Open Thread for Monday, August 7, 2023

Kind of slim pickings today, but I’ll go with what I’ve got…

  1. Waterslide of Doom — This is my way of noting that I was at the beach all last week. My daughter urged me to drive by and see the scariest waterslide in the world, which is pictured above. No, it’s not operational — they’re in the midst of tearing it down — but it’s still pretty scary just to look at. Mind you, I find them all a little scary; I don’t love heights. But not Napoleon — he loves them! I offer the clipping at the bottom of this thread in honor of his biopic that’s about to come out.
  2. DeSantis Bluntly Acknowledges Trump’s 2020 Defeat: ‘Of Course He Lost’ — This is worth noting because of the horrible, sad fact that it is news for one of his GOP opponents to state this simple, obvious fact so clearly. This is how far the party has fallen nationally.
  3. Once the outsider, Trump looks an establishment’s pick — That headline is a little hard to follow, but it’s not actually in a newspaper. It’s the hed on a promotional email I got from the Post and Courier, which pulled my attention to this story. This is about how far the party has fallen here in our state.
  4. Donald Trump gloats about USA’s Women’s World Cup elimination — What? Another one about The Creature? No, it’s just something I saw that made me think, two of the saddest things about our country are our exaggeration of the importance of sports, and the fact that politics in America is now about signaling your membership in a tribe. So those two things had to come together, right? How pathetic that people now divide themselves into mutually exclusive cliques by whether they worship or despise a soccer team…
  5. Uninformative headline of the day — You’ll note that after years of polite silence, I recently started complaining about the new sort of headline that refuses to tell you the most essential information contained in the story — which is what headlines are supposed to do. (Why? To make you click.) Today’s winner is, “Here’s when a copperhead in SC is more likely to bite you, new research shows.” You may excuse this because maybe the info it touts is complicated, but it isn’t. It’s in the lede: “The hotter it gets, the more likely a copperhead or other venomous snake is likely to bite you, new research shows.” This is today’s winner in this category because what you are being denied is information that might, at least theoretically, save your life.

Today’s Earworm — OK, I don’t actually have one today, but I had one several days back, and didn’t post an Open Thread that day. It was “Son of a Preacher Man.” That was stuck for some time. Here’s a video of Dusty singing it on Ed Sullivan, in case you want to hear it in addition to reading about it. Now, a confession: I had to look it up to remember who sang it. I blame that on the fact that it sounds way more like a Bobbie Gentry song.

21 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, August 7, 2023

  1. Barry

    A few others stories that aren’t on your list.

    1) A Trump right wing judge in Texas has ordered Southwest Airlines lawyers to take a “religious freedom training” by the right wing group Alliance Defending Freedom – AKA – ADF. ADF advocates for gay people not to be able to adopt children. Ironically, ADF filed a friend of the court brief in a Colorado case that went to the Supreme Court that said someone being told to attend diversity training was illegal indoctrination. That argument was supported by the Conservative majority. I guess they are ok with religious indoctrination as long as it’s supposedly Christian. (Who didn’t see that coming)

    no word yet if they will appeal.

    2) The Supreme Court FREEZES a lower court order that had ordered a nationwide block on the Biden administration’s ghost gun restrictions. Splits 5–4, with Roberts and Barrett joining the three liberals. Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh dissent.

    This is interesting because… Thomas and Gorsuch oppose nationwide vacaturs and believe they are unlawful. Yet both justices voted to preserve the nationwide vacatur issued in this case to block the ghost gun rule across the country.

    Neither provided an explanation for their position. I’ll provide an explanation – they are hypocrites.

    3) Now for Florida

    Florida’s Orange County Public School system announces that, because of new Florida laws, trans teachers can’t use their preferred pronouns or honorifics (Mr./Ms.) at school.

    Trans teachers and students can’t use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, either.

    The current conservative position on this issue appears to be that the First Amendment gives teachers the right NOT to use a trans student’s preferred pronouns—but doesn’t give trans teachers the right to use their own preferred pronouns. And that’s what the Florida law reflects.

    This will be litigated in federal court most likely and hopefully this law meets a terrible end.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Barry starts his list of things that interest him with the words, “A few others stories that aren’t on your list.”

