Open Thread for Monday, July 18, 2016

We may not be seeing one of THESE waving at the Olympics...

We may not be seeing one of THESE waving at the Olympics…

I’d make it a VFP, but I don’t see a good lede out there. And since I no longer have to publish a front page everyday regardless of whether there is real news, I won’t…

  1. Brief chaos as anti-Trump delegates are rebuffed — Or, as The Fix put it, The GOP just had a nightmare moment on the convention floor. Here’s the problem with that — the Post and other media keep documenting these things that would sink any other candidate in the history of the country, and it fazes Trump not one wit, because his supporters neither know nor care how things are supposed to go.
  2. McMaster to give nominating speech for Trump at RNC — Oh, Henry! Whatever did we do, for you to shame us so…
  3. Baton Rouge Officers Were ‘Definitely Ambushed’ — Do these outrages cease to be news at some point?
  4. ‘Many hurt by axeman’ on German train — But none killed because, you see, he didn’t have a gun. Hint, hint.
  5. Russia may be banned from Rio Olympics over state-sponsored doping — Seriously, Putin’s Russia just doesn’t care about rules. Maybe that’s what Trump admires about him.


70 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, July 18, 2016

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    This video from a former Columbian gives some flavor of the RNC today:

    But I have to ask – why don’t even media professionals turn their phone sideways when shooting video? A vertical image shows you practically nothing of what’s going on — it’s like peering through a keyhole – and the shape just doesn’t work at all on blogs or most news websites…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Seriously, would it not be more useful to see a lot of faces simultaneously at the moment, to see what others are doing, than to have a full-length shot of this lady’s outfit?

  2. Karen Pearson

    Have you read the article by Tony Schwartz, who ghost-wrote “The Art of the Deal” in “The New Yorker?

      1. Karen Pearson

        He followed Trump around for over a year, and got to know him too well. He has lots to say about Trump, none of it good. Nevertheless, it is interesting.

        1. Assistant

          The story gets weirder. A hand-painted ISIS flag was found in his room. Okay, that’s not weird, but among those attacked and injured were members of a family from Hong Kong.

          Herrmann said it was a tragedy that a “family from Hong Kong comes here as tourists to visit Wuerzburg … and then becomes victim on a train here in Bavaria in an attack conducted by an offender who came from Afghanistan and who was originally seeking shelter here.”

          The dpa news agency reported that the attacker wounded the 62-year-old father, the 58-year-old mother, their adult daughter and her boyfriend. The teenage son was not hurt. The father and the boyfriend had tried to defend the other family members, dpa said.

          The tourists must have taken the wrong train, they should have been aboard The Orient Express, no?

      1. bud

        Even MORE fortunately the dude was armed with a knife and a hatchet rather than a semi automatic gun.

        1. Assistant

          In Germany or the US it’s illegal for a 17-year-old to possess a handgun, but possessing a hatchet or knife is legal. But it’s not really the possessing that’s the problem, it’s the use to commit a crime, no?

  3. Assistant

    The police shootings are horrific, most are ambushes, bad guys shooting cops at gas stations, sitting in patrol cars, and the like. Folks dying during arrests or in the custody of cops is also horrific, each incident clearly requires investigations to determine the circumstances and culpability.

    But as bad as those incidents and numbers are, they pale in comparison to carnage wrought each week in our major cities. While overall crime is declining, murders in inner cities are on the rise, dramatically.

    So far this year in my old hometown, Chicago, the numbers look like this:
    – Shot & Killed: 331
    – Shot & Wounded: 1895
    – Total Shot: 2226
    – Total Homicides: 367

    All that in 6.5 months in one city. Shootings there now average one every two hours, murders one every 13 hours! Police-involved shootings so far this year? 11 civilians shot, 4 killed.

    How big do the numbers have to get to make the news?

    1. Mark Stewart

      How many shot by weapons purchased in SC?

      It’s not likely to be a small percentage, right?

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Wait. So let me get this straight. Because firearms are readily available in places outside Chicago (like South Carolina) people in Chicago are shooting each other at a high rate, where guns are not readily available?

        Do I have that right?

        So why aren’t people in South Carolina shooting each other at an equal rate since firearms are so readily available here?

        1. Mark Stewart

          The joke would be: Since this is South Carolina, they tend to shoot themselves.

          But it’s not funny. Neither is the “who me?” abdication of responsibility which we all – all – share. This nation has a gun problem. It’s time to begin to address that – as well as the culture that glorifies their use outside of sport. Guns kill people who didn’t need to die. Or deserve that fate.

