Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, November 30, 2017

Is it that the missile is so big, or he's just so small?

The experts say it’s a real monster.

I haven’t done one of these in awhile. There’s certainly plenty of news for it:

  1. Senate GOP tax plan hits deficit snag, leaving leaders scrambling — Flake and Corker are refusing to agree to jacking up the national debt. Good for them. In the bad news column, John McCain has agreed to support the bill, despite the news that it will increase the deficit by a trillion over 10 years. That’s very disappointing.
  2. If North Korea fires a nuclear missile at the U.S., how could it be stopped? — I’d be leading with this, since it’s infinitely more important than stupid tax policy. But the actual news of the N. Korean test was yesterday, so it can’t lead today. And the tax thing is breaking. There are rules. Meanwhile, in this story with a rather comical headline, experts note with alarm that Kim’s missile is way bigger than they’d thought.
  3. 2nd undisclosed report shows delays, poor oversight doomed SC nuke project — Hang on. Did I just hear “undisclosed” again? And get this: “State regulators and legislators said Thursday that they were unaware of the Fluor report’s existence until told of it by The State.”
  4. Alan Wilson joins multi-state effort to ban abortion after 20 weeksThe State reports that “Other states whose attorneys general are part of the coalition include West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.”
  5. White House Plan: Replace Tillerson With C.I.A. Chief — Well, I doubt he’d be any worse. Meanwhile, talk about Nikki Haley getting the job has faded to the background. I suppose if Pompey doesn’t want the job, they’ll go with Crassus or Caesar. Oh, wait — it’s PompeO. (Sorry. I’m still reading, and enjoying, Rubicon.)
  6. Gloria Steinem: ‘I wouldn’t write the same thing now’ — Normally, I pay little attention to what she says about anything, but that piece she wrote defending Bill Clinton in 1998 was so deeply shameful and egregious that this is worth noting. But like the sex harassers who “apologize” with caveats and excuses, she’s still not ashamed that she did it then — and that’s appalling.
"I want you to listen to me... and to Gloria Steinem..."

“I want you to listen to me… and to Gloria Steinem…”

35 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, November 30, 2017

  1. bud

    6. In other news: Did John Wilkes Boothe act alone? There was plenty of shame to go around with the GOP witch hunt against Clinton. But perhaps the most shameful is this disgusting attempt to use it to deflect from today’s many important issues. Brad why are you playing into the Republicans hands?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, Booth did not act alone.

      And in a different sense, neither did Bill Clinton. He acted with the complicity of Democrats across the country, covering and making excuses for him — and demonizing women who spoke up. The 90s were a time of towering hypocrisy on the part of the Democratic Party. First, there was the “high-tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas for having spoken suggestively in the workplace. And people were right to say that was inappropriate. But then you had the obscene spectacle of the same people sticking up for a man who had repeatedly done far, far worse, extending even to a fairly credible allegation of rape.

      And there is ZERO excuse for that.

  2. bud

    2. Yeh, the Korean nukes are extremely important. And with an increasingly erratic POTUS, it is a dangerous time. But I wouldn’t call tax policy “stupid”. It has extreme importance for our fiscal future.

  3. Frank

    Forget the subject and focus on the larger issue: Who decides/determines/discusses when/if/not the SC attorney general enters into these (expensive) lawsuits? Several times I have wondered how/why/who was behind Wilson’s decisions to involve our state. Some may be absolutely imperative; others may have a cogent argument; but then there are those where there is a great political divide within our state.

    So who controls the decisions of the attorney general? Can he do so only within the framework of a budget authorized by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor? Or does he have major attitude (minor lattitude) on his decision-making?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      He’s pretty independent until the next election (unless he himself breaks the law or does something equally egregious).

      And this doesn’t hurt him in his next election. Certainly not in a primary, if he has one…

  4. Doug Ross

    ” despite the news that it will increase the deficit by a trillion over 10 years. ”


    Do you seriously think anyone can forecast how much the deficit could increase over 10 years and be accurate in any way? It’s such lazy analysis… there are far too many variables to forecast the deficit even two years out, never mind ten. Nobody actually has any idea what will happen… especially since tax policies WILL change over the next 4-8 years anyway. There is no way possible to isolate what impact tax policy in 2018 will have on the economy in 2028. This isn’t a lab experiment in a test tube…

    Also interesting that you presented the abortion law news without any comment when you had an opinion on all the other topics. Do you agree that abortions should be banned after 20 weeks?

    1. Richard

      One Trillion over 10 years, how does that compare to the last 10 years? Sounds like a bargain to me compared to how we’ve been living. We might even be able to afford to buy new shovels.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Whenever I express my opinion on abortion, people here get upset, and NOBODY has a good time, and the bad feeling spills over to everything else. Y’all know what I think. I believe in the Consistent Ethic of Life, (which is one reason I’m on the Cardinal Bernardin lectureship committee over at USC). It’s no secret. Now can we talk about something on which we MIGHT have a meeting of the minds?

      1. Doug Ross

        So then what was your reason for posting the link to the story? To get OTHER people’s opinion but protect your own from being challenged? All you had to say was “I agree with Wilson.” If that is too difficult a position to support, then why bring it up?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          It’s not that simple. I’m not necessarily in favor of these showy things that AGs of one party get together and do. As long as Roe stands, CAN they do anything to limit late abortions?

          I’m not sure. I don’t know the law well enough. I’d have to spend a lot of time talking to people and getting smarter about it before I could have an opinion on what they’re doing.

          Otherwise, it’s hard for me to shake the feeling that these guys do these things just to get people who agree with them to cheer, but not to accomplish anything. You know, like the Republicans in Congress voting to repeal Obamacare multiple times when Obama was still in the White House and there was no way it was going to have any effect. Posturing.

          One of the things I don’t like about the abortion issue, and that keeps me from engaging it a lot of the time, is the way both ends of the spectrum use it as a wedge between “people like me” and “those horrible other people.” They use it to get people worked up and giving to parties and advocacy groups.

          And I would need to dig into this in some detail before I could decide whether that’s all that’s happening here, or something more. I don’t know enough to applaud or criticize them.

          See why I couldn’t just toss a little throwaway line in there?

          And don’t you think it’s more than a little absurd to accuse me (if that’s what you’re doing here) of being reluctant to share what I think about something?

          Here’s the thing, folks — I know some of you still, despite all evidence to the contrary, think I pull these positions out of nowhere and just go with my gut, the way far, far too many people in our society do today. Well, I don’t. I never have. Some of y’all see how quickly I come up with a definite view on something, and you forget that I’d been pondering such issues for many, many years before I ever started blogging.

          I’ve known since the 70s what I think about abortion. But as I type this, I don’t know what I think about what Wilson and the other AGs are doing.

          If that’s hard to understand, I’m sorry…

          1. Chuckie

            Still waiting to hear your view of the law and abortion. Opposing abortion is one thing. But do you want to ban it by law for everyone? If you can’t answer that, you’re not being fully honest.

          2. Frank

            For what it is worth, my understanding is that Roe divided a pregnancy into three trimesters. The first three months of a woman’s pregnancy were matters reserved for her judgment. The final three months were under the control of the state. The middle trimester was murky, with both the woman and the state having interests.

            South Carolina has about 70,000 pregnancies each year, and 50,000 live births. Both these numbers dwarf the number of abortions. The 20,000 difference between pregnancies and live births does not include abortions — but rather spontaneous miscarriages, still births, and other fetal deaths.

            I wish a hell of a lot more attention was paid by both sides of the abortion issue to those 20,000 fetal deaths, who may have died due to haphazard medical care, poor and/or uninformed gestational lifestyle decisions, poverty and lack of proper nutrition — etc. These are issues that enlightened and truly caring leadership should be addressing rather than constantly revisiting and contesting Roe.

            Whatever your view on abortion, could you spend a little time, energy, focus, and effort on those 20,000 who could have been born in we fixed the problems that killed them?

            1. Mark Stewart

              This ignores the fact that most of these were “deaths” were of unviable fetuses.

              The US has made huge leaps in pregnancy care over the past century or more. There is no doubt more could be done; but at some point shouldn’t we be content that nature is self-selecting? And accepting that there is a natural mechanism at play to ensure viability of species across the epochs?

  5. Dave Crockett

    Let me say at the outset that I do not support, in any way, any person (male or female) who uses sex as a weapon to dominate another (older or younger) or as a means to seek a social, political or monetary advantage.

    But I’m finding myself increasing concerned that today’s reporting of the cases sexually-tinged events involving public figures frequently slides among the terms “sexual misconduct,” “sexual impropriety,” “sexual assault,” “sexual battery” and other descriptors as if they are freely interchangeable. I don’t think they are and I believe it is incumbent on those doing the reporting (both victims and the media) to be very careful and specific in what they are alleging or describing.

    It seems to me that equating inappropriate sexually-laden remarks at the water cooler with aggressive, life-altering sexually-driven physical events behind a locked door rather than viewing them as elements of a continuum in our discussion of the issue does a disservice to the goal of exposing and ending bad behavior between the genders.

    1. Doug Ross

      Agreed.. based on what we know now, on the scale of 1-10, Weinstein is a 10, Lauer is an 7, Roy Moore is an 8.5, Al Franken is a 1, Charlie Rose is a 5, Garrison Keillor is a 0.5

      But I am very happy all these women have come forward, regardless of the level of inappropriate behavior. I was initially less enthused about the #metoo movement because it was a call for sympathy/empathy rather than a call for action.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Well, we’ve seen plenty of action. Except, of course, in the cases of Roy Moore and Donald Trump… Yesterday I would have added Conyers, but leading Democrats are finally backing away from him now…

      2. bud

        Just noticed that Trump doesn’t make Dougs list????!!!! He’s at least a 9, maybe even a 10. It’s sort of been forgotten but he’s been accused of raping a young woman.

        1. Doug Ross

          Trump is a 4.5. You can’t include the Billy Bush comment. But the difference is we KNEW all these stories BEFORE he was elected. So people have already processed those stories and come to their own conclusion.

          Conyers is an 8 and should resign.

          Bill Clinton is a 10 (based on being President when it happened and lying about it rather than admit it and apologizing like others have). Nobody can call for any action against any sitting politician without first saying Clinton should have resigned.

          1. Doug Ross

            To explain my position on Conyers, the factors include: his position in office and that he was harassing employees; he paid off one woman with funds from his office and got a non disclosure agreement; he still is saying it didn’t happen; the nature of the allegations. The standard should be higher for politicians than media people…

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Let me say at the outset that I do not support, in any way, any person (male or female) who uses sex as a weapon to dominate another (older or younger) or as a means to seek a social, political or monetary advantage.”

      I’m going to quibble about that, Dave. It’s one of my pet peeves about feminists, hearing them say, over and over, “it’s not about sex; it’s about power.”

      By and large, men don’t use sex as a means to exerting power over someone. It’s the other way around. Power is a means to sex…

      1. Mark Stewart

        But from the other person’s perspective it isn’t sex being wielded, it’s instead power thrusted.

        This is one of those places where the perspective of one party ought to carry more weight than the other party’s viewpoint…

      2. Dave Crockett

        I will quibble back and say that I sought to be inclusive. Power can be a means to sex as you suggest but sex certainly can be a means to power. And we’ve not even talked about the incidence of women using sex to exert power and, eventually, that also is going to have to be part of the discussion of “inappropriate sexual behavior”…and just as rancorous, I suspect.

        1. Doug Ross

          “sex certainly can be a means to power”

          Sadly, I have only been able to attain AAA battery status.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            By the way, I seem to be one of the few guys in America who does not think that movie was a classic. I thought it was ridiculous. It was so over the top, like a parody of a gangster movie…

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Whomever replaces him, the departure of Tillerson will not be something to lament. I recommend this piece in The New Yorker. Excerpts:

    In only ten months, Tillerson, the former C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, has presided over the near-dismantling of America’s diplomatic corps, chasing out hundreds of State Department employees and scaling back the country’s engagement with the world. Most alarming has been the departure of dozens of the foreign service’s most senior officials—men and women who had spent their careers living and working abroad, who speak several languages, and who are experts in their fields. As I detailed in my recent Profile of Tillerson, he came into the job proposing to cut the State Department’s budget by a third, with plans to eliminate more than a thousand jobs and dramatically scale back the already measly sums America spends on refugees, democracy promotion, women’s rights, and the prevention of H.I.V….

    Which brings us to Tillerson’s legacy. In the broadest sense, the world we live in was created by the United States. The architecture of international economic and political relations—the United Nations, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and so on—was largely drawn up by American diplomats at the end of the Second World War. The system they devised was meant to encourage the spread of free markets and liberal democracy, and it was premised, more than anything, on American leadership. It’s easy to trash the idea of American global leadership, imperfect and unjust as it has been. But what would the world be without it? Thanks in no small part to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, we are about to find out.

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