My Impromptus today has an assortment of items, as usual. These include Tom Brady, Mario Lemieux, and a poem (not by me, but by a colleague). I begin with a kind of plea: Is there any way to mute the daily dunk-o-rama that goes on between “red” states and “blue” states?
I was struck by an Associated Press report on the failure of the power grid in Texas — one passage, in particular:
The breakdown sparked growing outrage and demands for answers over how Texas — whose Republican leaders as recently as last year taunted California over the Democratic-led state’s rolling blackouts — failed such a massive test of a major point of state pride: energy independence.
I have since read, or re-read, some of those taunts about California. Pretty gross.
In my column, I say I have a suggestion:
How about we cool the taunting and the dunking and the rivalry and all that and acknowledge that all of us have problems, in need of solutions (whether those solutions are governmental or not)? No state is a nirvana. We should root for one another — even as we argue about politics and policy — instead of having this endless cycle of one-upmanship, chest-thumping, and stupidity.
Amen (if I say so myself).
Here on the Corner, I’d like to supply an update, and publish a little mail. First, the update.
In a recent column, I mentioned a new investigation into the poisonings of Vladimir Kara-Murza. Kara-Murza is the Russian democracy leader who was poisoned in May 2015 and again in February 2017. Amazingly, he survived each time. Each time was a very close call.
The recent investigation was conducted by Bellingcat — the international consortium of journalists and researchers — in concert with Der Spiegel, the German magazine, and The Insider, an independent news site based in Moscow. These people discovered just who tried to assassinate Kara-Murza and how. They have the specific members of the FSB — the Russian secret police — some of them coming from the senior ranks.
Kara-Murza has now made a statement that makes you gulp a little:
My emotions are difficult to express with words. It’s one thing to know intellectually that someone has tried to kill you — and it’s quite another to see the names and photographs of the actual people who did this.
One can imagine (barely).
Okay, let’s get lighter with a little mail. The first note comes from the great Dave Taggart, of Calhoun, Ga. He responds to a column of mine that mentioned George C. Wallace, the politician and demagogue from Alabama:
My George Wallace story.
When we were kids, my sister Nancy was gunning for her Girl Scout “Collectors” merit badge. She hit upon a collection of autographs of the 50 state governors.
In a tribute to the efficiency of the administrative assistants of the 1960s, she quickly amassed her collection. Reagan looked like a movie star, but the rest were virtually identical to me. Except Alabama.
Since George Wallace could not serve consecutive terms as governor, his wife Lurleen was elected and was governor. She sent Nancy the standard black-and-white headshot photo — inscribed, “Luv, Guv.”
Our second note is from the great Tim Saunders of Half Moon Bay, Calif. (great place-name, right?). He responds to another column: “The State of the GOP.”
. . . A couple of years ago, I mentioned a song to you, saying that it contained a conservative message: “Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It).” I think there’s another song that is particularly appropriate to this moment: “Pick Yourself Up.” I’ll recommend any version done by Nat King Cole, such as this one, with George Shearing. . . .
Ah, nice. And thanks to all readers and correspondents.