Open Thread for Thursday, June 4, 2016

Some suggestions on this anniversary of D-Day minus 1 (in the original Overlord plan, before it was set back a day):

Five Points flooded again. Are you shocked? — When will we do something about the weather — or at least about its effects?

Basil sells Rosewood Market and Deli — To someone who at least may be familiar to some local folks.


Chinese hackers breached federal workers’ data — More ominous news from the cybersecurity front.

Advisory panel urges FDA to approve ‘female Viagra’ — Hey, I just picked this because it said “female Viagra.” I have no opinion on this. I’m still puzzled about MALE Viagra: If your body doesn’t want to, why not just leave it alone?

Or whatever interests you…

18 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, June 4, 2016

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I’m not sure what can be done about gravity and the flow of a large quantity of rainwater over impervious surfaces. Five Points was once a pond, so….and that was before all the paving uphill.
    My rollcart and two very heavy recycling bins were moved ten feet down the street, still upright, by the force of the rainwater.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Yes, and i would not have been so surprised, had the rollcart toppled over, but nope–just slid intact. It was wild walking around along Rocky Branch–a six foot chunk of stump wedged under the guardrail at Wheat St. and Main and Whaley still fenced off with hurricane fencing!

  2. Lynn Teague

    With respect to the cartoon: The most truthful and important comment on the inability of the Senate to act on important issues came from Sen. Wes Hayes this week in a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee. He observed that for the body to address important issues like roads and ethics reform it will be necessary for senators to give up some prerogatives, to invoke cloture more often when faced with filibusters, and to revise the rules so that individuals and small groups can’t so easily prevent progress. His remarks were met with resounding silence from the other senators present, some of whom are notable for their ability to do precisely what Sen. Hayes argued against – use the arcane rules of the Senate to stop legislation. The rules of the Senate were intended to prevent the majority from riding roughshod over minorities in the body, which is very important, but this has been taken destructive extremes. Sometimes objections are placed on bills simply because a single senator wishes to remind everyone that he can. (The “he” is correct in this instance; the one female senator in South Carolina doesn’t play that game.) More important, the current fracture lines within the Senate contribute to greater-than-usual disfunction. Major issues aren’t debated at all, or only briefly. At least one senator has complained that ethics reform slowed the Senate down. That is not true. The Senate spent very little time on ethics reform, letting only one bill onto the floor for debate and cutting debate on that one bill short with a destructive amendment that forced reform supporters to vote against it. Senators then placed objections on the remaining bills and refused to grant special order so that they could be debated on the floor. In that context, raw self-interest can triumph over the interests of the state very easily, and does.

    On the bright side, under the responsible leadership of Speaker Jay Lucas, the House did its homework, starting with serious study committees months before the session began. Their work did not disappear into the air, but became pre-filed bills that were seriously deliberated in subcommittee, committee and on the floor of the House, and often passed. Anyone who wanted to understand the positions being taken, and who was taking them, could watch the process and hear the serious debates of those on all sides of the issues. I don’t like all of the results, there were bills that passed that I believe are serious mistakes, but they were the result of the kind of vetting process that is essential for legislative work in the public interest and undeniably reflect the majority will of the body. So, the good news is that South Carolina has a legislative body that is functional, deliberative, and productive on issues of importance to the wellbeing of the state. If other senators listened to Sen. Hayes, we might have two of them.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      Thanks so much for your thoughtful and informed contribution.

      It’s related to what I was trying, less patiently, to explain to Doug the other day: In the Senate, this or that individual member can be the obvious problem in blocking legislation — but I blame the rest of them (or the majority of the rest of them) for letting it happen. And they let it happen so that, when they want to, they can get away with the same thing.

      This goes back to what I said frequently when we were doing the Power Failure project all those years ago: Lawmakers have power, but it is mostly NEGATIVE power — not the power to DO anything, but the power to stop anything from being done. That’s part of the reason why South Carolina has the most conservative form of government I’ve ever seen — “conservative” in the true sense of the word, that of resisting change.

