Aug. 7th, 2017

owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
July was a busy time for me at work, and then I went on vacation, and as usual political events moved really quickly. It seems like years have passed since the last time I did one of these, although in reality it was just under a month. So it goes when you're on Trump time. But Congress is on its summer recess (mostly -- the Senate pulled a procedural trick to keep the chamber officially in session, so that Trump can't make any recess appointments; this isn't an unusual practice, though), and the big man himself is on a seventeen day vacation (because he's been SO HARD at work these last several months, you know), so maybe things will be a little quieter for a bit, and we can catch up.

It's nice to think so, anyway.

  • The big story on Twitter this weekend is an anti-diversity memo making the rounds internally at Google. The full text was leaked to Gizmodo; I'm not going to link to it, since it's 1. easy enough to find and 2. the same tedious MRA/alt-right bullshit we've all seen a million times about how women are too emotional to be good coders and "meritocracy" and why Google's REAL diversity problem is not enough Young Republicans (although Anil Dash's short version is pretty entertaining). However, I will link to this ex-Google employee's response, which is excellent. I also direct you to Dr. Nerdlove's Twitter thread on why "at least it's promoting discussion" is exactly the wrong response.

  • The Washington Post examines exit poll data from the last few president elections in search of "Trump Democrats" only to find that they basically don't exist. Most of the voters who switched from Obama to Trump were Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for Obama. Yet another reason for the Democrats to stop chasing this demographic and focus on pleasing their actual base.

  • Speaking of, yet again more nonsense about the DNC/DCCC giving money as support to anti-choice candidates. Stop. Just stop. It's never helped us before and it's certainly not going to help us now. I will never forget how anti-choice Democrat Bart Stupak almost derailed the passage of the ACA by pushing for anti-abortion provisions. I don't believe in ideological purity tests, and I know that not every regions of the country is willing to elect loud and proud abortion activists. Candidates and elected officials can believe whatever they want, and take more moderate positions on the issue. But when it comes down to it, if you are a Democrat, you support reproductive rights. The end.

  • That said, I have a huge issue with purity politics in general. Bustle has a good article on why women politicians in particular are hurt by an insistence on ideological purity. I'm really ready to be done with circular firing squads now.

  • On the lighter side, sort of, it recently came out that Trump considered buying the San Francisco Giants back in the 1980s. Sports writer Grant Brisbee reacts with the appropriate levels of existential horror.

  • On the occasion of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller impanelling a grand jury, Vox presents a really handy explainer of the probe, what Mueller's authority is, and how the investigation might go.

  • Hey, remember back when we thought Trump's real endgame for his campaign was to launch his own TV network? Well, would you take a look at that.

  • Because of the time gap since my last post, I missed the rapid rise and meteoric fall of never-quite-officially White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci (aka "The Mooch"). He'll be a great trivia answer in about ten years. Anyway, Jay Smooth had a great take on the whole thing.

  • The central topic of my last linkspam post was the Senate's continuing attempts to ram through some flavor of ACA repeal; as we all know, that didn't happen, in dramatic eleventh hour fashion. One of my favorite stories about that night comes from Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, who shared his view from behind the scenes.

  • You may recall a senator with cancer who got a lot of attention for his last-minute no vote. I'd rather celebrate Senator Mazie Hirono, who flew to DC from Hawaii right after surgery for Stage 4 cancer, held the line on every vote, and gave a beautiful, impassioned speech.

  • Speaking of credit where credit is due, let's not forget two other Republican Senators who have stood firm against ACA repeal, almost unwaveringly from the beginning: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

  • Here's an interesting report on the number of Congressional challengers who have already filed to run in 2018 and comparing them to other elections at this point in the cycle. It's worth reading the whole thing, but the upshot is that, in wave elections like 2006 and 2010, opposition party candidates file early in considerably larger numbers than those from the party in power, usually about twice as many. This year? It's an order of magnitude. (209 Democrats vs 28 Republicans.)

  • In the interest of this post not being five million pages long, I'm not even going to get into the whole Donald Trump, Jr., saga, but I was amused in an eye-rolly sort of way by this report from The Hill that Junior is "miserable and can't wait for his dad's presidency to end". Join the club, kid. (Note, autoplay video at that link.). Also, from the BBC, an article on whether this might be the smoking gun, and whether a smoking gun is even enough anymore.

  • Finally. this article is a little older, but it's from the man who coined the phrase white fragility, and it is a very good examination of the subject. Every white person should read this essay with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

October 2017

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