Linky Friday The Doomteenth

Creatures:

feral cat photo

Image by Salim Virji

[C1] Feral cats are conquering Australia. Also, a scandal involving the feral cats, and KFC.

[C2] A man in Northern Michigan falls in the freezing cold on New Year’s Eve. His dog did what dogs do in these stories.

[C3] Can’t sleep or the bats will drink your blood.

[C4] Predicting the weather with shark oil.

Energy:

Image by Fibonacci Blue

Image by Fibonacci Blue

[E1] Maybe we can get renewables where we want them before shutting down nuclear power plants?

[E2] How the US uses energy.

[E3] A look at a carbon capture project in Texas.

[E4] North Dakota was left with a hefty tab from policing the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

[E5] Obama is reasonably pleased with his clean energy legacy.

Healthcare:

antibiotic photo

Image by Wesley Fryer

[H1] MD Anderson is having to cut almost 1,000 jobs to compensate for economic losses caused by the EMR rollout.

[H2] The situation in Britain with the NHS looks kind of dire.

[H3] I guess it’s not surprising that I never heard of the vaccination for cholera, given that it’s available elsewhere but not in the United States.

[H4] Meanwhile, EpiPen’s only competitor (in the US) is now at CVS.

[H5] It’s really unclear to me how allowing the Canadian import of drugs would have much effect except perhaps much higher drug costs in Canada.

[H6] Well, this isn’t good.

Transportation:

car snow photo

Image by Martin Pettitt

[T1] Who among us hasn’t lost a car in a parking garage for six months?

[T2] This is nuts. Back out west, people leave their car running everywhere. The fear of theft is outweighed by the fear of the car not starting up again.

[T3] Some potential progress for self-driving cars as a new, cheaper sensor has been created.

[T4] Dodge the Dodge, if you want to avoid regrets.

Media:

Image by leighblackall

Image by leighblackall

[M1] I’m not worried that the media won’t try to hold Trump accountable, I’m worried that they will fail and hurt their own credibility.

[M2] Yeah, this doesn’t sound good to me.

[M3] An interesting interview with Slate’s David Auerbach on the state of the media.

[M4] Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev tells the American media what to expect.

[M5] Vanessa Gezari makes the case for Buzzfeed’s decision to run with the memos.

Space:

e83cb40928f7003ecd0b470de7444e90fe76e6dd1db3174291f1c0_640_planet-nine[S1] Hey, me too.

[S2] To dust we shall fall, from stardust we come.

[S3] Planet Nine… the rogue world that may have been screwing with our solar system.

[S4] Reason has some kind words for Obama’s space policy.

Doom:

car snow photo

Image by Brony1789

[D1] Was the Titanic sunk by ice or fire? Or, well, lots of things.

[D2] If your New Year’s goal is to lose weight, you might be doomed from the outset.

[D3] Britain is overdue for a major flood.

[D4] How Global Warming could cause an Icy Apocalypse.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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182 thoughts on “Linky Friday The Doomteenth

  1. T2: When I saw the headline, I assumed the issue was an environmental one. And I could be sympathetic to that argument if the warm-up period was excessive (though I’d want to see that spelled out specifically and explicitly in the law (e.g., “Any car left running and unattended for more than 10 minutes will be ticketed”) and the cops would need to document the time period). Then I saw the issue was “public safety” and that this would have been totes cool had he use a remote starter. Huh? What safety is risked? I mean, yes, this man elevates his risk of car theft. But that risk is pretty specific to him and it isn’t really a safety risk. Unless you imagine that all car thefts involve high speed chases like in the movies, this is just nonsense.

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    • This also shows how, at times, we are at greater risk from the police/government as opposed to, ya know, actual criminals.

      This man is out $128 because of the police. Car thieves? So far, so good it seems.

      I think about this when I occasionally will leave the boys in the car. I do have a remote starter so I’m able to keep the car running with the doors locked. I do it rarely and I most often do it while in my own parking garage (it’s about a 2 minute round trip from the car parked next to the exit door to my apartment if I hustle). The only other place I’ll do it is in my mom’s driveway or at the bank around the corner (if I can park right in front and just run to the AM, the car in sight the whole time). I have zero fear of anything actually happening to the boys… the doors are locked, the car is running maintaining a comfortable temperature, they’re secured in their car seats. But there is still the worry of the Busybody… poking their nose in and calling the cops and getting me in trouble. THAT person is a threat to me… far more so than any actual “criminal”.

