Open Thread for Monday, August 1, 2016

nyt front

I’m back from vacation, although I’m still stubbornly refusing to shave. Here’s what we have today:

  1. Obama goes after Trump: ‘I’m tired of folks trash-talking America’s military’ — Don’t you love the way Trump’s GOP has ceded the rah-rah flag-waving stuff — normally their forte — to the Democrats? I love me some irony, and this is Grade A. Oh, and the criticism from Republicans that I wrote about this morning is currently leading the NYT (see above).
  2. Pope Francis Says It Is Wrong To Identify Islam With Violence — Just so you know…
  3. Looking ahead to the Rio Olympics — There was a thing about this on public radio today and I missed it, but we can have our own discussion here. One important health warning, though: Comment all you want, but keep your mouths shut while doing so…
  4. His friend disappeared while tubing; he had a ‘couple of beers’, then called police — That’s all. Just thought I’d share that headline. It’s stuff like this that caused Mark Twain to want to give up on humans.
  5. U.S. Targets ISIS With New Round of Airstrikes in Libya — I mentioned this earlier today, but thought I’d give you another crack at it. Somewhat to my surprise, the WSJ is the only paper leading with it at this hour. (See below.)

WSJ front

35 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, August 1, 2016

  1. Karen Pearson

    The one man sounds as if he is either brain damaged or he helped the woman disappear. But considering what the voters have wrought so far this election season, I think that Twain has a point. Considering the pollution, the housing problems, and general economic disaster in Rio, I suspect anyone going there (including the athletes) may regret it. The Olympic committee may have done the Russians a favor by banning them!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s right. And you understand the difference, don’t you? The grieving Mom at the RNC was blaming it all on Hillary Clinton, which eight or nine separate investigations have demonstrated to be wrong.

      Whereas everything the Khans have had to say has been obviously, demonstrably, true.

      You see that difference, right?

  2. Bill

    Big news item missing from this list: the appeals court ruling overturning changes to voting laws in NC (and similar rulings elsewhere).

    This puts the lie to the claim that the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance procedure is no longer needed.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s a fine topic, too (even though I disagree with you on the preclearance thing — this demonstrates the opposite, that the courts work for addressing injustices).

      I didn’t think of it because it was old (from Friday) by the time I was compiling this thread.

      But here’s something that was VERY timely that I also forgot: Monday was the 50th anniversary of the Texas tower massacre — and also the first day students in Texas could pack heat on campus. That’s quite a juxtaposition…

      1. Bill

        No, the ruling actually demonstrates the opposite of what you say — namely that THE most fundamental right in a democracy — the right to vote — needs a powerful tool to prevent injustice from occurring in the first place. Even a brief period of time — like the three years since passage of NC’s restrictions — is long enough affect the outcome of an election.

        Moreover, the current head of the Civil Rights Division at the Dept. of Justice also disagrees with you:

            1. Barry

              It’s not necessary. The courts can handle it. After 8 years of Obama, and at least 4 of Hillary, the federal courts are and will be full of liberal judges- including the SCOTUS.

              If you are a liberal (I am not) why even risk a Republican DOJ making decisions on the voting rights act enforcement when you have liberal judges all throughout the system?

              You are going to bite of your tongue to spite your mouth.

              By all means….

  3. Scout

    Also apparently Clinton has gotten a 4-7 point bump out of her convention, and Trump’s 2 point bump has dropped back to what it was before his convention. I’m sure this situation will push his big and very obvious buttons.

    1. Doug Ross

      National polls don’t matter in an electoral system. Clinton could win California, New York, and Illinois by wide margins and it won’t matter if Trump wins Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida by a single vote.

      No more than a dozen states will decide this election. National polls are meaningless.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Fun with state polling! Trump and Hillary are tied in Georgia. In Georgia. No, not the country on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, I’m talking about the Peach State. Home of the Varsity Drive-In and Jackie Robinson.

