Category Archives: Blogosphere

Open Thread for Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It occurs to me there have been several interesting things happening the last few days that we haven’t talked about:

  1. Dylann Roof allowed to hire lawyers back, for now — Strange goings-on in Richard Gergel’s court.
  2. Mistrial declared in black motorist’s shooting by officer — We’re not there viewing all the evidence. But yeah, to those of us who have only seen the infamous phone video, this is hard to fathom.
  3. Trump chats with Taiwan — Remember how China was cheering for Trump to win the election? I wonder whether they’re kicking themselves now. Personally, I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it just isn’t done. Harrumph, etc. On the other, there might conceivably be an advantage to having a president dumb enough to do something like this, just as a way of provoking a conversation about the whole one-China diplomatic fiction. But don’t worry. I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not about to say, as Marc Thiessen did, that “Trump’s Taiwan call wasn’t a blunder. It was brilliant.” I think the truth is somewhere between that and “bottomless pig-ignorance.” I’m just not sure exactly where….
  4. Trump’s Carrier deal could permanently damage American capitalism — Let’s use the headline from Larry Summers’ piece to kick off our discussion of this thing, which Trump’s supporter think was just awesome. Then we can segue into a discussion of his protectionist threats over the weekend.
  5. Ben Carson has been named to be the head of something — Doesn’t much matter what it is; I’m not sure I’d put him in charge of anything. But it might have seemed marginally less strained to put him over HHS rather than HUD. Maybe Trump figured, based on his assumptions about how black folk live, that Carson must have grown up in the projects. That’s what Mike Huckabee thought. Well, he didn’t.

Anybody have anything else to bring up?

When Trump and Carson first bonded: Remember THIS special moment?

When Trump and Carson first bonded: Remember THIS special moment?

Another of the many basic things Trump has never thought about

realdonald

Trump voters wanted an outsider, but I doubt that they, or I, or anyone yet fully grasps just how out-of-the-loop this guy is.

I think I have a pretty good idea, based on the last year and a half. I’ve long known enough to see that — if you see the same things — you’d have to be stark, raving mad to want to put this guy anywhere near the Oval Office. But look what’s happened.

So, each day will bring us face-to-face with yet another thing that demonstrate that Donald Trump has never spent a moment of his garish life thinking about things that are second nature to people who — regardless of party or philosophy — possess the most basic qualifications to be president.

Sometimes it’s something small — but telling — such as this:

Now here’s a place where my own gut feelings are the same as those of our president-elect. The idea of someone showing such hatred and contempt toward the flag that our bravest Americans have given their lives to defend, and to raise over such places as, say, Iwo Jima — a flag that symbolizes the noble ideas upon which our nation was founded — is profoundly offensive, even obscene. I have utter contempt for anyone who would even consider such a thing.

But I wouldn’t use the power of the state to punish someone for it, certainly not to the extent of loss of citizenship, or a year of imprisonment. You might have me going for a moment on something such as writing the protester a ticket, but ultimately I’d even have to reject that. Why? Because of those very ideas that the flag stands for. If burning the flag causes a person to be burned or causes some other harm, then you have a crime. But if the expression itself is punishable, then it doesn’t matter whether the flag is burned because it doesn’t stand for anything.

(This is related to my opposition to “hate crimes,” one of the few areas where I agree with libertarians. Punish the crime — the assault, the murder, the arson, whatever the criminal did — not the political ideas behind it, however offensive.)

People who have their being in the realm of political expression have usually thought this through. And true, even people who have thought about it may disagree with my conclusion, wrong as they may be. Still others cynically manipulate the feelings of millions of well-meaning voters who haven’t thought the issue through themselves.

But I don’t think that’s the case with Trump. I think he’s just never really wrestled with this or thousands of other questions that bear upon civic life, so he goes with his gut, which as I admitted above is much the same as my own on this question. He engages it on the level of the loudmouth at the end of the bar: I’ll tell ya ONE damn’ thing… 

In a time not at all long ago — remember, Twitter didn’t exist before 2006 — we wouldn’t know this as readily as we do now. Sure, a political leader might go rogue during a speech, or get tripped up on an unexpected question during a press conference. But normally, the smart people surrounding a president would take something the president wanted to say and massage and process and shape it before handing it to a press secretary to drop into the daily briefing.

