For a split second, I thought maybe the stories actually were related. And in a global, trend-tracking sense, I suppose they are. Except, of course, that the larger posteriors some women seek are more of the muscular variety. Doughnuts alone won’t give you that…
This is a cautionary tale for those of you who gripe about “all the ads” in your daily newspaper. When the truth is that the dramatic decline in advertising revenue over the past decade or so is what has been strangling newspapers.
It’s why Robert Ariail and I, and a bunch of others, got laid off in 2009, at the very low point of the Great Recession.
Greet those ads as friends, because those that remain are all you have to keep the news flowing your way — no matter where you get your news. The few reporters left at mid-sized dailies across the country — and at virtually every other information outlet you can think of — get paid from ad revenues. It was always thus, only in the old days there was a lot more flowing in.
There are readers out there who labor under the delusion that they pay for their paper, so they shouldn’t be assaulted with all these ads. Well, no they don’t — pay for it, that is. Oh, they pay something, but it’s a pittance compared to what it costs to publish a newspaper. The rest comes from advertising.
And contrary to the equally deluded belief of folks who imagine that ads make the news somehow hostage to the interests of advertisers (which just proves they’ve never worked at a general-circulation newspaper in this country), advertising is also what keeps news free and independent. As we’re seeing in Russia:
MOSCOW — An advertising ban on Russian cable and satellite TV stations could decimate regional television broadcasting from the suburbs of the capital to the far reaches of Siberia, leaving the country almost entirely dependent on state media for news and information.
The law, which will prohibit commercial advertisements on paid cable and satellite channels starting next year, is one of many measures Russian authorities have adopted in recent months to tighten control over the flow of information, reduce foreign money in Russian media and force journalists to hew closer to a pro-Kremlin line.
But the advertising ban threatens to deliver the most devastating blow to homegrown independent outlets where Russians get most of their news: television….
When newspapers and other news outlets lose their access to advertising in a place like Russia, the news becomes, once again, a wholly owned subsidiary of the government.
So enjoy the ads, folks. They’re better than the alternatives…
I learned this from a Tweet today:
On this day in 1874, in a Thomas Nast cartoon, the Republican Party was symbolized as an elephant for the first time
You know, that’s gotta be a bitter pill for some in the GOP to swallow — their symbol was given them by a hero of the MSM.
I must remember to mention this to Robert Ariail, who has a special bond to Nast — he was judged best cartoonist in the world in 1997 by the Overseas Press Club, which gave him their prestigious Thomas Nast Award.
By the way, here’s an explanation of the Nast cartoon that ran on Nov. 7 1874.
One was all the talk about voter turnout. I joined in with the others in urging people to get out and vote — I even threw in the cliche about “If you don’t vote, don’t come crying to me about what happens after” — but I also shared my personal doubt about get-out-the-vote efforts. Basically, if you have to be reminded, cajoled, begged and prodded, I’m not at all sure I want you voting. I’d rather have elections decided by people who care enough that they would never consider not voting.
Then, I was struck by all the talk about early voting. Not “early voting” technically, but “absentee” voting — which is engaged in more and more by people who won’t actually be absent. My fellow guest Jim Felder kept urging folks to get out and vote today rather than wait until Tuesday, in case the weather is bad on actual Election Day. Various anecdotes about busloads of folks voting early were shared.
So I thought I’d ask: Did you vote early? If so, why? And how did it go? And anything else you’d like to share.
I know that Doug, at least, voted on Friday, because he texted me about it, saying it was very busy at the Parklane location. Perhaps he’d like to share some more about that.
Here’s the latest escalation from Rep. Mia McLeod, who really seems to be going around the bend on this thing:
Okay, Ms. Click, so you write front-page fabrications about race in Richland Two on Sunday and then again on Tuesday and Wednesday of the same week? Guess The State must be hard-pressed for real news…and real journalists.
The illusion of racial tension and animosity you guys have created continues to reveal your true colors. In fact, the same WCC spokesperson quoted in Sunday’s story, had this to add today,
“These people are playing hardball—if they get control they will drive off all the competent people…”
Funny thing is…”these people” kinda reminds me of “those people” and “you people.”
Clearly these are “your people,” Ms. Click, since you’re working overtime to help disseminate and lend credibility to their racist chatter.
