Open Thread for Friday, January 21, 2022

I thought ORANGE was the new black! What do they call this — Viet Cong Chic?

This is an experiment. Normally, blog posts get ignored on Fridays. Especially on Fridays such as this one, when people are having their routines disrupted by weather as well as COVID.

But I just thought I’d see if the sheer shock of me posting an open thread would draw attention and spark responses. Probably not, but we’ll see…

  1. Vaccine boosters protect against severe illness from omicron, CDC says — Yes, they do. That’s why I got one. Good thing, too. The case of COVID I have is mostly just… tedious… It occurs to me I should provide an update on my condition, but there’s not much to say. I estimate that today — one week after receiving the test result — I feel 10 percent better than I did yesterday. But I still feel crappy. Beats being really sick, though. Also, I don’t want to bore y’all. I keep talking to people who say, Yeah, I had it last week, or I got diagnosed on Saturday, but I’m better now. Woman I talked to today said she’s had it twice — before and after vaccines. She assures me that after is way, way better.
  2. Meat Loaf, whose operatic rock anthems made him an unlikely pop star, dies at 74 — I’m very sorry for Mr. Loaf, but of course the first thing that occurred to me was, I had no idea Meat Loaf was only 74. I mean, that’s just six years older than I am. Back when he and I were both young, I assumed he was way older — like, at least the age of the Beatles or the Stones (I mean, Ringo is 81!). I know this sounds kind of stupid, but I have thoughts like that a lot these days. I was less familiar with Louie Anderson, but I had a similar, and even sharper, reaction: He was exactly my age! Why did this kid die?
  3. 9 questions I have about the new, more ‘inclusive’ M&M mascots — First, this is an excuse to share an Alexandra Petri column, which I haven’t done in awhile. Second, as I said on Twitter in response to this, there are days when I worry that I’m not spending my time being sufficiently productive and useful to the world. Then I look at how the marketing folks at M&M are spending THEIR time, and I feel somewhat better…
  4. Blinken and Lavrov pledge to keep talking as military buildup continues around Ukraine — I thought I’d mention, at least in passing, what is probably the most important and ominous thing going on in the world right now, in case anyone wants to talk about it.
  5. Alex Murdaugh faces 23 new counts of financial crimes, adding $2.3M to missing money — Just curious whether ANY of y’all are following this. I know some people are, because this is about as obvious a click-based waste of scarce journalistic resources as I’ve ever seen. I’m just curious about one thing: Every picture that runs with these stories is exactly alike, except in one way — Murdaugh’s jail jumpsuit is always a different color. How many does he have? Are the other prisoners jealous of his wardrobe? The many, many stories may address this, but I’m not about to start reading them to find out.




206 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, January 21, 2022

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, so maybe my memory played a trick on me there. AFTER posting this, I searched Google to see just how many different-colored jumpsuits this Murdaugh guy has appeared in — and all I found were khaki, and black.

    I could have sworn I’d also seen him in the classic orange. Maybe not. But it’s not like I’ve been paying actual attention…


    FitsNews has grown to six employees in the past year largely because of their Murdaugh reporting and a podcast that is one of the most listened to in the past six months. Mandy Matney who does the podcast was featured in a 20/20 recap on tv last week. It’s an eye opening story of the decades long corruption in that area of the state that extends across courts, banks, and law firms. Murdaugh deserves every punishment he receives.

  3. Bill

    I’ve fallen in love with the post murder myself makeover Murdaugh
    Something about a man surviving a long drawn out murder/suicide and becoming the hottest almost dead man in the land; so southern and beautiful…

  4. bud

    4. My only comment is to state unequivocally this is NOT the most ominous story in the world today. Whether the Russians control Ukraine or not is not all that important to the welfare of most Americans. If Putin does invade he’s a fool. The entire western world will sanction the hell out of Russia and the people will suffer and become more belligerent to his rule. The most important issues will remain COVID, election integrity and of course climate change.

  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Only thing I can guess about Murdaugh is that so many people are extremely, morbidly interested in people who have more money than they do. I don’t know why that fascinates them, but it does.

    You ever notice that when you type a name into the Google search field, say “John Smith,” the first search it tries to autofill in for you is “John Smith net worth?” Which always knocks me over. I can’t imagine why I would ever, EVER ask that question about anybody — and yet it’s such a common search, apparently, that Google just assumes you’d be interested.

    That’s not ALWAYS the first suggestion. Sometimes it’s something else, like “John Smith wife” or something. But it happens a lot.

    Now mind you, I don’t think that was the original reason for the prominence of the story. Originally, it was the deaths. That was a bizarre string of events, and worth a few stories.

    But for the last few months, the headlines always seem to be like the one above. I feel like it’s the same headline over and over. Really monotonous…


        It’s not just financial crimes. It’s coordinated criminal activity between lawyers, banks, and courts. The victims are poor people who have been ripped off by a family that has run the county. A girl was killed because the son thought he was above the law. Another boy was killed probably because he had a gay relationship with another son. The son and wife were killed for some reason we don’t know yet that may have to do with drug smuggling. It’s really interesting that you never seem to care about money that is wasted, stolen, or embezzled. Maybe the deaths will get your attention?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          The deaths DID get my attention. Freaky story. You don’t see many like that.

          But take a look at the headlines lately. They all seem to be about the boring stuff…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            As I said in a previous post awhile back, the unusual thing about this case is that it is actually like a lot of murder mysteries you see on the boob tube. From the old Agatha Christie type stories to your Nordic noir modern series, it’s very common for three or four murders to happen in a single episode — all of them in one way or another related to each other. You know, the first victim and then that victim’s sketchy brother-in-law, and then his business partner, and so forth.

            The thing is, I covered a bunch of murders during my days as a reporter, and I don’t remember any like that. Murders are usually one-off events. I can think of one case in which there were TWO victims, but they were killed at the same time under the same circumstances.

            But this Murdaugh thing reads like it was written by someone who wrote one of those shows….

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Of course, on those shows you eventually find out what was really going on. With the older shows, within an hour. With the newer, binge-designed ones, at the end of a season.

              Not so with this. So far, it’s just a confusing mess…

              But I think the similarity to those kinds of stories is one reason so many people do follow the Murdaugh case…

    1. Barry

      “Only thing I can guess about Murdaugh is that so many people are extremely, morbidly interested in people who have more money than they do. I don’t know why that fascinates them, but it does.”

      I don’t think it’s because he had more money.

      I think it’s because they see someone that used his money to screw over people that didn’t have much power, prestige, or money and now they are watching the extent of others to help him do it. It’s exactly what they think a lot of people with money do with it- and we are finding how he did it.

      For some in South Carolina, this law firm has been seen for years as having an inordinate amount of power and involved in basically running the county. I’ve heard things about them since the late 1990s.

      For some that know about them, to the extent this makes them look bad is sort of a ” chickens come home to roost” moment.

  6. Carol Smith

    I am so relieved that you are vaccinated and hope that keeps you from having severe symptoms.
    I am embarrassed to admit that I anxiously await the weekly podcast, THE MURDAUGH MURDERS, and listen immediately. So now I will be on the look-out for any mention of the variety of his jumpsuits. Last week’s episode mentioned his need for clean underwear. It is a sordid and tragic story that appeals to some very bad part of my psyche.

  7. Doug Ross

    Listened to the Dana Carvey/David Spade podcast this weekend with guest Chris Rock. Carvey said he had been working on a Joe Biden impression but was reluctant to use it in his act because he said it might be too mean… said that Al Franken had said that Joe had “lost his fastball” and that any impression would have to address Joe’s declining mental ability. Amazing — Saturday Night Live made its reputation on no-holds barred satire/ridicule of Presidents started with Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford. Carvey made George Bush look like a fool, same for Ross Perot. They had no trouble going after Clinton, Reagan, Bush (strategery!), and Trump (relentlessly) — not so much Obama though. Now, they’re afraid to make Joe look bad because he’s old and out of it. Says a lot about what media has become.

    1. Barry

      I don’t see what the big deal is either.

      I mean Biden is almost 80. Of course he isn’t as mentally sharp as he was 10-20 years ago.

      He’s still a 1000% better than the other option voters had.

        1. Barry

          It is a low bar but again, the other option was much, much worse.

          (I’ve wholeheartedly adopted the excuse I heard 435,399 times in 2016 that gave us the benevolent, omniscient, super Christian Conservative Messiah Donald Trump)

          I would have nominated Sherrod Brown or Bob Casey. But Brown didn’t get any traction and Bob Casey didn’t run.

      1. Doug Ross

        The big deal is that SNL wants to play nice with Democrats when they once were known for being equal opportunity in their skewering of presidents. The current SNL is unwatchable because it tries too hard to be both woke and funny. An impossible task. Liberals will get their feelings hurt if SNL goes after Joe.

        He’s better than Trump. So was every other Democrat. He’s been a colossal dud so far — just as I expected. And now he’s got to tell everyone sometime next year whether he’s going to run again. Which I doubt he will.. and then his political capital will be completely spent. Right now, the betting money would be on Trump, DeSantis, or some other Republican to take back the White House in 2024.

        1. Barry

          SNL makes fun of Biden, they just don’t make fun of him to the extent they made fun of Trump.

          Trump gave SNL enough material in a month for 300 episodes. Biden gives them material, but it’s ho-hum compared to what Trump offered up to them.

          SNL has been a roller-coaster for decades, depending on the quality of their talent- up and down, up and down.

  8. Barry

    A few interesting tidbits today

    The SCOTUS denied GOP Leader McCarthy’s challenge to proxy voting. It seems some GOP leadership kept filing legal challenges to the COVID protocols that Democratic leadership had put into place.

    They were failing in those court cases, and the SCOTUS refused to intervene.

    GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik stated the GOP would put an end to proxy voting if they re-take the House. She DID NOT explain why she had voted by proxy when she was out on maternity leave.

    Republican Chip Roy of Texas admitted that Republicans complaining about proxy voting but also voting plenty of times by proxy themselves might have hurt their case.

    LOL. You think?

    ABC NEWS had a good piece about the Republicans who voted against the infrastructure bill actually touting the expenditures back home in their own districts, some taking out advertising to tout the benefits to their districts- even though they voted against the provisions. (Their ads don’t tell their constituents that they voted against it)

    One Republican- Rob Wittman of Virginia took to social media to tout the $70 million expansion of the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. Wittman had worked for more than 10 years trying to get the money for the expansion to no avail. It was included in Biden’s plan. Trump’s infrastructure TALK also included such money but Trump never pushed for any one bill’s passage, and often getting his own way which screwed up chances for any bill.

    Wittman later deleted his social media post.

    The article goes on to name a number of Republicans that have been publicly touting their support back home in their districts for the projects, making it look like the funding was something they supported.