          1. Doug Ross

            Waiting for a solution to be offered that is credible. Stop manufacturing guns? Confiscate all guns? There isn’t any solution that will reduce the number of guns owned by people with bad intentions. There isn’t a gun problem. It’s a people problem. A combination of mental illness, radical fundamentalism, poverty, bad/no parenting…

            But, nope, let’s not even talk about restricting SOME refugees from countries that support terrorism. That’s not a problem.

            1. Bob Amundson

              Credible solution (first step): begin studying data on death by guns, as we do death by smoking, HIV/AIDS, etc.

              1. Doug Ross

                And when the data shows young black males from single parent homes are killing other young black males in high poverty areas at a higher rate than any other demographic, then what?

                Encouraging and providing incentives to poor people to delay having children until they get a diploma or a job would do more to reduce the crime rate than any gun law ever could.

                1. Bob Amundson

                  Assuming if the data shows that. You may be right, but it’s sad we JUST DON’T KNOW! Assumptions are dangerous …

          2. Bryan Caskey

            “This nation has a gun problem.”

            No, not really. It’s just certain places that have problems, and it ain’t the guns ol’ boy. Guns are readily available almost everywhere in the US. As President Obama likes to say, “you can get a Glock easier than you can get a book.” I guess President Obama hasn’t tried to buy a book in a awhile, bless his heart.

            I’m just puzzled why we aren’t all killing each other at the same rate as people in Chicago kill each other since we have more access to guns.

            You talk about “abdication of responsibility”. What if I told you that I find it to be exactly an “abdication of responsibility” for people to blame the guns because it absolves the people and the culture that allows such murders and such violence to become routine. You’re placing all the focus on an inanimate object and focusing zero attention on the people, culture, and conditions that drive people to murder each other.

            When you start holding people accountable for their actions, rather than saying “Well, you can’t help but murder lots of folks when there’s so much guns around” let me know. Because until then, you’re going to get 100% opposition from me (and millions of other people like me). If you want to bring in the entire country, we can begin to solve the problem. It will require addressing the failings of large inner cities, and it won’t be fun. If you want a campaign issue to fire up the anti-gun folks, then keep on pushing the same tired policy.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              On Obama’s guns-vs.-books thing… The Washington Post Fact Checker feature gave him three Pinocchios on that, out of a possible four. (Donald Trump, that overachiever, holds the world record in Four-Pinocchio lies.)

              I was surprised he didn’t get four, but to my surprise they found SOME evidence to support what the president was getting at.

              But he was still wrong…

              1. Bryan Caskey

                The worst thing about that statement (from Obama’s point of view) is that it’s so absurd, you simply discount everything else that comes out of his mouth after hearing that.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              On the rest… you’re trying too hard.

              Of COURSE the ready availability of guns leads to more deaths, no matter how many convolutions you go through about other factors.

              There are of course MANY variables, but the one that is nearly essential is the presence of the gun.

              You say there are more guns in SC than Chicago, but fewer gun deaths per capita. Of COURSE. The guns are readily available in both places, but the other factors — social pathology and the like — are present to a greater degree in Chicago. This is not surprising.

              Yep, people can be killed other ways — but it’s a lot harder, and it’s especially harder for a momentary impulse to turn deadly. A twitch of a finger doesn’t throw a person down a staircase, poison a drink or inflict multiple stab wounds.

              There is NO question, none at all, that there would be fewer homicides if, say, we could wave a wand and NO ONE would have guns — if we could, say, set off some device that would destroy guns’ ability to work the way an EMP can disable all electronics.

              You would see a sharp uptick in deaths by other means, and a lot more ATTEMPTED, but unsuccessful, attacks by other means.

              But while I can’t prove it, I truly don’t believe even the number of attempts would rise as high as the number of attempts with guns.

              Of course, there would be under-reporting. A person who impulsively shoots someone if he has a gun might do no more than take a swing at his victim if he is unarmed — and we’re unlikely even to REGISTER that as an attempted homicide.

              Except under freakish circumstances, killing a person without a firearm is something that requires a great deal of determined effort — more than most people can muster. There will still be the Lizzie Bordens out there — but few killers have the patience, the monstrous determination, to give their mothers 40 whacks

              1. Jack Aubrey

                “There is NO question, none at all, that there would be fewer homicides if, say, we could wave a wand and NO ONE would have guns — if we could, say, set off some device that would destroy guns’ ability to work the way an EMP can disable all electronics.”

