Category Archives: Open Thread

Open Thread for Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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Here we go with some topics. Add others if you’ve a mind to:

  1. Trump’s Threat of ‘Fire and Fury’ Raises Alarm in Asia — Yeah, I suppose it would. Tillerson says we should all rest easy. Why? Is Trump resigning, and he’s only told Rex? Who says stuff like this — other than, say, a Kim Jong Un? Or maybe a Saddam “Mother of All Battles” Hussein? He really, truly does not know the difference between talking like a tinhorn blowhard dictator and talking like the leader of the Free World. I like this headline in The Post: “Trump’s threats to North Korea were spontaneous and not drafted by advisers, officials say.” In other words, “Pay no attention to this guy; he’s only the president.”
  2. Top SCANA execs paid millions in bonuses for roles in failed nuclear project — Meanwhile, a state agency is challenging SCANA’s plans to further charge ratepayers for the cost of the abandoned project.
  3. FBI raided ex-Trump campaign chairman’s home for Russia probe — Nothing like a predawn raid to add spice to an investigation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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…

Open Thread for Monday, August 7, 2017

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Nikki and the Brits voting on new North Korea sanctions Saturday.

Some items to chew on while I run to the Red Cross to give platelets:

  1.  North Korea Says It Would Use Nukes Only Against U.S. — Is this supposed to make us all feel better?
  2. SC Dems call on Alan Wilson to resign over State House corruption probe — This is apparently about Wilson seeking advice from Richard Quinn on his approach to getting rid of Pascoe, back in 2014. I say “apparently” because I can’t get past the Post and Courier’s paywall.
  3. As Coal Seeks a Comeback Under Trump, the West Is Split — The NYT is leading with this. So, is this what we’re doing instead of building nuclear plants?
  4. Atheists tend to be seen as immoral – even by other atheists: study — Wow. And you thought they were tough on believers
  5. Why Does Trump Remain So Witless About the World? — This is a New Yorker piece quoting such people as Max Boot about how amazed they are at how little POTUS knows, and uninterested he is in learning.
  6. 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.

Open Thread for Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yeah, that's probably where I would have looked first for instructions, but thanks for clearing up any doubt...

Yeah, that’s probably where I would have looked first for instructions, but thanks for clearing up any doubt…

A few things to cogitate upon:

  1. Senate GOP to try again today to give America the shaft — Here’s hoping that when John McCain gets there, he votes against it. We’ll know soon.
  2. North Korea advances rapidly in its ability to strike U.S., experts warn — And look who we have in charge of our national security. Feel safe, anyone?
  3. Forget Trustworthy, Loyal and Helpful. It’s now Petty, Delusional and Vulgar — The President of the United States displays to Scouts exactly how they should never behave.
  4. This is not okay — That headline on an editorial in the Post kind of says it all. Another take on the same thing: Trump White House Tests a Nation’s Capacity for Outrage
  5. 111 N.F.L. Brains. All but One Had Brain Damage. — Y’all still want to be fans of this? You sure?
  6. Mark Lett to retire as executive editor/VP of The State — I wish my longtime colleague well in his retirement.
Boys climb timbers of Surfside Beach pier, wrecked in last year's storm. In distance, dredging equipment poised to pump new sand onto beach.

Boys climb timbers of Surfside Beach pier, wrecked in last year’s storm. In distance, dredging equipment poised to pump new sand onto beach.

Open Thread for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Add Khrushchev and Nixon to the list of people who were NOT in the Trump Jr. meeting...

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:

  1. The anti-health bill’s failure — At least, we hope it’s completely failed. The stupid mess keeps rising from the dead. As for McConnell’s (and Trump’s) even stupider idea for a “clean” vote on repeal only — just go away, OK?
  2. 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.
  3. 8th person at meeting between Trump Jr. and Russians identified, name sent to Mueller — You know what might be easier? Let’s make a list of who wasn’t in the meeting. Let’s see: Stalin, Khrushchev, Nixon, Ivan the Terrible…
  4. U.S., Russian officials meet as Kremlin accuses U.S. of ‘robbery’ over dachas — They just won’t shut up about this. Makes me wonder: What’s in those properties that they want back so badly? If we haven’t already ripped out the walls and pried up the floorboards checking it out, we need to. The intel crown jewels must be hidden there somewhere.
  5. ‘Bleeding heart’ judge? Not so fast — Solicitor Dan Johnson sticks up for Allison Lee.
  6. 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…

Open Thread for Bastille Day — Friday, July 14, 2017

No, I don't have any stories about Bastille Day, but here's a picture.

No, I don’t have any stories about Bastille Day, but here’s a picture.

