Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, September 6, 2022

First one of these in a while, eh?

  1. ‘Nothing Has Really Changed’: In Moscow, the Fighting Is a World Away. Really? Must be nice. Over here, it seems kinda close. That headline led the NYT for a bit this morning. Now there’s a new one: “Russia Is Buying North Korean Artillery, According to U.S. Intelligence.” More of an actual news story. So apparently, though it’s far away, the killing continues.
  2. She’s so much taller than the Queen! Which seems disrespectful or something. If they’re going to pick a woman again to be PM, why can’t they find one Her Majesty’s size? (It just makes her look smaller than a tall man would.) They probably did, but she turned down the job. Pundits aren’t optimistic for this one’s chances, either. One column I saw out there this morning was headlined, “Liz Truss, an unpopular leader for a troubled Britain.” So hey, good luck, Liz! And mind how you go. If you want a touch-on-the-basics graphic about her, here’s one from the Beeb.
  3. Shooting on Charleston’s King St. injures 6; 2 arrested, including a minor. This is a couple of days old, but it seems the biggest thing out of South Carolina. Here’s an update.
  4. Football’s back. I just thought I’d put out a warning, for the unwary among you. I’ve seen several signs. My mom was watching a game when I went over to see her last night. Bryan is posting cryptic messages about something called a “triple option.” It’s unmistakable. So batten the hatches, and don’t try to go downtown on certain Saturdays. Of course, those of you who are actually happy about all this already knew this was happening…
  5. But the Globe leads with baseball, bless them. I’m really digging The Boston Globe. I’ll probably write a separate post on this, but I’ve really been impressed with the paper since I started subscribing over the summer. Today, while other news outlets are slobbering over football, the first three stories in sports — this one and this one and this one — are about baseball, then on the next screen are a couple or three items about the Pats, then another baseball story! As my wife’s first cousin Tim McCarver used to say, oh, baby, I love it!
  6. American tourist fined for eating ice-cream on steps of Rome fountain. I just included this one so I could say something about “Three Cones in a Fountain,” but I couldn’t think of anything good…

31 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, September 6, 2022

  1. bud

    As far as ACTUAL news:

    Ukrainian nuclear power plant at risk of meltdown as fighting rages in the vicinity.
    Trump appointed judge makes inexcusable ruling on special master. Should judges involved in cases involving the POTUS who appointed them be required to recuse themselves in cases involving that POTUS?
    Record heat caused by global warming puts California power grid in jeopardy. The time for action is NOW!
    COVID deaths remain stubbornly high at around 500/day. Why is the vaccination rate stubbornly low? US death rate is highest among developed nations.
    Gas prices continue to fall as inflation problem wanes.
    Democrats chances to retain control of the Senate improve to 69% according to
    Gamecocks special teams shine in lackluster win against GA State. Score first TD on blocked punt since 2000. The do it again!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, an argument can be made for every one of those stories — especially the first item. But that one was several days old when I wrote this. I went with more recent developments regarding Ukraine.

      I choose the headlines that interest me — or that I see as important. But I appreciate you bringing up what interests you. And you’ll note that I don’t dismiss it as being something other than “ACTUAL news.”

      I WILL say that neither of the last two is likely ever to make “front page” of mine. The first because I’m sick of “news” stories that presume to predict the future, and would like to see American journalism (especially American POLITICAL journalism) return to reporting what has happened, rather than what might happen.

      And the second because, you know, football… 🙂

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I will say I’ve taken some slight interest in the stories I’ve seen about football players trying out those absurd-looking “safer” helmets.

        Football causes brain damage. And yet what does America do? Keep padding the players — to a point far beyond what a rugby player would laugh at derisively — instead of doing the obvious thing. You know, stop playing the stupid game.

        By the way, y’all know that modern boxing, with its big, padded gloves, is more dangerous than bare-knuckle boxing, right? That’s because the padded gloves allow you to hit a lot harder. Hit a guy that hard without gloves, and you break your hand…

        Do you think maybe, just maybe, the same dynamic is at work in American football?

        I don’t know. But let’s close with a video clip of one of Gamecocks fans’ favorite moments:

      2. bud

        The power plant story is not new but there have been some new developments lately. The inspectors just finished there inspection and it looks scary, very scary.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh my God. I’m so sorry.

        In my world, my daughter had it last week. And so do my two brothers-in-law in Memphis. From what one of them — whose wife also has it — told us last night, he (like me) has the long COVID. Because it’s been a couple of weeks, at least.

        Thank God no one close to me has had a life-threatening case.

        Of course, there’s so much of it around that any of us could have it, without symptoms, at any time. Which means each of us poses a constant danger to the vulnerable.