                Oh if there was such a thing, but if only pigs had wings, we should have no need for tinkers’ hands, as they say.

                1. Doug Ross

                  And if we could just wave a wand and say “No more hate!” we could achieve the same goal without having to take away guns. It’s simple!

                  Save us, Harry Potter!

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  A bird in the hand is worth any amount of beating about the bush, you know. They cannot have their bed and eat it. There is no forcing a willing mind…

                  And so forth.

                  I come up with absurd solutions because practical ones are unavailable to us.

                  Only one thing would reduce gun violence — a radical reduction in the number of guns that exist. As long as they’re out there, they will fall into the wrong hands eventually, whatever safeguards you come up with. There are just way, way too many of them floating around out there to secure them so that none are available when people are feeling murderous.

                  But I know that it’s politically impossible to reduce the number of guns. So the situation is pretty hopeless…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I like it when Stephen eggs him on…

                    “‘… they have chosen their cake, and must lie in it.’
                    ‘You mean, they cannot have their bed and eat it.’
                    ‘No, no, it is not quite that, neither. I mean – I wish you would not confuse my mind, Stephen.'”

            3. Assistant

              Chicago and other high-gunfire areas would benefit immensely from proven practices like Project Exile (Richmond) or Face 5 (Hotlanta): get caught with a gun in any crime and you will get federal charges under the Gun Control Act and an automatic five-years in a prison as far away from your home town as the judge can put you.

              If you read about the relatively few shooters who do get arrested in Chicago, you find that they’ve got prior arrests – maybe a conviction or two, but a lot of nolle pros – in crimes in which the perp had a gun, but was let off. Only when there’s a murder or serious shooting does prosecution seem certain.

              But the automatic-five is not popular with politicians in Chicago — it takes a coordinated effort among local jurisdictions and the feds – so it’s a no-go.

              If you put “guns stolen Chicago” into your search engine, you’ll find that police recovered over 4700 stolen firearms last year in the Windy City. What really surprised me is that the gangs are amazing successful at intercepting railway cargo shipments of firearms, boxcars of Ruger, S&W MP15s, etc. Midsize black market arms dealers also visit frequently…

              But it ain’t the guns, it’s the perps.

        2. bud

          So why aren’t people in South Carolina shooting each other at an equal rate since firearms are so readily available here.

          Actually they are. According to the latest FBI crime statistics the homicide rate in South Carolina was 6.4/100,000 in 2014. For Illinois it was 5.3. The worst state? Louisiana at 10.1. The best? New Hampshire at 0.9.

            1. Doug Ross

              “Why the disparity in violence?”

              Poverty. % of absent fathers and teen mothers. H.S. graduation rates.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Take guns out of the equation, and you’re left with only 36 homicides — fewer than a tenth.

      Think about it.

      I’m not making a policy proposal here; I’m just pointing to the fact.

      1. scout

        Oh but you know they would have done it anyway using some other means.

        Or so some would say.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        Chicago has about 2.7M people. South Carolina has about 4.8M people, roughly double.

        In all of 2014, South Carolina had 311 murders. In all of 2014 Chicago had 461 murders.

        Since guns are the main factor in murders, why aren’t all the guns in South Carolina going around murdering people?

        1. Scout

          How many guns in Chicago and how many in SC? i.e. what is the gun to person ratio. That would seem like an important data point to have if you want to make such a comparison. Is that one of those statistics no one is allowed to collect or would be difficult to accurately know (since # of illegal guns is probably unknown)?

          I suspect population density probably comes into play, as well, as part of the difference.

          For the same gun to person ratio (which we don’t know), I would expect more murders for the same number of people where population density is greater, which I suspect it is in Chicago.

          Just suppositions. We don’t have the data.

        2. Assistant

          My wife and I did some shooting last week and the week before last over at PSA, each time using five firearms, so I had a lot of cleaning to do. We appreciate diversity, so all together we shot .22 LR, .380 ACP, .38 SPL, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 Colt, and 5.56 mm (rifle). I left the weapons out for a bit each afternoon as I caught up on work and did some cleaning, then went back to work before finishing the cleaning.

          Even while working I kept an eye on them there guns, especially the AR15 we fired last week – it accepts 30-round magazines. At no point did any of them kill or wound anybody or anything. Not even a squirrel was harmed, and you know them bushy-tailed rats deserve a shootin’. Now at one point I admit that I was tempted to get out my air rifle and plug one of them vermin as it started playing with the tomatoes, but I put the peace of Forest Acres before my bloodlust.

