Open Thread for Monday, March 29, 2021

real suez

Still from Suez Canal Authority’s YouTube video of the freed ship under way.

A few things to chew on:

  1. That lubberly ship is free — Nice going there, Egypt. Right now, I’m picturing being the captain of a ship that has already decided to go all the way around the Cape of Good Hope, and now has to decide whether to keep going or turn back. Of course, nowadays, it’s unlikely he’d be the one to decide. Anyway, I doubt anyone will seriously consider my solution for this problem: Stop building ships that carry 200,000 tons of cargo.
  2. Loony Georgian Lin Wood wants to be SC GOP chairman — Apparently, he decided that not enough attention was being paid to the allegation that, when he voted in his home state of Georgia, he was living over here in SC. Which, when you think about it, is a lot of selfless bother to go to to prove to the world that there was indeed voter fraud in Georgia in 2020.
  3. Chauvin trial gets underway — Not much to report yet, so again I’m thinking about how fascinating it is that this guy’s name is the one from which we derived the term for an “irrational belief in the superiority or dominance of one’s own group or people, who are seen as strong and virtuous, while others are considered weak or unworthy.” Probably not relevant to the court case, but that’s what the name always makes me think of.
  4. Reagan was shot 40 years ago tomorrow — This was brought to my attention by an interesting piece in the WSJ by the FBI agent who was first on the scene, and led the investigation. This got me to thinking about how all the culture warriors, on both sides, seem to know why that guy in Atlanta shot all those people a couple of weeks back. And yet the guy who shot Reagan was motivated by something no one would ever, ever have guessed: Jodie Foster. Check out the photo below, which ran with the WSJ piece.
  5. Remote Work Is Here to Stay. Manhattan May Never Be the Same. — Who cares about Manhattan? (Sometimes, the NYT can be so parochial.) It will never be the same anywhere. At least, that’s what one would hope. Which one? This one. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to go to work in an office again, except my home office, of course. (There is one thing about this Manhattan angle that worries me, though — the potential threat to the New York subway system, which, as y’all know, I love…)
  6. But this poor guy thinks movie theaters are poised for a big comeback — No, I don’t think they’re going away entirely. But speaking as a guy who used to love going to the movies (I became the movie reviewer at my first paper purely for the chance to see new releases with the paper paying for the tickets), and has zero interest in taking out a loan to go watch a film while wedged in with a bunch of talkative, fidgeting strangers, I wouldn’t want to be in this guy’s business.
This was just before the Reagan shooting. Hinckley stands out because of his expression.

This was just before the Reagan shooting. Hinckley stands out from the crowd because of his expression.

43 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, March 29, 2021

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I had intended to include something about Joe’s big plan that’s about to come out, but I had trouble finding the right link. This one should do, just as a way of bringing up the subject:

    Biden to unveil major new spending plans as Democrats eye bigger role for government — Wednesday, he heads to Pittsburgh to pitch the first part of a $3 trillion or more effort to improve the country’s roads, bridges and water systems nationwide.

    Also, speaking of my man Joe, of whom I’m so proud, let me call your attention to E.J.’s column today, “Joe Biden is a paradigm shifter.”

    Yep. Keep on shiftin’, Joe…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    shooting UZi

    My theme today seems to be the irrelevant things that news developments make me think of.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that the most famous image of the Reagan shooting, above, always makes me think, “That’s when I learned what an UZI was.”

    Of course, in those days, you couldn’t just Google “What was the weapon that Secret Service agent was holding in the Reagan shooting photo?” You had to wait for it to occur to someone covering the story in Washington to find out, and report it. Fortunately, it occurred to some editor at AP or some other outlet (but probably AP) to demand of the reporter, “What the hell is that he’s holding?” As the news editor at The Jackson Sun at the time, I appreciated that.

    It was the first time I’d ever seen one. I think a lot of people were probably in that boat. It was very distinctive-looking. Also, I hadn’t realized before that that Secret Service agents carried submachine guns (or, as I think my brain perceived it at the time, a “machine pistol”), which is why it grabbed my — and probably other people’s — attention…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, I find that Googling “What was the weapon that Secret Service agent was holding in the Reagan shooting photo?” doesn’t get you the simple answer I was looking for. So maybe we haven’t made all that much progress in the past 40 years…

  3. Barry

    I remember driving by the hotel there in DC about 20 years ago. They had built a much larger covering over the area where he was shot so such a thing would be more difficult today.

    When he was shot, I recall sitting on on my parent’s bed at home watching the news coverage- it fascinated me. I recall everyone being worried. I think I was watching the ABC coverage on tv (only got 3-4 channels).

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, one more thing. In case you want more info about the image of the ship, here’s the Suez Canal Authority’s title for the video: نجاح هيئة قناة السويس في تعويم سفينة الحاويات البنمية الجانحة

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Google Translate says that means, “The success of the Suez Canal Authority in floating the delinquent Panama container ship.”

      As in, Hey, it wasn’t our fault! It was that delinquent ship’s

  5. Barry

    Too add – regarding the Chauvin trial

    I was listening to Michael Smerconish this morning on the POTUS channel on Sirius radio. He had a former US Attorney on discussing the trial. It was quite interesting. He thinks the police focus on Floyd for passing 1 possible bad bill was way overkill. He said this sort of thing happens quite often- someone passing a fake bill – but the police response was odd to him. He didn’t predict any trial outcome.

  6. bud

    Watched some of the Chauvin trial too. The defense really doesn’t have much. Floyd died because of hypertension and drugs. Really? And 9+ minutes with a grown man pressing his knee into your neck was irrelevant? We’ll see but this one really seems open and shut.

    1. Doug Ross

      Wait until they introduce the toxicology report, the autopsy report, and the video of Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe when he was in the cop car before the tragic result.

      If the prosecutor goes for anything more than manslaughter (which seems appropriate) he will lose.

      1. bud

        I just consulted medical experts and they all agree that the appropriate treatment for someone complaining of breathing difficulties is to slam their head on a hard pavement and put your body weight on their neck forcefully with your knee. After approximately 9 minutes of this “treatment” the victim, I mean patient, will no longer complain of breathing difficulties.

        Doug perfectly illustrates the biggest problem the prosecution faces. Getting 12 jurors to convict a cop of a major crime is damn near impossible. Thank you Doug for illustrating the extreme bias we have in this country.

  7. Bryan Caskey

    In other news, my son’s little league team (nine and ten year olds) won a close game today, winning by one run. We are 3-3 on the year, which is a good thing. We’ve experienced winning, losing, coming from behind to win, and having another team come from behind to beat us.

    Kids are having fun, and learning to help the team in their own way. Best part of the game for me is giving out the game ball (to the team MVP) and helmet stickers to the kids (for great play) after the game. Right now, I’m working on getting the kids to be confident at the plate. In a game where failure is so prevalent, I’m trying to get them to not wait for positive results to give them “permission” to be confident.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Hang in there, coach.

      Meanwhile… my wife is downstairs watching her nephew in Memphis play for Christian Brothers High School. We managed to get it on my iPad, and I’m mirroring it to the TV.

      I’ve watched some of it, but the camerawork and sound aren’t great, and I’ve found it hard to follow. (Although I’m listening now on the laptop.) I’ve also been doing some cooking in the kitchen, to get ahead on breakfast for the next couple of days. I’m planning to take a short break from breakfast smoothies, but I don’t want to stand there cooking in the morning when I haven’t had my coffee yet.

      So it’s just the typical stereotype — man slaving in the kitchen, woman sitting on the couch watching a ballgame.

      It’s kind of cool. I hear it’s the first time they’ve tried doing this. It’s at this link.

      The nephew is Brendan Phelan. You’ll like this, Bryan… ever since Brendan and his brother were small, my brother-in-law has set up a small ballfield in their side yard. They’ve been playing there all their lives. Awhile ago, Brendan made a good play in the outfield, so the announcers — one of whom is also a senior at the school — were talking about “Phelan Field,” which is quite well-known by that name in their neighborhood.

      Here’s a screenshot…


              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                But that put him behind, and he walked the guy.

                So, runners on first and second, with two outs in the final inning, and a one-run team for CBHS.

                During the next batter, Brendan works to keep the guy on second close to the bag…

                And in the end, gets the batter to swing at an outside pitch for strike three! So he’s come in from the outfield in the last inning to win the game!

                And while the win goes to the guy he just replaced, the announcer cries, “A great close there by Brendan Phelan!”

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Seriously, that was live. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out when I started sharing it with you.

                  Very proud of our nephew at the moment, product of the family training ground, Phelan Field…

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    Nice! Just need to get you a radio to broadcast it. Next to live baseball, I almost think I prefer listening to baseball on the radio vs. television.

                    I know that sounds crazy, since you can, you know, see the game on a television broadcast, but I love listening to a great baseball announcer paint the picture with his radio broadcast.

                    It’s a real art, and it’s beautiful when done well.

                  2. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Well, that was fun. And here’s a better picture, showing Brendan out there on the mound, near the end. Click on it to see it better.

                    Every once in a while, they would switch to this other camera, which looked over first base toward the mound, and you could see a lot more. They should have used that camera more…

                    Brendan on the mound 72dpi

  8. bud

    The whole scandal with Andrew Cuomo illustrates a major difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are not defending the NY governor the way Republicans defended Trump. Democrats don’t want their party tainted with a major office holder acting inappropriately even if his behavior is only 1/10 as bad as what Republicans readily accept from the former POTUS.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Your point is valid. Of course, it should also be mentioned that, from what I hear, those Democrats don’t much like Cuomo. They’ve been afraid of him for years, but now that he’s weakened, they’re more likely to oppose him…

      1. bud

        I don’t think Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and others don’t like Trump but somehow party loyalty reigns supreme. Really is the damndest thing I’ve ever seen. This crazy quilt loyalty to such a miserable human being. But there does appear there are signs the Trump aura is fading.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m with you there. But then, their behavior long ago left the realm of the rational. Everything about Trump defies the rational. Over and over again, we’ve seen that when a reasonable person would expect that people — his supporter, and GOP elected officials — would finally reject Trump completely, they do what he does: They double down.

          At least these Dems are being rational — NOW Cuomo is weak enough for them to oppose, so they do…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Mind you, I can give the “rational” explanation these GOP officeholders would give — if you could get them to speak honestly, they’d say that it’s Trump’s base that’s crazy, and they’re just scared of that base, so they pretend to be just as crazy.

            But then, here’s the thing: Why?

            What’s the point? If you’re an intelligent person, or a reasonable person, or a decent person, why would you even want to hold office going forward? You’re not going to accomplish anything worthwhile, if all you do is try to please the Trumpistas.

            So what’s the point?

  9. bud

    Watching the Chauvin trail. The prosecution witnesses are giving devastating testimony. Chauvin is a blood thirsty murderer. This craven bastard did not stop his choking until the ems ambulance arrived.

    1. bud

      I can’t wait to what else the defense will bring up to show anything other than a brutal nurse. So far we have a ridiculous assertion that an angry “crowd” distracted them. Toxicology reports are sure to come up. And for sure they’ll have some quack medical “expert” will suggest drugs and a heart condition was Floyd’s cause of death. Perhaps one or two jurors will unflinchingly side with a cop doing his job under difficult circumstances over a drug abusing crook trying to pass fake money. But really this case is very simple – Chauvin is nothing but a cold blooded murderer.

  10. bud

    The defense attorney comes across as an ignorant weasel. He has basic facts wrong and asks truly dumbass questions. He asked Ms. Hansen if she was wearing a dress uniform. Then he asked if the store clerk sold a customer a banana. I guess he’s trying to rattle the witnesses but he just comes across as a clown. If I was a juror I’d probably zone out during his questioning.

    1. bud

      Some of the analysts on MSNBC are fairly critical of the prosecutions case. One of them suggested they are using too many attorneys which gives the impression they are coming across as Goliath and the Defenses more modest approach makes them an underdog and hence more sympathetic. Also at least one prosecution witness was seen as belligerent. Perhaps I’m biased but my take is the defense is just plain weird in their claims. Especially this bizarre claim that the belligerent crowd distracted the cops?? I would like to hear Bryan’s take on the effectiveness of both sides performance. I distinctly remember the OJ trial and feeling horrified at the prosecutions ineptness. I feel just the opposite now.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        I’m not watching the trial. I have my own cases to worry about. 🙂

        In general, I try not to patronize witnesses, I get to the point quickly (so as not to bore the judge and/or jury), and I try to have a logical theory of the case.

  11. bud

    One fascinating aside to the Chauvin trial is just the enormous amount of video footage exists showing every single incident that is relevant to the case. There must be at least 30 videos from every angle, inside the store, the squad car, high angle views, extreme closeups. We really are living in an Orwellian era.

    Contrast this with the Kennedy assassination or even the Reagan shooting. A few blurry still photos with just one relevant video.

  12. bud

    The defense attorney is coming across as a pure, unadulterated jerk. (I would use stronger language but the civility thing would get me in trouble) What possible value does it serve to badger Floyd’s girlfriend about the pet names they called each other.

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