Category Archives: Uncategorized

Monday, August 23, 2021 (Good News/Bad News)

 

1. The FDA has issued full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This is good news. Hopefully, this approval boosts vaccination rates.

2. The Taliban has said there will be “consequences” if the US military stays beyond August 31. Bad news. It doesn’t sound like everyone will be out eight days from now.

3. Sen. Sinema won’t back the $3.5T infrastructure bill. This is bad news is you’re a proponent of the larger bill, and possibly even if you’re just a proponent of the smaller bill, since the fate of the two may be intertwined.

4. National Security Adviser Sullivan says ISIS threat in Afghanistan is “real”.  Bad news. A resurgent ISIS is especially bad news while we still have Americans and allies on the ground waiting to get out.

5. The Atlanta Braves host the New York Yankees tonight. On a lighter note, here is some sports news. Both Atlanta and New York are riding nine-game winning streaks coming into tonight’s game. Good news for the winning team who will see their streak extend to ten games. Former Gamecock pitcher Jordan Montgomery will start the game for the Yankees.

Headlines for Monday, August 9, 2021

The dog days of summer are here – stay cool!

Hope everyone had a good weekend. We’re getting down into the dog days of summer, so stay cool out there. Drink lots of water, and pace yourself when working outside. Here’s some of the headlines around today:

Companies are Scrapping their Fall Plans. Wells Fargo is pushing its “return to office” dates in September to October, Amazon is delaying corporate employees returning to work until 2022, and lots of events are being canceled.

Gov. Cuomo’s Top Aide has Resigned. End game for the Governor? Looks like we’re in the “abandon ship” phase of this scandal for those who don’t want to go down with the ship.

Renewed CDC Eviction Moratorium Hearing Today. The CDC issued a second eviction moratorium covering 80-90% of the country despite the Supreme Court pretty clearly holding the first moratorium wasn’t authorized. You can debate whether having an eviction moratorium during a pandemic is a good policy or not. However, for Congress to duck having to take a difficult vote and kicking the issue to the Executive Branch, who then openly defies the Supreme Court…this is no way to run a government. Biden was hoping this gambit would take a while to get litigated, but it looks like the courts are moving relatively swiftly. It will be back in front of SCOTUS pretty soon , and it will be interesting to see how much this draws the Court’s ire.

City of Columbia Issues Mask Mandate for Schools and Daycare Facilities. Closer to home, we’ll have some litigation between the City of Columbia and the State of South Carolina about the city requiring schools in the city limits to require masks for kids at schools and in daycare despite a provision in the State budget that may contradict it. I’m at the point where I’m done accommodating the unvaccinated. Everything we’ve seen shows that young children are (happily) relatively unaffected by the virus, as compared to adults, so masking kids in school seems to be a step to protect unvaccinated adults.  If you’re an adult who doesn’t get the vaccine, fine, but at some point we need to stop accommodating the unvaccinated who have decided to take their chances.

Bobby Bowden dies at age 91. A legend of college football passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. He was the longtime coach at Florida State, and is one of the last coaches who was synonymous with the program. Nowadays, head coaches don’t typically stay at one school so long.

Top Five Summer Beach Songs

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Paul said that debating a replacement song for the national anthem might be a good topic, and we might get to that later. For now, I’ll go with something a little lighter. Here are two photos from my family’s beach week at Isle of Palms. We’ve been enjoying the beach, bike riding, great food, and summer ease. Above is a picture of my daughter enjoying perhaps the best chocolate milk ever, and below that is the view of the IOP beach.

We’ve also been giving our kids a tutorial in some of our favorite music. In keeping with summer here are my top five (High Fidelity Style, of course) summer beach songs:

  1. Under the Boardwalk (The Drifters)
  2. Surfin’ USA (The Beach Boys)
  3. Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses)
  4. Night Moves (Bob Seger)
  5. One Love (Bob Marley)

What are some other songs you associate with summertime and the beach?

