Open Thread for Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Weirdly, the Tribe didn't play any of these guys last night -- and still won!

Weirdly, the Tribe didn’t play any of these guys last night — and still won!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything new today. It’s not like I’ve been neglecting you — I probably set a record in the comments sections for number of words in one day — but I like to keep giving you something fresh, and I’ve fallen down on that. So here you go:

  1. How about them Cubbies? — Boy, the home team didn’t give them a chance last night, did they? Did y’all watch the game? If not, why not? Do you hate America? Of course you do! Why don’t you go hang with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London? (Deep breath, back to baseball…) Looking forward to tonight, hoping it doesn’t get rained out
  2. SC House panel suggests strengthening dam safety law — Absolutely. And then we need to fix the dam state pension, and the dam tax structure, and all the other stuff our dam lawmakers keep kicking down the dam road.
  3. GOP Rode Waves of Populism Until They Crashed the Party — I share this not just because of what it says, but because it’s from The Wall Street Journal, and they’re leading with it! It’s under the kicker, “THE GREAT UNRAVELING.”
  4. House Republicans are preparing for years of investigations of Clinton — Which is, you know, just what we’ll need after this horrific election year. Sheesh. Some people threaten to leave the country if he wins. They might want to think about leaving if she wins. This is what I was on about earlier today.
  5. Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story — Interesting medical detective story.
  6. Afghan Woman in Famed National Geographic Photo Is Arrested in Pakistan — They’re talking about the picture below. You probably remember her. I hope NG considers this Fair Use; I certainly do — there’s little point in sharing the headline without the photo. And if you click on it, you go straight to the National Geographic site, so I’m doing them a favor


53 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    1. Mark Stewart

      What’s the point, really? FDR would have not been able to make that step. Maybe even Kennedy. That’s disability – in that sense.

      Are you giving her grief for being short, overweight, or older? Is any of these a disqualification from running for office?

      1. Claus

        Isn’t Donald Trump overweight and older than Hillary? Apparently that can be brought up and discussed as well as approval of a naked statue of Trump, Brad said that an equally offensive naked statue of Hillary would be inappropriate because she’s a woman. The fact is, there is something medically wrong with Hillary that she’s trying to hide. This video along with others makes me wonder if she’s mentally fit for the job. Do we want that mental midget she has a running mate leading this country if she has to step down?

        1. Brad Warthen

          1. Near as I can recall, the only times Trump’s weight has been brought up has been in response to him talking about other people’s weight.

          2. Making fun of women’s bodies is unquestionably more cruel and disrespectful than doing the same to men — not that doing so to men is a nice thing. And if people disagree with that observation, then I have to wonder what planet they’ve been living on.

          3. That’s the first time I’ve seen Kaine referred to as mentally deficient. Of course, I seldom hear people say much about him at all.

          1. Claus

            Okay there four eyes, something I wouldn’t say to your wife or daughters (if they wear glasses) because it would be cruel and disrespectful, but to say it to you is fine but just not nice according to that logic.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “Four eyes” is an interesting choice, because it sort of flies against the general rule.

              I can find no evidence out there to support this directly, but it seems to ME that that “four-eyes” is something that originally was taunt specifically aimed at males — something a bully would hurl at a bookish boy as a way of saying he was somehow weak or unmanly.

              I don’t really think of it as something said about a girl.

              Popular culture’s association of women with glasses is… weird. Right after John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate, I wrote about how she struck me as an old sitcom stereotype — the teacher or secretary or librarian who wore glasses and cardigans and her hair in a bun, who at some point in the story would suddenly take off her glasses, let her hair down, and reveal herself to be extremely hot.

              This was always a ridiculous plot device, because you could usually tell that she was a looker BEFORE she took of the glasses. Anyway, Sarah Palin seemed a perfect example of that stock character.

              By the way, my readers were OUTRAGED that I’d made such an observation, accusing me of the worst kind of sexism. I was called “stupid” and an “idiot.” And so forth. What would prove to be hilarious about this was that the people most outraged, the ones most eager to rush to defend Ms. Palin’s dignity, were people who a couple of months later would give me holy hell for having endorsed a ticket that had that horrible woman on it.

              But of course I was completely right. My observation was spot-on. And I was particularly gratified a couple of weeks later when I learned that late-night host Colin Ferguson had been going on about her “naughty librarian vibe.”

              Bottom line, historically, glasses and women have had different associations from glasses and men…

        1. Claus

          For one thing, how many candidates have you seen that has a doctor tagging along within arms reach of the candidate? I’m surprised he wasn’t standing behind her during the debates.

