Category Archives: Blogosphere

Open Thread for Friday, July 24, 2015

Not a lot going on locally today, but here are some potential topics:

  1. Review: Clinton Emailed Classified Information — After this, I’ve got a feeling she’s not going to change her ways and start taking media questions on a regular basis any time soon.
  2. China’s Global Desires, Loans and Strings Attached — This story makes this sound like something new, but I remember writing about this very phenomenon in an editorial in 1994. China has been taking the long view, carefully paving its way toward superpowerdom, for a long, long time. While we, messy democracy that we are, sort of stumble from one ad hoc foreign policy decision to the next.
  3. Americans Are Finally Eating Less — Well, you can’t go by me. I totally broke the paleo rules this morning and had grits with my bacon, my sausage, my plate piled high with fruit. I had to try on three pairs of pants this morning before I found some I could fasten at the waist.
  4. President Obama starts two-day Kenya visit — Any comment from Donald Trump yet?
  5. Louisiana Movie Theater Gunman Hated Feminists, Liberals — So he went out and killed two lovely young women.

‘How to Destroy Your Cell Phone, with Lindsey Graham’

Not to be outdone by Rand Paul’s video showing him destroying the tax code in various ways (including with a chainsaw), Lindsey Graham is capitalizing on Donald Trump’s having given out his cell phone number with the above clip, in which he shows a number of ways to destroy a flip phone.

The video is produced by IJ Review — the same website that used that flag video my son produced and I narrated…

destroy phone


Black cop who helped KKK guy just doing his job

DPS Director Leroy Smith put out this release yesterday in response to the way a picture of him helping a KKK member overcome by the heat Saturday went viral:


COLUMBIA, SC — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith issues the following statement regarding the photo that was taken by Rob Godfrey, deputy chief of staff for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, at the July 18 KKK rally on the Statehouse grounds:



Leroy Smith

South Carolina Department of Public Safety ( Director Leroy Smith was working at the rally in uniform, assisting his own troopers and officers and working alongside multiple agencies. He was helping with crowd control when one of the KKK participants asked him to help two men who were participating in the KKK rally and who appeared to be suffering from heat-related illnesses. In the photo: He, along with Columbia Fire Department Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, was helping one of the men up the stairs to the Statehouse so he could be treated by Richland County EMS.

Quote from Director Smith:

“I have been somewhat surprised by how this photo has taken off and gone viral around the world. Even though I serve as the director of this agency, I consider myself like every other officer who was out there braving the heat on Saturday to preserve and protect. The photo that was captured just happened to be of me.

Our men and women in uniform are on the front lines every day helping people – regardless of the person’s skin color, nationality or beliefs. As law enforcement officers, service is at the heart of what we do. I believe this photo captures who we are in South Carolina and represents what law enforcement is all about. I am proud to serve this great State, and I hope this photo will be a catalyst for people to work to overcome some of the hatred and violence we have seen in our country in recent weeks.”

Indeed, he was just going his job.

Which takes me to the point that I frequently make here that shouldn’t have to be made: This is normal. Day in and day out, public employees — the kinds of people that government-haters deride as bureaucrats or feeders at the public trough — do their jobs of serving the public, without it being a big deal.

This is the norm. Which is why a public servant such as Leroy Smith can’t help feeling a bit bemused when people make a big deal over it.

Open Thread for Sunday, July 19, 2015

A special Sunday thread — not because there’s any special news going on, but just to provide y’all with something going into what looks like a busy Monday for me:

  1. Trump Lashes Out At McCain: ‘I Like People Who Weren’t Captured’ — Meanwhile The Guardian, which finds Americans endlessly appalling, is leading with the fact that this yahoo is, going by polls, the GOP front-runner at the moment. Which prompts the musical question, “Whither the GOP?”
  2. Bill Cosby in His Own Words: Sex, Drugs and Deception — Showing what a slow news day this is, the NYT is actually leading with this.
  3. Tenn. gunman used drugs, struggled with clash of faith — To throw in some hard news, as leavening.
  4. Should Tillman statue tell what he was really like? — Since no monuments are to be removed, should they — especially this one — be placed in historical context? By the way, the answer is “yes.”
  5. KKK, other groups raise voices at State House — I had posted something about this earlier, then decided that what I had written was SO thin and based on unfounded speculation that I took it down, in keeping with the “when in doubt, leave it out” rule. But here you go, in case you’re interested in saying anything about it.
  6. ‘As if!’ Clueless turns 20 — Just some pure fun. Thought we could use some. I’m Audi. Be seeing you — not sporadically, I hope.