Thankfully, somebody at The State had the good sense (not you, of course) to remove his racist rant from “the story” you originally posted online last night, as well as the printed version today.
More proof that “control”—not race, is the real issue. “If they get it,” means we’ve never had it. Guess that’s what scares y’all so much.
And you so desperately want the few readers you do have, to believe that I’m Amelia McKie’s biggest supporter. Guess that’s why you’ve conveniently omitted thousands of dollars in contributions and a diverse cross-section of her contributors from your “story.”
Too bad that while you’re working hard to undermine and discredit Mrs. McKie, the front-runner in this school board race, you’ve actually disclosed even more “evidence” of the collaboration between the current Administration and the WCC.
Obviously, the campaign contributions of current R2 Administrators to some of the WCC’s “chosen four” is evidence of collaboration and conflict—not to mention, impropriety. But I’m sure that’s well above your pay grade, Ms. Click, since The State must not require you to check the rules or the facts before you print your fabrications.
And for what it’s worth, I didn’t compare Debbie Hamm to Lillian McBride in my blog. I simply referenced incompetence as their common denominator.
Even my Senator chimed in to “reaffirm” his support for Debbie Hamm. But, this isn’t about her. Or is it?
Anyone who thinks she’s “building morale” in R2, is out of touch with everybody but the DO. For her loyal supporters, friendship trumps everything.
What a sobering reality check for the rest of us in Richland Two.
Let’s channel our energy and efforts towards a true commitment to excellence in education, for the benefit of all Richland Two students.
For those who are afraid of losing it, it’s clearly about control. For the rest of us, it’s truly about moving our students, communities and District forward, in a better direction.
It’s time to silence the rhetoric, the rancor and the manufactured issues of race. Next Tuesday, November 4, I’m counting on voters to do just that.
Maybe then, Ms. Click, you can focus your attention on real news, for a change.
Speaking as a 35-year newspaper veteran, I can tell you with authority that this is real news, and Carolyn Click is a real journalist. A good one. I’ve known her for a couple of decades, and I think this is the first time I’ve heard anyone call her professionalism into question.
And you can quote that….
On a previous post, Doug Ross and Lynn T. both said that Renee Dudley, formerly of The Post and Courier, deserved a lot of credit for bringing Harrell down. I had to confess that I wasn’t that familiar with her work (the last one of their reporters I knew at all was Yvonne Wenger) and had little to add on the subject. I knew that a lot of the initial spadework on the case had been done by the Charleston paper, but that was about it.
Well, today, Corey Hutchins brings to my attention to this piece he wrote in Columbia Journalism Review, praising Ms. Dudley along those lines:
It is a case study in why local accountability reporting matters. It took the reporting of Renee Dudley, a young, aggressive reporter for the Charleston Post and Courier, to break the news of the longtime politician’s wrongdoing and force the issue to the forefront of public debate.
Harrell had been in the House since 1993, and had been Speaker since 2005. Before Dudley took him on, no other reporter had so thoroughly researched and scrutinized his behavior in office, not at papers around the state capitol nor in his home district of Charleston.
But Dudley, a Boston native, had started to make a name for herself with investigative features after joining The Post and Courier in 2010 to cover health stories. As a reporter covering politics at the capital for the Columbia, SC-based alt-weekly Free Times, I first noticed her work when she dropped a September 2011 story on Gov. Nikki Haley’s trip to Europe.
By the time I read her pieces on Harrell the next year, I was jealous. In the spring of 2012, Dudley, then 26, penned her first big report on Bobby’s world. The story was an investigative report about a big-money political action committee linked to the Speaker, and how he used it to consolidate and wield power in the House. Her piece raised questions about conflicts of interest, including whether it was proper for one lawmaker to accept $123,000 in payment to his communications firm from “the Speaker’s PAC.”
The bombshell that eventually put the Speaker in legal crosshairs, and later led to his guilty plea, came that September. Its title: “Harrell offers no details on self-reimbursement of $325,000 from campaign funds.”…
This story in The State today reminds me that I have to decide by next week whether to vote for the Lexington County penny tax increase.
