Category Archives: Blogosphere

1st Open Thread of the Restoration, Friday, January 22, 2021

Hank_Aaron_1974

So here we go:

  1. Over bourbon, former SC senators launch new political podcast — Hey, that’s great news, Joel and Vincent! Y’all know, don’t you, that I held the record for most times as a guest on Pub Politics, right? But when you have me on, could we make it dark rum instead? I’ve got a great recipe. Bryan helped me name it. It’s called a “Hugo.” It’s like a Dark and Stormy, except you use Blenheim Ginger Ale instead of boring ginger beer. Because South Carolina. Way better than that Kentucky stuff.
  2. Senate confirms Austin as first Black defense secretary — No, actually, if you check, the Senate confirmed him as defense secretary, not “black defense secretary.” The white guys will report to him, too. Anyway, bottom line, this is good news. I’m looking forward to hearing similar news about Anthony Blinken. Things are taking shape.
  3. Hank Aaron, Baseball’s Legendary Slugger, Dies At 86 — Even on a good week, we have sad news. 715, Hank!
  4. Coronavirus: UK variant ‘may be more deadly’ — This is from the Beeb, and we didn’t really need our friends across the pond to tell us this.
  5. Impeachment Article Against Trump to Be Delivered to Senate Monday — No, no, no, WSJ! We’re going to avoid using that name in headlines this year, OK? Banks are avoiding doing business with him; you can avoid using the name, OK?
  6. Columbia lawyer to represent You-Know-Who at impeachment trial — Oh, come on, Butch! Must you? Can’t you leave it to Giuliani or somebody like that?

Bernie’s mittens have more memes than Joe has executive orders

This may be my favorite -- Bernie's mittens discussing Chicken McNuggets with the guys from "The Wire."/@turd_fergusson

This may be my favorite — Bernie’s mittens discussing Chicken McNuggets with the guys from “The Wire.”/@turd_fergusson

You’ve seen the original, which is Bernie sitting at the inauguration using that unmistakable Bernie body language that has charmed so many, seeming to say:

Of course, everybody talks about the mittens — which were apparently made by a Vermont schoolteacher who has now run out of all those she had to sell.

But it’s not the mittens that grab us. It’s the attitude. There was another picture of Bernie apparently arriving at the inauguration, burdened with other stuff he had to do: a manila folder, and what looked like a check he had to take to the bank when this dumb thing was done. One wag tweeted that with the caption, “Bernie has places to be after this.”

You know, that inimitable Bernie charm.

On some of these posts, you’ll see debates as to whether folks are making fun of, or criticizing, Bernie for his lack of social grace, or praising his unaffected naturalness. But the memes seem to have appeal across the spectrum, from people who voted for him to those of us who are amazed that anyone thinks this guy, whatever his virtues, could persuade a majority of voters to make him president.

Anyway, the most popular image is of him sitting crabbily in the chair. Here are some of the alternative images this inspired. I’ve included under each image my best info as to where they came from.

Here you have the first solo album Bernie's Mittens put out when the band broke up./@neutral_milk_airbnb

Here you have the first solo album Bernie’s Mittens put out when the band broke up./@neutral_milk_airbnb

@Notorious_ARC_

Remember the mittens from that weird movie Sandra Bullock was in? @Notorious_ARC_

@newyorknico

@newyorknico

@Puptheband

@Puptheband

@djjkim

@djjkim

Found this on the feed of @madeline__carl

Found this on the feed of @madeline__carl

Well, you get the idea. There are loads of them out there. I’d like to credit each and every Photoshop artist whose work I cited, but the best I could do on most was show you where I found it.

Now, go out and find your own…

A continuation of the pattern

social madness

Here’s a follow-up to my previous post, “Millions of separate realities, destroying our common world.

I’m reading more and more of this stuff about how the way TOO many people consume the internet, and get consumed by it. Specifically, how they get their minds hopelessly warped by a couple of the standard features of social media and other web sites and services — the way these media keep showing you more stuff like what you seem to like, and — in this piece — the way the reinforcement of others (likes, retweets, shares, etc.) seduces people into insane new “realities.”

Here’s another item: A piece from the NYT headlined, “They Used to Post Selfies. Now They’re Trying to Reverse the Election.” The subhed says, “Right-wing influencers embraced extremist views, and Facebook rewarded them.”

This piece doesn’t make many broad observations about these phenomena; it mostly simply tells the story of how several individuals got sucked in. You’ll note the commonalities. The one place where the item touches upon the consistent themes is here:

He’s not alone. Facebook’s algorithms have coaxed many people into sharing more extreme views on the platform — rewarding them with likes and shares for posts on subjects like election fraud conspiracies, Covid-19 denialism and anti-vaccination rhetoric. We reviewed the public post histories for dozens of active Facebook users in these spaces. Many, like Mr. McGee, transformed seemingly overnight. A decade ago, their online personas looked nothing like their presences today.

A journey through their feeds offers a glimpse of how Facebook rewards exaggerations and lies.

But the rewards are trivial compared with the costs: The influencers amass followers, enhance their reputations, solicit occasional donations and maybe sell a few T-shirts. The rest of us are left with democracy buckling under the weight of citizens living an alternate reality….

Yeah, as I said the other day, I know this stuff isn’t new. We knew how the Web worked. You knew it; I knew it. But as I also said before, something just finally clicked recently when I was listening to “Rabbit Hole,” and for the first time in these last few years, I got Trumpism. I finally really saw how these people had become so warped, and so immune to facts and reason. What we’re seeing couldn’t have happened this way in any other time.

