Category Archives: Virtual Front Page

Your Virtual Front Page for Thursday, May 9, 2019


First one of these in a while. Figured I’d acknowledge the end of the legislative session:

  1. SC Senate approves $115 million tax breaks to bring Carolina Panthers across border — Yeah, they actually did it. In Rock Hill did the Senate a stately pleasure-dome decree… Here’s how they voted in the Senate. Harpo opposed it to the last. Don’t tell me I never give you any sports news.
  2. Session ends without Senate action on education reform — But this is sort of dog-bites-man; we’ve known for some time. It’s only news at all because some folks may actually have thought that the May Day rally would change that.
  3. USC paid firm $137,000 to find its next president — then rejected all finalists — This is kinda old news now, but I include it because we haven’t had a discussion about it yet here: How about that fiasco?
  4. Trump picks former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan for defense secretary — Well, ya know, he’s been acting since Mattis left, and nothing has blown up, so why not?
  5. How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings — Of course, they’re aviators, not pilots, but set that aside. This is actually a couple of weeks old, but I wanted to bring it up. Aviators have been seeing white, Tic Tac-shaped vehicles that move like a bat out of you-know-where without any obvious means of propulsion. But while the Service has instituted new reporting procedures, there are no plans to release the reports to the public.
  6. Bezos company aims to take people to moon by 2024 — A nice companion piece for the UFO thing. That’s one small step for a billionaire…

There was something else I was going to put on this virtual page, but I’m forgetting what it was….

Oh, by the way, here’s Avery Wilks’ handwritten how-the-voted list on the football thing:

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, December 17, 2018

Lamar Alexander, back when we were all young.

Lamar Alexander, back when we were all young.

I’m thinking about changing the emphasis of this blog, at least for a time. As I’ve told you, I’m just not interested much in politics now that the  campaign is over. But I know that’s me, and the experiences I’ve recently been through, and I expect the effect will wear off.

So I’m going to be blogging more about nonpolitical stuff. As you can see from today’s posts so far. But y’all may still want a place to come and talk politics. So I’ll keep including such in my Virtual Front Pages and Open Threads, so that even if I have nothing to say about it, y’all can talk amongst yourselves. So here goes…

  1. Stocks Fall Sharply as Investors Fret Over Growth Outlook (WSJ) — See? I like y’all so much, I’ll even include some financial news, which interests me even less than politics. You can thank me later.
  2. Sen. Lamar Alexander announces he won’t seek another term in 2020 (WashPost) — This is very sad news. Lamar has always been one of the best. And I don’t just say that because he’s the first candidate for statewide office I ever covered (when he was running for governor, in 1978).
  3. Amazon faces boycott ahead of holidays as public discontent grows (The Guardian) — I have to wonder just how effective this can be, since this is the first I’ve heard of it — and it’s in a Brit publication, not anything in this country.
  4. Jesuit order names priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children since the 1950s (WP) — The horrorshow continues. A similar report is due from our own diocese soon.
  5. Deer poacher sentenced to watch Bambi in prison (BBC) — Weird news out of America, via Britain.


Your Virtual Front Page, April 6, 2018 — Beach Edition


Sorry I haven’t had a chance to blog. We’ve brought four of our grandchildren down to the beach for a couple of days, since they’re on spring break from school. That keeps you busy.

This will be an actual news-free post. Although maybe someone will take an interest in one of the things that have interested me the last couple of days…

I saw a whale from the beach for the first time ever! — This was pretty exciting, and totally unexpected, even though I’d read about sightings in the area. I’ve been coming to Surfside Beach for six decades, and I’ve never seen a whale out in the water before. Yesterday, we had taken the kids out onto the still-busted Surfside Pier (you can go out about halfway), and just as we got to the barrier that marked our limit, my wife said “Look at that black shape moving through the water!” It looked like it was just a foot or so beneath the surface, and it was moving at an amazing speed. It streaked past the end of the pier, maybe 100 feet away, and headed parallel to the beach toward Garden City. It looked to be about the size of a school bus. Within 10 or 15 seconds it was out of sight. Absolutely amazing.

