Category Archives: Blogosphere

Open Thread for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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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…

Hillary Clinton’s first visit to SC since 2008 campaign

Hillary Clinton

The presumptive Democratic nominee came back to South Carolina today wielding a middle-class-populist message (is it populist if it’s middle-class, or merely “popular”?).

She kept telling us besieged members of the bourgeoisie that she was going to “go to bat” for us. She used other metaphors for what she would do, but I’m very happy to report that I didn’t hear her say that she would “fight” for us. She may have and I missed it, but I was listening for it, because I hate it so.

So I guess that’s one way in which she’s distinguishing herself from the populism of Elizabeth Warren, while still trying to go after the same segment of the party — so as to, you know, keep what’s-her-name out of it.

Maggie Haberman of the NYT reported that Hillary’s “southern twang is back,” but I certainly didn’t hear it. Maybe you had to be from New York to pick up on it. Nevertheless, the candidate traced her experience with SC back to when she worked for Bennettsville’s Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund, and later attended Linda and Phil Lader’s Renaissance Weekends down in the Lowcountry.

The candidate’s best-received line was when she said, after noting how much the White House ages presidents, “I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I have one big advantage… I’ve been coloring my hair for years.” She promised we wouldn’t see her go gray in the job.

Beyond that, here are most of my Tweets from the event:

The Jack Kuenzie thing was out of sync. It was before the event, but got held up for some reason.

By the way, you know that item where I said “Weird situation after speech. Her people won’t let us near her, and won’t let us leave…”? Twitter kinda went ape about it. It went in a modest way. There were 33 direct reTweets and 11 favorites, and lots of reTweets of reTweets. I lost count.

Which made me kind of insecure. I had not tried to leave the hall at that point; I had just heard we couldn’t from another media type. Specifically, on the first of three times I got pushed back by Clinton staff, I told Dianne Gallagher, who was headed toward the candidate, that they weren’t letting us near her. Dianne said something to the effect of that put is in a fix, because they weren’t letting us leave the room, either.

After people made such a big deal about that Tweet, I wrote to Dianne to make sure I had heard her right. She replied, “Oh yeah. They said we had to wait. Wouldn’t open the door for us.”

I was relieved to have heard her right the first time.

It was no big deal, as one Tweeter had the good sense to note. But a lot of people seemed to think it was a metaphor for something…

Is President Obama follow-worthy?

It’s up to Elaine Benes to decide whether POTUS is sponge-worthy. My concern is more G-rated.

As you may have read, “they” have finally allowed the president to have his very own personal Twitter feed, which he in theory posts on himself, as opposed to the @BarackObama feed that’s been out there since March 2007 and is written by the Organizing for Action staff.

Now, himself is supposedly Tweeting @POTUS. His first Tweet, on May 18:

… which is where I got the mysterious “they” reference from.

So, all well and good, except there’s a bit of a two-edged sword here (and since this is POTUS, it’s probably made from Valyrian steel). It’s been eight days now, and he’s only Tweeted seven times! And his last Tweet was yesterday.

I generally don’t follow people if they don’t Tweet more often than that. Unless, when they do, Tweet, what they have to say is pretty awesome. Which, alas, the president’s are not. They’re pretty vanilla. Like something, you know, staff-written. Also, I wonder at the professional-looking photos of himself that are not selfies. Who’s really doing this?

A pretty lame and infrequent feed so far.

On the other hand, if he were Tweeting like mad — at the rate I usually do, or someone even more obsessed with the medium — then we’d all be saying, rather pointedly, Doesn’t the president have something better to do with his time? Anyway, I’m going to give him a probational follow. Out of respect for the office. But if he doesn’t liven it up, he’s going on the dustbin…  

Open Thread for a Tuesday that feels like Monday, May 26, 2015

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Some tidbits from here and there:

  1. British pub’s ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ name challenged by PETA — Get this: “they want the pub to change its name to Ye Olde Clever Cocks, ‘in recognition of society’s growing compassion for animals and in celebration of intelligent, sensitive chickens.'” Really. So help me out: Where’d we get the term, “birdbrain?”
  2. China to Expand Navy Amid U.S. Tensions — Just FYI, y’all.
  3. Charter Agrees to Acquire Time Warner Cable — Just in time for the death of cable as we know it. By the way, speaking of companies time has passed by, did you know that MapQuest still exists, and is profitable?
  4. RNC rolls out mini-mockumentary video ahead of Hillary visit — OK, I laughed, a little bit, just because at the moment I’m waiting to find out whether I’ll be approved as one of the few media types allowed to cover her appearance her Wednesday. Here’s hoping posting this doesn’t knock me out of the running, right?

