Category Archives: Blogosphere

Open Thread for Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It’s been another busy day for me, allowing little time for blogging.

But here are some possible topics:

  1. Lawmakers getting “creative” on paying for roads — Robert’s cartoon above reminds me of what I have been meaning to write about, but hadn’t gotten to. Lawmakers continue to contort themselves in trying to figure a way to pay for roads in this state (when we HAVE a way to pay for roads, the gasoline tax — which should have been raised long before now). The most bizarre nonsolution I’ve heard is this shell game in which the same inadequate amount of money would simply be divvied up to the counties and let THEM take the blame for crumbling roads. I am somewhat intrigued, though, at the idea of simply applying the sales tax to gasoline — which addresses one of the greatest weaknesses in the gas tax, which is that it’s per-gallon and doesn’t rise with the price of fuel.
  2. POTUS about to announce executive action on immigration — I couldn’t figure out a way to embed the president’s video on this subject, but if you click on the picture below, it will take you there. It’s showdown time. For my part, I await what the president is specifically proposing to do, and I hope that he reaction to it will be, you know, rational. You know what would be the BEST, most constructive, reaction? For the House to pre-empt the president’s executive action by passing the comprehensive immigration reform that the Senate sent over to it.
  3. SC Supremes say probate judges can issue same-sex marriage licenses — This came down at about 4 today, lifting the court’s own Oct. 9 injunction pending a decision in a federal court case, which has since been decided at the trial court level. Interestingly, the case in question wasn’t about whether a couple could get married, but about the related issue of whether SC would have to recognize a marriage granted elsewhere — the very same scenario that prompted conservatives to push for their constitutional amendment on marriage several years ago.
  4. NBC pulls Bill Cosby sitcom amid renewed sexual assault allegations — It’s fascinating to watch the way public consensus develops. For years, the world ignored the young women making these accusations, refusing to believe such of “the Cos.” Then, a tipping point was reached, and suddenly this much loved media figure falls, hitting every branch on the way down. It’s got to seem pretty weird to the women who’ve been trying to get us to listen for years.

Or… you can talk about whatever you want to talk about…

Obama immigration


How did LinkedIn manage THIS?


Yesterday, I received an email urging me to “ADD PERSONALITY TO YOUR PROFILE:”

Now you can make your profile pop by adding a custom background. Just upload an image that reflects your passions, projects, or inspiration and show people what you’re about.

But that’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that LinkedIn provided the above suggestion for how such a new custom background might look.side

And the coffee cup in the picture is a dead-ringer for one of our branded ADCO coffee mugs. Not only that, but the notepad in the shot looks for all the world like one of our ADCO-branded notepads. OK, it’s a little bigger, but that’s about the only difference.

Below is a shot I staged using our own official ADCO items.

How weird is that?

It was like an invitation to the Twilight Zone. Cue the weird music: Doo-doo-DOO-doo, Doo-doo-DOO-doo, Doo-doo-DOO-doo


Open Thread for Monday, November 17, 2014

Not a lot of news today, which is why I haven’t posted. Well, that, and I’ve had a lot of work to do.

Here are some possible topics:

  1. Obama and insurers now allies on health law — Because he needs them, and they’re making money from it.
  2. Kassig’s conversion to Islam didn’t protect him — Latest Westerner beheaded by the monsters of ISIL.
  3. Doctor’s false Ebola test result proves tragic — When he tested negative, his friends threw off their protective gear and embraced him. But he had Ebola. He died of it today.

  4. Nikki Haley in India — She seems to be having a great time, except for a row over a sword. Maybe she should go back to automatic weapons.

Or whatever interests you…

The Haleys and staffers Rob Godfrey and Katherine Veldran have been having a great time with the selfies. The one on top made the front page of the Sunday Times of India.

The Haleys and staffers Rob Godfrey and Katherine Veldran have been having a great time with the selfies. The one on top made the front page of the Sunday Times of India.