Attorney General Garland Orders “Pause” to Federal Executions

We all know that progressives are pushing Joe Biden to end the death penalty. So it’s not a huge surprise that earlier this week Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo to the DOJ that puts all executions on “pause” while the issue is studied.

However, if you read the memo, it’s really a mixed bag. (Isn’t that just like a lawyer?) Garland says the DOJ will not be carrying out any death sentences, but it doesn’t say that the DOJ will stop seeking the death penalty in cases where the DOJ deems it appropriate to do so.

Accordingly, if you’re hoping the feds were going to just eliminate the death penalty, you’re going to come away disappointed. It’s sort of muddled. In the memo, Garland also talks about using a single drug for lethal injections rather than the three drug method, and how that is going to be reviewed. If the DOJ is worried about whether the one drug method is effective, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to do away with the death penalty entirely, does it? Why study it if you’re going to get rid of the whole process?

Cutting against that, Garland talks about “arbitrariness of capital punishment” and its “disparate impact on people of color,” which sort of makes it sound like he’s against the whole idea of capital punishment.

But then going the other way (again) Garland is saying the memo has “no effect” on the DOJ pushing for the death penalty on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.

So, do we all have that clear? The Attorney General isn’t sure if the current drug used for lethal injections is a good idea, and he’s going to have it reviewed. However, he also thinks the death penalty is applied in an arbitrary manner and might be kind of racist. Nevertheless, Garland is pushing for the death penalty for Tsarnaev. But even if Tsarnaev is sentenced to death, the execution might not actually happen since we’re on a “pause”.

July 1 – Open Thread

Office 7-1-21

Brad is on shore leave, which is why some comments were held up in moderation. As the Lt. Pullings of the blog, I’ve made sure we’re back on schedule and approved some comments. I’ll be monitoring the comments so nothing should be held too long unless it’s something I have to edit or trash. I’m sure everyone will be on their best behavior while the captain is on shore leave. Above is a photo I took of my office all decorated for the Fourth of July holiday.

Here’s a few items to comment on:

Mississippi State ends a 126 championship drought. The Mississippi State Bulldog baseball team won the College World Series last night and delivered the first ever national championship to MSU in any sport. It was a great performance from the baseball team, soundly defeating the defending national champion Vanderbilt Commodores. A feel good story if there ever was one. Huzzah for the boys from Starkville!

Bill Cosby gets his walking papers. In a less feel good story, Bill Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the prior prosecutor’s grant of immunity to Cosby precluded any prosecution. So he’s out. Has to be a real punch in the gut to the victim and her family.

Why people aren’t looking for jobs. As an anecdote, I was driving through Hendersonville, NC last week and saw a sign in front of a Taco Bell offering a $1,000 signing bonus to any new employee. To TACO BELL. Amazing.

The Olympics starts in three weeks. It will be interesting to see how Japan handles the big, international event in the context of all the COVID-19 protocols.

Today in History, in 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg started. Hey, it’s an Open Thread, not a news thread.

Trump getting banned from Twitter: Good thing or bad?

Of course that should say "accounts THAT violate," not "accounts which violate." But whatever...

Of course that should say “accounts THAT violate,” not “accounts which violate.” But whatever…

I just mentioned in a comment on a previous post that I had meant to ask that question in a separate post back when it happened.

And then I was all like duh, you just wrote it out, so why not make it a post now?

So OK, I will…

Ever since he was banned from Twitter (and those other platforms), I’ve been meaning to write a post asking whether y’all think that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Sure, much trouble is averted by cutting him off from that outlet.

But it makes it harder to keep tabs on him. When he communicates in a more subterranean manner with his minions, we can’t see it.

It’s a tough call.

But one thing about it is easy: It’s idiotic to say his “First Amendment rights” have been violated. He can write any stupid thing he cares to. Jack Dorsey is in NO way constitutionally mandated to give him a free place to publish it…

The role of Republicans is now filled by moderate Democrats

Sen. Joe Manchin, masked but certainly not muzzled these days.

Sen. Joe Manchin, masked but certainly not muzzled these days./from his Twitter feed.

