- RealPressSecBot is a Twitter Bot that puts the president's tweets into traditional presidential statement form. A nice way to highlight how ridiculous and awful and not-normal this all is.
- Paste Magazine has an in-depth look at how Trump's communications team uses SEO (search engine optimization) to game Google results and ensure that fake and misleading news take over the top results. If you're already familiar with SEO and how it works, there won't be much new here, but if not it's an eye-opener. I'm not 100% convinced by the author's conclusion that the Democrats need to fight fire with fire, but we need to at least be aware of the tactic. When read with my librarian hat on, what this article really does is make the case for stepping up our information literacy education. Teaching people to think critically about the stories they see on the internet, how to tell reliable from unreliable sources, and look for cues toward author biases (and to be wary of information that upholds your own biases!) is so important in today's world, but it's not enough of a priority for too many educators. It contributes a lot to our increasing polarization, too.
- The Weather Channel is not playing around with the Paris Accord. Although the site has since moved on to breaking news, on the day that Trump announced the pending withdrawal of the US from this important international agreement, every story on the front page of the site was about the havoc wreaked by global climate change.
- One of the better news stories in recent weeks is Hillary Clinton's re-entry into public life. Naturally, there's been a lot of moaning and handwringing about she should just shut up and go away -- but not until after she takes total and personal responsibility for her loss and perhaps puts on a hairshirt or two. Gee, people are demanding that a woman apologize, shut up, and sit down? That's never happened before. Anyway, I've seen a number of good stories about the problems with this phenomenon. First, Ezra Klein talks about the rush to blame Clinton and Clinton alone for her loss, and why this is both simplistic and dangerous. Second, The Week goes into the history of past presidential losers and what they did in the immediate aftermath of the election (hint: it wasn't sit down, shut up, and go away, and it certainly wasn't take sole and total blame for not winning).
- FiveThirtyEight reports on the decreased African-American voter turnout in 2016 as compared to 2008 and 2012. As the tweet where I saw this study first mentioned pointed out, some of this is down to voter suppression, but they also wondered: where are all the thinkpieces about improving turnout in this demographic? (As opposed to the cottage industry that's sprung up around "winning back" the white working class.) Where, indeed.
- And also according to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats can take back the House in 2018 without enticing a single Trump voter to switch sides -- the margin among independents and third-party voters is more than enough to flip the seats the party needs. So it doesn't even matter, and it's time to start turning our focus back to the real base.
- So we all had a little fun with the Twitter typo that took the world by storm. Sure, we all knew that Trump meant to type "coverage", then presumably got distracted before he could correct and delete it. It wasn't exactly earth-shattering in comparison to many of the other things he's done. But it was fun to engage creatively with a meme that was ultimately harmless, as an antidote to the high stakes that we have to engage with every day. Laughter can be cathartic. And it's not like we forget about the serious things that are still going on. A few links:
- BoredPanda collects some of the best memes and Twitter responses here.
- Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch explains why covfefe looks so strange to English speakers and why we have no consensus on how to pronounce it.
- Merriam-Webster gives up.
- And then Sean Spicer tried to pretend that it was something intentional, because of course he did. I don't really feel sorry for Spicey because I'm sure he took that job willingly, but I have to imagine this isn't quite how he pictured his life.
- Although Rob Quist didn't win the special House election in Montana, he came within single digits, and this article explains why that's a good sign for Democrats going forward. Sure, it would be great to pull off an upset, and yes, it's a bit frustrating that the Democrats are putting all their eggs in the Georgia 6th basket, rather than fighting harder in races like this one and in Kansas that have turned out to be surprisingly close. But a good trend is a good trend, and winning a seat here and there is much less important than building momentum for the midterms next year. So take heart, friends. The lines are still all moving in the right direction.
- Also, it's not all moral victories and closing margins: on May 23rd, statehouse seats in New Hampshire and New York flipped Democratic, and in New York it was a district that Trump won by twenty-three points.
- I don't want to talk about the Kathy Griffin business in any detail (she probably went too far, her first apology was appropriate, but she should've left it at that; there are many ways to feel about the photo itself and I'm not going to say any of them are wrong), but I did want to share this article about the hypocrisy of conservatives getting up in arms about this when they winked, nodded, and laughed at equally-if-not-more horrific images of Barack Obama for eight years. It's the circular firing squad of the Left in action again, and I grow weary of it.
- Here's a good piece from Slate on the problem with "I don't see color" etc. as a way to deal with race, gender, or other marginalized groups in hiring.
- Finally, in something that is almost certainly just a coincidence and not a sign from God or whatever, a giant sinkhole recently opened up in front of Mar-a-Lago. It couldn't happen to a nicer bit of pavement.
- 1: Meanwhile...
- 2: Some thoughts on Mass Effect: Andromeda
- 3: Creativity and capitalism: a few thoughts from a fanfic writer
- 4: Semi-regular political linkspam: Covfefe edition
- 5: Wonder Woman!
- 6: Wiscon 41 - Day 1
- 7: WisCon 41: Day Zero
- 8: WisCon 41 schedule!
- 9: Semi-regular political linkspam: Okay NOW what?
- 10: Overthinking things is my specialty
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