I checked with Warren Bolton to see whether they’re going to have anything about it on the editorial page. He said there will be something, and I look forward to reading it. Y’all may think of me as a guy who comes equipped with a full set of strongly-held opinions, and to some extent that’s true. But my daily discussions with Warren and Cindi — and back in the halcyon days, Mike Fitts and Nina Brook and before them John Monk and Claudia Brinson — helped me refine and correct and hone my views. I was always smarter about an issue after discussing it with them. Even if I still had the same general view I went in with (which, I admit, was usually the case), I had a better grasp on it, and had sanded off the rough edges, when I came out.
And when, as with this case, I’m not sure what to think, such a discussion always helped me make up my mind. (That dynamic, by the way — the testing of one’s thoughts against those of a group of thoughtful people — is what editorials, and especially endorsements, are all about. Even if you disagree with the piece, and don’t change your mind, you’ll be smarter about the way you approach the issue for having tested your views against the ones you read.)
I know that if I could sit in a regular morning meeting with my friends on the edit board, I could arrive at a conclusion that I would be comfortable with, and that I could support and defend. Lacking that, I look forward to seeing what they publish.
The problem I have making up my mind on the Lexington penny is that it’s just for roads and infrastructure. I backed the penny in Richland because half of it went to the buses. I’d have backed it more enthusiastically if it had all gone to public transportation. But Lexington County largely turns its back on the bus system, and is all about cars and roads. Which bothers me…
OK, it’s not ALL about cars and roads. There’s some other infrastructure in there. But I’m happy to pay the Richland penny because it’s funding something that is an alternative to cars and roads, and which the community needed, and which it was having trouble paying for otherwise. (And though I do live in Lexington, I probably spend at least as much on taxable items in Richland.)
Then there’s also the problem that we’re already leaning on the sales tax too much in this state. It’s crept up to where it’s on the border of being too high if not there already, while property and income taxes aren’t bearing their share of the load (OK, business property taxes are, but primary-residence taxes are not).
And as I’ve said repeatedly, we have a mechanism for building and maintaining roads — the state gasoline tax. That needs to be raised, rather than just raising sales taxes here and there across the state.
At the same time, that is still a tough row to hoe, and in the meantime we have inadequate roads. So I struggle with this.
Maybe y’all can help me with this. The morning meeting is hereby convened…
We were treated to “steak-and-steak” in The State today. That’s what former Associate Editor Nina Brook called an editorial page that had a lede editorial on one subject, and a column on the same (or related subject). As opposed to, say, steak and potatoes. (Nina meant it disparagingly. Me, I like a lot of protein.)
And while I thought the editorial endorsement of Vincent Sheheen was fine, and made its case well (no open-minded person could come away from it thinking we shouldn’t make a change), I was more pleased with Cindi Scoppe’s column.
That’s because it made a point that I made here several months ago — that Sheheen is a remarkably successful and influential leader in our State House.
This year alone, he has been the driving force behind a shift of power from the constitutionally perverse Budget and Control Board to a Department of Administration under the governor (his baby from the get-go), a huge expansion of 4k education, without any new taxes; and a ban on texting while driving.
As Cindi concluded:
There are more legislators than I can count — and then-Rep. Nikki Haley was among them — who don’t get a single significant bill passed in their entire legislative career. To pass three in a single year, all of which will help our state … well, that’s practically unheard of, even for the Legislature’s most powerful Republican leaders.
Indeed. This campaign is about flash over substance, and there’s little doubt, to a careful observer, about which side has the substance.
I was looking for something else, and happened to run across these videos posted by SCETV, obviously with the cooperation of my friends at The State.
These are a considerable improvement over the low-res, 3-minute clips I used to post from my little personal Canon camera — which could not shoot any video longer than 3 minutes, and which I also used for still shots, so the video record was far from complete. And I was doing it all while running a sound recorder, taking notes and presiding over the meeting. But hey, before I started blogging, you didn’t get any pictures or video from these meetings. So get outta my face.
Anyway. I’m happy to note the progress. And as a connoisseur of these things, it’s fun for me to note the way things are the same and how they differ. For instance, I notice Cindi used the usual “give us your stump speech” opener with Sheheen, but asked a slightly different opening question of Ervin. The Sheheen approach was always our standard. I would do that because I liked to start with the candidate making his or her case in his or her own words, rather than just responding to our questions. I felt that was the fairest way to start, to lay a base, before we started asking what we wanted to know. And even if the spiel was a bunch of baloney, the fact that the candidate freely chose such a pose told me a lot. It was boring for the reporters who would sit in, because they had heard the speech out on the hustings. But these meetings weren’t held for their purposes; they were for those of us trying to make an endorsement decision.
You’ll hear me starting things off that way in this meeting with Barack Obama, just as I did with hundreds of others.
You might notice another, subtler thing. You can sort of tell at the start of the Obama clip that something has gone before — some small talk, some joshing around, before we got down to business. I always did that. You’ll note that Cindi, far more task oriented than I, and nobody’s idea of a social butterfly, doesn’t fool with that. She doesn’t schmooze. An interview is an opportunity to get answers to X, Y and Z, and that’s what she’s there for.
She always knows just what information she needs. I took more of a zen approach. I was always curious to see where an interview would go if I let it have its head. I was looking for column inspiration; I had Cindi and Warren and, in the good times, a couple of other associate editors to make sure all the essential bases were covered.
Oh, you’re wondering where the Nikki Haley meeting is, right? There wasn’t one. My understanding is that her campaign did not accept the board’s invitations to meet. So if you ever wondered what, if anything, Nikki Haley and Hillary Clinton have in common, now you know.
Politico notes that more and more newspapers are announcing that they’ll no longer do candidate endorsements.
And as usual with such cop-outs, their excuses for this are completely lame:
Papers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine and Texas have all announced this year that their editorial boards will no longer print the traditional candidate endorsements.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette said they are discontinuing the practice in order to be “an independent voice amid the growing clamor of voices espousing hyper-partisan views.”
Yes, that’s right. You are supposed to be “an independent voice.” And if you, the independent voice, won’t state a preference between the candidates, then the only people out there expressing a preference will be the “growing clamor of voices espousing hyper-partisan views.”
It’s a trend that’s been spreading throughout the country, CJR reports. In 2012, the Halifax Media chain said they would stop endorsing ” because endorsing candidates could “create the idea we are not able to fairly cover political races.” The Chicago Sun-Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have also ceased endorsing candidates.
Guess what? People will still accuse you of not fairly covering political races. As has always been the case and always will be the case, people will try to read a bias into every word you write. They will always be looking for an indication that you’re really for the other guy, and in their minds, they will find the proof in every news story.
That’s why, as an institution, you should be honest about any preference you do have. So at least readers can take that institutional preference into consideration in assessing the fairness of your coverage. It makes you more transparent, rather than forcing readers to guess about the biases that they assume you have.
Fortunately, there are still some editors out there who understand what newspapers, and especially editorial pages, are for. As CJR reports:
As for movement in the other direction? The Los Angeles Times, which gave up endorsements in presidential campaigns after 1972, in part because of conflict over its support for Richard Nixon, returned to the practice in 2008. The Times’ reasoning tracked pretty closely with the Chicago Tribune’s 2012 statement on why it plans to keep endorsing: Editorial boards take stands on political issues every day, and it would be odd or even irresponsible to go silent at such a key moment.
Amen to that. I’ve said the same many times: Every day of every year, newspapers publish their opinions on every policy issue under the sun — which is a fine thing in theory, but the fact is that in a representative democracy, a newspaper’s readers can’t do anything about most of those issues. The one time they all get a say is at election time, when they choose the people who actually will act on those issues.
To opine about these issues the rest of the time (and if you don’t think newspapers should express opinions at all, then that’s another issue for another day), and then fail to point out which candidates are most likely to enact the policies one favors, at the critical moment when readers all have a decision to make, is both lazy and cowardly.
Cowardice has always been a factor because close to half of the people reading any endorsement are going to get mad at you about it. So has laziness, as endorsements are labor-intensive. The “lazy” factor is playing a bigger and bigger role as newspaper staffs keep shrinking.
And so it is that I’ve been proud to see Cindi and Warren cranking out endorsements this week, here and here and here and here. I know how much work they’re putting into the process, and I appreciate it.
Did you see the exclusive story in The State the other day to this effect:
State and federal law enforcement officials are questioning S.C. legislators about potential illegal vote swapping in February’s race that re-elected the state’s Supreme Court chief justice, multiple sources have told The State….
Did you find yourself confused in reading it? Did you think to yourself, Don’t lawmakers trade votes all the time, on all sorts of issues? Since when is that illegal?
