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The big stories at this hour:
Trump says US may abandon automatic protections for NATO countries (BBC) — WOW. In other news, the United States of America is changing its name to Country That Ran Out On the Whole World. He’s got great timing, doesn’t he? He says this the week of the convention, on the eve of his acceptance speech? And you know what? His supporters will go, “What’s the big deal?” Yo, Putin! Your BFF’s planning to lower the gates for you; are the tanks fueled up? Go ahead and roll into the Baltics, unless you want to finish Ukraine first. Your call…
Supreme Court rejects conservative challenge to ‘one person, one vote’ (WashPost) — For all of you who paid attention in school, this is what we used to call “one man, one vote.” So, way important. A side note: As long as the Court is willing to rule unanimously, as they did on this, I guess maybe replacing Scalia isn’t as urgent. Yes, my tongue is in my cheek, but it’s nice to see them not splitting into the liberal/conservative camps. Gives one hope and all that.
Gunshots fired at U.S. Capitol (WashPost) — Someone has been shot; may have been a police officer, may have been the shooter. This could turn into a lede, depending on how it develops. The Tweets pictured above illustrate how confused initial reports are.
John McCain: Salute to a Communist (NYT) — Just a really interesting read, by one of my favorite Americans. It’s got Hemingway in it, and the Spanish Civil War. And adventure, and nobility, and honor. Fine stuff.
There’s enough real news out there today to put together a VFP without relaxing standards (this is so much better than the days when I had to do one for the dead-tree paper every day, whether there was news or not):
Graham: Swallow hard, back Cruz, stop Trump— No way, senator. Cruz is in his own way as bad as Trump, and you know it. You also know that Hillary would be preferable — to you, to me — than either of them, even though we’d both like to have a better alternative. Of course, I couldn’t care less about your party, but if you want to save it, you shouldn’t compromise further than Rubio. And yeah, I see the math you’re looking at (which shows Cruz as more viable). But even you should realize that sometimes a party isn’t worth saving, and that would be true if Republicans who know better turn to Cruz.
Stop-Trump Forces Regroup After Rout — Actually, that’s too optimistic-sounding. “Regroup” suggests some sort of organization possessing a hierarchy and discipline, such as a military unit, coming together and, on the basis of their training, adapting to a new tactical situation. This is a bunch of disconnected rivals running around like freshly decapitated chickens.
Or call it an Open Thread and bring up your own topic, if you prefer. We haven’t had a really good, in-depth conversation about anything yet this year. Let’s see if one of these topics has the magic:
China Market Woes Reflect Pessimism Over Economy — They shut down their exchange today right after it opened, and sent markets tumbling around the world. I’m beginning to suspect the ChiComs just don’t get capitalism. Not that we’ve been doing all that great with it lately ourselves… Meanwhile, right next door…
The Oregon occupation — Anyone have any thoughts to share about this, such as the back-and-forth on whether these guys are “terrorists?” Here’s one side on that point and here’s the other. My own preliminary take: Don’t you have to actually commit violence to be a terrorist? These guys are armed (which is what disqualifies them from the same category as students who take over the administration building), so it seems the most we can say is that they are potential, or maybe even incipient, terrorists. Or terrorist wannabes, perhaps…
Or don’t. You know what? I can’t stand the way that video keeps autoplaying, so I’ve removed the embed code. If you want to view it, here’s the link. Anyway, I’ve got my own, more recent, Graham clip up now.
Who’s going to see Star Wars this weekend? (thestate.com) — Personally, I’m going to wait a bit; I don’t like crowded theaters. A weekday matinee, perhaps, sometime after Christmas. But I’m curious: How many of y’all have tickets for tonight, for instance?
Asteroid flamed out passing over Lake Murray (thestate.com) — That was what caused that flash in the predawn sky over the lake. It was most certainly not an alien spacecraft. I’m quite sure about this because I and other local journalists were told this by some very official-seeming guys in black suits, right after they flashed their own bright light in our eyes. Now everybody go see Star Wars and don’t bother thinking about this.
Click on the image to view this and more Ariail cartoons at thestate.com.
Just to take a quick run around the bases…
Fed Stands Pat, Wary of Global Tumult — WSJ — As I understand it (from having tortured myself listening to commentary on NPR), this is bad news because the Fed isn’t optimistic about our economy, and it’s good news because businesses are likely to invest more and wages might finally rise a bit. I think.
13 USC fraternities suspended from recruitment — thestate.com — Speaking, as we were earlier, about people who have odd priorities when it comes to higher education… I’m curious: Were any of y’all in fraternities or sororities? Why?
I’m told this is the Bangkok bomb site, the day after. Yes, those are Buddhist monks. I’m watching this with particular attention since three of my kids are about to go there to visit their little sister./photo by Michael Massey
Some headlines at this hour:
Dow Hits 2015 Low on Growth Worries — Worst day in 18 months. Cut it out, Wall Street! I’m sick of y’all’s fits of anxiety and the malaise it causes the rest of us to live in. Give us a break!
Gov. Nikki Haley opposes moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to SC — Interestingly (to me, since I didn’t know it), she’s joined in this by Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (and Mark Sanford). Not that she wants the problem dumped on Kansas, either — which beyond professional courtesy to Sam Brownback, I don’t understand. Kansas not only has a long history of housing federal prisoners, it’s about as far from the madding crowd (such as Charleston’s tourists) as you can get. It’s the land of eight-man football, after all…
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?…
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…
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…
I haven’t done one of these for awhile, out of laziness. I’ll start to do one, but I can’t find six stories that I think are worth a front. So I cop out and do an Open Thread instead. But were this an actual newspaper, I’d have to come up with six (OK, given the demise of the broadsheet, more like five, or even four) whether they were worthy or not.
So as a matter of discipline, I’m going to make myself do this. Fortunately, we do have a serious lede story today:
3. Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage cases (WashPost) — This one could decide whether there is a right involved. Which makes me wonder: Has the court ever found a constitutional right to marry for anyone, regardless of gender or orientation? I have no idea. Maybe some of our lawyers would know.
3. Apple wins $1bn iTunes court case (BBC) — The odd thing is that this is about Apple only allowing music it sells to be played on iPods. And Apple is about to quit making iPods. This case stems from events in 2006. Sort of shows that our court system is ill-equipped to make relevant, timely decisions on fast-changing technology.
CDC: Unclear how many in Dallas were exposed to Ebola — First, we heard about how this got out of control in Africa because those poor, benighted folk lack the medical care we have in the developed world. Then, we tsk-tsked about how Spain couldn’t even protect its health care workers. Now, it turns out we can’t, either.
Vatican Signals More Lenient Stance on Gays and Divorce — I read this, but didn’t see any news in it. I think this, and the Pope’s previous comments, seem like big news to people who didn’t understand the Church to start with. It’s all a matter of emphasis. I applaud what Pope Francis has chosen to emphasize, but it’s no radical departure.