Apr. 17th, 2017

owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I didn't take my laptop with me on my East Coast trip, mostly because I figured we'd be out and about a lot, especially in New York. I was mostly correct in this, so I fell a little behind on world events while I was gone, which is probably just as well.

  • I found this overview of the violent protest in Berkeley this Saturday to be a good and thoughtful summation of the situation. As usual, it's more complex than you might think from headline news. It's not really Trump supporters vs. anti-Trump; it's the latest evolution of a long-running conflict between the white supremacist right and the anti-fascist left, with the white supremacists using more moderate Trump voters as cover.

  • From The Nation, "Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump." This is a nice way of saying that Trump voters were racist (or, to take it a little more broadly, xenophobic, but the poll discussed by the article asked questions specifically about race and racial anxieties). The article never comes out and uses the word "racist" but the implication is clear. I'm getting a little frustrated by the mainstream media's inability to call racism out by name, even left-leaning publications like The Nation, but at least they're still raising the issue.

  • Of all the various takes inspired by the United Airlines debacle last weekend, I was most interested in Vox's history of airline industry deregulation and consolidation, and how that's led to current miserable flying conditions. It also answered a mystery that has long puzzled me: whatever happened to America West? (Answer: they bought out US Air and kept the US Air brand, so through various mergers they're basically now American Airlines.)

  • From The Washington Post's Daily 202 newsletter, poll results show that the change in support for military intervention in Syria is driven entirely by a massive swing in Republican opinion. Only 22% of Republicans approved of potential airstrikes in 2013, when Obama sought permission from Congress to punish Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians; today that number is 86%. (Democratic opinion is nearly unchanged, from 38% to 37%, well within the margin of error on the poll.) But sure, tell me that their opposition to Obama was principled.

  • I really appreciated this interview with political scientist Marcus H. Johnson on the problems with Bernie Sanders and his approach to fighting Trump, and the problems with infighting in the Democratic Party.

  • As you might therefore guess, I'm not on board with primarying every moderate Democrat under the sun in 2018 (please stop making noises about Dianne Feinstein; I don't love everything she does, but she has serious seniority in the Senate, and she flexes those muscles when it matters). But there are exceptions, and it seems like these eight New York Democrats who caucus with the Republicans are prime candidates for some challengers.

  • It's a little too depressing to go back and chronicle the events that led up to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court now that the damage is done, but I did want to share the article about his purported plagiarism, largely because it was a centerpiece of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley's epic filibuster last week, which I caught part of. Merkely wasn't blocking any particular vote by speaking overnight; it was mostly a protest move. But I found his effort inspiring anyway.

  • Jill Filipovic on why it's a problem that Mike Pence won't eat a meal alone with a woman who isn't his wife. This is not an uncommon stance among a certain strand of conservative Christian -- it's known as the Billy Graham Rule, because the evangelist famously pioneered the practice when Christian leaders were getting caught in sex scandals. It's still offensive in that context, but when a world leader adopts the policy, it's flat out discrimination. What if Pence becomes president, and has to take a private meeting with Angela Merkel? Will he insist that his wife be in the room? It's a system-wide problem, too, as this survey of female Congressional staffers shows -- they report being routinely excluded from after-hours networking opportunities because it would require them to be alone with male members of Congress.

  • On the good news front, recent local elections in Illinois elected a record-shattering number of Democrats to office. Includes a video from Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who runs a boot camp for people planning to run for office. It's called Build the Bench, and of the twelve alumni who ran in this cycle, at least eight of them won. This is exactly the kind of effort we need to be putting in, and I hope we see it spreading across the nation.

  • On that note, and related to my comments about primarying moderates above, here's a "List of Things Progressives Should Do Before Primarying Joe Manchin", moderate Democratic Senator from West Virginia. I'd add the caveat that if West Virginia progressives believe it's worth putting in the time and effort to mount a primary challenge to Manchin, then more power to them, and I'll support their efforts. (Same for Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, etc.) But on the national level, I absolutely agree that everything on this list takes higher priority.

  • Jill Filipovic has been killing it in her editorials for Cosmopolitan lately, and this piece on abortion rights as a precondition for economic justice is no exception.

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