        Which is why I have close to zero patience with the people who believe — or want to believe — that it’s now OK not to wear masks around other human beings…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Of course, between the problems I’ve had recently and taking care of my parents over the last couple of years, I’ve spent a LOT of time in medical settings. And thank God the people in those places have the sense to require masks.

          I just spent all morning at Providence — or whatever they call it now — with my 91-year-old mother, doing pretesting for surgery tomorrow. We have to have her there at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow, to have a pacemaker put in.

          Experiences such as this make me very cognizant that we shouldn’t be unmasked anywhere around other people. Do you really think Walmart is a safer environment than a hospital? I don’t …

          1. bud

            I had a pacemaker put in about a year ago. No big deal. Then again I’m not 91 years old. Hope it goes well.

    2. Bart


      Gonna go you one better. I think Democrats stand a very good chance to increase seats in the Senate and a good chance of retaining and perhaps improving in the House. So far, Republicans have done nothing to change minds to any significant degree and in some instances, have actually improved Democrat chances.

      When a Democrat is attacked, the party circles the wagons, end to end and stand together. Republicans on the other hand, try to circle wagons but instead of end to end, they are side to side with openings wide enough to allow two Democrat wagons to penetrate the so-called circle with great effectiveness. Then to make it even more of a disaster, instead of forming a circle firing outward, the form one that fires inward, taking out other Republicans.

      At this point, the only way Republicans can regain the ground gained is to completely and without hesitation, excommunicate Trump from the party and hope for the best. Otherwise, the absolutely poor choices he endorsed have proven to be disasters. Oz won’t win in Pennsylvania, Walker won’t win in Georgia, Vance won’t win in Ohio, and the list could go on and on but no need to repeat what we all know to be the likely outcome in November.

      If Trump keeps his stranglehold on the Republican Party, it will end up as an afterthought and a footnote in history books. He did some good things but overall, it was all about Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, and no one else. His recent rally where he talked for almost 2 hours is a clear indication of someone who has no regard for others, only for himself. My butt won’t sit still for an hour when the speaker is boring, much less 2 hours.

      As for the other POTUS, Biden, if he and Trump are the two running in 2024, no “DAMN” way will I vote for either one. The dystopian staging and totally negative speech he gave recently was just another confirmation that he too has crossed the Rubicon along with Trump and brought the tone and rhetoric of political campaigning to one of the lowest points in my lifetime. Third party will be my choice again over either one.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Of course, I’ll very, very gladly vote for Joe.

        But I liked this bit:

        When a Democrat is attacked, the party circles the wagons, end to end and stand together. Republicans on the other hand, try to circle wagons but instead of end to end, they are side to side with openings wide enough to allow two Democrat wagons to penetrate the so-called circle with great effectiveness. Then to make it even more of a disaster, instead of forming a circle firing outward, the form one that fires inward, taking out other Republicans….

        It would be good if you’re right. For the sake of the country, I hope you ARE right. It’s a pleasant thought, but you realize that’s the absolute opposite of the traditional roles of the two parties? Republicans have generally been unified (the 19th commandment and all that), and Democrats have been plagued by the famous Will Rogers joke.

        Democrats have suffered mightily from that problem in recent decades. And of course in 2020, you had that whole horde of them running, representing various factions, when it was so obvious from the start that if they wanted to have a chance, it needed to be Joe. We did have that gratifying experience, though, when most contenders dropped out and got behind him after the SC primary.

        And yes, we can see cracks of division in the GOP. But how many times since Trumpism emerged have pundits announced that THIS is it; Republicans will abandon this madness NOW — and they don’t?

        And part of that is due to the traditional cohesion of the GOP. Republicans who didn’t like Trump at all, who were embarrassed by him, and only voted for him (if they did vote for him) because his opponent was Hillary Clinton, and they thought he was going to lose… THOSE Republicans reacted to all the criticism of Trump with their usual filter — “They’re attacking our guy! We’ve got to stick together around him!”

        I’ve never liked party loyalty, but I’ve never seen it be more harmful to the country than it was in that case…

        1. Bart

          Until the Democrat Party made a hard turn left, unification was a trademark for the party. In 2020, yes, the number of candidates vying for their particular agenda did create confusion and split loyalties until Biden secured the nomination. Then they circled the wagons and in turn, Biden won, Trump lost, and the ineptitude of the Republican Party surfaced with a bang.

          In private conversations, most of us who are conservative did not want Trump to be the candidate but at the same time, given Biden’s past and his penchant to tell the big lies instead of the barrage of little ones from Trump, conservatives were not given much choice other than vote for Trump or third party.

          I know you are a Biden supporter, but I am not and since 1988, have had little to no use for the man in any way, shape, or form. In my estimation only, he is a phony and opportunist who will use anything at hand to enhance his political standing.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, I’m very sorry you feel that way, Bart.

