McMaster rejects call to suspend Wilson over corruption probe — As you would expect. A Democrat raised this question to me last night: Why do you suppose the 2nd Vice Chair of the party made the initial demand for Wilson to go, instead of Trav Robertson? Interesting question, but now moot, since the chair has now issued the same demand. Doesn’t make it any more likely to happen, though. And I think they knew that going in, hence the lower-level statement.
What about the firing of that Google guy? — I’m a couple of days late on this, but it seems some of y’all might have an interest in discussing it. My take? I suspect that the top brass felt like they had to fire him to cover their insecurity over being, you know, nerdy white guys themselves. Beyond that, I kind of liked Ross Douthat’s take. Check it out.
Goodbye to Glen Campbell — Until he died yesterday. I didn’t know he was once a member of the Wrecking Crew. Cool to know. I can’t say I was ever a huge fan, although I did watch his TV show. I thought “Wichita Lineman” a particularly fine song (“Galveston,” too.). I wish they hadn’t junked it up with the strings, although I like that this clip is from the Smothers Brothers show, before Campbell’s own…
Al Green sings ‘To Sir With Love’ — No, this isn’t news, although it was to me. I never knew he had covered this. Heard it for the first time over the weekend, and loved it. Not saying it’s better than Lulu’s, or even as good as his best stuff, such as, say, “Love and Happiness.” It was just a nice weekend surprise for me — two worlds colliding, but in a good way — so I thought I’d share.
Add Khrushchev and Nixon to the list of people who were NOT in the Trump Jr. meeting…
Y’all, I might not be able to post beyond this today — I’m super under the gun all week (as I was last week) — so let’s see if there’s anything good out there. Mostly, I sense that the Dog Days have arrived early:
Lindsey Graham hopes his Senate bill could replace Obamacare repeal effort — He’s going to have to do lots of ‘splainin’ for me to like this. Personally, I’d like them all to go away and not bother us anymore until they’re ready to do one of two things: 1) Fix problems with Obamacare that actually need fixing, so it works as intended, and just shut up about repealing, or 2) Single-payer. Otherwise, go on to other issues.
Expand the West Columbia chicken plant? — Apparently, that’s going to be before the West Columbia Zoning Board of Appeals tonight. I don’t know it I’ll make it, but I wonder: Am I the only person who has been noticing the smell a LOT more over the past month? I hadn’t smelled it in a while, and now, it hits my nose pretty hard every night that I drive home via Jarvis Klapman…
Kershaw sheriff slams ‘bleeding heart’ judge — I’m going to recuse myself on this one, since Judge Allison Lee goes to my church and all. Besides, I don’t know enough about her work on the bench to pass judgment; I just know she’s been criticized this way before.
Trump Jr. on Russians’ Offer: ‘I Love It’ — This is a pretty big deal — meeting with a Russian after being told what the Russians were trying to do. And yet, I haven’t focused on it that much yet. I care more about what the boy’s daddy does. But yeah, this could be significant.
Shark attack on nude beach! — Sorry about the second exclamation point. I just couldn’t resist this. I did learn one thing about it: I didn’t know there were nude beaches in America, probably because it’s something I don’t keep up with. I just figured it was some sort of decadent French thing. Oh, as for the attack on the nude swimmer: First, it was a guy, so get this scene out of your heads. Second, don’t worry about him, guys — he didn’t lose anything important.
“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…”
Some quick topics; I’m kind of snowed today:
SC won’t release voter info to Trump panel. SC GOP will get it instead — Say what?!?!? I mean, good on the first part — SC is joining most states in this — but as to the second: How is that better, especially since the state GOP head says he’ll turn it over to the Trump Fantasy Election Committee? I mean, if he’s going to do that, what’s the point of the initial refusal? And how is it that a private entity, a political party, has any standing in this? This is nuts, and the Election Commission needs to revisit the decision. Do like the secretary of state in MIssissippi, and Just Say No.
Majority Of Americans Believe Trump Acted Either Illegally Or Unethically With Russia — In other words, they hold uninformed opinions. Did he act illegally with regard to Russia? We don’t know yet. Did he act unethically? Well, yeah — but “ethically” in the sense of violating actual ethics laws? I dunno. It’s a profound dereliction of duty for the POTUS to completely dismiss the fact that our intelligence agencies are certain that Russia interfered in our election, and particularly unethical — in a moral sense — to dismiss it considering that Russia interfered on his behalf. What we know is that a man who would do that has absolutely zero business being president of the United States. Whether laws were broken — we’ll see, if he stops trying to hinder the investigation (by things like, you know, firing the head of the FBI).