Have you watched “Detectorists” on Netflix? It’s great — We watched both seasons recently, and it was fun. The comedy, about some Brits who are really, really into metal detecting, is written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, the guy who played Gareth Keenan on The Office. He costars with Toby Jones. In some ways it’s vaguely like “The Office” (we’re talking the original, not the American copy), only kinder and gentler and easier to watch. The humor is low-key and not as cruel — you don’t have to watch the over-the-top, painful humiliation of a David Brent. Anyway, yesterday on the beach we ran into a trio of kids who were real-life detectorists, searching the sand. At the very moment we met them, my grandson, 5, announced he’d just dropped his Lucky Penny. The detectorists pitched in and tried to help, but to no avail. Still, they were nice kids and we appreciated the effort.

Debris on the lawn.

Debris on the lawn.

Who even uses phone books anymore? — Later in the day, we were walking back toward the house when my wife remarked how something, perhaps a carelessly manned garbage truck, had strewn debris all down the street. Then, she noticed it was white plastic bags, and she supposed they were those freebie newspapers everyone throws away. Both guesses were wrong — they were phone books. Yellow-page-style phone books that probably no one on the street had asked for, and probably no one had ever used. But someone had convinced people to advertise in it, which is what such publications are about. Would it pay off for any of the advertisers? Seems doubtful. Who uses phone books?

Meanwhile, perfectly good books get thrown away — This was also yesterday. We were playing around on the public tennis courts when a lady from the Surfside library came wheeling out a loaded book cart, took them straight to a recycling bin, and threw them all away! After a moment, I went over to see what I could scavenge. By the time I got there, a lady who lived across the street had beaten me to it. This was a routine for her — she said they throw away books every week. Most, but not all, were books about writing — how to write a novel and such. I grabbed the two you see below. I thought my mom would enjoy having a manual to help her get the most out of her iPad. I couldn’t resist the title of the other one: As someone who has never been tempted to become a runner, it entertained me on a couple of levels. (No offense, if you own this volume…)


Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, November 30, 2017

Is it that the missile is so big, or he's just so small?

The experts say it’s a real monster.

I haven’t done one of these in awhile. There’s certainly plenty of news for it:

  1. Senate GOP tax plan hits deficit snag, leaving leaders scrambling — Flake and Corker are refusing to agree to jacking up the national debt. Good for them. In the bad news column, John McCain has agreed to support the bill, despite the news that it will increase the deficit by a trillion over 10 years. That’s very disappointing.
  2. If North Korea fires a nuclear missile at the U.S., how could it be stopped? — I’d be leading with this, since it’s infinitely more important than stupid tax policy. But the actual news of the N. Korean test was yesterday, so it can’t lead today. And the tax thing is breaking. There are rules. Meanwhile, in this story with a rather comical headline, experts note with alarm that Kim’s missile is way bigger than they’d thought.
  3. 2nd undisclosed report shows delays, poor oversight doomed SC nuke project — Hang on. Did I just hear “undisclosed” again? And get this: “State regulators and legislators said Thursday that they were unaware of the Fluor report’s existence until told of it by The State.”
  4. Alan Wilson joins multi-state effort to ban abortion after 20 weeksThe State reports that “Other states whose attorneys general are part of the coalition include West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.”
  5. White House Plan: Replace Tillerson With C.I.A. Chief — Well, I doubt he’d be any worse. Meanwhile, talk about Nikki Haley getting the job has faded to the background. I suppose if Pompey doesn’t want the job, they’ll go with Crassus or Caesar. Oh, wait — it’s PompeO. (Sorry. I’m still reading, and enjoying, Rubicon.)
  6. Gloria Steinem: ‘I wouldn’t write the same thing now’ — Normally, I pay little attention to what she says about anything, but that piece she wrote defending Bill Clinton in 1998 was so deeply shameful and egregious that this is worth noting. But like the sex harassers who “apologize” with caveats and excuses, she’s still not ashamed that she did it then — and that’s appalling.
"I want you to listen to me... and to Gloria Steinem..."

“I want you to listen to me… and to Gloria Steinem…”

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, July 31, 2017

Some items to chew on:

  1. SCE&G, Santee Cooper abandon nuclear power project — Wow. Major, major deal.  We’d already spent $1.4 billion, which is more than I make in a year. So… what happens next?
  2. Ding-Dong, the Mooch is out! — Scaramucci lasted 10 days as Trump’s “communications director.” No, wait — it’s been 10 days since it was announced that he would hold that post. (Had he even technically started?) Which, of course, is about 10 days too many. I look forward to reading whether this is a new record, and if not, where it ranks…
  3. Pence takes tough tone on Russia after Putin retaliates against sanctions — Are we fixin’ to go toe-to-toe with the Rooskies? Pence kinda makes it sound that way…
  4. Sam Shepard dead at 73 — Whether as a playwright or an actor, this guy sort of embodied cool there for awhile. He didn’t even look like Yeager, but he was Yeager — while Yeager had to play the barman…
  5. London’s New Subway Symbolized the Future. Then Came ‘Brexit.’ — Way to go, Brexiters. Don’t you know how much I love subways? I put this one in the mix to cleanse the palate.
  6. For First Time, Millennials And Gen-X Were A Majority Of Electorate In 2016 — Nice goin’ there, kids.
And all he got was this lousy postcard...

