Category Archives: Blogosphere

Open Thread for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gowdy report

Some possible topics:

  1. Did you go vote? — I ask because I actually forgot this morning, and had to run back out to my part of town after lunch. Got ‘er done, though. How did it go? I think I was No. 134 to vote at about 1:30 p.m.
  2. Benghazi report finds no new evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton — This morning, I was stupid enough to click on an “EXCLUSIVE” from Fox News that said “Clinton’s admin pushed video explanation for Benghazi despite eyewitness accounts, House GOP report says.” Not noticing the “admin,” I thought it was saying they caught her doing something misleading. But it was the same old stuff — Susan Rice made a fool of herself on the Sunday shows. If you’d like to know where Gowdy’s report did fault Clinton, read this.
  3. NASA Awaits a 3-Second Beep From Jupiter — A cool space story… I like space stuff. But I miss the manned missions. Remember, we were supposed to have sent men to Jupiter 15 years ago
  4. Attack On Istanbul’s International Airport Kills At Least 10 People — Oh, wait: We don’t care in the West since it happened in a Muslim country, right?
  5. Labour MPs prepare for leadership contest after Corbyn loses confidence vote — After a huge loss in the confidence vote, he said he won’t quit. I guess this is his Bernie Sanders impersonation. But I expect they’ll sort him out soon enough.
  6. Brexit vote: Bitter exchanges in EU parliament debate — There were good bits, though, as when “A central figure in the Leave campaign, UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, was booed, called a liar and accused of using ‘Nazi propaganda’.”

That’s it for now. I have to run go give platelets. Y’all should be going with me…

Open Thread for Monday, June 27, 2016

PM Cameron spoke out today against the huge upswing in xenophobic incidents since the Brexit vote.

PM Cameron spoke out today against the huge upswing in xenophobic incidents since the Brexit vote.

Kind of a slow news day, but let’s see what we can drum up:

  1. Don’t forget to vote tomorrow — If there are any primary runoffs in your precinct. I’ve got the solicitor runoff between Rick Hubbard and Candice Lively, and the contest between Micah Caskey and Tem Miles for Kenny Bingham’s House seat. If you want to see what’s on your local ballot, go here and enter your county, name and birth date.
  2. Inmate killed, another injured at Lee Correctional during incident — Sounds like more than an “incident” if an inmate was killed. I look forward to learning more. I’m also curious to know more about the dead man himself. His name was named Ae Kingratsaiphon. How did a guy with a name like that ending up doing a life sentence for murder in South Carolina?
  3. Justices throw out Texas abortion law — Kennedy joined the liberals to hand the “pro” side their biggest court win since 1992, in a 5-3 decision. NYT’s making a pretty huge deal about it.
  4. Graft Conviction Is Vacated for Former Virginia Governor — From what I’ve read in recent months, that sounds like it’s probably a good call.
  5. EU leaders reject informal talks with UK — I think this makes more sense than that petulant-sounding message we got the other day from E.U. leaders saying they wanted Britain to hurry up about it. This is a situation that benefits from a bit of a slowdown, I would think. But then, what do I know from European politics? Meanwhile, Britain’s credit rating has been downgraded. Nice going there, leavers.
  6. Labour MPs to hold no-confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn — So there are some silver linings in this cloud. That’s encouraging, I think — if he’s replaced by someone a little less crazy. Yeah, it’s too much to hope for another Tony Blair, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

Open Thread for Thursday, June 23, 2016


As we wait for the votes to come in across the pond:

  1. EU referendum vote – long queues and bad weather — Apparently, we won’t learn what happened until sometime overnight. But you’ll be excited to know that I made up my mind that were I eligible to vote, I’d vote to remain. How did I decide? I Googled to see what my main man Tony Blair would do. So, that’s settled.
  2. Democrats end sit-in after chaotic 26 hours in House — Meanwhile the GOP got ticked off and went home. What was accomplished? Well, nothing, really, except for energizing the Democratic base, which eats up this sort of thing.
  3. Deadlocked justices block Obama on immigration — Notice how, while the Congress dithers and engages in symbolic actions, the judiciary actually goes out and does stuff? Not sure this is what the Framers had in mind, but this is how it works.
  4. Four more S.C. residents contract Zika virus — All were travel-related, but this is still just getting too close to home.
  5. Baltimore Officer Who Drove Freddie Gray Is Acquitted — As with Ferguson, we have another case in which what thousands of protesters just knew to be the case could not be demonstrated satisfactorily in the criminal justice system. Some dissidents will no doubt think this proves the system is rigged. To me, it demonstrates that people frequently take to the streets based on insufficient evidence.