Now, the president-elect — or Joe Blow down the street — can have a gut feeling and without even fully processing the thought himself, immediately share it with the entire planet. As this president-elect does, often.

That’s a separate problem, of course, from the basic cluelessness of this president-elect. Not only does he not know a lot that he should, he has the impulse and the means to share that lack of knowledge and reflection with the world, instantly.

Quite a few people in public life haven’t figured out social media. They don’t understand something that editors know from long experience — that you have to be very careful about what you publish. (And yes, posting a random thought on Twitter does constitute publication.) Our governor, soon to be our U.N. ambassador, had a terrible time learning that, although to her credit she hasn’t done anything notably foolish on Facebook in a while.

As Aaron Blake writes on The Fix, it might be nice to think we could ignore these outbursts:

For the second time in two weekends, President-elect Donald Trump stirred controversy, bigly, using only his thumbs.

With a trio of tweets Sunday alleging millions of fraudulent votes and “serious” fraud in three states, Trump effectively hijacked the news cycle for the next 24 hours with baseless conspiracy theories. A week prior, it was Trump’s tweets demanding an apology from the cast of “Hamilton” for disrespecting Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience the previous night.

It can all feel pretty small and sideshow-y at times. Some have a prescription: The media should resist the urge to cover Trump’s tweets as big news. Others even say we should ignore them altogether….

But we can’t. In the months and years to some — assuming no one gets control of him, and I doubt anyone will — we must treat them as seriously as if the president strode into the White House Press Room and made a formal announcement.

This is what we’ve come to. Our window into the mind of the most powerful man in the world will to a great extent be these spasmodic eruptions onto a tiny keyboard.

We might as well brace ourselves…

Let an expert ‘splain the Electoral College to ya

Some of my friends here see the late election as further proof that we need to reform, or do away entirely with, the Electoral College.

Well, they just haven’t had it explained to them right. Here, let me get an expert to tell you why you’re wrong:

Don’t think for a moment, though, that Mr. Trump needed the Electoral College to win! No, no, no. He’s a Karate Man, and he would just have changed his whole strategy around:

I share these with you because they are the only two Tweets today by the man who was just elected to head our nation.

I share them because… yeah… this is just the way we expect a president of the United States to spend his time and communicate with the world — like an insecure 10-year-old boy whose chief concern is that people don’t think he’s as awesome as he really is….

Open Thread for Monday, November 14, 2016

"That's a fargin' trick question!"

“That’s a fargin’ trick question!”

OK, since y’all didn’t want to talk about cosmic coincidences, before I leave the office, here are some other possible topics:

  1. Trump, Putin agree on phone to improve relations, Kremlin says — Here we go with the bromance. Who do you think is going to get the upper hand in this negotiation — the ex-KGB man who’s been ruthless running the Once and Future Evil Empire, or the guy who was easily flattered when Putin gave him a backhanded compliment?
  2. Obama at press conference will not say if Trump is qualified to be president — “That’s a fargin’ trick question!” he cried.
  3. Pro-Trump rally planned for Saturday at SC State House — What? What do they need a rally for? They just won the election — something about which I wish people would stop reminding me, by the way…
  4. Schools chief should be a cabinet post, Haley urges lawmakers — Well, yeah… Something I’ve only been saying for what, 25 years now? Be nice if it actually happened. It’s ridiculous for the state’s largest executive function to be walled off from the state’s chief executive. Watch for Democrats to resist this, as always, since they continue to consider superintendent to be their best shot at a statewide position.
  5. SC Democratic leader Harrison considering a bid for party chair — That’s national party chair. Hey, who better for such a hopeless job than the guy who’s been doing it in South Carolina? Seriously, Jaime’s a good man. He should go for it.

