Category Archives: Blogosphere

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, October 23, 2014

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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 (thestate.com) — 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 (thestate.com) — 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

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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 bradwarthen.com 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

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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

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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…

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

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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!

All is not well in Fringe City: Ravenel, Folks have falling-out

File photo from earlier this year.

File photo from earlier this year.

Erstwhile pals Thomas Ravenel and Will Folks have had a falling-out. Here’s Charleston City Paper‘s version of the tale:

Hours after the Associated Press reported that Ravenel was “reassessing” his indie challenge of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the former state treasurer tried to get in touch with Folks, the ‘founding editor’ of FitsNews.com who appeared on the show as T-Rav’s political advisor.

According to an incident report filed by the sheriff’s office in Lexington County, where Folks lives, after he didn’t answer a phone call from Ravenel Sunday morning, he followed with several “harassing text messages” to Folks around 9:30 Sunday night. The incident was first reported by the Post and Courier, but you can read the full report below.

“Folks stated that he did not want any contact with Ravenel so he did not return his phone call,” the report notes. In one text message last night, Ravenel supposedly promised  “he would have him (Folks) in a trailer within a year.”…

Here’s the incident report. And here’s what Will had to say about it.

City Paper also reported that “In an email to local media, Lexington County Sheriff’s officials say that both parties later told cops that the situation had been resolved.” I’m sure that’s a relief to all…

Meanwhile, I want to know more about the “reassessing his campaign” thing…

I promise, I don’t know WHY I’m getting these ads

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As you probably realize, I don’t see the same Google Adsense ads on this blog that you do. Supposedly, they are tailored to our respective interests.

Really, they are guided by a couple of things. First, there’s context, if I understand the process correctly. For instance, if we have a discussion here about gun control, I will see ads about concealed carry laws.

The inferences are also drawn from my browsing history. If I looked up a product on Amazon recently, I will get ads for that product on my blog.

But folks, I promise, I have no idea what I could possibly have been looking up that caused me to get these ads. I mean it. I’m puzzled. And a little embarrassed lest someone walk up behind me while I’m checking the blog.

These are just barely workplace-safe…

I’m trying to think whether I had “bad idea” in a headline recently. Did anyone use the word “cleavage,” and I’ve just forgotten it?

Have any of y’all been getting ads such as these — without, I mean, any obvious reason why?

Why don’t I write like that any more?

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For my entire career, whenever I look back at what I wrote a year or two in the past, I think, “Why don’t I write like that anymore?”

This is, I hope, a twist on the “grass is always greener” phenomenon. Either that, or my powers as a writer have been declining for four decades, which means that by this time, I should be incapable of putting a noun and a verb together in an intelligible order.

Anyway, I had that experience again today. I accidentally ran across this post from four years ago, in which I had a little fun mocking the way Republicans talk in South Carolina:

As I’ve said from Day One I’m a conservative a true conservative my daddy was a conservative daddy my mama was a conservative mama I’m a bidnessman meet a payroll don’t take bailouts lazy shiftless welfare takers the key is to starve ‘em before they reproduce 100 percent rating from conservative conservatives of America my dog is a conservative dog I don’t have a cat because cats are effete I eat conservative I sleep conservative I excrete conservative I got conservative principles a conservative house and conservative clothes take back our government from the socialists even though we don’t really want it because who needs government anyway they don’t have government in Somalia and they’re doing alright aren’t they National Rifle Association Charlton Heston is my president and Ronald Reagan is my God I will have no gods before him I go Arizona-style all the way that’s the way I roll I will keep their cold dead government hands off your Medicare so help me Ronald Reagan…

That was prompted, of course, by my being fed up at hearing Republicans who are unable to complete a sentence without using the word “conservative” at least once, and preferably multiple times. In case, you know, you missed it the first time. It is mind-numbingly monotonous, and I needed a little comic relief. I thought we all did.

That got me sufficiently charged up that I turned and made fun of Democrats, saying that just once, I’d like to hear a candidate for office in South Carolina say the following:

Actually, I’m a liberal. A liberal all the way. I drive a Prius, I love wine and cheese parties with the faculty, I think America is a big bully in the world and no wonder people hate us (I’d be a terrorist, too, if I didn’t abhor violence so), and I never saw an abortion I didn’t like. My spouse and I have an open marriage, so scandal can’t touch us, because to each his or her own. I’m a white, male heterosexual and the guilt just eats me alive; I wish I belonged to a group that was more GENUINE, you know? The first thing I’d do if elected is raise taxes through the roof, and spend every penny on public education, except for a portion set aside for re-education camps for people who now home-school their kids. Then, if we needed more money for excessive regulation of business and other essential government services, we’d raise taxes again, but only on the rich, which is defined as YOU or anybody who makes more than you. Probably the best word to describe my overall tax plan would be “confiscatory.” And my spending (OH, my spending! You’ve never seen spending until you see my spending!) would best be termed “redistributive.” If elected, my inaugural party will have music by the Dixie Chicks and the Indigo Girls, and then we’ll all bow down to a gigantic image of Barack (did you know it means “blessed”?) Obama, the savior of us all, and chant in some language other than the ultimate oppressor language, English. French, perhaps. Or Kiswahili….

