Open Thread for Thursday, June 18, 2020

What conclusions should we draw from the fact that not even the state epidemiologist wears a mask?

What conclusions should we draw from the fact that not even the state epidemiologist wears a mask? Oh, wait — I think the video I took this from is old. But still…

About time I gave y’all some things to discuss:

  1. 987 cases. In one day. In one state — ours. — Sheesh. The State said this amounted to “breaking” the single-day record. As I said on Twitter, this is not “breaking” — it’s more like “destroying,” “demolishing” or “obliterating.” Meanwhile, did you read the editorial the other day in Cindi’s new paper — way before this record — about how stupid Henry is being about this? Or something like that. I know that Henry, and the word “stupid,” were both in it.
  2. High court blocks Trump’s attempt to end ‘dreamers’ program for immigrants — Trump suggested this morning that he doesn’t think the court likes him. Yeah, well, what’s to like?  I doubt that any of them actually like him. Even if you’re Kavanaugh, you can’t like the fact that you go down in history, forever, as a “Trump nominee.” It’s like having an asterisk.
  3. That’s the kind of demonstration I like — old school — Sorry not to have mentioned this sooner. I haven’t posted since it happened over the weekend. It was the “Million-Man March” in Columbia over the weekend. There weren’t a million men or anything, but still. All those black men in suits and ties, saying “respect me.” Very MLK. Very Old School. I liked it. More than that, though, I see it as an effective approach.
  4. What to rename the Army bases that honor Confederate soldiers — I haven’t read all of this yet, but it grabbed me — a retired general’s ideas of names to use. He would rename Fort Hood for Audie Murphy. Good start.

I may add some more topics later, but it’s time to go eat dinner…

Hope The State doesn't mind my using this. I converted it to black and white to emphasize the Old School effect. I like it.

Hope The State doesn’t mind my using this. I converted it to black and white to emphasize the Old School effect. I like it.

45 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, June 18, 2020

  1. Ken

    As for No. 4:
    I wrote my state senator and state representative asking them to introduce or at least support a bill modeled after the one recently passed in Virginia (HB 1537) that would overturn the Heritage Act and allow localities to decide the fate of monuments and memorials within their respective jurisdictions. The time has come for us to look away from what we have been and turn toward what we want to become. To send a signal forward by laying down new markers for us to strive for.

    Maybe each of you could make the same request of your senator/representative.

  2. bud

    I have an idea for the forts. Let’s just close most of them down. Then we could direct the money we save toward humanitarian efforts. Those few that remain could be given simple numeric names. Fort Jackson, if it remains, would become United States Army Training Facility 7. Naming things after people is problematic given that people are imperfect and subject to later revision. Columbia is named for Christopher Columbus and thus is likely to come under scrutiny eventually. Who knows what skeletons are in Amerigo Vespucci’s closet. Perhaps we could just drop the America from our country’s name and go simply by United States of the Northern Western Hemisphere. USNWH. I suppose that would make for an awkward cheer at the Olympics.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I just went back and added a link from Audie Murphy’s name to the Wikipedia page about him.

    Because I’ve had it underlined for me a number of times recently that there are young people around who don’t know basic things like, for instance, who Audie Murphy was.

    Not to embarrass anyone (I won’t name the person), but I recently found that a millennial friend — a very bright, aware, engaged person — didn’t know who Gary Cooper was. So, you know, when Tony Soprano wondered why modern men couldn’t be more like Gary Cooper, this person wouldn’t have gotten it. Of course, we must also remind ourselves that millennials can’t remember back to when that season of “The Sopranos” aired. Which totally boggles the mind. Because that was like, what, five minutes ago?

    I had thought, until recently, that kids knew WAY more about things from my own youth and earlier than I ever knew about my parents cultural references. My own kids are always telling me things I didn’t know about the early days of rock, or the silver and golden ages of comic books. And to me this made sense: they have access to various forms of media (such as YouTube, and, you know, the rest of the Interwebs) that immediately make those things available to them. We didn’t have resources like that, so to us anything that came out more than a couple of months ago was an “oldie,” and if it was much older than that, it didn’t exist.

    But hey, most of Gary Cooper’s career was before I was born. And I knew who he was, and I knew his most iconic films (ALL of which came out before I was born), the way you know who George Washington and Julius Caesar and Henry VIII were. You just KNOW stuff like that. Right? You can’t help it.