Huck cogitates on whether to do something “unregular”…
Very quickly, as I have to be somewhere:
As a Last Resort on Health Bill, G.O.P. May Try Bipartisanship — Those wild and crazy Republicans! For whatever reason, they remind me of Huck Finn, who in a desperate situation made a fateful and unprecedented decision: “I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain’t had no experience, and can’t say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here’s a case where I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better and actuly SAFER than a lie. I must lay it by in my mind, and think it over some time or other, it’s so kind of strange and unregular. I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself at last, I’m a-going to chance it; I’ll up and tell the truth this time, though it does seem most like setting down on a kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you’ll go to. ” Huck was as well acquainted with truth-telling as these lawmakers are with bipartisanship. As to whether they have it in them, well, we’ll see.
Obamacare Had Big Impact in Kentucky. Its Senators Hate It. — Which shows you just how completely unaffected by reality ideologues are, and the extent to which it has warped our politics. You boys and girls may not believe it, but I’m old enough to remember a time when senators supported things that benefited the people of their states, instead of placing a greater priority on partisan purity.
Will Folks go to jail to protect a source? — This is a fascinating situation. Will doesn’t adhere to a lot of the norms and standards that conventional journalists do, yet here he is standing on principle as a conventional journalist. Strange new ground. I hope it doesn’t come to him going to jail — for his and his family’s sake, and because I’m not sure what purpose it would serve. Yet Kenny’s lawyers are seeking just that…
John Kasich, pictured here campaigning in South Carolina last year, and other governors led the charge against the Senate bill.
Since there was little interest in today’s earlier offerings, let me try a few other topics to see what bait you’ll rise to:
Why a new car in SC will cost $200 more starting this week — I’ll tell you why. Because the car sales tax has been kept artificially, absurdly low for a generation, and lawmakers finally got up the nerve to raise the $300 cap a bit. If you buy a typical new car, you still won’t be paying sales tax on most of the value of the purchase. This is about as regressive as a tax can get. A poor man buying a beat-up used car to get to work pays full sales tax on the $10,000 price. Someone buying his kid a $50,000 Lexus to park at college doesn’t pay a dime in tax more than the guy buying the $10k model. This is backwards. We should make the first $10,000 in value tax-exempt, and tax the amount above that. (And that, ladies and gentlemen, is about as Bernie Sanders as you’ll see me get — unless you want to talk single-payer.)
Key Constituency Against Bill: Governors of Both Parties — Because governors have to deal just a bit more with reality than Congress does. Or some governors do. The maxim doesn’t necessarily apply to governors we’ve had in South Carolina for the past 15 years (although I still haven’t entirely given up on Henry, and Nikki did get better toward the end). The first governor cited in this story: My man John Kasich, who should be president now.
New Ransomware Cyberattack Spreads From Europe to U.S. — Maybe we should go back to doing everything on paper. That would be a drag — instead of Twitter, I guess I’d have to write my tweets in a notebook, tear out the pages and throw them into the wind from the Capital City Club, which would put a crimp in my likes and retweets — but this is getting ridiculous.
The SC 5th Congressional District election — I’m somewhat more interested in this one, although it’s apparently not as competitive as the one in Georgia (it would be nice to be surprised, however). Mostly what I know about this is the ads I’ve seen (which is always a lousy basis for making an electoral decision). And while I think Parnell’s have been rather silly, at least they show an original approach and don’t make me crazy the way Norman’s mindless “Ah’m a bidnessman and ah’m agin’ that Obama” approach. (Dang. There’s a particular ad I kept seeing last night that illustrated my point, and I’m not finding it…)
Donald Trump Poisons the World — Sorry about three Trump items, but after the last few days, dare we look away? This is one of David Brooks’ best columns in awhile, and I didn’t see it until Cindi ran it in the Sunday paper — with the Krauhammer piece mentioned above, as it happens — and if you haven’t yet, I urge you to read it.
Anybody get a threatening email from Microsoft? — Check out the email at the top of this post. I don’t recall ever asking Microsoft for cloud space, much less going over my supposed allowance. Anybody else get a threat like this? I’m not even entirely clear on what “One Drive” is, except that I’ve ignored it whenever it tried to get my attention. Sort of like Cortana. Who needs it?
Have you seen the Wonder Woman movie?— And if so, is it worth my going to see on the big screen? I ask because, while I’ve heard a good bit about it, it’s mostly been cast in What This Means in Feminist Terms (Et tu, Rolling Stone?), and frankly, that’s not what I go to see superhero (or superheroine) movies for. I mean, how does it compare to, say, “Doctor Strange” or “Captain America: Civil War?” Should I just save my money and go see the new Spiderman next month?
Grieving SC parents shed light on addiction in 2 obituaries — We owe a debt of gratitude to these parents for their frankness. We need to know what’s going on in our communities. I’ve got a peeve about obits that don’t list the cause of death. Sometimes, disclosing that provides a public service.
Trump tells NATO allies to pay up — Which we all say, but of course we must keep NATO going whether they do or not. Maybe this is one of those cases where the Madman Theory will actually work — the one instance in which Trump is useful. I’m not betting on it, though.
Trump threatens to prosecute over Manchester attack leaks — Here, he’s standing by Theresa May, as he should. But I wonder if he thinks this is a way of achieving his own goals of stopping leaks back home? I’m thinking of the Trump/GOP narrative that the problem isn’t the awful stuff Trump’s doing, but the fact that we keep hearing about it…
Trump said what?!? — That’s the headline on a Jennifer Rubin column — one she could use at any time these days, but here she specifically marvels at what Trump said in denying he had revealed the source of code-word intel he gave the Russians: “I never mentioned the word or the name Israel in that conversation.” This puts Trump on the level of my granddaughter when she was about 2. One day her baby brother started crying suddenly and my wife asked her what had happened, since he couldn’t talk. Her reply: “I didn’t kick him in the head!” (He’s fine, by the way. We celebrated his 5th birthday over the weekend. She’s 7 and, unlike our president, way too smart now to incriminate herself that way.)
Officials: Visitor releases boa constrictor in Congaree park — But that’s not the good part. The good part’s in italics here: “A visitor who thought boa constrictors were a native snake species in South Carolina released one in a Midlands park.” Really? Really? Who would own a boa constrictor and not know where they come from?
SC House passes gas-tax hike — Both chambers have passed it with enough votes to override McMaster’s outrageous promise to veto. I still have questions about this bill — especially the pointless tax breaks in it — but on the whole this looks like it’s a good bit better than I would have expected from this General Assembly even a couple of weeks back. So good for them. I think…
And you know what? I’m going to stop there, because everything else looks so uninteresting by comparison…
Mug shots from crime story in The State. Note the way the “whites” of her eyes are totally dark. Is she a Fremen? If so, Fremen are scary.
Sorry I haven’t posted much. Here are a few topics:
Congress passes spending deal to keep government open another week — Woo-hoo! Talk about leadership! These statesmen for the ages can’t get it together to actually DO anything (even stupid things, like repealing Obamacare), but they’ve gone all out and avoided shutting down the government for a whole week! If you see your congressman, be sure to pat him on his overburdened little head.
SC needs money for roads, so senators pass tax cuts — Yeah, they did it while increasing the gas tax, but I just can’t stop focusing on the insanity of — when faced with a need for revenue, and you have a tax dedicated to that purpose, it’s lower than the national average, and you haven’t raised it in 30 years — refusing to raise it without cutting totally unrelated taxes? It’s just completely nuts. You say “Hello, good morning” to these guys, and their response is “Yes, let’s cut taxes!” And don’t even get me started on Henry McMaster’s role in all this…
Turn her about, boys, and give ’em a good look at our stern chasers!
Busy day today folks, and tomorrow will be the same. Basically, we’re producing a video for the S.C. Association of Counties annual meeting. It’s their 50th anniversary, and we’re talking with folks about the highlights of that period from a county government perspective, which means we’re talking a lot about the Home Rule Act of 1975. This morning I interviewed Jean Toal, who was on that legislation’s conference committee as a freshman legislator. We had a couple of other interviews with key officials, both here in Colatown and up in Lancaster. More interviews tomorrow, ending with former Gov. Dick Riley up in Greenville.
So, fun stuff if you’re me and love to talk about Home Rule. (With Chief Justice Toal today, I even got to talk a bit about how Home Rule is subsidiarity in action, although that part won’t make the video.)
Here are some other things y’all might want to talk about: