Category Archives: Blogosphere

Now that’s MY kind of infographic


I ran across this on Pinterest while researching this previous post.

You can keep your infographics about the national debt and such; this is the kind I like.

And I say that even though Maxim’s usual sort of “graphic” is more like this.

I really appreciate that someone took the time to work this out. I’ve gotta get me a job like that…

The whole ‘red state/blue state’ thing is backwards

"Red state, blue state" by Angr - self-made; base map is Image:Blank US Map.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -,_blue_state.svg#/media/File:Red_state,_blue_state.svg

“Red state, blue state” by Angr – self-made; base map is Image:Blank US Map.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –,_blue_state.svg#/media/File:Red_state,_blue_state.svg

While I was gone, one of my ADCO colleagues pinned this item on Pinterest, and my attention was drawn to it today when I saw it had gotten some repins.

It was a fun graphic from Digital Information World about all the associations we have with various colors. But what grabbed my attention was the observations about the political meanings of two colors in particular:



Indeed, I have found this whole business of calling conservative states “red” and liberal states “blue” confusing ever since it got started.

Red has always been the color of revolution, of overturning the status quo, of charging the ramparts in the cause of radical change. Blue is the natural color of conservativism, as in blueblood, or the blue associated with royalty. Red is hot and dynamic, while blue is cool, sedate, satisfied with the status quo.

So why have we so widely accepted the opposite in recent years? Well, it was pretty random. Here’s Wikipedia’s account:

This terminology came into use in the United States presidential election of 2000 on an episode of the Today show on October 30, 2000. According to AlterNet and The Washington Post, the terms were coined by journalist Tim Russert, during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election.[1] That was not the first election during which the news media used colored maps to depict voter preferences in the various states, but it was the first time a standard color scheme took hold; the colors were often reversed or different colors used before the 2000 election.

It was just that random. Whoever made up the graphic just happened to use those colors that day, and it stuck, contrary to all reason.

And in the very next graf, Wikipedia acknowledges the contradiction:

This reverses a long-standing convention ofpolitical colors where red symbols (such as the Red Flag or Red Star) are associated with revolutionary movements, and conservative movements often choose blue as a contrasting color.[2]

That’s right. Anyway, it still bugs me…

The governor has really crossed a line when she’s managed to provoke Lucas to this extent

middle school

When I saw the above headline this morning, I immediately assumed that the quote came from a Democrat.

Not that most Republicans in the Legislature wouldn’t have been peeved at the governor over her latest outburst. In fact, privately, they would probably be more perturbed than the Dems.

But there’s a protocol to these kinds of things. Most lawmakers of both parties may be ticked off, but the Republican response to their own governor will normally be more muted, in terms of on-the-record comments, while the Democrats will say the over-the-top stuff in an effort to, well, get quoted in a headline. Because there’s no political cost for them in doing so.

So my eyebrows rose considerably when I read this part of the story:

Speaker Lucas took to the House floor Wednesday — flanked by House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, and House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland — and called the governor’s remarks unwarranted and unprovoked.

The speaker said the governor’s comments were inappropriate when speaking of lawmakers who include military veterans and working mothers.

“I believe the comments of the governor were below (her) office,” Lucas said. “I believe these are serious times with serious issues, and they demand serious people with serious answers — not name calling, not middle-school insults that serve no purpose but to poison the well.”…

The governor has really outdone herself this time.

We know she never had a good relationship with the former speaker. But he’s gone now, and good riddance. And he’s been replaced by a guy with a reputation for trying hard to work constructively with everyone, including Democrats, and especially with the governor of his own party.

Given Lucas’ reputation, he must have reached the point of thinking things are pretty far gone to have gotten up and said something like that.

Not that he’s wrong. “Middle school insults” is pretty much dead-on. I was thinking just this morning that the way our governor uses social media reminds me of the “slam books” that used to get passed around campus when I was in junior high in New Orleans all those years ago. If you don’t know what a slam book is, boys and girls, it’s like a particularly virulent form of low-tech Facebook. It was a notebook that got passed around, and kids would write things “slamming” their classmates, competing with each other to see who could be the most insulting.

But he must have concluded that things could not be improved by walking down to the governor’s office and having a chat with her. And that, as I say, indicates a pretty bad situation, the kind Strother Martin would decry as “a failure to communicate.”

Which is bad in terms of our chances for sound policy to come out of the State House.

After a couple of years in which not much got done while Bobby Harrell underwent his political Götterdämmerung, I had hoped for a more productive atmosphere in the State House. This does not bode well…

Below you can see and hear the governor making the remarks in question:

Open Thread for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Was it a sitcom or a game show?

Was it a sitcom or a game show?

I’m trying to bring myself back down to Earth by reminding myself that not EVERY moment of my trip was ecstatic. There was, for instance, those several hours we were trapped on a bus that was supposed to be air-conditioned and wasn’t, watching a loud Thai TV show that was some sort of cross between a sitcom and a game show — hard to describe, especially since I didn’t understand a word of what was being said.

Of course, other than that, every moment was fantastic, and even that brief experience I’m trying to remember as negative was interesting… so it’s going to take me awhile to adjust to ordinary routine. Bear with me. And be patient as I unfold bits and pieces of our trip and share them with you, beyond what you’ve already seen on social media.

In the meantime, here’s some stuff for y’all to discuss:

  1. Hey, didn’t Bryan do an awesome job while I was gone? — Be careful. That’s a fargin’ trick question. No, seriously, I’m deeply appreciative of what he did to allow me to concentrate on being a tourist, which was pretty all-consuming. Now, I’d appreciate some feedback: What did Bryan do that you’d like to see more of going forward here on the blog? Maybe that can be arranged…
  2. Bergdahl charged with desertion — Well, this was pretty much predictable from the moment the president swapped five high-value Taliban terrorists to get this guy back.What a mess. What an embarrassment for the country. But I’m glad the Army is confronting the problem, and not just ignoring what happened.
  3. Legislature tries to do the right thing in spite of governor — Trying to catch up on the latest bad craziness here in SC. At long last, lawmakers are facing up to the fact that we need to raise the gas tax, and doing it despite the governor’s insistence that we won’t ALLOW us to have a tax increase, even if we want one. No, really; I’m not making that up.
  4. FBI still needs to get better at countering terrorism — That’s the conclusion of a review of how well the agency has been doing with implementing reforms after 9/11.
  5. White House going overboard in anti-Bibi rhetoric — Things seem to have hit a new low with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough saying “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

Or, whatever y’all want to talk about…

This is your Free Period

Since Brad’s away, and (just between us) we all know I’m the cool teacher, we don’t have to be serious all the time. So consider this post your “free period”.

I’m not sure if any of y’all have heard of Shorpy, but if you’re interested in old, vintage photos, you’ll be able to spend hours there killing time. It’s all safe for work, as long as you’re allowed to waste time at work, that is. It’s free to browse, and one nice feature is that It’s searchable, so you can search for locations, topics, or whatever.

I didn’t directly embed any of the photos here because of some legal stuff, but just to get you started, here’s a cool photo of some girls and guns that came up when I searched for “rifles”. Here’s one from Aiken, SC in 1905, and here’s one of King Street, Charleston in 1910.

In any event, lots of neat photos. Anyone else have an interesting website they’d like to share with the rest of the class?

You are present at the revolution

Caskey Tie

There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to refresh the page. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. For the next two weeks, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to…

As you may know, Brad will be jetting off to Thailand on Saturday, and will be gone for a fortnight. We wish him happy travels.

Why say Brad in the third person? Because, I, Bryan Caskey, will be filling in as “Editor of the Blog” while Brad is gone. We may (or may not) have a peaceful transition when he returns.

Brad will do his best to post during his travels, but the iPad he will be carrying is of limited utility for that purpose. Be kind to me, for I hold the keys to the kingdom. I can be bribed, but I am not cheap.

On a more serious note, if you need help for comment moderation, need to report a technical problem, have any suggested topics, or otherwise need assistance, you may e-mail me at

There’s not much more that I am at liberty to say right now, because Brad is standing over me and dictating this message to me while I learn the WordPress interface. The fun begins on Saturday.

That is all, carry on. Talk amongst yourselves.

Open Thread for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Well, I hate to do back-to-back Open Threads like this, but it’s a busy week.

Here’s what I’m seeing out there…

  1. Judge stops firing of SC State president — What a mess, I confess. So… is there anything anyone can do about this situation? Not that I think firing this guy who didn’t actually create the mess is the solution…
  2. High Court Divided at Health-Law Argument — Does it bother anyone else when reporters and editors try to guess how the court will rule based on the hearing? It’s always kinda bugged me…
  3. U.S. Calls on Ferguson to Overhaul Its Justice System — The cop at the center of the probe was cleared of wrongdoing, but the whole city government was essentially indicted in this report.

Anything else y’all want to mention?

Open Thread for Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Some possible topics:

Whoa! I need to run out and vote for sheriff — This totally snuck up on me, which never would have happened when I was still at the paper. Any of you who also live in Lexington County, please share any thoughts you have on the subject. I’m probably going to follow my colleagues’ advice (they’ve met with and quizzed all of these guys; I have not) and vote for Jay Koon, even though the governor backs him.

Netanyahu Criticizes ‘Bad Deal’ — Don’t know whether he’s right or not. But I agree with Susan Rice (for once) that “A bad deal is worse than no deal.” Hope she means it. But now that it’s done, what do y’all think? Should Bibi have spoken to Congress, or not?

House passes legislation to fully fund DHS — I know it was silly of me to worry, but I seldom travel by air, and I’ve never traveled as far from home as we’re about to, and it was stressing me just a little bit to think of having to deal with ticked-off TSA workers who are not getting paid to work. After all, I went to all that trouble to buy a backpack that I was assured was the right size for carryon, and what if I get somebody who arbitrarily announces it isn’t? I don’t want to check it and lose all my stuff somewhere between here and Southeast Asia…

Y’all have any other ideas?

And just for a little something extra to talk about: Do you suppose even Robin Hood could have done this?

Open Thread for Monday, March 2, 2015

In five days, I’ll be on the way to Thailand, so I’ve got a lot on my plate, but will try to keep the blog going. That’s going to be tough while I’m gone, because I’m not taking my laptop.

So let’s make the most of what we’ve got now:

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham heads to New Hampshire next week to test 2016 waters — I can tell him right now, any water up there is likely to be solid.

Iraq ‘seizes districts from IS’ — While the U.S. sits back and watches. Forget the Chinese. Maybe this will end up being the Iranian Century…

Gov. Nikki Haley on economic trip to undisclosed location — Maybe she can say hey to Dick Cheney for us. Seriously, I hope the trip goes well for SC.

Obviously, it’s blue and BROWN

I was rather puzzled reading this story in The Washington Post this morning, about some huge social media controversy over whether this dress is white and gold, or blue and black.

When, of course, it’s obviously blue and a particularly muddled sort of brown.

Here’s the only explanation the story offered:

The answer involves how light enters the eye and the split-second decisions your brain makes upon discerning that information — without your even noticing. When confronted by an ambiguous situation like this dress, your brain may eliminate one color and focus on another. “Our visual system is supposed to throw away information,” University of Washington neuroscientist Jay Neitz told Wired.

And for whatever reason, whether it’s a skewed white balance or the lighting behind the dress, this image hits people in different ways. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black,” Bevil Conway of Wellesley College told Wired….

Open Thread for Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You ever go to type “2015,” and think, “What happened? How did I get transported so far into the future all of a sudden?” Drat that Doc Brown

Anyway, here are some possible topics. You may have some others in mind:

DHEC board chair defends Kitzman hiring process as new search begins — Talk about defending the indefensible. Yet, “In an email Tuesday evening to The State, board chairman Allen Amsler answered ‘no’ when asked if the eight-member panel made any mistakes in the process of choosing Kitzman as director….” Wowee.

Haley: SC should not borrow $500 million — And as is her wont, she’s talking about Brian White as though he were some wild-eyed, free-spending liberal or something (as if we’d seen anyone like that in leadership positions in the Legislature in the past decade or two): “We got an issue of a chairman of Ways and Means who wants to … run up the credit card debt just because he can.”

Marijuana set to be legalized in D.C. at midnight — You mean, those people up there weren’t already stoned the last few years? Their judgment is going to be further impaired? Maybe it’s a good thing I’m about to leave the country for awhile. Speaking of which…

DHS shutdown: Boehner says House in ‘wait-and-see mode’ as deadline looms — Yeah, they would go messing with the agency that handles airport security right when I’m about to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Far East. Sheesh.

Y’all have anything better to bring up?

Steve Benjamin’s new look

Since relatively few of y’all follow me on Twitter (which you should, because that’s kind of where I’m blogging when I’m not here), I thought I’d share this Tweet from last night:

This was taken as the mayor was leaving a reception honoring local attorney and former city councilman Luther Battiste, upon the addition of his papers to the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library at USC. Luther is a notorious packrat. Like me. But unlike me, he has managed to save some pretty interesting stuff from over the years.

And truth be told, this isn’t really a “new look.” He hasn’t turned a sartorial page, as it were. The mayor explained that he’d been home all day, and this was his first event outside of the house, so he just didn’t bother to get all gussied up.

His second event of the day was the Solomon-Tenenbaum lecture, which I also attended.

Open Thread for Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some possible conversation-starters:

The Kitzman confirmation hearings begin — It will be interesting to see whether the Senate really holds the governor accountable on this one. The story at doesn’t say much so far, but you might want to peruse Jamie Self’s Twitter feed. Here are some items that interested me:

On to other topics:

Senate bill calls for ousting SC State trustees — The lurid saga continues. By the way, I saw an interesting headline in the NYT this morning, but haven’t had time to read it: “How to Hold Colleges Accountable.”

No, it doesn’t matter that Hillary Clinton is a woman — I just thought I’d take a second to argue with this piece in the WashPost this morning headlined, “Why it matters that Hillary Clinton is a woman.” The writer notes that three-fourths of voters say it doesn’t matter, and goes on to explain why they’re wrong and don’t even know their own motivations. Well, I’m a pretty introspective guy, and I can say with confidence that it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll neither vote for her (if I vote in the Democratic primary, which seems unlikely this time, since the only contest in doubt will be on the other side) nor against her because she is a woman (if I vote against her in the general, it will be because the Republicans have nominated someone I like better; if they don’t, I’ll vote for her). And if anyone else is going to vote for or against her because she’s a woman, then I wish they’d stay home. Choosing the president of the United States calls for deeper thinking than that.