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    • The argument I saw was “the neighbors were upset because there have been car thefts and it makes THEIR premiums go up.” which seems very busybodyish on the part of those neighbors to me.

      I think it’s more likely the PD and others were told “Find new sources of revenue” and this turned out to be a hare-brained scheme. Where I live – like where Will lives – this is a common, common thing. Not just in the winter; I have seen cars sitting in parking lots in the summer, running, their AC going, so they don’t heat up while a person is in the store. I can only assume the person has more than one set of keys and has locked the car.

      (I don’t do it; I’m too cheap to burn gas that way. I’d rather just get into a hot car and deal with it the few minutes it takes to cool down)

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      • Even if that is how insurance works, I struggle to see how that is the police/government’s business. And it certainly isn’t a public safety issue. Increased insurance rates do not threaten the public’s safety.

        I agree it seems like a money grab.

        One of the things I hate most about the way they structure tickets (at least the ones I’ve seen) is that the total cost of the ticket is a combination of a fine and an administrative cost. The judge an wave the fine but it is much harder to get out of the administrative cost. One time, I did get the fine waved. I then went to pay the administrative cost and asked the woman at the window why it even existed. “It costs money to process your payment.” “But the only payment I’m offering you is the one to process it.” “Yep.” “So if I didn’t pay you, you’d have nothing to process, and no costs incurred.” “$48 sir.” Ugh.

        I understand that running courts costs money. And there is a certain logic to charging the people who have to go to court for using its services. But it is a pretty tortured logic, especially in the case of people who are found not guilty. It creates all sorts of perverse incentives and I don’t believe for a second that all of that money goes to “court fees”. This is similar to my objection to restaurant wage surcharges going to something other than wage hikes.

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        • Oh, I totally agree on the “this isn’t part of government’s purview” and my argument back at the claim of “it makes insurance rates go up for everybody” was “maybe if the police knew there were lots of car thefts in that area, they might want to patrol it more or have a special task force out there”

          It’s kind of….to me, it’s kind of like when some story comes out about credit card skimmers on gas pumps and the media says stuff like, “Oh, just go and pay INSIDE the gas station, don’t use the outside credit card set ups.” Maybe instead they come up with better ways of catching, or better prosecution of, the actual CRIMINALS instead of inconveniencing the law-abiding citizens. (and in some weathers, some situations, some locations – it might be less safe to hike up to the gas station office than to run the card from your car, and anyway, who’s to say your card number won’t be stolen from inside the store? I suppose the answer is “just use cash then” but that brings another set of problems).

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          • I actually have a ton of libertarian leanings. In fact, the primary resistance I have to libertarianism is practical in nature insofar as it doesn’t really have a way to remedy historical and current injustices. Not to go off on a tangent, but I often see libertarianism (as well as other, related calls for a strict meritocracy) as taking two runners… one of whom has received the best training and been given a head start and another of whom has no training and was made to wear ankle weights for the first half of the race… and after the first triples his initial lead saying, “Okay, let’s remove the ankle weights, keep everyone where they are, and see who wins! Now it’s a fair competition!” That’s… not fair. If you can get both runners back to the start line and undo the built in advantages/disadvantages then, sure, let the chips fall where they may.

            I always credited Hanley for being one of the few hardcore libertarians who was able to acknowledge and at least attempt to address this stuff (primarily with regards to the violated treaties signed with indigenous groups, which is probably the most vexing conundrum that I think American libertarianism faces because you have explicit contracts that were clearly violated).

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        • “And there is a certain logic to charging the people who have to go to court for using its services.”

          no, there isn’t.

          well, there is a logic. and the logic is to keep the poorest people in any community in perpetual hock to the State, turning minor fines into life-crushing debts, and turning a nominally independent judiciary into the enemy of the people it’s supposed to provide justice to.

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    • Tangential, but…

      Back home, there was actually a law on the books that (a) Not having your bicycles locked up is a crime, and (b) having your bike stolen was also a crime if reasonable precautions were not taken.

      The reason was that there was a Youth Village nearby, Police got tired of people running away and stealing bikes and being a lot harder to catch than if they were just running on foot.