General, you might want to spread your troops out a bit


Ran across this photo when the U.S. Army Tweeted it out in celebration of National Selfie Day — which apparently is a thing — earlier this week.

It shows Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, posing with some of his troops.

All I could think was that in a combat situation — and the way they’re decked out it certainly looks like a combat situation — a formation like this would be suicidal. One mortar round, and that’s it.

I’d just feel a lot better if they were spread out in a proper skirmish line.

Beyond that, it just looks ridiculous… it sort of cracked me up.

Open Thread for Monday, June 20, 2016

Let’s kick this week off, shall we?

  1. Trump to campaign manager: ‘You’re fired!’ — All those Trump fans are getting the reality TV show they voted for. There’s something backward about this, though: If the Trump campaign wanted to get rid of its greatest liability, The Donald himself would be the first to go. Meanwhile, the NYT has apparently read the WashPost‘s story about Roy Cohn’s influence on Trump, and done their own version of the story, with additional details.
  2. Cavaliers win NBA championship — For those of you who complain that we don’t have enough sports here. As Kent Babb, former sportswriter at The State (now with The Washington Post) Tweeted, “Royals … Cavs … Cubs? Ain’t nothing impossible anymore.” He neglected to mention this year’s greatest sports miracle: Leicester City winning the Premier League, with a bit of encouragement from Richard III.
  3. High Court Turns Away Challenge to Semiautomatic Gun Law — This counts as a victory for gun-control advocates, as at least this is one battle they didn’t lose. Meanwhile, Here Are The 4 Gun Proposals The Senate Is Voting On (Again).
  4. Coroner: 3-year-old dies a day after twin brother — I could hardly stand to look at this story. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Forgive me for sharing it, but it just cast a pall on my morning. Twins are such a blessing, as I’ve been privileged to learn. Such a loss staggers the soul. My thoughts and prayers go out to this family.
  5. The Guardian view on the EU referendum: keep connected and inclusive, not angry and isolated — Somehow, they fail to persuade. But this is fairly typical, for me, of their “leaders.” Still don’t know how I’d vote…

This just in! I’ve learned that Capt. Jack Aubrey, late of Her Majesty’s Navy, has come out for Brexit, and has given his jolly tars a pep talk urging them to vote the same:

Capt. Jack Aubrey: England is under threat of invasion [evidently a hyperbolic reference to increased immigration from EU countries], and though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home. This ship, is England. So it’s every hand to his rope or gun, quick’s the word and sharp’s the action. After all… Surprise is on our side.
Crew: Huzzah, huzzah!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Want to call that raggedy-ass Napoleon your king?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: You want your children to sing the “La Marseillaise?”
Crew: NO!

OK, so he’s distorting things a bit. But don’t stop him; he’s on a roll…

Watching the Brexit campaign closely, but still undecided...

Watching the Brexit campaign closely, but still undecided…

Open Thread for Friday, June 17, 2016


This being Friday afternoon, practically no one will read this, but you who do can count yourselves as special:

South Carolinians observe anniversary of Emanuel AME killings — You’ve probably been hearing about it all day. Any thoughts?

  1. Russian Track and Field Team Barred From Rio Olympics — Both the NYT and WSJ are leading with this right now, so it’s a really slow news day. With the Russians, isn’t this kind of a dog-bites-man thing? Or am I thinking of the East Germans?
  2. Dozens of GOP delegates launch new push to halt Donald Trump — Very een-ter-resting. Also interesting is that the WashPost’s top three stories are about Trump, so getting barred from his campaign hasn’t cramped their style at all. The lede is about his business ties to Russia, which casts a new light on his cozying up to Putin. The third is about Trump’s long-standing relationship with the late Roy Cohn, who the story says “showed Trump how to exploit power and instill fear through a simple formula: attack, counterattack and never apologize.”
  3. Jo Cox

    Jo Cox

    Jo Cox killing: suspect’s far-right links a ‘priority line of inquiry’ — Everything, including politics, stands still when one person gets shot in Britain. Because unlike in certain countries we know and love, it seldom happens there. Guess why? Of course, she was an MP, so there’s that.