And frankly, I don’t know how we’re going to reverse this problem — a problem affecting people’s perception across the political spectrum (as I say, I know I’m vulnerable to it, too), but manifesting itself most threateningly among Trump followers. They’re the big problem now. (As I type this, I keep getting indications that there are people walking about downtown Columbia with semiautomatic weapons. There have been arrests. I might be writing more about it later, but I hope not. I hope the problem fades away…)

I don’t see how the toothpaste gets back in the tube, and people get sane again.

But I’m going to keep pointing out these glimpses of the problem as I encounter them. As I think I mentioned, I watched part of “The Social Dilemma” the other night. When I finish it, I’ll probably post about that, too. It starts from a perspective different from mine (such as worrying about addiction to social media, particularly among kids), but also gets into the problems I’m talking about…

Did anyone pay attention to the State of the State?

Henry 2021

I sort of forgot about it, what with a POTUS getting impeached for the second time and all. And other stuff.

Normally, I’d want to watch and see what sort of excuses Henry is offering for his stewardship of our state, but I was busy and to the extent that I was aware of news, other things were shouting louder.

Once, those were Big Wednesdays for me. They took up a lot of my day and night. My colleagues and I would go to lunch at the governor’s house to be briefed on the speech and receive our copies, and then we’d go back to the office and read the copies and argue over it, then one of us would write the editorial, and the writer and I would stay at work through the speech that night to see if we needed to amend the edit before letting the page go. Which we sometimes did.

All this effort was fitting, since the overwhelming majority of what we wrote was about South Carolina and the issues before it.

But now… I’ve done what I could to help South Carolina get committed, rational leadership that actually cares about said issues — all those years on the editorial board, and those few months in 2018 more directly — and just kept running into the same brick walls. It’s hard even to get people to pay the slightest attention. And now I don’t have the soapbox I once did, so… I don’t follow every word said in SC politics the way I used to.

Especially not yesterday.

What about you? Tell me you hung on every word, and offer some cogent thoughts about what was said, and make me feel guilty for having missed it. Beyond that, I’m just curious: Was anyone paying attention?

Open Thread for Monday, January 4, 2021

This person does not exist.

This person does not exist.

Just a few little somethings to kick-start the year. Another fairly random list, mainly consisting of things that have grabbed my attention in recent days:

  1. Designed to Deceive: Do These People Look Real to You? — I’m deliberately starting with something other than politics. Y’all have got to follow the link and check this out. Over the last 25 or 30 years we’ve all seen some remarkable things done with digital images, but this is truly freaky. Now that I’m in the marketing game, I’m regularly exposed to the “fake people” that various clips services provide for websites and such. But those are real people, models, trying to look like real people and failing at it. These images are completely fake, but they all look like real people you might meet on the street — until the writer of the piece explains what to look at to see the flaws. This is amazing, and ominous…
  2. Soon, we can finally ignore Georgia — Of course, our priority is getting to where we can ignore You Know Who, who is still doing everything he can to make sure we can’t. His latest spectacular instance of impeachable thuggishness was over the weekend, and it of course involved… Georgia. (Which makes you wonder how many other state secretaries of state he’s harassing without The Washington Post knowing about it — managing to steal Georgia would do him little good without stealing the votes of several other states). But after the runoff Tuesday, and the insanely pointless demonstration by Joe Wilson and others that we expect on Wednesday, this should all start fading away. And I can’t wait.
  3. Joe Wilson must go — Of course, there is another dozen or so whose names will be forever blackened on Wednesday when they express their contemptible wish to overthrow our democracy. But Joe Wilson is my congressman, so I’m focused on him. I mean, I voted against him in November and all, but his latest step goes so far beyond the pale of civilized behavior that he must be ostracized by decent people in all he says and does from now on.
  4. Zorro at 100 — An interesting piece, marking the century that has passed since the release of “The Mark of Zorro,” starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. El Zorro looms large in my personal legend — while other kids went with Mickey Mouse, my first watch was a Zorro watch (also licensed by Disney of course, based on the Guy Williams version). I also had a Zorro sword — a plastic foil or epee or whatever, with a piece of chalk on the end, so I could practice making the “Z.” What I like about this piece is the way it charts how Zorro was the progenitor of the whole superhero thing in American culture, what with his secret identity and all (although it gives proper credit to the Scarlet Pimpernel, which came some years before).
  5. Linda Greenhouse’s Joe Biden Story — There’s nothing remarkable about it. Just an experienced journalist remembering encounters she has had with Joe over the years. We’ve all got stories like that, especially those who, like Ms. Greenhouse, have spent our careers in Washington. But it’s something that illustrates why Joe was the One for 2020 — the one person who had everything it took to bring rationality and decency back to our national government, when we needed it most.
  6. My perfect year — I’ve remembered to take those two pills they put me on after the stroke — the platelet-suppressor and the statin — four days in a row now. Which is a significant improvement. Perfect record all year! Anyway, I thought I’d share some real news…
The Zorro I remember best -- Guy Williams, the Disney version...

The Zorro I remember best — Guy Williams, the Disney version…

Open Thread for New Year’s Eve Eve, 2020

How was your Christmas?