    “At the end of a Biden photo op, when reporters shouted Q’s hoping he’d respond, Fox’s Peter Doocy asked, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Biden deadpanned: “It’s a great asset—more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.”

    Guess Joe missed the memo of returning dignity to the presidency. I know, I know… at least he’s not Trump. What he is though is an old angry guy who is getting frustrated that he isn’t coddled like his staff treats him.

    1. bud

      Biden was right. Doocy is a stupid son of a bitch. What an asinine, cheap shot question. I watch a lot of Biden’s speeches and this senility meme is pure nonsense. He fights stuttering, which Fox News idiots use as an excuse for accusing him of losing it mentally. And of course Doug, being the cynical malcontent that he is, buys into it.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Attacks on the press are a threat to democracy! Wait, sorry, that was only true under the previous president. I’m guessing there won’t be much pearl clutching over this.

        1. Barry

          Weren’t you happy when Trump was calling the Press “the enemy of the people? ”

          So calling out one reporter’s question is a threat on democracy? Interesting spin.

          You must have really went a bit crazy posting and calling out your favorite guy Trump
          when he was pointing his finger at individual reporters and telling the crowd “See these people right here are lying to you” etc..

          or when Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski grabbed and hurt the arm of a reporter?

          That must have really made you upset.

          or maybe you ignore it.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            No, Barry. I didn’t vote for Trump. Didn’t support him. You’re confused.

            Was laughing at the journalists who give Biden a pass because he’s able to get over the low, low bar of not being the Worst President Ever and then acting like him.

            1. Barry

              Biden was pulling a bit of a George W Bush.

              We all remember George’s “There’s Adam Clymer, a major leave $%^ hole from The New York Times”

              Heck, I remember Conservative talk show hosts cheering Bush for being “tough” on a dumb reporter.

      2. Barry

        On other media news today

        Speaking of Peter Doocy’s employer, Fox News

        Judge Andrew Napolitano, the former Fox News legal analyst just settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by 2 men. Of course he was welcomed at the Conservative “Newsmax” propaganda outlet.

        Newsmax host Greg Kelly made no mention of the multiple lawsuits against Napolitano or the former judge’s long association with Fox News. Instead, he merely introduced Napolitano as a “longtime legal commentator.”

        Speaking of sexual harassment lawsuits, Ed Henry, formerly of Fox News has now showed up at the Conservative propaganda network Real America’s Voice.

        Ed, while promoting family values on Fox, had a multi year affair with an “entertainer” that he “kept” in Las Vegas and after getting his job back, was fired after being accused by numerous Fox News employees of sexual harassment, including an allegation of rape.

      3. Doug Ross

        Cheap shot question. Yeah, if we continue to have 6% inflation, supply chain issues for the next year, it won’t have any impact on the midterms. Biden is tanking as fast as inflation is rising.

        Just imagine if Trump had said the exact same thing. Liberal reporters would be heading for the bunkers in fear.

        1. Barry

          Trump said moronic things 10 times before lunchtime. We all know that.

          I’m old enough to remember when he told Conservatives he wasn’t going to worry about the deficit or debt and Conservative reporters like Peter Doocy and Conservatives themselves said “Whatever Trump wants is fine with me”

          The answer of course is “No Peter, high inflation is always what every President wants”

          it’s a stupid question.

          and of course notice Republicans haven’t offered a solution to high inflation either. Because there is no such solution in the short term because of COVID. That’s what inflation is an issue in almost every developed economy in the world right now.

          1. Doug Ross

            The question was about the impact of inflation on the midterms. If Biden thinks the answer is NO, he should explain why. If he thinks the answer is YES, he should be worried. (The answer is YES).

            1. Barry

              No- the answer is

              ” It’s a silly question Peter. I’m not worried about an election 11 months from now. You folks on Fox can focus all your energy on promoting Republicans for the election. I’m worried about doing our best to provide helpful information to Americans regarding COVID and doing everything I can for the the economy and the American people ”

              Or he could answer it the way he did.

              1. Doug Ross

                If Biden said that, he’d be lying. He (and his staff and the Democratic leadership) are absolutely worried about the midterms. Without question. It’s likely why Breyer was either encouraged to or decided to retire. There is a good chance Democrats will lose the Senate at the current rate and with an ineffectual leader at the top of the party.

                So, yeah, they are probably in freak out mode behind closed doors.

                1. Barry

                  Of course they are worried about it. But you don’t go around talking about being worried about it.

                  Every President is worried about losing the House or the Senate (or both) if they have it at all.

                  But as we saw in 2018, it won’t be the first time it’s happened.

                  and with the ping pong of politics in the last 20-30 years, the Democrats could very well lose in 2022 and turn right around and win nicely in 2024. Such is the game.

    2. Barry

      Well, it was a really stupid question.

      But again, it was Peter Doocy so it being “stupid” and a “question” are a given.

      It was a terrific response, especially to those that “clutch their pearls” when Joe has a good zinger but celebrated when Trump did the same- or worse.

      Trumpers supposedly love it when a President doesn’t take any junk from reporters. So Trumpers should be celebrating Joe’s effort, even if it was a bit nicer than a Trump effort.

      That’s why I was surprised by your response along with Bryan’s. You two should have been thrilled.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Barry: The guy who has never met any Democrat hypocrisy but *totally* claims to have been a conservative before Trump.

        1. bud

          Bryan, at least admit the question was an asinine cheap sot. How hard is that to acknowledge? Unemployment is currently sitting at 3.9%. To listen to conservatives you’d think we’re mired in a Great Depression. This is all about marketing and spin. Gasoline prices peaked in 2008. Violent crime was highest in 1991. Unemployment was 14% in 2020. All during Republican administrations. Biden inherited one helluva mess. Yet idiot reporters shouting a stupid question about inflation is properly dismissed is all of a sudden the end of the western world. I am thankful every day that Trump is no longer in office. Shouldn’t we be just a bit more patient?

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Can’t have reporters asking the President questions that challenge his narrative, now can we?

            Good thing the with Trump gone we won’t have the President hurling foul language at reporters. Biden ran on restoring dignity to the White House.

            But hey, you do you.

            1. bud

              I take that as a no. That wasn’t a question “challenging his narrative”. It was a cheap shot. Nothing more. Sure Biden committed a bit of a breech in etiquette. But the bigger question is why [redacted for content] like Doocy are allowed to ask questions in the first place. He’s not there to get answers. He’s only there to goad the president into just such a breech of etiquette. Given what we had from the last 2 Republican presidents Joe Biden is a model of decorum.

            2. Barry

              Bryan wrote “Can’t have reporters asking the President questions that challenge his narrative, now can we?”

              When did Biden lay out the narrative that high inflation was not something a President should be worried about?

              I mean you stated reporters were challenging his narrative.

              I’m sure you’ll have no problem giving us those quotes from Biden where he states his narrative of high inflation not being an issue for a President.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            Biden was the man who had vowed that he would fire, “on the spot,” anyone who spoke an untoward word to a “colleague”. But hey, it’s not a bad play for Biden because insulting a Fox News reporter endears Biden to his hyperpartisan leftwing supporters…you know…people like you and Barry, and right now, Biden needs all the support he can get.

            As for the non-hyperpartisans? Eh, I think they are going to look at this and think: “Didn’t we vote for Biden so things like this would stop?

            1. Barry

              Oh, I was fine with Biden doing it. But only for one reason.

              That reason is folks like Bryan, who endlessly downplayed such when Trump was in office, get their shorts all twisted up now when someone else does it.

              I mean Biden is doing it to an employee of a CEO (Lachlan Murdoch) who said their official company position as a news organization was going to be one of “opposition” to Biden.

                1. Barry

                  Bryan, put me down for joining you in that group.

                  The name of that category is: “Upset when a President of a party I don’t like says a bad word but ignores it when it’s a President of a party I do like”

                  Hey, at least we are in the same group on 1 thing in this world.

          3. Barry

            Per the Fox Poll released over the weekend, BIden’s overall approval is back up to 47%.

            Under age 35 voters, Biden’s approval is at 55%. Under age 45, it’s at 53%.

            72% of black people approve of the job he’s doing. Hispanics are at 59% approval.

            White people with a college degree approve of Biden at a 56% clip.

            White women with a college degree approve of Biden at a 59% clip.

            51% of suburban voters approve.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              That’s certainly the best number he’s had this month. Sounds like he’s cruising to re-election. I’ll say this about him getting frustrated and insulting a reporter: At least it shows Biden is really is worried about inflation and its effect on Democratic electoral prospects.

              1. Barry

                It is a decent number. Lots of room for growth – and more positive than Trump’s number was with those groups, at this point in his presidency.

                If COVID gets under control in the next 2 months with this variant regressing and no new one pops up, I predict his numbers were rebound quite nicely. I am sure you agree that would be a good thing. Right?

                When Trump’s numbers were at near all time lows, Conservatives were unanimous in their praise of him and demands that he govern without regard to his poll numbers.

                If Conservatives liked that advice then, they should like it now when Biden does the same thing.

                Of course, unless they are being hypocritical……

            2. Doug Ross

              How’s your 401K lately, Barry? Still riding with Biden on the economy? Or does a 10% drop in the S&P 500 in a month mean anything? Surely you’re buying the dip based on your confidence in Joe. Put you money where your mouth is.

              1. Barry

                My 401k is quite nice actually, but of course has suffered a bit this year. I was looking at it this morning.

                As any good investor knows, timing “dips” is not the way for steady growth. I’ve never done that, and never will.

                In my funds (non retirement of course), I have 4 buy dates a month. I’ve always stuck to that schedule.

                I’m a “Clark Howard” type investor when it comes to staying the course.

                So no, I don’t try to buy dips. My 2 oldest kids also have funds now and we have the same strategy.

                The timing of this one did mean I did place an order this week- which I was glad to get it on a bit of a clearance price. But it was already scheduled. So that worked out well for me to get it on sale. But I didn’t dare try to time it.

                1. Barry


                  I really don’t watch my funds on a weekly or monthly basis.

                  I find that counter-productive since I don’t really change my strategy.

                  I’ll look at it once a quarter at most- and more like 3 times a year.

                  Too many highs, lows, dips, bumps, hills, etc,, to worry about weekly or monthly.

                  I did the same thing when the market dropped over 2,000 points 1 day when Trump was in office.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I don’t watch mine even on an “ever” basis.

                    Except when my financial adviser who manages these things reaches out and insists we have a meeting — once every year or two — and review everything. And I try very hard to be a serious adult and pay attention and make good decisions.

                    But if you asked me an hour after the meeting what I had done, or how my accounts were doing, I’d have a hard time telling you…

                    1. Barry

                      Nothing wrong with that at all.

                      My dad, retired but still working part time for a little extra spending money and to spend time with his friends, also has an advisor.