      (They also forbade street parking overnight for the similar reasons. The kids would hide behind cars.)

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    • “Drive it like you stole it” is an expression whose meaning we recognize, for a reason.

      (Personally I imagine that if I were driving a stolen car I’d do everything in my power to avoid attracting police attention. Stop at every stop sign, signal every lane change, obey every speed limit. But that kind of mentality is probably closely associated with not stealing cars in the first place…)

      Last Friday, someone left their van running outside the community center by our house, while they went inside to grab more of the stuff they were packing out. Around the same time, someone noticed a visibly drunk man messing around on the ice rink and kicked him out, probably for fear the guy would fall and split his head open.

      Rather than walk home, the guy apparently decided to drive the van conveniently left running right there. He peeled off down the alley swerving all over the place, taking out a good chunk of our fence and leaving behind a few pieces of the van’s body panelling. Fortunately nobody was walking in the alley or taking out their garbage at the time.

      Now, I don’t agree with blaming the owner of the van for leaving it running – the fault is entirely on the guy who chose to stole the thing. But I think it demonstrates how car theft can also be a public safety issue.

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      • I am unfamiliar with that phrase. And agree that if I stole a car, I’d do my best to draw as little attention as possible.

        Car theft can be a public safety issue but the people responsible for that are car thieves, not the victims.

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        • And yet the expression has the opposite meaning – drive with reckless abandon, like you’re only going to hang on to it for a short while, and if it needs repairs they will be someone else’s problem.

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  2. D2: “This suggests that sticking with a veggie-heavy diet for a longer period of time may give dieters a leg up over those who attempt to achieve rapid results.”

    Leaving aside the specifics of any particular diet plan, the major takeaway is that seeking rapid results are the problem… not your microbiome or the goal of losing weight to begin with.

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    • Weight loss is preposterously difficult, and indeed most “new year’s resolutions” will fail, inasmuch as most diets fail.

      Yes it seems like bacteria matters, and for that probiotics exist (as does fecal transfer, but ewwwwww). Anyway, my doctor recommends Align or Culturelle.

      Processed foods are almost certainly a central factor in contemporary weight gain. Eating natural foods can make a huge difference, which is to say, one calorie from a highly processed, carb heavy modern “food like substance” is really nothing like a calorie from an apple. Yes, when burned they both release the same amount of energy, but your body doesn’t just “burn” them that way. They get digested and metabolized. The process is complex. Natural foods just work differently.

      I’ve lost over 130 pounds. It took years. I had to completely reboot my lifestyle. The way I approaching eating, exercise, all of it, is totally different now.

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    • I tried a veggie-heavy diet (essentially, the DASH diet) when I was first diagnosed with hypertension.

      My conclusion is that it’s a YMMV thing. Eight to eleven servings of fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables) in a day is no joke. I lost a little weight partly because vegetables are very calorie-sparse, but I also found they had, um, quite an effect on me…..I spent far more time in the bathroom than I wanted to….and my body didn’t adapt. (I kept going “Damn you, gut flora, undergo ecological succession to cope with this!” but they didn’t listen to me, I guess).

      I can manage 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, but more than that – I can’t do. And some days I can’t even do that, I seem to have a sensitive gut.

      I’ve also concluded I will never be skinny and my doctor seems okay with me being a somewhat chunky woman who exercises and tries to eat healthfully rather than a thin woman who got that way through several grueling years of extreme calorie restriction (which is what getting down to a “normal” BMI from “overweight” would probably take me)

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      • I would say, a “natural diet” is not identical to all all-veggie diet. After all, a nice steak is perfectly natural.

        It’s about avoiding the processed foods, not avoiding yummy foods.

        I try to get a fair amount of veg, but I still eat plenty of meat and starches. Also I supplement with fish oil, fiber, vitamins, etc. I eat a lot of yogurt, but I’ll probably start a probiotic soon.

        Anyway yeah, vegetables can be hard to digest. If they’re having a “bad effect,” cut back on veg, add a fiber supplement, get more protein and fats (yay eggs!), etc.

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        • yeah, I tried being a vegetarian a few times and I just wasn’t *happy* on that diet. I need meat at least occasionally. (Local supermarket choices are uninspiring in the beef front, so I more often make do with chicken thighs)

          And cheese. I could not be happy as a vegan because cheese.