Did you get anything this cool for Christmas? No, it’s not from the hotel…

It’s almost over. Here are some thoughts or things I’ve run across that I found briefly interesting in recent days, while I was busy doing other stuff:

  1. First, how’s your Christmas going? — I’m hanging in there, with the first six days under my belt now. Been trying to catch up with paying, day-job stuff when I haven’t been busy doing Christmas things. And of course, I’m not going anywhere tomorrow night because a) I’d rather stay safe, and b) I don’t want to — I don’t get the whole going-out thing, especially on holidays.
  2. Socialist view of John le Carre’s work — You know how I prefer reading opinion to news, and don’t much care what the point of view is, as long as a case is made effectively? Anyway, I was glad Google showed me this, from the World Socialist Web Site, because it gave me the perspective on le Carre, George Smiley and the Circus from the point of view of Moscow Centre. Well, not really, since the writer doesn’t seem to consider Stalinism to be real socialism (and you know how picky socialists can be about that sort of thing), but it was interesting. Of course, now that I’ve read it, MI5 has probably put me on a list.
  3. No more Niekro, and no more knuckleballs — Just thought I’d note the passing both of Phil Niekro, and of a particular, esoteric American art form. It caused my wife to ask me what a knuckleball was, and I told her what I knew, and then went and read up on it to see if I had been right (I had been). Did you know that Eddie Cicotte, ace hurler of the Black Sox, may have invented it? I did not…
  4. The dusty old op-ed page still getting folks worked up — The op-ed page is gone in most communities — The State hasn’t had one for years — but the few that are still around stirred up some trouble in 2020. A perspective on the year a little different from the usual “movies of 2020” story…
  5. Dave Barry’s review of the year — You don’t want the year to end without the perspective of Mr. Language Person himself, do you? I don’t. And I need to get back to reading it, because I haven’t finished. My favorite bit so far was about Prince Harry and his bride, who “are sick and tired of being part of the British royal family and want to just be regular normal everyday hard-working folks making millions of dollars solely because one of them was born into, and the other one married into, the British royal family.” The way Dave relates it, Her Majesty made short work of this, sorting them out good and proper. It didn’t really happen that way, and normally I don’t really dig dark humor, but it got a snort out of me, I’ll confess. Even though, from what I hear from South Carolinians who served with him in Afghanistan, Harry is a decent sort.
  6. ‘Mary Ann’ dies of COVID — Or rather, of course, Dawn Wells. This is the only actual news from today. Very sad. Something as innocent at “Gilligan’s Island,” and someone from my childhood, running smack into the hard reality of 2020, and being done in by it. Never mind the fact that her character was the nicest one on the show. This isn’t an appropriate time to bring up the whole “Who was hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann?” thing, so I won’t, except to say that Mary Anne was definitely the more appealing.

Dawn Wells as Mary Ann

 

 

Open Thread for the past week (Dec. 14-21), more or less

The most recent picture I had in my files of Don and Carol Fowler. This was at a reunion of Don's old Reserve unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade.

The most recent picture I had in my files of Don and Carol Fowler. This was at a reunion of Don’s old Reserve unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade.

Yeah, I know it’s been a few days. I’m still learning how to ration time, interest and my physical/mental energy in the wake of my stroke (still dealing with some fatigue), and what with the holidays and day-job work to do, I’ve fallen behind on the blog. But here are some things I’ve thought about posting in the last week or so, and I decided I’d throw them out and see if any of it interests you:

  1. George Shultz on Trust, from a century of perspective — Possibly the best piece I read last week was in the Post, headlined “The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years.” Saying “Trust is the coin of the realm,” he explained that “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.” Absolutely. Long ago (as in, a quarter-century ago), I wrote a column on that subject, which seems quaint now. Things are so much worse today. But the fact remains: We can talk about partisanship, ideology, or Donald Trump, but bottom line, our biggest problem and challenge remains a lack of trust.
  2. Closing religious services — There was another Supreme Court development on this front last week — actually it was about a religious school, but it reminded me of the topic. And I’m wondering a couple of things: First, those of you who, like me, normally attend religious services — how long has it been since you’ve been to one? Second, what observations do you have on the many issues involved — the Constitutional issue, the personal one of how not attending services (or attending them with or without social-distancing protocols) affects your spirituality? Or anything else you want to say about it. For my part, I haven’t physically been to a Mass since March. But we stream Mass every Sunday. And it’s… different.
  3. The passing of Don Fowler — I don’t know how well-known he was to my readers, but for those in the political/media universe, he was a giant. I first met him when I covered the Democratic National Convention in 1988. I remember chasing him down a staircase in Atlanta to get a question answered and thinking as he turned to face me, “This guy’s too busy for me to be bothering him with this.” He was always busy, in Democratic politics on the state and national level (most notably as national chairman during the Clinton administration), and he did his best to lead the party forward productively during an age of sad decline in his home state. Over the years, I interacted with Don through many roles — as party leader, as a consultant, as a former National Guard colonel, as a college professor (on one or two occasions, I took over his class for him when he had pressing business in Washington or somewhere). We often disagreed — after all, he was a party man and I was not — but I always had great respect for him. Don will be missed.
  4. ‘Latinx’ hasn’t even caught on among Latinos. It never will. — That’s for sure. I was recently shocked to hear Dr. Fauci use this odd term — obviously created by people who do NOT speak Spanish — on the radio. Out loud, not just in writing. No one who speaks or understands Spanish, or has any kind of respect for the language or the culture it represents, would use such a neologism. Anyway, this opinion piece explains some of the reasons why you will seldom hear a Spanish speaker using it. I thought the headline was a little weird, though. “Even?” Latinos would be the last people I’d expect to use it.
  5. Farewell to Lamar Alexander, one of the vital few — I’m very sorry to see Lamar leave politics, and was glad to see George Will take the time to honor him on the way out. Of course, Lamar is closely linked with my youth and the early stages of my career — the week I spent traveling with him in 1978 was my first experience of covering a statewide political campaign (it was his first successful run for governor of Tennessee). He became my favorite Republican of that era. And I guess, in spite of his disappointing me last year, he’s my favorite of this era as well, although partly because of the lack of competition (with John McCain gone, and Lindsey Graham’s conscience gone). And now Lamar, too, will leave the scene.
  6. Graham a ‘personal disappointment,’ says Biden — To say the least, Joe — to say the least.
  7. Serbian Elevators — Someone used this phrase in a tweet the other day, and I immediately added it to my list of possible band names. Just to keep you posted on the progress of my band, which I’ve been intending to get together since 1971, once I get the details sorted out. You gotta get the details right — like, you know, deciding who will be in the band…
  8. Cunningham for governor? — OK, this is technically something I just saw this morning, but I’ve added it to the list. Anyway, good luck with that. Joe’s a pleasant young man, but seriously — if we couldn’t elect a war hero and respected (across the political spectrum) lawmaker such as James Smith as a Democrat statewide, this seems unlikely. And we tried awfully hard, I assure you. Anyway, that’s my first reaction. Perhaps someone will talk me out of it.
From a Charleston event in 2018.