Then and now: King Day at the Dome, 2000

King Day at the Dome, 2000 -- the largest demonstration against the flag ever

King Day at the Dome, 2000 — the largest demonstration against the flag ever

Cynthia Hardy, remembering the long road we’ve traveled getting to the point, at long last, of removing the flag, shared this photo on Facebook.

The flag as it flew then.

The flag as it flew then.

It’s from King Day at the Dome, 2000 — the day that a crowd estimated by some at 60,000 gathered before the State House to call for the flag to come off the dome, where it had been since the early ’60s.

As you know, it did come off the dome that year, only to move to the grounds in a more visible spot, in a ceremony as ugly and acrimonious as the one yesterday was beautiful and joyous.

If you’ve never seen this photo, or haven’t in awhile, you’re probably as stunned as I am each time I see it again. Never before or since, in my experience, has there been a crowd half as huge as this for any purpose.

This was back when Cynthia was on the staff of the Columbia Urban League, which did much of the work of organizing the demonstration. I was on the Urban League’s board at the time.

It was a long struggle, with both high and low points. This was one of the high ones, even though it was followed by years of frustration.

Ending, eventually, in triumph. The photo below is from yesterday…


Fun to be on the page with Robert (and Cindi) again

better page

“They’re back and they’re bad!”

“When they get together, Trouble comes a-runnin’!”

“Confederate Agenda II: Just when you thought it was safe to read the paper again…”

I’m thinking taglines for a cheesy sequel buddy action flick after seeing the page today in The State with Robert Ariail paired with me once again — my column with his cartoon. A lot of friends have commented on that — favorably. Although when Mike Fitts said it was “Just like old times,” Neil White, being himself, responded that “they were celebrating Throwback Tuesday over there.”

“It’s Throwback Tuesday. Don’t turn that page!”

Anyway, it’s great to be back with Robert in print today, even though it’s only today. And to be back with Cindi Scoppe, of course. I’ve been working with her off and on since the weekend, strategizing about what I was going to write and the best time to run it, then working together through the editing process. And I was aware that she was writing two editorials that would run with my piece — this one congratulating the Senate, and this one exhorting the House to follow the Senate’s example — whereas Robert’s cartoon was more of a nice surprise.

Now that was even more like old times. I haven’t even seen my buddy Robert this week, but working on this with Cindi was a very pleasant return to the alternative universe where everything is as it should be.

I even called her to ask for a PDF of the page today, to have a souvenir of the occasion (nowadays, things don’t seem real without a digital version). An inferior JPG image is above. Click on it, and you get the PDF.

Open Thread for Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Some possible topics, and yeah, they’re mostly related:

  1. Governor issues record number of budget vetoes — Earlier, I wrote a post expressing my dismay that the governor was needlessly antagonizing lawmakers (“needlessly” in the sense of vetoing things she always gets overridden on) with the flag vote coming up. But you know what? I’m so concerned about not rocking the boat myself right now that I took it down, even though it was my only post today. THAT’S how hard I’m cheering for Nikki Haley right now. I didn’t want to create ANY negative waves, Moriarty.
  2. Greece fails to make key debt payment to IMF — You know what? After we get this flag thing done, maybe Nikki could go over and try to inject some fiscal accountability in Athens. There’s a country that could really use a leader who’s handy with budget vetoes. (And no, I’m not trying to get rid of her. She’s my girl now. I’m just saying they could use some of her attitude over there.)
  3. 462 people shot dead by police this year — Just to bring back up a subject that Clementa Pinckney cared a lot about. (If it seems like I can’t talk about anything right now without relating it to the Charleston massacre or issues related to it, well, I guess that’s the case.)
  4. Tillman statue vandalized — Well, again, I’m not for illegal acts that are likely to inflame passions at this delicate time. But you know, it’s Ben Tillman. I’m probably not going to sit up nights worrying about his stupid statue.
  5. KKK plans rally at State House — The KKK rally on July 18 gives lawmakers a nice, clear deadline by which to act on the flag. Present the Klan with a fait accompli
  6. Christie dismisses naysayers, launches long-shot 2016 bid — Don’t know where he stands on the flag, but I’ll let you know when I find out. Meanwhile… do y’all think he has a chance?