Open Thread for The Day After, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

trump-victory

Is Pence thinking, “Oh, my God, what have I DONE?” I hope so…

This is not going to be a normal Open Thread (just as we no longer live in a normal country), being election-centric. But as always, y’all are invited to introduce other topics.

  1. The worst major-party nominee in history will now be POTUS — Not to put too fine a point on it… Anyway, there are a gazillion aspects to this, and no doubt we’ll go into a few thousand of them.
  2. And Republicans retain control of Congress — But what will that mean? Seriously, most of these people didn’t want Trump; many were traumatized by his candidacy. So how is this going to work?
  3. What will replace the Republican Party? — Given what I just said above. And if you think the GOP just won a “victory” as a party, you are sadly mistaken…
  4. World gasps in collective disbelief — And can you blame them?
  5. And what about the Democrats? — Now that they’ve gotten through the “It’s Her Turn” election, how will they get their stuff together? Some party is going to have to address the vast middle at some point. It’s insane to keep having elections driven by Trumps and Bernies…
  6. Congratulate my advertisers — Excuse the commercial message, but I’m grateful for their custom, and happy for the ones who won. Micah Caskey won going away, Lila Anna Sauls was the biggest vote-getter in the Richland One School Board race, and Avni Gupta-Kagan is in a too-close-to-call contest for the second spot on that board. Only Frank Barron clearly lost, and he was up against insurmountable odds — running against a Republican incumbent in Lexington County.

And… that’s about it for now. Gotta go do some work. This should get y’all started… If that’s not enough, chew on this:

Intelligence community is already feeling a sense of dread — To quote further: “At some point today, a sober team of analysts will give the president-elect his first unfiltered look at the nation’s intelligence secrets.” Good thing he’s, you know, so discreet, and has such excellent judgment…

Oh, by the way, in case some of you are too young to get the headline: Possibly the biggest TV event of the 80’s was the film “The Day After,” which was about something all of us had tried not to think about during the Cold War — what the day after global thermonuclear war would look like. So of course, we all watched in morbid fascination.

Seemed like an apt allusion…

day-after

I cannot believe what I’m watching right now

I posted this about 50 minutes ago, and have had a number of reTweets and likes, so I suppose it struck a chord with a few people:

Yeah, sure, he might win a primary here and there, even capture the nomination of a divided, traumatized party.

But this… this is different.

These are actual votes that actually count for the presidency of this great country. THIS country. Not Bolivia. Not Nicaragua. Not even Italy, which inflicted upon itself the Berlusconi madness. THIS country.

What I am seeing is simply impossible.

He’s not on pace to win the election or anything — so far — but the fact that actual states in this my country are voting for him in a general election… it just beggars belief. I thought I knew that was going to happen — I’ve seen the projections in recent days — but somehow, on some level, I suppose I still didn’t believe it.

Open Thread for Thursday, November 3, 2016

cubs-win

Sorry I couldn’t post today. Busy in the morning and away from both laptop and iPad this afternoon (posting on a phone is possible, but tedious). Here you go:

  1. HOW ABOUT THEM CUBBIES? — Sometimes, cliffhangers turn out right. Nothing against the Indians, but wow, what a great Game 7! I almost missed the end. I was so tired (after 7:30 a.m. speaking engagement), I turned it off when the rain delay started. Then I came back and turned it on. I sat down, saw the Cubs build a two-run lead, then saw the Indians score and turned it off again assuming it would be all night. Doused the lights, left the room, came back and turned it on just in time for the winning out. Wow!
  2. Baseball ratings rise as NFL ratings fall — More good news for the country. I don’t know why, but it does seem like an outbreak of sanity, which flies in the face of what we’ve been seeing in the political sphere all year. Seriously, this is one of the most promising trends I’ve seen in this country in some time.
  3. Walter Scott’s passenger in traffic stop: ‘He was murdered’ — Well, that’s what it looked like on the video. Weird trial. Did you see the thing yesterday about the defense attorney taking the stand to offer his opinions?
  4. Court ruling means act of parliament would be needed for Brexit, says May — This gives me an idea — could we make the result of the U.S. election contingent on Parliament approving? No? Dang. Thanks a lot, George Washington! And King George loved us so
  5. Anderson woman found alive, chained ‘like a dog’ in Woodruff — What a bizarre, horrible story…