Open Thread for Thursday, May 21, 2015

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Talk about what you like, but here are some suggestions:

  1. Savannah minor-league team moving to Columbia — It’s going to be single-A, part of the New York Mets organization. Sally League. Didn’t we have the Mets’ single-A team before, or am I remembering that wrong? I mean, I thought that team went to Greenville. Maybe y’all can ‘splain it to me.
  2. ISIS Takes Full Control of Palmyra — First Ramadi (which POTUS terms a “setback”), now this. Our team’s not doing so good, people.
  3. Senate votes to advance Obama trade legislation, fast-track authority — Which sounds like progress to me, but then, I’m not Elizabeth Warren.
  4. Boy Scouts President Calls for End to Ban on Gay Leaders — That would be Robert Gates, ex-head of Defense and the CIA. There’s no actual proposal; he seems to be just testing the waters.
  5. The Man Who Lost $14 Billion in One Day — Bummer. As my friend Dennis Boone used to say, that’s more than I make in a year.

And whatever else y’all bring up…

Open Thread for Thursday, May 14, 2016

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Kind of a slow news day, but here’s what we’ve got:

  1. Amtrak driver says he cannot remember deadly crash — I find this quite credible. I don’t remember how I hit my head that night last summer. When even mild concussion is involved, amnesia is fairly common, I believe.
  2. Obama’s trade agenda clears a key hurdle in Senate — Looks like we MAY have a rational result out of all this.
  3. Jeb Bush Tries to End Storm on Iraq Remarks — Hey, I thought what he said initially was fine — but I would, right? Particularly since to me, Iraq wasn’t primarily about WMD. And he reflected my views when he criticized the way the aftermath of combat was totally botched. I found Jennifer Rubin’s “Nine ways to answer the Iraq question” interesting. I think Bush has tried something like four of them so far, and none are really working for him.
  4. Tom Brady lodges appeal against four-game Deflategate ban  — Not because I’m interested, but because I told y’all I’d give you more sports.

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Casting call? Can’t their people just call my people?

I’ve been hanging on since last week to this notice:

And I’m thinking, who would be better qualified than I?

I’ve got the acting chops, and extensive experience in the actual, real-life political world. “House of Cards” has characters who are bloggers and newspaper editors; I am or have been both. As for Washington experience, I used to supervise reporters in Washington; shouldn’t that count?

Uh-oh. The Hill says:

The casting call announcement advises “House of Cards” hopefuls to come “camera ready” in their “best upscale attire.” Men are asked to “use hair product,” while the ladies should “have your hairstyle and makeup applied as we will be taking your photos for you.”

Dang. I don’t “use hair product,” and can’t we just use this picture below that Kelly Payne took of me at the state GOP convention earlier this month? I mean, the fact that it was taken at such an event, by someone who has actually run for office in South Carolina (which Kevin Spacey has only pretended to do), should count for something.

In fact, why do I even have to show up for a cattle call? Just have your people call my people…

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ICYMI: Our governor as the Khaleesi

Since most of y’all don’t follow my Twitter feed, I thought I’d share this one, which I put out while cooking out on the deck yesterday:


How else to describe a person who thinks it’s all about her, who stands up at a party convention to say most Republican officeholders are not real Republicans because they don’t do her bidding in all things?

“Where’s my army?” Wow. She really thinks the GOP is supposed to be her army. Like Lincoln and the others started this thing in the 1850s just so that Nikki could have an entourage.

Of course, now that she and her dragons can boast of having brought Volvo to Westeros, who’s complaining, right?

 

The quality of the content should be the only consideration

Bryan and I have been continuing this debate in other venues, such as Twitter.

He has emailed me the above short (58-second) video, with the comment:

I am in agreement with Chris Hayes for perhaps the first time ever. This is news in and of itself.

My response…

That’s a VERY good analogy, and here’s my reply: If you really didn’t like the segment, you shouldn’t run it. If you were on the fence about it, you should decide whether to run it based on its merits.

What the advertiser had to say should have NO bearing on your decision, period. To fail to run the segment BECAUSE of the advertiser’s threat would of course be wrong, and a betrayal of your audience. But to RUN it because of the threat, even if you thought it shouldn’t run, is a stupid, childish and irresponsible gesture that ALSO lets your audience down.

Your judgment about the quality of the segment and whether it properly, professionally serves your audience should be the only consideration.

To elaborate beyond what I told Bryan…

If the advertiser’s threat was public, you will pay a price in terms of your reputation if you decide honestly that the piece was not worth running. All the other kids in the playground will taunt you and say you were chicken, or worse.

And of course, that is more painful to the journalist’s pride than any other scenario.

But a mature and responsible professional will decide on the merits of the content, not on the basis of what may make him seem braver and tougher. You do the right thing, to the best of your ability to ascertain the right thing, and you take the consequences. If the content is worth running, you take the consequences of the advertiser’s ire. If the content doesn’t measure up, you accept the taunts from the crowd.

Open Thread for Thursday, May 7, 2015

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Yes, I know, I’ve been a blogging slacker today. But I’ve had a lot on my mind as well as my schedule, so this catchup will have to do:

  1. Tories appear to be winning, if you believe exit pollsThe Guardian appears to be taken aback, judging by the above screengrab from their homepage. Exit poll shocker!
  2. Gov. Nikki Haley signs bill to oust S.C. State trustees — A new seven-member board to be appointed.
  3. N.S.A. Program Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules — Oh, yeah? Well…. let’s see what the Supremes say. Or the whole appeals court. Or the Congress. There’s no injunction to cease and desist, and this is still up in the air.
  4. VE Day 70th anniversary marked with events across Europe — From the Beeb, fittingly.

Or, whatever interests you…

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Special ‘I’m back!’ Open Thread for Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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Well, we seem to have gotten to the bottom of the problem that was keeping me from even seeing my blog, much less posting on it.

So here’s a nice multi-topic post to get us started:

  1. N.F.L. Says Patriots Probably Deflated Footballs Purposely — See? Bryan’s not the only one who gives you sports topics to talk about, is he? And you don’t really like him better than you do me, do you?
  2. Black Box Suggests Germanwings Co-Pilot Practiced Crash: Investigator — That guy was one sick puppy. Apparently, he tested the settings for flying into the mountain, but reset the controls before the plane could respond to the settings, so no one noticed.
  3. Borrowing plan for SC colleges, tech schools on shaky ground — Because fiscal conservatives believe government should live within its means, just the way families have to do, and everyone knows families never borrow money. Right? What’s that? What’s this “mortgage” thing you speak of? Some socialist plot?
  4. Baltimore Mayor Asks Feds To Investigate Police Department — The sad saga continues. On a side note, anyone see this Margulies cartoon last week? Seemed to sum up the cognitive divide in the country fairly neatly.

Katrina Shealy’s reaction to Haley tirade against GOP lawmakers

First, a heads-up — I’m unable to access my blog from the office today. Technical glitch. I’m writing this on my iPad, which itself is awkward. The iPad is connecting to the blog using my phone as a hotspot. Anyway, don’t expect to see much from me today, beyond short responses typed on my phone…

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Sen. Katrina Shealy, who was elected 1st vice chair of the state GOP Saturday, got fairly ticked off over her governor’s tirade against most Republicans in the Legislature, and expressed her irritation on Facebook.

I was unable to find the original post, so she may have taken it down. But someone saved the screenshot you see above.

later in the day, she expressed her concerns somewhat more calmly, as follows:

Today I was very upset when I felt like Governor Haley called out the Legislature during her Speech at the 2015 SCGOP Convention. Because it is the right thing to do I will apologize for getting as angry as I did – I don’t apologize for feeling that this is a time when the Republican Party needs to be pulling together and finding common ground instead of finding ways to alienate each other. There are many serious issues before this state. We have 124 House Members, 46 Senators and 1 Governor – we needless to say do not all agree but that does not make us all wrong. As I have said before and I will say again if you expect people to agree with you all the time or not ever have an idea different from you, you need to talk to yourself. You are also going to eventually be very lonely! We have really tried over the last months to pull together and work out issues that are difficult and because of my way or no way attitudes in the House, Senate and yes the Governors Office we can’t. The word compromise isn’t a terrible word – really! I think Governor Jim Edwards used it very effectively. Maybe we need to take a page from his playbook!