    But apparently not. So I added the link for Audie Murphy…

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, Audie Murphy would be a good one for Texas. Nimitz was a Texan, too, but he was Navy guy, and he’s already got a carrier class named after him.

      Lucian Truscott was a Texan. He’d be a good candidate for a Texas base. Not sure if he doesn’t already have something though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

      Oh, and I know who Gary Cooper is. I’m Generation X, though. Everyone always forgets about us, with Boomers and Millennials being the most vocal. And that’s fine with us Generation X folks. We’re really fine to just be left alone. That’s how we’ve been all our lives.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Aw, poor li’l Xers (buncha slackers).

        I appreciate the erudition you display mentioning Truscott, but I’d go with Audie. Just a regular everyman. You can hardly be more patrician-sounding than “Lucian Truscott” (I was surprised his Daddy wasn’t a general, too — but he WAS a doctor, which I understand impresses civilians).

        But Audie was so dirt-poor that his actual, given name was “Audie.” He was just this guy, you know, who came out of nowhere and reacted to situations in a way that made him a hero many times over. And then he was an unassuming cowboy actor. Can you GET any more American than that?

        Audie all the way.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Another thing that impresses me about Audie, and not in the usual way. And not in a way you’ll see depicted in “To Hell and Back.”

          The popular civilian mind seems to have the idea that PTSD was invented in Vietnam.

          But Audie had it. Yep, this guy who became a star and even starred in a movie about what an awesome hero he was woke up screaming in the night for years.

          It’s the side of war we can’t ever forget. If we do, we cheapen it. Of course, cheapening it was a popular thing to do in Hollywood when the movie about Audie was made…

          1. Bob Amundson

            “Shell shock” was an intellectual forerunner to PTSD. PTSD was influenced by the experiences of psychiatrists working with veterans returning from Vietnam (“invented in Vietnam”). As such, the two ideas set out to do pretty much the same thing. The difference, however, is that shell shock was specific to the experiences of combat whereas the concept of PTSD has developed to be more wide-ranging.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yeah, it was “shell shock” in the Great War, and “combat fatigue” in the next one.

              I don’t know what Private Henry Fleming had in “The Red Badge of Courage” (in which Audie starred on screen). But he got over it, so…

              But yeah, PTSD became a popular diagnosis outside the military. Even Josh Lyman had it on “The West Wing”…

          2. Bryan Caskey

            Yes. Audie Murphy was really on the forefront of making PTSD something that wasn’t just a “coward’s problem”. For that alone, he should get something named after him. It took a lot of personal courage for him to publicly talk about himself in that time.

  4. bud

    Edmund Pettis Bridge should be renamed John Lewis Bridge. Also, today is Juneteenth. Perhaps it’s now time to make this a national holiday. (I think we had this discussion last year. It’s building momentum).

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      Not sure about the Juneteenth as a national holiday thing.

      Not being Donald Trump, I’ve long known what it was, but always been a bit puzzled that it’s as widely celebrated as it is.

      It makes sense to me that people in Galveston would celebrate it, because it’s an important part of local history.

      But nationally, it seems to make WAY more sense to celebrate the passage of the 13th Amendment. That’s what actually ended slavery…

      To me, what Juneteenth tells us is the extent to which slaves in Texas (and elsewhere, in all the states to which the measure applied) were kept in the dark about the Emancipation Proclamation, not hearing about it for two years. And that’s certainly an important part of the story.

      But if we’re celebrating freedom, I’d go with the 13th.

      I’ll let Lincoln explain the reasons — OK, the movie version of Lincoln…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I think the main reason it’s being talked about so much this year has to do with Trump’s stupidity, trying to have his rally on the date and being so utterly clueless about it. And then everyone reacting to that, leading to Juneteenth becoming ever more important in our minds…

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    more than a thousand

    And of course, now there’s this.

    I wonder how many it will take to get Henry to do something as simple and obvious as ordering everyone to wear masks?

  6. bud

    Looks like Amy has dropped out of consideration for VP. In light of the BLM movement this makes sense. Biden has already lost the Bernie bro’s. He can’t afford to lose the black vote. I’d go with Val Demings.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, every time somebody mentions Val Demings, I have to go look her up.