Open Thread for Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The 1908 Chicago Cubs

The 1908 Chicago Cubs

I need to run to an appointment, so very quickly:

  1. Obama is critical of Comey decision: ‘We don’t operate on innuendo’ — OK, we’re treading on very sensitive ground here…
  2. Suspect In ‘Ambush-Style’ Killings Of 2 Iowa Police Officers Is In Custody — Here’s hoping we don’t read any more headlines about incidents such as this.
  3. Haley to campaign with SC Senate candidate in vulnerable seat — I include this not because it’s remarkable in the grand scheme, but because this year, we’ve seen so little about politics on the state and local level. True, we don’t have many competitive races on the local level, thanks to the scandal of reapportionment, but it’s just sort of eerie…
  4. The World Series — Yes! America got what it needed, at just the right moment! A seven-game Series! Featuring the Cubs and the Indians! I take great comfort from this…

And that’s about it. Perhaps you’re seeing something else that interest you…

Adsense ‘comments’ on Clinton endorsement

As y’all have no doubt noticed, aside from the local ads I have in the rail at right — and as you see, I’ve recently added several from candidates running in next week’s election — Google inserts ads here and there on the blog, based on what it has gleaned about the individual reader’s interests.

Some of items Adsense offers can be a bit startling, and the juxtapositions with content odd.

Burl Burlingame sent me this screenshot via text this week:

img_1198

There are just… so many levels on which to perceive that, most of them quite low. Looks to me like they’ve just noticed something is missing.

I asked Burl what kind of searches he had been doing lately. He insisted:

Not steroids! Or bellies!

Anyway, I always appreciate y’all sharing these occasionally odd apparitions…

Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, October 28, 2016

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT's Web lede is confined to one column. Here's how they played this.

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country very carefully, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT’s Web lede is confined to one column. Here’s how they played this (three columns, essentially).

I promised y’all an Open Thread, but decided on a VFP instead (if you care what the difference is, ask and I’ll explain down in the comments):

  1. FBI to review Clinton emails found on Weiner’s device (WashPost) — At this point, if you’re Hillary Clinton, the last thing you want to see — on every major news outlet’s lede story — is your name and “Weiner” in the same headline. Right now, the candidate’s wishing Anthony and Huma were still together so she could tell Huma to go slap him up ‘side the head.
  2. Stocks Rattled by Clinton Email Review (WSJ) — Yeah, I’ll bet.
  3. Recreation board refuses Haley’s request for sexual harassment report (The State) — This is a bit old now — it was in The State this morning. But… really? I love the sarcastic nod to transparency when the board came out of executive session to make this decision in a three-minute public session. Why’d they do this? Well, “Green and the five board members at the meeting refused comment and left the meeting without speaking to reporters.”
  4. U.N.: ISIS Is Using Tens Of Thousands Of Civilians As Human Shields In Mosul (NPR) — Yep, that sounds like something they’d do. Anyway, while Anthony “Look at My” Weiner is paralyzing the world’s greatest democracy, this is going on…
  5. Why do so few Americans vote? (BBC) — We are a never-ending source of fascination to our friends, the Brits. They just can’t get over our little quirks.
  6. 2nd District debate will be shown live on YouTube (The State) — That’s good to know. And the Series should be over by then, so I might even watch it. If I do, I’ll live-Tweet it…

Open Thread for Thursday, October 27, 2016

I was going to give you a post on Life, Baseball, and Everything, but it just got out of hand...