Open Thread for Friday, May 1, 2015

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Whenever I type dates lately, my first instinct is to type “2016.” I’ve had to go back and correct it several times. I think that’s because I’d read, and typed, “2016” so many times before this year started, that on some level my fingers thought it had arrived. Or something.

Anyway, I’ve had technical troubles all day and haven’t been able to post. But let’s wrap up the week with an Open Thread, shall we? Possible topics:

  1. Six Baltimore cops charged in Freddie Gray death — So, will this be the end of the rioting? Who knows? Once something like that gets started, I’m not sure to what extent we can look for rational cause-and-effect relationships. Of course, we won’t know the upshot of the legal case, or what actually happened, for some time — if then.
  2. Ex-Ally Of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Pleads Guilty In Bridge Closures Scandal — Does this mean that Christie is in the clear politically on this, or does it mean it’s now fresher in people’s minds just as he’s launching? Probably the latter.
  3. Isis leader incapacitated with suspected spinal injuries after air strike — An exclusive about al-Baghdadi from The Guardian.
  4. Singer Ben E. King Dies — Famous for “Stand By Me.”

Or… whatever’s on your mind…

Burl’s lifelong passion started at the usual age

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Y’all know that my high school classmate Burl Burlingame gets to build model airplanes and rebuild real airplanes — cool ones — for a living. Doug and I have both been to his museum, and seen his handiwork.

So where did it all begin?

As with most of us, Burl started building models as a kid. And today, he posted photographic evidence, with this explanation:

Clearly, the pop-culture image of the model-airplane enthusiast as a callow dweeb is completely self-inflicted, and completely at odds with our self-image as the only cool kids in school:

I’m wondering — is that behind your house in Foster Village? I ask because the background looks a lot like the view from my backyard when we lived in that subdivision. We had this unbelievable view of both Pearl Harbor and the Waianae range in the background. (The lots were terraced so that our backyard lawn was higher than the roof of the house behind us, making for an amazing panorama of southwestern Oahu.)

In fact, I’m flashing on a memory here. Unlike Burl, I wasn’t a master builder of models. I didn’t paint the pilot or other small details. I’d put on the decals, of course, but beyond that my finishing touches didn’t extend beyond maybe heating the point of a pin and using it to melt machine-gun holes in the wings and fuselage.

I definitely didn’t bother with details on the little model of a V1 buzz bomb that I test-flew in that backyard in Foster Village. I built it around a firecracker, wedged into the fuselage tightly by wrapping toilet paper around it, and threaded the fuse out through a hole before final gluing. (The V1, a fairly featureless rocket, was way too boring to look at, and there were no more than five or six pieces in the kit — the only thing that made it worth building was to blow it up.)

Then I took it out there, lit the fuse, and threw it. It worked — green plastic blasted everywhere. But it was over so quick, it didn’t seem worth the time it took to build the model, even as simple as it was. So that’s the last time I did that…

By the way, that’s a SPAD XIII. Burl had to tell me that, after I wildly guessed that it was a Sopwith Camel…

Open Thread for Thursday, April 30, 2015

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Y’all haven’t been much interested in anything I’ve shown you today. See if you can get into any of these:

  1. BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! — Trey Gowdy says he now has 4,000 documents from the State Department that no one investigating Benghazi has seen before! So that means this is likely to go on and on and on! And on!
  2. McCartney still coming, but Vanilla Ice is postponing — Did you know he was coming before? No? Then maybe that’s why he’s not coming now…
  3. Psychologists’ Group Said to Collaborate on Torture Stance — NYT reports that, even though you thought it was all Bush’s fault, it was also the shrinks’ fault.
  4. Bernie Sanders seeks Democratic nomination for president — Boy, Hillary’s in trouble now! She’s got a socialist running against her! Is there an emoji for sarcasm? He says he’s in it to win. So I need an emoji that’s like really, really sarcastic… Until I find one, I’ll just go with this:

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Oh, no! Am I now in charge of Donald Trump? No way!

