Category Archives: Blogosphere

Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, October 28, 2016

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT's Web lede is confined to one column. Here's how they played this.

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country very carefully, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT’s Web lede is confined to one column. Here’s how they played this (three columns, essentially).

I promised y’all an Open Thread, but decided on a VFP instead (if you care what the difference is, ask and I’ll explain down in the comments):

  1. FBI to review Clinton emails found on Weiner’s device (WashPost) — At this point, if you’re Hillary Clinton, the last thing you want to see — on every major news outlet’s lede story — is your name and “Weiner” in the same headline. Right now, the candidate’s wishing Anthony and Huma were still together so she could tell Huma to go slap him up ‘side the head.
  2. Stocks Rattled by Clinton Email Review (WSJ) — Yeah, I’ll bet.
  3. Recreation board refuses Haley’s request for sexual harassment report (The State) — This is a bit old now — it was in The State this morning. But… really? I love the sarcastic nod to transparency when the board came out of executive session to make this decision in a three-minute public session. Why’d they do this? Well, “Green and the five board members at the meeting refused comment and left the meeting without speaking to reporters.”
  4. U.N.: ISIS Is Using Tens Of Thousands Of Civilians As Human Shields In Mosul (NPR) — Yep, that sounds like something they’d do. Anyway, while Anthony “Look at My” Weiner is paralyzing the world’s greatest democracy, this is going on…
  5. Why do so few Americans vote? (BBC) — We are a never-ending source of fascination to our friends, the Brits. They just can’t get over our little quirks.
  6. 2nd District debate will be shown live on YouTube (The State) — That’s good to know. And the Series should be over by then, so I might even watch it. If I do, I’ll live-Tweet it…

Open Thread for Thursday, October 27, 2016

I was going to give you a post on Life, Baseball, and Everything, but it just got out of hand...

I was going to give you a post on Life, Baseball, and Everything, but it just got out of hand…

I hate it when I give you back-to-back Open Threads, with no intervening sole-subject posts. And I started to give you something earlier today, inspired by the World Series. But it began to morph into one of those meandering Baseball and Life things with Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox Scandal, and the 1927 Yankees, and Satchel Paige, and Ring Lardner’s You Know Me Al, and Roy Hobbs wanting to be the best player there ever was, and playing catch with your Dad and the smell of a baseball in a glove, and it just got totally out of hand and I didn’t finish it. I think it was in about the 12th inning when I stopped.

So here’s an Open Thread:

  1. The State endorses Susan Brill over Mia McLeod — I’m guessing this was a tough one for the paper, based on the debate I moderated the other day. Cindi writes of Mrs. Brill being a consensus-builder, which the Senate badly needs after losing Larry Martin, Wes Hayes and now Joel Lourie. Similar themes were sounded in the paper’s endorsement of Nikki Setzler this morning.
  2. Some Trump Voters Warn of Revolution if Clinton Wins — Oh, gimme a break, people. I think we’ve all been through enough already this year, don’t you? Yes, I know: The next four years will be uglier than anything we’ve ever seen — as bad as partisanship has been in the Bush and Obama years, neither of them had already been hated by the opposition for decades. But spare us the revolution talk, OK?
  3. Russia’s: Kuznetsov battle group refuels off North Africa — To give you something serious to think about. I well remember when the Med was our pond. But on the upside, this is Russia’s only carrier, and apparently its crew is made up of landsmen who don’t know how to do underway replenishment — they’re at anchor for the operation. Here’s the way real seamen do it.
  4. Uber won’t build flying cars but they sure want someone else to — Hey, I’m up for it, because then we’ll know it’s the future, for which most of us have been waiting our entire lives. The Star Trek communicators that have become the centers of our lives are pretty cool, but the future, by definition, must have flying cars.
  5. Vine Withers, Reminding Us That Nothing Is Forever — Yeah, especially when it only lasts six seconds. Did y’all look at it much? Neither did I. Maybe that’s why.
  6. ‘Southern Charm’ will return for fourth season — I’m just telling you in case the current election hasn’t fully convinced you that our culture has gone to a warm place in a handbasket, and we are in the End Times.


Open Thread for Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Weirdly, the Tribe didn't play any of these guys last night -- and still won!