Or, whatever y’all want to talk about…

Robbery this morning at Sylvan’s


I was deciding whether I should start following the Columbia PD’s Twitter feed, and checking to see if they were posting readily, and bang! Within the past hour, they’d been on the scene of a robbery at Sylvan’s.

So I decided to start following…

No details yet on the robbery. Except that no one was hurt, and they apparently got some good stuff off the surveillance cameras.

S.C. lawmakers discuss U.S. Constitutional convention

When I saw this this morning:

I had nothing to go on, so I facetiously responded, “Here we go again. Tell the boys at The Citadel to break out the red flag…”

But based on the reporter’s subsequent Tweets, I’m guessing this is what it’s about:

Amending the U.S. Constitution to make marriage between only a man and woman. (Main sponsor: Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley)

That one kinda snuck up on me. I missed that story when it ran. Or maybe I saw it, and missed the thing about Grooms wanting a U.S. con-con, which was only mentioned in a bulleted sidebar, not the main story.

I’ll let you know if it turns out I’m wrong and its about something else.

A U.S. Constitutional convention, eh? If we do that, can we straighten out the language in the 2nd Amendment this time, do something about that oddly placed comma? Not this one, the first one.

Open Thread for Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Just so I can say I posted something new today:

  1. Obama Seeks Congressional Authorization for ISIS Fight — Which includes, ahem, boots on the ground. Which was inevitable.
  2. SC House votes to ban abortions at 20 weeks — I’m going to make a sad prediction: We can debate this as long as we like, and no one’s mind will be changed, and no common ground will be found. I’d like to be wrong about that, though.
  3. SC Senator: Women Are “A Lesser Cut Of Meat” — When Will Folks reported that via Twitter, I supposed he must be bucking for Jon Stewart’s job. But perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Sen. Corbin is bucking for Jake Knotts’ old role as the Senate’s chief Sayer of Cringe-worthy Things.

Or whatever y’all want to talk about…

The social media talk went well, I think (ask Bryan; he was there)

B9lPyTPIAAACK2jWell, I survived my lecture on social media at the Capital City Club today. It was a nice-sized group for that sort of thing — about 15 people — and those who gave me feedback seemed to have gotten something out of it. I hope so.

And hey — Bryan Caskey was there! He took the picture above, of me being all professorial. Don’t I look like I’m expounding upon the Great Questions of the Age, instead of just telling people how not to look stupid on Twitter?

Below is a slide from my PowerPoint. Yes, I did it myself — what’s your point?…



Join me for a conversation about social media

Just thought I’d let you know about this event tomorrow at the Capital City Club, in case you’d like to attend:

Distinguished Speaker Series Presents: 
Brad Warthen and “A Conversation About Social Media”
Brad Warthen — former old-media editor, now a consultant in the brave new world of multidirectional communications — will share what he has learned about social media, both good and bad. A blogger since 2005, and a Twitter fiend since 2009, he still feels greatly honored that “Free Times” dubbed him one of the “Twitterati” of the Midlands awhile back. He’ll also share observations about Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ — the whole gamut. He’s counting on questions, and wants to hear about YOUR experiences with social media, because he doesn’t plan on doing all the talking.
Tomorrow, February 11 at Noon | $25++ for members and guests
Lunch Club can be applied

Now that it’s looming, I guess I’d better get serious and put that Powerpoint together. No, don’t let that scare you off. There won’t be too many words, just a way of creating a semblance of order and keeping me from rambling too much.

By the way, I think I’ll be focusing mostly on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, since the time is limited — and since I’m hoping my audience will have stuff to share, so that maybe I’ll learn something.

Open Thread for Friday, February 6, 2015

Just in case any of you are actually paying attention at this time on a Friday, which seems doubtful:

The latest on the apparent murder-suicide at USC — I’m a little surprised at the slow pace at which info is coming out. For instance, we still don’t have a name of the second person — the presumed shooter — who died.

The burgeoning Bryan Williams scandal — What makes people say stupid stuff like that? Is there something in their heads that tells them the truth just isn’t impressive enough? I don’t get it. You’d think being the best-known anchor in the nation, or the best-known woman in politics, would be enough. But NOOoooo…

ISIS Claims U.S. Captive Died in Jordanian Airstrike — Don’t know yet whether it’s true.

Hiring, Wages Up; Market Nears Full Health — That’s what the WSJ says the numbers say. But does it feel like “full health” to you? Not to me…

… or whatever else y’all want to talk about…