      Of course, this is far more true of the Senate than the House — but it only takes one body to block change.

      And you’re right to praise Lucas. He’s taken a traumatized body (from the last years of Harrell’s rule) and turned it into an effective legislation machine.

      There was a time when it was possible for positive change to come out of the Senate, but it was long before my time. The days when a governor could take a bottle of whiskey to the top senator’s office and, by the time the bottle was empty, have a technical college system were long gone by the time I got here.

      1. Lynn Teague

        You’re so right that the problem isn’t any one senator. An entrenched majority (and here again I don’t mean majority party, but simply a majority of senators) likes the current system because it works for them personally.

  3. Lynn Teague

    Clarification – By “will of the majority” I don’ t mean that the majority party always gets what it wants, at least in broad outline. It often does, but the majorities in the House are often bipartisan. I also don’t mean that the Senate should be just like the House. It is reasonable to have a body in which minority viewpoints are better protected than under House rules. However, it shouldn’t be possible to stop progress in its tracks on almost every major issue, often with little or no public debate. This does far more to protect simple self-interest (for example, legislators not wishing to disclose private income sources) than it does to protect the rights of all citizens.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Here’s what presidential candidate Lindsey Graham had to say about the hacking:

    “I fear the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management may turn out to be yet another example of America being walked over by rivals and adversaries. The Obama Administration’s failures in foreign policy and national security continue to pile up yet they do nothing to change course. I fear a cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’ is increasingly more likely if we do not invest in the necessary infrastructure to protect our nation.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      If I were working in the Graham campaign (and I wish I could; I think it would be enormous fun — I think I’m going to write a separate post about that), this would be my role: Working with him to get him to express his views (which I share) in a way that makes it harder to lampoon him.

      What do people (especially those on the left who think it’s ridiculous to care about national security anyway) make fun of him for? For sounding like Chicken Little. Jon Stewart especially, but plenty of others as well.

      And he asks for it:

      Statement from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham on Chinese Hacking:

      “I fear the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management may turn out to be yet another example of America being walked over by rivals and adversaries. The Obama Administration’s failures in foreign policy and national security continue to pile up yet they do nothing to change course. I fear a cyber ‘Pearl Harbor’ is increasingly more likely if we do not invest in the necessary infrastructure to protect our nation.”

      That may be the shortest release I’ve ever seen from Lindsey Graham. And yet, he managed to start TWO of its three sentences with “I fear…”

      Is anybody thinking about this stuff? I mean, someone with Graham’s ear. Someone he would listen to…

      1. Doug Ross

        That’s fine. Lindsey can spend his time living in fear while the rest of us are living our lives. He needs a hobby or a wife to give him something else to think about.

        1. Barry

          Just heard some guy on CNN – a high tech security analyst- talk about how serious this actually was- and he also predicted nothing would be done about it.

          he said China will continue to hack, the US will not doing anything about it- and eventually it will cause the US major, major problems – and some of that is happening now

          He said China doesn’t see anything wrong with hacking such information – and will continue to do so because nothing happens as a result.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            In thirty years (after they declassify all the records) it will probably come out that Hillary’s private e-mail server was the backdoor for all sorts of security breaches.

      2. Mark Stewart

        Only a career bureaucrat would view a breach of the Office of Personnel Management as the pathway to “Pearl Harbor”. The IT systems analyst who detected this intrusion should be given the Bronze Star and issued combat fatigues for his desk work on behalf of our great country!

        Brad, Lindsey had a moment of opportunity to represent the fresh voice of reason in SC politics; but he’s wandered off chasing dragon flies – and has been gone a good long time now. It may be best to let his little quixotic parade across the nation’s stage continue its inevitable march into irrelevancy. Surely there are other potential candidates to support? Nearly all of them could use some serious seasoning on the voter-facing side of their operations.

  5. SBS

    Of all the photos of James Metts, there is one The State published last year — he was politicking sitting down with an attractive woman (politician?) standing behind him. It was a black and white photo. Does anybody know who is the woman in that photo is?


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