Open Thread for Friday, July 21, 2023

Click on the image to see actual video of Walter Johnson.

It’s just one Open Thread after another around here. No major developments, just some things that grabbed my attention:

  1. Report: Graham likely to face GOP challenger amid conservative grumblings — So… basically, he just hasn’t acted crazy and unprincipled ENOUGH for them. Lindsey should take this opportunity to retire. But he won’t. And this challenger will fall like the others. You know how he’ll do it? By turning up the crazy.
  2. Why can’t Canada just put the fires out? — A dumb question, I suppose, but most of us don’t know much about fighting forest fires. And I’ll bet a lot of people are asking this. And since this is presented by NPR, you can get the answers for free.
  3. 100 years ago, Walter Johnson became the first member of the 3,000 strikeout club — This is a personal thing. Just a chance for me to say again that when he was a young boy, my Dad played catch with the Big Train himself. Dad’s cousin, who lived right behind him, had married Johnson’s son, and his uncle was kind enough to give the little guy a heads-up when her father-in-law was visiting. As I said, personal. Increasingly, I write things like this as a way of passing them on to my kids. As a genealogy fanatic, I enjoy it when I find that people in the past have left little anecdotes like this one. Oh, another link to the legendary Senator: I think my Dad’s grandfather, who was in the construction business there in Kensington, Md., built Walter Johnson High School.
  4. Barbie — I don’t have anything to say except it opens today — and as I am typing this, my wife, my youngest daughter and my youngest granddaughter are all at The Nick watching it. From what I’ve read, I expect they’ll enjoy it. I’ll probably wait for it to appear “free” on one of the streaming services I subscribe to. Meanwhile, I might go see “Oppenheimer.” Or “The Flash.”
  5. Tony Bennett, Champion of the Great American Songbook, Is Dead at 96 — I can’t say I was a huge fan, but I always liked and respected the guy. And he was pleasant to listen to. He was great when he was young, and he became a model of persistence and excellent work as he aged.

28 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, July 21, 2023

  1. Ken

    Judge Cannon again did a disservice to the country by scheduling the Trump documents trail for May of next year. She may have found legal grounds for doing so, but the move is unsound nonetheless. By that time, Trump may well have locked up the nomination. If so, she may decide to postpone the trial until after the election. And if hs wins, the trial may never take place at all. In any event, the matter is likely to make a messy situation even worse.

    1. Barry

      Dan Abrams said Friday on his Sirius radio show that he felt very confident that Cannon would postpone the trial date as the May date drew closer.

      She’s went out of her way to be friendly to Trump – repeatedly.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, I ended up going to The Flash last night, with one of my sons and my grandson. If girls get an outing, boys get an outing!

    My other son and I are planning to see Oppenheimer soon, after the opening weekend. I like movie crowds to be as thin as possible, and waiting thins them out. When we arrived for The Flash (which opened June 16), there was NO ONE else in the theater. Four or five more people arrived while the trailers were showing, and sat well behind us — so it was like we had it to ourselves…

    1. Ken

      Very thoughtful — and loaded up with complexity.

      But rather high-flown for those who dogmatically define these things simply as sin. Which includes many Evangelical churches, some offshoots of mainline Protestant churches as well as the Catholic Church. Few of those who most need to listen will do so.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        OK, I’m going to regret biting on this, but… what is it you think the Catholic Church simply “simply defines as sin?”

        Before you reply, I’ll simply say that in my experience, the Church doesn’t define anything “simply.” Everything about human behavior is considered in all its complexity, from what I’ve seen. When you create a celibate clergy and it considers everything for a couple of millennia, the discernments pretty much touch on all the main aspects of human behavior.

        Just because someone disagrees with conclusions reached after all that discernment doesn’t mean there’s anything “simple” about it….

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Ken, try again without the ad hominem stuff.

          And yes, I see where “Grave sins against chastity” include “adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts.” I still don’t see how that amounts to seeing anyone’s sexuality — hetero or otherwise — “simply as sin.” And as you will see, it’s the “simply” I was reacting to. There’s nothing “simple” about, say, the complex topic of pornography — or almost anything having to do with human behavior.

          Does that mean there aren’t Catholics who read that and see everything in ones-and-zeroes terms? Sure, just as there are Catholics who committed the grave sin (in my book, if you’ll forgive me for judging) of voting for Trump just because he promised to nominate judges who would overturn Roe. To do that, you pretty much have to ignore almost everything Christianity is about, and focus only on “abortion bad, pro-life good.” I’ve tried explaining that in the past.