Anything else, y’all?

Y’all go over to Facebook and give our governor some love

nikki FB

Phillip Bush brought it to my attention that Nikki Haley was getting some predictable criticism over on Facebook. You know, the usual stuff like:

I hope you never plan on running for any other political office as I, along with many others, will never vote for you again. You caved to liberal pressure and have disrespected this state’s heritage.


The Confederate Flag is the Heritage of South Carolina, never thought I would see you cave to radical pressure! Very sad day, death of the 10th Amendment and freedom of thought!

Well, we know our governor sets a lot of store by Facebook and relies on it for communicating with the public, and I’d hate for her to have second thoughts about the courageous stand she’s taken as a result of anything she reads there.

I don’t think she will — she seemed really determined the other day. And besides, most of the comments I saw are praising and encouraging her.

Well, let’s make that a tidal wave of love and support. if you haven’t gone over there and left an encouraging message, please do so now.

For my part, I wrote this to her, and I mean it:

God bless you, Nikki! And hang in there — don’t let the haters get you down. You’re going to hear from a lot of them, just as everyone who has the courage to act on this does. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help you as you lead us into a better future together, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Watch my Twitter feed for updates on flag (until I get back to an actual keyboard)

my twitter

In a few minutes, I’m going to head over to the State House in advance of this 4 p.m. presser.

While there, I’ll continue to comment via Twitter, assuming there are no technical problems.

So watch for updates @BradWarthen, until I can get back to my laptop. Or just look at the sidebar over to the right, under “Recent Posts.” Or rather, under the ad under “Recent Posts”…

Graham takes a positive half-step on the flag, needs to do the right thing and take another

After I posted this, challenging Lindsey Graham to step up the way Mitt Romney has on the flag, Kevin Bishop from his office sent me a link to this item on The Hill:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday he would welcome discourse over lowering a Confederate flag near his state’s capitol building.
Graham’s remarks followed an emotional vigil that evening in Charleston, S.C., for nine people killed in a mass shooting at a church there earlier this week.
He reversed course following the ceremony, after arguing earlier Friday he would support the symbol remaining at full-mast outside the state capitol building in Columbia, S.C.
“I think it’s a debate that needs to happen,” Graham said of the flag’s future status, according to Fusion.
“We’ll take it up in January,” he added of South Carolina lawmakers. “We’ll see what they want to do.”

Of course, that doesn’t really go anywhere toward a positive result, since we know “what they want to do” on the flag — continue to ignore it.

But it’s a half-step. I look forward to our senior senator moving a little more toward doing the actual right thing.

What I’ve learned about the flag rally Saturday night


As y’all may have noticed, I’ve been ranting and raving about my inability to find out anything about the anti-Confederate flag rally that Facebook told us was (and still is) scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at the State House.

Who was organizing it? Who would be speaking? Would this be a mainstream sort of thing that would impress the powers that be (legislators), like the original King Day at the Dome and Joe Riley’s march in 2000? Or would it be something that lawmakers could smugly dismiss as “fringe” and continue in their state of apathy and cowardice on the issue?

Being someone with more than 20 years hard-won experience dealing with the issue, I know where the mines are buried in the field, and I was very concerned that this rally might make fatal missteps. I was also concerned that this was too quick, too early. We’re still in mourning, families and friends have yet to bury the dead — time enough for political moves later.

But I knew why people were impatient. They were impatient because we live in a world in which we all see national and international news coverage immediately, and the story was playing like this: A white supremacist murdered black worshippers and drove away in a car decorated with the very same flag that South Carolina still flies on the State House lawn. And we all wanted to say, Yes, that’s the case, but it doesn’t fly there with MY permission. At the very least, we wanted to say that.

Anyway, gradually, in bits and pieces, reaching one person who led to another who led to another, I’ve managed to get ahold of people who are involved in pulling this together. And one reason I’ve had trouble getting ahold of them is that they ARE trying to put this thing together in a very short time, and things are rather hectic. Here are some chunks of what I’ve learned:

  • Apparently, what has happened is this… A lady I will not name because I haven’t spoken to her yet put out the idea that wouldn’t it be great if everybody gathered at the State House Saturday to express our desire that the flag come down. This engendered a tsunami-like response (note the activity on the Facebook page) which kind of overwhelmed her. She was particularly unprepared for some of the more hateful messages she received. So, chivalry not being dead in the post-bellum South, two men agreed , on the spur of the moment, to pitch in and help her. They were Emile DeFelice and Tom Hall.
  • I’ve spoken with Emile, who says that the program is still coming together, and as they know more they will post more (speakers and such). But he assures me that this group will look like South Carolina, or a reasonable cross section of it. It’s an unaffiliated gathering, owing nothing to any group or agenda. As he puts it, “This is a group of concerned, mainstream citizens who give a s__t.” He says there are a thousand people coming, in spite of the ungodly weather, and national media will be there. So, you know, if you’d like to tell the world what South Carolinians are really like, that we’re not a bunch of Dylann Roofs, then here’s your chance.
  • I haven’t reached Tom Hall. We’ve both tried, and keep missing each other.
  • Before I talked with Emile, I spoke with Becci Robbins and Brett Bursey at the SC Progressive Network, who seemed to have been pulled in by the event in a haphazard way. Becci had posted earlier in the day a question like mine: What is going on here, and who’s in charge? She had not realized that Brett had already started getting involved in it. Brett said he was telling people that this was less a flag rally than a memorial for the slain — although the flag would be mentioned. At 5:21 p.m. today, after I spoke with him, Brett put out a media advisory saying the following: “The tragic deaths of nine black people at the hands of a young white man in Charleston is a soul-searing opportunity for South Carolina to confront our state’s historic racism and the bitter fruit it continues to yield. The Confederate flag that has flown on the State House grounds since 1961 is a symptom of the institutional racism that afflicts all aspects of life in South Carolina. The removal of the flag from the front lawn to the State Museum is but one necessary step in the long road to true racial equality. The SC Progressive Network is calling for the community to gather on the Gervais Street side of the State House on Saturday, June 20, 6pm-7pm. There will be a short program. People are advised to bring water, lawn chairs and a shade umbrella.”
  • It was not clear under whose auspices Brett was issuing that. I had had no indication from Emile that he expected Brett to be doing media relations on the event or indeed playing any central role in it. But Becci had written to me that she had spoken with “someone associated with this event,” and he “invited us to do what has not been done: logistics, program, hospitality etc.” It may have been one of a number of people I talked to other than Emile. There are a lot of people eager to make this thing happen, and I don’t think they’re all talking to each other.

So there you have it. It’s going to happen, but no one is yet entirely sure what will happen. I’m going to be there, and a lot of good folks I know are going to be there, and in the end I think it’s important that we do that, so that the aforementioned national media can see that we’re there and we care. There’s plenty of time for refining the message and the movement later. It’s almost impossible that anything would be done about the flag before the Legislature comes back in January, for a lot of reasons. Not least, the fact that this is too soon after the tragedy for a major political sea change to occur.

A final thought: I enjoyed listening to Emile talk about the issue.

“We really take it on the chin in Columbia,” he said. We host the nation’s Army, the state’s flagship university, the state government, and the region’s homeless people.

He says “we’ve done enough” without lawmakers “planting a flag and running home” to leave us to live with it. “I work on Main Street,” he says, and he’s tired of it. He wants to tell them, “It’s not fair for y’all to plant that flag where we have to deal with it.”

He fantasizes about getting a bunch of Confederate flags, some poles and a few bags of cement, and driving them in a truck to the places of business of some of these lawmakers — their law offices, their insurance agencies and so forth — and planting the flags in front of their businesses and seeing how they like it.

And he’s right, of course. Most of them wouldn’t. They just keep the flag up because they don’t want to stir up that extremely passionate minority out there who would descend on them if they lifted a finger to bring it down — the kinds of people who totally freak out the uninitiated when they venture into flag territory.

