Open Thread for Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Laura and Rob

Laura and Rob Petrie

I’ve been really tied up today with a client that had some news to get out, and I’m about to run to an event, so just very briefly:

  1. Leatherman re-elected to lead SC Senate — I’m sure y’all were on pins and needles about how this would come out, so I thought I’d let you know, just to relieve the suspense…
  2. Trump Orders Mexican Border Wall — This one’s probably a big shock to you, too… sorry to throw so many of them at you at once.
  3. Trump seeks ‘major investigation’ into his unsupported claims of voter fraud — Because you know, we just really need to be wasting time and money on this thing that exists only in Trump’s fevered imagination.
  4. White House draft order calls for review on use of CIA ‘black site’ prisons — Also, he may reinstitute torture. Just FYI, in case any of y’all were thinking about getting into the terrorism game.
  5. Cobb Theatres pulls out of Bull Street development — They were going to build a 10-screen “luxury cinema.” Now they’re not.
  6. She Turned The World On With Her Smile: Mary Tyler Moore Dies At 80 — I like best to remember her from “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” saying, “Oh, Ro-o-o-o-b-b!”

70 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, January 25, 2017

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Writing about “Laura Petrie” kind of reminds me of Alexandra Petri, who had a good piece this morning in The Washington Post: “The true, correct story of what happened at Donald Trump’s inauguration.”

    You should all read it. An excerpt:

    Everyone in the world had come there at great expense. They sold all their possessions — their homes, their “Hamilton” tickets, which were worthless to them — to raise money to come and see this great sight. They could not believe that a perfect being such as Donald Trump even existed. They thought that he was a myth or a legend or a decades-long series of fabrications.

    But then they saw him, and their doubts fell away.

    The media was there, too, and they were very sorry. “Donald,” the newscasters said, “we were mean to you. We used to laugh and call you names. We were no better than all of the other reindeer. How can you ever forgive us?”

    “Forgive you?” Donald Trump asked. “I’ve already forgotten.” He smiled a big, beautiful smile. That was just who Donald Trump was: forgiving, like Jesus, but blond.

    It was a wonderful start to the day….

  2. Larry Slaughter

    With an apology for this rather non-sequitur, I find this humorous: someone started a Twitter account to find if a half an onion in a plastic bag can get more followers than @realDonaldTrump. Because what could make him angrier than that? I followed immediately. I’d suspect we’d learn the half onion in a plastic bag has thicker skin.

  3. bud

    6. The Mary Tyler Moore show was an early combatant in the pay equality fight. Still fighting that battle and it only gets tougher with Trump.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah… not being a feminist, I don’t put a political spin on it. I’m more a Lou Grant type: “You’ve got spunk!… I hate spunk!”

      I started rewatching “30 Rock” recently, and I enjoyed Tina Fey’s somewhat ironic nod at the start of the first episode to both “The MTM Show” and “That Girl”…

      Who’s that, kicking it down the street
      Causin’ a stir?
      Who’s that — I know that you’re wondrin’
      That’s her!…

      But then you see that the music isn’t for Liz Lemon’s spunky gesture with the hot dogs, but part of a TGS skit about “Pam, the over-confident, morbidly-obese woman.”

      That classic “perky single girl in the city” theme was one “30 Rock” frequently played well for laughs.

      Because, you know, we’re all so hip and ironic today…

  4. Dave Crockett

    6. When injured by criticism, if only our president could follow the philosophy of Chuckles the Clown…pick himself up…dust himself off and simply say, “I hurt my foo-foo…”

  5. Bart

    Any attempt to equate anything Trump with Mary Tyler Moore is an insult to her and her great contributions during her life.

    The Chuckles the Clown episode was one of the funniest of all especially when Lou was talking with, can’t remember his name, the other co-worker about how Chuckles met his demise and then the eulogy for Chuckles and Mary losing it. After watching it again, I still laughed until tears ran down my cheek. MTM was a comedic great and she did it with ease and grace. Unfortunately today, the comedy is gross, crude, and insulting when shows like MTM’s only needed great writers who were talented and a very talented ensemble to entertain us for half an hour at a time.

    She will be missed.

  6. Karen Pearson

    I just love the way Trump is decreasing the national debt by building a multi-billion dollar wall and investigating an alternate fact! Way to go!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You forget that Mexico’s going to pay for it.

      Of course, were it true, that would truly be appalling — a country as big and rich as the United States forcing its poor neighbor to pay billions for a spite fence, when it’s the poor neighbor that’s being spited…

      The sentiment that lies at the heart of this outlandish pledge and the appeal it has to many Trump voters — a giant “F___ YOU” to those brown people to the South that they despise so much — is really one of the uglier phenomena in American politics in many a year.

      It would have been ugly enough if it had remained what it was early in 2015 a fringe phenomenon on the edge of the GOP. That such an attitude has now taken the White House testifies to a deep sickness in our country…

      1. Doug Ross

        It’s not because they are brown, no matter how many times you and Lindsey try to push that lie.

        It’s because they enter the country illegally. That’s it. Their “brown-ness” doesn’t make them bad people. Their illegal activity is what makes the ones who do enter illegally bad. Especially when other brown people from all over the world follow the rules, pay fees, pay ALL their taxes, and go through years of bureaucracy to remain here legally. Seems like Indians here on H1B visas are treated decently despite their brown skin. Why is that?

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Thou dost protest too much.

        I said they WERE brown people. I didn’t draw a cause-and-effect relationship.

        Do I think that’s an element in it? Yep. But in this case, I did not SAY it was…

        1. Mark Stewart

          No one is railing on and on about all the Irish who came over for economic opportunity and stayed – or overstayed – here; many of who remain “illegal”.

          This is absolutely about race; and about Trump wanting to please the Border Patrol union.

          Such a strange turn – it’s like riding a Mobius Strip these days…

        2. Doug Ross

          Do you think illegals should get some level of citizenship status that is equal to or higher than those who are here on legal visa status?

      3. Claus

        As big and rich as the US? Aren’t we $20 trillion in debt?

        How many countries can US citizens just waltz into and start working without a work visa or gaining citizenship?

    2. Dave Crockett

      I guess part of the plan to pay for it will be redirection of the federal dollars Mr. T. wants to withhold from American cities that don’t prosecute undocumented immigrants. The figure for San Francisco alone was quoted today as around $1 billion. BTW, is anyone keeping up with the number of executive orders he’s signing?

      1. Bryan Caskey

        I think Trump may have some problems with the withholding of federal funds. Remember in the Supreme Court arguments over the ACA? SCOTUS ruled that the federal government’s threat to take away all of a state’s federal Medicaid subsidies if the state didn’t expand Medicaid was coercive, and it was struck down. Remember that?

        I think there’s an argument that a city could make along those same lines. Now, Trump can certainly withhold some money. The question is how much, and how exactly does he do it, and what is it related to. But if you go too far with it, the Supreme Court will strike it down, as it did with that provision of the ACA.

        Also, it’s a budgeting thing, which means that Congress should really be doing it, not have it done via an executive order by POTUS. But that’s a whole other issue.

        1. Doug Ross

          Withholding funds to sanctuary cities is to force them to comply with the laws of the United States. I’d love to hear the rationale from the Supreme Court that would approve of selective enforcement of the law.

          In the interim of coming up with a comprehensive plan to deal with illegal immigrants, one of the easiest steps to take is to remove the carrot that attracts them to come in illegally. If good samaritans want to chip in to keep them here in the interim, go for it. But Federal tax dollars should go to citizens, not criminal immigrants.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “Withholding funds to sanctuary cities is to force them to comply with the laws of the United States. I’d love to hear the rationale from the Supreme Court that would approve of selective enforcement of the law.”

            I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying there’s a particular way in which it needs to be done. Remember, federal immigration law is federal law. The feds cannot make a city enforce it. The feds can enforce it themselves, but the federal government can’t make a city or state enforce a federal law. Again, I’ll refer you to the Court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius:

            That insight has led this Court to strike down federal legislation that commandeers a State’s legislative or administrative apparatus for federal purposes. See, e.g., Printz, 521 U. S., at 933 (striking down federal legislation compelling state law enforcement officers to perform federally mandated background checks on handgun purchasers); New York, supra, at 174–175 (invalidating provisions of an Act that would compel a State to either take title to nuclear waste or enact particular state waste regulations). It has also led us to scrutinize Spending Clause legislation to ensure that Congress is not using financial inducements to exert a “power akin to undue influence.” Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U. S. 548, 590 (1937) . Congress may use its spending power to create incentives for States to act in accordance with federal policies. But when “pressure turns into compulsion,” ibid., the legislation runs contrary to our system of federalism. “[T]he Constitution simply does not give Congress the authority to require the States to regulate.” New York, 505 U. S., at 178. That is true whether Congress directly commands a State to regulate or indirectly coerces a State to adopt a federal regulatory system as its own.

            (emphasis added)

            There’s the counter-argument. Justice Breyer wrote it and Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Kagan all concurred. Only Ginsburg and Sotomayor didn’t agree. That’s 7-2 on this particular issue.

    3. Claus

      It’s a trade off, spend multi-billion dollars on the wall, stop spending multi-billion dollars on infrastructure in 3rd world countries that hate us. It’s a break even proposal.

  7. Karen Pearson

    “But we know for certain that some lovely day someone will set the spark off—and we will all be blown away1” —Kingston Trio

    1. Dave Crockett

      Preceded by:
      “The French hate the Germans.
      The Germans hate the Poles.
      Italians hate Yugoslavs.
      South Africans hate the Dutch.
      And I don’t like anybody very much.”

      Ah, for the days of meaningful popular song lyrics…

      Hey, baby, they’re singing our song…. 🙂

      1. Bart


        Another group from the era you might like, The Chad Mitchell Trio. John Denver was a member of the trio at one time.

        “Oh, we’re meetin’ at the courthouse at eight o’clock tonight
        You just walk in the door and take the first turn to the right
        Be careful when you get there, we hate to be bereft
        But we’re taking down the names of everybody turning left.”

        “To get this movement started we need lots of tools and cranks.”

        “He keeps on preaching brotherhood, but we know what he means.”

        “We’ll use our hand and hearts and if we must we’ll use our heads.”

        Chad Mitchell Trio – John Birch Society – some apropos lyrics and lines to consider in relation to Donald Trump.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        I prefer Randy Newman:

        We give them money
        But are they grateful
        No, they’re spiteful
        And they’re hateful
        They don’t respect us
        So let’s surprise them
        We’ll drop the big one
        And pulverize them
        Asia’s crowded
        And Europe’s too old
        Africa’s far too hot
        And Canada’s too cold
        And South America stole our name
        Let’s drop the big one
        There’ll be no one left to blame us…

          1. Dave Crockett

            “…so they tanned his hide when he died, Clyde, and that’s it hanging on the shed!”

            You get an old disk jockey goin’ and he just can’t shut up! I’ll go back into my dark corner now and hush… 😉

  8. Kathleen

    Several friends have posted a wonderful video from Zondag met Lubach called The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words. If I weren’t such a Luddite I would post a link here. I hope his thin skin doesn’t wind up robbing the rest of us of our sense of humor, we’re going to need it over the next 4 years.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      … or however long it takes to remove him from office.

      Here’s the problem, though, the respect that makes this calamity of so long life…

      Republicans in Congress — I mean the sane ones who understand the problem — are terrified of Trump’s base, because they can’t be reasoned with: They dismiss all logic, all evidence.

      So despite the fresh alarms every day, it’s highly unlikely that Congress will move to impeach until they sense that Trump’s base is fed up with him.

      And what’s THAT going to take, given that nothing that’s happened yet has alienated them from him? I shudder to think…

      1. Mark Stewart

        The other way it works is when the rest of the Republican voters stand to be counted as moving away from the GOP… That’s a larger number of voters; and also an easier path to Congressional change.

      2. Claus

        Heard this this morning on the radio, “Donald Trump… kickin’ ass and takin’ names.”

        You think liberals area scared now, wait until 2018 when the Republicans will likely get a super majority.

        Why would the Trump base get fed up with him? In his first week he’s done what he said when campaigning… unlike every other President before him. I know you’re going to fall out of your chair at this next statement but is it not true? At this point, Donald Trump is the most honest President this country has ever seen.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Claus, the people who have the most to be “scared” about isn’t liberals. Any sane, knowledgeable person who cares about the country has to be very concerned. And if you’re a Republican, you’re worried about the destruction of the brand for a generation. I wouldn’t be a Republican in Congress right now for anything — knowing this has to stop, and knowing it’s much too early to do anything about it.

          For a good sense of conservative alarm, you might want to read Charles Krauthammer’s column today. It’s dead-on in its analysis of how Trump, who promised to Make America Great Again, is racing to trash everything that HAS made America great, especially since 1945.

          This, of course, is why so many Republican national security experts were part of the #nevertrump movement. Trump is going full-speed toward Making America Weak and Irrelevant Again — or rather, making it so for the first time (at least, for the first time since 1814, when the British burned the White House)…

          1. Norm Ivey

            I’m no fan of Krauthammer, but I like what he says, especially this:

            Some claim that putting America first is a reassertion of American exceptionalism. On the contrary, it is the antithesis. It makes America no different from all the other countries that define themselves by a particularist blood-and-soil nationalism. What made America exceptional, unique in the world, was defining its own national interest beyond its narrow economic and security needs to encompass the safety and prosperity of a vast array of allies. A free world marked by open trade and mutual defense was President Truman’s vision, shared by every president since.

            It’s not our economic and military might that makes us exceptional. It’s our leadership.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              I don’t think it’s our “leadership”. It’s not one person. It’s America’s ideal. It’s our values. It’s the principles our country was founded on and what we try to keep fidelity with.

          2. Claus

            So you’re calling me a insane, unknowledgeable and uncaring about this country? Obama and Clinton are what I was worried about, but that’s all behind us now. Obama doubled the national debt in 8 years, meaning he spent as much in 8 years as the previous presidents did in 232 years. Hillary would have kept the Obama spending train on its tracks.

            I doubt you’d be a Republican anything.

            Yellow journalism, gotta love it… journalists do. I remember back when journalism was a respected career, now they’re down there with the used car salesmen and lawyers.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You’re right. I would never be a Republican anything, any more than I would be a Democratic anything. I’d have to sacrifice too many principles to be either.

              And that, to my great embarrassment, is something I have in common with your boy Trump. He’ll never be a Republican, either…

  9. Doug Ross

    The post on The Nerve provides all the evidence necessary to understand why Hugh Leatherman should not be allowed to make a mockery of the SC Constitution and retain his post in the Senate.

    Brief summary of all the actions he has led to funnel state tax dollars into the companies run by him, his wife, and other family members:

    “The state of South Carolina has been very generous over the years to Leatherman — so begins a 2013 Nerve report by Rick Brundrett, which goes on to detail more than $30 million in state funding that flowed from the Department of Transportation to Leatherman’s company, Florence Concrete products. Leatherman chairs the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, which holds sway over DOT’s budget.”

    “And you know those blue SC highway signs that display business logos near exits? They belong to South Carolina Logos Inc., a subsidiary of Lamar Advertising. The director of governmental affairs at Lamar’s Columbia office is John Hardee, who is also a DOT commissioner — and Leatherman’s son-in-law.”

    “What’s more, Leatherman’s Florence concrete company has operated as a “disadvantaged business enterprise,” a designation designed to assist minority businesses “at a social and economic disadvantage” by requiring that 10 percent of all federal contracts through the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Transit Administration go to contractors and businesses certified as DBEs.

    “Since March 1, 2012, when Leatherman’s company first obtained DBE status by virtue of having a female president, Florence Concrete has received $1.9 million in funds that otherwise would have gone to minority businesses more fully meeting the spirit, not just the letter, of the DBE program,” The Nerve found in 2015.”

    This is my primary reason for implementing term limits — it is only Leatherman’s tenure in office that has allowed him to wield the power he has to direct money to his own personal interests.

      1. Doug Ross

        Does ANY of the evidence of state money going into the pockets of Leatherman and his family even give you a moment’s pause about whether he should be in his position? Not even the “Disadvantaged Business” designation? Do you think he is an ethical person?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Of course it does. It always has, since before you had probably ever heard his name.

          But before you replace him, tell me who you’re going to replace him with.

          To a great extent, the people in the Senate who are opposed to Leatherman are in two groups — the most partisan Republicans, who are offended that Leatherman holds his position by dint of rock-solid support from Democrats; and the William Wallace Caucus.

          I don’t want ANY of those people running the Senate. With Leatherman, I don’t always get what I want (and as I’m typing this I’m thinking about a post that could help explain what I mean), but I probably get more than I would with any of those guys.

          By the way, you DID see the times I explained that my opposition to forcing the president pro tem to become Gov Lite arose from the fact that it was a stupid rule, regardless of what one thinks of Leatherman, right?

          And have you noticed that the people who insisted that the pro tem had a sacred duty to become Lt. Gov. tend to be people who are personally opposed to Leatherman? The more they disliked him, the more sacred they thought that duty was.

          Imagine he weren’t the pro tem. Imagine John Smith was. Then imagine John Smith wants to keep the job he was elected to do, and enough of his colleagues want that too that he’s assured of being re-elected if he steps aside for a moment, in favor of someone who WANTS the Gov Lite job.

          Well, I don’t know John Smith from Adam, but whether he’s the worst senator in history or the best, or somewhere in between, if he and his colleagues want him to stay in his current job, that’s what he should do….

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And here’s where Doug and I always part company:

            “But before you replace him, tell me who you’re going to replace him with.”

            Doug never could understand why I would endorse someone less than perfect. The simple answer was, “Have you taken a good look at his opponent?” One of the candidates was going to get elected, and it was of the highest importance to figure out which was least bad.

            If you won’t believe me, let me refer you to the wise Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land, speaking to syndicated columnist Ben Caxton:


          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            By the way, to take this to a more interesting place. I can think of one person I’m pretty sure is an exception to this general rule:

            To a great extent, the people in the Senate who are opposed to Leatherman are in two groups — the most partisan Republicans, who are offended that Leatherman holds his position by dint of rock-solid support from Democrats; and the William Wallace Caucus.

            I don’t want ANY of those people running the Senate…

            The exception I’m thinking of is Shane Massey.

            I don’t think he belongs to either problematic group, and I think he’s pretty sincere in just plain thinking Hugh has too much power for one man, no matter who the man is.

            And he doesn’t care if he has to stand alone on that.

            And Massey is a guy who has been right on some important issues where Leatherman has been wrong.

            So if there were a situation in which Massey were running against Leatherman, I might favor Massey.

            Of course, the “you have to become Lt. Gov.” rule would still be stupid. Good thing it’s going away soon…

          3. Doug Ross

            Wait — so you’re telling me there isn’t someone who is ETHICALLY better than Leatherman? That you’re more interested in his political philosophy than how much money he siphons off? I was under the impression you thought they were all public servants, valiantly marching to Columbia to represent the interests of South Carolina and their constituents at great personal sacrifice…

            I could see if South Carolina was some kind of beacon of excellence that we should give Leatherman his alms as payment for a job well done. But all we ever hear from you (and me) is that the Legislature doesn’t do anything close to what you think they should do: schools, roads, taxes, you name it. They suck at their job. And who has been in charge of that sinking ship (while hiding the good silverware in his personal lifeboat)?

            The bottom line is he has become a multi-millionaire because of his tenure and position. He and his family wouldn’t get a fraction of the wealth they have obtained without him being in that position.


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