By “role” I mean “constructive role” or “traditional role.” The proper role of a loyal opposition, one that’s dedicated to contributing a point of view on the way to actually getting things done.

Which of course stands in sharp contrast to the embarrassing behavior we’ve seen exhibited in recent years by the loud, ranting, mentally dysfunctional remnants of the Trump-worshiping former GOP.

I noticed this frequently during the debate over the latest COVID relief bill. While people who wear the label of “Republican” sat on the sidelines making a shameful exhibition of themselves, moderate Democrats have steadily reshaped the bill, often in ways that normal, sane Republicans would have done back in the day.

I’ve seen and read about this in several places in recent days, as moderate Democrats kept the $15 minimum wage out of the bill and insisted upon other changes along the way. But nowhere did I see it sketched out as clearly as in an editorial in The Wall Street Journal today:

Of the Democrats who voted “no,” some no doubt agree with Bernie on the substance and merely didn’t want to steamroll Senate precedent.

But you might be surprised. “I have backed a $15 minimum wage on the federal level for years,” said Delaware’s Tom Carper. “At a time when our economy is still slowly recovering, though, policymakers have a responsibility to be especially mindful of the fragile state of small businesses all across this country.” Wow, that almost sounds like what Mr. Sanders might call Republican talking points….

Yep. That’s what I’m on about.

Maybe we could take these people — Joe Manchin and the others — and persuade some of the few, pitifully few nominal Republicans who still on rare occasion act like normal, thinking human beings (Mitt Romney, etc.) to join them. Get enough of them (a tall order), and then everyone could ignore the Trumpists, and we’d be back to the two-party system we once were used to — consisting of serious people with different viewpoints, constructively dealing with each other to shape legislation.

But of course, we’re nowhere near having a critical mass of them. Anyway, I’d hate to strip the Democrats of moderation that way. Do that, and the AOCs might actually start wielding the kind of influence among Democrats that the Trumpists like to pretend they do.

So for now, I’m sort of resigned to letting the bipartisanship go on between different kinds of Democrats. It’s not perfect. It would be nice for the Republicans to snap out of it and fill the position again themselves. But that’s not going to happen for awhile. The Götterdämmerung of the GOP is evidently going to be long, drawn-out, messy and painfully embarrassing to watch…

Like Götterdämmerung, but without all the Wagner.

Like Götterdämmerung, but without all the Wagner.

Minimum wage: Another issue on which I’ve never been able to take a position

There’s a very refreshing Fact Checker piece in the Post today. It’s about whether President Biden (I love typing that) accurately represented the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 when he said “the whole economy rises” if we do that.

They gave him two Pinocchios. I love it. Pinocchios

No, I don’t love that my guy said something that earned two Pinocchios. I love that we’re back to checking a president’s accuracy in speaking about a technical matter of policy, rather than wild, hostile lies arising from his own deeply disturbed, evil personal impulses.

It’s refreshing.

As to the issue… this is one of those issues that people get very excited about, on one side or the other, but I’ve never been able to make up my mind about it. That’s because both sides present pretty compelling arguments.

That, by the way, is what the Fact Checker gave Joe the two Pinocchios for — stressing the upside as though it were settled fact, when there is plenty of reason to believe otherwise. In Joe’s defense, there is a large body of studies and arguments from experts that supports what he says. (And that’s what you do when you’ve decided to pursue a course and you’re trying to get people to go along — you cite the evidence for it.) The problem is that there remains a large body that says the opposite. It’s about the conflicting conclusions drawn by different economists.

The Congressional Budget Office does a pretty good job of summing up the dilemma:

On one hand, the CBO estimated that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would cost 1.4 million jobs and increase the deficit by $54 billion over 10 years.

But it also estimated the policy would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and raise income for 17 million people — about 1 in 10 workers. Another 10 million who have wages just above that amount could potentially see increases, as well, the CBO reported.

On the one hand, and on the other hand.

It’s a toughie. And I’ve never been able to join enthusiastically with those who take either position: Those who want to lift 900,000 out of poverty, or those who wouldn’t do it because it might put 1,400,000 people out of work completely.

So I don’t know.

You?

 

I think I like Karen Bass. As always, I’d like to know more

Karen Bass

As y’all know, I’m a huge Joe Biden fan. From the beginning, he was the one guy the country most needed to win the Democratic nomination for president, and he did it, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I agree with everything he does. I’ve never in my life encountered a candidate like that. There are people I think are awesome, like Joe Riley. But there have been times when I didn’t agree with the Charleston mayor, either. If you’re honest, if you really think about all the issues, perfect agreement is impossible.

I’m not going to offer a list of things where I think Joe’s wrong right now (maybe later), but I say all that to mention one that is relevant to this post: I wish he hadn’t promised several months ago that his running mate would be female.

And no, it’s not just because that mean ol’ white guy Brad hates Identity Politics, although yeah, I’d prefer that someone who would be president would always promise to choose the best candidate, period, without regard to demographics. But here’s the real reason in this case:

We just had a small army of Democrats run for president. Quick, how many was it? Wikipedia says 29 “major” candidates sought the nomination, with as many as 25 running campaigns at any one time. I paid close attention. And at no time did I see or hear anything that in any way challenged what we knew at the start: Joe Biden was far and away the one candidate best prepared and suited for the presidency. He was ready for the job. Finally, an overwhelming proportion of the electorate agreed.

So while I watched to see if anyone presented evidence or arguments that challenged that fact — and no one did — my mind ran on a second track: As long as we’re looking so closely at all these other folks, which one would make a good running mate?

At some point, I — and a lot of other people — decided that would be Amy Klobuchar. I don’t remember when I first decided that, but here’s something I wrote back in October:

Oh, and I came close to a decision last night. I think I’d like to see Amy Klobuchar as Joe’s running mate, assuming everything goes right and Democrats decide they actually want to beat Trump. It would probably be Mayor Pete if he weren’t so young and inexperienced, and if he didn’t keep reminding us of it (But that happened five minutes ago, and as I may have mentioned previously, I wasn’t born yet…). I don’t see Sen. Klobuchar as quite ready to be president yet, but she comes close, and would be a good understudy….

From that point on, I became more and more certain of that. I had a feeling that Joe Biden did, too, to the extent that he had time to think about it.

In fact, I keep telling myself that the reason Joe announced that his running mate would be a woman, he thought it would be Amy Klobuchar. Which is one reason why I didn’t go around loudly complaining when he did it. Because I couldn’t think of anyone of any gender who would be better, or as good.

But here’s the thing: That wasn’t a done deal. And as things have turned out, she’s not the one. But Joe is stuck with his promise. He can’t go, “OK, who else looked good in that process? What about Cory Booker? How about Pete Buttigieg?” Which is a shame, because looking back, perhaps those were the best options after Sen. Klobuchar.

So now we’re in kind of a fix, because his running mate is going to be someone from one of two categories:

  1. Unfamiliar candidates who have not been vetted enough to inspire confidence. As y’all know, I’ve written a lot over the years about the importance of experience. It’s certainly one of Joe Biden’s top strengths. But as I’ve also explained, it’s not just about how experience prepares the candidate for the job. There’s also the fact that people who are experienced in public life have been out there performing in those jobs long enough for us to assess how we think they might perform in the future in public office. So even people with great resumes could fall down if we the voters haven’t been in a position to form impressions of their performance over time.
  2. Candidates who have been more or less thoroughly vetted and found wanting. That would include, say, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about why I’ve written them off in this post because this post is going to be long enough without that. We can argue about their relative merits another day, if necessary. But I had enough information about Warren eight years ago, when I wrote this. Nothing I’ve seen from her since then has changed that assessment. I went into the season with an open mind on the lesser-known Harris, but was disappointed in debate after debate. And other voters seemed to agree with me, which is why she didn’t even last until the first primaries. She was vetted, and did not hold up.

This is not a good situation. The only hope is that Biden will choose someone from the first category — and that person will hold up well under the tidal wave of examination that will wash over her when the time comes. Which would be astounding, the odds seem so strongly against it happening. But the country needs it to happen.

So I’ve found myself looking hard at previously unknown (to me, at least) potential candidates whose names pop up. Some of the best I’ve seen, making me momentarily hopeful, have been:

  • Val Demings — The former police chief of Orlando, and member of Congress since 2017. I like what I’ve seen, but I just haven’t seen enough. I like her 27 years of working in the vineyards of law enforcement — but hey, if the mere accident of being from Minnesota excludes Klobuchar, how well will a career cop do with the Democratic electorate in its current mood? And I really want to see more experience on the federal level.
  • Tammy Duckworth — I like all sorts of things about her. Of course, there’s the fact that she’s only in her first term in the Senate, but she did serve a couple of hitches in the House before that. But I really want to see a lot more than I’ve seen. So I’ll keep watching her. Tucker Carlson seems to be an ass (I say “seems” because I’ve never watched him, but only heard about him), but handing him the George Washington thing was a political misstep that is worrisome. We don’t need someone who will hand the opposition clubs to beat Biden about the head and shoulders with. But, as I say, I continue to watch her.

Which brings me to someone I’ve heard less about, and I wish it were more.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife casually mentioned having read about a woman who sounded good. She told me it was an African-American woman about our age, and she’d heard really good things about her. But she couldn’t remember her name. My reaction? Well, the fact that you can’t remember her name is a problem. Again, the point I make so often — we’re talking about a person who could become president of the United States. It needs to be someone we’ve been watching for years.

But it won’t be, will it? So, I get interested in any lesser-known person who sounds good, because that’s the situation we’re in.

I was pleased to read George Will’s column the other day headlined, “The woman Biden should pick to lead us to calmer days.” It was about U.S. Rep. Karen Bass from California. I mentioned the piece to my wife, who said, “Yes, that’s the woman I was talking about before.” Well OK, then.

Here are some of the things I liked:

  • First, that headline. “Calmer days” are exactly what this country needs. When I’m in a hyperbolic mood (which happens), I tend to think that my fondest wish for a future with Joe Biden as president would be that I would then live in a country in which I could completely ignore the White House for days and even weeks at a time, while feeling that my country was OK. I’d really like to stop thinking about the POTUS for awhile, at the same time knowing there’s someone qualified, decent and normal in charge. And a qualified, decent and normal person is in the backup position.
  • Second, she’s in her fifth term. While I may not have been in a position to vet her during that time, she’s held up under the examination of her constituents, over and over. Five terms isn’t what you’d call a long time in Congress, but it beats the other candidates I’ve been looking at.
  • Her elective service isn’t limited to Congress. She also cut an impressive swath on the state level: “Elected to the state assembly in 2004, in three terms Bass became majority whip, then majority leader, then speaker.” That doesn’t happen to people with sub-par leadership skills.
  • She’s from a district that has probably seen as much racial unrest in the streets as any in the country — the site of the Watts riots, and the Rodney King situation that “engulfed a swath of Los Angeles, killing 63 and injuring 2,383.” She brings history and understanding to this moment.
  • Our own Jim Clyburn, who helped us get to Joe Biden being the nominee, has good things to say about her, based on Will’s interview with her.

Well, I could go on and on, but there are a lot of things I liked. And I really didn’t see anything I didn’t like. Which is unusual, when you’re talking about the acerbic George Will. (Oh, and if someone jumps in with a “who cares what George Will thinks?,” I’ll address that. But once again, this piece, at more than 1,700 words, is already too long.)

That doesn’t mean I won’t find something that worries me. But hey, as long as it’s not disqualifying, that would be reassuring. As I said at the top, there’s nobody I don’t disagree with about something — especially if I know enough to consider the person as a backup president.

Maybe y’all can help get me started. I want to know a lot more about her…

NBC News report on Lexington Medical Center

Remember those pictures I posted from when I was a stroke patient at Lexington Medical Center, with the empty emergency room and everything so orderly?