Weirdly, the Tribe didn’t play any of these guys last night — and still won!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything new today. It’s not like I’ve been neglecting you — I probably set a record in the comments sections for number of words in one day — but I like to keep giving you something fresh, and I’ve fallen down on that. So here you go:

  1. How about them Cubbies? — Boy, the home team didn’t give them a chance last night, did they? Did y’all watch the game? If not, why not? Do you hate America? Of course you do! Why don’t you go hang with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London? (Deep breath, back to baseball…) Looking forward to tonight, hoping it doesn’t get rained out
  2. SC House panel suggests strengthening dam safety law — Absolutely. And then we need to fix the dam state pension, and the dam tax structure, and all the other stuff our dam lawmakers keep kicking down the dam road.
  3. GOP Rode Waves of Populism Until They Crashed the Party — I share this not just because of what it says, but because it’s from The Wall Street Journal, and they’re leading with it! It’s under the kicker, “THE GREAT UNRAVELING.”
  4. House Republicans are preparing for years of investigations of Clinton — Which is, you know, just what we’ll need after this horrific election year. Sheesh. Some people threaten to leave the country if he wins. They might want to think about leaving if she wins. This is what I was on about earlier today.
  5. Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story — Interesting medical detective story.
  6. Afghan Woman in Famed National Geographic Photo Is Arrested in Pakistan — They’re talking about the picture below. You probably remember her. I hope NG considers this Fair Use; I certainly do — there’s little point in sharing the headline without the photo. And if you click on it, you go straight to the National Geographic site, so I’m doing them a favor


Open Thread for Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It’s another slow news day with every news outlet reaching in a different fruitless direction for a lede. So forget important; today I’m looking for interesting:

  1. Big debate about Shakespeare finally settled by big data: Christopher Marlowe gets his due — Yeah, you know what? I’ve never really gotten into the whole “Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays?” debate. It’s always seemed pointless to me. Whoever it was, he or she or they (if, as this story says, it was a collaboration), was a genius, and we call that genius “Shakespeare.” It’s not like there’s an actual guy around to claim the credit today. He, she or they is/are dead. And a rose by any other same, etc. Anyway, this finding only applies to Henry VI, and I’ve never read or seen a dramatization of those three plays. They mean nothing to me. It’s not like they’re saying Marlowe helped write the “Band of Brothers” speech in “Henry V,” or something awesome like that
  2. Exclusive: leaked recording shows what Theresa May really thinks about Brexit — Or rather, what she really thought, back before the vote. Hint: She didn’t like it. But didn’t we know that? The Guardian thinks it’s a big scoop.
  3. Why Some Clinton Fans Think She Just Might Win Texas — Whoa. Next thing you know, we’ll be talking seriously about South Carolina.
  4. GOP Congressional Ads Pitch Candidates as Check on Clinton — You know what? Again, I wish people, including Republicans, would stop acting like her election is a foregone conclusion. It is not.
  5. In Pickens County, first elk sighting in state for centuries — Just to give you something sort of local. I don’t think this is accurate, though. I seem to recall my cousins going to swim at the Elks Club in Florence, back in the ’60s…


Open Thread for Monday, October 24, 2016

Come on out to the debate at Richland Northeast.

Come on out to the debate at Richland Northeast.

You know how you can tell when it’s a really slow news day? This way: Look at what the major news outlets are leading with. If no two are leading with the same thing, and none of the ledes are particularly impressive, you know everybody’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. For instance, at this moment we have:

See what I mean? The State doesn’t really design its website around what I would call a lede, per se, but the story getting the biggest play at this moment is, USC freshman Felder assaulted victim and police officer, incident report says.

Which further proves my point.

So… since no one else can find any news out there, why don’t y’all just come on out to the Senate District 22 debate tonight? I’m pretty sure you’ll find that interesting. I’m about to head out to Richland Northeast High School momentarily…


Zuckerberg’s right about diversity, although I question his judgment

In defending Facebook for having Trump supporter Peter Thiel on its board, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“We care deeply about diversity. That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post visible only to Facebook employees, a photograph of which was shared on Hacker News on Tuesday.

“We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate,” Zuckerberg continued….

