Open Thread for (late) Wednesday, March 10, 2021

NYT front page

Only five shopping days left until the Ides! Let me throw a few topics out there to keep the plebs and patricians entertained…

  1. The humongous COVID relief bill — Anything else to say about that? Then say it. Let me just throw this in: You know how not one, single Republican voted for it, even the few allegedly moderate ones? (As I’ve said, the role of Republicans in this debate was played by moderate Democrats.) Well, one Republican is already bragging on something the bill does for folks back home. Really.
  2. Merrick Garland confirmed — Very good news. But when I heard the vote was 70-30, my first reaction was that I wanted the names of all who voted “nay,” “so I can make sure they’re all on my Never Forget List.” (One good note: Lindsey Graham voted for him. Occasionally, he still does something that reminds us he’s the guy who believes elections have consequences. But while he’s quietly doing that, he’s cranking out pooge like this. So yeah, he’s still on the list. As his hero would say: Sad.) I’ve always liked this guy, and following this process has made me like him more. I don’t know of any negatives. So, good news. We’re back on the track of having a Justice Department we can respect.
  3. The “ex”-royals — Anyone have anything to say about this? I really don’t, except that I was appalled at all the news stories building up to that interview, and all the ones I’ve seen since. Why do we care? As I said in a Tweet, I’m not being anti-royal here. I’m an anglophile, and the monarchy is part of what makes Britain Britain. But at the same time, I don’t get people’s fascination with the whole celebrity soap-opera thing. People are weird. I didn’t get Diana, either. You know how in “The Queen,” Blair had to badger Her Majesty into responding emotionally to the way the people felt about Diana? One of the few times I disagreed with Tony. She’s not a soap opera star. She’s the sovereign.
  4. What about that Cuomo guy? — I’ve never paid much attention to this guy, which was probably wise on my part. I’m not hearing anything good about him. And I don’t just mean the nursing-home deaths. I mean, who hires a 25-year-old “health adviser?” This guy does, if he likes her looks. Wow. Have you seen the picture included with this story about the gov making his unwelcome moves on a tiny, vulnerable, appalled young woman? He looks like Dracula with his latest victim. What a jerk. By the way, I have a problem with the hed to that Gail Collins column I linked to above: “Sex and the Single Governor.” He married Kerry Kennedy in 1990 and they have three kids. Yeah, they divorced in 2005. But he’s Catholic; she’s Catholic. He’s not “single.”
  5. The Most Popular Shows You’ve Never Seen — This is an interesting piece in the WSJ. I hope you can get past the paywall to read it. The subhed is “Even when TV was a ‘vast wasteland,’ it brought us together.” Basically, it makes a point I’ve made many times here about popular music and other aspects of popular culture in our society: We have a lot more we can choose from, but we share fewer cultural experiences. As this piece says, “TV is a metaphor for what ails, or at least divides, society. With fewer shared experiences—even trivial ones—we find ourselves in smaller social and political groups.” Yep.


25 thoughts on “Open Thread for (late) Wednesday, March 10, 2021

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Another excerpt from that WSJ piece on how divided we are in what we experience in “popular” culture:

    When I looked at Nielsen’s top 10 list of most-viewed series for 2020, I was surprised to discover that I had watched only three—and two of them were NFL football. My editor at the Journal had seen only the same three. (The third was the NBC drama “This Is Us.”) Neither of us has watched the two most popular scheduled nonsports series, the CBS crime dramas “NCIS,” with a 5.0 rating, and “FBI,” with 4.2. The numbers represent the percentage of homes with television that tuned in. In 1961 the rating for “Gunsmoke” was 37.3….

    1. Norm Ivey

      I can’t see the article, but the only thing I watch on the networks are The PBS News Hour, Austin City Limits, and Superstore. I doubt any of those are on the list.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        On broadcast, all we ever see is PBS — Endeavour and the like. The rest is all streaming — and, very rarely, one of my DVDs or Blurays…

  2. Brad Warthen

    I posted this so late, nobody’s commented yet. I thought I’d add something that just struck me: This morning, the Merrick Garland confirmation takes a lot of scrolling down to get to the headline on my Washington Post app.

    How much scrolling? I just checked. It’s on the NINTH full screen on my iPad.

    Yes, I know news is different now. When I was a front-page editor, that page was a sort of formal historical record of the important things that happened the day before. It’s not like that now. Now, something that happened this many hours ago is kind of old and moldy. Got it.

    But still, I thinks it’s a bit more important that THAT…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Absolutely. I’ve thought that ever since I read E.J.’s column pushing for Garland back on Dec. 10 — if not before.

        As for those 30, I was serious about wanting the names of every one of them. But you know what? I haven’t been able to find a full list. I’ve found mentions of Republicans who voted FOR confirmation and some who were against, such as this one:

        He was confirmed by a vote of 70-30. Among the Republicans who voted in favor were Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Cornyn of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Republicans who voted against Garland included three likely 2024 presidential candidates, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas.

        But not the full list of “nays.” I already knew Hawley, Cotton and Cruz were worthless. Give me the names of the others.

        This is frustrating. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Nowadays, there is NO excuse for not accompanying coverage of every single significant vote in Congress or the Legislature or on a city council with a full “How They Voted” list.

        Back in the old days, we did that on big votes, but really not often enough. But we had a good excuse: Newsprint was limited, and too often, we just didn’t have the room to do it. Now, that excuse is gone — space is unlimited on the Web.

        Yeah, I could go figure out how to dig it up from formal records — I know how to do that with the Legislature, and if I spent some time on it, I could find the right place to get it with Congress — but I shouldn’t have to. I subscribe to four daily newspapers — three of them major, national papers — and The New Yorker (which covers doings in Washington much more extensively than it once did), so I shouldn’t have to go looking for it.

        Maybe I’m just not Googling right. Have any of y’all run across it?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Thanks, Bud!

            As for Scott — I’m disappointed, but not shocked. I’m eager to see his explanation, although again, I won’t be shocked if it fails to simplify.

            I’ve never met Scott, so I always feel at something of a disadvantage in explaining him. Usually I don’t have to, because he’s usually so quiet. But he needs to speak up now and explain himself…

  3. Dave Crockett

    Well, we’ve already seen one Republican (Wicker of MS) promoting how the Covid relief bill he voted against will benefit his constituents. Will we see the same from our Senators?

  4. bud

    My wife and I are finally scheduled for COVID shots next week. More good news than bad after a year of this nightmare. If only we can wear masks a couple more months.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s great, Bud!

      And yes, we must all wear masks for a good while to come.

      Just don’t let Henry see you do it, because he’s determined to see SC be just as stupid as Texas…

  5. Norm Ivey

    #1 I like that they pushed this through without the Republicans. If one party is not acting in good faith, then the heck with them. The child tax credit provides for direct monthly payments to families for 12 months, potentially placing the Republicans in the position of having to vote against it in 2022 just before the mid-terms.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      When Republicans become more interested in governor the country than in abasing themselves before Trump and his base, Joe Biden will be the first one to welcome them to the negotiating table.

      As things stand now, as I’ve said before, the only people playing that role are moderate Democrats…

  6. Barry

    COVID a relief bill is fantastic. I agree with the above

    so glad Democrats voted for it and passed it alone.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, I’m not “glad” that they did it alone.

      I’m just glad they went ahead and passed it, even though forced by circumstances to do it that way.

      It’s a serious problem that the people who represent a party that still commands the loyalty of almost half the country, and way MORE than half of South Carolina, are still utterly insane and uninterested in governing. I can’t possibly feel good about that. We’ve got to find a way out of this situation…

      1. Barry

        The way out is to pass a very popular bill that the American people want.

        The party that votes against it must be outed.

        That’s why it was a good thing.

  7. bud

    We have a very serious problem with voter suppression that makes it harder and for Democrats to compete in many states. Take GA. They are about to implement legislation that makes it a crime to provide food and beverages to people standing in line to vote. And apparently this is not just limited to campaign staffers. If I bring an elderly person a bottle of water simply out of kindness I could face a stiff fine. Hopefully the courts will strike this down.

    1. Barry

      That GOP effort is directEd specifically at black churches in the Atlanta area- a number of them are famous for their ministry on Election Day to give water and snacks to people standing in line at many of the inner city precincts that tend to have lines that are hours long.

      Anything the GOP can do to discourage black folks in Atlanta from voting earns them brownie points.

  8. Bill

    Wasn’t Merrick Garland in 2000 Maniacs!?
    I love that movie..
    My Covid shot contained some blotter acid from the great 1983 resurgence

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