I had fun reading that. Why don’t I write like that anymore?…

Open Thread for Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Special Scottish Referendum Edition

Today, I’ll offer you two choices:

  1. Discuss the independence referendum in Scotland, results of which will come in over the next few hours.
  2. Discuss whatever you like. I mean, if the Scots can do whatever they like, including committing economic suicide, then why shouldn’t my fellow Americans say what they please? (Within reason, and my civility rules, of course. Because this blog isn’t a bloody democracy. Harrumph.)

I see that YouGov has the Scots deciding to stay in the UK. If that’s correct, they haven’t gone completely mad. Or, if you prefer, they haven’t gone totally radge.

As to why I oppose Scottish secession, I do so for the same assorted reasons I oppose the Confederacy, Quebec secession, the disintegration of the Balkans, the Anschluss and Putin slicing off a chunk of Ukraine on the grounds of protecting ethnic Russians. Throw in my Anglophilia and my affinity for the Special Relationship, which causes me not to want to see Britain divided and weakened.

Also, I think the Union Jack is one of the most beautiful flags ever. By comparison, the St. Andrew’s Cross alone seems rather sad…

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Open Thread for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some possible topics:

  1. So maybe we’re going to do something about ISIL now — Tonight, the eve of Sept. 11, the president will lay out what he is reluctantly prepared to do to stop ISIL. Looks like we’re talking air strikes on both sides of the border that doesn’t matter to ISIL (which polls now support). What worries me is that for POTUS, it’s all about what he won’t do, on account of it being against his religion, and that of so many in his base, to send troops into Iraq, much less Syria. (Note that I’m not saying we need necessarily to do that. I’m saying it makes me nervous to go into a military conflict telling the world what you won’t do.) This country’s in a bad situation: Policy wonks see the need to stop ISIL whatever it takes, but the public doesn’t want to wage war, and political leadership from Obama to Rand Paul has been telling them for years they don’t have to — and a world full of thugs eager to take advantage of that. Well, we’ll see. I thought Clinton was wrong to rule out boots on the ground in Kosovo, but it worked out, so I was wrong. We’ll see.
  2. That horrific story about the five slain children — I can’t read these stories, and I walked out of the room last night when my wife was watching local TV news. But maybe y’all would like to discuss it. If so, go ahead.
  3. What do I need a bigger iPhone for? I have an iPad — There is one question that none of the stories about the new iPhones have answered: Will all future iPhones be absurdly large? I bought the iPhone specifically because of its handy size, making one-hand operation easy. Will Apple quit making the phone in a sensible size? If so, that’s crazy. And while I’m at it, what on Earth is the appeal of tablet-sized phones? That’s as inexplicable to me as the continuing (continuing against all reason) national love affair with SUVs. I just don’t get it… (Bonus question: What do I need any watch for? I quit wearing them after I got my first cell phone.)

Or, talk about what you’d like.

Applicants must, however, be able to snatch the pebble from the master’s hand

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Here’s an exciting opportunity for us Twitterati:

BEIJING (AP) — Help wanted: Ancient Buddhist temple famed for its kung fu monks seeks media directors to build brand. English and social media skills required. Not necessary to be a monk, practice martial arts or eat vegetarian.

That online ad placed by China‘s 1,500-year-old Shaolin temple already has drawn a brisk response, reflecting the institution’s exalted place in Chinese history and popular culture.

Chinese state media reported Friday that 300 people have already applied for the two positions available, including business executives, media professionals and recent graduates of top overseas universities. Although the temple’s monks are all male, men and women are both invited to send in their resumes, the reports said….

The move is the latest attempt by the enterprising abbot Shi Yongxin to exploit the temple’s fame in the name of propagating Buddhist thinking and culture….

True wisdom, grasshopper, is knowing you need help with your social media.

 

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, September 4, 2014

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I’m giving you this VFP not because it’s a very newsy day (it isn’t), because it’s been awhile, and gosh darn it, y’all deserve one:

  1. West signals more Russia sanctions (BBC) — This is ahead of cease-fire talks expected tomorrow. And a day after POTUS draws a line in the Baltics. This is really kind of a jumbled story, but it’s the most important thing I see out there, so it leads…
  2. BP’s ‘reckless conduct’ caused spill (The Guardian) — We could be talking up to 18 billion more in fines. Which, you know, is more than I make in a year!
  3. McDONNELLS GUILTYEx-governor, wife convicted of corruption (WashPost) — Don’t know if you’ve been following this, but today’s the big day on it. The Post, the NYT and the WSJ are all leading with it. Which is why I turned to British outlets for my own lede and second story. ‘Cause you know, I don’t live in Virginia. And those of us who don’t are mere voyeurs on a story such as this.
  4. Johnson & Johnson Pushes Ahead With Ebola Vaccine (NPR) — Here’s hoping they can get it out into the field quickly — and it works.
  5. Joan Rivers dead at 81 (LAT) — For those of you interested, I figured L.A. would have the most complete coverage.
  6. Two gubernatorial debates set (thestate.com) — Not necessarily front-page material, but I was hard-up for something local.

It’s so obvious that Ricky Gervais was right that it seems absurd to have to say so…

I mentioned this in a comment on a previous thread; I’ll give it its own post…

I see that Ricky Gervais has been castigated for Tweeting the following:

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Now there‘s an assertion that should hold a permanent and honored place in the annals of “duh.” How could anyone question it, much less object?

And yet he’s being pilloried for… wait for it… “blaming the victim.” Which is possibly the most preposterous thing I’ve heard today…