Open Thread for Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Here I am doing an Open Thread twice in one week. It’s almost like I’m getting serious about this blogging thing again. Well, that remains to be seen, but I hope you enjoy it…

  1. Joe goes to Europe — Here’s hoping the sane countries of the world continue to show a united front against Putin, and that it has a salutary effect. As long as they’re meeting, maybe they can suggest to Germany another place where it could go to buy its gas.
  2. Meanwhile, Jackson hearings go on and on and on — But I already complained about that in my previous post. I suppose U.S. senators were occupying their time like this — you know, performing for their respective bases — in early December 1941 as well…
  3. The Zelenskyy-Churchill comparison — Several times over the last few days, I’ve heard or seen discussions of the Ukrainian leader, and Churchill comes up. Which I enjoy. My fave was something I heard on NPR with a British participant who said “extraordinary” a lot — like every sentence or two — and I love the way that sounds in RP. But why always Churchill? Just because we know he was a European leader who was in a tight spot against an authoritarian invader, and it had a happy ending? I guess it’s better if we see him as Winston than as Paul Reynaud. Oh, you never heard of Reynaud? Well, that’s my point… Or maybe it’s because Churchill also addressed Congress. I dunno…
  4. I’m finding myself sorta, kinda cheering for Nancy Mace this time — Which is not what I or anyone else would expect. I mean, I always got along with Nancy personally, but that was years before she first ran for public office. Anyway, there are two reasons for this sorta, kinda position: 1. Her opponent is Katie Arrington. 2. Donald Trump seems to be really, really for Katie Arrington. Of course, this “sorta kinda” thing only goes so deep. I sort of cringed when NBC called Nancy “one of South Carolina’s rising stars.” I mean, I remember when national media called Nikki Haley that — actually, they still do. And I remember when they thought Mark Sanford was serious presidential fodder….
  5. How about that huge trans-gender athlete thing in the State House? — My main reaction is that I look around at South Carolina, and I try to figure out why either side gets so passionate about something that so rarely crops up. Meanwhile, we’ve got people talking about taking funding away from the people who are supposed to be keeping our roads drivable, so they can pander by saying they lowered taxes. I wonder whether some of those who want to abandon a core responsibility of government are also pushing hard on the high-school sports thing?
  6. Anybody gonna go see James Taylor? — I did, when he was here three years ago. Great show. I saw him decades ago in Memphis as well — one of my kids still has the T shirt, I think — but this was even better. So I recommend it…

James Taylor at the Colonial Center in 2019. It was great. I was far away, but they had those big screens…

36 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, March 23, 2022

  1. Bill

    James Taylor’s voice has aged well,but the songs aren’t there
    Rather see Dylan.Still vital…
    McKinley hollered, McKinley squalled
    Doctor said, “McKinley, death is on the wall
    Say it to me, if you got something to confess”
    I heard all about it, he was goin’ down slow
    I heard it all, the wireless radio
    From down in the boondocks, way down in Key West
    I’m searching for love, for inspiration
    On that pirate radio station
    Coming out of Luxembourg and Budapest
    Radio signal, clear as can be
    I’m so deep in love that I can hardly see
    Down on the flatlands, way down in Key West
    Key West is the place to be
    If you’re looking for immortality
    Stay on the road, follow the highway sign
    Key West is fine and fair
    If you lost your mind, you will find it there
    Key West is on the horizon line
    I was born on the wrong side of the railroad track
    Like Ginsberg, Corso and Kerouac
    Like Louis and Jimmy and Buddy and all the rest
    Well, it might not be the thing to do
    But I’m sticking with you, through and through
    Down in the flatlands, way down in Key West
    I got both my feet planted square on the ground
    Got my right hand high with the thumb down
    Such is life, such is happiness
    Hibiscus flowers, they grow everywhere here
    If you wear one, put it behind your ear
    Down in the bottom, way down in Key West
    Key West is the place to go
    Down by the Gulf of Mexico
    Beyond the sea, beyond the shifting sand
    Key West is the gateway key
    To innocence and purity
    Key West, Key West is the enchanted land
    I’ve never lived in the land of Oz
    Or wasted my time with an unworthy cause
    It’s hot down here, and you can’t be overdressed
    China blossoms of a toxic plant
    They can make you dizzy, I’d like to help you but I can’t
    Down in the flatlands, way down in Key West
    Well, the fish tail ponds and the orchid trees
    They can give you that bleeding heart disease
    People tell me I ought to try a little tenderness
    On Newton Street, Bayview Park
    Walking in the shadows after dark
    Down under, way down in Key West
    I played Gumbo Limbo spirituals
    I know all the Hindu rituals
    People tell me that I’m truly blessed
    Bougainvillea blooming in the summer, in the spring
    Winter here is an unknown thing
    Down in the flat lands, way down in Key West
    Key West is under the sun, under the radar, under the gun
    You stay to the left, and then you lean to the right
    Feel the sunlight on your skin, and the healing virtues of the wind
    Key West, Key West is the land of light
    Wherever I travel, wherever I roam
    I’m not that far before I come back home
    I do what I think is right, what I think is best
    History Street off of Mallory Square
    Truman had his White House there
    East bound, West bound, way down in Key West
    Twelve years old, they put me in a suit
    Forced me to marry a prostitute
    There were gold fringes on her wedding dress
    That’s my story, but not where it ends
    She’s still cute, and we’re still friends
    Down on the bottom, way down in Key West
    I play both sides against the middle
    Trying to pick up that pirate radio signal
    I heard the news, I heard your last request
    Fly around, my pretty little Miss
    I don’t love nobody, give me a kiss
    Down on the bottom, way down in Key West
    Key West is the place to be
    If you’re looking for immortality
    Key West is paradise divine
    Key West is fine and fair
    If you lost your mind, you’ll find it there
    Key West is on the horizon line

