Open Thread for Monday, March 3, 2024

At some point, I need to change the name of this feature. It doesn’t really work. Someone here long suggested that I post an “open thread,” I think so that people could just talk about whatever. But it seemed goofy to post, what — a blank space? So I started offering little variety packs of topics.

Anyway, here’s your variety pack:

  1. Prepositions are permissible, now — will English language be ok? — This is the best story I heard or read today. The NPR story featured a Columbia University linguist who cheered the decision by Merriam-Webster that it’s now OK to end sentences with prepositions. I agree, especially in the case of such awkward constructions as the legendary, even if apocryphal, Churchill quote.
  2. Supreme Court rules Trump can remain on Colorado’s ballot — This was unanimous, which was helpful. But I understand the justices quibbled over the scope of the decision, with a minority saying the majority went too far. Perhaps they did, but I haven’t studied it closely enough to have an opinion yet on that. I’m just glad it was unanimous. Things would have gotten uglier than they already are if there had been a different result.
  3. White House uses Kamala Harris to run Gaza options up the pole — That’s my headline, not one I pulled from any news outlet. This is fascinating. The Biden administration has used the veep to publicly air some (somewhat) stepped-up efforts to push for a ceasefire. She did it in a speech over the weekend, then she met with Benny Gantz, Israeli war cabinet member and rival of Netanyahu. This is an interesting way of working around Bibi in a way that explores his political vulnerability, while at the same time letting Kamala look like she has some foreign policy gravitas. And if it all flops, hey, it was just the veep, not POTUS. I like it. Sort of like 3D chess…
  4. The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin — I first heard this on NYT Audio over the weekend, and it was fascinating. I learned a great deal about the close ties we’ve formed with Ukrainian intelligence over the past decade or so — since long before Putin invaded. It started because the folks at Langley found that the Ukrainians were great at gathering intel we needed on the Russians, on topics such as the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and Russians efforts to get Trump elected in 2016. As a spy novel fan, I ate it up, but it also made me really uneasy — but obviously a decision was made somewhere to give these reporters access, right? Still, I hope that joint underground Ukrainian-American intelligence base was moved right after the NYT was allowed to tour it. Its location was described in some detail.

I guess that’s enough for now. I usually give you more than four, but I’ve got a headache, so… y’all come up with something. After all, it’s an “Open Thread”…

13 thoughts on “Open Thread for Monday, March 3, 2024

  1. Doug Ross

    North Carolina will allow legal sports betting starting next Monday. As usual, South Carolina will lag behind the rest of the country due to moralists / religious factions who believe it is their God given duty to tell other people what to do with their lives. Meanwhile, illegal sports betting will go on with all the associated criminal activity as well and South Carolina will miss out on an opportunity to collect millions in tax revenue. As an example, Colorado, a state of similar population as SC, brought in 30 million in tax revenue last year from online wagering on sports. What could SC do with 30 million extra dollars? Any state with a lottery can’t make any credible argument to ban legal sports betting… unless they’re afraid of the competition…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      So you take the Vito Corleone position on gambling:

      It’s true, I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be friendly very long if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling, which they regard as a – a harmless vice. But drugs is a dirty business…

      No, wait — you don’t agree with him that drugs is a dirty business…

      And Doug, that’s a joke. You don’t have to answer indignantly with an explanation of the libertarian position on drugs. We’ve all heard it and heard it and heard it…

  2. Ken

    2. The Court’s decision was only unanimous in the most superficial sense. In terms of content, it was a 5-4 (or 7-3) ruling, with the 3-Justice concurrence ripping the arguments presented in the majority opinion. The majority produced what is an unhistorical, unprincipled and poorly reasoned decision, making stuff up in a way that arrogates power to the Court while helping insulate current and future insurrectionists from accountability, in the process undermining this country’s ability to defend democracy. This Court’s majority is clearly not a neutral, non-partisan actor.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Without reading that, I assume that the concurrence WAS from people who wished to dissent — well, all but one of them, maybe — but they saw unanimity as being critically important in this case….

    1. Barry

      The 3 liberal justices also took a great (and correct) shot at the Conservative majority by quoting their own opinion in another case back to them- about how it was unnecessary to comment and rule on factors not specifically before the court in the decision in front of them.

      The “conservative” majority sure does like to expand their powers when they have a chance, despite saying they don’t like it when others do it.


      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        The strongest “shot” I heard against it came from a guy described as, I think, a conservative law professor. He was pretty steamed. I think he might have been one of those guys who first argued for using the 14th to bar Trump, several months ago. But that wasn’t explained.

        At this point I would name the guy and provide quotes, but… I didn’t read it; I heard it. And now I don’t remember exactly where. Probably either NPR or NYT Audio, but searching those sites hasn’t produced what I was looking for…

  3. bud

    Meanwhile, the lady gamecocks just finished an undefeated regular season. And the men control their destiny with two games remaining. This from a team predicted to finish dead last. It’s a great day in South Carolina.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, my Mom is certainly happy. She’s a huge fan. Consequently, I have seen — while visiting her — more of those games than I normally would…

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