      Which disqualifies her. I’m not backing another woman I haven’t had the chance to follow closely for years. I’ve had one Sarah Palin already.

      I do my usual search for her, and I find an NPR headline from 17 hours ago that starts out, “Who is Val Demings?” Not a good sign. Obviously, I’m not alone in not knowing her.

      Which is not at all the same thing that disqualifies, say, Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren. I know quite enough about both. No, thanks.

      This is not a good situation. I think when Joe made that promise about it being a woman, he was thinking it would be Amy Klobuchar.

      This has put us in a bad place… She was the ONLY person in that whole field that ran for president I thought made a good running mate. And we got to get a pretty good look at her.

      This is not good…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And when I look her up, I always think she sounds like a fine junior member of Congress. But that’s the problem: She’s only been there since 2017!

        Which means, not ready to be president….

        1. Bob Amundson

          President Obama did not have the political resume you seem to be seeking. I appreciate that you will help me understand.

          1. Pam Wilkins

            Agreed. Obama had been a US Senator for roughly three years when The State endorsed him (over more experienced candidates) in the 2008 Democratic primary. (I looked this up.)

            I think Obama is great, but if years of relevant experience is the metric, there’s not a big difference.

            And on the merits, why not Susan Rice? I personally would prefer a VP who is more domestically focused, but she certainly has the experience, seriousness of purpose, and policy chops to be a top candidate.

            The universe of excellent vice presidential candidates— including females only—Does not begin and end with Amy Klobuchar.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, I tried to explain all that in 2008.

            A quick answer is that his relative lack of experience was why we endorsed McCain in the fall, something which we stated at the time.

            But lacking a superb candidate like McCain, I would have endorsed Obama over a lot of people with greater experience, as we did in the primary. I certainly would have endorsed him over any of the other candidates who sought the GOP nomination that year.

            Obama was an individual of extraordinary gifts. That comes into play as well as experience. Usually, when people advocate for going with the fresher face, they’re not talking about an Obama, or a JFK, or a Teddy Roosevelt. (Actually, Roosevelt might be a bad example — despite his youth, he had quite a resume.)

            That was such a wonderful year. It was the win-win election — I’d have been happy with either McCain or Obama.

            And four years later, after Obama had demonstrated how well suited to the job he was, there was no one else around I would have considered….

        2. bud

          But this is no longer about qualifications for president. That question has been decided. It’s about how best to get a Democrat into the White House. Frankly I don’t think it matters much who is the VP choice. But shoring up a major voting block could matter at the margins. Besides, why put a senate seat in play? Demings is a quick learn and she’ll be fine as POTUS if that is necessary in a couple of years. At age 63 she is hardly inexperienced. I suggest you broaden your definition of what makes someone qualified. Life experience is just as important as government office. Obama proved that.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And Trump proved it was a big lie. A huge lie. A planet-sized lie.

            As for “Frankly I don’t think it matters much who is the VP choice.”… well…

            Of course, I’m voting for Joe. No question about it. If he names the first person he meets on the street veep, I’ve voting for Joe. But I look ahead. And once he’s president, I want to know that the person in line behind him can at least come close to being ready for the job.

            Joe was the only person running for the office this year who was READY for the job. Everyone else was far behind him. So it becomes a matter of who could almost maybe be ready after a couple of years as VP.

            And again, it’s not just about the experience. It’s about whether the REST of us have had the experience of observing the person in public office for enough years.

            That’s why picking someone like, say, Dan Quayle, is a bad idea. Bush did it so he could say, “Look! Someone young, and fresh, and new!”

            Well, you can keep your young, fresh, and new. I want READY…

            1. bud

              Uhh, Val Demings is 63 years old! Hardly “young, fresh, new”. She was the Police Chief of Orlando for 4 years after serving with the department 27 years. She’s been in Congress nearly 4 years. Her political skills were on full display during the impeachment proceedings. She is a far more articulate speaker than Amy Klobuchar. Sorry Brad but just because you haven’t heard of her doesn’t make her unqualified. Instead it just shows you as an inflexible ideologue.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Um… no… it shows that if I haven’t had the opportunity to observe someone in office over a period of time (preferably, MUCH longer than I have Amy Klobuchar, but at least she’s been very much in our sights for a year now), I have a big problem with electing that person Veep.