  2. Ken

    “maybe they can suggest to Germany another place where it could go to buy its gas.”

    No need for suggestions. The German vice chancellor was in Qatar and the UAE this week, concluding agreements on LNG deliveries as well as joint research on and production of “green” (environmentally neutral) hydrogen and a program to produce synthetic kerosene for aircraft.

  3. Barry

    It was fun listening to all the Republican lawyers on the committee demonstrating their inability to understand how courts and law firms work.

    Tom Cotton was criticizing her for doing work assigned to her by a law firm for GITMO detainees implying that she sought out a terrorist to defend him. LOL. Of course that’s an obvious lie but that’s all he had.

    Judge Jackson responded to Cotton (or Hawley, they are all the same) reminding them that her clients were suing President Bush because he was the President. When Obama became President, the litigation changed and included Obama since he was the President.

    Fox News focused their effort today on Marsha Blackburn asking her to define ” a woman.” Blackburn was a guest on Fox today.

    When host John Roberts asked Blackburn to if she could define “woman,” Blackburn replied “A woman. A female.” Incredible intellect there on display from the Republican Senator from Tennessee.

    Brit Hume, occasional Fox News host slammed Kamala Harris earlier this week on social media pointing out that she was only chosen because she “checked” certain boxes for Joe Biden. The “ratio” was bad for Brit when nearly everyone replying- including a well known Princeton Historian, pointed out that nearly every President selects a VP for the same exact reason.

  4. bud

    2. We owe the vile, disgusting and yes, racist Republican senators on the judiciary committee a debt of gratitude. With their rude, irrelevant and downright gross questions of Judge Brown-Jackson they gave her an opportunity to demonstrate just what a gifted and solid justice she will make. Throw in all the interruptions and grandstanding and we have a despicable display for the ages. But with her impeccable demeaner we witnessed the making of a national treasure. This week will be remembered as the week a legend was made. Thank you Joe Biden for nominating this wonderful women to the highest court in the land. As for Cruz, Hawley, Cotton and especially our own senior senator their eternal shame will forever taint their legacies.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      One thing I agree with Lindsey on: I’d like to have seen Michelle Childs in that position. I meant to write to write a post in favor of her when she was still a top candidate, but I guess I missed my chance during all my COVID stuff, etc….

  5. Doug Ross

    Ketanji Brown Jackson will likely have to recuse herself from Supreme Court cases regarding abortion (a woman’s right to choose), gender pay inequity, or transgender laws as she apparently is unable to define what a woman is. Without that basic understanding, how will she (sorry if I misgendered her) be able to make an informed decision?