Absolutely. Diversity of thought is the most important kind — and too often, the kind people have the greatest trouble accepting. If you have a wide variety of skin colors and a perfect balance of gender, but everyone in your group thinks exactly alike, you have utterly failed to achieve a diverse result, and your group is weaker because of it.zuckerberg

Zuckerberg probably should have stopped there, though. He kind of lost me when he went on to say, “There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault.”

Are there? At this point, it’s getting a little hard to see those “many reasons.” Hard for me, anyway; perhaps the vision of others is sharper.

So let’s assume those many reasons exist. There’s another problem here.

Diversity of thought, of ideas, is indeed critically important. It is essential, in a liberal democracy, to respect those who see things differently. (And to accept it if they win an election.)

But in 2016, we’re not experiencing a contest of ideas. We’ve gone well past that. We’re experiencing an election in which one of the major-party nominees is a man of demonstrably contemptible character, not just somebody you or I may disagree with on matters of policy.

And there’s a point at which, to the extent that we respect our own ability to reason and to form opinions that may or may not differ from the opinions of others, we have to make a judgment.

And in doing so, it’s legitimate for us to question Mr. Thiel’s judgment in continuing to support Mr. Trump despite shock after shock. And to question Mr. Zuckerberg’s for defending having someone of such questionable judgment on his board.

Mr. Thiel, and Mr. Zuckerberg, are entitled to their opinions. And we are entitled to ours…

Open Thread for Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Didn't I top another post recently with pretty much this same image? No matter. It's still money...

Didn’t I top another post recently with pretty much this same image? No matter. It’s still money…

Another slow day. Some possible stuff to talk about:

  1. ‘Vegas, baby, Vegas!’ — I’m kinda dragging at the moment, and I’ve got a meeting to go to before I head home, but if I can possibly keep my eyes open that long, I’ll be live-Tweeting the debate, as per usual. So join me, just once more. Soon, very soon, it will all be over…
  2. Want to write in Mickey Mouse for president? In SC, you can’t — Good. Because every vote for Mickey Mouse is actually a vote for Trump. The same goes for Goofy. Actually, especially for Goofy…
  3. The greatest role of Bill Murray’s life has been playing Bill Murray — I actually enjoyed this piece more than anything else I’ve read today. So I’m sharing it. And this counts as local, since he lives in Charleston — although I don’t think the piece mentioned that. Be sure and read the companion piece, written shortly after this one posted: I tried reaching Murray for weeks. He finally called back today.
  4. WikiLeaks founder Assange was Ecuador’s guest of honor. Then he wore out his welcome. — Yeah, I know — Assange again. Except this piece isn’t about Assange as much as it’s about Ecuador, and that interests me, since I lived there longer than anywhere else growing up. Short version — Ecuador (all South America, in fact) is shifting politically, and poking Uncle Sam in the eye isn’t as much of a winning formula as it may have been before.
  5. Times Names A.G. Sulzberger as Its Deputy Publisher — Yeah, I know — inside-baseball newspaper stuff. Doesn’t really interest me, either. I’m only sharing it because the picture the NYT ran with this cracked me up — a major newspaper (the Gray Lady, no less!) executive being presented to the world with a three-day beard growth and an open-necked shirt with no tie. Message: We’re young; we’re hip; we’re happ’nin’; we’re now. We know all about the Interwebs. If this were the ’60s, I suppose they’d have pictured him holding a Pepsi. Strikes me as desperate.
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 36 -- he's hip, he's happening, he's now...

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 36 — he’s hip, he’s happening, he’s now…

Open Thread for Tuesday, October 18, 2016


A few possible topics before I step away from the laptop for the day:

  1. Clinton holds clear advantage in new poll of battleground states — You know what? I wish people would stop saying she’s got a no-hitter going. Which I said on Twitter today in response to a truly blatant attempt to jinx her, headlined “Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s nonexistent.” I mean, come ON, dude… shut up! Meanwhile, more on her emails.
  2. 5 Reasons (And Then Some) Not To Worry About A ‘Rigged’ Election — This is from NPR. Like yeah, right — anyone who listens to Trump’s paranoid predictions is going to be reassured by public radio…
  3. After Losses, ISIS Moves the Goal Posts — Which is to say, ISIL is now a bit like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” saying “Have at you!” as he is hacked to pieces. BBC is warning of another possible consequence, saying, “EU ‘should prepare for jihadists‘”…
  4. Something something about Julian Assange — This is weird. Remember yesterday I reported on the Wikileaks creep saying Ecuador had cut off his internet connection, so yay Ecuador? I could have sworn I heard on the radio this afternoon that they were back up, and planning more efforts to get Donald Trump elected. But I can’t find any references to that via Google. Everybody’s still reporting the internet complaint like it’s new. Did I just dream the newer developments?
  5. Columbia Mayor Benjamin on Clinton’s possible VP list, hacked email shows — Hey, it’s local!