        2. Doug Ross

          I’m getting at the fact that Hillary does not appear healthy enough to face the next four years. Based on her age, gender, and the way she moves, she looks like a risk for a hip replacement (or worse, a fall and hip fracture) at some point over the next four years. She just doesn’t move like someone who is in great physical shape.

          From Harvard Health:

          “If you’re over age 50, you have an even (50%) lifetime chance of breaking a bone because of osteoporosis. This disorder weakens bones, leaving them vulnerable to fracture even without a serious fall or other trauma. The risk increases with age in both sexes, but postmenopausal women are at special risk because bone loss is accelerated by the decline in estrogen at menopause.

          A woman who is taking certain medications, including glucocorticoids, chemotherapy drugs, immunosuppressants, or certain anticonvulsants is also at increased risk of bone loss and may benefit from DXA testing before age 65. Women who discontinue estrogen therapy lose bone rapidly, just like those in the first few years of menopause.”

          1. Doug Ross

            It would not be a surprise if she were to experience some significant health issue over the next eight years, would it?

            1. Doug Ross

              Hip fractures are not trivial. They typically require extended stays in rehab centers and can lead to other complications due to being immobile for quite awhile.

              I’m pretty sure there won’t be any pickup basketball games in the White House gym like Obama has played. Just look at what eight years have done to him physically. They’re sort of like dog years – three for every one.

          2. Mark Stewart

            Doug, you are beginning to sound a bit misogynistic.

            It is amusing, however, that the consensus is growing to recognize that Obama has been a solid President (though likely not so much with foreign policy), who has well represented this nation’s vigor, thoughtful leadership and common decency – as opposed to the candidate’s standing for this election cycle.

            1. Claus

              Mark, I read that with my mouth open. I don’t know what you’re smoking but if you could sell it you’d be set for life. Obama is going to be remembered for a failed healthcare system he ramrodded through Congress. His legacy makes Jimmy Carter smile.

            2. Doug Ross

              Misogynistic for pointing out the post-menopausal women have a much higher risk of bones breaking due according to a Harvard study? and that based on watching her walk and get assistance climbing a single stair that she may be one of those women?

              Newsflash – men and women are biologically and anatomically different. Pear shaped older women are likely to have higher incidences of hip issues.

              Throwing that label around is what’s wrong with people today. If you even use the word “woman”, you’re a misogynist.

              I didn’t call her a bad driver (because she hasn’t driven in more than 20 years). That would have been “a bit misogynistic”.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Ya know… I’ve thought for a long time that we obsess too much about the president’s health.

                I first formed this opinion in the mid-80s, when I was at the Wichita paper, and everybody was going nuts over the polyps in Reagan’s colon. I think this was before TMI stood for Too Much Information (in those days, it still meant Three Mile Island), but that’s what I thought that was. I was like, “Back off, people! MUST we all look up this guy’s you-know-what?”

                I mean, is the country better off now, when it’s a big scandal when President Bartlet hides his condition (yeah, I know that’s fiction, but it was realistic), than we were when FDR and JFK led the country? Kennedy’s campaign out-and-out LIED when Johnson hit on the truth and suggested he had Addison’s. He was in really, really bad shape. But did it hurt his performance in office? Not so I can tell from this distance. And remember, FDR was essentially dying the last couple of years of the war.

                People get sick. People die, including presidents. That’s why we have vice presidents, and all those people lined up behind the veep. It’s why we have a Designated Survivor — so the government can go on, the country can go on, without a particular individual.

                The one thing about the president’s health that matters is something that’s really hard to discern. The word Trump uses for it is as good as any other (which is unusual for him). It’s “stamina.” At the end of a long day, or in the middle of the night, will the president feel well enough to make good decisions? That comes up with regard to FDR at Yalta.

                We have one test for this, though, and it’s a pretty good one: Can the candidate make it through the rigors of the couple of years of campaigning that are required to get elected?

                And I suppose in that sense, it is somewhat logical to watch Hillary Clinton for stumbles — although stumbling physically isn’t the same as mentally. And we’ve learned that Trump has terrible judgment at 3 in the morning. That might not be lack of stamina, though, since he’s just as bad at 3 in the afternoon.

                I look at what candidates, and presidents, go through, and think “I couldn’t do that.” But then, maybe I could. I had brief experience as a reporter covering campaigns wall-to-wall, night and day, following candidates wherever they went and keeping their schedules… and I found that after a very few days your metabolism changes, and you get used to it. (Of course, I was 25 years old.)

                That doesn’t mean it doesn’t wear you down. Look at Obama 8 years ago, and now…

                1. Claus

                  Maybe we should get to elect a Vice-President instead of taking whoever the President needs to carry a particular demographic or state. Same goes for if a Congressman dies, his wife doesn’t automatically get to fill his seat.

                2. Claus

                  And remember, at 3:00 a.m., Hillary is just finishing up screaming at people who work for her for the day.

            1. Douglas Ross

              People in excellent health don’t need excellent health care, usually.

              People receiving excellent health care usually have to focus on their health more than running the country. A hip replacement would require a significant period of focusing on physical therapy. The best healthcare wouldn’t change the time required to deal with it.

    2. Claus

      I couldn’t help but notice that her doctor is again with her. Has anyone seen a doctor tagging along with Trump wherever he goes?

    3. Claus

      If elected, will airports need to purchase portable escalators for her to board Air Force One, maybe mount one on one of the motorcade limos? Or will they install one of those chairs that allows you to ride up the stairs like I see on late night television?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, did any of y’all read that WSJ piece, “Republicans Rode Waves of Populism Until They Crashed the Party?

    Turns out it’s not a surprising thing to find in the Journal at all. The underlying theme is sort of that real Republicans — which is to say, titans of business and country-clubbers — should have known better than to try to appeal to their social inferiors, such as evangelicals and those working-class Reagan Democrats.

    I exaggerate, of course. I love the WSJ, and don’t find its news pages to be infused with right-wing polemics at all. It’s a great newspaper. But if you DO see the paper as a caricature, this piece would probably have fit your preconceptions…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s possible that it struck me that way because personally, I like the cultural conservatives — people who stand for “Tradition!” (my favorite song in “Fiddler on the Roof”) — more than I do the Club for Growth economic absolutists that seem so at home on the Journal’s opinion pages.

      I don’t always agree with the Religious Right — most of them don’t follow my brand of faith — but I respect them more than I do the government-haters who want to turn society into a Hobbesian jungle and let Darwinism pick who survives and thrives.

      And I don’t like it when people sneer at them.

      Maybe on some level it’s because, although I’m Catholic now, I was baptized in a Southern Baptist Church and don’t see evangelicals as some alien species…

    2. Doug Ross

      None of these pundits actually have any idea about what’s happening. Any analysis written before the election is meaningless. If Trump loses by a couple percentage points and Republicans retain control of the Senate and House, is it really some earth shattering change in the party? They’d still be in better shape than in 2008.

    3. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, that’s a good recap of the facts, but it doesn’t dig too deep. All the new voters who propelled the GOP wave elections in 2010 and afterwards…actually expected to be given seats at the table. Shocking, I know.

      When the Establishment GOP marginalized these new voters and told them, “No, we’re not going to do anything about immigration because our big money Chamber of Commerce donors want cheap labor” and “No, we’re not going to fight about defunding Planned Parenthood because we don’t really care that much about abortion” they sort of let the new voters know that they were always going to be second-class citizens in the GOP.

      Why would you be in a marriage if you don’t get anything out of it? A marriage doesn’t work if one party is always insisting he’s right because he feels he’s in the right. Everyone feels they’re in the right.

      Brad refers to them semi-jokingly as the “country clubbers” and the “social inferiors” He’s not far off. Let’s call them Wal-Mart Class and the College Class. I dislike both of these groups for various reasons. For example, the Wal-Mart Class folks really have a lot of resentment, are comfortable being crude when it’s not necessary, and take pride in the “know-nothing” sort of attitude.

      The College Class can be terrible, too. They are very PC, and often like to show their liberal friends how they’re not like those icky Wal-Mart Class folks. They also think of themselves as superior because of a stupid belief that people who do work with their hands are less valuable than people who work in office jobs. For instance, a web designer vs. a brick mason. It’s a stupid delineation, but at some point long ago, that happened. The absolute worst members of the College Class are the people who have a huge ego because they went to college and the guy bricking up their house didn’t. Guess what, Skippy…so did slightly less than half of the damn country. You do not become a superstar just because of this “accomplishment”.

      In any event, the Democrats do a great job of dividing the two classes and stoking the hatred. The Confederate Flag is a perfect example. I can’t think of anything that divides the Wal-Mart Class from the College Class more. (Again, I’m talking exclusively within the GOP. Almost all of y’all on here are not involved in this intramural dispute that’s been going on for years.)

      Again, since 2010, the College Class has willfully taken the Wal-Mart Class votes and then promptly told them that their issues don’t really matter. Well guess what, you have to give and take to maintain a partnership. Otherwise, it’s doomed to fail.

      So the Middle-Class put Trump forth to a certain extent as a “Screw You” to the College Class. Trump pushes that “crude” button that makes the hard working CPA in Charlotte just cringe. He really pumps up the Wal-Mart Class of the GOP who have been told that they don’t really matter by the College Class. The problem with Trump was the he absolutely craters with the College Class.

      The GOP can’t win an election without broad support from both.

      So there’s my analysis of the WSJ. Your mileage may vary.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Mr. Howell: “They wanted seats at the table — can you imagine, Lovie? Have you ever SEEN these people? Well, of course you haven’t; there are no Walmarts here on the island. Well, they’re brutes! They’re savages! They’re like… Yale men!”

        Mrs. Howell: “Oh, calm yourself, Thurston! Here, have a fermented coconut cocktail…”

        1. Claus

          With all that money, why did Mr. Howell stick with Mrs. Howell when Ginger and Mary Ann were right there.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Because he didn’t have Trump’s attitude toward women.

            What I wondered is why everybody acted like Ginger was the hot one. Mary Ann was much more appealing….

      2. Claus

        I know a CPA, he’s a Trump supporter. Most of my friends are college graduates and are Trump supporters.

        1. Norm Ivey

          Ezra Klein has an interesting take on Vox about the Trump voter. Gallup has collected barrels of data on them. Indeed, they are wealthier than the average citizen. What makes them stand apart is their fear of folks not like them. What made Trump stand out from the rest of the GOP candidates was his wall, his ban on Muslims, his suggestions that somehow the votes are rigged in black neighborhoods.

          He’s a racist, and that’s his appeal to many of his voters.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Let’s excerpt that:

            The contest for president between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is marked by an educational divide that is far wider than in past elections.

            In Pew Research Center’s August survey, registered voters with a college degree or more education favor Clinton over Trump by 23 percentage points (52% Clinton vs. 29% Trump) in a four-way contest that included Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson (supported by 11% of voters with at least a college degree) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein (4%).

            By contrast, voters who do not have a college degree were more divided in their preferences: 41% backed Trump, 36% Clinton, 9% Johnson and 5% Stein.

            If the gap between Clinton and Trump holds in November, it will be the widest educational divide in any election in the last several decades. And the current gap is particularly pronounced among white voters….

            So, among other things, Doug may be right about Johnson’s level of support, Bud.

            Of course, this research was done back in August…

      3. bud

        I think most Trump voters are avid Rush Limbaugh and Fox News consumers. The information they get from those sources is not accurate but it does resonate. And you don’t have to be a direct consumer of this propaganda; it filters into the MSM and the internet in a number of ways. It’s taken several decades for this to reach a critical mass but now it’s here full blown with Trump. Part of the evidence for this connection is the polling that shows a huge negative assessment in the right track/wrong track numbers. There’s no empirical evidence to suggest the country is on the “wrong track” especially when compared to where we were 7 years ago. Plus the president’s approval rating is strong so people are seeing a “wrong track” that they contradict by giving a positive grade to POTUS.

        I suppose much of this “wrong track” has to do with the social issues, gay marriage especially rather than pocketbook matters. And also people are exposed to an inordinate amount of coverage of ISIS and domestic terrorist events, Dylan Roof for example, that re-enforces the narrative that things are terribly wrong. Still, with the typical Trump voter earning above average wages it seems as though a certain amount of personal reflection would bring a rational person to the conclusion that maybe we’re not all that much on the wrong track. Armed with this reflection it would seem that folks would look aghast at the obvious risks of a narcissistic, thin-skinned bully with zero intellectual curiosity and a looooong history of mistreatment of everyone he comes in contact with. But somehow Clinton is often regarded as just as bad or even worse even though she has been investigated and generally exonerated repeatedly over her very long career. And that is the real power of the Limbaugh/Fox axis of evil. I suspect that the Trump political brand in some form will be around a while. But eventually it will become evident to everyone that this man is just like a Jack-o-Lattern – Orange on the outside and hollow on the inside.

  2. Ralph Hightower

    I’m pulling for the Cleveland Indians; who knew that Carlos Santana has a second career as a baseball player. So I’m rooting for the team that has a musician playing.

    About the NG “Afghan Girl” photo, I think that you’re safe since this is a newsworthy item and various news websites, as well as photography websites, used the same photo as you. You aren’t appropriating the image for your own use. Facebook recently got tons of negative feedback of their censorship of the “Napalm Girl” because it showed nudity.

    But to be on the safe side, it is probably wise to ask the lawyer in the group, Kathryn Fenner, about the use.

  3. Bart

    Re: Health of the candidates

    The relative health of Clinton and Trump is a legitimate topic if their health issues would prevent either one from executing their duties as POTUS, political and ideological differences aside. We know from history about the health of two highly regarded presidents and the defense used to excuse Hillary’s apparent health issues as being a non-issue. First, FDR supposedly died because of a brain hemorrhage described as a “bolt of lightening” according to the doctor attending him upon his death. But, this was just one of the major health problems FDR had at the time of his death. But not one reason was attributed to polio he was stricken with as a young man. Some of his health problems if the accounts are accurate would have had an impact or affected his ability to continue his role as president. But, given the time in our history when FDR was president, he was about as close to being a king as an elected politician could be with the exception of George Washington. It is entirely possible that if FDR was completely incapacitated and ran for office, he would have won because of his immense popularity.

    As for JFK, his Addison’s disease was easily treated with medication and as long as he took it, he was fine and it didn’t affect his ability to serve as president. Along with Addison’s, he had a bad back but apparently it wasn’t so bad he couldn’t continue his assignations with his female companions in the White House. Better living through chemistry and medications.

    The question of competency of a president/vice-president suffering from health issues is not new. I still remember when Eagleton was removed from the McGovern ticket under extreme pressure from Democrats because of his treatments for depression by a psychiatrist and shock treatments. I guess the fear that Eagleton wouldn’t have been able to take over if McGovern won and couldn’t complete his term as president. So, health issues are not taken into consideration by Democrats unless the one with the issues is a Republican, right? I find the hypocrisy by both sides astounding but not unexpected.

    C’mon, let’s face the reality of aging and the issues associated with it. We are prone to have more life threatening health issues than when we were in our younger years. Things start to wear out and our immune systems are no longer as strong as they once were. Unless we are fortunate enough to have inherited good genes from our parents and ancestors, most will start to have issues after the age of 50. But, now, the new 50 is anyone in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who has been taking great care of their body over the years. I am very fortunate because I still work-out several times a week lifting weights, sit-ups, treadmill, and eating properly – most of the time – and still enjoy good health, mentally and physically. Plus the added advantage of continuing to work at home running a small consulting and estimating business for a few clients. I am blessed.

    If Clinton is suffering from anything that has a negative affect on her cognitive and mental ability that would impact her ability to discharge her duties as president, then she should not run for office, the same goes for Trump.

    Age and some health issues do not disqualify one for public service or to serve at the highest level.

      1. Bart

        Now if we could have a bevy of candidates in the age range of the framers of the Constitution with their level of intelligence, common sense, and willingness to cooperate to actually get meaningful things done, they would have my support no matter which party they were associated with.

        Maybe you could run next time. Have Brad as your campaign manager and Kathryn as your adviser, and Doug just to keep you in line. I would vote for you.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        You know, about a month ago I meant to address that topic. It was in reaction to a piece about how this singularly horrible election was the last hurrah for a generation, and so forth.

        And I reacted by thinking, Wait, we just got here

        I went back and did a little math in my head. I thought about how long the generation that won WWII was in charge. Of course, the people who won that war stretched across more than a generation, but bear with me.

        It started with the election of 1932. Yeah, FDR was way older than the GIs who would fight the war, but he can’t be left off the list of people who won it. Then we stretch way beyond the war — Truman, Eisenhower (another oldie who nevertheless qualifies), Kennedy (the first who had been young enough to fight), and you go on and on, and there is at least one WWII veteran on the presidential general election ballot all the way through 1996.

        So. They held the stage for 64 years.

        Then look at us boomers. The first to be handed power was Bill Clinton in 1992. And now, a mere 24 years later, people are saying, “Well, thank God that’s over.”

        I’m just feeling like we didn’t fully get our shot…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And remember, Obama is only technically a boomer. I’ve always found it ridiculous that the definition of “boomer” extends to people born in 1964.

          There’s no way you’re a boomer if you don’t remember Kennedy’s assassination, or the arrival of the Beatles in America, or the flights of the Mercury astronauts. No way. Those things are an ESSENTIAL part of the boomer psyche…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Of course, I’m kind of a weird boomer in that I was out of the country when Kennedy was killed, and when the Beatles arrived. In fact, I suppose their first visit to the States was over by the time I first read about them in an old copy of The Miami Herald that had made its way down to Ecuador.

            It would be quite a few years before I saw clips of their first appearance on the Sullivan show (no, children, there was no YouTube).

            But when I got back to the States in 1965, I plunged into the culture with a vengeance, and I think I did a pretty good job of catching up.

            So I think I still qualify as a boomer…

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