          At least I did this time…

          1. Bryan Caskey

            I’ve been in their store a few times, but I’ve never used their range. I’m getting really close to my physical fitness goal which will mean I can get the Henry rifle I’ve set as my reward. I may need to go in there and check out their inventory. Here’s what I’m looking at getting.

            I probably need to start stocking up on .22LR. Did PSA have a good supply of .22LR, or is it still pretty scarce?

              1. Bryan Caskey

                Because of the brass colored receiver? That’s what they used to look like back in the 1860’s.

                It’s a workhorse rifle, but don’t take my word for it. The Sioux Indians liked it enough that it was a highly prized weapon for them. They used the Henry rifle to to completely annihilate Custer’s 7th Cavalry who were armed with single shot Springfield rifles.

                You can also ask all the Confederate forces who ran up against Union soldiers armed with Henrys. Here’s an account from an 1863 article in The Scientific American:

                “….A magazine gun like the Henry rifle, carrying fifteen charges, which can be refilled in fifteen seconds, and the fifteen shots fired with deliberate aim in sixty seconds, or fifteen times before the enemy could reload once, must produce a sheet of fire and lead before which no troops could stand to receive the last shot. The only reason, or excuse rather, we have ever heard against the use in the army of arms susceptible of such rapidity of loading is that the troops would waste the ammunition.”

                You could argue it was the first assault rifle. 🙂

            1. Assistant

              A friend in Virginia has that exact Henry, a very nice rifle, smooth action, nice balance. I’d like one too. The friend lives in a rural area and has set up a range so she can shoot off her back porch, something Forest Acres frowns on.

              Availability of firearms and rifles at the two local PSA stores is generally good, but varies, call ahead. They’ve got .22 LR ammo available online, but no Henrys. The range on Fernandina is quite nice – AC, filtered air, adhesive mats at the exits to pick up the lead, etc. They allow only brass-cased rounds on the range. The range is divided up into three bays of six lanes each and they try to segregate the bays by caliber so that you’re not plinking next to Dirty Harry’s cannon. They’ve added an outdoor range on Redmond Mill Road in Swansea, the old Live Oaks Sportsmans Club. Golf cars, clays, guided quail hunts – what more do you need? Haven’t been there yet. You can check the brochure at one of the stores.

              I check every week or so – just put your zip code in the box in the lower left and it will give you the ammo inventory at all the Walmarts near you. .22 LR availability is poor today. They also have an Android app.

              A 525-count brick that went for $18.99 in 2009 now fetches $28.99 at Academy or Walmart when they have it; Dick’s is $5 or more higher. That’s a move from $0.036 to $0.055. At a lot of places prices are higher, and some places stock only match for $0.115, $0.15, and up per round. So I buy when I see it at a price I like and never buy match grade.

              1. Assistant

                The PSA range on Fernandina is usually packed on Wednesdays, Ladies’ Day, women shoot free. They usually have 120+ there during range hours, it’s packed!

              2. Bryan Caskey

                “They’ve added an outdoor range on Redmond Mill Road in Swansea, the old Live Oaks Sportsmans Club. Golf cars, clays, guided quail hunts – what more do you need? Haven’t been there yet.”

                Live Oaks is one of my go-to places to shoot. Along with Hermitage Farms in Camden, they are the two closest places to break clays. I took Doug and Brad out there back and 2014. They both lived to tell the tale.

            2. Assistant

              The turn to lever-guns reminds me of another of my favorite women, Ida B. Wells, per Wikipedia, an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, Georgist, early leader in the Civil Rights Movement, and one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. She recommended that blacks use arms to defend against lynching:

              The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.

              I think she had a Winchester Model 1873, a descendant of the original Henry.

    3. bud

      What year had the lowest murder rate since 1960? According to the FBI’s crime statistics it was 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available. Another highly successful accomplishment for the Obama administration. The worst year was 1980 but that year was only slightly worse than 1991. Apparently the Reagan years did not really make us any safer.

    4. bud

      The year with the lowest murder rate since 1960 in the USA? That would be 2014, the latest year FBI statistics are available. Sadly these tend to be concentrated in certain cities like Chicago. Other places also have high murder rates, New Orleans is one such place that actually has a higher rate than Chicago.

  4. Doug Ross

    Not a word in The State about the Richland County Recreation Commission board meeting last night. Ron Aiken, formerly of The Nerve and now running his own site Quorom, was live tweeting the meeting (@RonAiken). As usual with these types of board, nobody on the board says anything publicly. They should all be fired.