From a Charleston event in 2018.

Vaccine ships. Don’t get excited.

vaccines

Just thought I’d share a couple of things I had to say about the vaccine today:

Basically, I was just sick of all the headlines that read to me (maybe not to you, but to me) like “Yay, it’s over! Here come the vaccines!” So I added to the above thread:

Of course, part of the thing is that after I switched from news to editorial 26 years ago, I started thinking less it terms of “here’s a fact,” and more in terms of “so what should we do?” I mean, yeah, it’s a fact — vaccine doses are shipping. It’s the beginning of the beginning of a very hopeful thing that we look forward to happening over the next several months.

But what do all of us need most to be hearing right now? It is that this is a very dangerous moment, and we all need to hunker down with masks and social distancing more strenuously than ever.

And instead, the message I keep seeing is, “Look — vaccines!” And I worry about people seeing only that, and not the stories about how bad things are, and how much worse they’ll be if we as a country ignore warnings during Christmas the way we did on Thanksgiving….

If everybody reads a lot, we’re OK. Carefully read the NYT or the WSJ or Washington Post and you’ll get the whole picture. But plenty of people don’t read news at all, and watch TV, where they might see stuff like the headline pictured above. And as we know, lots of other people don’t get information from any professional news source, print or broadcast, and just go by what their friends tell them on social media. Or what Trump tells them, God help us…

Open Thread for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

EnoFXcwW4AAARS_

Here’s something to be thankful for.

Just a quick one to toss some possible discussions out there:

  1. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? — I’ve been asking this of people I speak to about unrelated things. Mostly, there is some concession to the resurgence of the plague, and the danger the holidays pose — but it varies greatly, from families gathering on screened porches to not gathering at all. Everyone in our fam is dining in their own home pods — except my two single kids who live in town, who will eat with us, but spread out in the house. Then, if weather permits, we might all go have dessert out in my parents’ spacious back yard. We’ll see.
  2. Biden’s national security team — Talk about something for which to be thankful — tomorrow, and every day for the foreseeable future. This is exactly what I wanted. As the Post’s editorial board put it, this group “ought to encourage anyone who values experience, expertise, integrity and fundamental competence in U.S. government leaders.” Amen. This is such a wonderful change from what we have unfortunately grown used to. For a slightly more fun approach to the same point, I recommend Dana Milbank’s column, headlined “Biden’s win brings new hope for peace deals with Denmark and Canada.”
  3. Ex-SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh pleading guilty to fraud charges — To start things off, I’ll cite the reaction of one of the most illustrious members of our little blog community. In reaction to the news that Marsh “is facing prison time and fines worth more than $5M after pleading guilty to defrauding S.C. ratepayers who paid billions for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear power plant,” our own Lynn Teague tweeted two words: “Richly deserved.”

You know what? That’s enough for now, just to get things started. I need to get back to some work, and then go bake a cake…

Open Thread for Thursday, October 8, 2020

From comments I saw, the most 'likable' was the fly.

From comments I saw, the most ‘likable’ was the fly on Pence’s head.

Told you I was going to do more of these. Here we go:

  1. High court slaps down McMaster on giving millions to private schools — This was the worst thing Henry McMaster has tried to do as governor — it’s right down there with the things he doesn’t do, like try to fix our roads — and it was nice to see the state Supremes say so unanimously. This time, the system worked
  2. Fly wins veep debate — I missed the beginning of this, and then missed a good bit more because I wasn’t what you’d call riveted. Congrats to both for being more civil than Trump. A low bar, of course. And is it civil to completely ignore time limits and refuse to shut up, but do it in such boring voice that people fall asleep and don’t notice? Someone should ask Miss Manners.
  3. The likability trap — Maybe this should be a separate post. Anyway, here’s one of the things that keeps me from being a feminist. Feminists believe there’s some “likability” standard that applies only to women. There isn’t. The fact that they keep saying there is makes me not like them. For instance, Donald Trump is the least likable S.O.B. (we can have a separate discussion later about the “B.”) in living history of American politics, which would be enough to keep me from voting for him for anything. We just don’t talk about it much because it’s such a bigger deal that he is both stupid and evil. Joe Biden is one of the most likable people ever to run for president, and it’s a real asset for him. Even though he doesn’t drink beer, you want to have one with him. We don’t know whether Mike Pence drinks beer, but we don’t care because we don’t want to have one with him. Although he’s less unlikable than Trump, we just don’t want to hang with him. Kamala Harris has many assets, but no, being likable isn’t one of them. But she wasn’t particularly unlikable last night, because she didn’t say stuff like “That little girl was me.” So have we got it all straight now? Have I mansplained it enough? Stop making me do this. I don’t, you know, like it.
  4. Trump pulls out of debate over plan to hold it virtually — Maybe he’s scared he can’t talk over everybody in that format. Or maybe he’s just scared, having seen polls after the first debate. Or maybe he suddenly wised up, realizing a COVID patient shouldn’t be debating… naaahhhh.

I’m tired of looking for stuff. You want to talk about something else, bring it up. I’m in enough trouble already with the “likability” thing…

Open Thread for Wednesday, October 7, 2020

balcony

With the election coming up and all, I should do more of these — even on a slow day like today:

  1. Trump’s erratic tweets on economic relief leave strategy unclear — Or, we could headline this one, Trump Yadda-Yadda. I think he must be somewhere around Barstow — the drugs are kicking in. You notice that we’re having a bit of a lull? Which is nice, after the crisis-every-day of last week. This is the lull between Trump’s helicopter ride back to the White House, and the upcoming one back to Walter Reed. But maybe not. I hope not. I want him healthy. I don’t want him having an excuse when he loses. The message of repudiation by America needs to be as clear as possible.
  2. Heading into second debate, race between Graham, Harrison now a toss up — Which is also nice, although I’ve about had enough debates. Can’t believe the veep debate is tonight. Dang. But I suppose this would be a good time to hear from y’all as to how you think Jaime and Lindsey did in their first debate, since I didn’t post about that. I thought Jaime did fine. Here’s how I think Lindsey did.
  3. Supremes say SC absentee voters must get witness signature — This is way old, but hey, The State led with it this morning as though it hadn’t happened way back on Monday. And we haven’t talked about it. Maybe we don’t need to. Let’s use this one as a departure point for anything you want to say about absentee voting, which opened with a bang this week.
  4. Stephen Miller gets COVID — I’m going to confess something here, so y’all can give me a hard time about it. Which I deserve. I was walking last night, listening to NPR on my earbuds, when I first heard this news. And for a split-second, I felt my face start to smile. I stopped it immediately, because I think that is inexcusable. I really believe the things Bret Stephens said in his column yesterday, “Wish a President Well Who Doesn’t Wish You Well.” That applies to Miller, too. Maybe if he didn’t look like a movie villain (specifically, a young Jonathan Banks). Or better yet, if he didn’t act like a movie villain. But those excuses are inadequate. I should not have felt that impulse.
  5. Islamic State ‘Beatles’ charged in US over hostages’ deaths — Just to say, this stuff is still out there. Our inward-looking insanity isn’t the only thing in the world. A quick point about this: Is it a weakness, in the sense of a flaw in the system, that it takes liberal democracies this long to get around to processing something like this? These monstrosities took place in 2014.
  6. Eddie Van Halen dies — Wow, now even the kids are dying. Yeah, I know, he was almost as old as I am. But the ’80s were when my kids were kids, so after my time. Anyway, I hate to see it.

Open Thread for Monday, August 10, 2020

Sister Nancy

Let’s get the week off to a start here:

  1. Let’s talk about which candidate might ‘hurt God’ — E.J. Dionne’s column this morning reminded me I wanted to share Sister Nancy Hendershot’s Facebook post (see above) offering calm witness about Joe Biden’s relationship with his faith — in contrast to the guy who waves a Bible around like a weapon but doesn’t read it.
  2. Did y’all feel the earthquake? — Twitter tells me that Synithia Williams did. I did not. I was asleep at 8:07 a.m. Sunday. But my wife came and woke me up to tell me about it. She said she heard some rumbling upstairs like a heavy person was walking around, then she heard the wind chimes at our back door.  She later seemed a bit concerned that I slept through it. But hey, I used to live in the Andes, so I’m all like, Call that a quake? I was, however, impressed that it would be felt so far away from the epicenter…
  3. Jaime catching up to Lindsey — This is very encouraging, although I won’t feel like it’s real until Jaime gets several points ahead. Actually, I won’t feel like it’s real until Election Day. I’m avoiding getting excited about polls these days. Things are too squishy and vulnerable. I have practical experience in the last election reminding me about most white South Carolinians’ physical disability that prevents them pulling the lever for a Democrat, no matter how good the Democrat or embarrassing the Republican.
  4. In case you want to talk about football — I notice from Bryan’s Twitter feed that football fans are talking about college football being on the verge of being cancelled. Of course, if you’re me, you’ve kind of amazed that anyone was even considering it this  year. But, you know, football fans are as inscrutable to me as those white South Carolinians who can’t figure out how to vote for a Democrat (something that would absolutely amazed their grandfathers — so we know it’s not genetic).
  5. Linda Bell won’t back Henry’s foolishness any more — State epidemiologist Linda Bell has had enough of being used as a prop by the governor’s office, and says, “I will not ‘stand next to the governor’ anymore without speaking to what the science tells us is the right thing to do, particularly as his staff intend to portray that as my complicity with his position.”
  6. We’re not at 100,000 cases yet — But we should get there today. Meanwhile, of course, we’ve hit the 5 million mark nationally.
Sister Nancy talking about church got me to go grab a picture of mine. I took this after Mass one day in 2017...