                      He’s more comfortable that way because he’s never been interested in learning a lot about it. I think his advisor seems to take a good approach.

                      My in-laws have an advisor because their finances are more complicated and my father in law’s mom left him some business interests so an advisor is really a necessity.

                      I might do that one day myself but I enjoy doing it on my own but I only read and take advice from 1-2 people that I really trust.

                      and no, I don’t watch a second of CNBC or Fox Business or any financial network. They are all swimming in conflicts of interest that they don’t dare disclose.

        2. Barry

          Nah, I’ve met plenty of Democratic hypocrisy. Still see plenty of it. I just seen more from you folks these days.

          In fact, I called plenty of it here at one time. I can’t help those of you have forgot my frequent Obama criticisms right here on this very blog. I mean you can still look them up if you are really bored. They are there. But it won’t back up your notion so I’d probably ignore it.

          1. bud

            To your point Barry Biden was way down my list of candidates I wanted in the Democratic primary. He has a long history of gaffes. He is nearly 80. But frankly he’s done just fine. I’m just fine with a few prickly moments given the horrendous options offered by the other side. Cruz, Deathsantis, Trump!!! It’s all relative now isn’t it?

              1. Barry

                I didn’t vote in 2016 because i had had hurt myself and was recovering from surgery on election night. (I supported Marco Rubio in the primary, even though i regret what he has turned into)

                I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. (i still remember being stunned that Newt Gingrich, of all people, won the SC GOP primary. That a serial adulterer like him could win the primary here after what those same Conservatives had said about Bill Clinton tipped me off for the 1st time that all the “family values” talk had been a lie and was fake. (But I suppressed that thought a little while longer and just ignored it)

                I voted for John McCain in 2008

                i voted George Bush in 2000 and – reluctantly in 2004

                I voted for Bob Dole in 1996

                (Worked on the Tommy Harnett campaign for Senate in 1992 against Fritz)

                Voted for George H W Bush in 1992 (interesting note here, when Bill Clinton came to the Embassy Suites on Greystone to campaign in March 1992, when Bush was riding sky high after the war, I went to the event with a friend and politely “jeered” him during the speech in the ballroom. What did I jeer? Nothing specific. It was a basic, non news making routine speech that any candidate from any party could have given.

                I do recall he was almost an hour late. He entered the room with Hillary by his side, and i recall how he took a lot of time to shake hands. He didn’t just shake your hand and move on. He spoke a few words with everyone. He could work a room.

                Afterwards, he was shaking hands again and I took time to shake his hand and got a campaign sign signed by him thinking that at least I would have something signed by a Governor running for President. I still remember laughing as I left thinking “this guy has NO chance and is wasting his time).

                I’ve been offered as much as $125 for that sign, but i didn’t want to sell it.

                I did vote for Michael Dukakis in 1988, my first time voting in an election. I didn’t know what I was doing – didn’t care about politics – but do remember not settling on the idea of not liking the thought of one party having control of the Presidency for 12 years. But i think Bush did a decent job because I thought he was a moderate President In many ways.

                So tell me again Bryan about “ but *totally* claims to have been a conservative before Trump.”

                I will get out of your way and let try your best to explain your theory about why a supposed liberal (before Trump) would have such a voting record.

            1. Barry

              I saw a few snippets from Fox this morning. (I saw them online as I don’t have Fox News). They were whining about Biden’s use of insults. LOL.

              Maybe that level of disconnect is the cause of so many of their on air hosts cheating on their wives or sexually harassing coworkers.

              One of the leading House Conservatives, Jim Banks (who will take on a leadership role if the GOP wins the House) asked online if any President had ever disrespected the Press as much as Joe Biden did yesterday.

              These guys are just clowns and should be treated that way.

      2. Doug Ross

        Joe’s zinger was him talking to himself. He lacked the guts to say it to Doocy directly. Just mumbled it like he probably does all day long these days.

        1. Barry


          why would he lack guts to call Peter Doocy an SOB?

          That’s super weak. I don’t think anyone believes that.

          I think Joe full well thinks Doocy is an SOB and would happily say it to him if the notion struck, he just was hoping the rest of the group wouldn’t pick up on it.

          I mean none of his fellow reporters would believe Doocy anyway unless it was on camera. He works for Fox.

          1. Doug Ross

            You’re mind reading. You called it a zinger. Mumbling something to yourself isn’t a zinger. You need to actually speak the words out loud to someone who you intend to hear it.

        2. bud

          Rather than focus on this non story about a reporters hurt feelings lets review Biden’s first year:
          Unemployment is 3.9%. That represents a record drop in a presidents first year. Another record is job creation. Electric cars are taking off. This should have a dramatic impact on climate change. Job growth has been phenomenal. COVID deaths are 40% below where they were a year ago. Gas prices are well below record levels that existed in 2008 and without lines. In spite of supply disruptions grocery store shelves are stocked at 85% of normal levels. The toilet paper shortage of the Trump years seems like a distant memory. Child poverty is way down. The S and P 500 was soaring in Biden’s first 11 months before a predictable correction cooled down the market. Interest rates remain low. Inflation is high but that’s understandable given all the disruptions from COVID. It’s still less than in 1981. Can things be better? Of course. Biden inherited the worst mess any president has ever faced. Thankfully we have a sensible person in charge going forward. The Fox News crowd will NEVER give any Democrat any credit. So we should mostly just ignore them.

          1. DOUGLAS ROSS

            The reporters feelings weren’t hurt, bud . He laughed it off as the ravings of an old man. Now, Jim Acosta, spent four years claiming he was being literally tortured by Trump… He was Doocy before Doocy was Doocy.

            Your COVID numbers are always hilarious. More people died under Biden than Trump. Are you going out to restaurants without a mask these days? Surely it’s safe now according to your numbers. And now we’re in a correction on the stock market… Convenient… I remember when some people claimed the stock market gains were bad because it made billionaires richer and didn’t help the wealth inequality gap. Guess all those poots were able to invest their stimulus checks in Google. Hurrah!

            1. bud

              I’m glad I can make you laugh but the truth is COVID deaths in the first 20 days of 2022 were substantially lower than for the first 20 days of 2021. From January 1-20, 2021 60,742 Americans died of COVID 19. From January 1-20, 2022 35,231 died. That is the relevant comparison. It also shows a 42% reduction. Of course this is no laughing matter. 35,000 deaths is still tragic. Most of these people are unvaccinated. So Doug why don’t you do something constructive for a change and get behind Biden’s efforts to get people vaccinated.

          2. Barry

            I agree Bud.

            I think Biden has done a pretty good job. His overall approval, per Fox is at 47% now.

            I especially think he’s done a good job considering what a Trump presidency at this point would have looked like.

            I recall the stories about how difficult it was going to be to find even remotely decent people to work in a 2nd administration because so many competent behind the scenes GOP’ers had refused to work for him.

            I voted for Biden so I am going to give him every possible benefit of the doubt and I am glad to do it. He was the only rational choice.

  10. Barry

    Brad, what happened to JD Vance?

    I realize that this is the Republican party now, and i fully expect this demeaning rhetoric from the frontrunner in the Ohio Senate race- Josh Mandel – who makes JD Vance look downright tame, but JD has been moving in this direction for some time now.

    I assume he realizes the only way to compete with Mandel with Conservatives in Ohio is to hurl as many insults as possible.

    “ Honored to have Marjorie’s endorsement. We’re going to win this thing and take the country back from the scumbags.”

      1. Barry

        Ohio Republicans care about it. I mean he is running to be 1 of 100 US Senators – pretty important role there.

        Senator Rick Scott of Florida cares a lot about it as it’s his job to get Vance or Mandel elected.

        So it’s good that Doug doesn’t are about it- which of course means it’s not an issue.

        But hey, if you don’t care about JD Vance or Josh Mandel, that tells us plenty.

        Vance, who is trying to insult everyone every day – choice 1

        Mandel- says all Muslims are terrorists, says only Christians should be allowed to run for office, says the Iraq war was worth it, wants to ban gay people from public office, when running for another office in Ohio said his African American opponent was a Muslim (He was a very publicly professed Christian).

        half of Mandel’s campaign staff quit last year citing a toxic work environment caused by Mandel’s sexual relationship with his finance manager, Rachel Wilson. (Mandel divorced his wife soon before the affair with Wilson) Wilson and Mandel would have screaming matches at each other than eventually caused campaign members to quit.

        2 great choices there for Republicans.

        1. Doug Ross

          How many Ohio Republicans read this blog? How many readers of this blog care what JD Vance does?

          1. Barry

            Anyone that cares about national politics cares some- because a US Senator has some influence on everyone.

            and I care. That’s why I wrote it.

    1. Ken

      What happened? The Trump Effect, of course.
      JD “Fakebilly” Vance is an opportunist ready to do what it takes to get elected in today’s Really Irresponsible Party. The WaPost did a lengthy profile of him a few weeks back and the picture that emerged was of a man, much like our own Graham, I would not trust any further than I could throw him.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I think maybe this is the piece Ken is referring to.

        Ever since I first heard of that guy — I think I first read his name on Election Day in 2016, in one of many pieces I was reading trying to explain why anyone in the country would consider even for a second voting for Trump for anything. I wasn’t satisfied with the explanations I was reading. As for Vance, nothing I’ve heard about him since made a lot of sense to me.

        He has seemed like someone desperate for attention, and willing to do anything — such as holding up his family as an example of rural dysfunction — to get it. Now, he’s apparently resorted to holding himself up as a lunatic…

        1. Barry

          Even some of Vance’s friends (or former friends) are unable to explain the changes in him.

          He went from a somewhat thoughtful, introspective (but partisan) man who was very upset at Trump’s insults in 2015-2016 saying something about Trump insulting everyone he (Vance) cares about

          to a guy who hurls insults constantly- calling people scumbags while acknowledging that his words are Trump like and probably hurt a lot of people.

          I mean you’d think he would at least try to excuse his own behavior but he dishes out the insults and only seems happy if they actually hurt people. If they don’t, he’s a bit cranky about it.

          I mean- Maybe- MAYBE- he sees the frontrunner in Ohio – Josh Mandel- who is actually crazier than Vance (Mandell is the male version of Marjorie Taylor Greene) and he wants to win an election so bad he’s just going to copy his hateful rhetoric.

          and they are running to replace a man like Rob Portman – a soft spoken politician that has worked very hard to reach out to all sides and has worked very well with Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

          The folks coming are going to tear the country to pieces quicker than anyone can imagine.