    This image of the board members says it all. Look at how angry, suspicious, and bored the board member look. Kind of ironic when they are supposed to be in charge of RECREATION.

    Here’s a link to an in-depth piece produced by Aiken on all the questionable activities going on.

      1. Doug Ross

        Oh, I finally found it on the website. It’s on The Buzz blog… no reference on the front page. And it’s behind the firewall which means even fewer people might see it. And, sadly, it offers no information that Ron Aiken reported earlier that day. Guess that wasn’t newsworthy.

        Stories more important than the corruption at the Richland County Recreation Commission on THESTATE.COM:

        – Girl from Spring Valley who videoed officer throwing student out of chair has court case delayed. That’s the TOP STORY! A minor character in a story from a year ago.
        – Tim Tebow stops by Gamecocks Football camp – this is the third highest story on latest news
        – Riverbanks Zoo welcomes furry, fluffy lemur triplets (Seriously. This is front and center as Latest News)

        Whoever is running the paper is apparently not interested in real news.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I just realized that you don’t look at the actual paper.

          Neither do I, technically — but I choose to read the app that presents an electronic version the print edition, so that I can see how everything was actually played. (The other app The State puts out is disorienting, to me.)

          That website — foisted upon The State and other McClatchy papers by corporate — is a poor indicator of relative importance. Other sites I regularly visit — WP, NYT, WSJ, The Guardian, etc. — have rigid protocols that let you know, by placement, exactly how important the editors consider a story to be.

          Not that I’m always going to agree with my friends at The State on play decisions — I didn’t when I was at the paper, either. I learned a very different approach back when I was a front-page editor. And of course, I always have more of a tendency to elevate hard news. That other stuff is all very well and good elsewhere in the paper, but not on my front page — except for leavening. Like comic relief, it’s nice to have SOMETHING light on the front…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            It’s interesting to see how newspapers take to the app world. The WSJ and NYT still try to duplicate the experience of reading a newspaper, just as they do with their browser editions. The Post does the same, on the browser edition (With one important difference, shared by the Times and other papers — on the browser they put the lede story to the LEFT of the dominant piece of art, rather than the RIGHT. )

            But as conventional as the WP is on the browser, it does something completely different on its apps, grouping news in a most unnewspaperlike manner. (The Post has two different apps out, and I prefer the older, less-flashy one, in which design doesn’t distract from content.)

            Everybody’s still feeling their way around, it seems..

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I don’t touch newsprint any more, but I do like to see, on the apps of the papers I subscribe to, evidence of some serious thought by editors when it comes to placement…

  5. Doug Ross

    Here’s the Chicago Tribune editorial board’s take on Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld. A pretty fair assessment of two successful ex-governors.

    You think you’d get anything like this from Hillary or Trump?

    “Our time with Johnson and Weld only scratched the surface of their views. The federal government is an obstacle to prosperity and an inefficient problem-solver, Johnson posited. He’s inclined to shut down or pare back agencies such as education and commerce and direct that money to the states. He wants a balanced budget. To preserve Social Security, he’d raise the retirement age and apply a means test. That’s sensible advice, not scary, especially since Johnson says he could compromise with Congress.
    The most radical notion Johnson floated isn’t so radical: He favors legalizing marijuana, noting that it’s happening already. He won’t risk alienating voters by calling for the legalization of heroin, for example; he does support ideas like needle exchanges that save lives.”

    All I want is for Johnson to get on the stage for the debates. He will only rise higher in the polls if he does. He needs 15% to get there and is withing a couple points.

    1. Doug Ross

      And on the “war” on terror:

      “Concerning the war on terror, Johnson sounded cautious, fretting about the “unintended consequences” of trying to save the world. Said Weld about American troops in Afghanistan: “When should they come home — never? We have to leave 8,400 troops there because we decided to do what the British Empire and Russian empire decided to do and failed miserably?” We would disagree, but appreciated the directness of his answer.:

  6. Phillip

    Johnson and Weld absolutely must be included in debates, though you can be sure the two major parties (on this one issue they are in accord) will cooperate to make sure it does not happen. We need to break the duopoly of the major parties.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, we do, but we need to do it with something better than a Libertarian Party candidate.

      Although in deference to Doug, I’ll say Johnson is more sensible and moderate that a lot of folks in that party — and it seems that I’ve read that some of those folks have a problem with him because of that…

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