          I also find that eating a little more fat is better for me in a lot of ways than doing extreme low-fat.

          I’ve given up on being “thin,” I tend to now try to optimize my diet for “not dying too young” which means mostly limiting sugars and fake fats and getting lots of good nutrients. And eating things that make me happy once in a while, because living to 100 but being miserable doing it isn’t worth it.

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      • and

        Not disagreeing with anything you offer. I guess my point was that if you try a crash/fad diet and it fails, the more likely reason it did is because “crash/fad diet” than because “microbiome.” Microbiome matters. But even the microbiome-privileged (of which I may be one) are going to have limited success with crash/fad dieting.

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      • My wife and I decided on something simpler. We just started cutting meat out of a few meals a week.

        No attempt to go full vegetarian, just…a few meatless meals a week. We’re looking at reducing carbs a bit next.

        Long term, sustainable changes.

        We figure if we come up with a few meatless meals we like (and can easily cook), and add those into the rotation — that’s helpful. If we find a few regular dinners we can reduce carbs on even 10%, that’s helpful.

        Will we lose a ton of weight? No. Will we lose weight at all? No idea. But I bet the end result is healthier, one way or another.

        And it’s a lot easier to adapt to than major changes. (So far we’ve found a rather nice spaghetti recipe that uses neither meat nor noodles, a rather tasty fried rice and vegetarian “meatballs” meal, some rather good soups, and a taco/burrito/buritto bowl setup that’s entirely meatless and very, very good)

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          • Same here. And I sometimes go days without eating meat in the sense of it being the flesh of an animal. (But I kind of consider cheese to be “honorary meat”)

            I eat fewer carbohydrates than I once did; that is largely related to the fact that I’m supposed to reduce sodium and most grocery store bread is pretty high in sodium. I know how to bake bread and I enjoy it, but at this point in my life I rarely have time for that.

            And things like crackers and cookies are mostly off limits – a combination of weird sinus issues (echoey) and fragile teeth (I broke a tooth badly a couple years ago) makes me not want to eat anything hard and crunchy. (And I am suspicious that part of that whole thing is some weird phobia/ocd thing that started up about the same time as I broke the tooth)

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        • Yeah, manageable “deltas” are going to work better than “gosh we should reboot our lives” —

          — unless of course you do reboot your life. I did. But it was complex and involved quite a few therapy bills. Plus I grew breasts.

          Anyway.

          I eat a lot of meat. I also lift weights. I think the two balance nicely.

          Fat is delicious. If you get a good balance of natural fats (plus fish oil), then you probably won’t have cholesterol problems. (It turns out doctors were completely wrong about the fat-cholesterol thing and dammit what a waste.)

          Anyway, eating is nice. I love good food. I don’t try to do “low cal,” cuz who can live like that? But my weightlifting and dancing combined with natural-ish foods (mostly, I compromise) seems to match well with my overall calorie intake.

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          • I’ve been unable to really exercise well for six months now. Plantar tendon (hopefully this last treatment will work) that’s still bugging me, and three months ago shoulder bursitis. (Which I finally got diagnosed and started treatment on two days ago. Really mild, but I’ve been afraid to do much with that arm because I didn’t know what was wrong nor could figure out what made it better/worse).

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              • Yeah, I got shoulder bursitis while ASLEEP. (I slept on that side and I must have stressed the shoulder that day or the day before, but I went to bed fine and work up in a great deal of pain).

                And plantar fascia problems are aggravated while asleep (your toes point, the tendon shrinks, and then tends towards microtears and inflammation with your first steps).

                WTF body? You can’t sleep right? I’m apparently at the age where “sleep related injuries” are a thing.

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                • I read they found an Alzheimer’s drug causes your tooth enamel to regrow. They just soaked sponges in the stuff and packed it into a cavity and the tooth regrew. (Well, in dogs).

                  I always thought tooth regeneration would be the first thing we figured out. we grow our final set as adults. Most of the mechanisms to make that stuff grow have to be pretty much in place.

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                  • I read about that. My reaction was “faster, please” – I have four crowns because of old fillings (I was bad about brushing my teeth as a teen) and I’ve broken teeth requiring crowns.

                    (Some people would say the dental work is what I deserved for not taking better care of my teeth as a teen. But there are now a lot of things I either can’t eat, or am not comfortable eating, lest I damage a crown. And I’m young enough that at some point the crowns will probably wear out, and then I don’t know where I will be. Implants, I suppose, ugh.)

