Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, the Ides of March, 2017


Artemidorus, do you have any notes to pass on about any of these developments?

  1. U.S. likely to send as many as 1,000 more ground troops to Syria, officials say — So is Trump trying to enforce Obama’s “red line?” And is he sure Putin doesn’t mind?
  2. Russian Agents Are Behind Yahoo Breach, U.S. Says — It’s been noted that these are “the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.” It’s a start. This includes charges against two FSB operatives. Duh-duh-DUHHNNN!
  3. Devin Nunes confirms it: The evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped doesn’t exist — So now Graham and McCain aren’t the only Republicans to have declared their sanity in this matter. They are joined by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  4. After House setback, USC takes bid for $50 million for med school to SC Senate — I’m sure Harris made a good case, but it’s not looking like the year for this. Of course, the Senate isn’t the House, but still…
  5. Fed Signals It Is Entering New Phase — This is just about the headline, so inside baseball. Yeah, I know the WSJ is really, really into stuff that I find rather, uh, dry, but dang, people! You could have tried to make it sound interesting. Look at the way the NYT did it (“Fed Raises Rates for 3rd Time Since Financial Crisis“) or NPR (“Federal Reserve Raises Key Interest Rate, Signals 2 More Increases This Year“). Just tell me something about what happened. Throw me a bone, here. I’m the reader; I need the info…
  6. Carolina vs. Coastal this season? It could happen — For my dear readers who clamor for more sports. I’m willing to let this through, because it’s about… BASEBALL! After all, a man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Ent’usiasms… Ent’usiasms
A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?...

A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?…

32 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, the Ides of March, 2017

  1. Bill

    1) Potentially signals yet another in a lengthening list of bad policy directions coming out of this administration. And I don’t say this as an isolationist, pacifist or from any animus against the military. It’s simply a bad road to head down – just so this White House can make a show of going after the “bad ones.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well I want to know more about it.

      If Mattis thinks it’s a good idea — really thinks so, rather than following his boss’ lead — I’ll be more inclined to view it favorably, but I still don’t know enough to know what to think.

      To the extent that the generals are trying to come up with a way to implement something that’s just a Trump impulse, it worries me….

      1. Bill

        Even if it’s not a Trump impulse, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The strategy to date has been working — while doing what the US should be doing: keeping a low profile. Significantly raising that profile is not the way to go.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Extreme trivia, completely and utterly devoid of any meaning whatsoever…

    When I typed that ironically dramatic fanfare, “Duh-duh-DUHHNNN!,” I wanted to link to the sound, so I went looking for a clip from “30 Rock.” Remember when Jack is forced to go to Washington to testify before a committee, and is stunned to find that the chair of the committee is his nemesis, Devin Banks? Well, Banks makes that sound, enjoying Jack’s discomfort.

    So I tried to find that, failed, and moved on…

    And the very next headline on the VFP starts with “Devin.” Which is not a terribly common man’s name.

    No, that doesn’t mean anything. I just thought it was weird. One those things that make you go, “Huh.” As opposed to “Duh-duh-DUHHNNN…

  3. bud

    Watching Paul Ryan gush over what a great get-things-done president Donald Trump is. A serious bromance in the making. OMG I just want to hurl. Little remaining doubt left that the GOP is now the party of Trump.

    1. Doug Ross

      And what, pray tell, is the Democratic Party? The Party of Hillary? The Party of Bernie? The Peloisi/Schumer Party? There isn’t a single leading voice for the party that represents half the voting public. Tell me who is qualified to be President in 2020 — because that person has to start running pretty soon.

      1. Doug Ross

        The Democrats don’t have a single leader who isn’t eligible for Medicare. That’s pretty telling.

        1. Claus2

          Well maybe the Democratic party could be the party of Al Franken. Because he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and dog-gone it people like him.

      2. bud

        Maybe I’ll run. 🙂

        I’ll readily concede the Democratic Party is not ideal. There are some young people out there like the Castro brothers and Corrie Booker for instance, but indeed the face of the party does have a decidedly Medicare look to it. But what is clear is that it is all we have to counter the evil red empire. The GOP juggernaut is plotting to impose a new gilded age on us with fewer and fewer people controlling more and more wealth. The budget and healthcare plans will leave many hard working families much worse off while a handful of oligarchs who rarely do more work than what is required to lift a Martini glass rake in an unearned largesse unseen since around 1900. The only thing standing in the way of this calamity is the thin blue line of the Democratic Party.

  4. Doug Ross

    So the Pascoe hammer finally dropped on John Courson and Richard Quinn. Here is how it will pay out: deny, deny, deny, then resign. This will likely be the first of many… All long tenured (as Brad calls them “experienced”) legislators. They don’t run for office for the salary.. Just the perks.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And of course, not in order to serve. Never in order to serve.

      Doug would never, ever in a million years believe that anyone runs for office to serve.

      News such as this deeply saddens me. I feel bad for John because I believe he’s a good man. I’ll be far, far more saddened if I learn that I’m wrong.

      But in the meantime, one of the most painful parts of it is that it makes Doug think he’s right in his monumental cynicism. And that’s something out society definitely does not need more of. Look where it’s gotten us, from SC to the White House.

      Someone points at a good man and cries “J’accuse!” And Doug says, See they’re all crooks, just as I’ve always said.

      And no one, anywhere, ever does anything except for money, etc., etc., etc….

      Which I know to be false because of the way I’ve lived my own life. And the way I’ve seen plenty of people in public life live theirs.

      1. Doug Ross

        How often do these NOT turn out to be true? Courson already started blaming “partisan Democrats” for his downfall.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Which is interesting, because John wouldn’t normally say that. He represents a more or less Democratic district. When he was president pro tem of the Senate, he was there because of the votes of Senate Democrats.

          So while he’s very proud of being a Reagan Republican, he’s not normally a guy to lash out at Democrats.

          And Pascoe — well, I’m not going to say that I distrust him, because you have to come up with a lot of evidence to get me to accuse anyone in our criminal justice system of prosecuting the law in a partisan matter. That’s because I would consider that infinitely worse than the partisanship that I decry in the political branches. Or perhaps I should say, in the other partisan areas, since we choose prosecutors in partisan elections, which we shouldn’t.

          But I’ve been disturbed by the occasional flavor of partisanship that I’ve sensed now and then during his investigations.

          At the start, I felt great about him handling the probe. When Alan Wilson alley-ooped to him and he slam-dunked Bobby Harrell (NOTE: sports metaphor!), I thought Yeah, this is how it’s supposed to work! Good job, everybody! It was a vindication of the system, which hadn’t been looking too good during the previous parts of the drama.

          But then, that contretemps with Alan Wilson — who just happened to be a guy everyone saw as a likely GOP gubernatorial hopeful — smelled like a partisan spat from the start. And personally, I thought Alan’s version of events was pretty persuasive. So did Cindi Scoppe, based on what she wrote at the time. And on such matters as this, I trust Cindi’s judgment more than my own.

          On the other hand, I kept talking to lawyers who sided with Pascoe, and were very dismissive of Wilson’s case. That gave me pause. Of course, I also noted that some of these lawyers were people I’ve long known as very partisan Democrats. Again, there was that smell in the air.

          In the end, the Supreme Court ruled against the way I was seeing it. So that’s that.

          But I’ve never been able to shake that feeling that something wasn’t right.

          Let’s just say I’d feel a lot better if the next person Pascoe indicts is a Democrat. Of course, if he did so intentionally to prove his impartiality, I’d be utterly appalled. If all the wrongdoing he finds is committed by Republicans, or by Democrats, or by members of the UnParty (which of course is unthinkable, given our 100 percent unblemished virtue), then that’s whom he should indict.

          All of this is to say that Courson citing party isn’t a terrible shock in this particular case, given the players and the history — even though it’s uncharacteristic for him

          1. Claus2

            “When Alan Wilson alley-ooped to him and he slammed Bobby Harrell (NOTE: sports metaphor!),”

            I didnt know you bowled.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I used to. When I lived in Tampa in high school, I was on a citywide All-Star team.

              Which isn’t saying much. It just meant I was willing to travel around to different alleys around the city competing on behalf of my league, which bowled at the lanes on MacDill AFB.

      2. Doug Ross

        “And no one, anywhere, ever does anything except for money, etc., etc., etc….”

        Just 90% of politicians who have been in office more than a decade. They get hooked on the perks.

      3. Claus2

        Well I guess this is a “No Badmouth Courson Zone”. Two posts and both got rejected… the only opinion that matters it appears is Brad’s who likely believes buddy John is getting railroaded.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Tell you what: If you come out as yourself, using your real name and email address, and I KNOW it’s you, I’ll let you say whatever you like about this matter.

          Up to a point, of course. If it gets obscene, for instance, I don’t allow that even from the people I know best.

          As everyone should know, I’m very open about the double standard on this blog:

          As most of y’all know, I have a double standard in trying to foster civility on this blog — I allow people who use their real names on their comments greater leeway in their comments. Although there are things that go too far even to allow named commenters to say.

          1. Richard

            What? No blood sample an/or fingerprints?

            Which would make you the only blog or forum that I know of that would require posting using your real name. One customer disagreeing with what I said could cost me YUGE. Not worth it to me, I’ll just stay in the moderated group.

  5. Doug Ross

    Let’s not overlook the fact that the indictment against Courson is based on six years of payments made to Quinn that were then funneled back to him. That’s not a momentary lapse of judgement. I’m dying to see the defense he puts out to counter the evidence. A guilty verdict would indicate a serious character issue.

    He’s just the next one in what will likely be a long list until they get one of them to roll over on the biggest target. We know who that is based on his long history of using his position to make himself rich.

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