                It has zip to do with ideology.

                I think Demings has a great resume. Of course, being top cop in Orlando isn’t your usual way of gaining experience relevant to the presidency. Most of us would think it terms of something on the federal level, although being governor can be helpful…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Having someone fully ready to be president is particularly important with a president of Joe’s age.

                  Of course, among the multitudes who ran for president this year, the only one with that kind of experience was Joe himself…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Klobuchar was a DISTANT second.

                    And of course, I continue to assume the reason Joe promised to name a woman was because he assumed it would be her. I could be wrong about that, of course. If someone has seen something to the contrary, I’d be interested it knowing that…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Of course, I may be projecting myself onto Joe.

                      See, I wouldn’t EVER have promised something like that. The very idea that you can shut half the human race (and an even larger proportion of people with relevant experience) out of the running like that, in the service of something as problematic as Identity Politics, would be offensive to me.

                      But if there really WAS no “running,” if he was sure it would be Amy Klobuchar, I can excuse it. Up to a point.

                      And that point is, the point at which it isn’t her…

              2. Bart

                It really does matter who Biden chooses for his VP running mate. If elected, Joe’s VP will become POTUS sometimes within the four years and will be the standard bearer for Democrats in 2024. It doesn’t matter if the choice is white, black, male, or female, what does matter is if the VP is qualified to step in when time comes and if the person can win in 2024. Anything other than qualification is a rank engagement in identity politics or pandering.

                You can call my comments speculation if you wish but in the real world, Biden’s mental acuity has diminished to a degree where it is doubtful he will be able to fulfill the demands and requirements of the office. He couldn’t even stand up to critique or questioning when he was on one of the friendliest venues on television, “The View”. The astonished looks of disbelief that passed between the members of the program were telling.

                But, Democrats are stuck with Biden and whoever, Republicans are stuck with Trump and Pence. For me, I plan to vote 3rd party again in November just as I did in 2016.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  We’re in a fix, really.

                  By limiting it to a woman (which effectively meant, “a woman who is available and willing,” which is more limiting that it sounds), Joe basically limited it to Amy and a bunch of people who were less qualified than Amy.

                  Now some women, or some feminists, are going to be offended by that, and will immediately claim, falsely, that to me they can’t be qualified because they’re women. That’s ridiculous.

                  Folks, there are women who are qualified. They’re just not in the “available” category.

                  Hillary Clinton was qualified, no doubt about it. But hey, she’s not on the table.

                  Twenty years ago, Madeline Albright would have been available, and while I haven’t spent a bunch of time thinking about it, I’d say off the top of my head that she’s qualified. But she’s 83 now, and therefore doesn’t seem a great backup for Joe.

                  My feminist friends are going, “That’s all the women you can think of?” Probably not. Give me time, and I could come up with more.

                  But you have to remember that I have a lot of trouble coming up with men who qualify.

                  Joe was the only one this year. The only one even close. I’m not sure there were any men in 2016. I remember sorta, kinda thinking maybe Jeb might be, and was watching to see if he was, but he wasn’t in it long enough for me to make a decision. He was out fast without a test of qualifications, because as you’ll recall, Republicans weren’t in the market for qualifications. They were looking for the exact opposite.

                  Mitt wasn’t ready in 2012. He was OK, but he didn’t come close to Obama after four years in office.

                  McCain was qualified. More so than Obama in 2008, although in a pinch I was willing to take a chance on Obama because he was so incredibly gifted. Sometimes that counts for a lot. But you only see someone like that once in a generation, if that.

                  If I look way back, I remember a time when it seemed like we always had a crowd of super-qualified people running for president. But I don’t know. I was young then, and maybe I was more easily impressed.

                  About the time candidates started getting to be my age, or even younger (Obama), I got harder to impress…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Things that are true, but hard to explain to some people:
                    — Being a woman isn’t a qualification. (Nor is being a man.)
                    — Being “someone like me” isn’t a qualification.
                    — Being someone you LIKE isn’t a qualification.
                    Qualifications are something you gain by doing a solid job in the public eye over the course of years and years — and in the case of the presidency, preferably decades.

  7. Mark Huguley

    Comments from the perspective of a retired law enforcement officer: Justice institutions, including the police, exist to protect the exercise of social, political, religious, and economic liberties. They are maintained by consent of citizens. But recent police misconduct and civil disorder –not lawful protest—leave the consent of some uncertain. Calls for defunding the police beg the question: “Who will apprehend criminals”? Will teachers and social workers be called upon to perform the task? In a word: no.
    Without doubt, change is needed. Yet, few more ill-conceived ideas ever surfaced in American discourse than defunding the police. Taken together with police abuse, they are evidence of great misunderstanding of foundational principles.
    Widely reported police misconduct involving the use of force must stop. The wanton violence by some police officers against suspects and citizens is immoral and illegal. A Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the throat of a prostrate suspect until asphyxiated. Such behavior is beyond justification and the need for reform is clear.
    Understanding what and what not to change is critical. Only force that is reasonable and necessary in each situation is legal. The standard for whether force was necessary is what a reasonable person would do under the same circumstances. It is not always as clear cut as Minneapolis and perspective is important. Police, suspects, and citizens can and do perceive events differently, and motive becomes a critical hard-to-judge factor in such cases. Bias is never justified as a reason for force.
    Lacking the ability to know what is in another’s heart, we often require a promise to act prudently. An English phrase, “without fear or favor”, is part of an oath required of some police constables. It better reflects the challenges faced by police officers than the motto, “to protect and serve”. Police work requires confronting fear and avoiding favor. Police impartiality neither gives nor takes advantage, including favor of or against race or ethnicity.
    But here is the thing: Police officers have all the faults shared by most (and often some of the best virtues shared by few). They reflect society. After a highway patrolman was killed long ago, his commanding officer lamented the officer’s decency in treating others: “He did everything but give Green Stamps”.
    The image of a police officer giving out popular trading stamps is not easily reconciled with the inhumane act of pressing a knee on someone’s neck until dead. Regrettably, treating others with respect and practicing cruelty are different sides of the same culture. Police culture needs change, but bad apples in the police cannot be banished totally any sooner than when eliminated from society.
    Police officers must be hired who demonstrate respect for the dignity of men and women, even under demanding conditions. Often, the police are the “last resort” for people in need. When assistance is not unavailable elsewhere, it is usually the police who are sent. Those in need must not be let down.
    Substantive reform is needed, and optics are important. Every person detained need not be placed in a prone position for arrest and use of military-style dress, weapons, equipment, and tactics should be limited. It is necessary and tricky to find the proper balance between what is needed for police to operate safely and looking like an occupying force.
    Reforms must lower the use of force by the police and seek community support for lower force used against the police. Police officers who interact with the public should begin by treating others as they want to be treated, and while discrimination clearly has been practiced, the Golden Rule applies to everyone. Only when the police and public treat each other with respect will true progress be made.
    The public must comply with lawful police commands. Not liking the command is not reason to disobey and not liking disobedience never is justification for the use of deadly force. Police must not promote fear or take advantage, and citizens must not fear the police or suffer advantage given to others.
    Understanding and embracing “without fear or favor” is appropriate for both the public and police. Each has a duty to follow the law. We do well not to forget two perspectives, one purpose.

    1. Ken

      Admittedly, “defund the police” is a poor choice of words. So you can be forgiven for misunderstanding what it proposes. Save for a very few of its advocates, it does not involve calls for police forces to be disbanded. Instead, those advocating for it are asking for a reassessment of where public funds should be directed . They are proposing that a greater share of public resources be directed toward social services that may be better suited to deal with the social ills that police should be called in to address only as a last resort. This related to things like increased drug intervention or personnel specially trained to deal with incidents involing mental illness. Speaking as someone with a retired police officer in his family, many police are themselves in favor of this shift in responsibility.

      1. Mark Huguley

        Yes, “defund the police” is a poor choice of words because it’s mostly incorrect and puts off many. But it’s not entirely a mistake. There’s no monolithic interpretation of what “defund” means, other than what should be its literal meaning. Some intend it to mean abolish funding for the police. Some intend it to mean reallocate existing funding, as you described. There are signs some communities are trying to assign “civilian” specialists to handle the homeless, mentally ill, etc. as a substitute for the police. I’m all for it. However, my guess is the police substitutes will summon the police often for help dealing with those who are not criminals but can still be threatening. Thanks for the reply. Best.

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