Open Thread for Monday, November 9, 2015


I’m posting this mostly to find out whether y’all know of anything interesting to talk about today. The well seems pretty dry to me, but here are some possibilities:

  1. University of Missouri president resigns amid racial tensions — Was this a story before the guy resigned? If so, I missed it, and I thought I was pretty much up on major racial flashpoints. Everybody seems to be leading with it on this slow news day… Oh, wait — it seems to have had something to do with football. No wonder I missed it.
  2. Russia Engaged in Sports Doping, Commission Finds — It looks like I have a sports fixation today (there’s another coming below), but this was state-sponsored cheating by Putin’s Russia, and that seemed worth talking about…
  3. Susan Brill to run for Lourie seat — A contest between Brill and Mia McLeod will definitely be worth watching, starting with the fact that the Lourie family seems less than enchanted with the Democratic candidate. Joel’s brother Neal is on Ms. Brill’s campaign committee.
  4. Isn’t it bad enough that BOYS want to play football? — Just to take another slap at the only game we’re hearing about now that the Series is over (all too soon). The NYT ran brief essays from five people about the “problem” that some boys don’t think girls should play football. Each took a distinctive position, but not one challenged the premise that boys should want girls to play football. The pieces were all about how to make sure those boys get their minds right. Huh. Personally, I don’t think we should encourage boys to play football, and extending the insanity to the other half of the population strikes me as beyond absurd. But I  know I’m unusual.

That’s it. That’s all I’m seeing. Your suggestions are even more welcome than usual…



11 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, November 9, 2015

  1. Mark Stewart

    How about The State’s editorial about Ben Tillman’s 1895 Constitution?

    My favorite part was actually reading one of the online comments: someone wrote (basically) “and not one mention that he was a DEMOCRAT!”

    Face palm…. Nothing else so clearly says we need to focus on educating for decades and decades to come.

      1. Juan Caruso

        The problem with your casual response, Brad, is that some readers may take it seriously.

        Cindi Scoppe’s little history lesson used the words “White supremacist former Gov Ben Tillman engineered constitution, overturning all Reconstruction reforms…”

        No doubt Tillman’s political affiliation was omitted for its underlying irrelevance to her main points. The reader who commented may not disagree with Scoppe’s theme despite what Mark tries to imply. Moreover, historical factoid is correct (I checked) … Tillman was a Democrat Governor.

        Selective redactions of history improve neither the credibility nor breadth of anyone’s “education”. Rather, such omissions prevent uneducated people with distorted knowledge from ever questioning the complicity, consistency and credibility of their political parties, the “ichs” and “ichans”.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          But it’s meaningless. Once Reconstruction had ended, everybody who got elected was a Democrat. It would be rather silly to say, after every politician you mention in the period, “who was a Democrat.” It meant nothing.

          And of course, it’s particularly absurd for people who lean Republican TODAY to want to mention that tyrants of the past were Democrats, as though that’s somehow an indictment of their adversaries today.

          Do you actually believe that, were he running today, Tillman would be a Democrat? A 19th century South Carolina Democrat has about as much to do with, say, Vincent Sheheen as the man in the moon. It’s like being a Whig or a Federalist — the label doesn’t have the same meaning that it does in the 21st century.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    That potential Brill-McLeod matchup promises to be (so far) one of the two most interesting contests in South Carolina — the other being the primary race between Jenny Horne and Mark Sanford…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    MIzzou is my alma mater. When I was there in the early ’70s — and I hope I’m not being racist here, just observational — the black students weren’t a cross-section of the general population. About half were out of their league educationally because they were promoted out of high school by the government. Of these, about half failed out quickly, and about half knuckled down and did OK. The other “typical” black student at Mizzou in the early ’70s was generally a genius at something, the kind of person any institution would want. No matter where they came from, it was clear their life story was very different than mine — unless they were military dependents, and we would have that more in common than anything else.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Here’s the extent of my direct, personal knowledge of Missouri and race:

      In 1985, when I was news editor of The Jackson (TN) Sun, our copy desk chief and I drove to Missouri to interview some graduating journalism majors. My publisher had told me I could hire a reporter, as long as that reporter was a minority. I told the profs at Mizzou that, and they laughed at me. They had two black students graduating in print journalism. One was going someplace like the L.A. Times, and the other had turned down The New York Times for The Boston Globe.

      So I said, OK, show me what you DO have. I interviewed 12 or 15 prospects. My publisher relented when I found a good one and made my case. So I hired this white girl who later did very well at the paper, and at others.

      Now that I’m finished, I remember that I told this story before. Oh, well. This was an appropriate context in which to repeat it, I suppose…

  4. Doug Ross

    I hope the Missouri protesters get everything they want. I really do. Because then we’ll see how things turn out for them later on in life when they can’t just whine about everything and hold their breath until they get their way. The situation at Missouri wasn’t worthy of anyone losing his job.

    But now that the President is gone, racism has been eradicated. Good job!

  5. Bart

    After the success of a hunger strike by one individual along with support by an apparent majority of players on the football team plus the student body support, Missouri capitulated to the demands of the protesters and the president resigned. Thus, the power of the players was demonstrated in no uncertain terms.

    Looking forward, what happens when another collegiate team decides they don’t like something and resort to the same tactics? What if a team decides they do deserve to be compensated for their talents on the field and court because most of the players do not end up with pro contracts and many leave their health behind on the field or the court and no compensation for their contribution other than an education. But, if a player is hurt before he or she graduates, say in their sophomore year, most scholarships do not carry over until they graduate if they don’t or cannot play. Wouldn’t that be sufficient for players to take action using the best weapon possible – economic coercion?

    The precedent will be interesting to observe in the future because it is now a fact that the power of the players has been demonstrated and is real and if half of a team strikes or sits out a few games, a program can be destroyed and the college or university could be facing huge penalties depending on conference rules. If Missouri had forfeited the upcoming game, it would have cost the university $1 million. Considering the loss of revenue in other sources associated with athletic programs, the amounts could be staggering.

    Wonder when the other shoe will drop when the players understand just how much power they do hold if they stick together? This time the grievance was racism, what will it be the next time? And, don’t kid yourself, it will happen again.

    1. Doug Ross

      Yes, Bart. The protesters thought they won over black causes but it was really about the green.

      Meanwhile, students at SC State can’t be bothered to protest their administration and would have no power to cause any change without the race angle.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      Has anyone else seen the astonishing video going ’round of the Mizzou journalism student who is confronted when he tries to report on the protests that are happening in the public space?

      The protesters demanded that no reporters should be permitted to film their public protests. They formed a human shield and began pushing the student journalist back when he refused to leave. The student is explaining the First Amendment while the professor starts the “Hey Ho, this reporter has got to go” chant. Ultimately, another professor demands some “muscle” to deal with the student journalist.

      Respect our “space”…or we’ll call in “muscle”.

      These are the professors and our current college students. We’re so screwed as a country.

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