  6. SCGOP chair calls on Democrats to disavow Fanning — Also local. This almost, but not quite, made the VFP yesterday. Seems kind of weird that these 1993 charges emerge now, but hey, that’s what Trump says, too…

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, October 17, 2016


Just as an exercise in discipline, I’m going to force myself to do a VFP despite this being a light news day. Hey, real newspapers have to, so it’s good to keep my hand in. To make it even harder, I’ll stick to the old 1980s-era rule of having six stories. No copping out:

  1. Iraqi troops ‘ahead of schedule’ in Mosul battle against IS (BBC) — Yep, I’m leading with something actually important enough to be the lede, rather than something that merely entertains you. And I’m not sorry.
  2. SC Chamber’s political arm backs Democrat McLeod (The State) — This surprise you? It certainly surprised me, since Mia isn’t even the first choice of all the Democrats in her district. This is a real coup for her, and a blow to Susan Brill. I wanted to read more, but it doesn’t seem to be on the group’s website yet.
  3. NPR Poll: Are Parents Overrating The Quality Of Child Care? (NPR) — The answer, by the way, is yes. This is similar to what we found at ADCO doing focus groups for a group working with Child Care Services division of DSS a few years back: People tend to rationalize that their childcare provider is just fine.
  4. NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV (WashPost) — This story’s actually a couple of three days old, but I just enjoyed it on so many levels that I thought I’d share it. Meanwhile, Netflix just had a huge jump in its stock.
  5. Ecuador cut off Julian Assange’s internet access, WikiLeaks says (The Guardian) — Good for Ecuador, my childhood home! And I thought they didn’t love us anymore…
  6. Nobel panel gives up knockin’ on Dylan’s door (The Guardian) — The folks in Stockholm can’t get a response from him. This is so Dylan. They shouldn’t worry, though, until he changes his voicemail recording to “Positively 4th Street.”

How about that? Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of hard news out there, I came up with a pretty interesting, diverse set of topics for you. And nothing about Donald Trump! You can thank me later.

And no, I’m not deliberately ignoring the situation with the Iranian-backed rebels shooting at a U.S. warship. But we had a good discussion about that earlier, and I’m not seeing any new developments on it today. I looked…

Open Thread for Friday, October 14, 2016


Busy today, so this will have to hold you for now:

  1. Obama Eases Special Limits On Cuban Products, From Drugs To Rum And Cigars — You know what this means, don’t you? Kramer won’t have to go to such lengths to obtain his “Cubans.
  2. Storm recovery focus directed to river near Grand Strand — They mean the Waccamaw. Headline writer was trying to help the geographically challenged, I suppose. The surge could hit its height next week.
  3. Trump wields new conspiracy theory: This time he is the target — It seems a “Global Power Structure” is out to get him. Oh, if only that were true; they’d have gotten him by now. Anyway, here’s his speech.
  4. Michelle Obama Calls Trump’s Comments ‘Intolerable’ — The First Lady hit a nerve or two with this speech. See the whole thing below.
  5. Pickens GOP state Rep. Collins goes on anti-Trump tweetstorm — So, with Lindsey Graham, we now know there are two South Carolina Republicans willing to stand up to Trump. This story doesn’t provide a link to Collins’ feed, but here it is.