Sister Nancy talking about church got me to go grab a picture of mine. I took this after Mass one day in 2017…

What on Earth does this have to do with being ‘Christian?’

really

I’m reacting here to one of the ads Google Adsense placed on my blog. While I saw it, I’m hoping none of you did. But whether you did or not, I can’t help saying something about it.

See the screengrab above.

Really?

What on Earth does what you are trying to sell me have to do with being “Christian?”

This must be some special sense of “Christian” that I’ve never encountered in church. Maybe it’s aimed at the sort of “Christian” I keep hearing about  who would vote for Donald Trump after hearing him brag about getting away with grabbing women by the p___y.

Read the copy. You see the part asking whether you’re “over 65?” And did you see the girl in the picture? It’s hard to tell with all that makeup on, but I strongly suspect she’s closer in age to my grandchildren than to my children. Much less to me.

What the what?

Yeah, a man over 65 can be attracted — physically, anyway — to such a girl, but what does that have to do with being “Christian?”

Oh, and aside from the age thing, what is it in Google’s algorithms that caused that ad to appear to me? What is wrong with me that caused that to happen?

I don’t know about you, but I find myself living in a particularly insane world these days…

Open Thread for Thursday, July 16, 2020

This may be my thinnest excuse for a picture ever: This post mentions Marian Wright Edelman, and this is the library named for her in Bennettsville. I took it during the campaign. It works, don't you think?

This may be my thinnest excuse for a picture ever: This post mentions Marian Wright Edelman, and this is the library named for her in Bennettsville. I took it during the campaign. It works, don’t you think?

Some possible topics:

  1. SC parents torn over sending children to school this fall amid coronavirus pandemic — Yes, they are torn, and for good reasons. Pediatricians back up the idea that school is good for kids, but how on Earth do we send them back safely? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had elected leaders we could actually trust to provide wise guidance on this, people we’d trust to care more about the kids than their own political position?
  2. Georgia’s Governor Issues Order Rescinding Local Mask Mandates — OK, so a lot of us are kind of frustrated with Henry these days (see, for instance, previous item), but at least he’s not as bad as this idiot. Not yet, anyway. Check out the picture on that link, showing this doofus meeting with his hero, Donaeld the Unready. He has a mask dangling from his ear, but has apparently taken it off his face in deference to his master. Wow. I’m really, really hoping Henry won’t stoop this low, especially since Alan Wilson has given him some cover on the issue.
  3. 15 women accuse then-Redskins employees of sexual harassment — Hey, these guys just can’t seem to catch a break, can they? I mean, they change the name after refusing to all those years, and before people are done patting them on the back (and before they even think of a new name), there’s this. Not that I’m saying they deserve a break. I’d have to care more about what football teams do before taking a stance like that. I’m just saying they can’t seem to stay out of trouble. And I’m holding myself back from suggesting that hey, maybe this has something to do with the NFL being what it is.
  4. Coronavirus trace found in Charleston County dog, Clemson reports — The dog was euthanized, but don’t tell Trump — he might think that could be another miracle “cure.”
  5. We Interrupt This Gloom to Offer … Hope — I offer this mainly for the headline. It’s a Nicholas Kristof column. Also, it quotes Marian Wright Edelman. She’s from Bennettsville, so you know she’s smart. So, be hopeful…

Open Thread for Wednesday, July 15, 2020

REAL ID

I got up at 6:30 this morning to get a head start so I could go all the way to Lexington and get my real ID. I should probably do a post about that. Anyway, despite getting a head start on the day (hard for me these days), I didn’t get done nearly what I wanted to today.

But here’s an Open Thread:

  1. Did you get a Real ID yet? — More to the point, have you done it during COVID? It was interesting. On the one hand, they really had it organized. My wife and I got in and got the job done in record time. And all the members of the public had on masks. However… not quite all of the DMV workers did. I mean ON. Some had their noses uncovered, and one lady we had to deal with for several minutes, passing papers back and forth, had her mask draped under her chin. So there was that. Oh, and I got my Real ID picture done with my Santa Claus beard. Not sure that’s going to help me much when getting on an airplane after this is over and I start shaving again. Guess I should keep using the passport. Anyway, I don’t suppose I need to do a separate post on this now.
  2. ‘Irresponsible and dangerous.’ SC teachers push back on governor’s plan to reopen schools — Hey, don’t look at me. I tried hard to get y’all to elect somebody else. But seriously, folks, this looks more like a mess each day.
  3. Trump replaces campaign manager — Well, that took several minutes longer than we thought it would. Or maybe several minutes less. I don’t know. I just mean it’s no surprise with a guy who is loyal to no one. Somebody else be snarky about it… You know, once they start coming after the Brads, you could be next…
  4. Walmart Will Require Shoppers To Wear Masks — For months now, I’ve had to go to Walmart and I see the signs that say something about requesting people wear masks, or suggesting it, or whatever, and I’ve bristled at the wussiness of it. I mean, y’all are Walmart! TELL THEM. And now they have.
  5. Twitter accounts of prominent figures, including Biden, Musk and Obama, compromised — We’ve got a LONG way to go in figuring out how to live with so much of our lives being virtual. It’s so convenient. And there are so many jackasses out there trying to take advantage of us.