  11. bud

    My POTUS votes

    1976 – Jimmy Carter
    1980 – Ed Clark (I got sucked into the Libertarian cult for a while. But I became disillusioned with their utter nonsense)
    1984 – Walter Mondale
    1988 – Micheal Dukakis (The dirty tricks dished out by the GOP in this election cycle was a taste of things to come. Remember Willie Horton, the silly tank nonsense)
    1992 – Bill Clinton
    1996 – Bill Clinton (Not really a big fan of Clinton by Election day but by now the GOP really was no longer an option)
    2000 – Ralph Nader (By far the worst vote I ever made. I actually bought the GOP nonsense about Gore being looney. This was a similar tactic to the nonsense they’re saying about Biden now)
    2004 – John Kerry (The most enthusiastic vote I ever made. John Kerry was a good and honorable man. I really, really detested George W by Election Day. The Swiftboating smear was especially egregious. This election is also notable for the worst newspaper endorsement in American history)
    2008 – Barack Obama (The big GOP smear this election cycle was the birtherism bs)
    2012 – Barack Obama
    2016 – Hillary Clinton (The election forever tainted by James Comey. Even so, for voters to select Trump AFTER the Access Hollywood tape is really scary)
    2020 – Joe Biden (I actually voted straight ticket Democrat. I had very little enthusiasm for Biden. In spite of the Fox News spin Biden is doing fine, better than I expected)

    I made two bad votes but I learned from my mistakes. I can proudly say I’ve never voted for a Republican. As I’ve said many times the Democrats are far from perfect. But we MUST support them as a party because they’re our only hope. It is just unthinkable to consider voting for any Republican today. The party is really dangerous.

  12. Doug Ross

    One of Joe Biden’s (and several SC Democrats) key issues is universal pre-K. I’ve never believed it had much value beyond free babysitting. A study of 3000 students in Tennessee now shows that those kids who participated in pre-K actually had WORSE results by 6th grad.

    “On the contrary, a recently published study of a state-run pre-K program in Tennessee found that not only did the program not produce any long-term educational gains, by sixth grade, the children who attended the state’s pre-K program were actually performing worse on both educational attainment and behavioral metrics relative to their peers. State-run pre-K appears to have entirely negative effects for children enrolled.

    The new study results were based on the findings of a randomized controlled experiment that looked at nearly 3,000 children in Tennessee. Some of these children were randomly selected for the state’s pre-K program; others may have attended alternatives, like Head Start or home-based care. The children in both groups were then followed for years, allowing the researchers to track educational attainment and disciplinary issues over time. ”

    “Although the program initially produced small gains in educational achievement among students who attended pre-K, relative to their peers who did not, by third grade those gains had been wiped out, and a small decline in student performance began to show.

    By sixth grade, the difference was even starker: Students who had attended pre-K performed worse on standardized tests, had more disciplinary issues, and were more likely to be sent to special education services.

    The study’s authors have not sugar-coated the results: “At least for poor children, it turns out that something is not better than nothing,” Dale Farran, a Vanderbilt University professor who worked on the study, told education news organization the Hechinger Report, in a report on the study’s findings.”

    The pro-education lobby will never admit that throwing more money at the problem doesn’t fix it. That’s because the root cause is not the schools, it’s the homes those poor students live in. More money should be put into educating poor people to delay having children until they can afford to take care of them. Wait until age 25… pay them to delay having children.

    1. Barry

      Yeah- not necessarily.

      If you avoid Reason and go to the actual report itself – and dive a bit you also see some other notations about the study

      “The quality of the state’s pre-K program could be partly responsible for the negative results”

      “A 2014 study found that when classrooms across the state were evaluated using a widely accepted research tool, there was “great variation” in their quality scores. The vast majority, 85 percent of the Tennessee classrooms studied, scored below the level of “good” quality”

      Farran, the author of the study, suggested Tennessee’s program lacks a “coherent vision” for pre-K, and leaves its teachers to “their own devices” to invent pre-K on their own, factors that may have contributed to the problems researchers discovered.

      Farran isn’t against Pre-K programs for poor children. She said, pre-K should involve more play, with teachers frequently interacting with students and encouraging them to explore their interests, not just academic instruction.

  13. Doug Ross

    Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced today that they will raise interest rates in March and could continue to do so to try and get inflation under control. Stock market took a hit when he made his remarks.

    “Jerome Powell said that there’s a risk that inflation will not decline back toward its pre-pandemic levels any time soon, and that the rise in prices could accelerate. “Inflation risks are still to the upside in the views of most FOMC participants, and certainly in my view as well. There’s a risk that the high inflation we are seeing will be prolonged. There’s a risk that it will move even higher. So, we don’t think that’s the base case, but, you asked what the risks are, and we have to be in a position with our monetary policy to address all of the plausible outcomes,” Powell said.

    Get your excuses in now, Biden supporters. Keep playing the violins on the Titanic deck… When you give away trillions of “free” money, it comes back to bite you one day. Rates rise, housing sales start to dip, downstream effects across the economy. Remember 2008-2010?

    Powell also mentioned that supply chain issues were taking longer to be resolved than the Fed had originally anticipated.

    1. Barry

      I am happy to see rates moving upwards. Long overdue in many ways.

      I detest Presidents that play games with the fed- like Trump did.

      Remember, the fed discussed this in the Trump administration but Trump talked about how he could fire the Fed chief and demanded that rates be lowered more than the Fed was comfortable doing.

      Supply chain issues and inflation is a world-wide problem. We are not exempt.

      If someone wants to blame Biden, that’s ok with me. He’s the President. But those that do blame him and ignore the role the Trump spending played in our current inflation rate are only lying to themselves.

      But a few facts with regards to your spending concerns.

      There have been several major coronavirus relief packages. The LARGEST was the CARES Act, passed in March 2020 and signed by President Donald Trump. According to the Covid Money Tracker from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, that bill has put $1.97 trillion into the economy to date.

      Then, Congress- UNDER Trump – refilled the Paycheck Protection Program in April 2020, along with other aid, at a cost of about $500 billion.

      In December 2020, while Trump was still President, Congress passed additional relief, including $600 checks for most Americans. As of August 1, 2021 – $770 billion had been spent so far.

      The most recent bill was the American Rescue Plan Act championed by Biden and congressional Democrats and signed in March 2021. So far spending from that has reached $1.05 trillion.

      There are other amounts that can be folded into the totals, but it’s safe to say about two-thirds of the spending took place before Biden took office.

      “I wouldn’t ascribe the government spending necessarily to Biden, as the increase in government spending to help curb the effects of COVID was already occurring during the Trump administration,” said Columbia University economist Jennifer La’O.

      1. bud

        Barry I’m going to push back just a bit. Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to be suggesting these various stimulus packages were a bad thing. Sure most of the spending was under Trump but I believe they helped many people who would have otherwise suffered great hardship. I find it amusing reading everyone talk about their financial advisor and 401-ks and their personal wealth in general. Most people don’t have enough personal wealth to even have a 401-k let alone an elitist thing like a financial advisor. So we have a bit of inflation which is mostly offset by wage growth. Isn’t that a small price to pay for reduced child poverty and a general improvement in most American’s standard of living?

        1. Barry

          Yes- I have no issue with the spending and relief packages – or infrastructure (long overdue) bill.

          I should have clarified.

          I just laughed a bit that the blame for spending is all on Biden. That’s revisionist history from the ones you’d expect to want to revise it.

      2. Doug Ross

        You keep talking about Trump. It was Congress that passed the spending bills. Congress has ALWAYS been the problem in regards to the economy. Both parties overspend on their pet projects – defense for Republicans and ineffective, wasteful social programs for Democrats. They each bear no accountability. COVID just gave them a blank check to provide ridiculous stimulus checks and loans to people and companies that didn’t need it. They LOVE spending other people’s money — especially magic money they don’t actually have to have in the bank. Why didn’t we cut foreign aid and defense spending in 2020 and repurpose that money into COVID specific priorities. Because they don’t act like responsible adults… they are mostly corrupt, self-interested narcissists.

        1. bud

          Just now GDP was reported up a whopping 6.9%. Working folks have more opportunities than ever before. If the hapless Democratic marketing unit can get its act together and promote the accomplishments of the last year then perhaps they can beat the historic rap and do well in the midterms. Given the horrible alternative this should be easy. But historical precedent is very hard to overcome. But hopefully the Dems can at least hold the Senate. Lots of pickup opportunities but also some difficult seats to hold. I rate the Dems chances in the senate about 40%.

          1. Doug Ross

            Up compared to a pandemic driven recession? You think 6.9% growth year over year is sustainable? And do you think it is able to have that kind of growth without an impact on inflation rates? Good luck with that…

        2. Barry

          “You keep talking about Trump”

          As you know, Presidents signed the bills and supported them. It has their name all over them.

          As we also know, Mitch McConnell wouldn’t bring up a bill saying Dogs are Man’s Best Friend if Trump didn’t tell him he wanted to sign it.

    2. bud

      Given that the Fed funds rate is stuck at zero percent for 2 years it’s not surprising that a bit of inflation occurs. But clearly the supply chain issues are exaggerated. I’ve had to make a few minor adjustments (low sodium V8 rather than regular, Angel Hair pasta rather than spaghetti) but really this is nothing like what we experienced in 2020. But I suppose Doug and the contrarians on Fox News need something to harp about so have at it. I’ll continue to just smile at their nattering nothing burgers.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        So how many seats do you think the Democrats will gain in the House and Senate due to all this good polling, great economic success, and Biden being so successful thus far?

        1. Barry

          I don’t think that correlates either way.

          Historically, the part of the President loses seats in the mid-terms.

          Biden is facing that reality for sure. But of course, he might lose the mid-term and Democrats might win big in 2024. No way to say now.

          In a divided country where the party out of power will cut off their own noses to win back power and has to now vow to “not work with the President,” this is not surprising.

          But the President in power has to do what they think is the right thing to do. Certainly you can’t govern against your own ideals and values that you ran on to win, just because you worry too much about what voters will say in a mid term election.

      2. Doug Ross

        Ok, bud, I’ll bite. What’s “a bit” of inflation? If we stay at 6% or more for the next year, do you think that’s a good metric for Democrats:? What’s your target misery index: the sum of inflation + unemployment rates.. Prior to COVVID, the misery index during Trump’s term stayed in a range between 5.5 and 6.5 (except the first month when he took office when it was around 7.5). The entire year of 2019 was between 5.3 and 5.7. March 2020 it was at 5.94%… then jumped to 15% due to COVID.

        When Biden took office, the index was at 7.7%… it has climbed into double digits since then and for December 2021 it was nearly 11%.

        If it stays above 10, Biden can start planning to either not run again or get smoked in 2024 by ANYBODY the Republican put up. A number above 10% will mean big losses in the midterms… but we know that’s just SOB talk to even consider it.

        1. Barry

          Ironically, you should be rooting for high inflation and a high “misery” index so a Republican House and Senate will be in charge and total gridlock will ensue.

          Republicans will commence with Benghazi investigations, and impeachment proceedings in the House.