          In any case, I have zero interest in having a discussion of anyone else’s (or my own, for that matter!) sexuality. Which is why you don’t see me doing so here. (And please, let’s not run through all our disagreements over abortion again, either. Let’s stipulate them, and look for something where we can cultivate a little harmony.)

          As you, know, though, I’m always happy to talk about the Church. But I’m more like the Pope on this Culture War stuff. He prefers to concentrate on the things that the faith is really ABOUT. And to quote the joke, is the Pope Catholic?

          For instance, this morning while I was working out, I watched Bishop Barron’s homily from this past Sunday. I had missed it earlier. It was, as usual, very good.

          It was called “The Parasite of Evil,” and was based on the Sunday gospel, featuring the parable of the sower. I especially like the way he gets into the metaphor of how the weeds are tangled in with the wheat, and can’t easily be removed without destroying the crop…

  3. Doug Ross

    Walls closing in on Biden (isn’t that the way it was always phrased for Trump)… Hunter Biden is going to take Joe down before next year’s primaries. IRS whistleblowers will be the Deep Throat equivalent.. now Biden’s press secretary is playing semantic games saying “Biden wasn’t in business” with Hunter…. that’s not what the accusations are about.

    They tried to use the Russian Disinformation ploy to suppress Hunter’s laptop story before the election. That was proven to be totally false. Now we see Hunter got special treatment on tax evasion and gun charges thanks to the Biden administration.

    The coverup is always worse than the crime.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The remarkable thing about this is, Doug isn’t joking. He actually thinks Hunter Biden is as big a problem as having Donald Trump as president of the United States. And with a straight face, he compares Joe having a son with problems with a guy who was impeached twice is president, and is facing two indictments SO FAR. You need a program to keep up with his disasters. HIS disasters, mind you, not something about someone he’s related to. (And let’s not get started on HIS kids…)

      Doug will say no, that he’s just saying Joe won’t be re-elected. But the thing is, he doesn’t regard that as a bad thing. He offers NO solution to the problem. He’s happy to keep posting gleefully about all the problems he perceives with Joe, predicting disaster, and doesn’t seem to have the slightest concern about Donald Trump being president again. Which of course is the nation’s only alternative at the moment, if you’re looking at polls.

      It’s a very strange way of looking at the world. I would say it’s “nihilistic” — what else do you call a worldview that everything’s going to hell, but who cares? — but if I recall correctly, Doug objects when I use that word….

      Oh, and I hope everyone notices that once again, the person bringing up Trump — when no one else here is talking about him — is Doug…

      1. Barry

        The one think I’ve always told folks that talk like Doug…..

        No one voted for Hunter Biden. He wasn’t running for office. He doesn’t work at the White House or in government.

        I always laugh a bit when I hear of this type of talk though because some of the same people defend Trump having his children neck deep in the White House- involved in policy decisions- and then making money off those deals.

        If I were the White House, I’d pull a Clear and Present Danger reference and say ” Hunter is my son. Of course I talked to my son about anything going on in his life. If he mentioned business, of course I talked to him. I don’t remember specifics because a son talks to his dad about all kinds of thing. You don’t always recall everything you’ve ever discussed. But I am not a business advisor. I am his Dad and I’ll always be his Dad. I’m always here to talk to him about anything and everything. “

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I held back from mentioning Trump’s kids, because I don’t think candidates’ kids are to the point, or even fair to mention. But no one who likes Trump (and yeah, Doug, I know YOU don’t like him) should mention Hunter — that’s a sure way to lose the “What about?” game.

          Hunter kind of reminds me of Billy Carter. People tried to tear down Jimmy by talking about Billy. But what was Jimmy going to do about his brother? Billy was just Billy…

      2. Doug Ross

        Wrong again. I don’t want Trump or Joe Biden to be elected in 2024. They are each terrible in their own distinct ways. Trump is a blowhard idiot and Joe is deteriorating rapidly mentally and physically… He is the least accessible president in history… And we’re seeing new information every day that will lead to his downfall eventually with his dealings with his son. It’s incredible how you characterize Hunter as having “problems” .. he’s a terrible human being who has been allowed to get away with all sorts of illegal activity because of his last name. And Joe won’t admit it..

        Simple question: if there is evidence that Joe was involved in unethical behavior related to Hunter’s activities, will you still support him? Or are you just like the MAGA fools?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug, we’ve had this discussion about a thousand times, starting quite a few years before Trump was on the scene and probably before Joe was even VICE president, much less POTUS…

          You say, “Wrong again. I don’t want Trump or Joe Biden to be elected in 2024.”

          But one of them IS going to be elected in 2024, no matter what you want.

          Oh, sure, dramatic developments could shift the picture somewhat. Maybe the thing we’ve waited for for years — for his supporters to open their eyes and LOOK at Trump — will happen, and his base will finally melt away, and someone else will get the GOP nomination. Not that any of THOSE prospects are promising.

          And Joe could die (as could any of us, any time — did I tell you about my stroke?), or his health could fail to the point that he drops out. And then we’re in another fix — Kamala Harris would be the nominee, unless something happens to her. It’s not gonna be Tulsi, Doug, or anybody else you like.

          There is only ONE possibility in all this that offers any hope at all for the country, and that is that Joe wins and serves out a second term. And maybe, if we have any luck, some good alternatives emerge by 2028.

          And as I keep saying… in this situation, constant harping on points that you believe will damage and tear down Joe will either have NO effect (assuming God has mercy on the nation), or it will — under these circumstances — result in Trump (or someone willing to bow down before his base, which is not much better), becoming president.

          This is reality. Saying, “But I don’t like the other guy, either” doesn’t excuse you. What you’re doing is good for Donald Trump.

          I completely believe you when you say you don’t like Trump. But it’s pretty frustrating that you refuse to recognize that what you keep doing and saving amounts to carrying water for Trump.

          And it’s the opposite of constructive, or helpful…

          1. Doug Ross

            Nope. Saying Trump is bad for America and Biden is bad for America doesn’t support either one.

            You’re blind to Biden’s failings.. and the proper response would be to say he shouldn’t run again.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              No, Doug, I’m not blind to anything. When I have a problem with Joe, I say so quite clearly, in writing, on the record. As I do with everyone. I don’t know of anybody on the planet to whom I don’t have objections, and that includes my man Joe. Look up abortion, or Afghanistan — and that doesn’t even get us out of the As…

              I really don’t know where you get notions such as that. You see, just because I’m not concerned about the same things that concern you doesn’t mean I’m blind to anything…

        2. Barry

          “Simple question: if there is evidence that Joe was involved in unethical behavior related to Hunter’s activities, will you still support him? Or are you just like the MAGA fools?”

          Such a charge is totally subjective in many cases.

          I think every President in my lifetime has had numerous instances of unethical behavior while in office- most of it well known.

          I’ll reserve my decision until I actually see real evidence as opposed to all the talking right wingers are doing on tv (while doing everything they can to support Trump and ignore his unethical and possibly illegal behavior- including his most recent court case where he was found liable for rape).

          1. Doug Ross

            What did the whistleblowers say that you believe is untrie?
            Did you at any point believe hunters laptop was Russian disinformation? Did hunter get a sweetheart deal from the DOJ?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I don’t know about Barry, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent one minute thinking about Hunter and his laptop. Or his smartphone, or his shoes, or his dog.

              Wait — does he even HAVE a dog? No, don’t tell me. I don’t care…

      3. Ken

        If it were only the likes of Doug, we wouldn’t have to worry. Unfortunately, people in high office are keen to take down Biden. S.C. Rep. J. Duncan, for one, has been referring to the “Biden Crime Family” (caps in original) for quite some time in his constituent newsletters. In June, Duncan wrote

        “The Bidens must not be allowed to escape prosecution for the more serious crimes that are being investigated.” (“More serious crimes” than those for which H. Biden was prosecuted.)

        But practically anything will do:

        “I voted to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden for high crimes and misdemeanors related to the southern border crisis and the national security threat his policies have caused.”

        This crowd has become totally unmoored from any standard of reason, civility or decency.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And it brings up, yet again, the questions I always have: How much of it is bad will, and how much of it is simple failure to perceive the situation in a reasonable manner?

          1. Barry

            The “biden crime family” is just a saying some republican operative type have told congressman to use over and over.

            From reading a few sites online, nearly ever right wingers that goes on Fox says “biden crime family” in every segment Fox puts on the air.

            Congressman Jeff Duncan couldn’t figure out how to pump gas without someone telling him how to do it. He’s just following orders by repeating “biden crime family” when he’s talking or putting out a newsletter.

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