That’s enough for now. I need to go take a shower…

An unused station at the DMV.

An unused station at the DMV this morning.

OK, so I’ve done ONE thing in the orange zone…

This morning, Mandy shared this “very helpful chart.” The guy she retweeted had said no one will catch his family “engaging in anything in the yellow or above.”

Yeah, well, I can’t quite claim that.

If y’all recall, I went and got a haircut a couple of weeks back. I investigated before going and thought it was a safe bet under the circumstances, but I think it will be awhile before I do so again. I’m thinking about ordering a barber’s clipper set from Amazon, and learning to cut my Dad’s hair as well as my own.

Anyway, I thought y’all might find it interesting, so I pass it on.

There’s one thing you’re not seeing, of course. It’s at the bottom. You just can’t see it because it’s in the infrared zone: “Attending a Trump rally.”

COVID-19_Risk_Chart_Full

 

Open Thread for Tuesday, June 30, 2020

starfish

This shouldn’t be too hard. I could mine stuff that’s happened since my last post. It’s been a busy few days. We brought my parents down to their house at the beach a couple of days ago, and before that I was busy trying to get work done so I could do this. We’ll be back soon. Want to be away well before the Fourth:

  1. Hey, at least Henry showed himself wearing a mask — This is about the governor you people elected actually appearing, briefly, wearing a mask at his Friday briefing. And I want to thank him for that. I’ve long said if he would do that, it would be at least half the battle — it would show seriousness. And I guess if you’re Henry, and you’ve tied yourself and your everlasting reputation to Donald Trump, it took guts to do it. Of course, he won’t do the other half. The headline in the P&C says, “McMaster urges South Carolinians to ‘follow the rules’ and wear masks, but won’t mandate it.” A better way to write that hed would have been, “McMaster urges South Carolinians to ‘follow the rules’ and wear masks, but won’t make it an actual, you know, RULE”…
  2. Way to go, Mr. Clyburn! — As long as I’m handing out plaudits on the mask issue (and I’m particularly touchy on this issue today, since I’m at a place filled from people all over this country, none of them wearing masks) I need to send a big cheer to Jim Clyburn. He won’t recognize committee members who are big-enough idiots to show up at a meeting without face coverings. If only he could permanently ban them from Congress for such behavior. Anyway, this is the best thing Jim has done since he saved my main man Joe — and therefore the country — back in February. Nothing’s as great as that, but this is pretty good…
  3. Rabid bobcat found in Lexington County — Good thing I’m not there today — although this was way far from my neighborhood. I mean, seriously — don’t we have enough problems right now without bobcats going rabid on us? This probably wouldn’t have happened if the bobcat had been wearing a mask, right? The good news is that no people were exposed. The bad news is that apparently, several dogs were.
  4. Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say — OK, there’s where you went wrong. You put it in writing. You know he doesn’t read; it would cut into his busy TV-watching schedule. This allows him to use the classic, “I have plausible deniability because everybody knows I’m an idiot” defense. Well, not exactly a classic, since no previous president could have used it. But it’s what we’ve come to expect the last three years or so.
  5. Fauci Warns U.S. Could Hit 100,000 Daily Cases — Completely credible, given recent numbers here in SC. It’s little wonder, then, that…
  6. E.U. Formalizes Reopening, Barring Travelers From U.S. — They’re desperate for tourist revenue over in the Old Country, but not desperate enough to let us crazy yahoos in.
  7. The End of the Alan Brady Show — OK, I know it sort of demeans Carl Reiner to reduce him to that one small role on one TV show he created, but that’s how I was introduced to him as a kid, and if he had never played anyone else, he’d still have been a genius. You kids would know him as the old guy in “Ocean’s 11”

Good to see my friends connecting on Twitter

Doug and Mandy

Wonder what Doug Ross is up to during his year without blogging (due to a New Year’s resolution that he has impressed us all by keeping)?

Well, he’s doing pretty much the same stuff, only on Twitter.

I had to smile today at the exchange pictured above in a screenshot.

It’s nice to see two of my friends getting together to work on issues on Twitter.

Of course, as I reported earlier, Doug is also a contributor to Mandy’s re-election campaign. So, good for him there, as well.

As for the issue itself, of course… I’m kinda “meh” on it. Either way, whatever. I sort of get the impression Mandy feels the same way. I can’t remember whether I’ve ever discussed it with her.

I know I’ve discussed it with James, though. In fact, I went and dug up a statement I put together for him about it during the campaign. It’s not something we ran on. But a reporter in Charleston was doing a story about it, and asking various pols for statements. I wasn’t crazy about commenting on things we weren’t running on — I had ambitions of imposing message discipline — but we didn’t turn our noses up at it the way we did stupid “have you stopped beating your wife” questions like “Do you want to abolish ICE?”

Anyway… here’s what I put together on it. I have no way of knowing whether we actually put it out like this. It’s just in a random Word file, not a release or anything. So James might have had me change it before giving it to the reporter:

I’m for regulating it and getting the revenue that the state is missing out on now.

I’m not pro-gambling per se. But this is a matter of common sense, and an example of what I mean when I say it’s not about big government or small government – I’m for smart government.

As everyone knows, people are already betting on sports in South Carolina, big-time. But it’s happening in the shadows, and its an invitation to crime.

We need to regulate it, and keep criminals from controlling and profiting from it.

And the state of South Carolina can certainly use the revenue. I’ve seen figures that estimate Rhode Island could net $25 million from sports betting. If that’s correct, South Carolina would easily see quite a lot more, since we have five times the population. That’s money we could really use, for schools, for infrastructure, for healthcare, for public safety.

So, you know, we were for regulating it if you really wanted an answer. Assuming that was the official statement. I don’t think anyone but that one reporter ever used any of it.

McMaster’s position, by the way, was that he was dead set against it, as his mouthpiece said: “It flies in the face of everything South Carolina stands for.” Highly debatable, of course, but you knew where he stood.

We were much more definitely for medical cannabis, which if if I remember correctly was one of the reasons Doug not only gave to our campaign, but voted for us. Not an issue I would have chosen to back our ticket over, but then I’m not a libertarian like our friend Doug….

Open Thread for Thursday, June 18, 2020

What conclusions should we draw from the fact that not even the state epidemiologist wears a mask?

What conclusions should we draw from the fact that not even the state epidemiologist wears a mask? Oh, wait — I think the video I took this from is old. But still…

About time I gave y’all some things to discuss:

  1. 987 cases. In one day. In one state — ours. — Sheesh. The State said this amounted to “breaking” the single-day record. As I said on Twitter, this is not “breaking” — it’s more like “destroying,” “demolishing” or “obliterating.” Meanwhile, did you read the editorial the other day in Cindi’s new paper — way before this record — about how stupid Henry is being about this? Or something like that. I know that Henry, and the word “stupid,” were both in it.
  2. High court blocks Trump’s attempt to end ‘dreamers’ program for immigrants — Trump suggested this morning that he doesn’t think the court likes him. Yeah, well, what’s to like?  I doubt that any of them actually like him. Even if you’re Kavanaugh, you can’t like the fact that you go down in history, forever, as a “Trump nominee.” It’s like having an asterisk.
  3. That’s the kind of demonstration I like — old school — Sorry not to have mentioned this sooner. I haven’t posted since it happened over the weekend. It was the “Million-Man March” in Columbia over the weekend. There weren’t a million men or anything, but still. All those black men in suits and ties, saying “respect me.” Very MLK. Very Old School. I liked it. More than that, though, I see it as an effective approach.
  4. What to rename the Army bases that honor Confederate soldiers — I haven’t read all of this yet, but it grabbed me — a retired general’s ideas of names to use. He would rename Fort Hood for Audie Murphy. Good start.

I may add some more topics later, but it’s time to go eat dinner…

Hope The State doesn't mind my using this. I converted it to black and white to emphasize the Old School effect. I like it.

Hope The State doesn’t mind my using this. I converted it to black and white to emphasize the Old School effect. I like it.

Open Thread for Thursday, June 4, 2020 (Twitter-style)

kimmel

I’ve decided on a new way to do Open Threads. I’ll just share things I tweeted or retweeted about during the day. It seems to work better than looking at the main pages of a bunch of news sites and trying to find something that I’m interested in commenting on.

It’s not going to be balanced with a diversity of topics, the way my threads and Virtual Front Pages usually are. It’s super Trump-heavy. There’s nothing about ongoing protests (although a couple indirectly relate), and a couple of COVID items. But these are the things that randomly provoked responses or retweets from me at different points today.

So let’s try this:

  1. What on Earth is there to struggle about? — That’s part of my response to a tweet that said, “JUST IN: GOP Sen. Murkowski :”struggling” with whether to vote for Trump.” My full response was, “‘Struggling?’ What on Earth is there to struggle about? She KNOWS what the right thing to do is. Her other comments make this clear. All that is lacking is having the guts to stand up and follow through…”
  2. So… just to make sure I’m understanding… this makes all the racist stuff OK then? — That’s my response to a tweet from the White House that said, “President @realDonaldTrump provided permanent funding to historically black colleges and universities and enacted groundbreaking criminal justice reform—concrete results for underserved communities that no prior President delivered.”
  3. Yes, senator, that’s exactly what everyone thinks — That was my response (minus my original typo — I meant “that’s,” not “that”) to a clip from The Hill in which Lindsey Graham says, “You think I am in Trump’s pocket.”
  4. The Lafayette Square ‘highlight video’ — This is from Jimmy Kimmel, represented as the White House’s own highlight reel from the administration’s great victory Monday night against the harmless protesters. Be sure to watch to the end.
  5. Brazil set to overtake Italy as country with third-highest coronavirus deaths — I had no comment on this. I just thought it was worth sharing with folks. Of course, I believe the U.S. is still No. 1 on this grim ranking. That’s right, isn’t it? I had trouble finding stuff from today on that.
  6. Is Mexico paying for this fence, too? — That’s not me. That question is from retired Army lieutenant general Mark Hertling. He was responding to video of the big fence going up around the White House.
  7. Frank Bruni on why we need Achilles — My first tweet of the day, reacting to a good piece about the sad state of higher education right now.
  8. COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months — I actually haven’t even read the piece in The Atlantic that this refers to, but I thought I’d pass it on in case other people had a chance before I did. The tweet said, “I wrote about COVID-19 long-haulers—the thousands of people who’ve been struggling with *months* of debilitating symptoms. Many have faced disbelief from friends and medical professionals because they don’t fit the typical profile of the disease….”

Kind of a long list for an Open Thread, but I wanted to give you everything.

graham clip