Open Thread for Sunday, July 19, 2015

A special Sunday thread — not because there’s any special news going on, but just to provide y’all with something going into what looks like a busy Monday for me:

  1. Trump Lashes Out At McCain: ‘I Like People Who Weren’t Captured’ — Meanwhile The Guardian, which finds Americans endlessly appalling, is leading with the fact that this yahoo is, going by polls, the GOP front-runner at the moment. Which prompts the musical question, “Whither the GOP?”
  2. Bill Cosby in His Own Words: Sex, Drugs and Deception — Showing what a slow news day this is, the NYT is actually leading with this.
  3. Tenn. gunman used drugs, struggled with clash of faith — To throw in some hard news, as leavening.
  4. Should Tillman statue tell what he was really like? — Since no monuments are to be removed, should they — especially this one — be placed in historical context? By the way, the answer is “yes.”
  5. KKK, other groups raise voices at State House — I had posted something about this earlier, then decided that what I had written was SO thin and based on unfounded speculation that I took it down, in keeping with the “when in doubt, leave it out” rule. But here you go, in case you’re interested in saying anything about it.
  6. ‘As if!’ Clueless turns 20 — Just some pure fun. Thought we could use some. I’m Audi. Be seeing you — not sporadically, I hope.

51 thoughts on “Open Thread for Sunday, July 19, 2015

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Actually, I should have made the Trump thing a separate post.

    Seriously, how is the GOP to be seen as a serious party for grownups (think Eisenhower) when polls make it looks like an overexcited crowd of lemmings rushing here and there following whoever is the most outrageously extreme figure at a given moment?

    Think of the 2012 campaign — one fringe candidate after another being the flavor of the week. Even South Carolina Republicans, who had long prided themselves on backing eventual nominees, ran off the cliff with Newt Gingrich. And now Trump — easily the biggest joke out there — being taken seriously by a plurality? Really? If Miley Cyrus or Tiny Tim or Carrottop ran for the GOP nomination, would each become a front-runner for a time, depending on who had said or done the most outrageous thing recently?

    As Cher would say, serious Republicans have got to be totally buggin’ about now…

    1. Bryan Caskey

      I think it’s a symptom of voter frustrations with the established parties, here the GOP. Trump’s success lies in him casting himself as outside of the political system.

  2. Karen Pearson

    I love the Arial cartoon. It says all that needs said about the KKK. I’m not a McCain fan, but Trump’s take on his is fluctuating somewhere between lunatic and just plain despicable. The party of Eisenhower no longer exists; a disparate bunch of yahoos and crazies have stolen the name.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I scratched my head over the little white whipped creams, or dog piles…..took me a bit.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I like that The State only put this on their inside news page I don’t like that they wasted precious news space on a pointless letter from the editor about typeface and news tempos….We know you whacked a bunch of great content providers and substituted some nice freelance columns by Sally McInerney. Don’t pat yourself on the back….

  4. susanincola

    I was at both rallies Saturday, and the most upsetting thing I experienced was the tweet from Curtis Loftis. The kkk was certainly hateful, but they have no actual power. Shoot, they didn’t even have a microphone. But Loftis is an elected official, and every Sunday puts a picture of a church on his fb page and wishes God’s blessing on everyone. And then sends an unhelpful, misleading, divisive tweet out identifying some black youths doing something that he had no context for (from the picture who knows what was happening) and labelling it “disgusting”. It’s not like I’ve never been disappointed by an elected official before, of course, but I found this very disappointing.

    1. Mark Stewart

      It’s a family thing with the Loftis’. I wouldn’t expect any different behavior or expression from Curtis; they don’t fly the Confederate states flag in remembrance of fallen soldiers after all.

      It does add a certain richness to the irony of the saccharine religiosity though.

    2. Dave Crockett

      I’ve caught some grief on this blog before with my opinions on Loftis (primarily in reference to his state retirement fund witch hunt and his ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him on anything). I’ll just say that his comments were perfectly in keeping with his world view.

  5. Lynn Teague

    Agree on the Tillman statue. If any statue was to come down, that would be the one, but history is history. Use the statue to educate the public about the reality of our history. Just actual quotes from Tillman would go far toward making people think seriously about what he represents, and what his having been elected governor and senator say about South Carolina at that time.

