Open Thread for Thursday, November 3, 2016


Sorry I couldn’t post today. Busy in the morning and away from both laptop and iPad this afternoon (posting on a phone is possible, but tedious). Here you go:

  1. HOW ABOUT THEM CUBBIES? — Sometimes, cliffhangers turn out right. Nothing against the Indians, but wow, what a great Game 7! I almost missed the end. I was so tired (after 7:30 a.m. speaking engagement), I turned it off when the rain delay started. Then I came back and turned it on. I sat down, saw the Cubs build a two-run lead, then saw the Indians score and turned it off again assuming it would be all night. Doused the lights, left the room, came back and turned it on just in time for the winning out. Wow!
  2. Baseball ratings rise as NFL ratings fall — More good news for the country. I don’t know why, but it does seem like an outbreak of sanity, which flies in the face of what we’ve been seeing in the political sphere all year. Seriously, this is one of the most promising trends I’ve seen in this country in some time.
  3. Walter Scott’s passenger in traffic stop: ‘He was murdered’ — Well, that’s what it looked like on the video. Weird trial. Did you see the thing yesterday about the defense attorney taking the stand to offer his opinions?
  4. Court ruling means act of parliament would be needed for Brexit, says May — This gives me an idea — could we make the result of the U.S. election contingent on Parliament approving? No? Dang. Thanks a lot, George Washington! And King George loved us so
  5. Anderson woman found alive, chained ‘like a dog’ in Woodruff — What a bizarre, horrible story…

31 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, November 3, 2016

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I understood it when reading about it this morning, but I can’t remember where I saw it. Something about Parliament’s power to make laws (and, I suppose, alliances) being absolute, and nothing can override it…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        OK, here’s one reference to what I’m talking about:

        The Lord Chief Justice concluded that the government cannot leave the EU based on the results of the Brexit referendum alone because doing so would be “contrary to fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of parliament.”

        I don’t think that was the piece I read this morning, though. That won’t went into something less intelligible to an American, something about the distinction between Her Majesty’s Government and Parliament. It was interesting, but not fully explanatory.

        The quote above raises a puzzle for me, too — the “sovereignty of Parliament.” Really? I thought the Queen was sovereign. I thought that was the very definition of what the monarchy IS.


        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I also get confused when Brits start talking about their “constitutional principle,” since, you know, they don’t have a constitution.

          Yeah, I know they sort of have one, which I think is related to the body of precedent to which we defer in our courts.

          I didn’t study this in history or poli sci in school. I concentrated on the U.S., and on Latin America and to some extent Spain. I really should know more about the British system, being such an Anglophile and all…

          Especially, I wish I were one of those learned coves who understood the relationship of Parliament to the Admiralty. Made I’ve have been made post by now…

        2. Bryan Caskey

          Can you imagine the US Supreme Court saying that “Congress is Sovereign”? It just seems odd to my ear. Do they have some version of judicial review in Britain? Is there a British Marbury vs. Madison analog?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t know. I wish I did. If I knew, maybe I could go over there and work as a solicitor if Trump wins the election. Or as a barrister. I forget which is which…

              1. James Cross

                Barristers argue in court (advocates); solicitors deal with conveyancing, drawing up wills, and other legal matters.

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yeah, one kind handles your case, but he has to engage the other to actually try it in court. Which is weird — but, I expect, lucrative! Why pay one lawyer when you can pay two?

                I tried figuring it out watching “Garrow’s Law” and “Silk.” But the first was outdated (it was a guy who changed the whole approach to litigation — he was the guy who first thought, “Why don’t we address our remarks to the JURY?”), and the characters unsympathetic.

                And the second… I forget why I stopped watching the second…

                After all, don’t most of us form what we think of the way the system works from TV and movies? It’s not like I’m going to go to a British law school….

                Speaking of which, I was just thinking of this yesterday… Decades ago, when I was a reporter (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), I covered several counties of rural West Tennessee. I found that the best way to keep tabs on what was happening in small towns was to cultivate the local lawyers as sources. I was most successful at this in Huntingdon, the seat of Carroll County, where I was on great terms with two firms, and would drop by and shoot the bull with them whenever I was in town — usually picking up on four or five good stories.

                I was doing that one day, learning the gossip from a partner in one of these firms — it was just two partners and one young associate — when the young associate called from the courthouse, all in a panic. Something unexpected had happened in a trial he was handling alone, and he was asking, “What should I do?”

                The partner calmly told him, “Have your client plead the Fifth.”

                The young lawyer said in amazement, “I can DO that?!?”

                He thought it was just something you see on TV….

            1. Claus

              So you’re thinking about leaving the country for the next 4 to 8 years? If everyone who threatens this does so, it’ll eliminate any overcrowding we have in this country. Maybe you can come back to squatters living in your house that you “abandoned”.

                1. Claus

                  “And the election of Trump would be easily our greatest political crisis since 1865…”

                  And apparently 50% of the country feels the same way about Hillary being elected.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    The operative word there being “feels”…

                    As I keep saying, particularly to my thoughtful Republican friends, it’s not about how anyone feels about anyone. It’s about who can save the country from the outrageously dysfunctional nightmare that is Donald Trump….

                2. Claus

                  You should have been a lawyer, you love to twist people words to make your point.