        Hey, Trump did say he was gonna change the map. He never said which way, though. 🙂

        The stupidity and pettiness of this election is already at record highs, but I’m pretty sure that we haven’t seen anything yet. The real stupid stuff is yet to come.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah… especially since Trump says he’s now going to stop being such a nice guy.

          The entire nation should have paused to have a good laugh at that point. And we might have, if he hadn’t immediately distracted us with all the nasty Khan stuff.

          Increasingly, stupid Trump comments can only be upstaged by stupider Trump comments…

      2. Claus

        Romney had several poll leads up until November. I got a call in 2012 and I said I was voting for Obama… I would just as soon light myself on fire than vote for Obama.

  4. Doug Ross

    More shenanigans exposed by Ron Aiken/Quorum regarding the Richland County Recreation Commission.

    “Sen. John Scott, who implied fellow Richland County Legislative Delegation members had racist motives for criticizing the Richland County Recreation Board of Commissioners and embattled executive director James Brown, has used recreation parks and facilities for free, off-the-books political events three times and paid either reduced fees or only a deposit twice more since November, Quorum has learned.
    In an investigation of Richland County Recreation Commission (RCRC) facility bookings since March 2015, Quorum found that Scott (D-Richland) used facilities five times but only was billed and signed contracts for two events, one at half price “Per Mr. Brown” on June 14 and the other a banquet rental on Jan. 29 for which he only paid an $80 deposit on for an event that would have cost $420, recreation personnel say.”

    What does it take to hold people accountable in the local government? Why are so many people silent on this? (I know why, just expressing the frustration).

    Perhaps Richland County residents should withhold the portion of property taxes that go the the Recreation Commission until this is addressed.

    1. Barry

      A lot of local folks are silent because they are afraid to touch the subject. That is obvious at this point.

      After all, covering Pokémon Go at the state house, and having 2-3 reporters at a USC press conference yesterday is just simply more important (a press conference that even the media members admitted BEFOREHAND would be just a rehash of previous things that had already been stated).

      and of course WIS, WLTX, WACH, and WOLO – well- they must not know the story is a story. Or they are afraid to upset the apple-cart. Where is Jody Barr when you need him? He’s in Ohio now. That guy would knock on some doors.

      You’d think this would be the perfect story for Jack Kuenzie at WIS – but I guess not.

      1. Doug Ross

        Local media: Gutless, witless, or shameless. Pick one.

        Front page of – lead story on four chefs. Top story on right side: Legislators should not use campaign funds for dry cleaning, panel says.

        What exactly does a reporter do these days? Why is Cindi Ross Scoppe harping on the sales tax holiday (that will never change) instead of going after everyone involved in this debacle? I mean, I know it would be torturous to ask her to write TWO editorials in a day,,, but come on. Ron Aiken already did all the hard work.

        1. Doug Ross

          I stand corrected. Cindi did write an op-ed on the topic a week ago… but you have to go searching to find it. Don’t recall if it showed up on a Twitter feed or the front page. But let’s not stop with that. Put it on the front page, get people on the record, be an advocate for the people of Richland County.

        2. Claus

          How many negative articles have you heard about USC on The State, WIS, WLTX, WOLO, or WACH? Does nothing go wrong at USC? I haven’t heard or read anything negative about any administration since the whole Lillian McBride fiasco, and we all know how that turned out. The esteemed Senator Darryl Jackson stepped in and just got her reassigned making about the same money and doing much less work.

        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          I ask you to bear with Cindi on the bogus sales tax holiday. It’s an old peeve that still sticks in her craw, and has ever since Jim Hodges foisted it on our state.

          And it’s the kind of thing that Cindi would find particularly distressing — something that everyone acts like is this great boon to the public, but is at the very least a wash. (I think it’s particularly galling to her to see it reported, you might even say PROMOTED, in nonjudgmental terms on the news pages of her own paper, making her feel each year a particular obligation to set the record straight.)

          It’s even worse to her because she is a world-class seeker of bargains, and quite naturally turns her nose up at the idea that anyone should get excited about a single-digit discount in a retail price. Seriously — what rational person would cross the road to get 8 or 9 percent off?

          So basically, it’s just flushing some badly needed state revenue (PARTICULARLY needed since so much of the tax burden was unwisely shifted from property taxes to sales) down the toilet without taxpayer/consumers getting any real benefit from it.

          Anyway, I doubt you’ll ever see the “tax holiday” pass by without a good, loud “harrumph!” from Cindi.

          It’s an old battle, but that doesn’t mean she’ll give up on it.

          Of course, the recreation commission is a poster child for an even OLDER battle that she hasn’t given up on, either — Special Purpose Districts.

          But if you think the tax holiday “will never change,” SPDs seem even less likely to go away.

          Still no reason to give up, though…

          1. Barry

            I don’t blame Cindi

            But I do wonder why Ron Aiken seems to be the only reporter in Columbia that can – or is interested in digging up info through FOI requests on this fiasco.

            Numerous lawsuits, allegations of sexual impropriety, allegations of funny money, obvious and numerous examples of nepotism taking place against their supposed policy, a local state representative essentially calling the other state reps racist, and that same rep having sweetheart deals to rent public facilities on the cheap that other people citizens can’t duplicate – and The State is MOSTLY ignoring it – and the local tv stations just don’t seem to care at all.


            But dang- if someone is playing Pokémon, The State and the local tv stations are going to cover it and even having reporters on site.

              1. Barry

                What about the Friday afternoon (yeah, Friday afternoon) press release from the SC DOT essentially apologizing for the screw up that has been the i26 widening project in Lexington County that is over-due.

                The DOT has been in bed with “Anderson Columbia/Boggs Paving – an outfit that has previous was caught money laundering in the recent past.

                and no don’t expect The State paper or WIS to cover such a story in to any degree. It’s only a MAJOR construction fiasco right here in the Columbia area.

                1. Doug Ross

                  Not another dime should be given to the DOT until they clean house and enact a citizens oversight committee. The waste, fraud , and abuse in that department should end all discussion of raising taxes. Do your job first!

  5. Doug Ross

    Those who think Hilary is any less of a liar than Trump should reflect on the fact that she was awarded the coveted “4 Pinocchios” title for her statements made this past weekend about her email fiasco. You have to work hard at lying to achieve that level.

    “Clinton’s attempts to minimize or explain away her carelessness with classified material have demonstrated a carelessness with the truth that is troubling in its own right. Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler gave her latest performance Four Pinocchios, a rating reserved for “whoppers.””

    “In her Fox News Sunday interview, Clinton tried to pass the blame to her underlings:

    I was communicating with over 300 people in my e-mailing. They certainly did not believe and had no reason to believe that what they were sending was classified….

    I relied on and had every reason to rely on the judgments of the professionals with whom I worked. And so, in retrospect, maybe some people are saying, well, among those 300 people, they made the wrong call.

    At the time, there was no reason in my view to doubt the professionalism and the determination by the people who work every single day on behalf of our country.

    Fallon repeated that defense yesterday, saying the classified emails “were sent to her by people that know the difference between what’s classified and what’s not, so she was acting entirely in good faith and had no reason to believe that those emails were classified.” That’s one way of looking at it. Another way: Clinton should have known that by insisting on using her personal email system for all of her electronic communication as secretary of state, contrary to her department’s policy, she ran the risk of exposing classified information. Whether her choices actually endangered national security or not, they demonstrated a fear of transparency and an arrogant disregard for the rules everyone else is expected to follow—running themes of Clinton’s career.

    I know, I know… Move on…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Those who think Hilary is any less of a liar than Trump should reflect on the fact that she was awarded the coveted ‘4 Pinocchios’ title for her statements made this past weekend about her email fiasco. You have to work hard at lying to achieve that level.”