Anyway, that’s what Emile wants to do. But instead, he and a few other folks are trying to pull a rally together.

Maybe I’ll see y’all there.

Joel Lourie on the ‘toxic’ atmosphere in the Senate

You know, I quit doing “The Brad Show” — thereby devastating my millions of fans, who had to console themselves with “Game of Thrones” instead — because it just got to be too much of a physical hassle to produce, especially after the guys who used to shoot it for me moved out of the ADCO building.

But lately I’ve been thinking… I still have my iPhone. Why not go back to the kind of guerrilla video reportage for which this blog was once famous — quick-hitting, spur-of-the-moment clips on the news of the day?

So today, I was talking with Sen. Joel Lourie after a Community Relations Council luncheon at which he and Sen. Katrina Shealy had just been honored with CRC’s annual Hyman Rubin Distinguished Service Award, and he happened to mention that the atmosphere in the Senate chamber was as toxic as at any time he could remember. Here’s what he was referring to.

So, thinking with the blinding speed to which my readers are accustomed, I asked whether he wanted to say that on video. He said no. Then he said yes.

So here ya go.

Since we spoke briefly about roads, I thought I’d call your attention to Cindi Scoppe’s piece today describing what real roads reform would look like. And of course, it’s a classic with its roots deep in the Power Failure series: Turn the roads over to local governments, and leave the local governments alone to fund them as they see fit. A solution that, of course, strikes right at the heart of the Legislative State, which is why nothing like this has ever come close to happening.

If we’re gonna dream about what really ought to happen, we might as well dream big.

Oh, and on the subject of the budget, which Sen. Lourie also mentioned, here’s another good column from Cindi casting doubt on Joel’s man Hugh Leatherman to deliver on that…

Open Thread for Friday, June 12, 2015

"And then, Joe, the House Democrats told me to go do something to myself that, quite frankly, is anatomically impossible..."

“And then, Joe, the House Democrats told me to go do something to myself that, quite frankly, is anatomically impossible…”

Y’all seldom have much to say on a Friday afternoon, but here are some things to chew on just in case:

  1. House derails trade deal in a blow to Obama — I’ve never known Democrats to be particularly sensible on trade in the past (unless they happen to be president, in which case they tend to have a broader outlook), so why should they start now?
  2. Graham says he once dated a stewardess named Sylvia — Our senior senator lets some details of his private life out, in response to burning interest on the part of national media.
  3. Why this NAACP official isn’t talking about her race — Because she is apparently white. At least the people who say they’re her parents are. This is causing a lot of buzz, but it’s weird that this is such a big deal, since whites had a big role in starting the organization. And even today, the organization says, “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria.”
  4. California Unveils Sharp Cuts in Water for Agriculture — This situation in our largest state is worrisome, and another reason to be glad we live on the East Coast, where all sensible people stayed…

Or whatever interest you…

Open Thread for Thursday, June 11, 2015

A few suggestions on a relatively slow day:

  1. Costco looking at Piney Grove again — No sign yet that they’re looking for millions in concessions this time. That’s what caused the deal to break down before.
  2. DNA Deciphers Roots of Modern Europeans — Apparently, the message in the skeletons’ DNA, once decoded, said “welfare state.”
  3. Fellow senator describes Graham as “bro with no ho” — Weird comment by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is just barely audible on recording… The WashPost treats it as an etymological puzzle.
  4. How Do Companies Quietly Raise Prices? They Do This — The only reason I’m including this is that the story contains a new (to me) phrase that I’m adding to my list of possible band names, when I start a band: “Slack Fill.”
  5. Iowa police officer kills unarmed man who ‘walked with purpose’ — So, if he had “trudged with diffidence,” would he have gotten off with a warning?

Or whatever else interests you.

Open Thread for Wednesday, June 10, 2016

The view from where we were having lunch today.

The view from where we were having lunch today.