Yet another reminder politicians are people

Two quick contact reports:

  • Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed a cup of coffee with Mike Cakora, who recently returned to the blog as a regular commenter after a five-year absence. It was great to have him back, and I was happy to get to catch up with him. I knew Mike from before I started blogging. He was one of the guest columnists we recruited at The State, back in the days when we had the money and staff time for such things. We’d have these column-writing contests, and I was always gratified to see the hundreds of entries that would come in (considering that the rules required submitting three columns with little hope of their being published). Then we’d pick 8 for a year, and they’d each write a column a month, and we’d pay them a nominal amount for the columns. Mike was one of our winners one year. Anyway, we had a wide-ranging conversation about politics, working for a living in the New Normal, espionage (specifically, the TV show “The Assets”), and the social alienation that forms people like Edward Snowden. Mike and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but not everything.
  • Earlier, I’d had breakfast with Rep. James Smith. We talked about a number of things, too, such as whether he might run for governor in four years (he doesn’t know) and if he did, what lessons he might have learned from his friend Vincent Sheheen’s failed campaigns. (As it happened, Sheheen texted James while we were eating. He was in a deposition, and trying to adjust to getting back to earning a living with the campaign over.) At one point in the meal, Attorney General Alan Wilson came over to say hey. Any casual observer could see he and James get along well. But then, I’ve noticed Alan gets along well with a lot of Democrats, and James does so with a lot of Republicans. Alan turned to me, pointed to James and said, “This is my lawyer!” Rep. Smith represented his re-election campaign. After Wilson left, James said he has a lot of clients in the Legislature, including a number of Republicans. (So obviously, Kevin Hall and Butch Bowers don’t have all of them.) I noted that if he did run for governor, he might find a formidable opponent in his client Alan Wilson. He agreed. He said the same might be true of Tommy Pope (whose Twitter feed says he’s “working toward sc governor in 2018“).

Anyway, it was a perfectly ordinary slice of life, illustrating gently the point I try to make so often, because so many voters don’t seem to understand. Politicians aren’t just Democrats or Republicans. They’re not monolithic. At least, the good ones aren’t. They’re many-faceted. They’re actual, complete, three-dimensional people, who are capable of interacting with each other in normal, human ways, instead of as partisan automatons.

But y’all probably get tired of me making that point. Which I know sounds like such a stupid point: Of course they’re people, right? Well… I often think we don’t get that, going by what I see written and hear said about politics.

And maybe I do it in part because, after another election season in which most elections are foregone conclusions because of the way we’re separated into districts in which one or the other party dominates, I need to remind myself…


Open Thread for Thursday, November 13, 2014

I realize it’s kind of late in the day for this, but I figure some of y’all might still want to discuss these things, even if you don’t get to them until the morning.

I only have a couple or three proposed topics:

  1. Obama Said to Plan Moves to Shield 5 Million Immigrants — Looks like he’s going to get in the GOP’s faces over this. Will this endanger his ability to find common ground on other things? Maybe. Should he do it anyway? Maybe…
  2. US military considers sending combat troops to battle Isis forces in Iraq — That headline, from The Guardian, perhaps goes a bit far. But Gen. Dempsey was floating the idea today.
  3. Secret Service Blunders Eased Way for White House Intruder — This just in. Report details failures by the protective detail.

Sorry I didn’t see anything good local. Mostly crime news, it seems, and that tends not to catch my eye. I mean, we’re all against crime, right? So what would we discuss?

But maybe y’all have a good local topic in mind…

Open Thread for Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I’ve got a lot to do — I’m feeling rather overwhelmed by it all, in fact — and haven’t felt particularly inspired today. So maybe y’all can keep the plates spinning for me. For us all…

Some possible topics:

  1. Judge rules in favor of same-sex marriage in SC — The judge in question is Richard Gergel, who signaled this intention a week or two back.
  2. Rosetta mission makes history, lands on comet 300 million miles away — Very cool stuff. It’s been so long since we’ve had a space milestone like this. Too long… Of course, “we,” as Americans, didn’t accomplish this. But “we,” as a species, did.
  3. US and China strike deal on carbon cuts in push for global climate change pact — I wonder what, if any, will be the practical effect of this. Will the Chinese, with the phenomenal rate at which they’ve been building coal-fired power plants, uphold their end? Will this country, given the president’s lack of political capital, uphold our end? I don’t know enough to answer that, but I’m not optimistic.