I think I’ll lead off with a change of pace, paying attention to the kinds of stories I normally pass over — if only as a way to cite more local stories:

  1. SC man left children home alone with no power to visit girlfriend, police say — Yeah, another Parents Who Do Awful Things To Kids story. This one’s actually relatively mild compared to the horror stories I’ve turned my head away from lately (because they’re so painful to read). Are these kinds of things proliferating, or are police just intervening more?
  2. 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.
  3. Across Beaufort County, monkeys once terrorized dogs, rode mules — This is just here as Odd Headline of the Day. You don’t actually have to go read the story to appreciate that.
  4. Ex-Soviet counter-intelligence officer says he attended Trump Jr meeting — Next thing you know, we’ll learn that Stalin was at the meeting. With Mata Hari. And Ernst Blofeld.
  5. New Health Bill on Knife’s Edge as Republican Support Wavers — Heads up: While we’re distracted with all of the above, Senate Republicans are still trying to pass their “No Healthcare For You!” bill. They haven’t succeeded yet, thank God.
Yoo-hoo, Trump Jr.! Sorry I couldn't be at the meeting! Turns out I'm dead...

Yoo-hoo, Trump Jr.! Sorry I couldn’t be at the meeting! Turns out I’m dead…

Open Thread for Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Yo, Paul! How are those predictions coming?

Yo, Paul! How are those predictions coming?

In no particular order:

  1. 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.
  2. Repeal of Obamacare without a replacement not ‘politically palatable,’ Sanford says — Wow. If Mr. Never-Met-A-Government-Program-I-Liked is saying that, I guess it’s pretty much of a non-starter.
  3. Paul Ehrlich is still around and peddling the same stuff! — In this case, it’s in a column in The Guardian. Yo, Paul — how are the predictions coming? That Population Bomb go off yet?
  4. 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.
  5. Christie Blasts N.J. Caller: ‘I Love Getting Calls From Communists In Montclair’ — This guy’s just really losing it, isn’t he? Whatever; I just hope we can keep him off those nude beaches…

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Open Thread for Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids..."

“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…”

Some quick topics; I’m kind of snowed today:

  1. 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.
  2. Trump wonders whether Western civilization has ‘will to survive’ — I dunno. I mean, we elected him to be president, which is definitely not a good sign of our republic’s health. Of course, he brings up a good topic to ponder, as I’ve suggested more than once lately — except his notion of what the West is about differs from that held by those of us who actually believe in liberal democracy.
  3. 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).
  4. Mars covered in toxic chemicals that can wipe out living organisms, tests reveal — So don’t invest in Arean real estate just yet. Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…

Open Thread for Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Huck cogitates on whether to do something "unregular"...

Huck cogitates on whether to do something “unregular”…

Very quickly, as I have to be somewhere:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Just 17 Percent Of Americans Approve Of Republican Senate Health Care Bill — Just a little something McConnell et al. may want to consider…
  4. 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…

Open Thread for Tuesday, June 27, 2017

John Kasich, pictured here campaigning in South Carolina last year, and other governors led the charge against the Senate bill.

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. Senate leaders postpone vote to overhaul Obamacare as bill faces GOP rebellion — That’s a good start. Now if you’ll just go ahead and delay it for good, you’ll be onto something. It couldn’t happen to a meaner bill.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Pregnant Serena Williams poses nude for Vanity Fair cover shoot — Hah! Let’s see John McEnroe do that! On second thought, let’s not and say we did…

1471

Open Thread for Monday, June 26, 2017

Boss Tweed on Flickr

Boss Tweed on Flickr

OK, people, let’s get some discussions going here:

  1. Supreme Court allows limited version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect — Bunch of court news, because it’s that time on the calendar. I was particularly interested in the Missouri case that said, yes, kids who go to parochial schools should also benefit from playground grants. Seems like that case has been dragging along for decades
  2. BMW to invest $600M, create another 1,000 jobs in SC — Again, nice job there, Gov. Campbell!
  3. 14 pounds! Lexington newborn surprises everyone — Yikes! And they thought the BMW thing was big news. Yes, it was a C-section.
  4. Nuclear project could be scrapped within 45 days — OK, a quick show of hands: How many of y’all think scrapping this project would be a good thing? I mean, aside from those of you who just don’t believe in nuclear power…
  5. Senate Republicans Alter Health Care Bill To Avoid ‘Death Spiral’ — I had thought that was the official name of the GOP plan: “Death Spiral.” Apparently not, since they’re trying to avoid that.
  6. McEnroe vs. Serena: 44 years after ‘Battle of the Sexes,’ the same dumb debate — Yeah, it’s dumb, but I’m not sure how it’s even a debate. McEnroe said Serena couldn’t beat male champions, and Serena herself seems to have agreed in the past. So where’s the debate? (By the way, my daughter who played on her high school team regularly beats me at tennis, for what that’s worth.)

Open Thread for Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Parnell

Not all that much out there today, but here’s what I’m looking at:

  1. Hard-fought House race in Georgia nears end as a referendum on Trump — Yeah, OK. But as I’ve said so many times before, it’s really none of my business whom the folks in Georgia want to sent to Congress.
  2. 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…)
  3. Kasich & Hickenlooper: Another one-party health-care plan will be doomed to failure — I share this just to remind you that Kasich is the guy I wanted for president, and I’m not above saying “I told you so.” It’s interesting to see governors standing up and speaking out in the face of the Senate’s silence. You may also be interested in this interview on the subject with the independent governor of Alaska.
  4. How Could The Navy Destroyer Collision Happen? — That’s what we’d all still like to know.

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Open Thread for Wednesday, June 14, 2017

US_Flag_Backlit

Happy Flag Day, folks:

  1. Gunman in GOP baseball practice attack dies after shootout — I don’t know what to say, but maybe y’all do. Oh, I can say this: There are too many nuts out there, and it’s too easy for them to get guns. That’s it for now. Wait; I’ll add this: NPR notes that the ballgame the members were practicing for is one of the few bipartisan traditions Washington has left. And now this.
  2. Four dead in San Francisco shooting after UPS worker opens fire at facility — I include this to illustrate the points I made above — too many nuts chasing too many guns.
  3. Think you’re lucky? One Little River man won the Powerball lottery twice this week — No, I don’t think I’m lucky — that way. But we’ll never know, since I don’t intend ever to buy a ticket. However, I do consider myself blessed in terms of the things that count in life.
  4. Thoughts on the Sessions testimony yesterday? — Yeah, it’s old, but we haven’t talked about it. Personally, I missed it, and haven’t read much about it. But maybe y’all have observations.

Open Thread for Monday, June 5, 2017

one drive

I’m taking a slightly different approach with this one. It’s less like a Virtual Front Page. Some of the most interesting stuff from the last couple of days:

  1. Trump National Security Team Blindsided by NATO Speech — Apparently, none of the grownups were in the room when Trump decided to delete the Article 5 reassurance — after they had worked hard to make sure it was in there. If you don’t understand how pointlessly reckless what Trump did is, you might want to read Charles Krauthammer’s column from Friday.
  2. With his London tweets, Trump embarrasses himself — and America — once again — Excellent piece by Jennifer Rubin, which I retweeted Saturday, saying, “Something he had not done in the past — what? Two or three minutes?” But being Trump, he still managed to explore new areas of crassness.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. Check out this cool simulation — That’s all I have to say. I couldn’t seem to grab the gif itself, so here’s the Tweet in which I saw it:

Open Thread for Thursday, June 1, 2017

Longhaired_Dachshund_portrait

Sorry I haven’t been posting. Super busy. And I’m in a rush to get done today because my grandson’s in an “opera” at school this evening.

Remember, this is an open thread, so feel free to introduce your own topics:

  1. Trump Expected to Withdraw From Climate Deal Today — So, ya know… that planet thing? Fuggedaboudit. What do we need with a planet anyway? We got America. Except for California, which will probably do its own thing.
  2. First cases of highly contagious dog flu confirmed — I feel bad for the pooches, but I’m basically just including this for the pictures, for you dog lovers. We’ve got sad pictures (which, let’s face it, is not a stretch for a dog), and even some with surgical masks — see below. Just search on Twitter for “dog flu,” and you’ll get your fill of pitiful cuteness. And if this doesn’t do it for you, try “Stolen puppies go for a wild ride in Mercedes as alleged thieves flee down interstate “. I’m thinking Disney’s already taken out an option on that one… Let me guess — are these the suspects?
  3. Nigel Farage is ‘person of interest’ in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia — Exclusive from The Guardian. This is like the TV version of “Batman” — the same villains keep cropping up.
  4. High IQ and mass murder: Files shed more light on Roof — You know what? I sorta already know all I want to know about this guy. You? And I find the “high IQ” bit highly doubtful…
  5. 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.
  6. Trump decides to keep U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv — for now — OK. I wonder what the position will be next week?

Open Thread for Thursday, May 25, 2017

Graham grill

Sorry I’ve had no posts today before now. Busy day. Here are some items:

  1. Graham grills Mulvaney over cuts to ‘soft power’ — And you know whose side I’m on in this one. (Hint: the sane, rational side). Good on you, Lindsey.
  2. Colin Powell: American Leadership — We Can’t Do It for Free — Just to note that rational Republicans agree with Graham on this, whether they speak up or not.
  3. Appeals Court Rules Against Revised Trump Travel Ban — The courts continue to do their vital job. And this was the 4th Circuit — the conservative one, the polar opposite of the 9th.
  4. 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.
  5. Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation — I wish it were Steve Bannon instead, but you take what you can get.
  6. 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…
  7. Richland deputy saves choking toddler — I thought you could use some good news, and something local…

mulvaney

 

Open Thread for Monday, May 22, 2017

The 1812 editorial cartoon from which we get the term "gerrymander."

The 1812 editorial cartoon from which we get the term “gerrymander.”

Not much that’s interesting out there, but here are some talkers:

  1. Justices rule North Carolina improperly relied on race in redistricting efforts — Whoa! If they’re not going to allow that, then there goes every district in South Carolina. And it can’t be too soon. Reapportionment reform!
  2. 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.)
  3. Flynn takes the Fifth, declines to comply with Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena — That pretty much states it.
  4. 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?
  5. Lawmaker apologizes after saying Louisiana leaders ‘should be lynched’ for removing Confederate statues — Well, golly gee… As long as he said he’s sorry… This is getting prominent play on The Guardian because they love stories that make Americans sound like malevolent hammerheads…
  6. You should go give blood — That’s what I’m about to do in a few minutes. I’m giving platelets again, as I do about every two weeks…

Trump reveals U.S. secrets to Russians, and other news

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My blog was shut down most of the day. There was a server out of action somewhere, and it took a long time to fix, according to my host. I’m still fuzzy on the details. But here are some topics:

  1. Trump revealed highly classified information to RussiansBREAKING… This was just last week, on the day after he fired Comey for, you know, investigating the possibility of collusion with… let’s see… what country was that?
  2. G.O.P. Senators Begin Edging Away From the President — “And they all started moving away from me on the Group W bench there…” This story actually predates the breaking one above.
  3. Richland Library wins nation’s highest honor — Don’t tell me I never give you any good news. Access freely (a tagline, by the way, created by ADCO when we rebranded the library awhile back). I prefer this kind of “access freely” to the way Trump uses it with regard to the Russians.
  4. McMaster won’t use Richard Quinn for 2018 re-election bid — This is from the Post and Courier over the weekend, but I just learned about it this morning. Looks like there’s some “edging away” going on here in SC as well.
  5. Secret Republican Senate Talks Are Shaping Health Care Legislation — Just in case you got up this morning wondering, “What fresh hell will Washington send my way next?”

Trump fires Comey, and other news of the day

Comey cropped

Yeah, this is an Open Thread, but that first item just demanded to be in the headline:

  1. Comey dismissed after misstatement of Clinton email evidence — Wow. Whoa. Hang on!… I had seen a headline earlier today about Comey’s “oops,” and wasn’t interested enough to read it (the whole Comey-Hillary thing has sort of been done to death). Now this, which has only happened once before.
  2. 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…

Open Thread for Friday, April 28, 2017

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Economic Growth, at 0.7%, Is Weakest in Three Years — That’s what The Wall Street Journal is leading with. But hey, those Trump tax cuts are going to fix it all up, right, WSJ?
  3. Trump Administration Wants North Korea At Negotiating Table On Nuclear Weapons — Beats the scary news from earlier in the week.
  4. 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…
  5. NSA halts warrantless collection of Americans’ emails that mention foreign targets — Why? Sounds like a potentially valuable intel source to me.

Open Thread for Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Turn her about, boys, and show 'em our stern chasers!

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:

  1. Despite talk of a military strike, Trump’s ‘armada’ sailed away from North Korea — And so we have the Trump corollary to the Nelson dictum: Never mind maneuvers, always go straight away from ’em!
  2. British prime minister makes stunning call for early elections amid Brexit fallout — Another side topic Justice Toal and I briefly touched on had to do with the virtues of a parliamentary system. And here we see one advantage, from the perspective of those who like to see government do stuff — a leader can consolidate power by calling an election more or less at will. Here’s an explainer from the Beeb for you Yanks…
  3. Columbia, Colonial Life Arena to host NCAA men’s tournament — But… but… I thought we just had that. What? You mean, in 2019? Come on, people — shouldn’t we be talking about baseball now?
  4. Mark Sanford gets an earful on health care, affair — It seems these townhall meetings just are not getting any more pleasant.
  5. Netflix’s biggest competitor? Sleep — Yeah, that’s about right — at my house anyway. Along about 10:45 tonight, I’ll be asking myself, One more episode of “30 Rock” or get 8 hours?
Whaddya think, Lemon? One more episode, or a good night's sleep?

Whaddya think, Lemon? One more episode, or a good night’s sleep?