Well, Cindi Scoppe helps walk you through all that in her column today. She explains that yes, lawmakers routinely swap votes on issues — the General Assembly would get even less done if they did not.
But she also explains how a series of horrific events in 1995 that caused lawmakers to elect less-qualified jurists to the bench led to reform, and the practice was banned — with regard to judicial selection. (And ironically, the reform was passed by a vote-swapping deal between House and Senate conferees.)
Here’s her recap of what happened back then to lead to the reform:
it starts on a sunny spring day in 1995, when the Legislature elected E.C. Burnett to the Supreme Court and Kay Hearn to the Court of Appeals and re-elected Danny Martin to the Circuit Court. Mr. Burnett and Ms. Hearn were qualified for the positions, but analyses by the S.C. Bar and the Legislature’s judicial screening committee showed that they were the least qualified candidates in their hotly contested races. The committee found Mr. Martin didn’t understand the law at all, and the Bar had declared him unfit for the bench.
As senators filed out of the House chamber after the election, then-Sen. Robert Ford bragged about how it all happened: The Legislative Black Caucus pledged 20 votes for Hearn in exchange for Horry County votes for Martin and 18 votes for Burnett in return for four Spartanburg County votes for Martin; another five Spartanburg County legislators agreed not to vote in the Martin race.
“All kind of deals was made,” Sen. Ford told reporters. “I had to sell my soul to 10 devils.”
No one denied the deals, because vote trading always had been a part of judicial elections — whether the votes involved other judicial races or legislation. And why not? Trading votes is a natural part of the legislative process….
As so often during his lamentable lawmaking career, there was the brazen Robert Ford, standing as the poster child of bad government. But of course, he was just the most visible manifestation of something much more widespread. Perhaps we even owe him a debt of gratitude for making the unsavory situation so much more obvious.
That’s all history, but the thing that deserves even more attention is this conclusion:
I supported the current system for a long time, because it was such a huge improvement over what came before. But it never was a good system, because it encourages the sort of logrolling that is alleged to have occurred in the chief justice race, and because it allows one branch of government to control the judiciary.
And if one person rules the House with an iron hand — one person who is not the governor, who is not elected by all the voters of this state, and who is not accountable to the public for his power — it allows that one person to control the judiciary. As felt so disturbingly to be the case as we watched Mr. Harrell’s treatment in our courts in the weeks and months leading up to his indictment this summer on public corruption charges.
That’s sort of new, and sort of not.
I have long held the position that we should switch to a different method of choosing judges, preferably one like the federal system — the governor nominates, and the Senate confirms. That spreads out the power across the other two branches of government, and makes sure that the one individual having extensive say in the matter is one elected by all of the people, not just one House district.
But since the reforms of the 1990s, which did much to inject merit into the current system of election by the General Assembly, I (and the editorial board) acknowledged that the system was much better than it had been, and so we let judicial selection slide to a back burner. We still advocated for change when the subject came up, but we didn’t drive it the way we did so many other issues.
The events of the past year or two — with Bobby Harrell trying to bat the judiciary around like cat with a chew toy, so soon after a dramatic example of his power in choosing justices — mean it’s time to move real, substantive reform to the front rank of priorities.
It’s high time to stop letting the Legislature choose judges, all by its lonesome.
A guy climbing the fence and running wild in the White House and some aggressive reporting by The Washington Post have led to the following:
Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, resigned Wednesdayfollowing a series of security lapses by her agency, including a recent incident in which a man with a gun was allowed on an elevator with President Obama.
Obama “concluded new leadership of the agency was needed based on recent and accumulating accounts” of performance problems within her agency, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a news briefing.
Pierson’s departure from her post came just 24 hours after a congressional oversight hearing about a growing number of security breaches. She appeared evasive, gave conflicting accounts of a recent incident involving a man who jumped over the White House and got deep inside the building, and said she learned some things about her agency by reading accounts in the Washington Post.
That growing list of security failures, many first reported in the Washington Post, had put the president and his daughters in potential danger. Some of the details of the lapses, including the service’s fumbled response to a 2011 shooting at the White House, were unknown to Congress and the president before they were reported ….
It usually takes a little longer than this for someone in Washington to fall this hard. But fall she did.
And yeah, I partly posted this just to use the headline…
I’d also like to say that while I don’t subscribe to the school that holds that the ultimate measure of a journalist is the number of public officials’ scalps on his or her belt, the Post has done some fine work ferreting these stories out, and making a compelling case for quick action.