          With Chairman Gym Jordan, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, what can go wrong?

          1. DOUGLAS ROSS

            Why would I root for anything that puts Republicans in power? They disgust me as much as the Democrats. At what point will it occur to you that I am not a Republican, nor a Trump supporter? I’m not. I have an equal distaste for both political parties and the corrupt hypocrites who ignorant Americans elect time and time again. I deal in reality.. not spoonfed taking points from media outlets.

  14. Bill

    I saw her in a dream
    Exiting the bookstore lobby
    Sitting on a bench on Baltimore and reading Murakami
    Slipping salt beneath the sun
    Her hands now tying up her hair
    One pair of deeply tinted shades reflects my unbelieving stare
    And at once
    I am taken

    She asked me what I wanted
    As if one ever really knew
    And I said, “Dull domestication, free from pressure to pursue
    Another love, another touch, another tired conversation”
    And then she shut her novel sharply
    And proposed a new location
    And at once
    I obliged

    Details for a new protest
    Adorn white printer paper flyers
    She says, “I feel so old admitting counter-culture makes me tired”
    She leads me into the café
    Her intention is exact
    It is 104 degrees
    She takes her coffee hot and black
    And at once
    I am entranced

    She suggests we settle down
    Meaning settle down for good
    She knows the perfect place on Martha street
    In her old neighborhood
    And then a taxi sounds a horn
    And it is filled with all our things
    And it is parked outside the cafe
    And the driver sounds incredibly impatient

    When we merge onto the freeway
    She rolls her window down completely
    The driver dials into a station
    Then she smiles at me discreetly
    She says “I love this song,” then turns away
    And tracks the clouds
    The driver curses with conviction
    While heavy metal drummer plays us out…

  15. Barry

    This morning Michael Smerconish talked about how Republican elected officials are getting bombarded
    this week with phone calls from Tucker Carlson cult members demanding they support Russia in their efforts with Ukraine.

    Tucker apparently has been siding with Russia in the current standoff. (He’s sided with Russia and Putin for many years now).

    Michael spoke about how cable news hosts like Tucker Carlson being the highest rated one and most powerful – driving the Republican party.

  16. Barry

    It’s getting even more interesting in Arizona.

    Republican Rep John Fillmore has filed a bill in Arizona that would eliminate all early voting, all electronic voting, and would require a hand count immediately at the closing of polls on election day. All voting would have to take place, in person, at the polls. No absentee voting- no exceptions.

    More than a dozen Republican lawmakers in Arizona have signed on to the bill in support.

    He stated “we need to get back to 1958 style voting”

    His bill also proposes that after a primary or general election, it will still be up to the legislature to “accept or reject the election results.” Even in the case of a verified, paper recount of all ballots, the bill still allows the legislature to throw out the results if they do not “accept them.”

    “If the legislature rejects the results, they any qualified elector may final an action in the court to hold a new election.” While expensive, elections could be held repeatedly until one the legislature accepts is conducted.

    Fillmore believes the 2020 election was rigged and has stated he would never believe any evidence to the contrary, no matter how much evidence was presented.

    Fillmore’s bill is one of several that give the Arizona legislature (Controlled by the GOP) to overturn election results that they do not accept.

    While Fillmore’s bill could be passed, another similar bill is considered more likely because of the timing involved.

    Currently, observers say there is a decent chance a bill that will allow the Arizona GOP to throw out election results it doesn’t like will pass.

  17. Barry

    We’ve heard a lot from some about the need for bi-partisan legislation in the Senate – that the filibuster is designed to force compromise and to make sure the will of the majority is reflected in any legislation.

    That doing so is good government and smart and allows consensus. This is seen as ideal and a worthy goal.

    IF this is such a worthy goal, why are so many state legislatures dominated by Republicans pushing through voting reforms on strictly, 100% party line votes without any regard to the minority party?

    1. Ken

      The claim that the filibuster forces compromise is belied by experience. Use of the filibuster has exploded since the mid-2000s, a period in which compromise has become increasingly difficult. So it hasn’t forced anything. Blocked and delayed, yes, but forced accommodation and bipartisan agreement, no.

      1. Barry

        I agree.

        But everything I’ve been hearing from Republicans (and even Manchin) is:

        1) legislation needs support from a bi-partisan group to receive public buy in. That we need both parties, even if it’s just a small number from one party- to buy in and vote in favor of a law.

        2) That forcing a bill through with just majority support is akin to tyranny and poisons the process and that doing so hurts all of us in society.

        Yet- Republicans at the very same time – across the country – have been forcing bills on voting reforms, abortion, what can be taught in schools on strict Republican party line votes over and over and over with not a care in the world that there is no support at all from the minority party.

        So I am confused.

        I mean this is like a MLB General manager being told by his rivals that he needs to publicly explain his organizational strategy to land some top talent because anything less is unethical while his chief league rivals hatch a secret plan to steal the talent with a “everything is fair” approach.

        1. Ken

          What the Repuglicons say doesn’t count. It’s fork-tongued and self-serving.

          Manchin’s position seems to be: let’s go ahead and allow the perfect undermine the merely good.

          1. Barry

            I’ve come to think of Conservatives and the Republican party as a bunch of flat out liars.

            Did you see some of the video highlights of the crazy fest that was the Trump rally last night? I watched video this morning of people saying they are flat earthers at the rally. You’d assume I was watching a parody or a left wing news broadcast of the rally. I was actually watching “Right Side Broadcasting” which is a right wing outfit promoting the rally and the “good Americans” that were at the rally. They were promoting these nut jobs as if they are reasonable people.

            These people are dangerous and crazy nuts- and there are a lot of them. They are the folks that posters like Doug and Bryan don’t talk about and ignore because they can’t explain it and just prefer to ignore it as if it doesn’t exist.

            It’s a cult.

            Now, does that mean I am now a member of the Democratic Party? No. It doesn’t.

            But I can no longer support any republican for office. I am thankful my state senator and my local house rep is a Democrat because I find both entirely reasonable, and the type of folks that just go about doing their jobs the best they can without fanfare.

            1. Ken

              “Did you see some of the video highlights of the crazy fest…?

              No, I avoid him and them like the plague they are. It’s so nice not having that voice in my ear. I’d recommend giving yourself a L O N G break from the madness.

              As for candidates with Rs after their names, it’s my view that the only ones that should get any votes are those that openly and actively oppose the current trends in their party. Voters are otherwise simply encouraging the problem that that party has become.

              1. Barry

                “Did you see some of the video highlights of the crazy fest…?”

                Well, it was pretty funny. I wasn’t even trying to watch anything about it but it popped up on Twitter from Right Side Broadcasting.

                I thought it was one of those funny Daily Show videos where they show up at Republican Trump rallies and interview people and the folks make fools of themselves.

                But then I realized that- no- this was an actual Conservative outlet at the huge Trump rally last night in Texas where a lot of the elected Texas Republican officials appeared to cheer on Trump and tout how the election was “rigged” – and they were interviewing Trump rally attendees and then they were talking about being flat earthers

                oh- and a lot of them were saying how Trump was “bringing back Jesus Christ. ”

                I didn’t know Jesus has was no longer around- and I didn’t know he needed Donald Trump’s help.

            2. DOUGLAS ROSS

              You watch more Trump than any hardcore Qanon member. And then spend time writing about it to an audience who doesn’t care. Who are you trying to inform???

              1. Barry

                Oh- speaking of Qanon- there were a lot of them there at the rally too. Their interviews were interesting.

                Except for all the elected Republicans that were in attendance at the Trump rally to hear him whine about the election and how it was stolen from him

                and the tens of thousands of Conservatives that were there talking about their crazy, nutty theories about the election.

                This was known as The Sorest Losers in the Nation rally again.

              2. Barry

                “You watch more Trump than any hardcore Qanon member.”

                People and groups that watch Trump more than I do.

                Official Rankings:

                1) Trump supporters.
                2) Republican elected officials at the federal level
                3) Conservatives
                4) Fox News hosts and Fox News watchers
                4a) Right wing media, talk show hosts
                5) Republican officials at the state level
                6) Republican officials at the local level
                7) Trump rally attendees (Qanon members, flat earthers, Trump is bringing Jesus back)
                8) Me

                1. Doug Ross

                  How many of them are on this blog that will be skewered by you “owning” them? Why don’t you hang out on a conservation blog and see what kind of response you get? Or, better yet, come out of the shadows and make your anti-Trump obsession known to the world.

                  1. Barry

                    Not sure how many are on this blog. I’m sure there are some.

                    Then there are some that just read and never post.

                    Oh, I’ve posted on other sites where more of them hang out. It goes about as you’d expect when I say I really don’t think Trump is the second coming of Jesus like they do.

  18. Barry

    Eye on Republicans

    From The Guardian – Sunday January 30, 2022

    Georgia County purges Democrats from election board and cancels Sunday Voting

    “The takeover in Spalding County is part of a Republican effort to dominate elections mechanisms nationwide”

    “Even less neutral is the man appointed by the local GOP. Ben Johnson, a former election board member who resigned as head of the county Republican part to the the job is a fervent believer that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Johnson runs an IT firm that does maintenance for the county’s computer equipment.”

    The county’s IT manager, Mike Windham admitted that the “optics are a little funny” that someone that is responsible for working on county computer servers would be on the election board overseeing the county elections and county election equipment.

    Johnson’s social media habit is well know and consists of posting a laundry list of discredited election conspiracy theories that Donald Trump won the election.

    Johnson recently raised eyebrows at a board meeting stating that a Georgia judge had ruled that Dominion Voting System equipment used in Georgia was illegal. His quote? “Right now, the judicial opinion is that they equipment we are using is illegal, which blows my mind” Johnson said in the meeting.

    But that was a lie. There is no such judicial opinion and no judge has stated such a thing. Johnson made it up.

  19. Doug Ross

    It’s interesting that SC Senator Tom Davis is the leading voice in the state for medical marijuana legalization. Where are the Democrats on this? Why isn’t Mia McLeod and Joe Cunningham stepping up and making this a major issue? Surely it can’t be because it would give a Republican backing? We’re all in this together, right?

    It’s sad that SC will as usual trail behind the rest of the country on making pot legal. There’s plenty of states who have gone ahead and done all the hard work. The loss of tax revenue is just a small part of it. The impact it would have on incarceration, bogus traffic stops that turn into bigger issues, and the overall effect a minor pot arrest has on young people’s (especially black men) lives.

    One of Joe Biden’s campaign lies was that he was going to push for federal legalization and expunge marijuana convictions. Just like pretty much everything else he said he was going to do, he either lied or dropped the ball. No student loan debt fix, no public option for healthcare… well, Jill Biden did get a new cat so that’s something I guess.

    1. Doug Ross

      Cunningham is for legalization but appears to be waiting until he’s elected governor to actually start pushing for it. Start now, joe.

    2. Barry

      I’m not sure what else they can do. McLeod is a co-sponsor of Davis’ bill. Cunningham is not in office but speaks about it nearly all the time. I’m not sure how many SC voters are paying close attention to Joe Cunningham right now or taking his lead since 11 months ahead of the election is not exactly prime time to be listening to a primary candidate from the opposing party.

      The issue with the bill is not Democrats. The issue, as everyone knows and could see last week from the debate on the Senate Floor, is Republican opposition. They hold ALL the cards. Democrats would pass it tomorrow.

      Mia McLeod last week on Davis’ Bill

      “Today, we finally get to debate Sen. Tom Davis’ Compassionate Care Act – a med marijuana bill I’ve cosponsored for years. Sadly, the SC GOP has drastically watered the original bill down, but I’m still praying for passage to help alleviate the suffering of so many South Carolinians. ”

      From this past weekend, Joe Cunningham statement

      “Most states have either already legalized marijuana or they’re on pace to legalize it soon. The fact that South Carolina still hasn’t legalized “medical” marijuana is a testament to how out of touch Henry McMaster and his allies are. Time to wake up and smell the, well, you know.

      From Cunningham on January 22nd

      “It’s time to finally pass the medical marijuana bill in the SC legislature. Grateful to Senator Tom Davis for his years of steadfast leadership on this issue and for finally getting a vote in the Senate. ”

      on January 7th, Cunningham spoke to the South Carolina House Democrats Caucus about COVID, the teacher shortage, redistricting, and the push for legalizing medical marijuana, encouraging them to make their voices known and to work to address each of these issues.

      1. Doug Ross

        Statements aren’t action. Anyone can make a statement. I’ve yet to see who besides law enforcement is against the bill. Which Republicans are leading the fight against it? Call them out by name. If Democrats ever want to have any power in this state they have to stop acting like they are powerless.

        1. Barry

          What else do you want them to do? Threaten their colleagues?

          Here is how Greenville’s WYFF characterized the opposition, “But there is plenty of opposition from law enforcement, religious groups and fellow Republicans”

          Notice they didn’t mention Democrats.

          Mia McLeod cosponsors the bill. She’s talked about this issue a number of times including last week. Do you want her to undergo a hunger strike? Will that motivate Republicans?

          Your posts are incredible. You ignore Republican opposition to the bill and attack the minority party Democrats that have been public in their support urging other people to call their elected officials to voice support.

          From WCSC in Charleston….

          “But much of the first two days of debate have been taken up with Davis addressing those colleagues’ concerns with his 59-page bill. Most of the concerns were voiced by his fellow Republicans.”

          Sen. Sandy Senn, R – Charleston, expressed doubt about the bill.

          “If you have seedy medical providers, they can simply say, ‘Hey dude, have you ever taken any other kind of medicines, do you have a mental health problem, why does your knee hurt?’ That’s OK?” Senn asked.

          Palmetto Family Council President Dave Wilson wondered why the state Senate prioritized the marijuana debate over other issues like cutting taxes or protecting religious liberty. He voiced support for Republicans that are fighting the bill.

          Republican Sen. Greg Hembree, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said Davis’ bill helps the big business of marijuana more than patients.

          “This is not medical marijuana. This is marijuana,” said Hembree

          Republican Senator Josh Kimbrell, a self described religious conservative also voiced strong opposition to the current bill but is proposing an amendment. Kimbrell, a 1st term Senator, is worried about legalizing marijuana which, to him, is a deal breaker.

          Other Republicans voicing strong opposition to the bill were Dwight Loftis of Greenville and Chip Campsen of Charleston.

        2. Barry

          ” I’ve yet to see who besides law enforcement is against the bill. ”

          You clearly aren’t paying attention at all. You missed the numerous stories about this issue last week, and this past weekend.

          Heck, the Palmetto Family Council had an event right on the state house grounds last week with folks like Republican Senator Greg Hembree speaking at it. The event was covered by WIS, WLTX, The State, The Post and Courier- with the tv stations showing video from the event. It was posted on Facebook, etc.

          But yeah- It’s Mia McLeod and Joe Cunningham’s fault the bill hasn’t passed. Clearly.

          Good Lord……..

          1. Doug Ross

            McLeod and Cunningham should call out Hembree by name then. James Smith was the same way. Never going after the PEOPLE who were preventing the state from moving forward. Playing nice. That doesn’t win elections. The only possible way to get things to change in this state is to call out the people who are holding up progress.

            They aren’t doing enough. And that’s why Henry McMaster will win again easily. The Davis bill is the bare minimum and the fact that it is not front page, leading story level news is indicative of the problem Democrats have in this state. No leadership, no willingness to engage in public debate… just roll over and whine.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You have a faulty memory on that point, Doug. Here’s what James Smith said. Or rather what I said, on his behalf:

              October 15, 2018
              Press Contact: Brad Warthen, 803-315-1886
              McMaster says ‘no’ to suffering people
              just so he can sound tough on drugs

              COLUMBIA, S.C. – There are so many issues on which Henry McMaster cares more about his own political benefit than about the people of South Carolina. Here’s yet another: Medical cannabis.

              Asked whether the substance should be legalized for the limited use of sick people who have no other recourse for relieving their suffering, McMaster told the Post and Courier:

              “No. Law enforcement officials have made it clear that we are not in a position to appropriately regulate medical marijuana.”

              This ignores the fact that medical cannabis has been proven to have many beneficial effects, such as treating PTSD and easing the nausea caused by chemotherapy, thereby restoring the appetites of many cancer patients. And it is the only remedy for many conditions, such as epilepsy.

              The FDA has recognized these medicinal benefits and has approved synthetic versions of medical cannabis.

              As for not being “in a position to appropriately regulate” it, there’s a simple and obvious solution that wouldn’t occur to the current governor: Work with the Legislature to get the right laws and regulations in place.

              James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell have already been working on that. They were co-sponsors of a bill that provided for a strict “seed to sale” program that would prevent any plant grown for medical use from being sold as recreational marijuana.

              “Any grower whose plants were used for such purpose would lose his or her growing license,” said Smith. “Henry likes to say ‘no’ because he thinks it makes him sound tough. But suffering people don’t need his toughness; they need help. We would find a way to provide that help, with all the proper safeguards and regulation.”


              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                By the way, that was one of the few times that James second-guessed something I did.

                I found this cool graphic online to go with the release on our website. It looked kind of like this one — a combination of a cannabis leaf with a caduceus.

                James saw it and said no way. Looked too much like a poster from a head shop or something. So I took it down. I suppose I replaced it with something, but I don’t remember what….

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  That’s one of the things that Doug tends to ignore about this issue. He sees medical cannabis as an unalloyed good, implying that the people want it and have no qualms about it, and anyone who is courageous enough to run on this perfectly beautiful thing would WIN.

                  Trouble is, it’s not that uncomplicated. I thought that was a good way to illustrate the issue symbolically. Trouble is, once you show that leaf, it’s inescapable that we’re talking dope here.

                  Yeah, I still call it dope. It’s interesting to see how creativity has died in the latest generation. Kids today call it weed. Except when they call it weed. Or maybe, if they’re in the mood, weed.

                  We had, I don’t know, dozens of names for it. They only seem to be able to come up with this one…

                  1. Barry

                    It’s a positive issue for Democrats that run on it and can explain it.

                    But it’s not an issue that motivates most people to vote.

                    Sure, most people want it legalized in some form for medical use. Most people see the good in it for certain people.

                    Only diehard Conservatives are really against it at this point. I think their logic doesn’t make any sense. But what’s new…

                    I think it’s a no brainer. I can’t believe people could object to Davis’ watered down bill – all the while their cabinets are full of powerful drugs.

                    But again, it doesn’t motivate most people to vote.

            2. Barry

              Cunningham has repeatedly called Henry McMaster out of touch on this issue. He says it all the time.

              He’s repeatedly called out Senate Republicans as out of touch on this issue- a number by name.

              Again, SENATE AND HOUSE REPUBLICANS are the opposition to this bill at the state house. Not Democrats. Democrats would pass this bill, vote for this bill, support this bill today.

              In fact, Senate and House Democrats would have passed Davis’ bill before it was watered down.

              Cunningham has repeatedly said- and I quote him here ““GOP officials are perpetuating myths about marijuana, scaring people into thinking that it’s more dangerous than it is.” (this is one of his go to lines in nearly every speech he gives)

              and every time he does it, South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick comes out with his own statement about how South Carolina isn’t going to become “Colorado and California” with drug crimes going through the roof.

              I’m not sure what you expect him to do. I’m also not sure why you think him attacking every state senator by name all the time is going to help matters.

              McLeod is a back bencher Democrat. She has no power in the Senate. She could call out every Republican by name and unless she curses them out and accuses them of hating Donald Trump, no news organization would cover her.

              The Republicans in the Senate and the House have proven they enjoy it when they get attacked by any Democrat. In fact, they run ads quoting any Democrat that attacks them because their right wing audience eats it up.

              Maybe, just maybe, folks like McLeod and Cunningham figure attacking everyone by name, other than the Governor, would not be the best idea in the world since it doesn’t work in South Carolina.

              Reminder – This is South Carolina.

              A Democrat could attack a Republican for supporting sex before marriage and just because the politician is a Republican, he/she would win support from every church in South Carolina for “telling it like it is and being honest.”

              That’s where we are at in South Carolina.

              Only in your odd world is this the fault of the the party or party members that have no real power in South Carolina.

              I’ve given you a number of names of Republicans that are against this bill for various, nutty reasons. They are the hold up.

  20. Bill

    I was arrested in 1970 for buying hashish from a narcotics agent.
    The guy next to me was murdered by his jailers,and they faked his suicide…

  21. Doug Ross

    Jeff Zucker, President of CNN, resigned today due to a sexual relationship with a subordinate that was discovered during the Cuomo investigation. There is a neverending supply of hypocrites in mainstream media. The same guy who had his network go after Trump for some crude comments made by Trump to Billy Bush was pulling am homage to Bill Clinton behind the scenes all along. Zucker joins two pedophile producers who were arrested in the past few months.

    (Here’s where “barry” tells us about someone from Fox News)

    1. Barry

      ” The same guy who had his network go after Trump for some crude comments made by Trump to Billy Bush”

      Nah. That’s silly. That also doesn’t make any sense.

      It doesn’t take the P:resident of a cable news network to “go after” a Presidential candidate who publicly admits, on tape to trying to have adultery with a married Nancy O’Dell, and telling someone that he grabs women between their legs without their consent. Heck, even Fox News, the in house cheerleaders of Donald Trump covered the story extensively.

      As those that deal in reality know, every news organization, every talk show, everyone following politics was talking about a candidate actually bragging about sexual assault.

      Yes, I do like reminding folks of all the adulterous affairs going on at Fox, since it’s a long – long running theme there. I mean the names just keep coming.

      But- and this is the key part that folks like Doug always leave out – that’s only because Fox News and their right wing cheerleaders have spent many years pushing “Conservative Family Values” down everyone’s throat- which other cable channels specifically didn’t do- and never held themselves up (As Fox and Conservatives did) as paragons of Christian family values only to have numerous hosts committing adultery or sexually assaulting coworkers or colleagues .

      This morning Michael Smerconish, on his Sirius show, spent the 1st hour talking about Zucker, who gave him his Saturday morning CNN show and also had him fill in for Cuomo for 2 weeks when he was first let go. It was fascinating hearing Michael talk about the situation, with some behind the scenes stuff thrown in. Great show.

      1. Doug Ross

        Zucker is a scumbag. That someone like him was in charge of a major media operation speaks volumes to the credibility of CNN.

        But. please, deflect to Fox News.

        Saw yesterday that Tucker Carlson has more viewers age 25-54 who identify as Democrat than any CNN show. He must be doing something right (never have watched him myself). CNN is a sinking ship without Trump to fantasize about on a daily basis.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t know about “scumbag,” but I saw a picture of him and the lady in question.

          She’s a nice=looking young woman, of course (I see she’s 49, but that’s young to me, and anyway she doesn’t look it). He looks like a toad. A particularly unappealing toad at that. There’s an old story for you.

          There’s a strange twist to this one, though. He says nothing happened until they had worked closely together for 20 years. That’s kind of weird, if true. Seems like the relationship would have been pretty firmly established by then, and unlikely to change…

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, as Bob Seger sang, “I used her, she used me, neither one cared, we were getting out share”, She got an Executive VP job and a huge salary out of it. No chance she would be with him if he was a middle manager.

            1. Barry

              Well, he is a scumbag in the way that men who have affairs are scumbags. Sadly, LOTS of that going on and lots of it going on in the media world.

              I mean, look at Donald Trump. He’s not exactly a good looking man. I mean what self respecting woman wants to be with him if not for his money and power. Overweight, self centered narcissist with a long long line of porno actresses and models that wanted to be close to him because of $$$$- and of course a long line of women that accused him of assault and at least one accusing him of rape.

              Then look at Bill Clinton Same as Trump. Nothing really impressive about him appearance wise. Overweight for many years, conceited guy with a long line of girlfriends because he was seen as powerful and several women accusing him of rape.

                1. Bill

                  The Married Men

                  One in Louisiana
                  one who travels around
                  one of ’em mainly stays in heart-throb town
                  I am not their main concern
                  they are lonely too
                  I am just an arrow passing through
                  When they look into my eyes
                  I know what to do
                  I make sure the words I say are true
                  When they send me off at dawn
                  pay the driver my fare
                  they know I am goin’ down somewhere
                  O the married men
                  the married men
                  never would have had a good time again
                  if it wasn’t for the married men
                  One says he’ll come after me
                  another one’ll drop me a line
                  one says all o’ my agony is in my mind
                  They know what is wrong with me
                  none of ’em wants my hand
                  soloin’ in my traveling wedding band
                  O the married men
                  the married men
                  makes me feel like a girl again
                  to run with the married men
                  One of ’ems got a little boy
                  other one he’s got two
                  one of ’ems wife is one week overdue
                  I know these girls they don’t like me
                  but I am just like them
                  pickin’ a crazy apple off a stem
                  Givin’ it to the married men
                  the married men
                  all o’ that time in hell to spend
                  for kissin’ the married men

        2. Barry

          “Saw yesterday that Tucker Carlson has more viewers age 25-54 who identify as Democrat than any CNN show. He must be doing something right (never have watched him myself). ”

          Well- a few things about such surveys that have been pointed out by other people smarter than me

          1) Polling of the Fox News audience is very difficult. That’s because the Fox audience hasn’t been that silent about the fact that a number of them have admitted to trying to play the system when groups poll their audience. One of the categories that seems to been suspect is exactly who is watching Fox.

          Pollsters have tried to counteract this effect by assuming that anyone they poll that says they are an independent is mostly like a Conservative, and a good percentage of people that claim to be Democrats but admit to watching more than 10 hours of Fox programming per week are most likely Conservatives who are just not willing to be honest with any polling group. (The Conservative Trafalgar Group has said this type of problem does occur).

          2) There is no doubt Democrats watch Fox. But not necessarily for the reasons some Fox News defenders would like to believe. Many of the same polling groups have found that Democrats that watch Fox watch it for the entertainment value of watching people that are obviously spinning stories the opposite of the way they would have done 4-5 years ago.

          Plus, there is the fact that Tucker spent years promoting the Iraq and Afghanistan war and making fun of anyone that cast the slightest doubt on either.

          As Michael Smerconish has rightfully pointed out, if Donald Trump, in 2016 had promoted the idea of invading Syria, Fox Hosts would have spent all of their efforts promoting the common sense idea of how an invasion of Syria made perfect sense.

          The University of Maryland did a study about the perceptions of the “War on Terror” some years back specifically on those people that said they trusted Fox News.

          They found “Among Fox viewers, however, 80% believed weapons of mass destruction had been and was found in Iraq- compared to 22% of Americans that didn’t watch Fox News.”

          The reason for those beliefs were the constant drumbeat of pro war sentiment from hosts like Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson, along with the hosts of the morning show Fox & Friends.

          BTW- with regards to ratings, Michael Smerconish talked about CNN ratings this morning. He admitted that CNN’s ratings were taking a beating.

          But he also said that most people didn’t understand that CNN’s revenue and profits had been “WAY- WAY” up and the bottom line was incredibly healthy and that was directly a result of folks like Jeff Zucker.

  22. Doug Ross

    The White House is celebrating the latest version of whack-a-mole killing of the leader of ISIS… just like every other one in the past that didn’t change a thing. Oh, and they neglected to mention that killing this guy also required killing 4 women and 6 children. Just like the kids killed in Afghanistan last summer, the collateral damage doesn’t matter when the mission of keeping the neverending “War on Terror ” ™

    If a terrorist killed 10 innocent American women and children, we’d never hear the end of it.

    Stop going to other countries to kill people in the name of “freedom”.

    1. Doug Ross

      “Biden said in a statement that he ordered the raid to “protect the American people and our allies, and make the world a safer place.” ”

      Disgusting. Just trying to pump up his approval rating. And dumb people will eat it up.

      1. Barry

        Great move. Great decision. More reason to be proud of the President today.

        The result was that they took out ISIS leader Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi – and that all Americans returned safely from the operation.

        Apparently he detonated a bomb killing himself and his family in the strike – just like al-Baghdadi did when Trump ordered a 2019 attack.


        1. Bryan Caskey

          Yup, good news for civilization that al-Qurayshi is dead. Looks like he was a coward who went out the same was as his boss rather than be taken alive.

          1. Doug Ross

            How long until someone takes his place? Will the next one be a kinder, gentler version? Will the families of all those innocent people who were killed now look upon America with more appreciation?

            20+ years since 9/11 and we’re still pretending it’s a major threat to the U.S. when 9/11 could have been prevented with a single lock on a cockpit door.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              “How long until someone takes his place?”

              I don’t know. Maybe they’ll think twice about it after seeing how this guy ended up.

              “Will the next one be a kinder, gentler version?”

              That’s up to him.

              “Will the families of all those innocent people who were killed now look upon America with more appreciation?”

              The families hopefully take a hard look at who was truly responsible for the deaths of the innocent. We do what we can to minimize collateral damage, while the other side uses it openly.

              1. Doug Ross

                Yeah. That was the end of ISIS right there. I expect, along with our withdrawal from Afghanistan, that we will see a huge cut in our military budget very soon.

                Well, unless Biden invents a new war with Russia to keep the dollars flowing to defense contractors. I’ve seen this story play out my whole life. If there ain’t an enemy, how can you justify spending trillions on “protecting” us from it?

                But at least all those trillions have resulted in a much safer world.

                1. Barry

                  “we will see a huge cut in our military budget very soon.”

                  There aren’t 25 people in Congress that want to see a huge military budget cut.

                  Not going to happen.

              2. Doug Ross

                Gen. Mark Milley immediately after the drone strike last year that killed 10 people (7 children) by mistake in Kabul: “The procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike”

                In my 60 years on this earth, I’ve never heard of a military operation that wasn’t described as successful and by the book after it happened. The truth is sometimes different.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  I’m with you on not being a big fan of Milley. After the Afghanistan debacle, he should have either resigned in protest or resigned due to culpability. Either way, he should be out.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Yes, there are outliers and exceptions to every human endeavor. However, as a general philosophy, the United States doesn’t target civilians. The same cannot be said for ISIS. Talk about “unsound both-siderism”….

                    1. Ken

                      To spell it out: if ISIS kills many, then it’s ok if we kill a few civilians. It’s just “collateral damage,” after all. They’re just “outliers.” But, quoting from the reporting cited above, “a top-secret US special ops unit disregarded official protocols to pick targets for airstrikes, resulting in the death of thousands of farmers and families.” When the numbers rise into the 1000s, a term like “outliers” no longer applies. So, you may want to inform yourself a bit more thoroughly.

                    2. Bryan Caskey

                      “To spell it out: if ISIS kills many, then it’s ok if we kill a few civilians. It’s just “collateral damage,” after all.”

                      No. It’s not an “if/then” standard. The US military has a standard that is independent of the opposing force’s standard.

                      If the reporting is accurate, the Talon Anvil unit fell short of that standard.

                      The difference is the US *has* a standard we aspire to.

                    3. Ken

                      The Mafia had better “standards” when it came to targeted killing.

                      But I suppose it feels good to be able to keep it all so neat and tidy in your own mind. I suppose that if a campaign against “bad guys” were being pursued here rather than abroad subject to the same standards, you’d be ready to acquiesce to the incidental killing of your family and friends, so long as they were merely “collateral damage” to the good fight.

                      All I can tell you is, nobody on the receiving end cares an iota about your “standards.” And that’s where the problem comes in: when folks don’t concede that the loss of their loved ones is some way more acceptable so long as it occurs in accordance with a certain standard. It can generate resentments that can last a very long time.

                    4. Ken

                      Absurd. Nobody is questioning a need for standards. But claiming that standards frees us from moral quagmires is the slippery slope to a convenient relativism. Especially when our standards are ignored AND there are no consequences for ignoring them. Which can too easily occur when military actions are directed against people at a far distance from us in cultures we scarcely understand. Furthermore, merely having standards doesn’t neutralize the possibility of nonetheless committing war crimes – even when our actions occur within the parameters of our so-called standards.