            I hope you won’t mind if I point out that it’s the DemocratIC Party, and the people in it are Democrats. Adjective vs. noun.

            To my dying day, that sort of thing will be an obsession of mine. I don’t care much about the politics of it. I realize that ever since Bob Dole started that misuse in the ’70s, it’s been a thing among Republicans. I suppose it’s a refusal on their part to call the opposing party “democratic,” because they see it as a positive thing. I don’t know why beyond that, though. Democrats seem to have no trouble calling their opposition “Republican,” which to me carries every bit as much positive force, if not more — although I realize that “democratic” is more popular in this country, for reasons I’ve always found distressing. The thing is, both parties are very, very democratic, and in very distressing ways. Pols in both parties pander unconscionably to whatever their bases want, however bad the idea may be. And there’s nothing more democratic than that.

            But if we could just, you know, stick to the rules of the language, maybe someday we can return to understanding each other. That may seem overly optimistic on my part, but it’s a small thing that really wouldn’t cost us much, so why not try it?…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Oops. I said, “I don’t know why beyond that, though.” But just as I was finishing that comment, I realized that while I don’t KNOW why folks do it, I can easily think of another reason.

              It’s pretty simple: Democrats don’t like having their party called by an inaccurate name. Republicans like irritating Democrats, so they call it that.

              Which sums up neatly how far we’ve sunk in America.

              Mind you, I’m describing a sad state of affairs that far, far predates Trumpism and “owning the libs.” Dole first used that malaprop in the 70s, as I mentioned. By the 80s — or was it the 90s — pretty much all Republicans were doing it….

              1. Bart

                My apology for the incorrect usage of the word “Democrat” instead of “Democratic”. Based on the actions of Biden and other “Democrats” recently, I find nothing “Democratic” about the party anymore. The recent speech by Biden and the staged setting was as dystopian as anything in Orwell’s novel and the staging for the person who shall not be named but had a little moustache and used the same gestures, shouting, clenched fists, and denigration of a large segment of the population. This from a POTUS who vowed to try to bring the country together again. From one side of his lying mouth came those words but then the truth of what he believes finally come out of the other side for all to see and hear. Then the propaganda machine went in full “circle the wagons mode” to ‘explain’ what he really meant and the next day, he even backtracked or tried to.

                I am not usually passionate about any politician and no, I am not a Trump supporter but Biden, never, under any circumstance could I or would I even vote for him to be the person in charge of picking up trash.

                FWIW, the only POTUS I was ever passionate about was JFK and he was the one who ignited the spark in me along with one other politician, Miles Godwin, governor of Virginia. And both were Democrats.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The POTUS I was most enthusiastic about was Lincoln. But you couldn’t tell, because I wasn’t blogging at the time… 🙂

                  Seriously, I think our very best — in terms of things they accomplished for the country — were Lincoln, Washington, FDR… and maybe LBJ. I also have a fondness for TR.

                  Worst, of course, is Trump. Then Jackson, Buchanan, and while I’ve never made a study of it, I don’t hear good things about Harding. Of course, you hear bad things about Millard Fillmore, too, but he did leave us some impressive rock venues, while they lasted…

                  I LIKE my man Joe. Different category. Just as I like Ike (being born in the 50s, how could I not?).

                  I have a tendency to forget Washington sometimes, because I tend to think of him more for his role during the war — sort of the same as Ike.

                  But his accomplishments as president were of great importance, possibly mainly because they weren’t flashy. And that’s what makes him great. He established the president as a steady, competent and non-threatening (in terms of not trying to become king) figure.

                  And in that regard, Joe has done the same — steadied the boat, restored a sense of normalcy.

                  Of course, you might not notice that, because the country around him is so insane. I’m not sure what president in our history could have dealt with that problem. Maybe Lincoln. He had an uncanny political sense, and was able to steer the country on the right course through all the craziness and bloodshed around him. Who else could have done that?

                  1. Bart

                    “And in that regard, Joe has done the same — steadied the boat, restored a sense of normalcy.”

                    I suppose that drilling holes in the bottom of the ship of the state to allow it to level off while sinking is restoring a sense of normalcy, then so be it. Reducing the energy production of the nation as one of his first acts is indeed one of the holes drilled.

                    Allowing the Southern border to continue to be open like a sieve is another hole drilled. And to be very clear, during the debates, Biden stated emphatically that he would welcome the stream of illegal immigrants that inundates and overwhelmed the resources of the affected border towns and states until they reached the breaking point. I find it amusing and insulting at the same time when the VPOTUS declares the border is secure. Perhaps she should visit the border more often and sit at the kitchen table with the residents who have to live with the situation, 24/7/365.