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    • Yup. I’ve found that diet changes should be treated like exercise changes: change slowly and it’s no big deal. If you’re eating all cheeseburgers for every meal, jumping immediately into an all celery diet is doomed to fail, even though it may produce faster results than easing in. Just substitute a couple of cheeseburgers out the first week. Then one more a little later.

      You really don’t notice slow-moving changes to your diet over the long haul. Unless you’re eating a jillion calories per day and every day you don’t change is a giant step closer to death, it seems like saying, “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to eat healthy,” is as unnecessarily abrupt as, “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to run six miles a day.”

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      • I think that portion control is much more important than what you eat when it comes to losing weight. When I lost weight, I reduced the amount I ate more than changed my diet. You should still eat healthy but portion control does a lot to.

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    • Your body is evolved to view rapid weight loss in one way: Famine! A biological disaster and material threat to its survival. Your body remembers and will respond accordingly: as soon as the “famine” ends your body will desperately seek to maintain a lower energy consumption profile and hoard hoard hoard resources against the eventuality of another famine. In other words you’ll get fatter easier and stay fatter.

      Rapid results suck, god(ess?)damn biology. As I understand it weight loss is something you have to kind of sidle up to and stick with for a long time.

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      • You have to out-think billions of years of evolution and come at the problem in one of two ways: Chip away at the edges while pretending you’re doing something else, or commit to overwhelming brute force until the day you die.

        There’s a reason doctor’s have started looking at other aspects of eating and insurance companies have started covering surgeries.

        I suspect dealing with evolution in a world of plentiful food is going to take a few key pharmaceutical breakthroughs. (Screwing with the satiation response, which is apparently tied into LOTS of important things — and convincing the body to recycle empty fat cells instead of holding onto them to name two. It takes much more energy to make a fat cell than fill an empty one.)

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          • Evolution is pretty happy. You’re pumping out kids even earlier now, and they’re harder to kill off.

            All that “dying of obesity after your kids hit their teens” stuff isn’t a problem.

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                • Yep. :) I mean in one sense the Western world is delaying it as long as possible (and science is pushing it back further) but as far as our bodies are concerned?

                  Modern food and obesity is fantastic. You hit child-bearing years so much faster, and the kids have plenty of food to grow. Heart attacks or diabetes at 50 is meaningless.

                  We’re gonna have to attack that chemically. We’re just not designed for having complete and constant access to plentiful food. And nobody’s about to give that up, either.

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        • I read about some drug that apparently decreased appetite/eating (I’m chunky not because I’m so very hungry, but because I tend to eat for emotional reasons). Problem was, it interfered with the brain’s reward system, and a fair few of the drug-trial participants had to drop out because they became so anhedonic they developed serious depression.

          I suspect that there are still some who’s say “it’s a fair tradeoff for being thin.”

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          • Yep, that’s what I meant by the satiation response being really buried in the brain.

            The satiation response is going to be really primal, and probably have a lot of other mechanisms weaving through it or built on top of it.

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            • Rule of thumb in biochemistry is that everything is a Rube Goldberg mechanism build on top of each other.

              The deeper the signal is in evolutionary history, the more likely it is to have other important stuff built on top of it.

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  3. C2: In regard to the great dog or cat debate, I note that if this guy had a cat instead of a dog, his body wouldn’t be found until Spring.

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  4. M1: I think it is interesting that you think the media is going to destroy itself by being left wing. There are lots of liberals who think that the media went really right wing hack in 2016 because they spent tons of times on emailgate!!! So we have moderates and right-wingers who see the Times as super liberal and liberals cancelling their subscription to the Times. Maybe we can unite by all distrusting the media?

    My worry is that the tendency of MSM is to be ass kissing to whoever is in power because they live on “access”. This is especially true for 24/7 cable news. Lots of journalists also seem to care more about who is “winning” than whether a policy is good or sensible because the latter is not friendly to cocktail parties and salaries.

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    • I don’t have a problem with the media being anti-Trump. I’m anti-Trump. I have a problem with the media going about it stupidly in ways that lead people to shrug off Trump criticism. It’s hard for the media to be an effective critic when people overwhelmingly believe they’re biased against him. The first step in trying to minimize that is to stop doing stupid things en route to their criticisms.