        2. Doug Ross

          So the War on Terror is over! When do we get the Mission Accomplished ceremony?

          Amazing to see someone cheering the death of innocent people on the other side of the world. Fake patriotism “trumps” humanity. That’s why we stay in these wars that waste our tax dollars.

          1. Barry

            I don’t think the war on terror will every be over. I’m not sure anyone seriously believes it will ever be over.

            It’s really never been over in the past either.

            I’m not cheering the death of anyone innocent. I’m cheering that a terrorist died.

            Sounds like the terrorist also killed his own family. Just another reason for him to be dead.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                Why was he in the middle of a US operation? Was he overdue on some parking tickets, or had he done anything perhaps more grievous?

                1. Doug Ross

                  He was in a house with women and children. With all the billions we spend on technology, weapon systems, drones, snipers, and on and on and on… if we can’t find a way to kill the guy when he’s not around women and children, then maybe we should admit we’re not that good at it and spend the money elsewhere.

            1. Bill

              “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals”
              The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made self-destructive decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In spellbinding detail, Jane Mayer relates the impact of these decisions by which key players, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, exploited September 11 to further a long held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug and I don’t often agree, and of course we don’t on this topic, either. This is the sort of topic that kicks a lot of his more vehement ideas into high gear.

      But he’s right about one thing: putting “freedom” in quotes.

      I addressed the issue of the loose ways we use that word back in October. Unfortunately, I suspect almost no one read it, because it was more than 2,400 words. I only got four comments on it. Three were from Ken, of his usual, dismissive “you’re an idiot” sort. One was a video from Bill.

      Looking back, I’d rather have a serious, adult, mutually respectful discussion of that topic than almost anything I’ve ever written about on this blog. (It deals with things I’ve been thinking about for many years but hadn’t really addressed, which is why it’s so long.) But we know we won’t get it from Ken, or Doug, I suppose. To quote from a more recent video from Bill, you can’t always get what you want.

      Anyway, if any of the rest of you want to attempt it, I recommend that you start where it says “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.” That will get you past some of the throat-clearing — stuff I would have cut out first if writing for a newspaper — but it will still be pretty long.

      It deserves a serious discussion. But will it get it? Probably not. That’s one of the reasons I don’t post as much as I used to. Sorry, folks, but I’m just describing long and bitter experience here…

      1. Doug Ross

        There is no discussion required that would justify putting innocent women and children in harm’s way. For Biden to say that he authorized the killing that led to innocent deaths to “protect” us is a lie. Some people think American lives have some sort of higher value than those on the other side of the world. Biden robbed those innocent people of THEIR freedom.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          After identifying and surrounding the house, US special forces tried to get all of the residents out for a couple of hours, using loudspeakers to demand surrender in Arabic. That turned out as well as one would imagine when involving senior jihadist commanders. Two hours in, the NYT reports that “a major battle erupted,” but doesn’t specify which side started it. We do know which side ended it, though: Per the NYT reporting:

          “After about two hours, the house’s occupants had not emerged and a major battle erupted, with heavy machine gun fire and apparent missile strikes that damaged the house, collapsed some of its walls and blew out its windows.”

          If that sequence is correct, then the responsibility for the collateral deaths of civilians inside the compound belongs to the commander inside the house. Two hours is plenty of time to wait for the release of non-combatants.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, I’m going to have to disagree with you there. If our special forces aren’t capable of taking out a terrorist leader when he’s not surrounded by women and children, maybe they aren’t as special as they claim to be.

            And, I know this may come as a shock to you, but I wouldn’t believe ANYTHING in terms of information provided by the Pentagon immediately following a raid such as this. The truth nearly always turns out to be, how shall we say, less noble?

        2. Barry

          “There is no discussion required that would justify putting innocent women and children in harm’s way”

          Sure there is. Such discussions are reality and happen. As the reporting is showing, the planning for this took a few months.

          if the reporting is even close to accurate, it sounds like they went out of their way to avoid civilian deaths and ultimately the terrorist blew up his own family.

          1. Doug Ross

            So apparently the planning didn’t include the possibility THAT A TERRORIST WOULD USE A SUICIDE BOMB.

            I’d like to have been a fly on the wall when Biden was asked for the go ahead on this: “Mr, President… we have the number #1 ISIS terrorist in our sights. He is in a house with a bunch of woman and children. There may be innocent lives lost in this operation. What do we do?” Joe: “C’mon, man, have you seen my latest approval ratings? Light him up!”

            1. Bryan Caskey

              I’m pretty sure they contemplated that, but what’s the alternative? Just let him continue operating with impunity? Send him a strongly worded letter? At some point you have to ascribe responsibility to the terrorist who actually detonated the bomb and made the intentional choice to kill his own family.

              1. Barry

                If he planned an attack on Americans overseas or blew up a hotel or embassy, Doug would be faulting Democrats and Biden for not being willing to take him out earlier.

                1. Doug Ross

                  Did he do that, barry?

                  Remind me, who coordinated 9/11 and what did we do to the countries they were from?

                  1. Barry

                    we kissed their backside like we always have

                    Presidents of both parties- both political parties.

                    But my point stands- if he did take out a hotel or embassy, you’d be screaming that we should have taken him out.

                    1. DOUGLAS ROSS

                      I don’t scream. I have been consistent my entire adult life on war. I also am consistent on capital punishment for anyone who takes the life of another. Kill someone, you lost your freedom to live.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, there’s another way Doug and I almost, sorta, kinda agree on this sort of news development.

        I don’t “celebrate” the death of anybody. Anytime any human being has to die to protect the lives or “freedom” or whatever of others, it’s a tragedy.

        I doubt that I would have celebrated Hitler’s suicide in the bunker. Even though if I had had the chance, I would have shot him myself. I just wouldn’t have celebrated. I would have mourned for all the millions who had to die before he did, because of him.

        Nor did Biden, by the way. Nor did he “neglect to mention” the civilian deaths — which resulted from the ISIL leader’s decision to kill members of his family along with himself.

        If you’re seeing or hearing something else, you have seriously distorted perception…

        1. Doug Ross

          Biden made the decision that led to the deaths. He owns it. And he won’t lose a minute of sleep over it.

      3. Ken

        “I’d rather have a serious, adult, mutually respectful discussion of that topic ….”
        “But we know we won’t get it from Ken….”

        Oh, I took what you wrote seriously. More than anybody else, apparently, since nobody else bothered to offer a substantive response. Problem was, it was a meandering, mushy mess dealing in trite platitudes, unsound both-siderism and swatches of history conveniently arranged to fit predetermined conclusions. I tried to narrow the topic down, apply it to some concrete contemporary situations, in order to get away from idle generalities. But quoting people and organizations, like Human Rights Watch, with real knowledge of the self-defeating problems that arise when “we use our strength to help oppressed people” was dismissed as Taliban PR. Which was not only unserious and lacking in respect, but arrogantly ignorant. Apparently you consider responses “adult” and “respectful” only if they in some way embrace a mawkish, uncritical clinging to tired tropes and sentimental clichés.

          1. Ken

            Watch out, you mess with fire when you mess with Nina!

            “I wish you could know what it means to be me!
            Then you’d see, you’d agree:
            Everybody should be free!! — cause if we ain’t, we’re murderers.”


    Since Joe Cunningham has come out in favor of legalized sports gambling, I will be voting for him in the primary. He apparently is the first Democrat who understands there are issues beyond “more money for schools”. The amount of revenue this state has missed out on by being tied to moralistic conservatives is staggering. Colorado, which has legal pot and gaming, is the same population as SC and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues from those two areas … In addition to thousands of jobs.

    Illegal pot and gambling is going on right now in SC. Let’s bring it out of the dark ages.


      Cue Barry saying he knows a guy who his sister knew in high school who lost all his money gambling.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

      2. Barry

        as usual, you are wrong. No surprise to anyone. LOL

        I think it’s a great idea and have supported it for quite awhile now.

        Joe is terrific.

        As I have reminded you many times now- the watered down, pathetic, pot bill would have passed- without all the nonsense of the last few weeks by Democrats.

        Now no one will be surprised if the Republican led House kills the bill.

  24. Doug Ross

    One of my literary heroes, P.J. O’Rourke, died this week. He was the humorous voice of libertarianism for several decades. Some of his quotes:

    “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

    “Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”

    “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”

    “Libertarianism isn’t political. It’s anti-political, really. It wants to take things out of the political arena.”

    Even as he despaired over a presidential contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump—”I’m appalled by the choice that we’ve been delivered…I’m worried”—he was never dissuaded from his faith in individuals yearning to be free, whether they live in Chicago or China.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And of course, his death provides us with yet another example of what is wrong with American politics.

        Here’s the headline in The New York Times:

        P.J. O’Rourke, Conservative Political Satirist, Dies at 74

        Doug accurately describes him as “libertarian.” But the NYT can’t do that, you see — not in the headline; no, sir. Why? Because of the rule that is religion to too many journalists, which is this: “You have to be ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative.’ You have to be on one team or the other, or we won’t describe you.”

        Well, O’Rourke really wasn’t either, just as I am not either. But the pressure to conform to the “ones or zeroes” interpretation of the world is constant on us our entire lives — and, as this headline indicates, beyond life.

        And it’s destroying us…

        1. Barry

          Michael Smerconish was talking about O’Rourke this morning on his Sirius radio show on the POTUS channel. He said he didn’t know him well, but he had interviewed him a number of times, and had been on panels with him a number of times. He played a few clips of his conversations /interviews with him – which were amusing.

          Yes, Michael described him as a Libertarian.

          Michael mentioned the NY Post story written by John Podhoretz- an small excerpt right here………

          P.J. O’Rourke, who has died at the age of 74, once hosted a small New Year’s party at his apartment in Washington. The year was 1990. He’d just returned from Germany, where he had covered the fall of the Berlin Wall.

          I expressed my sorrow that I hadn’t been there to see it. He went into his bedroom and returned with a small tin of mints. He’d emptied it — and he’d put a shard of the wall he’d pickaxed himself with his own hands inside it.

          “Happy New Year,” he said.

          That was P.J. Though he and I liked each other, we weren’t intimates. And yet he gave me something of inestimable value just because he could.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        I went looking for a quote I liked, as opposed to the ones Doug liked, and the first one that jumped out at me was, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”

        Good advice, that…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        That’s one of the best lightbulb jokes, but you told it wrong! It’s supposed to go like this:

        Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
        A: THAT’S NOT FUNNY!

        You see, you left out the righteous outrage, which is far too great to allow even the consideration of answering the question. You’re too busy sputtering with fury.

        That one may be my favorite of the genre. My second favorite:

        Q: How many Charlestonians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
        A. Ten. One to screw it in, and nine to sit about talking about how grand the OLD bulb was…

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