Or bring up your own topic; see if I care…

Open Thread for Veterans Day, November 11, 2014


Members of the Royal Irish Rifles, first day on the Somme. Look at them staring at us from a century ago…

It’s been a century now since the badly labeled War to End All Wars began, and 96 years to the day (to the hour, as I write this) since it ended in an unsatisfactory manner that helped lead inexorably to the next conflagration.

If you’d like to reflect on that, this would be a good day for it.

Here are some other possible topics:

  1. I see Cindi Scoppe has written my usual post-election column on our endorsees and how they fared. As I did after each election, she does it to deep-six the nonsense about our endorsement being the “kiss of death.” This time, the board went 9-2, slightly better than the usual 75 percent or so winners. Of course, endorsements are not predictions of who will win, but statements about who should win, and more importantly, why they should win. But one does get tired of people saying untrue things about one, hence this tradition that I started about a decade ago.
  2. Haley picks the dollar-a-year guy to run $7 billion agency — The career of Christian Soura, since he first came to SC to work for the governor, has mystified me. He started work here at a dollar a year, explaining that he was living in part off his government pension from Pennsylvania — even though he was only 32. Later, he became deputy chief of staff at the somewhat more substantial compensation of $128,698. Now, he’ll be making $154,879. And no, he has no experience running a Medicaid agency. Tony Keck, whom he replaces, had. Guess we know who just won an election. Note the picture at the link. Keck looks like he could be Soura’s father. (He even looks like a baby next to Nikki, as youthful as she is.)
  3. The Hummer is back. Blame falling oil prices. Sheesh.

Or, whatever you’d like to bring up.



Doug’s out shooting today. Stay indoors; hide behind something solid

Apparently, they survived. After the expedition, Bryan emailed this shot of Doug holding the 20 gauge over-and-under Beretta in a safe manner.

Apparently, they survived. Bryan emailed this shot of Doug holding the 20 gauge in a safe manner.

Bryan Caskey, who so kindly took me out shooting clays a couple of weekends ago (and I had a great time), has Doug Ross out there as I type this.

Doug professes to have never held a gun before. Or a rifle, either, I believe. Today he is armed, with several boxes of ammo.

Pray for their safety. And your own…

TOTALLY Open Thread for Thursday, November 6, 2014

This is wide open, because I have ZERO time for blogging today.

OK, one suggestion: Does anyone think there is a Unified Field Theory explanation for election results Tuesday? I don’t; I never do. I believe voters have brains, and every box they checked on their ballots was for a separate set of reasons. That’s how the world actually works.

But that doesn’t stop the “It’s either one thing or the other” binary crowd from trying to offer simplistic explanations, especially when it’s to their advantage to do so. So we have the idiotic headline on an inside page of The State that says, “This election was all about Obama.” (It had a different headline online.)

That in the same edition that also reports, “Preliminary exit polls found that 33 percent of voters were registering displeasure with Obama.” Which means the rest of the voters had other things on their minds. And, just a wild thought here, even the 33 percent probably had some additional factors acting on them.

Karl Rove, of course, is going the simplistic route: “How big was Tuesday’s devastating repudiation of President Obama, his policies and his party?”

Anyway, what do you think?

Open Thread for Friday, October 24, 2014

Some possible topics:

  1. Good news, bad news on Ebola — The good is that nurse Nina Pham has been released. The bad is the doctor in New York (which will be more intensely covered because it happened in New York rather than flyover land). Meanwhile, the WashPost reports how the Russkies once planned to use the disease as a weapon.
  2. Shooting In Washington School Leaves Shooter, One Other Dead — And so we’re reminded that Canada is not where you usually find this sort of thing. As though we needed such.
  3. The Russians Have Us Over a Rocket — You won’t be able to read this because of the pay wall — I couldn’t. But I got the point, and it’s a good one: It’s bad to be dependent on Putin’s Russia for our access to space.

