Here’s Where I am on the Hillary Clinton E-mail Thing

Where is this Clinton e-mail story going to end? I mean, the idea of running a server out of your house for privacy strikes me as paranoid. It’s not like the office of the Secretary of State didn’t have e-mail capability. In fact, having a government e-mail would seem like one of the perks of the job.

Here’s where I am on this: Under no circumstances should the Secretary of State be setting up a remote, private server for conducting official business. I don’t care if it has absolutely unassailable cybersecurity. Can we all agree on this, or am I off-base?

Aside from the technical aspects and the legalities, which we could argue over forever, is that ever since this revelation on March 2, 2015, we haven’t heard from Mrs. Clinton. Is she ever going to talk about this, or is she just going to ignore it? If this is how she handles controversies and crises, I’m not impressed. Everyone keeps talking about how strong a candidate Hillary is (or will be). I’m starting to question that. Seems like a good candidate would get out there and address this.

In related news, Lindsey Graham said he’s “never sent an e-mail“. Between Hillary running her own super-secret e-mail server and Sen. Graham never sending an e-mail, this is ridiculous. Can we just get some normal people up in Washington?

Cameron Runyan gets another opponent

You might have already seen this, but on Friday, the Free Times reported that John Adams has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the Columbia City Council seat currently held by Cameron Runyan.

The field for November’s election for an at-large seat on Columbia City Council continues to swell.

On Wednesday, John Adams, son of former Columbia Mayor T. Patton Adams, told Free Times he intends to run for the at-large seat currently occupied by Cameron Runyan.

With Adams in the race, the current field of contenders now likely stands at four. Runyan says he plans to seek re-election. Longtime political consultant Tige Watts has announced he is running for the seat and local hip-hop artist Preach Jacobs has said he is strongly considering a run.

Having this many candidates at least means that the voters will get choices, so that’s a plus when it seems like so many elections in South Carolina are uncontested. I’m hoping that competition will produce good ideas.

Our man in Bangkok…looking more suave

Since I had such an unflattering photo of Brad in an earlier post, I thought it would only be fair to show this photo of Brad, after arriving, looking more…suave. I’ll be posting more pictures from time to time, but if you want to directly follow him, you can get the pictures direct from his Twitter feed.

Do we want to put a woman on the $20 bill?

                            If we remove Andy Jackson, who would take his place?

Apparently, there’s a movement afoot to put a woman on an official U.S. bank note.

Now, I’m always amused when I see ol’ Hickory on the $20 bill, because he was so widely known for his dislike of banking in general, and his specific dislike for paper money. So maybe the Treasury Department is having the last laugh, and maybe he wouldn’t mind so much if we removed his portrait from the $20 bill.

I don’t have any particular objection replacing Jackson. But who would we put there? You should have a deserving candidate, not just put someone there because you can.

“On Sunday, Women on 20s began inviting people to visit the site and vote for their favorite candidates to replace Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill; the choices include Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The women were selected from a longer list of a hundred names based on their societal impact and the difficulties they faced in pursuing their goals.”

There are plenty of deserving people. Why arbitrarily limit it to women? Certainly, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be an obvious candidate if you didn’t limit the field to women. Who else would you like to see on a $20?

Your Virtual Front Page, Friday March 6, 2015

I’ll ease all y’all into my tenure in a nice comfortable way. We’ll start with a VPF today. (Tomorrow, the re-education camps will be open for business. On the bright side, coffee will be complimentary.)

1. POTUS comes to Columbia, SC: I drove by Benedict early this AM on my way out of town, so I missed all the hoopla. Did anyone do anything special for the Presidential trip?

2. Democrats vow to protect Boehner from Tea Party coup: I know the logic here is that the House Democrats would prefer to stay with Boehner than a more conservative Speaker who would be even less inclined to compromise, but it’s still a weird dynamic. I guess this is what passes for bipartisanship these days.

3. Iraq officials cast doubt on Spring offensive to re-take Mosul from ISIS: I guess if I were an Iraqi general, I’d be pessimistic about my military’s chances at accomplishing anything either. The Iraqi military seems to dissolve like sugar in hot water every time there’s serious fighting to be done.

4. Jenny Sanford applies for DHEC post:  She just sent them her resume. She’s a little on the thin side when it comes to experience, but she did say that while she was first lady of SC, “I spent a lot of time talking about health and wellness and disease prevention. Those are issues DHEC deals with seriously and consistently.” So she’s got that going for her.

5. Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail system might not have been very secure: I’m no tech expert, but I’m just going with the general idea that the federal government’s e-mail system is likely to be far more secure than anything that a private guy can set up for you in your home.

You are present at the revolution

Caskey Tie

There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to refresh the page. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We can reduce the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. For the next two weeks, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to…

As you may know, Brad will be jetting off to Thailand on Saturday, and will be gone for a fortnight. We wish him happy travels.

Why say Brad in the third person? Because, I, Bryan Caskey, will be filling in as “Editor of the Blog” while Brad is gone. We may (or may not) have a peaceful transition when he returns.

Brad will do his best to post during his travels, but the iPad he will be carrying is of limited utility for that purpose. Be kind to me, for I hold the keys to the kingdom. I can be bribed, but I am not cheap.

On a more serious note, if you need help for comment moderation, need to report a technical problem, have any suggested topics, or otherwise need assistance, you may e-mail me at bryancaskey@fastmail.net

There’s not much more that I am at liberty to say right now, because Brad is standing over me and dictating this message to me while I learn the WordPress interface. The fun begins on Saturday.

That is all, carry on. Talk amongst yourselves.

Open Thread for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

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Well, I hate to do back-to-back Open Threads like this, but it’s a busy week.

Here’s what I’m seeing out there…

  1. Judge stops firing of SC State president — What a mess, I confess. So… is there anything anyone can do about this situation? Not that I think firing this guy who didn’t actually create the mess is the solution…
  2. High Court Divided at Health-Law Argument — Does it bother anyone else when reporters and editors try to guess how the court will rule based on the hearing? It’s always kinda bugged me…
  3. U.S. Calls on Ferguson to Overhaul Its Justice System — The cop at the center of the probe was cleared of wrongdoing, but the whole city government was essentially indicted in this report.

Anything else y’all want to mention?

Open Thread for Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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Some possible topics:

Whoa! I need to run out and vote for sheriff — This totally snuck up on me, which never would have happened when I was still at the paper. Any of you who also live in Lexington County, please share any thoughts you have on the subject. I’m probably going to follow my colleagues’ advice (they’ve met with and quizzed all of these guys; I have not) and vote for Jay Koon, even though the governor backs him.

Netanyahu Criticizes ‘Bad Deal’ — Don’t know whether he’s right or not. But I agree with Susan Rice (for once) that “A bad deal is worse than no deal.” Hope she means it. But now that it’s done, what do y’all think? Should Bibi have spoken to Congress, or not?

House passes legislation to fully fund DHS — I know it was silly of me to worry, but I seldom travel by air, and I’ve never traveled as far from home as we’re about to, and it was stressing me just a little bit to think of having to deal with ticked-off TSA workers who are not getting paid to work. After all, I went to all that trouble to buy a backpack that I was assured was the right size for carryon, and what if I get somebody who arbitrarily announces it isn’t? I don’t want to check it and lose all my stuff somewhere between here and Southeast Asia…

Y’all have any other ideas?

And just for a little something extra to talk about: Do you suppose even Robin Hood could have done this?

OK, let’s talk about ‘House of Cards,’ Season 3

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Some of y’all brought up this topic on a previous thread, so I thought I’d start a separate one.

Like many of you, I’ve at least gotten started on the new season of “House of Cards.” I’ve watched four episodes so far. Don’t know whether I’ll continue.

I managed to slog through last season, and was actually missing it a little when someone suggested I try watching “The West Wing,” which I had never seen. As you know, I really, really loved that show, and went on and on about it here. And now that I’ve watched a show about Washington that is that enjoyable, it’s hard to sit still for something that doesn’t have a single likable character.

Perhaps I will go back and finish watching the original, British version — even though M. just gave away the ending (I won’t link to that spoiler, on the previous thread). I did like it a little better — although I only saw the first series, or season…

In these few episodes so far of the new season, I feel like the writers have run out of ideas, and are getting frustrated trying to think of new, more shocking ways for Frank Underwood to show how thoroughly rotten he is.

Slight spoiler: Take the opening scene of the first episode. You sort of knew what he was about to do standing at his father’s grave. And one’s credulity is strained. Frank is supposed to be smart. What if the request of one of the journos to get closer and observe Frank at the grave had been granted? It could have happened. And that would have been it for F.U.

Slightly worse spoiler: And what about the end of the fourth episode, which I saw last night? You can almost hear the writer thinking, What could Frank do, face-to-face with a nearly lifesize crucifix, that would still be shocking? And yes, it manages to shock (or at least offend), even though something very like it is anticipated. What’s not credible about the scene is how Frank got there. We are led to believe that Frank has a conscience and that it’s nagging at him, so he goes to the church sincerely seeking moral guidance (and if he’s not sincere, what is he doing there, since there’s no audience to perform for) — but then recoils at the central Christian message. Love is what causes him to back away and revert to type. Which is true to his character. It’s just not credible that he would have been there in the first place.

Anyway, what do y’all think so far?

My favorite Leonard Nimoy tribute item

I really enjoyed learning about the Jewish roots of Mr. Spock’s “live long and prosper” gesture.

Nimoy was a guy who deserved to be known for more than that one rather cheesy (no, really, I’ve been watching it on Netflix) TV show. But at least he was loved for it, and I’m glad he became reconciled to that later in life….

Oh, and my second favorite Nimoy tribute was the one below, by Astronaut Terry Virts:

Open Thread for Monday, March 2, 2015

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In five days, I’ll be on the way to Thailand, so I’ve got a lot on my plate, but will try to keep the blog going. That’s going to be tough while I’m gone, because I’m not taking my laptop.

So let’s make the most of what we’ve got now:

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham heads to New Hampshire next week to test 2016 waters — I can tell him right now, any water up there is likely to be solid.

Iraq ‘seizes districts from IS’ — While the U.S. sits back and watches. Forget the Chinese. Maybe this will end up being the Iranian Century…

Gov. Nikki Haley on economic trip to undisclosed location — Maybe she can say hey to Dick Cheney for us. Seriously, I hope the trip goes well for SC.

Turns out Obama loves us after all…

As you’ve heard, Rudy Giuliani recently said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me.”

Well, speak for yourself, Mr. Mayor.

We had kinda wondered whether he loved us here in South Carolina — as of when I wrote this post, we were one of only three states he had not visited as president — but now all our concerns are assuaged:

President Barack Obama will visit Benedict College in Columbia on Friday for a youth event, The White House said.

Obama has not visited South Carolina since winning the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Jan. 26, 2008….

Details about the president’s visit will be released later this week, The White House said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, has worked to bring Obama back to South Carolina.

“I’m pleased to welcome President Barack Obama back to South Carolina,” Clyburn said in statement provided to The State. “I thank President David Swinton and the Benedict College family for hosting President Obama’s event with students and youth leaders.”…

Don’t open that email! I’ve been hacked…

I just went out to pick up some lunch, and on the way there and back, I heard from two people via text and two by phone that they had received an email from me that said something about a Google Doc.

Well, I did not send ANY such message. Apparently, my ADCO account has been hacked.

DON’T open it!

I apologize for any inconvenience…

Obviously, it’s blue and BROWN

I was rather puzzled reading this story in The Washington Post this morning, about some huge social media controversy over whether this dress is white and gold, or blue and black.

When, of course, it’s obviously blue and a particularly muddled sort of brown.

Here’s the only explanation the story offered:

The answer involves how light enters the eye and the split-second decisions your brain makes upon discerning that information — without your even noticing. When confronted by an ambiguous situation like this dress, your brain may eliminate one color and focus on another. “Our visual system is supposed to throw away information,” University of Washington neuroscientist Jay Neitz told Wired.

And for whatever reason, whether it’s a skewed white balance or the lighting behind the dress, this image hits people in different ways. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black,” Bevil Conway of Wellesley College told Wired….

I was SUCH a good boy this morning

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I resisted temptation, but I DID take a picture. So does this qualify as food porn?

 

So here it is the second Friday in Lent, and this morning, for the first time in a couple of weeks, the breakfast buffet at the club had those lovely, juicy, fat sausages that I like so much.

But… I… did… not… indulge!

So I expect you all to be terribly impressed at my virtue and self-discipline…

Tony Keck: The pro from Dover who turned out just to be another hired gun

Just want to make sure you don’t miss Cindi Scoppe’s column today. The headline in the paper was “The anti-Medicaid argument unmasked.” It’s a bit more descriptive online: “What does it mean that SC Gov Nikki Haley’s chief anti-Medicaid lobbyist has changed his tune to match his new job?” (Which, of course, would not have fit in the paper.)

An excerpt:

THE POST and Courier had an article the other day about the conversion of Tony Keck, who served as Gov. Nikki Haley’s chief Medicaid-expansion opponent before he left last year to take a job with a Tennessee hospital system that, like pretty much any hospital system in the country, supports the Medicaid expansion that he worked so hard to block on this side of the border.