Maybe that part still looks that way; I don’t know. They seem to be using only a portion of the hospital for COVID patients. But the surge has them overwhelmed enough for NBC to use my neighborhood hospital to show what it’s like here in the third-worst outbreak in the world.

When I went in on April 11 and asked them for a COVID test, they said no, we’re going to treat you for a stroke, because that’s what you have. Also, they said, if I were tested I’d have to go to the special COVID part of the hospital. Which probably wasn’t so bad back then, compared to now, but I passed on it anyway. I found the stroke floor quite fine, and they did a great job of taking care of me.

So I hate to see them having to deal with all this now…

Things were kind of peaceful when I was there, on April 11.

Things were kind of peaceful when I was there, on April 11.

Open Thread for Thursday, July 9, 2020

Can you make it out? Should I have lightened it up some?

Can you make it out? Should I have lightened it up some?

Just a few things y’all might want to comment upon:

  1. We’re Number Three! We’re Number Three! — Assuming y’all already saw that South Carolina is the third-worst place in the world for most new coronavirus cases per million. We were beaten by Arizona and Florida; Bahrain came in behind us.
  2. SC passes the 50,000-case mark — We’re just crowning ourselves with notoriety, aren’t we? Today’s total was 1,723, God help us. And did you see that “Fauci says states with major outbreaks should ‘seriously look at shutting down’ again.” Ya think?
  3. Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records — Sorta kinda. And we won’t see them before the election. Kind of unbelievable, isn’t it, that the guy’s running for re-election, and we’ve never seen them?
  4. Trudeau: Canada handled coronavirus better than many countries, ‘including our neighbor’ — I hope he doesn’t think that’s some sort of accomplishment…
  5. Union County sheriff charged with sending obscene photo in lewd message — I just include this so I can ask, how can anyone be that stupid? Even if, say, you’d had a lot to drink or something? Wouldn’t you be prevented by the thought, This is probably not a good move for a sheriff? Or at least, wouldn’t you go, Hmmm, this is lewd enough. I guess I could leave out the picture
From the WashPost. Note the chart at left.

From the WashPost. Note the chart at left.

See, I TOLD you we were all getting stupider

Just moments ago, in my previous post, I wrote the following:

We know, thanks to the clever people who figured out stuff like quantum foam, that the universe tends toward entropy. Well, this one also tends toward stupidity…

Right after that, I proved my theory by taking the Slate News Quiz:

stupider

You see? Not only am I, apparently, now dumb as a rock (and more so than I was in the past, in keeping with my theory), but that person at Slate is even dumber.

Oh, you’re going to say that the fact that the average was higher proves that not the whole ‘verse is as dumb as Molly and me?

Well, that just makes me chuckle condescendingly and tell you that that is evidence of another universe — one where people are slightly smarter — interfering with this one. I’d quote from Timeline to ‘splain to you how that works, but since you live in this downward-spiraling universe, you wouldn’t understand it….

We gotta get outta this ‘verse, so let’s get busy developing that quantum gadget

Moderns seek to escape a universe that's gone all medieval on 'em.

Moderns seek to escape a universe that’s gone all medieval on ’em.

In recent days, I’ve found myself picking up and rereading Michael Crichton’ sci-fi novel Timeline, which is not a great book, but modestly diverting.

(It was made into a movie — the above photo is from that — that somehow, through the special magic of Hollywood, managed to make the story even more disappointing than the original.)

No, it’s not a time-travel story, as the characters keep protesting (but sometimes they speak as though they’ve forgotten it, and act like it IS time travel). Basically, the premise is that a tech company has come up with a way to transport people and objects to other universes in the multiverse (by sending them through holes in quantum foam, or something). And since there is an infinity of them out there, and gazillions of those are almost-but-not-completely exactly like our own, you can travel to one that is exactly like this ‘verse back in the 13th century.

So the protagonists do that, and have adventures — most of them having to do with trying to get back to our own here-now, because the denizens of that other ‘verse keep going all medieval on their a__es.