                    As unqualified as too many members of Trumps cabinet were, it pales in comparison to the Biden cabinet. The incompetence of Trump’s cabinet was astounding but Biden’s reaches a new level of incompetence, a feat I never thought could be equaled or exceeded. Diversity, which is a good thing, over qualification is not a good thing and Biden’s cabinet is diversity personified and proven qualifications not a factor or requirement. I.E., transportation led by Mayor Pete whose resume was failed mayor of Indianapolis and Yellen who has been wrong more times than right. No need to continue, waste of valuable time.

                    There are presidents of the past I respect, and Lincoln is one who in spite of his penchant for depression at times, did represent the best of honorable candidates available at the time. Perhaps a good read would be the book written by Dale Carnegie, “Lincoln the Unknown”. A great insight to the man, his formative years, and his struggles with conscience and a nation torn apart. A man of few words personified when he delivered what is IMHO, the best speech given by any POTUS, the Gettysburg Address.

                    1. Ken

                      Reducing the energy production of the nation??

                      Energy production hasn’t fallen during the Biden presidency. Production in 2021 was above all prior years save 2019. And production in 2022 so far exceeds 2021 levels.

                      Facts are stuborn things.
                      Except perhaps for some opinions.

                    2. Barry

                      Mayor Pete has done a great job.

                      I love when he goes on right wing cable shows and pushes back and reminds them of things Trump did that they blindly defended.

                      Joe has been solid and is 100% better than Trump in so many ways.

                      No, I don’t blame inflation on Joe Biden. That would be ignorant. Inflation is an issue dozens of countries are dealing with and Joe Biden isn’t the cause of their problems either.

                      Both Republicans and Democrats have had numerous opportunities to fix the border and immigration system. Both have failed.

                      Trump failed. He never passed or even proposed an immigration fix.

                      George Bush is the last person who really tried to pass a comprehensive immigration fix and couldn’t not get his own Republican party to go along with him because they saw a disaster as good for their elections.

          2. Barry

            “In my estimation only, he is a phony and opportunist who will use anything at hand to enhance his political standing.”

            A nice description of the modern Republican party- except I would add “right wing extremists and election denial worshippers”

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, it’s rather sad, from what I’ve seen. The sadder thing is that he and his opponent have been running neck and neck — and now Walker is even ahead.

          The tragic thing here for America is that voters — whatever their ideology — used to uniformly reject such candidates. If someone as grossly unqualified as Walker, or Trump of course, stepped up to run for office, he was quickly dismissed, and never became any sort of contender.

          That’s what preserved our republic.

          Now, that dynamic isn’t in play at all…

  2. James Edward Cross

    Sad that Queen Elizabeth II has died. We now have King Charles III. The Queen is dead, long live the King!

  3. Bart

    During the past few days, two deaths have affected me more than I anticipated. First, the death of Queen Elizabeth II and today, read about the death of Bernard Shaw.

    I was very young when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and from the very beginning, she was the epitome of grace, beauty, dignity, loyalty, and every attribute one can apply to a queen or monarch whose reign was one reflecting who she was. Her dedication, agree with the royalty aspect or not, was something to admire and respect. For me, royalty is not a “thing”, but with her, I respected her and even with the past history of Britan’s colonialism, her demeanor and persona never displayed any sense of the unpleasant times during Britan’s rule over other lands and therefore the description of the vase empire where the sun never set. With her passing and the crown passed to Charles, the once influential British Empire has lost whatever impact it had on British and world events.

    Bernard Shaw to me was the epitome of what a news anchor should be no matter what ideological or political persuasion he may have had. When Ted Turner announced the idea of establishing a 24/7 cable news network, many scoffed and ridiculed, but Shaw and Cronkite embraced the idea and therefore, the first anchor for what is now CNN was Bernard Shaw. In retrospect, he was the one news anchor I trusted completely to present the news in an unbiased and honest manner. He, as far as I know or experienced, never allowed his personal opinion or political affiliation to influence his broadcasts. When he interviewed prominent figureheads or ordinary people, he was the same. Shaw was dedicated to the truth and letting the world know what was actually going on without a slant either way unless it was something akin to the Tiananmen Square incident. When China kicked reporters and journalists out, he was one of the last to leave. He was one of the first cable news outlets to have unfettered access to presidents like Reagan and when he was on the panel for one of the debates, he didn’t hesitate to ask the tough questions to either candidate.

    We are losing our past giants, one by one. For many, it is a time to celebrate but for us who watched them throughout decades past, no matter their personal ideologies and affiliations they kept private, they presented a public face of what was once the best of us with dignity and honor. Were some flawed, absolutely, because after all, they were still humans just like the rest of us.

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