Back from the beach, and here are some possible topics:

  1. VA building could become parking lot — Kathryn suggested this topic. I gather that this is one on which she may be in agreement with the mayor.
  2. How Jeb Bush’s 2016 bid faltered before it began — Really? Isn’t it a bit early to be writing the political obit for the guy who is still probably going to end up with the nomination? Maybe that’s not what this is, but the headline has an eulogistical tone.
  3. Al-Qaida ‘cut off and ripped apart by Isis’ — Yeah, the enemy of my enemy may be my friend, but somehow I can’t quite work up a lot of sympathy here for the has-been terror organization.

Or whatever y’all want to talk about…



Open Thread for Monday, June 8, 2015

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Schmoozing: POTUS and the other G7 leaders, wandering in a field in Bavaria. There's a metaphor here somewhere...

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Schmoozing: POTUS and the other G7 leaders, wandering in a field in Bavaria. There’s a metaphor here somewhere…

For once, I have an SC-heavy list of suggestions:

  1. Former police officer who shot Walter Scott indicted for murder — This SC story is leading newspaper sites as far away as London. This one’s from The Guardian. For the Charleston version, click here.
  2. SC abortion numbers decline nearly 12 per cent in 5 years — Whichever side of the fence you’re on, that’s a good thing right?
  3. Franklin Graham urges boycott of gay-friendly companies — You know what? In that picture, he looks older than I ever remember his Dad looking…
  4. Innovista Greene Street project breaks ground this week — I’m glad to see this finally get under way — this was always supposed to be the centerpiece, sort of the Main Street of Innovista, a pedestrian friendly boulevard running from the center of the USC campus down to a riverfront park. Thanks to the penny tax, it’s now on track.
  5. US strategy on Iraq ‘not yet complete’ – Obama — That’s what he said at the G-7 summit. You know why it’s G-7? ‘Cause we kicked out Russia. Meanwhile, that new guy seeking the Democratic nomination for president thinks we’ve been way too mean to the Russians over Ukraine. Really.

Open Thread for Thursday, June 4, 2016

Some suggestions on this anniversary of D-Day minus 1 (in the original Overlord plan, before it was set back a day):

Five Points flooded again. Are you shocked? — When will we do something about the weather — or at least about its effects?

Basil sells Rosewood Market and Deli — To someone who at least may be familiar to some local folks.


Chinese hackers breached federal workers’ data — More ominous news from the cybersecurity front.

Advisory panel urges FDA to approve ‘female Viagra’ — Hey, I just picked this because it said “female Viagra.” I have no opinion on this. I’m still puzzled about MALE Viagra: If your body doesn’t want to, why not just leave it alone?

Or whatever interests you…

Open Thread for Monday, June 1, 2015

It’s a whole new month, and so far a slow one, as hard news goes. And we’ve already talked about Lindsey Graham’s announcement.

Oh, well. Here are some talkers, if you are so inclined:

  1. Man does not quite bite dog — So it falls a bit short of news, but not for lack of effort. The guy is charged with biting a woman after his dog bit her child. Really.
  2. SCOTUS sides with Muslim woman over head scarf — WSJ says “The 8-1 decision heightened the duty employers have to accommodate workers’ religious practices, ruling that federal law requires ‘favored treatment’ of faith-based observances, not simply equal status with other activities.”
  3. Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair: ‘Call me Caitlyn’ — So, disregard what he told Diane Sawyer the other day. That was May; this is June. There’s a picture of Jenner in a skimpy ladies’ garment, if you want to look.

Or, whatever interests you. Oh, one other thing: The head of SC DOT quit, but didn’t say why. I don’t know what to say about it, since before I read this, I could not have named the head of DOT — she’d only been in the job a year.

Open Thread for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A few potential topics:

  1. Costa Pleicones elected S.C. Supreme Court chief justice — That development sort of snuck up on me. I knew it was his turn and all; I just hadn’t realized they were voting on it so soon…
  2. U.S.: Indictments are just the start of FIFA scrutiny — Hey, who around here cares? Let me know when they go after American football. And speaking of the world of sports…

  3. Clemson’s Swinney cancels appearance with anti-gay marriage organization — I was surprised to see that the coach was surprised at the controversy. It seems that sports figures can be as ignorant of politics as I am about sports.
  4. Nebraska Lawmakers Pass Bill Abolishing State’s Death Penalty — Not something that happens every day. At least not around here.

Or, whatever y’all want to talk about…