    1. Doug Ross

      Will they do a similar profile of a member of the New Black Panthers? Think there’s any government dependency in that group?

        1. Doug Ross

          What purpose did that article serve other than reinforce stereotypes? It was dripping with derision. “Ha, ha, look at the toothless KKK guy living off his girlfriend’s check”. People in fringe hate groups fit a common profile. Just wondering if the WaPo would have the guts to do the same for the New Black Panthers. Hypocrites are hypocrites.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “Dripping with derision?” Not bad. You could have also gone with:

            crowded with condescension
            mucho of mockery
            replete with ridicule
            suffused with scorn
            copious with contempt
            diffuse with disdain

            I know, I know, I kind of cheated with the letter “M” and used some Spanish lingo.

            Yeah, it’s a slow day at the office. I’m waiting for a conference call to start. 🙂

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            I’m not sure the stereotype of a KKK guy is one living off his girlfriend’s SS check. I think that’s more the black people stereotype.
            I think if you wanted to stereotype rednecks, you’d have them cooking meth in their singlewide.

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yeah… I’m reminded of what an upper-middle-class friend wrote on social media over the weekend: “Seeing the posts about the KKK rally yesterday at the State House made me wonder who was minding all the meth labs while this was going on?”

            … which makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel the occasional class guilt I felt back in the early part of last decade. That was back when we were fighting three things pretty hard: the flag, video poker and the state lottery. All of them things that a certain disadvantaged subset of the white population liked a lot. It made me feel a bit like a snob. Didn’t stop me from fighting them as hard as I could, though…

  6. Mike Cakora

    Sorry that I’m a bit late to the party, but I think that you missed two items worthy of comment in this open thread:

    The uproar at former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s gaffe at the Netroot’s Nation convocation for saying that “All Lives Matter” rather than the accepted “Black Lives Matter.” Of course he said the latter, but without the emphasis that the wacko crowd deemed acceptable.
    The video of the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood talking about the organization’s participation in “tissue donation programs” during abortions by using the forceps to avoid damage to the desired tissue, primarily livers, so that the organs can be “donated,” for a modest fee, to those desiring them. In most cases for resale.

    Given that Planned Parenthood targets minority communites, how can one conclude other than that while #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackLiversMatterMore?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      How did sales of aborted children begin? Did Planned Parenthood seek buyers or did the baby part buyers seek out Planned Parenthood? Does it depend by affiliate? Planned Parenthood has a corner on the market of freshly dead young humans. Does this market share make them significant in the human organ trade? Who are the buyers? Who arranges the sales? How much money changes hands? Do the buyers receive any federal funds? What research is conducted?

      1. Doug Ross

        Too many questions, Bryan. Just accept that using the proper technique to crush fetuses during abortions helps to preserve the organs for sale to medical and research facilities so that they may create more profitable drugs. It’s just tissue, Bryan. And, anyway, as a man you have no business inquiring into a woman’s personal choice to crush fetuses.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          I guess this explains the opposition to late-term abortions. After all, you can’t get the valuable organs for re-sale if you kill the baby too early.

          This is all too horrible to even discuss further.

          1. Doug Ross

            What’s horrible is that when there are actual negotiations concerning the price to be paid for aborted baby tissue. If the price per specimen is only $75-100, how much volume are we talking about to even justify negotiating a price? Is it worth negotiating for a couple a week? It’s almost unthinkable to imagine there being a supply / demand model that makes business sense. That’s the question I want answered – how many of these inventory orders has Planned Parenthood fulfilled? Thousands?

            1. Doug Ross

              And that sound you hear from the liberal wing of the blog on this topic is normally referred to as silence. Lot easier to rationalize a collection of cells versus something that has organs like, you know, a human.

      2. Mark Stewart

        You could, for a less incendiary take on the topic replace “Planned Parenthood” with “The American Red Cross”.

        I’m not sure about the ethics of this harvesting, but I’m also not sure that it is definitely a bad thing. As with most things, maybe a little sunlight and discussion is a good thing which will help codify what is, and is not, acceptable in this area of medical treatment/research.

