Open Thread for Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I took this back in 2019, when I still worked downtown, and would walk here when weather was too hot or too wet.

Here’s another one. We’ve had some interesting news lately:

  1. Trump Indicted in Georgia. Here we go again, eh? Bunch of things I could say about this. Here’s one: You know how people keep saying how amazing it is for this unprecedented thing — a former president to be indicted — to keep happening? To me, it kind of feels like… normalcy returning. Instead of having this lunatic running around, flouting every convention with no consequences, we’re seeing… the system working, and saying, no, you can’t do this stuff. These are criminal charges he’s facing. Now, if only the half of the electorate that believes he’s a persecuted hero would wake up and recognize reality, America would be sane again. Or at least well on its way. Apparently, Lindsey Graham hasn’t recovered yet — but he had a longer way to go than most people. (Which reminds me: First thing I did when this broke was to peruse the list of those charged, looking for Lindsey’s name — because, you know. Let the record show that it was not there.) To people who knew you couldn’t do this stuff, it may seem like this took forever, but this is kinda the way the law works, when you’re dealing with something this huge. You have to build a case. It just seems like a long time because in the age of Twitter, we expect everything to happen now.
  2. Conservative Case Emerges to Disqualify Trump for Role on Jan. 6. I read this several days ago before the Georgia indictment, and forgot to post about it, but now I’m reminded. The lede: “Two prominent conservative law professors have concluded that Donald J. Trump is ineligible to be president under a provision of the Constitution that bars people who have engaged in an insurrection from holding government office. The professors are active members of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, and proponents of originalism, the method of interpretation that seeks to determine the Constitution’s original meaning.” It has to do with Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The professors are William Baude of the University of Chicago and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas.
  3. Punishing men who can no longer remember their crimes. This is another from those emails I get from the NYT. You probably knew that we incarcerate more of our population than almost any country in the world (573 out of every 100,000 Americans). We’re also an aging society. Put those together, and you get increasing numbers of prisoners who are over 90, in diapers, and suffering from dementia. I think of memory units, where dementia is treated, as a feature of high-end retirement communities. We have them in prisons, too. Why are we locking people up this long?
  4. The malls are all closing! The malls are all closing! Sure, it’s been coming on for a long time and we’ve talked about it before, but up to now these former shopping meccas seemed merely moribund. Now, in just a few days, we’ve had Belk and Barnes & Noble shutting down at Richland Mall (but fortunately, B&N will reopen elsewhere), and now a church is buying Dutch Square. My main concern there is “What will happen to the multiplex?” Maybe I read the story too fast, but if it told me that, I missed it.
  5. Interest rate hike just a sticking plaster for Russia’s war-fuelled economic woes. This is from The Guardian, and let me confess I didn’t read it. I just loved the headline. Y’all know what an Anglophile I am, and I really got a kick out of seeing this paper actually use “sticking plaster” to evoke the “Band-Aid” metaphor.
  6. Kansas newspaper says it investigated local police chief prior to newsroom raid. A newspaper does its job, the cops come raid the place. Maybe not everything is back to normal in America quite yet. Because, this kind of thing doesn’t happen in normal America.

Earworm of the Day. This one’s kind of ordinary, and not a bit surprising: “Thank You,” by Led Zeppelin. No further comment. See below.

Something I thought I knew, but I was wrong. A new feature, which I think I will probably find to replicate on other days. As with the earworm, this one also has to do with pop music. Today, my Pandora started playing “Reflections of My Life,” which I would have bet you money was a Bee Gees song. I saw the name “Marmalade” on the screen and thought, Oh, this Marmalade, whoever that is, is doing a Bee Gees cover. Then, as I listened, I realized, Uh… this is the original. I checked with Wikipedia, and realized, Yup, this is a Marmalade song. Whoever they are. Felt dumb.

7 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, August 15, 2023

  1. Doug Ross

    One of the charges against Mark Meadows is that he went to the location where votes were being audited in private and asked to observe the process. He was denied entry and left. This was cited as an act of racketeering.

    This case is going to fall apart because they tried to make it into something it wasn’t with all these trivial, non criminal charges. Tweets, phone calls, etc. are not racketeering…

    I wonder who the vice president will be in the next Trump administration?

    1. bud

      Doug you might have a point for any particular act. But RICO involves many acts taken together in the furtherance of a criminal outcome. In this case these acts were an attempt to find an illegal way to put Trump back in the White House. Trump can make his case in court. And maybe he’ll prevail. But arguments are diminished when he makes thinly veiled threats against judges, witnesses and jurors. Hell, I don’t care if the bastard goes to jail. I just want him out of public life.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And it makes things even simpler when you pick out the detail that looks LEAST like a crime to you, and use that to condemn the entire indictment.

          Trying to overthrow a U.S. presidential election by manipulating the results in a pivotal case… if that’s not a crime, then our country might as well give up.

          There are some interesting discussions out there about the different approaches between this indictment and the one before it. Some interesting points are raised. The main one is that Jack Smith deliberately skipped a lot of stuff he could have charged Trump with, and concentrated on a narrow range of offenses that would more surely lead to conviction. Fani Willis has taken a more kitchen-sink approach, painting a fascinating, broad picture of the conspiracy, but including things that could prove to weaken the prosecution case.

          That’s a discussion worth having — which approach is better? Your “it’s not a crime” approach is ridiculous…

          1. Doug Ross

            It’s not just one item.. every trivial item in the indictment opens it up to criticism. A strong case wouldn’t have all that silliness in it. It suggests they are just throwing stuff out there to try and pad the indictment. After 2+ years, I would expect actual evidence of actual crimes not some potpourri of inane tweets that represent nothing.

            Let’s see something beyond Trump’s public statements..

            1. bud

              I don’t this Ruby Freeman and Shay Moss find any of this silly, funny or trivial. Their lives have been ruined by Trump’s false claims and mendacious accusations against two women who were merely trying to do their civic duty. Perhaps Fanni Willis should have focused on the specific elements of Trump’s criminal behavior that directly bear on actual, tangible harm.


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