I was going to give you a post on Life, Baseball, and Everything, but it just got out of hand…

I hate it when I give you back-to-back Open Threads, with no intervening sole-subject posts. And I started to give you something earlier today, inspired by the World Series. But it began to morph into one of those meandering Baseball and Life things with Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox Scandal, and the 1927 Yankees, and Satchel Paige, and Ring Lardner’s You Know Me Al, and Roy Hobbs wanting to be the best player there ever was, and playing catch with your Dad and the smell of a baseball in a glove, and it just got totally out of hand and I didn’t finish it. I think it was in about the 12th inning when I stopped.

So here’s an Open Thread:

  1. The State endorses Susan Brill over Mia McLeod — I’m guessing this was a tough one for the paper, based on the debate I moderated the other day. Cindi writes of Mrs. Brill being a consensus-builder, which the Senate badly needs after losing Larry Martin, Wes Hayes and now Joel Lourie. Similar themes were sounded in the paper’s endorsement of Nikki Setzler this morning.
  2. Some Trump Voters Warn of Revolution if Clinton Wins — Oh, gimme a break, people. I think we’ve all been through enough already this year, don’t you? Yes, I know: The next four years will be uglier than anything we’ve ever seen — as bad as partisanship has been in the Bush and Obama years, neither of them had already been hated by the opposition for decades. But spare us the revolution talk, OK?
  3. Russia’s: Kuznetsov battle group refuels off North Africa — To give you something serious to think about. I well remember when the Med was our pond. But on the upside, this is Russia’s only carrier, and apparently its crew is made up of landsmen who don’t know how to do underway replenishment — they’re at anchor for the operation. Here’s the way real seamen do it.
  4. Uber won’t build flying cars but they sure want someone else to — Hey, I’m up for it, because then we’ll know it’s the future, for which most of us have been waiting our entire lives. The Star Trek communicators that have become the centers of our lives are pretty cool, but the future, by definition, must have flying cars.
  5. Vine Withers, Reminding Us That Nothing Is Forever — Yeah, especially when it only lasts six seconds. Did y’all look at it much? Neither did I. Maybe that’s why.
  6. ‘Southern Charm’ will return for fourth season — I’m just telling you in case the current election hasn’t fully convinced you that our culture has gone to a warm place in a handbasket, and we are in the End Times.

both

Open Thread for Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Weirdly, the Tribe didn't play any of these guys last night -- and still won!

Weirdly, the Tribe didn’t play any of these guys last night — and still won!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything new today. It’s not like I’ve been neglecting you — I probably set a record in the comments sections for number of words in one day — but I like to keep giving you something fresh, and I’ve fallen down on that. So here you go:

  1. How about them Cubbies? — Boy, the home team didn’t give them a chance last night, did they? Did y’all watch the game? If not, why not? Do you hate America? Of course you do! Why don’t you go hang with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London? (Deep breath, back to baseball…) Looking forward to tonight, hoping it doesn’t get rained out
  2. SC House panel suggests strengthening dam safety law — Absolutely. And then we need to fix the dam state pension, and the dam tax structure, and all the other stuff our dam lawmakers keep kicking down the dam road.
  3. GOP Rode Waves of Populism Until They Crashed the Party — I share this not just because of what it says, but because it’s from The Wall Street Journal, and they’re leading with it! It’s under the kicker, “THE GREAT UNRAVELING.”
  4. House Republicans are preparing for years of investigations of Clinton — Which is, you know, just what we’ll need after this horrific election year. Sheesh. Some people threaten to leave the country if he wins. They might want to think about leaving if she wins. This is what I was on about earlier today.
  5. Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story — Interesting medical detective story.
  6. Afghan Woman in Famed National Geographic Photo Is Arrested in Pakistan — They’re talking about the picture below. You probably remember her. I hope NG considers this Fair Use; I certainly do — there’s little point in sharing the headline without the photo. And if you click on it, you go straight to the National Geographic site, so I’m doing them a favor

27xp-afghan-master768

Open Thread for Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It’s another slow news day with every news outlet reaching in a different fruitless direction for a lede. So forget important; today I’m looking for interesting:

  1. Big debate about Shakespeare finally settled by big data: Christopher Marlowe gets his due — Yeah, you know what? I’ve never really gotten into the whole “Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays?” debate. It’s always seemed pointless to me. Whoever it was, he or she or they (if, as this story says, it was a collaboration), was a genius, and we call that genius “Shakespeare.” It’s not like there’s an actual guy around to claim the credit today. He, she or they is/are dead. And a rose by any other same, etc. Anyway, this finding only applies to Henry VI, and I’ve never read or seen a dramatization of those three plays. They mean nothing to me. It’s not like they’re saying Marlowe helped write the “Band of Brothers” speech in “Henry V,” or something awesome like that
  2. Exclusive: leaked recording shows what Theresa May really thinks about Brexit — Or rather, what she really thought, back before the vote. Hint: She didn’t like it. But didn’t we know that? The Guardian thinks it’s a big scoop.
  3. Why Some Clinton Fans Think She Just Might Win Texas — Whoa. Next thing you know, we’ll be talking seriously about South Carolina.
  4. GOP Congressional Ads Pitch Candidates as Check on Clinton — You know what? Again, I wish people, including Republicans, would stop acting like her election is a foregone conclusion. It is not.
  5. In Pickens County, first elk sighting in state for centuries — Just to give you something sort of local. I don’t think this is accurate, though. I seem to recall my cousins going to swim at the Elks Club in Florence, back in the ’60s…

1024px-rocky_mountain_bull_elk

Open Thread for Monday, October 24, 2016

Come on out to the debate at Richland Northeast.

Come on out to the debate at Richland Northeast.

You know how you can tell when it’s a really slow news day? This way: Look at what the major news outlets are leading with. If no two are leading with the same thing, and none of the ledes are particularly impressive, you know everybody’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. For instance, at this moment we have:

See what I mean? The State doesn’t really design its website around what I would call a lede, per se, but the story getting the biggest play at this moment is, USC freshman Felder assaulted victim and police officer, incident report says.

Which further proves my point.

So… since no one else can find any news out there, why don’t y’all just come on out to the Senate District 22 debate tonight? I’m pretty sure you’ll find that interesting. I’m about to head out to Richland Northeast High School momentarily…

flier

Zuckerberg’s right about diversity, although I question his judgment

In defending Facebook for having Trump supporter Peter Thiel on its board, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“We care deeply about diversity. That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post visible only to Facebook employees, a photograph of which was shared on Hacker News on Tuesday.

“We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate,” Zuckerberg continued….

Absolutely. Diversity of thought is the most important kind — and too often, the kind people have the greatest trouble accepting. If you have a wide variety of skin colors and a perfect balance of gender, but everyone in your group thinks exactly alike, you have utterly failed to achieve a diverse result, and your group is weaker because of it.zuckerberg

Zuckerberg probably should have stopped there, though. He kind of lost me when he went on to say, “There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault.”

Are there? At this point, it’s getting a little hard to see those “many reasons.” Hard for me, anyway; perhaps the vision of others is sharper.

So let’s assume those many reasons exist. There’s another problem here.

Diversity of thought, of ideas, is indeed critically important. It is essential, in a liberal democracy, to respect those who see things differently. (And to accept it if they win an election.)

But in 2016, we’re not experiencing a contest of ideas. We’ve gone well past that. We’re experiencing an election in which one of the major-party nominees is a man of demonstrably contemptible character, not just somebody you or I may disagree with on matters of policy.

And there’s a point at which, to the extent that we respect our own ability to reason and to form opinions that may or may not differ from the opinions of others, we have to make a judgment.

And in doing so, it’s legitimate for us to question Mr. Thiel’s judgment in continuing to support Mr. Trump despite shock after shock. And to question Mr. Zuckerberg’s for defending having someone of such questionable judgment on his board.

Mr. Thiel, and Mr. Zuckerberg, are entitled to their opinions. And we are entitled to ours…

Open Thread for Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Didn't I top another post recently with pretty much this same image? No matter. It's still money...