So this has me thinking about how in such a multiverse, butterfly effects might cause every ‘verse to keep splitting into ones that will be henceforth forever different from each other. (Or something like that; I admit it’s hard to think coherently about this stuff because it’s so batty.)

Which gets me to thinking about how I’m in the wrong ‘verse now. I’m supposed to be in the rational, enlightened, Madison-Hamilton one in which it would be impossible for someone like Donald Trump to become president, and in which even if something so outrageous happened, the Congress would soon (like, way before now) rectify the situation through the process of impeachment.

I’m not sure how this happened to the creature I think of as “me.” Maybe I ate the wrong thing for breakfast one morning, or got up a few seconds too late (being the me that lives in this universe, it’s highly unlikely I got up too early). But I’m pretty sure this is not the ‘verse I’m supposed to be in.

And things are getting worse in this here-now. We know, thanks to the clever people who figured out stuff like quantum foam, that the universe tends toward entropy. Well, this one also tends toward stupidity. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but that tendency has been accelerating ever since we took that wrong fork in 2016. As I write this, the erstwhile “greatest deliberative body the world has known” is about to acquit Trump, facilitating the process by preventing the presentation of witnesses and evidence, because even they have enough residual intelligence to understand that facts would condemn him.

We’re just spinning off into Idiocracy at an alarming rate.

The head of that tech company in the novel is a prize jerk, but maybe some Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos or someone like that in this world should get busy on the quantum technology so we have a chance to get outta this madhouse of a universe and get over to one that makes sense….

THIS is what political exploitation of gun tragedies looks like

Twitter home

I get up in the morning, I work out, I skim Twitter, I peruse several newspapers, and I get ideas that could be blog posts, but I fritter them away in Tweets before breakfast is over, and the blog lies fallow for much of the day.

So I’m going to start turning more Tweets into posts, so the conversation can occur here as well as there.

Let’s start with this one:

In case the Tweet I was retweeting doesn’t show up, here’s what I was talking about:

Of course, I was far from the only one to react this way. A couple of other Tweets on the subject:

To which Tyler Jones responded, “Egg, meet Phil Noble’s face.”

And an American Party candidate for the House had this to say:

OK, that should be enough to get y’all started…

When he gets overridden 40-0, does the governor ever think that maybe, just maybe, he might be wrong?

F4906019-98FA-0573-FFE7587092030DAE_headerimage

That’s what I was thinking when I read this:

More than 200 of South Carolina’s oldest, most fire-prone school buses will be replaced by the next school year.

The state Senate voted 44-0 Tuesday to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of $20.5 million to cover the cost of buying 210 new school buses. The House voted to override the governor’s veto last week.

That money will help the state cut the number of fire-prone 1995 and 1996 buses in operation to 349, better ensuring the safety of thousands of S.C. students who take the bus to school each day….

Not a single vote to sustain, in a body dominated by his own party — and containing some senators who don’t like the gummint spending money no way, nohow. Yikes.

At least he got eight votes last week in the House last week. Of course, 107 voted to override…

The Rutles: The Legend That Will Last a Lunchtime

Today while I was working on website copy for an ADCO client, I kept myself sharp by listening to the Pre-Fab Four — The Rutles! — on Spotify.

If you don’t remember The Rutles and their breakout film, “All You Need is Cash,” then you’re probably too young to be allowed out of the house alone.

They were incredible. I don’t know enough about music to understand how Neil Innes could write songs that sound SO much like Beatles songs without actually being Beatles songs.

It sort of cheapened the Beatles a bit for me seeing how easy it was to mockingly sound like them, but I managed the mental acrobatics necessary to be a fan of both groups. I ran out and bought The Rutles’ first album immediately.

If you don’t dig the Rutles, well, all I can say is that you’re so pusillanimous

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Here’s why I applaud the ‘bump stock’ ordinance

I said this in a comment back on this thread, but I think it’s work elevating to a separate post. When our elected representatives do a good thing, however small, and do it in a way that is prompt, mature and respectful, that is worth a bit of applause, however much some of my friends here may scoff.