And all he got was this lousy postcard…

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, April 4, 2017

First one of these for April, which will come whether you’re ready or not:

  1. Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad (NYT) — We’re talking about at least 58 dead. Victims were foaming at the mouth. Then, the clinics where the stricken were taken were attacked by warplanes and rockets.
  2. Gov. McMaster urges lawmakers to borrow up to $1 billion for road repairs (The State) — You’ve already read about this one, back here. I had expected this governor to be more engaged in what’s actually going on at the State House, instead of sending missives from another planet.
  3. Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel (WashPost) — The Post touted this cloak-and-dagger story as an exclusive. It happened before Trump’s inauguration.
  4. Midlands driver accused of attempting to run over teens multiple times (The State) — Did you get a load of the mug shot with this one? See below. Couldn’t the booking officer have said, “Enough with the Hannibal Lecter pose,” or at least, “Lift your chin?”
  5. Still celebrating Lady Gamecocks winning national championship (The State) — This is my lame, belated attempt to answer Bud’s complaint. It could be worse. I could be suppressing coverage of the Bowling Green Massacre.
  6. Trump Donates Salary To National Parks Even As He Tries To Cut Interior Department (NPR) — Can you believe this guy? Does he expect applause?
Nancy Meiler, accused of trying to run over teenagers./Sumter County Sheriff's office

Nancy Meiler, 49, accused of trying to run over teenagers./Sumter County Sheriff’s office

Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, the Ides of March, 2017


Artemidorus, do you have any notes to pass on about any of these developments?

  1. U.S. likely to send as many as 1,000 more ground troops to Syria, officials say — So is Trump trying to enforce Obama’s “red line?” And is he sure Putin doesn’t mind?
  2. Russian Agents Are Behind Yahoo Breach, U.S. Says — It’s been noted that these are “the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.” It’s a start. This includes charges against two FSB operatives. Duh-duh-DUHHNNN!
  3. Devin Nunes confirms it: The evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped doesn’t exist — So now Graham and McCain aren’t the only Republicans to have declared their sanity in this matter. They are joined by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  4. After House setback, USC takes bid for $50 million for med school to SC Senate — I’m sure Harris made a good case, but it’s not looking like the year for this. Of course, the Senate isn’t the House, but still…
  5. Fed Signals It Is Entering New Phase — This is just about the headline, so inside baseball. Yeah, I know the WSJ is really, really into stuff that I find rather, uh, dry, but dang, people! You could have tried to make it sound interesting. Look at the way the NYT did it (“Fed Raises Rates for 3rd Time Since Financial Crisis“) or NPR (“Federal Reserve Raises Key Interest Rate, Signals 2 More Increases This Year“). Just tell me something about what happened. Throw me a bone, here. I’m the reader; I need the info…
  6. Carolina vs. Coastal this season? It could happen — For my dear readers who clamor for more sports. I’m willing to let this through, because it’s about… BASEBALL! After all, a man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Ent’usiasms… Ent’usiasms
A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?...

A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?…

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sorry that none of these things is very light. But I won’t dwell on them for long:

  1. Trump Details Plans to Deport Millions of Immigrants — And so it begins. Remember how we used to talk, hypothetically, about how we’d have to become a police state to round up millions of people? Well, no more hypotheticals. This is what we’ve become. My question: Will Trump have to go through Congress for the funding to buy all those new jackboots? But then there’s this version of the story:
  2. Trump administration seeks to prevent ‘panic’ as it outlines broader deportation policies — Spicer says the goal is not “mass deportations.” OK, then — why does the memo call for hiring thousands of additional enforcement agents?
  3. Breitbart writer resigns amid outrage over his pedophilia comments — I had never heard of this guy before today. You? Whoever he is, he doesn’t look like the same person in any two photos. He’s like Clapton in the 70s. Of course, if I said pervy stuff like what he said, I’d try to disguise myself, too.
  4. Trump Denounces Anti-Semitism After Mounting Criticism — I’m of two minds on this. For one thing, I’ve long decried this weird national expectation — which I think got traction during the Clinton administration — that the POTUS have a comment on everything, everywhere, whether it directly bears upon his job or not. On the other hand, when POTUS comments on stuff that didn’t happen in Bowling Green, Atlanta and Sweden, it is kind of nice to have him address something real.
  5. Columbia could lose millions of dollars if SC lawmakers OK business license bills — That poses a genuine problem for Columbia, which starts out in the hole because so much of property in the city is untaxable. But somehow, I don’t expect a lot of business people to lose sleep over it.
  6. Wal-Mart, Home Depot Show Big Box Stores Aren’t Dead — Well, good for them, but if I were Home Depot, I’d worry. For my part, needing a new chainsaw — just for light-to-medium use in the yard — I went to Lowe’s over the weekend and looked at them and hefted them and compared features and prices. But I’m almost certainly going to buy from Amazon. I don’t feel good about it, but there it is.
I'm leaning toward this one -- the WORX 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric model with Auto-Tension, Chain Brake, and Automatic Oiling.

I’m leaning toward this one — the WORX 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric model with Auto-Tension, Chain Brake, and Automatic Oiling.

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, December 14, 2016



Hey, we have some actual news on the local front today:

  1. State Rep. Merrill accused of misconduct in office, violating state ethics law — The other shoe has finally dropped in the investigation arising from the Bobby Harrell mess. Or perhaps I should say another shoe, since Pascoe says the probe continues, and we have no idea how many feet this critter has.
  2. Fed Lifts Rates, Signals More Increases Next Year — A story like this is like Christmas for the WSJ; they gave it the equivalent of a six-column headline.
  3. Aleppo battle: Raids on Syria city ‘likely a war crime’ UN says — Thank Goodness for British media, else we’d forget the rest of the world is out there. This is leading the BBC.
  4. SC Gov. Haley fires Richland Recreation Commission chair, vice chair — Better yet, she let one of the good-guy members stay on instead of firing everybody. So good one, governor.
  5. Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets — Part two of the NYT’s series on what the Russians did to undermine our electoral process.
  6. Legendary jewel thief Doris Payne, age 86, caught stealing diamond necklace — A change of pace, for the mix. Maybe she should take a page from Cary Grant’s character in “To Catch a Thief” and retire. Don’t you think she’s earned it at this point?
Grant's character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

Grant’s character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

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…

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, October 17, 2016


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…

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, October 12, 2016


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…

Your Virtual Front Page, Monday, October 3, 2016


Here’s what we have on this auspicious day:

  1. U.S. Ends Syria Talks Over Russia’s Role in Aleppo Attacks (NYT) — And it that’s not bad enough, consider this related story, which if anything is more ominous…
  2. Russia suspends weapons-grade plutonium deal with US (BBC) — This was one of those reassuring byproducts of the end of the Cold War. Now, Putin’s backing away from it.
  3. Colombia and FARC scramble to rescue peace deal amid worries of return to war (The Guardian) — Talk about an election shocker. All those stories about peace at last; now this…
  4. The bombshell about Trump’s taxes (NYT) — Yeah, this broke over the weekend, but I didn’t post about it then, so it still makes the VFP today. This is such a big story, the rival Washington Post wrote a piece on how this fell into the NYT‘s lap.
  5. N.Y. attorney general orders Trump Foundation to cease fundraising (WashPost) — This shaped up to be a pretty big news day, but where would we have been without Trump and his best bud Putin?
  6. Years before his ‘Aleppo moment,’ Gary Johnson showed little interest in the details of governing (WashPost) — Hey, Johnson got some major media attention! But it doesn’t help! Sorry, Doug.

Hey, I would have included something light, to help with the mix, but there was too much news.

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

Haven’t given you one of these in awhile. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of news today:

  1. Two children shot at SC elementary school, suspect in custody (The State) — This is what I meant by “unfortunately.” Beyond horrible. A teacher was also taken to hospital.
  2. In a first for Obama, Congress overrides veto on 9/11 bill (WashPost) — Because, you know, what we really needed was for our relations with Saudi Arabia to get more tense. On the other hand, we’ve been tiptoeing around their stuff for a lot of years…
  3. Trump stumbles into Clinton’s trap by feuding with Latina beauty queen (WashPost) — The guy just can’t help himself. If there’s a mess of his making, he’ll step right into it, and jump up and down.
  4. Clinton gathers Republican endorsements (BBC) — One was from five-time senator from Virginia John Warner, who says “National Security for Dummies” is not an appropriate approach to the presidency. The other was from The Arizona Republic, marking the first time the paper has endorsed a Democrat for president since its founding in 1890. This joins a trend of longtime Republican-leaning papers endorsing her. As well they should. Maybe, with enough of these, people will start really understanding this is no normal election.
  5. SC lawmakers may rethink controversial property tax law (The State) — Remember when I wondered whether we might actually get comprehensive tax reform this time? I would be deeply impressed by lawmakers’ gumption if they took on this 10-year-old mistake, by which I mean Act 388.
  6. Natural born killers: humans predisposed to murder, study suggests (The Guardian) — Of course, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to back it up. But I’d be interested to see what Dave Grossman, author of On Killing, would say, since he writes of most humans having such a powerful inhibition against killing.

Virtual Front Page for Thursday, July 21, 2016

Got that T-90 fueled up and ready to roll?

Got that T-90 fueled up and ready to roll?

The big stories at this hour:

  1. 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…
  2. 10 Brazilians Arrested, Accused Of Plotting Terrorist Attack On Rio Olympics (NPR) — I hope they got all of them.
  3. Cruz digs in on refusal to back Trump (WashPost) — Even though, also according to the Post, he’s paying a price for snubbing him. Big deal. This isn’t about 2016 for Cruz; it’s about 2020, 2024… You see, he may look like Grandpa Munster, but he’s ridiculously young. Someone on the radio today noted that in 2036, Cruz will still be younger than Hillary Clinton is now. There’s something to keep you up nights: Ti-i-i-ime, it’s on his side….
  4. Inmate killed at Lieber Correctional Institution (The State) — Here we go again. Remember the one the other day? The chickens are coming home to roost in our underfunded, neglected prison system.
  5. Ailes Resigns as Head of Fox News; Murdoch to Step In (WSJ) — Wait — hadn’t that horndoq quit before now?
  6. Game of Thrones: Republicans hate it, Democrats love it – supposedly (The Guardian) — Consequently, at a critical moment — Cersei seizing the Iron Throne; the Khaleesi on her way across the water, Winter really, really about to come — the burning issues of Westeros are being woefully neglected at that convention in Cleveland.
And the Republicans don't even CARE...

And the Republicans don’t even CARE…

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, May 16, 2016

Slow news day, which just makes it more of a challenge. So here goes:

  1. Justices send Obamacare contraception issue back to lower courts — With Scalia gone and no replacement, the court decided unanimously to punt this hot potato.
  2. Libya: US backs arming of government for IS fight — Interestingly, this wasn’t prominently played on any U.S. outlet; I got it from the BBC.
  3. The presidency is Clinton’s to lose. Here are 12 ways she could. — And she’s perfectly capable of trying each and every one of them, while the rest of us watch on pins and needles, fearing the sound of “President Trump.”
  4. Cancer Survivor Receives First Penis Transplant in U.S. — Ummm… I’m just going to say God bless this poor guy, and I hope this works out well for him.
  5. Man told deputies he was cleaning gun when it went off, wounding 11-year-old — Just to get something local on the page. Seriously, who cleans a loaded gun?
  6. Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico’s underworld speaks out — Recently, I tried watching a show in Spanish on Netflix called “La Viuda Negra.” It was SO bad I stopped about five minutes in. But I guess the subject of this story may have been an inspiration for that. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a story off the beaten path. For the mix…


Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, April 4, 2016

A quick look at top stories this hour:

  1. 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.
  2. The Panama Papers (WSJ) — These are generating a huge reaction elsewhere in the world — they’re chanting in the streets in Iceland demanding the resignation of their PM — but not making much of a splash here., except perhaps among the “feel the Bern,” “the whole world is rigged by billionaires” crowd.
  3. Database would track refugees in South Carolina if passed (The State) — Yeah, this is the same bill that would penalize sponsors for having done the Christian thing in helping desperate people find refuge — if any of them turn out to be bad guys. The ill will in that provision is just staggering.
  4. Princeton Will Keep Woodrow Wilson’s Name On School Buildings (NPR) — Apparently because, you know, his legacy is complicated. You know what? Read The Washington Post‘s story instead; it’s a little clearer. I suspect all the news people had a hard time grabbing ahold of this story firmly because the university’s tiptoeing statement was so bewilderingly oblique…
  5. Double Agent Kim Philby’s Credo: ‘Deny Everything’ (NYT) — Something fun for those of you who, like me, are into spy stuff. For the mix.
  6. Transcript of Woodward and Costa’s interview with Trump — A trip through the mind of the GOP front-runner. (First the editorial board meeting, now this. The Post certainly is getting some serious access to Trump…)
Bob Woodward talks about interview with Trump.

Bob Woodward talks about interview with Trump.

Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, April 1, 2016

President Barack Obama hosts the Nuclear Security Summit working dinner with the heads of delegations in the East Room of the White House, March 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama hosts the Nuclear Security Summit working dinner with the heads of delegations in the East Room of the White House, March 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Not a huge news day, but let’s see what we can put together. Sorry to say that none of these are April Fool’s jokes:

  1. Obama warns of terrorist nuclear attack (BBC) — This is more like a storm watch than a storm warning, but the threat is real. And presumably, POTUS considers this to be worse than the bathtub threat to the country, which is encouraging. Why lead with this story? Because I’m a Cold War guy. How close we are to nuclear midnight is important. And I was inspired by our exchange about the Triad earlier today.
  2. U.S. Economy Showed Broad Strength in March (WSJ) — You can’t really tell it by me, but I’m glad to hear it. The Journal is leading with this on this slow news day.
  3. Tens of thousands of Americans just lost their food stamps (WashPost) — Something that, if you’re fortunate enough to still be in the middle class, you might have missed. The Post is leading with it.
  4. Here’s Why Mississippi’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Is So Controversial (NPR) — It’s narrower in its focus than the others.
  5. Trump manager Lewandowski: poster boy of a brash new politics (The Guardian) — This guy is very Trump — just as clueless, but he’s winning. I’m thinking this guy (Mikey Palmice) from the Sopranos) would be good to play him in the movie.
  6. Severe weather moves east toward Carolinas after tornadoes (The State) — Not huge news, but we need something local, and I don’t see the flag thing as worthy of the front. Besides, it’s a day old.

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, March 28, 2016


Very quickly:

  1. Pascoe claims Wilson blocking legislative investigation (The State) — The AG denies trying to shut down probe of General Assembly. Wilson’s office expresses “grave concerns that Solicitor Pascoe is not following the law or proper procedure.”
  2. In Stunning Setback, Belgium Frees Man Held in Bombings (NYT) — That guy they were holding? They had to let him go. They’re looking for a whole other guy now.
  3. 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.
  4. Fidel Castro scorns Obama’s Cuba visit (BBC) — So much for Un Nuevo Día
  5. Georgia Gov. Says He Will Veto Controversial ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill (NPR) — We’ve got this going on on both sides of us now. The Culture War rages on.
  6. USC baseball jumps upward in rankings (The State) — For those of you who complain you don’t get enough sports here, for the mix.

Your Virtual Front Page for Thursday, March 24, 2016

McCain's favorite Communist: Delmer Berg, standing second from right wearing a beret, with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain around 1938.

McCain’s favorite Communist: Delmer Berg, standing second from right wearing a beret, with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain around 1938.

We haven’t had one of these for awhile, since I’ve been opting for the less demanding Open Threads, but there’s real news today, so here goes:

  1. Belgium Admits Lapse in Not Heeding Alert on Suspect (NYT) — So they dropped the ball big-time, and innocents died as a result. Belgium!
  2. Despite potent attacks abroad, ISIS is in retreat in Syria, Iraq (WashPost) — On the other hand, we have this, which if accurate would seem to vindicate the Obama Doctrine (motto: Be Careful in that Bathtub!) to some extent. If, you know, MPrince doesn’t it think it too stupid for me to applaud actual gains in traditional, conventional military terms.
  3. Bosnian Serb Leader Guilty of Genocide in Massacre of 8,000 (NYT) — Yeah, I’ve already posted on this, but this is a front page, so I have to include it. It’s history.
  4. Lexington’s Rawl Farm operation fined $1 million for unlawful workers ( — We’re enforcing the law, and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, who’s gonna pick those crops now?
  5. 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.
  6. Comedian Garry Shandling dies at 66 (WashPost) — I was never a fan, but some of y’all probably were, so here you go…