That said, a resignation solves nothing. The work of addressing these problems needs to begin now.
As a former front-page editor, I found the different approaches taken by three great newspapers in announcing the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder mildly interesting:
- Holder to Resign as Attorney General — The Wall Street Journal takes the plain, unadorned approach.
- Holder, Liberal Voice, to Quit as U.S. Attorney General — The New York Times throws in some analysis, bordering on making an editorial judgment. Interesting choice. Of course, this being the Times, we might see that as an honorific.
Eric Holder, first black attorney general, to resign — The Washington Post charts a middle ground. They wanted to say more than the WSJ was saying, but didn’t want to venture into subjectivity. So they point out something about him no one can argue with. Of course, if I’m Holder, I’d prefer the NYT approach. I’d be thinking, “That’s it? That’s all you think of when you see me?”
Yeah, I know. It seems like I think about these things too much. Well, I used to get paid to do that, and it’s hard to stop…
You probably already saw Kathleen Parker’s column about Mark Sanford — and, as long as she was at it, Thomas Ravenel — since it was in The State today.
If you missed it, here’s a highlight:
“What is it about South Carolina?” is a question I’m frequently asked. From the former governor’s mindless meanderings to the recent assault of the reality show “Southern Charm,” starring former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel, this baffling state seems determined to besaint the besotted and magnify the man-child….
Ravenel, who comes from an old, well-regarded Charleston family and made a fortune on his own, is inexplicably trying to unseat the soon-to-be venerable Sen. Lindsey Graham. (He isn’t quite old enough yet.) Ravenel doesn’t stand a chance of winning because, among other things, he’s not a serious person. Just watch the show, if you can stand it.
And then there’s that thing about Ravenel serving 10 months in prison after a drug conviction.
Thus one wonders, why run? The answer can only be to try to fill that bottomless trough of narcissistic need…
Then there’s Gail Collins’ column in The New York Times, which mentions Ravenel, but concentrates more on Sanford:
Now he’s the Facebook Congressman, who announced his breakup with his Argentine-squeeze-turned-fiancée in a 2,346-word posting that was mainly a whine about his ex-wife, the divorce settlement and visitation rules. “I think I owe you my thinking on this personal, but now public matter,” he told the world. Which most definitely had not asked for the information.
This is precisely the sort of thing his constituents should have been dreading when they gave the 54-year-old Republican another chance in a special House election last year. Sanford’s problem is less his libido than his remarkable, garrulous self-absorption. The man can’t stop sharing. Returning from his Argentina foray, he gave an interview to The Associated Press, in which he philosophized about the “sex line” that set his mistress, María Belén Chapur, apart from other women for whom he’d lusted.
And he held an endless press conference, perhaps the only moment in American political history in which a politician talked about his illicit sex life so much that everybody got bored with the subject. (“I’ll tell you more detail than you’ll ever want. …”) This was the same appearance in which he made the memorable announcement: “I spent the last five days crying in Argentina.”…
You can read the rest of it here.
When I saw the above headline on the NYT’s homepage, I couldn’t help Tweeting the following:
How can they be weary of war? Most of them haven’t BEEN to war. “Americans Weary of War, but Favoring Airstrike Plan” http://t.co/mROWzLq2uF
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) September 12, 2014
My point, in case it isn’t clear, was that I keep hearing all this talk about how war-weary Americans are, when the overwhelming majority of them haven’t experienced a minute of it.
So what is it that they’re weary of? Hearing about it? That seems really — superficial, for want of a better word.
I’m glad polls are showing that the president has backing for his limited plan for dealing with ISIL. But I am disturbed that American public opinion can be so flighty with regard to such weighty matters.
One day, they’re all “We don’t want any more war! Don’t talk to us about war! We’re going to make loud noises and repeatedly cover and uncover our ears until you stop talking about war! WAH-uh-WAH-uh-WAH-uh-WAH-uh…”
The next day, they’re all “We gotta stop ISIL! The president wants to bomb ‘em! Go for it! Bomb ‘em! (Then, maybe we don’t have to hear about them any more!)”
The day after that, they’re all “Are we still bombing ISIL? We’re tired of that! We don’t want to hear about that any more! We’re war-weary! What time does ‘American Idol’ come on?”