Didn’t I top another post recently with pretty much this same image? No matter. It’s still money…

Another slow day. Some possible stuff to talk about:

  1. ‘Vegas, baby, Vegas!’ — I’m kinda dragging at the moment, and I’ve got a meeting to go to before I head home, but if I can possibly keep my eyes open that long, I’ll be live-Tweeting the debate, as per usual. So join me, just once more. Soon, very soon, it will all be over…
  2. Want to write in Mickey Mouse for president? In SC, you can’t — Good. Because every vote for Mickey Mouse is actually a vote for Trump. The same goes for Goofy. Actually, especially for Goofy…
  3. The greatest role of Bill Murray’s life has been playing Bill Murray — I actually enjoyed this piece more than anything else I’ve read today. So I’m sharing it. And this counts as local, since he lives in Charleston — although I don’t think the piece mentioned that. Be sure and read the companion piece, written shortly after this one posted: I tried reaching Murray for weeks. He finally called back today.
  4. WikiLeaks founder Assange was Ecuador’s guest of honor. Then he wore out his welcome. — Yeah, I know — Assange again. Except this piece isn’t about Assange as much as it’s about Ecuador, and that interests me, since I lived there longer than anywhere else growing up. Short version — Ecuador (all South America, in fact) is shifting politically, and poking Uncle Sam in the eye isn’t as much of a winning formula as it may have been before.
  5. Times Names A.G. Sulzberger as Its Deputy Publisher — Yeah, I know — inside-baseball newspaper stuff. Doesn’t really interest me, either. I’m only sharing it because the picture the NYT ran with this cracked me up — a major newspaper (the Gray Lady, no less!) executive being presented to the world with a three-day beard growth and an open-necked shirt with no tie. Message: We’re young; we’re hip; we’re happ’nin’; we’re now. We know all about the Interwebs. If this were the ’60s, I suppose they’d have pictured him holding a Pepsi. Strikes me as desperate.
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 36 -- he's hip, he's happening, he's now...

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 36 — he’s hip, he’s happening, he’s now…

Open Thread for Tuesday, October 18, 2016

monty-python-black-knight

A few possible topics before I step away from the laptop for the day:

  1. Clinton holds clear advantage in new poll of battleground states — You know what? I wish people would stop saying she’s got a no-hitter going. Which I said on Twitter today in response to a truly blatant attempt to jinx her, headlined “Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s nonexistent.” I mean, come ON, dude… shut up! Meanwhile, more on her emails.
  2. 5 Reasons (And Then Some) Not To Worry About A ‘Rigged’ Election — This is from NPR. Like yeah, right — anyone who listens to Trump’s paranoid predictions is going to be reassured by public radio…
  3. After Losses, ISIS Moves the Goal Posts — Which is to say, ISIL is now a bit like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” saying “Have at you!” as he is hacked to pieces. BBC is warning of another possible consequence, saying, “EU ‘should prepare for jihadists‘”…
  4. Something something about Julian Assange — This is weird. Remember yesterday I reported on the Wikileaks creep saying Ecuador had cut off his internet connection, so yay Ecuador? I could have sworn I heard on the radio this afternoon that they were back up, and planning more efforts to get Donald Trump elected. But I can’t find any references to that via Google. Everybody’s still reporting the internet complaint like it’s new. Did I just dream the newer developments?
  5. Columbia Mayor Benjamin on Clinton’s possible VP list, hacked email shows — Hey, it’s local!