  4. Suspect who allegedly shot at car with five victims inside turns himself into police — So how did he do that? Was it magic — did he actually become a police, or did he merely put on a cop costume so that everyone thought he had turned himself into police? I like the Baltimore-style use of “police” to refer to an individual, like on “The Wire.” You know, like when McNulty or somebody said, “You’re a good police.”

A gram is better than a damn, ma’am

Soma ad

Sometimes Google Adsense makes, well, sense — such as the ad I’m seeing in the rail at right — I’ve really been into building my family tree lately.

Sometimes I am mystified. That’s the case with the “Soma” ad you see above.

Doubly mystified. To me, “Soma” means:

  1. The therapeutic and recreational drug of choice in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where “A gramme is better than a damn” is axiomatic. It is used to keep people in that creepy utopia from feeling disagreeable emotions. Life is tough? Take a soma holiday!
  2. The muscle relaxer I have used at times over the years — generic name “carisoprodol.”

I don’t associate it with ladies in swimsuits. But apparently, that’s a thing now.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s that their products are meant to fit women’s physical forms, since “soma” means “the body as distinct from the soul, mind, or psyche.” You know, as in “psychosomatic.”

But it caught my eye…


Open Thread for Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sig Sauer MCX

Sig Sauer MCX

A few potential topics:

  1. Medal of Honor recipient cleared of hit-and-run charge — This has to be a relief to the solicitor’s office. Who would want to prosecute this one?
  2. Gun used by shooter was not an AR-15 — It was a Sig Sauer MCX, for those who care.
  3. Orlando massacre brings together Christians and gay community — We’ve read a lot in the last couple of day about how the massacre has divided us, so this is nice. Also, did you see that Chick-Fil-A in Orlando opened on Sunday — not to the public to make money, but just to feed people giving blood in the aftermath.
  4. Primary battle not over for two long-time GOP SC Senate leaders — Mike Fair and Larry Martin face runoffs, something I didn’t mention in the roundup earlier today.
  5. Bernice Scott beaten in attempt to regain seat — Another one I overlooked. Wow. This is sort of historic for Richland County. The former longtime councilman was unable to step in and take back the seat abandoned by her son-in-law Kelvin Washington.

LinkedIn deal: Microsoft, I’ve got a blog I’ll sell you for HALF that…


If you love LinkedIn, raise your hand.

OK, I can’t see whether you’re doing that, but I’m going to assume you’re not. Because, you know, why would you?

A lot of people — like, a billion or so — love their Facebook. Even I can summon up some fondness for some of its features, although there’s a lot I don’t like (which is probably why it’s so popular — there are so many features, there’s bound to be something you’ll like).

Quite a few journalists and political geeks like me — oh, there must me dozens of us — adore Twitter, and can’t get enough of it. Seriously, if it paid, I would likely spend 14 hours a day doing little else.

There are those who feel a similar attachment to Instagram and Snapchat, just as there are people who like “reality” TV. To each his own. (I almost said “more power to them,” but then I reflected on all those Trumpkins who I assume love reality TV, and chose a different shopworn phrase).

But who really gets a kick out of LinkedIn? Oh, plenty of us are on it, and have loads of connections (I’ve lost count, but I passed 1,000 years ago), because we think we have to. But who likes it, with its stream of relatively meaningless “endorsements” and other uninteresting distractions?

Well, Microsoft does, to the tune of $26 billion, with a B:

Tech giant Microsoft said Monday that it had reached a deal to acquire professional social networking site LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash.

The deal values LinkedIn at $196 per share, representing a 49.5% premium over Friday’s closing price.

The companies said their respective boards had unanimously approved the deal. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will keep the title and report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said in a statement. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”…

Yo, Bill Gates (or whoever is in charge over there now) — I have a blog that a few people actually seem to enjoy, at least a little. And unlike LinkedIn, it even turns a tiny, tiny profit. If I had someone who could sell ads, it could do better.

I’ll sell it to you, and stay on and keep writing it (if you’d like), for half that. Nay, for 1/26th of that. I’m not proud…

Open Thread for Friday, June 10, 2016


Slow news day, with most outlets’ lede story being a funeral. But here are some interesting topics, if anyone cares on a Friday afternoon:

  1. Thousands Gather in Tribute to Ali — The aforementioned funeral, in case you have further thoughts to share re “The Greatest.”
  2. Witches perform impotence hex on Stanford man convicted of sexual assault — Oh yeah, sure, that should sort him out. And you know, they probably announced this with a straight face. This is a terrible case that didn’t need unintentional humor injected into it.
  3. Gawker, Reeling From Hogan Suit, Files for Bankruptcy — And all the newspapers moved over to make room on the bench, saying “Welcome to the club…”Gordie_Howe_Chex_card
  4. NHL legend Gordie Howe dies at 88 — There goes one of the only two hockey players I would be able to name. The other is Bobby Orr, whose surname is so popular on crosswords. (Wait, does Happy Gilmore count?) Anyway, even I knew he was one of the greats, which is an achievement in itself.
  5. Special Operations Command wants U.S. companies to start making AK-47s — That’s the smartest idea I’ve heard in awhile. This is the greatest infantry weapon ever made. Every enemy we’ve face since Vietnam has had these, and it’s time our soldiers could match them.
  6. Egg producers pledge to stop grinding newborn male chickens to death — Hey, anybody up for a nice chicken salad? Listen, you can do away with the whole industry as far as I’m concerned. I don’t eat the creatures — or their eggs, either.

Apparently, Hillary is more ‘with it’ than I am


I saw the reporting on this Tweet from Hillary Clinton, in reply to Donald Trump:

… and I was like, “Yeah, OK. So?” To me, it seemed to be an extremely unimaginative response, smacking slightly of authoritarianism (as though Hillary had, along with winning the nomination, just been named Hall Monitor of Twitter).

Apparently, it’s a thing, and the kids loved it:

Can we get you some ice for that burn, Donald?

Hillary Clinton shut down presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday with a simple, three-word tweet to end all beefs.

Clinton’s tweet — repurposing a well-known and beloved Internet meme — was in response to Trump’s reaction that President Barack Obama had endorsed Clinton (his former Secretary of State) for the 2016 election. …

Well, the fact that that lame response was “a well-known and beloved internet meme” was entirely news to me, so I followed the link to the alleged best uses of the meme ever.

And you know what? Each of those struck me as just as flat and uninteresting and blah as when Hillary used it. To much-younger Twitter-users, though, it is the distilled essence of wit, or so I’m told.

Huh. They don’t ask for much, do they?

But even if the first thousand or so uses of the line were just high-larious (which I doubt, but let’s just say they were), it still shows a lack of imagination for Hillary to use it instead of coming up with something original.

And as “burns” go, it seems decidedly tepid.

But as I say, apparently the kids loved it, and isn’t that the point when you’re Hillary, and desperate for some of that juice that Bernie has with the young?

The reaction she’s gotten probably has the Democrat just hugging herself, saying, “I’m with it. I’m groovy. I’m fab. I’m a hepcat. 23 skidoo…”

Video: An upbeat Fred Sheheen, back in 2013

Fred Sheheen from Matthew Warthen on Vimeo.

My son shot this clip at a fund-raiser for Vincent Sheheen at James Smith’s law office on April 16, 2013, when he was just starting to gear up for his unsuccessful second run for governor.

This was moments before some Democratic Party operatives asked us to stop shooting video, which was a disappointment. (I’ve found that while lots of campaigns don’t mind if I slip into one of these friends-and-family affairs and mingle, they hate it if I shoot video — and with my son Matt’s big, professional camera, we were doing so ostentatiously on this occasion. The people I interviewed, such as Fred, didn’t mind a bit. It was the hired hands who didn’t like it.)

As it happened, we never used any of the footage until now. I’d like to team up with my son more for video for the blog — so much better than what I shoot with my phone — but I hate to ask him to take time away from his family. When he did the video on the flag rally last year — which I think came out wonderfully — he had to spend most of the night editing it. That was a special occasion.

Anyway, I share this now with Fred’s friends and family, as a little postscript on Vincent’s moving eulogy yesterday. It shows Fred with characteristic confidence and commitment, eager to roll up his sleeves and help his boy get elected. We know now that it didn’t work out, but Fred had good reason to think it was doable, as he explains.