Under the headline “Former Haley health care adviser says Medicaid expansion might work elsewhere,” the article noted that Mr. Keck’s new employer supported the recent attempt to expand the program in Tennessee, and it quoted Mr. Keck as saying that expanding Medicaid to cover more people under Obamacare “might be the best choice for some states, and it might not be in other states.”

And you could just feel Medicaid supporters in our state rising up in smug unison to cry out “Hypocrite!” Sort of like they did when he first landed his new gig, only louder…

You have to understand that Keck was important to selling the completely bankrupt notion that South Carolina shouldn’t expand Medicaid, and get a huge windfall from the feds to provide medical care to South Carolinians — not to mention providing a lot of good jobs at hospitals.

Keck was portrayed as this whiz kid who could back up the Tea Party article of blind faith (and blind hostility to anything branded “Obama”) with what sounded to a lot of people like compelling fact.

But now that his bread is buttered on the other side, he has discovered that Medicaid expansion is a good thing for “some states.” Such as the one where he’s working now.

Yep, it’s a good thing for “some states,” all right. Such as South Carolina, and the other 49. And it always was.

“Some states” and not others? Really? What a bunch of hooey. Another excerpt:

… Mr. Keck was the respectable face of Gov. Nikki Haley’s purely partisan, and tea-partian, opposition to a program that, by any honest analysis, would be good for our state. Maybe not for our nation — and maybe that’s how we ought to look at it — but clearly good for our state, which is how our legislators normally look at such things.

Mr. Keck was the outside expert, the wunderkind our governor wooed away from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration, who understood public health and public-health finances. The person who could make a respectable argument that didn’t sound like warmed-over talking points from the National Republican Committee or FOX News. Certainly that’s why I always liked and respected him, even though I disagreed with him.

But it turns out that for all of his expertise, he was, first and foremost, a hired hand. The guy hawking Big Macs not because he liked them best but because he worked for McDonalds. The guy waving the pom-poms for Medicaid rejection not because that was what was best for our state — or at least not primarily because of that — but because that’s what the boss was selling….

But that’s not the bad part. You know what the bad part is? That now that there is no pretense about the fact that the anti-Medicaid emperor never had on a stitch of clothing, we are still stuck with no Medicaid expansion.

Why? Because Nikki Haley, and too many of her allies, don’t care what the facts are. They don’t want South Carolinians receiving this benefit, and that’s that.

Open Thread for Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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You ever go to type “2015,” and think, “What happened? How did I get transported so far into the future all of a sudden?” Drat that Doc Brown

Anyway, here are some possible topics. You may have some others in mind:

DHEC board chair defends Kitzman hiring process as new search begins — Talk about defending the indefensible. Yet, “In an email Tuesday evening to The State, board chairman Allen Amsler answered ‘no’ when asked if the eight-member panel made any mistakes in the process of choosing Kitzman as director….” Wowee.

Haley: SC should not borrow $500 million — And as is her wont, she’s talking about Brian White as though he were some wild-eyed, free-spending liberal or something (as if we’d seen anyone like that in leadership positions in the Legislature in the past decade or two): “We got an issue of a chairman of Ways and Means who wants to … run up the credit card debt just because he can.”

Marijuana set to be legalized in D.C. at midnight — You mean, those people up there weren’t already stoned the last few years? Their judgment is going to be further impaired? Maybe it’s a good thing I’m about to leave the country for awhile. Speaking of which…

DHS shutdown: Boehner says House in ‘wait-and-see mode’ as deadline looms — Yeah, they would go messing with the agency that handles airport security right when I’m about to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Far East. Sheesh.

Y’all have anything better to bring up?

OK, now I’m starting to get a little interested in this net neutrality thing

On one level, I’m posting these videos purely for the enjoyment of Doug and others who think the government exists to screw things up.

On another…

Well, I’ve never really gotten into this net neutrality debate because a) honestly, I’ve never read enough about it to confidently say I fully understand it, and b) I can’t tell from what little I know which side is right, so I don’t really have a position on it.

But wow — these heavy-handed “government is stupid and malicious” videos are telling me maybe I’d better get hip to this issue. These videos are entertaining, until you realize they’re not really kidding. These folks want you to think that net neutrality is a menace.

That makes me think maybe the other side has a point, and that maybe somebody needs to stand up for it.

But I still don’t know enough to say for sure…