    It’s both ironic and unfortunate that despite being selected to serve on the highest court specifically BECAUSE she is a woman, she has to pretend to be in lockstep with the woke crowd in order to get the job. She knows what a woman is and her capitulation to the current idiocy of the left pretty much shows she’s going to be a predictable rubber stamp. Chosen not based on her ability to be an unbiased judge of the facts of cases based on the Constitution, but someone who will attempt to invent justification for her decisions based on personal bias. She’s just the flip side to Clarence Thomas.

    1. Barry

      “Ketanji Brown Jackson will likely have to recuse herself from Supreme Court cases regarding abortion (a woman’s right to choose), gender pay inequity, or transgender laws as she apparently is unable to define what a woman is. ”

      Actually, she demonstrated she might be the only one present that understands the difference in gender and sex

      and thankfully she didn’t try to define it for a senator when asked later on the same day if she could define the meaning of the word “woman,” she answered, “A woman. A female”

      Reminded me of my elementary school days when defining a word by simply restating the word resulted in some bad grades.

      Speaking of recusal, I think Clarence Thomas has a load of reasons to do so.

        1. Barry

          Impeachment won’t happen.

          As of today, right winger Jonathan Turley has been silent on Thomas recusing himself – while falling all over himself last week saying Judge Jackson should be on record as recusing himself from an upcoming case involving Harvard.

          Thomas is married to a right wing conspiracy theory propaganda promoter and Qanon adherent.

          It’s a bit nuts- and so was his dissent which would allowed Trump to hide some of his records from Congress.

          In other news, ‘Antiracist Baby’ book sales spike after Ted Cruz’s Supreme Court hearing comments backfire. In fact, my sister in law bought (well ordered) the book for my nephew.

          Also of note, the elite private school that Cruz sends his own children to has been fighting “racism” as a matter of school policy for the past decade. They formerly had a “Rebel” as a mascot but ditched it.

          But Cruz is too easy to pick on. There are a number of reports out there (for years now) that Cruz doesn’t personally follow what he portrays in public. So nothing new there.

          Cruz recently had a police officer at an airport called on him when he was seen arguing with TSA and airport officials.

      1. Doug Ross

        What is a woman and what is a female? Please provide the answer you would have given ten years ago before the great awokening.

        A woman is an adult female who was born with organs and genitalia that (unless due to a rare genetic case or physical condition) include a vagina, ovaries, and a uterus. There are men who can have surgery to simulate having a vagina but they are not women nor female. They are transsexual. There are also men who wear clothing, hairstyles, and makeup to give the appearance of traditional female appearance. They are not women nor female. They are transvestites.

        Your turn. It’s not difficult.

        That you deflect to Clarence Thomas is exactly what I would expect.

        1. Guy

          Why was the question asked? It has nothing to do with being a judge.

          “Where is the forest?” Doug asked, “I just see a bunch of trees…”

          1. Doug Ross

            (edited)… If abortion is a women’s health issue and there will be cases related to abortion, then it would help if a judge knows what a woman is. If gender equity is an issue, wouldn’t you need to know what the difference is between genders? And when the cases related to transgender people participating in “women’s” sports come up, it would be good to know what the biology says a woman is.

            Unfortunately, our judges are selected based on political bias so we get whatever the flavor of the month is on both sides.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              The “edited” part was where you made another completely unnecessary and uninformed comment about someone else here on the blog. “Unnecessary” for obvious reasons, and “uniformed” because you don’t see me sitting here deleting comments from you and him both.

              I guess I could have just deleted the whole thing. That’s what I usually do, to save time…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          My answer to “what is a woman” is not only the same as it would have been 10 years ago; it’s the same as it would have been 50 years ago, when I was 18. And had I been alive, it’s the same as it would have been 1,000 years ago.

          True, it’s NOT a legal question, in any way relevant to these proceedings — it’s a silly Kulturkampf question, asked in order to play to a political base (and infuriate a different political base, the better to “own” them). It’s yet another example of why I hate these hearings, and do my best to ignore them until they are over. The qualifications of a Supreme Court nominee are so closely examined that — without these hearings — I’m confident I would read about any lack of qualification on the part of the nominee. I don’t need the carnival. Nor does the country; it only does harm to pollute what should be a rational process with competing emotions.

          It’s a biological question…

          1. Ken

            WhereEVER did this notion arise that the Senate should determine who sits on the Supreme Court solely on the basis of a nominee’s strictly defined legal qualifications? The Constitution sets no qualification requirements whatsoever for serving on the Supreme Court – or for any other US court, for that matter. Further, the Senate’s role as defined by the Constitution says it should “advise” on the matter. To advise implies more than simply checking a nominee’s qualifications. And certainly does not rule out consideration of a candidate’s judicial philosophy and views on the law.

            Those who suggest that qualifications are all that should be taken into consideration in rendering a decision are in effect saying that a Court consisting of nine Clarence Thomases or nine Thurgood Marshalls would be just fine by them.

            1. Barry

              Reports have stated that Biden purposefully called several Republicans and asked them about Jackson prior to her nomination.

              I’d suggest that is more of an example of seeking advice than anything we’ve seen in some time.

      1. Doug Ross

        No, we have biased judges appointed according to whichever party is in power at the time. And the minority party will always demonize whoever is selected. Kavanaugh had FAR more abuse based on a decades old, unverifiable, incident that even the “victim” couldn’t recall anything but hazy “details” about. It was the same song-and-dance – attack, attack, attack based on party affiliation. That’s how we got Sotomeyer and Kagan and Thomas and Kavanaugh…

        1. Barry

          Biased judges – check!! (every human being is biased and none make decisions absent their bias)

          Politicians are going to make selections based on their own biases and politics- with party affiliation being the supreme factor in the decision.

          How many people did Republicans blame Bill and Hillary for murdering? Some still do accuse them or murder. Some think Hillary runs a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Biased judges – check!! (every human being is biased and none make decisions absent their bias)”

            And that is why we have the rule of law, and an independent judiciary. So that we can settle disputes by a means more objective and fair than individuals’ biases.

            Which is why one of the most destructive things you can do to America — and people have been straining with all their might to do it for several decades now — is make judicial confirmation a political free-for-all…

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Huh. I was talking about the way “extraordinary” is mouthed by speakers of Received Pronunciation, and I may have gotten it wrong.

    I’m thinking in terms of “ex-TRODE-nree.” Or maybe “ex-TRAWD-nree.” Somewhere in that range. In any case, three syllables.

    But this video indicates that maybe the Welsh accent comes closer, although it’s still not quite what I’m thinking of:

    I tried to find the NPR piece I was thinking of — that guy said it over and over — but I failed…

  7. Barry

    From BBC reporting…

    Note: This is not all of the messages- just some that have been released so far.

    Evidence is emerging that Ginni Thomas, wife of Clarence Thomas, was working to overthrow the election- encouraging the White House Chief of Staff (who is currently being investigated for voter fraud)

    Thomas wrote to Meadows that she was angry with then-Vice President Mike Pence for not taking the steps necessary to block the certification of the election results.

    Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, reportedly sent 29 text messages to former adviser Mark Meadows, urging him not to concede.

    Ms Thomas called Joe Biden’s victory “the greatest heist of our history”.

    The texts are among 2,320 messages Mr Meadows provided to a committee investigating the US Capitol riot.

    In the text messages, seen by CBS News and The Washington Post, she urged Mr Meadows, who was Donald Trump’s chief of staff, to “make a plan” in a bid to save his presidency.

    “Do not concede. It takes time for the army who is gathering for his back”,

    Ms Thomas also appeared to push QAnon conspiracy theories and urged Mr Meadows to appoint Sidney Powell, a conspiracy theorist and lawyer, to head up Mr Trump’s legal team.

    “Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud,” Ms Thomas wrote. “Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”

    Mr Meadows told Ms Thomas that he intended to “stand firm” and said that he “will fight until there is no fight left”.

    In February 2021 the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s challenges to the elections result, however Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision, calling it “baffling”.

    1. Barry

      When Meadows wrote Thomas on Nov. 24 to “not grow weary” in this “fight of good versus evil,” and said he has “staked my career” on overturning Biden’s win, Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now.” She did not say who that “best friend” was, but Clarence Thomas has repeatedly referred to his wife as his “best friend.”

      Justice Thomas has been Trump’s “most stalwart defender on the court,” the Times adds, and cast the lone vote against allowing the release of Trump White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

      Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and judicial ethics expert, told the Times. “He must recuse himself, and should have recused himself in the cases that have been heard up to now.”

      Notably, Conservatives have been very, very quiet about calling for Thomas to recuse himself. These self described “law and order” Conservatives (I call them something less than respectful), aren’t very consistent.

      Right wing lawyer Jonathan Turley (who pretends to be a liberal to get on Fox tv and so he can testify for Republicans in Congress) has not said a word about Justice Thomas possibly needing to recuse himself- although this is a very frequent topic of discussion for him with liberal judges.

      1. Barry


        Mark Meadows is being investigated for possible voter fraud.

        Allegations of voting misconduct against Meadows came to light after the weekly magazine spoke with the former property owner where Meadows claimed to have lived. She confirmed renting 495 McConnell Rd. in Scaly Mountain to Meadows’ wife, Debbie, for two months, but neighbors told her Mark Meadows never visited the property and his wife only spent a few nights there.

        Meadows has been a proponent of voter fraud conspiracy theories and has helped spread false claims that the 2020 election of President Joe Biden was stolen.

        Meadows is recently in contempt of Congress.

        In other news,

        Conservative Republican of Nebraska, Jeff Fortenberry was convicted of lying to the FBI and will resign from Congress.

  8. Barry

    Lindsey Graham plays the fool again at Kentanji Brown Jackson hearing

    Graham, like other Republicans in the Senate, love to play the victim even though they have repeatedly taken a sledgehammer to our democracy. It was Graham who warned the country against backing an incompetent-immoral man like Donald Trump for president – then became one of Trump’s biggest defenders.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “play the fool” is a good way to describe it. He decided that he had to convince idiots that he was one of them — and not just occasionally. He works hard at it…

  9. Barry

    Wild story. Be aware of these Conservatives that want to make sure you live their values. (No thanks. My family isn’t interested)

    “We’re Going to Be Conservative.” Official Orders Books Removed From Schools, Targeting Titles About Transgender People.

    The North Texas superintendent’s comments, made on a leaked recording, raise constitutional concerns, legal experts said.

    In early January, a day before students returned from winter break, Jeremy Glenn, the superintendent of the Granbury Independent School District in North Texas, told a group of librarians he’d summoned to a district meeting room that he needed to speak from his heart.

    “I want to talk about our community,” Glenn said, according to a recording of the Jan. 10 meeting obtained and verified by NBC News, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune. Glenn explained that Granbury, the largest city in a county where 81% of residents voted for then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, is “very, very conservative.”

    He noted that members of Granbury’s school board — his bosses — were also very conservative. And to any school employees who might have different political beliefs, Glenn said, “You better hide it,” adding, “Here in this community, we’re going to be conservative.”

    That’s why, he said, he needed to talk to them about some of the books available in the school district’s libraries.

    1. Bill

      The entire history of the culture war is one of conservative loss, retreat and retrenchment. That’s no less true today than it ever was, even as the political salience of the culture war waxes and wanes.

      Right now — and likely for the next election or two — we’re in a particularly intense phase of the cycle, in which conservatives become acutely aware not only that they’re losing but that they’re certain to lose even more in the future. But they also know that the fear that inevitable future inspires among their supporters can be mobilized into short-term political victory.

  10. Barry

    Meanwhile- In Georgia on Saturday

    leading Republican Senate Candidate Herschel Walker, who has refused to debate his opponents, stood on stage at a rally in Commerce, Georgia and decried the rampant “teaching of CTR in our schools.”

    CTR, a cleaner traditionally used in industrial and manufacturing settings and primarily used as a degreaser, is not known to be a subject taught in Georgia schools.

    Walker, who has been accused numerous times of physically abusing his spouse, has refused to debate opponents. Republican insiders worry about Walker because his public comments are normally void of anything other than complaints about other people, and he often gets issues confused.

    Insiders worry even more than he won’t be able to avoid a debate with Senator Warnock this Summer or in the Fall. Warnock is seen as an excellent communicator and is viewed as a quick learner who has given numerous floor speeches in the Senate this year.

    1. Ken

      ” Warnock is seen as an excellent communicator and is viewed as a quick learner who has given numerous floor speeches in the Senate this year.”

      Which in Georgia, as in many parts of the US of Absurdity, by no means guarantees re-election.


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