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The top stories out there at the moment:

  1. Recreation Commission director indicted on misconduct in office charge (The State) — Some of you have wondered when, oh when, some of these investigations might bear fruit. Well, here you go. And it really didn’t take all that long. The bigger problem is that in any normally constituted system of government, he’d have been fired by now. That is the systemic flaw that needs to be addressed.
  2. No warning for flooded Little Pee Dee River residents (Sun-News) — The effects of Matthew are not over, people. And if you like numbers better than words, here’s an attempt to tally the costs thus far.
  3. Fearing backlash, some Republicans fall back in line behind Trump (WashPost) — These Republicans are a bunch of… what’s that word Trump likes to use so much?
  4. What’s In The Latest WikiLeaks Dump of Clinton Campaign Emails (NPR) — I haven’t found a lot to get excited about, but that’s me — I would never want to give that creep Assange the satisfaction.
  5. Fed Officials Plan to Increase Rates ‘Relatively Soon’ (WSJ) — For those of you who hang breathlessly on such reports. I know it’s important; I just find it so hard to care. Not that I don’t understand it. It’s about money, right?
  6. Harrison Ford’s Star Wars injury results in $2m fine for British firm (The Guardian) — He was injured by the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon. Personally, I think he should have sued that ship’s owner and operator. Oh, wait…
Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb...

Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb…

Maybe it takes a Brit to get us to face ourselves


Apparently, all Hogwarts is worried that He Who Must Not Be Named could occupy the most powerful position in the Muggle world.

A friend brought this Tweet out of Hogwarts to my attention:

Yeah, I know: She can’t even vote here. But the Brits are our best friends in the world, and sometimes you need your friends to tell you to take a good look at yourself.

As for those who think she should butt out, she has this good answer:

Folks, this isn’t just about this country; this is about the kind of world we will all live in in the future. And everybody has a stake in it. Even in Hogwarts, the possibility that He Who Must Not Be Named could be elected to the most powerful position in Muggle world is a cause of great concern. (And you’ll notice, she did not name him.)…

Join me on Twitter for tonight’s debate


A little over an hour ago, Donald Trump held a brief presser with several women who have terrible things to say about Bill and Hillary Clinton.

His precise point wasn’t clear, but it does seem obvious that he doesn’t intend to elevate the discussion tonight.

But we’ll see… it’s about to start… Join me on Twitter, which is where I’ll be until it’s over…

Open Thread for Tuesday, October 4, 2016

You've got to watch the video of Nikki's presser if only to see the dude doing the sign language. I had no idea it involved such dramatic facial expressions....

You’ve got to watch the video of Nikki’s presser if only to see the dude doing the sign language. I had no idea it involved such dramatic facial expressions….

See how you like these:

  1. Here comes Matthew — My wife is scrambling because she’ll have four grandchildren at the house with schools closing. How is it affecting you so far? Meanwhile, the effect in Haiti is described as “catastrophic.”
  2. In their only debate, Pence and Kaine prepare to defend running mates — I suppose I’ll watch this, and I suppose I’ll live-Tweet it. Unless I think of something else to do.
  3. Fact-Checking Family Lore With DNA Tests — I read this with great interest for two reasons — 1) I’m spending all my spare time working on my family tree; and 2) I got an AncestryDNA kit for my birthday, and can’t wait to send my spit off and see what they tell me. Have any of y’all done this? Did you find out anything cool?
  4. British Pound Hits Three-Decade Low on Brexit Concerns — So don’t tell me there’ve been no negative effects of Brexit…
  5. Report: Russians slipped ‘roofies’ to U.S. diplomats — No, really. There’s a news story about it and everything.

I’ll stop on that note. Y’all have anything else?

Your Virtual Front Page, Monday, October 3, 2016


Here’s what we have on this auspicious day:

  1. U.S. Ends Syria Talks Over Russia’s Role in Aleppo Attacks (NYT) — And it that’s not bad enough, consider this related story, which if anything is more ominous…
  2. Russia suspends weapons-grade plutonium deal with US (BBC) — This was one of those reassuring byproducts of the end of the Cold War. Now, Putin’s backing away from it.
  3. Colombia and FARC scramble to rescue peace deal amid worries of return to war (The Guardian) — Talk about an election shocker. All those stories about peace at last; now this…
  4. The bombshell about Trump’s taxes (NYT) — Yeah, this broke over the weekend, but I didn’t post about it then, so it still makes the VFP today. This is such a big story, the rival Washington Post wrote a piece on how this fell into the NYT‘s lap.
  5. N.Y. attorney general orders Trump Foundation to cease fundraising (WashPost) — This shaped up to be a pretty big news day, but where would we have been without Trump and his best bud Putin?
  6. Years before his ‘Aleppo moment,’ Gary Johnson showed little interest in the details of governing (WashPost) — Hey, Johnson got some major media attention! But it doesn’t help! Sorry, Doug.

Hey, I would have included something light, to help with the mix, but there was too much news.

Open Thread for Friday, September 30, 2016

President Barack Obama attempts his best split with the gold medal 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team with First Lady Michelle Obama watching in the Map Room, prior to an event to welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama attempts his best split with the gold medal 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team with First Lady Michelle Obama watching in the Map Room, prior to an event to welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

We’re almost in my favorite month (which I learned to spell for a school program in kindergarten because it was my birth month, and I can still do it, see: O-C-T-O-B-E-R), and wasn’t that nice cool air lovely this morning? Some topics for your consideration:

  1. Family: Jacob Hall on life support after Townville Elementary shooting — That’s the precious, innocent 6-year-old boy who was shot. Meanwhile, the 14-year-old was charged with one count of murder and three of attempted murder.
  2. Trump berates ‘disgusting’ Alicia Machado on Twitter — Seriously: Four days after the debate, this yo-yo is getting up before 6 a.m. to attack this young woman, with allegations of a “sex tape” among other things. We’re getting way past merely being unqualified for the presidency. I’m starting to wonder why someone this unhinged is walking around loose. Maybe Howard Dean is onto something.
  3. Citing Hitler, Duterte Says He Would Kill 3 Million Addicts — Meanwhile, from the Trump of the Philippines…
  4. The ‘beating heart of Myrtle Beach’ went silent 10 years ago with closing of Pavilion — I don’t normally go in for “10 Years After” stories, but I don’t think we discussed this at the time. I just could not believe MB would close this, although friends who live there told me at the time I didn’t realize what a drag it had become on the town. Any of y’all have belated thoughts? Perhaps you’d like to go watch “Shag: The Movie” (which is NOT an Alicia Machado sex tape) and then get back to me.


Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

Haven’t given you one of these in awhile. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of news today:

  1. Two children shot at SC elementary school, suspect in custody (The State) — This is what I meant by “unfortunately.” Beyond horrible. A teacher was also taken to hospital.
  2. In a first for Obama, Congress overrides veto on 9/11 bill (WashPost) — Because, you know, what we really needed was for our relations with Saudi Arabia to get more tense. On the other hand, we’ve been tiptoeing around their stuff for a lot of years…
  3. Trump stumbles into Clinton’s trap by feuding with Latina beauty queen (WashPost) — The guy just can’t help himself. If there’s a mess of his making, he’ll step right into it, and jump up and down.
  4. Clinton gathers Republican endorsements (BBC) — One was from five-time senator from Virginia John Warner, who says “National Security for Dummies” is not an appropriate approach to the presidency. The other was from The Arizona Republic, marking the first time the paper has endorsed a Democrat for president since its founding in 1890. This joins a trend of longtime Republican-leaning papers endorsing her. As well they should. Maybe, with enough of these, people will start really understanding this is no normal election.
  5. SC lawmakers may rethink controversial property tax law (The State) — Remember when I wondered whether we might actually get comprehensive tax reform this time? I would be deeply impressed by lawmakers’ gumption if they took on this 10-year-old mistake, by which I mean Act 388.
  6. Natural born killers: humans predisposed to murder, study suggests (The Guardian) — Of course, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to back it up. But I’d be interested to see what Dave Grossman, author of On Killing, would say, since he writes of most humans having such a powerful inhibition against killing.

Open Thread for Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who you gonna believe: Trump, or this woman? Me, too...

Who you gonna believe: Trump, or this woman? Me, too…

Fortunately, there’s no debate tonight. Here’s what we have:

  1. Trump Lashes Out, Calling Debate Unfair — What all is he whining about today? He’s complaining about the moderator, his microphone, the beauty queen… As for Hillary Clinton, he says he may “hit her harder” next time. So, you know, he’s just a bundle of maturity and good sportsmanship. Sounds like he knows he lost. But again, will it matter?
  2. U.S. Government To Pay $492 Million To 17 American Indian Tribes — What?!? Didn’t we already give them 24 whole dollars for Manhattan?
  3. Plan surfaces for new nuclear disposal ground in SC — I don’t really know enough about this yet to have an informed opinion, but I feel about the way the Seinfeld characters felt about low-flow shower heads: I don’t like the sound of that!
  4. Elon Musk Outlines Mars Plans — Sounds good, depending on how the election comes out.