      No, you don’t. Trump achieves that feat with stunning regularity. Here’s the comparison:

      Glenn Kessler, The Post’s Fact Checker, tells me that in his six years on the beat, “there’s no comparison” between Trump and other politicians. Kessler says politicians’ statements get his worst rating — four Pinocchios — 15 percent to 20 percent of the time. Clinton is about 15 percent. Trump is 63 percent to 65 percent.

      PolitiFact, similarly, rated Clinton statements false 28 percent of the time (including 2 percent rating “pants on fire,” the worst rating), while rating 70 percent of Trump statements false (including 17 percent “pants on fire”)….

      As to the raw numbers, the most recent tally I’ve found comes from the middle of last month:

      Trump (52 rated claims)

      Four Pinocchios: 33 (63 percent)

      Three Pinocchios: 11 (21 percent)

      Two Pinocchios: 5 (10 percent)

      One Pinocchio: 1 (2 percent)

      Geppetto Checkmark: 2 (4 percent).

      Clinton (36 rated claims)

      Four Pinocchios: 5 (14 percent)

      Three Pinocchios: 13 (36 percent)

      Two Pinocchios: 11 (30.5 percent)

      One Pinocchio: 2 (5.5 percent)

      Geppetto Checkmark: 5 (14 percent)

      Why was Trump rated by Fact Checker more often than Clinton? Here’s why:

      Why were so many more of Trump’s claims rated? In large part, it is because he made so many public appearances, sometimes several times a day on television or radio programs. The Fact Checker responds to reader requests, and many of Trump’s statements were provocative and controversial.

      By contrast, Clinton tended to give few relatively few interviews. Many of her remarks were confined to prepared speeches, not off-the-cuff remarks. About one-third of Clinton’s claims that my colleague Michelle Ye Hee Lee and I checked concerned the revelation that she had a private email server when she was secretary of state — remarks that certainly prompted reader inquiries and concerns….

      Some more from that story:

      Clinton is a professional politician, with a large staff that will readily respond to fact-checking questions. Often, Clinton’s staff can quickly provide documentation that backs up, or at least explains, the facts and figures that she cites. By contrast, Trump’s small staff rarely responds to fact-checking inquiries and never provides an explanation for his statements.

      Trump is also the rare politician who will repeat false claims, over and over, even after they have been debunked by fact-checking organizations. Most politicians will simply stop repeating a claim after receiving Four Pinocchios, our worst rating….

      1. Doug Ross

        So you are comfortable with someone who lies at the 3/4 level 50% of the time? Is that a standard you would apply to your friends, co-workers, wife, and children?

        Is it really that difficult to tell the truth when you are a politician?

      2. Claus

        The fact is, Clinton is a liar and Trump is a liar. Is that a fair statement? Both lie so much neither one knows the truth from a lie.

      3. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m not “comfortable” with anything about this election. But I have no hesitation whatsoever in seeing Clinton as preferable to Trump. It’s an open-and-shut case. It’s grossly counterproductive, and terrible for the country, to obsess about Clinton’s flaws when Trump’s are SO much greater, to where they are simply not in the same ballpark, the same state, the same universe.

        This is as close to black-and-white as an election gets. Who could have predicted that the Republicans could some up with someone so supremely awful that Hillary Clinton would come out on the “day” side of a “night-and-day” comparison? But they managed it. And despite a year of seeing it coming, they plodded onward and did it…

    2. Claus

      The root of the problem is her personal e-mail server. Without it, we wouldn’t be talking about most of this fiasco. Had her e-mails been to her government account, they would have been encrypted and a whole lot more secure than a server she had tucked away in a spare bedroom.

      She knew what she was doing, and knew if her e-mails were on a personal server that they would not be eligible for FOIA requests. I wonder what percentage of her correspondence was on her government account.


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