And what’s bad about that is that our elected leaders respond to those impulses. No matter what sacrifices are made on the battlefield by the few, politicians will pull out before the aims are achieved if the people get fed up — which they do very, very suddenly.
Anyway, those are the thoughts that go through my mind when I see headlines such as that. And for a brief moment, I don’t want to commit military forces to any cause ever in the future, if it’s going to be fought with politicians’ fingers in the wind.
But then, I think, Well, regardless of all that, out in the real world, we really need to stop ISIL…
The South Carolina Democratic Party is touting this story (“Nikki Haley claims South Carolina’s economy is booming, but don’t be fooled by her smoke and mirrors,” etc.), but I found it sort of interesting in its own right.
It’s a list from Business Insider ranking the respective states’ economies from worst to first. We rank 46th, or fifth worst. Here’s the reasoning they gave:
South Carolina’s largest private-sector industries are professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing. Here’s how South Carolina did on our variables:
- South Carolina lost 4,600 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, the third-worst loss in the country.
- Gross Domestic Product per capita was just $30,728, also the third-lowest.
- The average annual wage was $39,800.
I was intrigued by the photos chosen to illustrate each state. We were represented by the sand sculpture above. I think I recognize it as being from just before a presidential debate down at the beach, either in 2008 or 2012.
My fave was the New Mexico one, which showed Jesse Pinkman being held prisoner down in the pit by the neoNazis. Which is appropriate, since N.M. ranked three positions below even us (Mississippi, of course, came in last). Maybe they’d be doing better if Mr. White were still alive and cooking, bringing in mad stacks, yo…
I was pleased, in skimming through my Washington Post app this morning, to run across this profile of Steve Spurrier, to which the Post gave prominent play. Pleased not because I wanted to read about the coach, but because it was written by Kent Babb, one of the finest sportswriters to pass through The State‘s newsroom during my years at the paper.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — College football’s biggest troll, to use the parlance of our times, is 69 years old and doesn’t have a Twitter account, which is probably for the best. He likes to play golf in his downtime and, if it’s hot enough outside, will take off his shirt in public and stand barefoot on the grass under a floppy hat.
He is from east Tennessee, likes cheap beer and NASCAR, but maybe the only thing he enjoys more than football is sharing his opinions on football — its coaches, its issues, its current and future welfare. He thinks college players should be paid, and, well, here he comes, sitting in front of a microphone in a meeting room at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“The media boys picked us to win the East,” South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said of reporters’ Southeastern Conference predictions, and what the so-called “media boys” think — including that, before Thursday night’s opening game against Texas A&M, the Gamecocks are the nation’s ninth-best team — is meaningless but worth mentioning. Everything, to Spurrier, is worth mentioning. A good team gets Spurrier excited, and that means he talks more, trains his sights tighter on his preferred targets…
You should read on. I’m sure it’s good. Anyway, I Tweeted to Kent that it was great to have him back in town, and he responded:
@BradWarthen Still feels like home, Brad. Thank God Uncle Louie’s and the Oyster Bar will never close.
— Kent Babb (@kentbabb) August 28, 2014
Football-related festivities actually got rolling yesterday afternoon, near as I could tell. I had an afternoon meeting in the Vista with folks from Palmetto Health Foundation about Walk For Life (more on that very soon), and the “entertainment district,” as it is called these days, was crawling with Aggies already.
And already, traffic tempers were frayed. As I walked from Pearlz up to the Capital City Club, there was something of a jam at Assembly and Gervais. One guy in a gargantuan pickup truck with no fewer than four Gamecock flags flapping from the roof was in the left-turn lane, southbound on Assembly, and incessantly honking at the poor woman in a sedan in front of him. She had nowhere to go, because the Gervais traffic to her left was backed up into the intersection, and still the folks northbound on Assembly were trying to flow into it.
But this bundle of hostility just kept honking, until the woman pulled over toward where she wanted to go and waited with her rear end out in the intersection. And the truck guy pulled up a few feet and sat there right where the woman had sat, of course, because there never had been anywhere for him to go.
What gets into these people? Steroids? What?
Anyway, I rode up to the club for our monthly chairman’s reception, and on the elevator with me was a little girl in a Gamecock cheerleader costume, holding a stuffed animal (a snow leopard, I think). Then I remembered — Cocky was coming to the reception. A good time was had by all, even those of us who are less than enthusiastic about the hoopla.