      I’m not sure what he means by that, but in the past some readers have been confused about the purpose of the Open Thread. It consists of stories that interest me, that I either regard as worthy of time and thought, or simply things I enjoyed reading.

      Barry likes to focus on the kinds of things that I would call “partisan outrage stories.” There are plenty of places on the web that focus on such things, but I have no interest in them. I didn’t “skip” those things, for the simple reason that I wasn’t seeking them out to begin with. And if I HAD seen them, I would have turned away to seek other topics.

      That said, remember that an Open Thread is different from a Virtual Front Page. On those, I concentrate on what is important, not simply on what interests me. There, I apply the old Buzz Merritt standard that I used in jobs in which I had the responsibility of choosing what went on the front. I don’t do those as much these days, because it would mean leaving off some of the things I enjoy talking about.

      But no, those items wouldn’t make a traditional front page, either…

      1. Barry

        I left out one item

        The Florida Dept of Education has now approved “Prager U for Kids” educational materials for use in Florida schools.

        As we all know, Florida Dept of Education under DeSantis is VERY concerned about kids being indoctrinated. LOL

        Prager U for Kids is an educational effort by the right wing Dennis Prager’s company to indoctrinate kids in right wing political views.

        In one video for children, a Cartoonish Frederick Douglass tells 2 children that the Founding Fathers knew slavery was wrong and were abolitionists.

        This is hard to watch and not vomit on the keyboard by the ease in which they just make up things.


        A majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and nearly half of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention owned slaves. Four of the first five presidents of the United States were slaveowners. Despite some talk and wish for gradual abolition, no national abolition legislation ever materialized in their lifetimes.

        “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” Frederick Douglas, 1852

        1. Ken

          We as a country have been battling over how we present ourselves TO ourselves, both to children and to adults, for decades. I’m currently reading a book examining the efforts by business and other groups to inculcate the public with neo-liberal/libertarian ideas. These efforts extend back into the 1930s, originating as part of an anti-New Deal campaign, involving organizations like the National Association of Manufacturers, the Foundation for Economic Education and others, whose aim was to discourage and even bar depictions in film, books, etc. that in any way disparage banking, industry, business, laissez-faire free enterprise or anything defined as “the American way.”
          The latest anti-CRT/LGBTQ campaigns fit into the same mold of attempting to prevent ideas considered outside the mainstream in white, religious, straight circles. Since they see America as an overwhelmingly virtuous country, they are only willing to tolerate a very limited degree of historical self-criticism. So any media, whether it be books or films or what-have-you, that, in their view, do not present a sufficiently pro-American perspective is deemed anti-American and subversive of a “wholesome” national identity.

          1. barry

            They share the desired outcome, even some of the methods, of the North Korean dictatorship:

            Presenting North Korea as wholesome and virtuous.

          2. "Bobby"

            If it bleeds it leads. That has traumatized me and I have some training to avoid that trauma.

            Everyone over 65 should have an anxiety assessment. I am PTS and sometimes D. I try so hard to avoid that D but TRIGGERS!

            Brad understands because Captain Warthen!

            Sometimes I don’t “dig” life. Working on it.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Whoa! Appropriation, anyone? Yeah, I know her mom claimed “Irish, English, German, and Cherokee” heritage, but this is a bit much. Tell me again why the Cleveland Indians can’t go by their name anymore?

      It’s a bit hackneyed, but I always liked this one — a little more, you know, respectful…

          1. "Bobby"

            I “pick” in Southern West Virginia. So many beautiful people that are Cherokee, Black, English and Italian. My guess is her mother had history in the Beckley WV area.

            I pick impoverished America. Make money but always doing my best to be fair. Social Entrepreneurship in the Modern Mobile Economy.

            Perhaps diametrically opposed to Rand? Even a stopped clock is correct twice per day.

            1. "Bobby"

              I once did not give a poor beggar (sitting on a park bench) a dollar he needed. When I died of an illness with no cure, I was told that man died of starvation. He had the cure for my terminal illness. Only a dollar. Please pay it forward – I am “digging” life because I pay it forward.

        1. James Edward Cross

          Not Sandy Alomar, Jr.? Kenny Lofton? Albert Belle? Manny Ramirez? Omar Vizquel? Jim Thome? Gaylord Perry? Or going farther back, Bob Feller or Larry Doby (from Camden!)? Heck, not even “Shoeless” Joe Jackson?