Enjoy, and remember…

Open Thread for Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fred Sheheen, whose funeral was today.

Fred Sheheen, whose funeral was today.

Here’s what I’m seeing. Step up if you can do better:

  1. Obama Endorses Hillary Clinton for President — No shock there, but everybody’s leading with it. Hillary is thrilled. And The Fix has a nice piece on why POTUS was so eager to do this even while “Sanders’s body, politically speaking, was still warm.” More interesting is that, while he’s softening, Bernie Sanders has not quite quit yet. It’s weird. He says he’ll work with her to help defeat Trump. But Bern, there’s only one way to do that…
  2. No constitutional right to concealed guns: US appeals court — If he’s not already in the house, somebody run get Bryan. Of course, this was the 9th Circuit, so consider the source, he might say…
  3. ‘He loved every minute’: Sheheen eulogized as family man, public servant — Vincent delivered the fond, funny eulogy for his Dad.
  4. Haley vetoes study to move military museum, Confederate flag — I hope this also means she’d veto actual proposals to waste money on the flag itself.
  5. Europe to America: Your love of air-conditioning is stupid — This is weird. Both The State and the Miami Herald are running this like it’s new, but according to The Washington Post, it was initially posted on July 22, 2015. Whatever. I’m just sharing it to say to Europe: Interesting. Come see us next month and we’ll talk about it — say, in lawn chairs in the middle of Gervais Street at 3 p.m.

Response to Post series from James Flowers

I got this comment over the weekend from James Flowers, Leon Lott’s opponent for the Democratic nomination for Richland County sheriff:

Brad Warthen. You should have reached out to me before writing this article so that you would have actual facts instead of what is written in this article by the civil attorney. First of all, as a SLED agent we investigate CRIMINAL actions. This was a CIVIL deposition. My only purpose is to gather the facts and provide them to the James FlowersSolicitor. What you obviously don’t know is that the Solicitor’s office, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s office reviewed my report and had ZERO issues with the work. The Solicitor’s office made the determination that there was no criminal action on the part of the law enforcement officers not Me or SLED. Also, when 3 certified law enforcement officers that are serving 2 valid warrants have any sort of weapon pointed at them, they should by all means respond with deadly force. A real law enforcement leader stands behind and supports law enforcement officers 100% when they are right. Even if he has to be arrogant to do it. This article is nothing more than a hit piece orchestrated by an overzealous civil attorney who has a different legal standard than law enforcement does in reviewing shootings. I also noticed that you didn’t mention the unflattering second article about your friend Lott. So please do some due diligence prior to your next blog. Thank you. James Flowers.

As it happens, the last person to get on my case for not having contacted him before posting something was… Leon Lott. And he kind of had a point, from his perspective, since the point of the post he called about was to wonder aloud why the sheriff hadn’t done a certain thing. Turns out that he had an answer to the question that he wanted to share.

I will always, always be on the defensive when people say I should have contacted them before posting something. But here’s the thing, folks: This is  a commentary blog, not a primary news source. I read things, and I react to them. And invite you to react to my reactions. On the rare occasions that I have time to go out and cover an event myself, I do so. Look back — you’ll see that’s my M.O. It’s not optimal; I wish I could afford to blog full-time. But WYSIWYG.

As it is, I don’t find time to comment on as many things as I’d like to — not even close to it. I’m very straightforward with you about the basis of my comments, so you can look at what I’m looking at and challenge my conclusions. And your comments, like Mr. Flowers’, get posted as well.

In this case, I spent way more time than I usually spend on a single post because it took so long for me to read that 7,000-word Washington Post article on which it was based. As I said, I’d read that one story and the fourth piece from the series by Radley Balko (more accurately, I skimmed the fourth piece). Now that Mr. Flowers has said Lott looks bad in the second installment of the series, I’ll go read that, and share what I find. I probably won’t have time to read the third piece today, but if you get there ahead of me, please share what you find.

Oh, and I don’t plan to call Leon before sharing what I find in that second installment. The story says what it says, and that’s what I’ll be reacting to — as per usual.

Although if I can find the time later, this subject is interesting enough that I might go above and beyond (in other words, take the kind of time I did back when I got paid to do this) and give both Lott and Flowers a call. But it remains to be seen whether that will be possible between now and next Tuesday’s primary.

Maybe some of my colleagues out there in the community who still get paid to do such reporting will get to it ahead of me. Let’s hope so.

Anyway, I welcome Mr. Flowers to the conversation.

Open Thread for Thursday, June 2, 2016


Very quickly — I need to run to a meeting…

  1. Paul Ryan backs Trump, ending a month-long holdout — OK, that’s that — we can remove Paul Ryan’s name from our list of Men of Respect in the Republican Party.
  2. John Crangle’s ‘Operation Lost Trust’ book explores dark chapter in SC Legislature — I may have to make a point of reading that. Although, you know, I lived it. That was an extremely intense time in my life as a newspaper editor.
  3. Haley supports removing Confederate flag from Citadel — Good for her. Not as big a deal as the State House one, but it has no business at a state institution.
  4. Clinton: Trump’s Foreign Policy ‘Incoherent’ — Duh.
  5. Prince died of opioid overdose, autopsy results show — Not terribly surprising, at this point.

Open Thread for Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Grown-up Harry Potter, son Albus, wife Ginny.

Had to retype that after writing “Monday.” Such days are confusing. Some possible topics:

  1. Haley to endorse opponents of Senate veterans Leatherman and Rankin — This one’s kind of old news, but I needed something local for the mix. I don’t know about you, but even odious lawmakers can get my sympathy when governors decide to go into bully mode against them (just ask Katrina Shealy). And I don’t think of either Leatherman or Rankin as particularly odious. I’d have to do more research on Rankin, but generally when Leatherman disagrees with Nikki, I disagree with her, too.
  2. Saudi Arabia’s Bid to Ease Off Oil Stirs Cultural Shift — The Saudi rulers are trying to wean their people off of oil-financed handouts. Which raises the question of whether the Saudi people might opt instead to wean themselves off the House of Saud.
  3. The middle-aged Harry Potter — Photos from the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” were released today. That’s grown-up Harry, with son Albus and wife Ginny (nee Weasley), above. As Hagrid might say, it’s not every day your young man turns 41!
  4. Poll: Nearly 1 In 4 Americans Reports Having Had A Concussion — This surprised me, because hasn’t everyone — or practically everyone — had a concussion at some point? I’m pretty sure I did that time I broke the bed with my head and got seven stitches. I have no memory of the incident, and I was spacey for a couple of days after. But I’m right as rain now, right? Right?
  5. It’s time for Jane Bond: I spy seven potential 007 actors perfect for the role — They meant actresses, not actors, but that’s probably The Guardian making some gender-neutral, ideologically correct point. Kind of ridiculous, under the circumstances, since the POINT being made is that they would be women, not men. If ever a context called for a gender-specific noun, this one did. Anyway, bottom line, the whole topic’s rather silly — although James Bond himself would probably vote to see more of these particular women. You know why? Because James Bond is a total pig, an early-’60s bigger-pig-than-Don-Draper pig — that’s who the character is, so it’s ridiculous to speak of changing him to make a feminist point. I’m almost to where I can go for Idris Elba, if they can come up with a good-enough back story for him (after all, we managed to adjust to a blonde Bond, which was itself quite a departure). He certainly has the poise for the role. But not this.
From Gillian Anderson's Twitter feed.

From Gillian Anderson’s Twitter feed.


(Mostly Local) Open Thread for Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A few items — WAY more local than usual, all from my old colleagues at The State:

  1. Haley’s veto overridden; farmers to get $40 million in state aid — I’m a little surprised the paper isn’t leading with this, even though it was not a shock that they overrode her.
  2. SC proposal to register refugees stalls — Here’s hoping it does more than that and dies a miserable death; this legislation is unconscionable. With legislation like this, Donald Trump is superfluous (he’d like that; it has “super” in it).zevoexcisl
  3. Man busted with cocaine, ecstasy and guns on Harbison Boulevard — Didn’t Warren Zevon sing about that? I don’t know what happened — I went home with the waitress, the way I always do… How was I do know she was with the Russians, too? Officials say they “found cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, two pistols and $1,170 in cash in his car.” Excitable Boy, sounds like.
  4. Ethics officials say they have more questions about Treasurer Loftis — I’d forgotten this was out there. You?