    Or, whatever you want to talk about…

Bus passengers in an alternative universe

on the bus

Today, I got one of those emails trying to get me to engage more with Pinterest, and one of the pins it offered me was this one, which I thought was cool, because it’s one of my fave flicks of all time.

So I repinned it.

But then I noticed something… you ever take a good look at the passengers on the bus who turn back to stare at Benjamin and Elaine.

It’s like Mike Nichols deliberately filled the bus with People Who Will Never Be Seen Riding a Bus. At least, that would be the case in Columbia in 2014. And I’m even thinking it would be the case in California in 1967.

Dig the guys in suits. Especially the guy wearing cufflinks.

This is such a glaring anomaly that I find myself wondering whether it’s intentional, and it means something. Like maybe Nichols wanted a painfully bourgeois set of people to be staring at our lovebirds, or something.

Anyway, I’d never noticed it before, and I found it interesting…

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just because you haven’t had one in awhile, and I felt like it would do you good:

  1. Harrell pleads guilty, looks toward future as informant ( — Yeah, this has already been covered, but it’s still today’s lede story.
  2. Both Ebola nurses now doing much better (People, Yahoo) — Some of this is a day or two old, but I haven’t seen it on any front pages, and it seems like high-interest news to me. Nina Pham’s condition has been upgraded from “fair” to “good,” while Amber Vinson has actually been declared free of the disease! Seems like this isn’t getting the play that their initial infection got. Meanwhile, a doctor has been hospitalized in New York with Ebola-like symptoms.
  3. Evidence shows Islamic State used chlorine gas (WashPost) — Until now, this was one atrocity that they apparently had not yet committed.
  4. Canadian Police Say Ottawa Attack Was by Lone Gunman (NYT) — We’re used to “lone gunmen” in this country, but it seems like that’s one American cultural import Canada could have done without.
  5. Dogs helped stop White House jumper (WashPost) — Maybe they should put a dog in charge of the Secret Service.
  6. Dreher, Camden banned from football playoffs ( — Not Earth-shattering, perhaps, but it seemed like a good local talker. This is because of a postgame fight between the two schools last Friday.
Hurricane, left, and Jordan -- the dogs who got the job done, protecting the White House.

Hurricane, left, and Jordan — the dogs who got the job done, protecting the White House.

Open Thread for Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — Ennui Edition


Ferris: Cameron, what have you seen today?
Cameron: Nothing good.
Ferris: Nothing – wha – what do you mean nothing good? We’ve seen everything good. We’ve seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!

I thought about doing a Virtual Front Page. It’s been awhile. But I looked around, and it just didn’t seem like there was enough going on out there to warrant one.

I’m not exactly flush with suggestions for an Open Thread, either. Perhaps y’all will be. I seem afflicted with a certain ennui regarding the news, especially on the local level. I try to put my finger on just why that is, and the first thing that occurs to me is this: We’re about to have an election — an important one, in which we will choose this state’s leadership for the next four years.

And… there’s nothing in it to get enthusiastic about, even slightly. It continues to appear, as it has appeared all year (so nothing new there), that we will have another four years of Nikki Haley. Not the end of the world, but not the beginning of one, either. Nothing changes. After eight years of one governor who didn’t believe government should do anything, we’re about to repeat the experience. And I find it very hard to believe that anyone, including Ms. Haley’s most stalwart supporters, is enthusiastic about the prospect.

Things will stay the same. As they always do in South Carolina. One is hard-pressed to think of anything that has happened to dramatically affect our lives in this state since Gov. Fritz Hollings persuaded Sen. Edgar Brown to institute our technical college system over a bottle of bourbon. Oh, wait — I’m forgetting the eventual integration of our schools in 1970, 16 years after Brown v. Board. That has had a gradual, but dramatic, effect  on our state. It has, for instance, led to the long, slow strangulation of support for public education among the white middle class, with such byproducts as the “school choice” movement.

But we have nothing as good as good as the tech schools and integration, or as dramatically devastating as white flight, on our horizon. Just… more of the same. So many things that need to change if we’re to catch up to the rest of the country, but we’re looking at more of the same.