        I don’t know enough to even begin to comment on the practice itself. It doesn’t sound like anyone else does either…

        1. Doug Ross

          ” It doesn’t sound like anyone else does either…”

          I’m only going by what two different high level people in Planned Parenthood have said on the videos. One described the process of crushing the fetus from the bottom up to preserve the liver. It would be very easy for Planned Parenthood to reveal the process if that is not true.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            If you’re going to make a very expensive omelet you have to kill some babies and sell them for spare parts.

            I think that is how the saying goes.

        2. Pat

          For Planned Parenthood to be involved with this is just awful. My first thought was to question whether they encourage the abortion to harvest the parts. It is not ethical. Back when W forbade federal funding for research to be done with the products of abortion, researchers cried it would tie their hands. We hear how necessary it is fo research on Parkinson’s. Yet, I recall, when umbilical and afterbirth tissue was all they had to work on, they made some remarkable discoveries. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when one chooses to do what’s right.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Of course Planned Parenthood encourages abortion to provide a steady flow of organ parts. It’s their raison d’etre, don’tcha know?

            People get abortions because they don’t want the pregnancy. That won’t ever change, and hasn’t throughout recorded history. Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides reproductive healthcare services. Whatever this tempest is about, it is nothing more than political theatrics. Yes, there is an important ethical question embedded in this, but it’s hard to uncover given the pile on top of it.

            1. Doug Ross

              I am pro-choice but of the camp that would like the number of times that choice is made to be as small a possible. At the same time, I am 100% opposed to those who offer abortion services to do anything but perform the procedure in the most humane (because it is a human) way possible. No selling parts. No surgical processes designed to maximize the viability of the organs. If it’s about the mother’s health, make it about just that.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                Well, PP is clearly trying to make a profit.

                If you’re in a business transaction and you’re going to ask for compensation from the buyer for purely your costs involved, then your costs are what they are. They’re known. Your costs don’t change according to each potential buyer. There’s no negotiation. You just say, my costs are X, and therefore you may have this item for X.

                However, if you are seller looking for money above your costs (a/k/a profit), then you negotiate for what the market will bear, as PP does in the video. There is simply no other reason for asking the buyer to state his price first.

              2. Kathryn Fenner

                PP is a nonprofit, but that means no “profits” inure to private individuals. It doesn’t mean they don’t have bills to pay. They are a 501(c)(3), to boot, and that confers a high level of legitimacy.

              3. Brad Warthen Post author

                I could use “inure” in a sentence about this topic, except it would be different. It would be more like, “the Planned Parenthood official has obviously become inured to the horror of what is being talked about here…”

              4. Doug Ross

                The CEO of Planned Parenthood made a salary of over a half million dollars in 2012. Non profit doesn’t mean they aren’t spending money like any other large corporation. They just use loopholes in the tax code to legitimize what is really a business looking for revenue. You think they’d be really happy if the number of customers they abort dropped by 50%?

              5. Doug Ross

                How many dead baby livers does it take to pay a CEO’s salary? If you’re negotiating a price, apparently not enough.

            2. Pat

              It definitely is an ethical question, and yes, there is a pile on top of it. They apparently change the procedure in order to save the parts which takes their focus off what’s best for the patient. I have a lot of questions. How well do they counsel their patients before the choice is made? What other options are they given? How do they gain the patient’s permission to donate the fetus? Is the patient given to believe it is necessary to offset the cost of the abortion? I could probably come up with more. Regardless whether it was a political gotcha, the videos have exposed a seedy side to their business.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                If only there was a group of people, an occupation no less, that was dedicated to asking questions, investigating, and reporting back to the general population in some sort of widely available medium.

                Eh, never gonna happen.

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                I feel like one of the old Jedi, a forgotten order, living quietly under the pseudonym “Brad Kenobi.”

                Perhaps someday, some young princess will send me a holographic message saying, “Help me, Wa-Wa! You’re my only hope.”

              3. Mark Stewart

                Good questions, Pat. And it is seedy. Personally, I find it odd that a doctor at PP (or anywhere) would be permitted to even discuss organ or tissue availability with a prospective acquirer. That is no way to operate.

                Most things in life are seedy, under the surface. Think about everything you don’t want to know about restaurants, hotels, religious organizations, government (there ya go, Doug), hospitals, and the list goes on and on. Nobody wants to see the sausage being made. Our society also fundamentally needs investigative journalism – which is not at all what happened here with Planned Parenthood.

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