Open Thread for Thursday, May 19, 2022

Joe, hanging out with Scandinavian friends.

Haven’t had one of these lately, so here goes:

  1. Nato needed now more than ever – Biden — This is from the BBC. Unlike U.S. media, they pay attention to stuff like this. Which is helpful. Anyway, Joe said of Finland and Sweden, “They meet every Nato requirement and then some.”
  2. SC COVID-19 cases spike for 7th week straight — Just thought I’d mention that, since folks don’t seem to be paying that much attention to it. Everywhere I turn, people keep getting it — in my family, among people I contact for work, and so forth. And yet you don’t hear that much about it, and you go places and hardly anyone is wearing masks. Which is weird.
  3. Columbia Starbucks workers on strike, days after first SC store unionizes
    Boy, they didn’t wait around long, did they? This was at the Millwood store. I’ve never been there; have you? Nevertheless, I’m sure they have good coffee. Now if we can just get the one on Gervais Street back. That was my fave. I’m digressing again, aren’t I? Maybe I should drink some more coffee.
  4. U.S. Stocks Continue Their Recent Declines — Looks like it might be time soon to think about buying some stocks…
  5. Sick of Massacres? Get Rid of the Guns. — That’s the headline of a Gail Collins column in the NYT. That Gail; she’s such a wacky kid. Where does she get these ideas?…
  6. ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli has been released from prison — Talk about some bad news, huh? Worse, he wasn’t put away because of the really bad thing he did. This was sort of an Al Capone case. They got him on securities fraud, rather than for raising the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 a pill to $750. And is our world any better now? No. The pill is still over $700. Oh, but he’s learned his lesson, right? He posted on FB, “Getting out of real prison is easier than getting out of Twitter prison.”

Pic the Bro posted on Facebook to mark getting out of prison. You can tell he’s reformed, right?


18 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, May 19, 2022

  1. Doug Ross

    COVID cases are meaningless now. Those who get it experience mild symptoms if at all. Deaths and hospitalizations are way down, especially when considering that everything is open, people are unmasked. It has reached a level below the normal seasonal flu. Once we get to look at all the data over the past two years, it will be very obvious that the approach to dealing with COVID was horribly managed. Schools should never have closed — the impact on education from remote “non-learning” will be felt for a decade as will the mental health issues that resulted from excessive scare-mongering. COVID affected the elderly and sick in far greater numbers. For anyone under 60 in reasonable health, it should have been business as usual.

    It’s safe to get back into the real world…. unless you really want to remain a hermit.

  2. Barry

    In The State today

    I just don’t think this go-round that it’s (concerns about off-short drilling) at the top of anybody’s list. I can tell you it’s not at the top of mine,” said Republican primary voter Kris Smith of Summerville, who cited secure elections and overturning abortion as chief concerns.

    Abortion and “secure elections” are the chief concerns of Republican Kris Smith.

    The Republican SC legislature has been in charge of elections for decades, and Republican Kris Smith is so worried about them, voting for Republicans again is the remedy.

    I wonder which Republican wins that Republican Kris Smith doubts were legitimate? Or does Republican Kris Smith only doubt wins by Democrats?

    During the term of President Obama, abortions in South Carolina declined approx. 20%. Only 3 counties in South Carolina have locations that provide abortions.

  3. bud

    The spike in COVID cases, the Shkreli story and especially the catastrophic baby formula mess illustrates how important it is that we have an active regulatory approach to our health care sector. Why do we only have 4 major manufacturers of baby formula? That is a formula for a debacle of this type. When are we going to learn that capitalism left to its own devices is a poor way to run an economy. And yet somehow socialism has become this dirty word.

      1. bud

        Well it shouldn’t be. All it really means is the government has control over the production of goods and services. In Scandinavian countries the term Democratic Socialism means many important aspects of the economy like health care and energy are heavily regulated by the government. But free enterprise also flourishes. Of course socialism also exists in the US. We have public schools, Medicare and public transportation. Sure we have issues with public sector (socialist) services. But we have as many if not more with capitalist industries. When left unregulated business deteriorates into a death spiral becoming some version of the gilded age. Fewer and fewer people control the country’s wealth. Workers get by on lower wages toiling away in unsafe conditions. Of course with unions much of this exploitation can be mitigated. With low unemployment places like Amazon and Starbucks are forced to treat organized labor with a bit of decency. So I find it remarkable that a rather benign concept like socialism is reviled by so many while a problematic system like capitalism is worshiped as a religion. To even question that maybe capitalism is flawed is taboo. No, we must believe in the almighty god of capitalism.