It’s easy to have contempt for the minimalist action action taken by Columbia City Council Tuesday regarding bump stocks. After all, what possible practical effect can it have? If someone uses a bump stock in a mass murder in Columbia, what will happen as a result of this ordinance? He’ll get a ticket?

But it’s hardly fair when you realize how little a municipality can do, and that other levels of government are doing nothing. I think you should consider the following:

  • There was widespread, bipartisan sentiment for banning bump stocks right after Las Vegas. It was remarkable, because all calls for limiting anything having to do with firearms on the federal level generally lead to nothing but a liberalizing of gun laws. Still, nothing happened this time, either.
  • Between the 2nd Amendment and a Legislature determined to keep local governments from making decisions for themselves, a municipal government’s power to act is extremely limited.
  • Within those extreme limits, Benjamin and the council decided to do what they could, in contrast to the paralysis in Washington.
  • They didn’t make an entirely empty gesture. They took an action, to the limits of their power, without trying to overstep that power.
  • They did so in an orderly, mature, deliberate manner, exhibiting reason and restraint that too many of us no longer expect from government. They did it without finger-pointing, name-calling, or bloviating. In other words, they set an example for how other levels of government should function. By doing so, they made a case for a good cause — subsidiarity. They suggest by their mature, restrained actions that maybe MORE decisions should be made on the local level. (Note this headline: “<a href=”https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/12/columbia-south-carolina-passes-a-bump-stock-ban-since-congress-wont-pass-even-minimal-gun-control.html” rel=”nofollow”>Columbia, South Carolina, Bans Bump Stocks, Since Congress Won’t</a>.”)

In this degraded, hostile, dysfunctional political atmosphere in which nothing good happens but a lot of ill-will is created along the way, I think the way this was handled was admirable.

Bud and Doug will scoff: Form instead of function! Mere words! But this is the stuff of civilization, without which we descend to the level of deranged beasts. And I think that makes it worth giving the mayor an attaboy.

A shorter version of the above:

The council has said, “We can’t do much, but we’re going to do what we can, and we’re going to act like grownups doing it.” These days, that’s progress…

Maybe Garrison Keillor shouldn’t have written that op-ed piece

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This morning, there was a column in The Washington Post by Garrison Keillor sort of sticking up, in his own tongue-in-cheek way, for Al Franken.

I wondered at the time, Is that a good idea?

Now, the AP is reporting this:

MINNEAPOLIS — Garrison Keillor says he’s been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of inappropriate behavior….

Yikes! You suppose there’s a connection? You suppose someone read that op-ed piece and decided, “That it! I’m gonna tell the world about this guy…”

This morning, I overheard someone saying this in reaction to the Matt Lauer thing: “I ain’t putting nothing past nobody now!”

No kidding…

SC Supreme Court dumps poor school districts’ case; will no longer press lawmakers for improvement

Something historic just happened.

Three years after ordering the Legislature to start doing right by children who live in poor, rural school districts, in connection with a landmark 24-year-old lawsuit brought by those districts, the SC Supreme Court has just said, “Never mind.”

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Justice Kittredge

At least, that’s the way it looks at first blush.

The justices who joined Justice John Kittredge in voting to abandon the monumental, decades-long case were elected to the court since the 2014 ruling.

The court in 2014 ordered the Legislature to come up with ways to bring poor, rural districts up to snuff — without specifying how. We’re still awaiting lawmakers’ action on that front. Now, Kittredge writes that continuing to breathe down lawmakers’ necks on this “would be a gross overreach of judicial power and separation of powers.”

But hey, don’t worry, because he also writes, “Does the dismissal of this case reflect a lack of appreciation for the critical importance of public education in South Carolina? Absolutely not.”

So is that it for the poor districts? Well, Speaker Jay Lucas (from Darlington County) has often expressed his interest in doing right by them, while at the same time asking the court to get off his back.

So we’ll see, I guess…