My mind is still staggering over the implications of this Tweet:


Several thoughts occur to me all at once:

  • Is that really from him? Can I trust that little blue check mark as confirmation? Could this actually be from someone who actual Americans have actually considered for president — a fact which continues to amaze me, but which is undeniably true? And they’re not that rare! I even met one of them once, a young man who said he liked The Donald’s “commonsense philosophy.”
  • Boy, Richard Cohen really nailed it this morning when he said that the GOP needs Trump to run, to make the other candidates look good.
  • Nice of him to call the president “great.” Or did he just mean, you know, “great for an African-American?”
  • How is Barack Obama responsible for the actions of African-Americans when, according to Trump, he’s not one of them? He’s from Kenya, right?
  • Finally — and this is the one that worries me — is this the new standard? Is this a rule now? Because if Obama is responsible for the behavior of all black people, that means the world is going to start looking to me… to do something about Donald Trump! I mean, not only am I white, but my first name is Donald! And Obama’s responsible for everybody named “Hussein,” right?

I can’t handle that kind of responsibility. How do I opt out?

By the way, this Tweet was brought to my attention by Bakari Sellers, who said, “Somebody is back to trying to be like George Wallace again.”

No, now see, that’s not fair — to George Wallace. He did a lot of bad stuff, but did he ever Tweet anything that dumb? No, he did not. Technically.

Open Thread for Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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Just a little something to keep y’all busy on a day when I have little time for blogging:

CBXhflfWsAIDUF5Cindi details the irrationality of SC leaders — This is about Medicaid expansion. No reasonable person unblinded by partisan rage can read this and still make excuses for what our elected leaders have decided. And if you consider that a challenge, have at it — but you are doomed to fail. Cindi explains why in her usual devastating style. But maybe if you come up with an original argument, she’ll let you sign her cast. Or give you a swift kick with it, or something.

Metts gets a year in prison, $10,000 fine — Do you think this is fair and right, based on the principle that law enforcement officials must be held to a high standard? Or do you think this is yet another case of locking up people we don’t need to?

Supremes hear arguments on whether there’s a right to same-sex marriage — Our opinions don’t matter in this — only those of the justices do — but if you have something to say, here’s an opportunity. Even though nothing has happened, several outlets are leading with it, such as the WSJ, the NYT and the WashPost.

And whatever else grabs your interest….

A sorta, kinda Virtual Front Page on a mushy news day

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This is one of those in-between kinds of days in which there’s no really overriding news. So you get the weird phenomenon of all of these news entities having completely different lede stories. Which might not be interesting to you, but is to me.

Here they are, in no particular order — since they’re all ledes, right?…

  1. Russian Energy Giant Finds Kremlin Links Cut Both Ways (NYT) — Which is all about EU going after Gazprom. This is after the EU went after Google. But I think that’s kinda different, don’t you?
  2. Google Unveils Wireless Service Called ‘Project Fi’ (WSJ) — Of all these stories, I may be the most interested in this one. But as an editor, I don’t consider it the most important, and would lede with it. And when I read that it won’t work with iPhones, I lose personal interest as well…
  3. S.C. agency changes policies after lawsuit by transgender teen (The State) — Lemme explain this to you: It seems that she… I mean, it seems that he… well, I lack the vocabulary. I tell you what, though: Cases such as this are a good argument for bringing back the inclusive “he.” They still do it in Spanish, after all…
  4. Senate OKs Human-Trafficking Bill, Paving Way For Attorney General Vote (NPR) — Actually, it’s a little hard to tell from the NPR site what they consider to be the lede, but I think this is it. On second thought, I doubt that they even think about it at NPR.
  5. Italy ‘at war’ with migrant smugglers (BBC) — This ongoing story, of course, gets bigger play over across the pond.
  6. Pentagon races to move inmates at Guantanamo (WashPost) — I think “from” probably says it better than “at” — but it wouldn’t have fit in this three-deck hed.

How’s that for a Smörgåsbord?

At long last, the House stands up to the governor on roads

Finally, the House has done what it always had to do if it were to act rationally on financing road construction — raise the tax designed for that purpose, which had been kept ridiculously low:

The South Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday to pay to repair the state’s crumbling roads by increasing the state’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon.

The proposal, which would raise roughly $427 million a year, passed 87-20, a large enough margin in the GOP-dominated House to survive a veto threat by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-York, said the “strong vote” shows House members are serious about fixing S.C. roads….

Here’s hoping House members continue to stand up against the governor’s nonsensical stance, and that the Senate acts reasonably as well.

So far, the governor has reacted in a predictable manner, demagoguing on Facebook rather than engaging lawmakers.