Early this afternoon, I found myself in Shandon, and on my way back to the office, I kept passing people who were loading up their cars, like evacuees. I kept thinking, better them than me.
Although, you know who I’m really feeling bad for today? A couple of days ago I got an email promotion from Rosewood Market & Deli, the locally-grown natural food store hanging on within the orbit of Earth Fare and Whole Foods, announcing the following:
I’m kind of thinking that’s going to run into some traffic problems. Hope I’m wrong.
Speaking of which, I’m going to pack up my laptop and get out of the downtown area.
Peggy Binette of the USC media office threw a poor blogger a bone and invited me on the official media tour yesterday of the fancy new ultra-modern, artsy, green, hyper-energy-efficient Darla Moore School of Business.
I’d have posted about it Wednesday, but was tied up the rest of the day.
The tour was like old home week. I ran into, let’s see… six people I used to work with at The State, two of whom actually still work there. So it was nice to catch up with them.
The building was really nice, too, although it will look better when the trees and plants come in, and they get some artwork up on the walls. I’m assured the architects have a plan for decorating the oceans of beige, but they’re not putting anything up until all construction is finished.
And it mostly is, or so it seemed. The building is fully in use, with students coming and going and faculty moved in to offices, but it will probably be awhile before it feels lived in.
In the video above, you hear Dean Peter Brews speak, with his South African accent, about the reaction of students to the new facility. He said they were saying it is “sick… which I gather is a positive thing.” For my part, I didn’t know the kids were still saying that.
For the basics, here’s The State‘s story from the tour. The messages for the day were:
- This is a banner day for the Moore School, putting business education at USC in an enviable position in terms of facilities and capabilities.
- The beauty, functionality and energy-efficiency of the building.
- Collaboration. Over and over, we heard how faculty and students from different disciplines who never saw each other in the old, vertical building are already interacting to an unprecedented extent, which is expected to lead to all sorts of good things.
And, yes, the fact that the building is where it is to act as “a gateway for the University of South Carolina leading into the Innovista district.” Beyond that, I’ll let pictures tell the story…
On a previous thread, Silence expressed how tired he was of “everyone’s stupid ice bucket challenge videos.”
He’s not alone in that. Even this laudatory article (“The Perfect Viral Storm“) on an advertising industry site notes the meme’s “somewhat annoying ubiquity.”
That aside, there’s no denying that this is the best thing to happen in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease since, well, Lou Gehrig. (Even if, as Silence also pointed out, Gehrig may not have had ALS.)
Samuel Tenenbaum, head of Palmetto Health Foundation, made that very observation to me yesterday in a breakfast meeting in which he and I and Ashley Dusenbury were discussing the promotion of this year’s Walk for Life (watch for more coming on that very soon, teammates!). The Walk has been hugely successful, and they already have some mechanisms in place to make it even more successful this year, but Samuel stands ready to have ice dumped on him if it will make it more successful yet.
Then, over in the world of political advocacy, I received this yesterday from Conservation Voters of South Carolina:
Folks, here’s a challenge that doesn’t involve ice buckets.
When local officials, citizens and natural resource managers are meeting to prepare for sea level rise, wouldn’t you think it’s time for us to pay attention? I challenge you to learn more about the public workshopsin Bluffton and St. Helena Island sponsored by the Beaufort County Planning Dept, Sea Grant Consortium and USC’s CISA.
When veterans talk about “climate security” and the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events to “critical infrastructure at home,” shouldn’t we take note? I challenge you to read Clay Middleton’s letter to the editor of The State.
When the Washington Post announces a series of climate editorials and observes that “despite ups and downs in the polling, a solid majority of Americans favors action to curb greenhouse emissions,” we are reminded of Governor Sanford’s warning in an op ed to that paper in February, 2007: “If conservatives cannot reframe, reclaim and respond to climate change with our principles intact, government will undoubtedly provide a solution, no matter how taxing it may be.” I challenge you to ask Governor Haley to tell us where she stands on climate. Click here to send her a message
Yeah, she has a completely different point, but you can read in that lede a certain envy, a wish that her challenges might acquire the “somewhat annoying ubiquity” of the ALS phenomenon.
Success has that effect.