And elsewhere in the world:

  1. Trump releases list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees — Very interesting. Not something I recall seeing before, but for once, we have some specifics beyond that wall Mexico’s not going to pay for.
  2. Kidnapped schoolgirl found in Nigeria — She’s the first of the famous 219 taken by Boko Haram to be found and rescued.
  3. U.S. Enlarges Its Military Footprint In Eastern Europe, To Mixed Reviews — Trump’s buddy Putin is not happy about it.

Open Thread for Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What does it mean to be "presidential?" Here, POTUS shares the bully pulpit with a rapper -- albeit a very nicely dressed one.

What does it mean to be “presidential?” Here, POTUS shares the bully pulpit with a rapper — albeit a very nicely dressed one.

Where is everybody today? This some kind of holiday nobody told me about? Oh well… I might as well toss out some topics for those few of you who are paying attention today…

  1. House overrides Gov. Haley’s $40 million farm-aid veto, 112-2 — Now it’s the Senate’s turn. I know how one senator, Tom Davis, is likely to vote on it. He’s with the governor. Interestingly, he’s also with her in supporting the expenditure of $40 million on beach renourishment to help out the tourism industry…
  2. On anniversary of Brown v. Board, new evidence shows U.S. schools are resegregating — Which is not terribly shocking to those who have paid attention, although it should be.
  3. 31 Olympians could face ban after doping retest, officials say — Just because y’all complain we don’t talk enough about sports.
  4. West Columbia man stole $68 steak to pay child support, he told police — He must have thought it was legal tender… Yeah… I used this just so I could say that. But folks, if I’ve learned nothing else from working with the SC Center for Fathers and Families, the practice of holding jail over men’s heads to get them to pay support — thereby inspiring them to acts of desperation — is no laughing matter. (Seriously, think for a second: how much support can a man provide when he’s in jail?)
  5. ‘Presidential’? It’s in the Eye of the Voter, Trump Shows — All about the rapid decline of standards among the electorate — or at least, the portion that will consider voting for Trump. And to go with that, we have…
  6. Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Donald Trump — If you can’t be presidential, hang with a Man of Respect.

Finally, Twitter will only count the characters you actually TYPE

twitter header

This is exciting news for those of us who are addicted to Twitter — and it’s long overdue.

How many times have you carefully honed a Tweet to well under 140 characters, only to have it disqualified when you add the photo or link that inspired the post?

Did that feel unfair to you? It should have. It always has to me, even though, over the years, I’ve come to accept the stricture.

Mind you, it’s not that I object to the 140-character limit itself. Far from it. I embrace it. I think it provides the necessary tension to keep Tweets lean and mean — there’s just enough room to express an idea as long as you squeeze the fat out. It’s just right. It’s like the 90 feet between bases — an inch more or less and the balance between runners and defense wouldn’t be perfect.

But when you attach a picture or a link to your carefully-honed Tweet, suddenly you’re over the limit, through no fault of your own.

In any case, this injustice is finally at an end, or about to be:

Twitter Inc. is making a major shift in how it counts characters in Tweets, giving users more freedom to compose longer messages.

The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment….

“Declined to comment?” They should be shouting the good news from the rooftops!

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, May 16, 2016

Slow news day, which just makes it more of a challenge. So here goes:

  1. Justices send Obamacare contraception issue back to lower courts — With Scalia gone and no replacement, the court decided unanimously to punt this hot potato.
  2. Libya: US backs arming of government for IS fight — Interestingly, this wasn’t prominently played on any U.S. outlet; I got it from the BBC.
  3. The presidency is Clinton’s to lose. Here are 12 ways she could. — And she’s perfectly capable of trying each and every one of them, while the rest of us watch on pins and needles, fearing the sound of “President Trump.”
  4. Cancer Survivor Receives First Penis Transplant in U.S. — Ummm… I’m just going to say God bless this poor guy, and I hope this works out well for him.
  5. Man told deputies he was cleaning gun when it went off, wounding 11-year-old — Just to get something local on the page. Seriously, who cleans a loaded gun?
  6. Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico’s underworld speaks out — Recently, I tried watching a show in Spanish on Netflix called “La Viuda Negra.” It was SO bad I stopped about five minutes in. But I guess the subject of this story may have been an inspiration for that. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a story off the beaten path. For the mix…