Open Thread for Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some topics, if there’s anyone out there at this hour:

  1. The election focus turns to South Carolina — Which is a little bit terrifying, given that both parties’ nomination processes are pretty much FUBAR at this point. The WashPost is reporting How New Hampshire turned into a nightmare for the Republican establishment, and it’s no picnic over on the Democratic side, either. FYI, Hillary Clinton lost women to Bernie in New Hampshire.
  2. Kelvin Washington pleads guilty to tax charges — That’s the second shoe to drop, after Brian Newman earlier. I see no mention of whether he will, you know, resign from Richland County Council. So I’m guessing the answer to that is “no.”
  3. Chris Christie drops out — Earlier in the day, Carly Fiorina did, too. I’m gonna miss Christie. I was looking forward to seeing him campaign down here. Here’s what he said about dropping out, on Facebook. Presumably, Marco Rubio is still running, because he had a rally here in Columbia today.
  4. Twitter Posts Loss Amid Growth Woes — Oh, yeah? Well… It’s still awesome, and Facebook still sucks. So there…
  5. US will not rule out ground troops being sent into Syria — Oops, I left out a word! It’s Saudi ground troops Ashton Carter was talking about. What did you think I meant? I’m not entirely clear why Saudi troops are the SecDef’s to rule out or rule in, but that’s what the story says.
  6. Should we just kill them all? — Mosquitoes, that is. Interesting piece in The Guardian about whether we should just deal with Zika, malaria, yellow fever and the whole mess by getting rid of the blood-sucking pests for good. The phrase is “editing nature,” which I find exciting, since newspapers don’t seem to be hiring editors anymore. Opportunity!




38 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    1. Norm Ivey

      Superdelegates–party officials who automatically get a delegate position and who can support whoever they want–are not bound by primary results. Those who have committed have mostly committed to Hillary.

      Republicans have them, too. I think they are the key to the contested convention scenario.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s not about likes. It’s objectively true that both parties’ processes are FU when neither is actually nominating someone who can be described as an exemplar of that party.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Except that he wasn’t a self-described Democrat until he ran in this election. (At least, I don’t think so. I never paid attention to him before now.) While it’s clear that Trump is no Republican, it’s even clearer that Sanders is not a Democrat.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            OK, I looked it up. Yeah, Sanders is running as a “Democrat” for the first time. He never called himself that before 2015.

            Ron Paul is far more of a Republican than Sanders is a Democrat, in that at least he’s won office running as one…

  1. Karen Pearson

    You mess with mother Nature only at great risk. We, and the earth could probably survive quite well without Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus, but let’s be careful about killing all species, and let’s make very sure that what we use to get rid of them doesn’t get rid of some creatures we need.

    1. Lynn Teague

      Ditto, Karen. We know a great deal about the planet we live on, but the most important thing we know is that we don’t know enough to intervene on a large scale without the possibility of unexpected bad consequences. I hate to quote Rumsfeld, but the one really sensible thing he ever said that was what he caught the most flack for: there are known knowns, and there are known unknowns, but then there are the unknown unknowns. We’ve got a lot of unknown unknowns when talking about doing in a genus.

        1. Karen Pearson

          Are you absolutely sure that nothing that eats them is a part of a necessary biological chain that supports us? Or that it doesn’t link in some vital way to a plant or microscopic organism that keeps the ecosystem in a balance that is comfortable to us. Can we kill these species without killing something we need? I’m sure a competent biologist could come up with more concerns than these. The point is, we should be very careful before we choose to exterminate a species, and very careful of how we do it.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            I’m sure there’s a bird or bat or something that probably eats mostly mosquitoes, and I’m sure that there’s some fish that eats the larvae. Sure, we don’t know exactly what might happen if we completely eradicate the mosquito. I acknowledge the risk. I’m just saying…it’s a chance I’m willing to take. Because mosquitoes are horrible.

        2. Norm Ivey

          Tree-hugger that I am, I’m not going to march in defense of mosquitoes. I could get behind a species-specific extinction in the interest of public health and the god-like satisfaction that a purposeful extinction must give. It would be an interesting experiment.

          Kinda-sorta related–I have a bat house, and my bats have already returned. They normally don’t come back until March or April. I don’t know if that means the unusually warm December confused them, or if they are following an increasing insect harvest.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Boom! Norm’s with me. Who else is with me? I mean, you’re either for the terrorists mosquitoes or you’re against them.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        It’s “flak,” not “flack.” It’s short for Fliegerabwehrkanone, the German term for anti-aircraft artillery.

        A “flack” is something I never thought I’d be but am, much of my time — a public-relations person, a publicist….

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          That is one of my very favorite bits of pedantry. It’s better when I’m editing someone face-to-face, because I get to SAY Fliegerabwehrkanone, affecting a German accent, which gives it a much more esoteric effect.

          To someone like Bryan or Burl or Mike Fitts, it’s unimpressive. They’d say, yeah, I know. But most journalists don’t know squat about military history, so they’re like “Wha… Where did THAT come from?”

          Unnecessary explanations such as that are the reason why, early in my editing career, I was given the nickname, “Citizen Arcane.”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Of course, I was also called “Percival Pedant,” which wasn’t nearly as cool.

            At this point, Dewey Oxburger says, “They should have called him the dork…”

          2. Bryan Caskey

            Flieger-abwehr-kanone: literally “pilot defense cannon.”

            Flieger = pilot

            abwher = defense

            kanone = gun/cannon

            Those Germans sure do have a way with compound words.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              Likewise, I believe SNAFU is ancient Germanic for “The Lieutenant continued to ignore the Platoon Sgt.’s advice.”

      2. Mark Stewart

        We have been intervening on a large scale on Earth since the Neanderthals started running Mastodon herds off of cliffs.

        How many species have gone extinct since our “arrival”?

        But agree species specific eradication is a highly unlikely outcome – without secondary and tertiary impacts.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Good plan! That way, you can see how it works. If the program is successful, you could move to higher animals with greater social value, such as viruses…

  2. Karen Pearson

    HIccup is always hungry; Monkey is possessed; Quark is merely difficult. But they will get you, Brad.

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