to fight voter-ID laws in other states.
Well folks, it’s been fun to be the guest blogger here for a few weeks while Mr. Globe-Trotter has been out seeing the world. I’ve actually had to take a last minute to Texarkana for a family emergency.
Accordingly, I may or may not have another post for you today. I apologize for not having one yesterday, but I was shlepping suitcases and two kids through the Charlotte airport yesterday.
Since I don’t even really know what’s going on in the news, I’ll just leave you with this for now. I may have some more time later.
Looking Down Yosemite Valley (1865) – Albert Bierstadt
“It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything,” he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly.
They know what’s good for you, and they are extremely eager to use agents of the state, armed with guns, to force you to do what’s right.
So…first of all, before you get really revved up for the idea of mandatory voting, just think about the Ferguson Police Department writing tickets to people for not voting. And if you don’t pay, well look, prole, we may have to start issuing some arrest warrants. Got that image in your mind? Because that’s what we’re talking about, here.
Also, having more voter turnout does not automaticallly equate to better governance. Forcing idiots, who know nothing about politics becuase they don’t care is not a good idea. I mean, really. There are some really bird-brained people out there who’s major success in life is remembering to breathe.
If you have to be required to vote, under penalty of law, then I don’t really want you voting. Just do us all a favor and stay home. But hey, our super smart president knows what’s best.
We’ve had a reference to some old-boomer music, and we occasionally have a reference to Phillip’s musical talent. Accordingly, I thought I’d give y’all a chance to talk about the music that you’re listening to (or playing) now.
Currently, I’m preparing for a contested motion hearing, so I’ve got Holst’s “The Planets” on in the background here at the office as I go over my final points.
Commercial ratings — the viewing “currency” that determines what advertisers pay for TV time — cratered across broadcast and cable networks, marking the fifth straight month of double-digit declines for the industry.
“It’s clear the downward spiral in TV ratings continues with no end in sight,” media analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a research note on Friday.
Overall prime-time broadcast network ratings were off 12 percent last month compared to a year ago, while cable networks dropped 11 percent, according to his report.
Other than live sports, I really don’t watch television anymore. I have a few shows that the wife and I watch together after the children are all settled, but we don’t watch them live. 99% of the time the program is usually something streaming from either Netflix or Amazon. For movies, it’s the same thing. In fact, if it wasn’t for sports, I’d probably wouldn’t have a subscription to regular television.
Also, ever since the new year, I’ve been trying to cut down on the television watching. For me, watching television is like eating junk food – it’s fun while you’re doing it, but you feel guilty afterwards. Most of the time, I feel like I’ve wasted my time just watching tv. I mean, honestly, almost anything you do is more worthy that sitting in front of the Idiot Tube and being hypnotized by the beams of light coming out of it. I kind of think the television has something to do with the shape of this country. Watching (most) television makes you dumb, disconnected, and lazy.
It also makes it easy to just waste your entire night, and by extension all your nights. Television makes it so easy to simply do nothing. And we shouldn’t do nothing. We only have a little time on this earth, and watching television isn’t the way to spend it.
Some of the best nights I have are reading books, playing with my children and actually talking to people. Unless we’re talking about having the television on in the background when you’re doing mindless work with no one around, watching television is always an inferior choice to doing anything.
Accordingly, I’m glad that cable television is going down the tubes. Unfortunately, it’s probably due to all the other ways that we now have to distract ourselves.
All y’all already know this, but I’m encouraging everyone to try and make better choices with how we spend our time. Television is never usually the right choice.