But hey… as I said… maybe y’all can think of something good to talk about…

And maybe I’ll snap out of my Cameron Frye mood. Let’s hope so, because this makes for dismal blogging…

No, Nicholas Kristof is NOT putting you on; he doesn’t do that

Nicholas Kristof is a serious, earnest journalist who writes about serious, earnest topics.

So I thought, when I looked at the graphic that appeared with this Tweet, that somebody from The Onion had hacked his Twitter account:

But no, the piece he was linking to was sober and earnest, and no one was trying to make game of the lightly educated. It was just an unfortunately funny example of a sad phenomenon…

As always, #walkraceforlife2014 made for a beautiful morning

I don’t know how the organizers do it, but the weather was once again perfect for Walk for Life.

And for those of you who missed it, here are my Tweets from during the Walk, with photos…

Join us on Twitter tonight to talk about Walk for Life!

As you know, this Saturday is the Walk for Life, the Palmetto Health Foundation event that raises money and awareness to fight breast cancer in our community.

As you also know, each year I walk in the event with my wife, a breast cancer survivor, and several of my children and grandchildren.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the following for having contributed money to the Walk team’s effort (in addition to some of my family members, not listed):

  • Debra Brooks
  • Dianne Chinnes
  • Doug Ross
  • Mr. Canute Magalhaes
  • Mr. Jeff Miller
  • Mr. Mark Stewart
  • Trip DuBard

Thanks so much, everybody! And if you have not contributed and would still like to, just go to this page and click on “Donate.”

Now, you may not know that I and several others will be Tweeting about Walk for Life from 7:30 to 8 p.m. this very night.

Come join the conversation!

Open Thread for Monday, October 13, 2014

First, happy birthday to my Uncle Woody.

Now, here are some possible topics:

  1. CDC: Unclear how many in Dallas were exposed to Ebola — First, we heard about how this got out of control in Africa because those poor, benighted folk lack the medical care we have in the developed world. Then, we tsk-tsked about how Spain couldn’t even protect its health care workers. Now, it turns out we can’t, either.
  2. Vatican Signals More Lenient Stance on Gays and Divorce — I read this, but didn’t see any news in it. I think this, and the Pope’s previous comments, seem like big news to people who didn’t understand the Church to start with. It’s all a matter of emphasis. I applaud what Pope Francis has chosen to emphasize, but it’s no radical departure.
  3. Kim Jong-un reappears after absence — Oh, well. It was too much of a good thing to last.

I tried to find something local, but I didn’t see much but crime and sports. But maybe there’s something good that I missed. In any case, y’all talk about what interests you

Open Thread for Thursday, October 9, 2014

First, happy John Lennon’s birthday and Ecuadorean Independence Day!

Now here are some topics, in case you have trouble coming up with one:

  1. Policy Council chief says we should scrap SC ethics law – Ashley Landess’ main point seems to be that the whole Legislature-based system is rotten, so just let offenses be tried in criminal courts. There’s a related story in The State about Bobby Harrell’s PAC.
  2. SC Supremes say hold off on same-sex licenses – All is on hold until a decision in a U.S. District Court case. I think. It’s complicated.
  3. Where is Kim Jong-un? I wonder — if we find him, will we also find Waldo?
  4. Ebola — Pick a story — any story — I’m just thinking we haven’t had a conversation about this yet.

Or, whatever y’all want to talk about…


Less than ONE HOUR left to join this (or any other) Walk for Life team!


Not much left to say except that registration for all Walk for Life teams closes in less than one hour!

Please go to this page and click on “Join Team,” and follow the instructions.

Yes, one can still contribute after today’s noon deadline, but this is the last time you can register for only $25 and get a T-shirt that will get you in to the State Fair free.

And yes, I’m going to keep bugging y’all right up until the walk itself on Saturday, Oct. 18.

So why not sign up now, and join the most exclusive team going? So far, there’s just me and Jeff Miller, who won’t be walking because he lives in Washington.

I know — I really fell down on the job by not hyping this sooner and more often. But come on and make me feel a tiny bit less guilty by signing up NOW!