  4. Ken

    No. 5
    It’s become abundantly clear that we prefer to spend millions if not billions on evasions rather than deal with guns. We would rather put in armed guards to patrol schools than deal with guns. We would rather install metal detectors in schools than deal with guns. Some would rather arm teachers than deal with guns. Others would rather screen all teen males than deal with guns. We would rather attempt to peer into the minds and souls of the troubled than deal with guns. We would rather have comprehensive 24-hour surveillance and make the security industry ever richer than deal with guns. We would rather police assume that anybody and everybody is packing than deal with guns. We would rather arm up than deal effectively with guns. We are a country deep in evasion.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You are absolutely right, if such decisions are made alone by individuals.

      Which they aren’t.

      Our problem is an interactive political one.

      The simple solution is to ban private ownership of guns, and round up and destroy all the existing privately-owned guns. That would work. It would solve the problem.

      But it’s politically impossible. So people who WANT to do something about gun violence end up advocating for things that they can get the other folks to go along with.

      And we continue to fail to solve the problem…

        1. Bill

          Ellington didn’t like categories of any kind. He resisted the designation of “jazz” as too narrow for his compositions and preferred that his works be known just as “music.” This applied to other areas of his life as well. He once said, “I don’t believe in categories of any kind, and when you speak of problems between blacks and whites in the U.S.A., you are referring to categories again.”

          How does the work of this composer appear in the United Methodist Hymnal? Ellington was a deeply religious man who traveled with a rosary, a cross and a Bible. He studied the Scriptures closely, and was particularly fond of the Song of Solomon.

          “Come Sunday” is a song derived from Ellington’s instrumental jazz suite Black, Brown and Beige (1943), a musical history of African Americans that premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1944. In 1958, Ellington added text to this instrumental theme and the song became a standard of his sacred jazz concerts.

          African American scholar William McClain notes the importance of Sunday to African Americans, even in secular music: “To the Christian Sunday is, or should be, another Easter, in which God’s victory in Christ over sin and death are celebrated in work, word, song, prayer, and preaching. After all, even [slave] masters and owners tried to be more human on Sunday.”

          The inclusion of this song in a mainline hymnal is unique and reflects the jazz interest and background of the UM Hymnal editor. The first version of this song appeared in the collection Ecumenical Praise (1977), also edited by Dr. Young. Rather than being written by Ellington in a set hymn form, the stanzas in the hymnal are excerpted from improvised performances found in recordings and personal statements.

          For example, an Ellington quotation, “Gray skies are just clouds passing over” becomes “I don’t mind the gray skies, ’cause they’re just clouds passing by.”

          The song is ultimately about the providence of God in all our lives. The refrain addresses God directly, “Lord, dear Lord above, God Almighty, God of love,” and then makes a petition, “please look down and see my people through.” The stanzas point to hope and heaven, concluding that “With God’s blessing we can make it through eternity.”

      1. Doug Ross

        Who uses illegal guns the most in the U. S.? Criminals. You think there is a way to confiscate those guns? Insanity. We need to fix the social structure of broken homes.

      2. Ken

        Marilynne Robinson again:

        “There is an implied religious rationale or impetus and obligation behind very deplorable trends in contemporary society. The arming of the fearful and resentful and unstable with military weapons, supported by the constant reiteration of tales that make mortal enemies of their fellow citizens and elected government, is pursued with a special passion in regions that claim to be profoundly and uniquely Christian, and well mannered, to boot. Biblicist that I am, I watch constantly for any least fragment of a Gospel that could, however obliquely, however remotely, cast all this in any but a satanically negative light. I am moving, reluctantly, toward the conclusion that these Christians, if they read their Bibles, are not much impressed by what they find there.”

        1. Barry

          At a “Jesus, Guns, Babies” campaign stop this past weekend, GA Gov candidate Republican Kandiss Taylor says she will execute Sheriffs by firing squad if they don’t “do the will of the people. I don’t mind handcuffing them either .. The Constitution says when you commit treason, it’s death by firing squad. I didn’t write it – it’s in there.”

          a few weeks ago, the Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party who is running for a US House seat called for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be executed in public. He received loud cheers from the Republican audience.

          The Catholic archbishop of San Francisco says that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer allowed to receive Communion because of her vocal support for abortion rights.

          No word from the archbishop if Catholic Republican governors/state house members/former Attorney General Bill Barr, etc will be banned from communion given their vocal support of capital punishment. It would be awful if these hypocrites were consistent for once.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I retweeted something similar the other day:

            1. Barry

              As a Southern Baptist (I guess I could say former because even though I still attend an SBC church and participate in some of their missions programs, I do not claim to be a Southern Baptist anymore)

              the release of the Guidestone report over the weekend was earth shattering.

              Documenting years of abuse and turning a blind eye to abuse, and degrading women who claimed abuse.

              The structure of the Executive Committee of the SBC, made up of all men, covered for each other, covered for other pastors, and ignored abuse victims for decades.

              There is no way to justify excluding women from leadership and decision making committees for any organization in modern times.

              When you have one gender making decisions for many people, their blind-spots are enormous. It’s unacceptable.

  5. Bill

    San Francisco police officers said in a statement they won’t participate in the Pride Parade after controversy surrounding uniforms…

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