          Oh, and part of the reason they’re no longer the “Indians” is because of that racist caricature of a mascot, “Chief Wahoo”, which was far worse than practically anything the Braves have ever done. Besides, the name “Guardians” actually has a tie to something that is uniquely Cleveland’s, where the old one did not.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            What would that be? The tie, I mean.

            Of course, I ask that knowing next to nothing about Cleveland. If forced to choose a specifically local name, in my ignorance I would probably seize upon “the Flaming Rivers”… Which brings us back to the song that played during the movie’s opening credits. I like me some Randy Newman…

            By the way, that’s an impressive list, although I think the only one I would have known was an Indian was Bob Feller. I just didn’t think of him. I had NO idea Joe Jackson played for them. In my day, I’ve followed a number of teams — the Cardinals, the Reds (close as I get to Cleveland), the Phillies, the Braves and the Red Sox.

            But even within those narrow parameters, I’m not what you’d call an avid fan in the traditional sense. I think I’ve mentioned before, I remember things about past teams and players, but don’t keep up with current players or memorize stats. I’d have trouble naming any of the current Red Sox without prompting, since they dumped Jackie Bradley Jr. last year. (First the Bamino, now this…)

            It’s been awhile since I read Summer of ’49, but even now I could probably name more members of the Yankees and Red Sox rosters back then than now. And not because of nostalgia for my youth, since that was four years before I was born. I was a kid in the Mickey Mantle era, not the DiMaggio — although I do know more about those guys than the current ones — the Mick, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra… I’m the same way with the 1919 “Black” Sox…

            I’m a theoretical fan. I love the IDEA of baseball. I like to see an occasional game, and if I can see it at a great traditional ballpark such as Fenway, all the better. And I love the movies, as long as they’re sufficiently sappy and sentimental, like “The Natural” (which didn’t have the depressing ending of the book — if it had, I wouldn’t have loved it)…

            Yes, a dilettante. I don’t claim even average knowledge of the details…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Just thought of two more things I know about Cleveland:

              1. They have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

              2. Floyd DeBarber was from there. You know, Liz Lemon’s boyfriend…

              But for a team name, I’d still like to play on the river catching fire…

              1. "Bobby"

                I now live in the Southern Tier of Western NY (when not traveling “Picking”). Cleveland and Buffalo are fabulous cities with “interesting” winters due to the dreaded “Lake Effect,” which is mostly unpredictable EXACTLY!

                An hour or so to Buffalo and Rochester, about 3 to Cleveland and Pittsburgh. 7 to “THE CITY.”

                Long time battle between the Erie Canal/Thruway corridor. Southern Tier has Cornell, the Finger Lakes, very northern edge of the Appalachians, the Alleghenies. I live in Allegany County. We “English” can not seem to agree on the Native Spelling nor pronunciations.

                Ohio takes its name from the Ohio River, which, in turn, originated from the Seneca word ohiːyo’, meaning “good river”, “great river”, or “large creek”. Nya:wëh sgë:nö’ (nyah-weh-sgeh-noh) Hello that literally translates to “I am thankful you are well.” The particle sgë:nö’ means ‘health; well-being.’

                Sadögweta’ (sah-doh-gway-tah) How are you doing?

                Dëjinyatsa’së’ae’ (deh-jee-nya-cha’seh’ay) Our paths shall cross again.

                Also Amish. They are my Brothers – I am NOT “English.” They have “Drivers” and can be contacted by phone. Just need to accept them and not Judge. Understanding the language helps too. A good picker understands the Cultures in which we pick.

                Total eclipse in April. I own a large RV Park. I pick BIGS! But we will have FAMILY FUN with FAMILY VALUES.

                A very long time ago I was in the Navy; an Officer and a Gentleman. RIP Captain Warthen. Go Navy FOREVER!

                See ya!

  2. "Bobby"

    Mon Dieu! Sacrebleu. Excellent Adventure!

    Son of a Preacher Man – did not need that earworm Brad.

    Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.

    Ohio. 4 Dead in Ohio – wait – big win for Liberal Democracy! And about time!

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