                  So Hillary is going to save the country from itself? Do you think she’d survive a 4 year term? I mean physically and/or legally. I give her one year before she either stroked out or behind bars. This is the person you choose to lead the country.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    No, actually, the person I choose is John Kasich. Unfortunately, he’s not on the ballot Tuesday. And whose fault is that? Certainly not mine; I did my part.

                    I’m dealing with the actual ballot that will be placed before me, and doing the best I can with it for my country, which is all I can do.

                    By the way, John Kasich voted already — for John McCain. Confirming that he’s my kind of candidate…

                3. Claus

                  “By the way, John Kasich voted already — for John McCain. Confirming that he’s my kind of candidate…”

                  That’s what you got out of him writing a non-candidate in on his ballot? My take is he wasted his time and wasted his vote. How many votes will John McCain get in that state… one? Why didn’t he just vote for himself, at least he was running for the office at one point?

                4. Bart

                  You and I agree on Kasich, he was the best of the field but he didn’t have the appeal needed for the Republican who were looking for someone like Trump. And Kasich had some positions that did not appeal to the Trump supporters. In other words, he was a center right candidate and if he had been the nominee, he would be leading Clinton by double digits and already have enough electoral votes to win it all.

                  In 2012, I believed Jon Huntsman was the best candidate because he was center right on most positions but center left on some social issues. He was the brightest of the field in my estimation.

                  In 2020, if the Republican Party survives intact and a third party isn’t born from this election, the nominee will be Rubio.

                  But this election is not over and based on the conflicting polls, if they are correct, Trump just may pull this off. This is becoming a horse race and if any more surprises hit Clinton, he may win it all.

                  Either way, we are in for 4 more years of division, anger, vitriol, and a do nothing congress. The 2018 elections will be the tell if the Senate is still in Republican control.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yes, we are (“in for 4 more years of division, anger, vitriol, and a do nothing congress”). But I can handle that as long as He Who Must Not Be Named isn’t president.

                    And I was with you on Huntsman as well as Kasich…

                5. Scout

                  I chose Kasich too.

                  I just hope our checks and balances are strong enough to endure a President Trump, should that happen. I think in his mind he is running to be King. I’ve no confidence he understands or would respect the powers the President does and doesn’t have. He apparently thinks the Constitution has 12 articles and he has the personality of a totalitarian dictator. All evidence suggests he would use being President as an excuse to think he can do anything he wants in any arena. I don’t see him giving up power once he gets it. He’ll just claim the election to replace him was rigged. He’ll whine and make things up and have control of the military at his beck and call.

                  That’ll be good, huh?

        3. James Cross

          From the horse’s mouth (www.

          “Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution.”

  1. Claus

    Are you surprised at what Walter Scott’s passenger said? The family of the armed robber of the Pizza Hut in Charlotte are upset that the employee killed their son and want him put in jail. It the way they think, they’re always the victim in situations like this.

      1. Claus

        Those who are on the wrong side of the law, get caught and want sympathy.

        “My baby tried to rob a Pizza Hut and an employee shot and killed him, oh poor me… lock up the man who defended himself and killed my baby.”

        Live by the gun, die by the gun. If you have a problem with that, stop pointing your gun at people who might just shoot back.

  2. Bart

    Thought I would throw this in to provoke some thoughts about voting rights. Today, I took my wife to vote early because she cannot stand in long lines and uses a cane to walk. She has a handicapped placard issued as required with a doctor’s signature on it. I waited in the car because we had our little dog with us and after she voted, I went in to vote while she looked after our little dog.

    I handed my registration card to the gentleman behind the desk and was asked for my driver’s license for positive identification. Gave it to him and then he asked why I was voting early and I explained that my wife had just voted for the reasons stated. Then he asked if I was 65 or older and I told him yes.

    Looking around and at the people who had come before me and listening to the ones coming after me, he did not ask them why they were voting early and I don’t recall hearing him ask for a driver’s license from any of the other voters either.

    Maybe he was trying to show me how it felt to be questioned when voting and having to show identification and give an acceptable reply about voting early since he was an older black man and I am an older white male and all of the others before and after me were black and by the way, based on physical appearance, they were all much younger than me.

    Needless to say, it did bother me to the point where I wanted to ask him why he pointedly asked for my driver’s license, asked why I was voting early, and then asked my age. But, after thinking about it for a moment, I proceeded to vote and leave. Making a comment or asking a question would have served no purpose. The only important thing is that I voted and voted my conscience and that meant I didn’t vote for Clinton or Trump, I voted third party.

    But, I do wonder what his motivation really was since I was the only one singled out, my skin is white, and I am an older male.

    Any thoughts?

    1. bud

      Discrimination is regardless of how it manifests itself. I can’t wait for a color blind society. Sadly it’s not here yet.

    2. Claus

      Our great grandchildren will be dead of old age before we see that happen… if you’re hoping to wait around for a time-frame reference.

    3. Claus

      White privilege.

      Early voting needs to be abolished. Election Day is the 2nd Tuesday in November. It shouldn’t run for a week. If you can’t make it, you vote using an absentee ballot.

      1. Bart


        I agree with early voting if there are extenuating circumstances such as the one with my wife and older citizens who cannot stand in long lines at their polling place. I don’t necessarily trust sending in an absentee ballot because they can be lost in the mail or overlooked. But, if you want to abolish early voting, write the governor, your local representatives, and get involved in order to change it. Otherwise, all you can do is “run to the end of your chain and bark” according to Walter, one of Jeff Dunham’s dummies used in his ventriloquist act.

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