  6. SCGOP chair calls on Democrats to disavow Fanning — Also local. This almost, but not quite, made the VFP yesterday. Seems kind of weird that these 1993 charges emerge now, but hey, that’s what Trump says, too…

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, October 17, 2016

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Just as an exercise in discipline, I’m going to force myself to do a VFP despite this being a light news day. Hey, real newspapers have to, so it’s good to keep my hand in. To make it even harder, I’ll stick to the old 1980s-era rule of having six stories. No copping out:

  1. Iraqi troops ‘ahead of schedule’ in Mosul battle against IS (BBC) — Yep, I’m leading with something actually important enough to be the lede, rather than something that merely entertains you. And I’m not sorry.
  2. SC Chamber’s political arm backs Democrat McLeod (The State) — This surprise you? It certainly surprised me, since Mia isn’t even the first choice of all the Democrats in her district. This is a real coup for her, and a blow to Susan Brill. I wanted to read more, but it doesn’t seem to be on the group’s website yet.
  3. NPR Poll: Are Parents Overrating The Quality Of Child Care? (NPR) — The answer, by the way, is yes. This is similar to what we found at ADCO doing focus groups for a group working with Child Care Services division of DSS a few years back: People tend to rationalize that their childcare provider is just fine.
  4. NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV (WashPost) — This story’s actually a couple of three days old, but I just enjoyed it on so many levels that I thought I’d share it. Meanwhile, Netflix just had a huge jump in its stock.
  5. Ecuador cut off Julian Assange’s internet access, WikiLeaks says (The Guardian) — Good for Ecuador, my childhood home! And I thought they didn’t love us anymore…
  6. Nobel panel gives up knockin’ on Dylan’s door (The Guardian) — The folks in Stockholm can’t get a response from him. This is so Dylan. They shouldn’t worry, though, until he changes his voicemail recording to “Positively 4th Street.”

How about that? Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of hard news out there, I came up with a pretty interesting, diverse set of topics for you. And nothing about Donald Trump! You can thank me later.

And no, I’m not deliberately ignoring the situation with the Iranian-backed rebels shooting at a U.S. warship. But we had a good discussion about that earlier, and I’m not seeing any new developments on it today. I looked…

Open Thread for Friday, October 14, 2016

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Busy today, so this will have to hold you for now:

  1. Obama Eases Special Limits On Cuban Products, From Drugs To Rum And Cigars — You know what this means, don’t you? Kramer won’t have to go to such lengths to obtain his “Cubans.
  2. Storm recovery focus directed to river near Grand Strand — They mean the Waccamaw. Headline writer was trying to help the geographically challenged, I suppose. The surge could hit its height next week.
  3. Trump wields new conspiracy theory: This time he is the target — It seems a “Global Power Structure” is out to get him. Oh, if only that were true; they’d have gotten him by now. Anyway, here’s his speech.
  4. Michelle Obama Calls Trump’s Comments ‘Intolerable’ — The First Lady hit a nerve or two with this speech. See the whole thing below.
  5. Pickens GOP state Rep. Collins goes on anti-Trump tweetstorm — So, with Lindsey Graham, we now know there are two South Carolina Republicans willing to stand up to Trump. This story doesn’t provide a link to Collins’ feed, but here it is.

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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The top stories out there at the moment:

  1. Recreation Commission director indicted on misconduct in office charge (The State) — Some of you have wondered when, oh when, some of these investigations might bear fruit. Well, here you go. And it really didn’t take all that long. The bigger problem is that in any normally constituted system of government, he’d have been fired by now. That is the systemic flaw that needs to be addressed.
  2. No warning for flooded Little Pee Dee River residents (Sun-News) — The effects of Matthew are not over, people. And if you like numbers better than words, here’s an attempt to tally the costs thus far.
  3. Fearing backlash, some Republicans fall back in line behind Trump (WashPost) — These Republicans are a bunch of… what’s that word Trump likes to use so much?
  4. What’s In The Latest WikiLeaks Dump of Clinton Campaign Emails (NPR) — I haven’t found a lot to get excited about, but that’s me — I would never want to give that creep Assange the satisfaction.
  5. Fed Officials Plan to Increase Rates ‘Relatively Soon’ (WSJ) — For those of you who hang breathlessly on such reports. I know it’s important; I just find it so hard to care. Not that I don’t understand it. It’s about money, right?
  6. Harrison Ford’s Star Wars injury results in $2m fine for British firm (The Guardian) — He was injured by the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon. Personally, I think he should have sued that ship’s owner and operator. Oh, wait…
Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb...

Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb…