Open Thread for the past week (Dec. 14-21), more or less

The most recent picture I had in my files of Don and Carol Fowler. This was at a reunion of Don's old Reserve unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade.

The most recent picture I had in my files of Don and Carol Fowler. This was at a reunion of Don’s old Reserve unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade.

Yeah, I know it’s been a few days. I’m still learning how to ration time, interest and my physical/mental energy in the wake of my stroke (still dealing with some fatigue), and what with the holidays and day-job work to do, I’ve fallen behind on the blog. But here are some things I’ve thought about posting in the last week or so, and I decided I’d throw them out and see if any of it interests you:

  1. George Shultz on Trust, from a century of perspective — Possibly the best piece I read last week was in the Post, headlined “The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years.” Saying “Trust is the coin of the realm,” he explained that “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.” Absolutely. Long ago (as in, a quarter-century ago), I wrote a column on that subject, which seems quaint now. Things are so much worse today. But the fact remains: We can talk about partisanship, ideology, or Donald Trump, but bottom line, our biggest problem and challenge remains a lack of trust.
  2. Closing religious services — There was another Supreme Court development on this front last week — actually it was about a religious school, but it reminded me of the topic. And I’m wondering a couple of things: First, those of you who, like me, normally attend religious services — how long has it been since you’ve been to one? Second, what observations do you have on the many issues involved — the Constitutional issue, the personal one of how not attending services (or attending them with or without social-distancing protocols) affects your spirituality? Or anything else you want to say about it. For my part, I haven’t physically been to a Mass since March. But we stream Mass every Sunday. And it’s… different.
  3. The passing of Don Fowler — I don’t know how well-known he was to my readers, but for those in the political/media universe, he was a giant. I first met him when I covered the Democratic National Convention in 1988. I remember chasing him down a staircase in Atlanta to get a question answered and thinking as he turned to face me, “This guy’s too busy for me to be bothering him with this.” He was always busy, in Democratic politics on the state and national level (most notably as national chairman during the Clinton administration), and he did his best to lead the party forward productively during an age of sad decline in his home state. Over the years, I interacted with Don through many roles — as party leader, as a consultant, as a former National Guard colonel, as a college professor (on one or two occasions, I took over his class for him when he had pressing business in Washington or somewhere). We often disagreed — after all, he was a party man and I was not — but I always had great respect for him. Don will be missed.
  4. ‘Latinx’ hasn’t even caught on among Latinos. It never will. — That’s for sure. I was recently shocked to hear Dr. Fauci use this odd term — obviously created by people who do NOT speak Spanish — on the radio. Out loud, not just in writing. No one who speaks or understands Spanish, or has any kind of respect for the language or the culture it represents, would use such a neologism. Anyway, this opinion piece explains some of the reasons why you will seldom hear a Spanish speaker using it. I thought the headline was a little weird, though. “Even?” Latinos would be the last people I’d expect to use it.
  5. Farewell to Lamar Alexander, one of the vital few — I’m very sorry to see Lamar leave politics, and was glad to see George Will take the time to honor him on the way out. Of course, Lamar is closely linked with my youth and the early stages of my career — the week I spent traveling with him in 1978 was my first experience of covering a statewide political campaign (it was his first successful run for governor of Tennessee). He became my favorite Republican of that era. And I guess, in spite of his disappointing me last year, he’s my favorite of this era as well, although partly because of the lack of competition (with John McCain gone, and Lindsey Graham’s conscience gone). And now Lamar, too, will leave the scene.
  6. Graham a ‘personal disappointment,’ says Biden — To say the least, Joe — to say the least.
  7. Serbian Elevators — Someone used this phrase in a tweet the other day, and I immediately added it to my list of possible band names. Just to keep you posted on the progress of my band, which I’ve been intending to get together since 1971, once I get the details sorted out. You gotta get the details right — like, you know, deciding who will be in the band…
  8. Cunningham for governor? — OK, this is technically something I just saw this morning, but I’ve added it to the list. Anyway, good luck with that. Joe’s a pleasant young man, but seriously — if we couldn’t elect a war hero and respected (across the political spectrum) lawmaker such as James Smith as a Democrat statewide, this seems unlikely. And we tried awfully hard, I assure you. Anyway, that’s my first reaction. Perhaps someone will talk me out of it.
From a Charleston event in 2018.

From a Charleston event in 2018.

25 thoughts on “Open Thread for the past week (Dec. 14-21), more or less

  1. Doug Ross

    One need only look at the photo of Cunningham to understand why he has a better shot than James Smith. Smith never seemed to embrace the public facing aspect of politics. I’m sure he’s fine in the backroom of the state house or in a law office.. But he had zero charisma.. and that was more evident every time he appeared together with Mandy Powers-Norrell. She has a better shot than Smith ever did. Smith and Sheheen and Hodges are all cut from the same mold.. boring lawyers.

    But it doesn’t really matter if Democrats continue with their tired platform in the state. “More money for schools” is basically it. Until they embrace other issues, the next one to run will experience the same outcome – there will be a phony paid for poll in the summer suggesting its a close race to try and grab some more donations, (look how well that worked for Harrison), a lot of finger pointing at “Republicans” (except for naming the ones who are actually responsible for SC’s woes because they are either too scared or too deferential to do so — I’m talking about you, Hugh Leatherman)…. then the Democrat will lose by 5-8% but claim moral victory and say “We’ll get ’em next time!”

    You want a Democrat to win? Support legal marijuana, casino and sports gambling, and fixing the tax code. Come up with ANYTHING that is a new idea. Stop with the “it’s all about the children” nonsense that never has won. We get it, you got 4K schooling approved. Yippee… hasn’t made any difference in outcomes.

      1. Doug Ross

        Never embraced by Democrats in this state. The only Democrat to win in recent memory needed the lottery to win.

      1. Doug Ross

        Nobody watches your videos Billy. Find a new hobby to express your desire to be “cool”. It’s sad.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug, please lighten up on Bill. He’d been gone from the blog for a long while — I was sort of worried he might have COVID or something — and it was kind of a relief to see him back on deck.

          His videos don’t do any harm. And occasionally I hear something good…

          1. Doug Ross

            He’s a fictional character like “Barry”. He had no problem attacking me with silly sexual comments in the past. Karma happens.

  2. Doug Ross

    The stimulus bill is both an embarrassment and an example of why government is incapable of addressing a national crisis. Any congressman who votes for this steaming pile of pork should be shamed. Yeah, I know, it’s other people’s money so giving it away to foreign countries and museums and special interests during a pandemic is no big deal. It’s only billions of dollars u.s. taxpayers are sending outside the country. Congrats to Pelosi and McConnell and Schumer for duping your partisan sheep.

    “For instance, the bill also instructs the Smithsonian Institution to create two new identity-based museums: one for women, and one for Latinos. (The legislation refrains from using the phrase “Latinx.”) The bill also takes a position on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, expressing that in the view of the U.S. government, “the wishes of the 14th Dalai Lama, including any written instructions, should play a key role in the selection, education, and veneration of a future Dalai Lama.” The bill includes a provision prohibiting any federal funds from being used by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an activist group that no longer exists in the United States. It attempts to normalize U.S. foreign relations with Sudan, criminalizes illegal streaming, and creates a plan for building a Theodore Roosevelt presidential library in North Dakota.”

    1. Doug Ross

      This is why government can never match private industry it’s all about trading other people’s money for what they want. Chick fil a handled COVID better than congress… Funny when you don’t have to trade favors to do anything how much you can get done quickly. But Joe will save us. Our hero. Has he come out of the bunker yet?

      1. Doug Ross

        $25 million to Pakistan, $10 million specifically for gender programs… You think a Republican put that in the bill? How many U.S. lives could be helped with $25 million?

        1. Doug Ross

          What I’ve learned in the past almost year of reading this blog is that the greatest harm to a civil society is the option for people to post anonymously on social media. Too many people are brave behind the keyboard, probably hiding some deep personal issues. The number of people on here who spend a significant part of their life expressing their misery is sad. i can’t imagine what it must be like to be in your presence 24×7. What are you all going to do when you can’t transfer your personal failings onto Donald Trump any more? In a month you’re going to have to find either a new scapegoat or a good therapist.

          1. Barry

            “ Too many people are brave behind the keyboard”

            I’m brave in real life. I promise.

            “I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in your presence 24×7.”

            I can’t tell you how Deeply that impacts all of us. LOL

        2. Doug Ross

          Tulsi Gabbard voted no on this bill tonight. This is why I consider her my favorite politician of my life. She is leaving Congress after this month by choice and I’m glad she is escaping the cesspool known as Congress.

            1. Randle

              Hey Bill,
              How do you post videos, if it’s not too complicated to explain? I can’t get it to work — I copy them but only the link when I paste.

          1. Barry

            Probably good she is leaving since her approval rating is the lowest, by far, of anyone in the Hawaii delegation.

            She would have been trounced in a re-election campaign. She knew it. She quit.

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