Perhaps you have some other topics to suggest…

Open Thread for Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jack Van Loan in 2006/file photo

Jack Van Loan in 2006/file photo

Sorry I’ve been too busy to post today, but it’s gratifying to see y’all having a high old time with this post from yesterday. Some other likely topics:

  1. FBI looked into suspected bomber Ahmad Rahami in 2014 — Important safety tip going forward: When a father tells you his son is a terrorist, take it seriously.
  2. Russians May Have Bombed Aid Convoy, Officials Say — First we hit Syrian troops, now the Russians do this. Too many wars going on in too small a space. Maybe the best way for us to have a successful cease-fire would be for all of us to follow Jimmy Carter’s suggestion and maybe, just for a bit, cease firing.
  3. Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems — But will Trump supporters care? Nope. They don’t care what this guy does…
  4. The GOP has become a pity party for white males — This from the Post‘s duty conservative, Jennifer Rubin. Boy, that one ought to hurt. I mean, aren’t we white males sort of the demographic that takes pride in the idea that we don’t do pity parties? You know, the rugged individualist, yadda-yadda? Well, maybe not…
  5. A Jack Van Loan statue is an awesome idea — The Five Points Association today broke ground on Centennial Plaza, which will feature a 6-foot rotating water feature and a bronze statue of my good friend Jack Van Loan, American hero and longtime godfather of Five Points. Excellent idea! I definitely want to be there for the unveiling.
  6. ‘Transformational’ Benedict president stepping down after 23 years — Major news. I actually don’t even remember the time before Dr. Swinton was at the helm at Benedict…

The way I used to write was positively Warthenesque


I’ve commented on this before, and I find myself wondering whether others experience it.

For my entire writing life, whenever I’ve looked back at something I wrote two or three years earlier, it’s always so much better than what I was writing at the time I looked.

For instance, today I was looking for a good link to go with another post, and somehow ran across this, in which I found a slightly different way to express my oft-expressed frustration with the artificially binary aspect of our politics. The immediate subject was Barack Obama:

Most political commentators, trapped in the extremely limiting notion that the politicians they write and speak about must either be of the left or right, can’t make him out. But he keeps making perfect sense to me. Perhaps I should send a memo out to the MSM letting them know that there’s a third way they can think of a politician (actual, there’s an infinite number of ways, but let’s not blow their little minds; one step at a time). There’s left (as “left” is popularly and imperfectly described) and right (as “right” is popularly and imperfectly described), and then there’s Brad Warthen. As in, “The candidate’s recent statements have been Warthenesque,” or “That was a distinctly Braddish move he made last week.”

It would open up whole new vistas for our national political conversation. Certainly a broader landscape than what we’re used to, with its limited expectations…

Yes! I liked that. And not just because it involved placing yours truly at the center of the political universe. No, it’s not Hemingway and still less Shakespeare (and frankly, now that I’m sharing it with you I’m not enjoying it nearly as much as when I ran across it an hour ago). But it was a nice, breezy, fun little bite that had a flair to it, and it made me smile a bit. Nothing special, just another way of expressing the UnParty idea. Another way of saying that for many of us in this country — I am but one of millions in this regard — the way the media write and talk about politics makes us feel left out. If only our ways of thinking were taken into account…

My staff photo from 1987: Back then I could WRITE...

My staff photo from 1987: Back then I could WRITE…

And I thought, for the millionth time, why don’t I write like that now?

But that’s always the way. I wrote that in 2011, and sometime in 2011 I no doubt looked back at something from 2005, when I first started blogging, and thought That’s the real stuff! Why don’t I have stuff like that now?

And in 2005, I was mooning over the first columns I wrote for The State’s editorial page in 1994 and thinking that was what punditry was all about; what had happened to me?

And in the early ’90s I probably ran across a box of old columns from when I was still at The Jackson Sun ten years earlier and thinking, that’s when I had the real fire…

I can’t wait until the year 2020, when this pooge I’m writing now will look like pure gold…