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      • At this point it seems like for large numbers of American’s that (trust) ship has already sailed. I wish I could say it could be won back by taking the advice you laid out above, but I don’t think it can. What’s even harder to comprehend is that the lost trust is for things that are relatively minor when compared with where those people know turn for information. But a big bias that confirms their priors is easier to live with than a small bias that doesn’t.

        The prosecutor* who operates the special heroin room next to my wife’s office routinely gets in arguments with defense attorney’s and the other prosecutors about Trump. Every time someone has mentioned the NYT or WP he scoffs and dismisses anything they say as partisan ‘fake news’. I walked in on him yesterday watching Infowars on his lunch break. How do you come back from that? To start trusting the MSM again he basically has to reject a significant part of his worldview.

        *I know him from playing soccer outside of work and he’s a funny, amiable guy.

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      • Maybe I exist in a different world but I see a lot of people who want the media to be more confrontational because they see the MSM as caring more about power and money than anything else.

        So you have right-wingers who see the MSM as hopelessly left-wing and left people who see the media as either asskissing soft ballers with outdated stereotypes on latte drinking elites (read: anyone who is from the urban areas of the US) and/or as right wing for constantly playing the emails non-scandal because email is an easy story and policy is hard.

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        • This has me concerned. Mostly because the last thing I want the media believing is that they weren’t tough enough. The problem is that they were “tough” in stupid ways. They hyperventilated over the wrong things and, in some cases, nothing. They made everything a big deal so nothing was a big deal. They ran “fact-checks” that were transparently wrong even to a lot of Trump critics.

          Fifty-five percent of voters believe the media was biased against Trump. 75% believe that newspeople favored Clinton.

          Going harder on Trump sounds like a recipe to be ignored.

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          • It is all part of a loss of trust.

            The problem is that the media is not cohesive even within one unit. A lot of media endorsements were for HRC but the front coverage could be tougher on HRC.

            A better example might be how liberal types love the investigative and arts but hate Brooks, Dowd (who is probably seen as a liberal everywhere else), and the Styles section which is easy on the rich

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          • It’s because they went after what would attract eyeballs, rather than what was important. We insist that the media be run as a business, and then complain when they don’t expend sufficient energy keeping government accountable for us.

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            • Depends on which aspect of the media we’re talking about. I think that’s some of it. Other parts of it I think are visceral. Media people just respond differently than the normals, and so their instincts are off-base.

              (For what it’s worth, I have come to believe I have the same problem as “media people” when it comes to how I respond to Trump.)

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                • One example that comes to mind is that I think the majority of people who saw the clip knew that Trump was not actually kicking the woman with the crying baby out of his rally.

                  I think most people believe he wasn’t being serious when he told the Russians to get the dirt.

                  When Trump ditched the press corps for steak, I think most people instinctively sided with Trump. (I mean, if a president did this in a movie, we’d be rooting for him, right?)

                  And other cases where it’s not that people disagree with the media so much as they just don’t care, and there is concern about coming across as petty by trying to make a big deal out of it.

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                  • M1 Also has a great example of this. Basically politifact took a true statement by Romney and contextualized it, interrogated it, and opinionated all over it. Then called it a Pants on Fire lie, despite the fact that it was, you know, true.

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              • “Media people just respond differently than the normals, and so their instincts are off-base.”

                But I think that’s why both liberals and conservatives think they’re biased against them. Media folks typically care less about the issues that animate non-elite liberals, of whom there are a lot. So they focus on things that matter to relatively elite folks in NYC, DC and LA and less about things that animate the “true” liberal core. It’s similar to how Brietbart thinks that National Review are a bunch of sellouts.

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                • I think there’s some truth to that. I think that four-square politics should be divided not with a libertarian/authoritarian axis (in addition to right/left), but a high-low axis. The media would (by my own accounting) be all over the place for different outlets, but there would be a cluster in high-center-left.

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                • This is a good observation and probably explains some of my differences I have with LGM. There are a lot of things that bother them but I have a hard time understanding as a big deal

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          • The problem is that they were “tough” in stupid ways. They hyperventilated over the wrong things and, in some cases, nothing. They made everything a big deal so nothing was a big deal.

            I hear ya Will, but I have to disagree. Terms like “the media” lump everyone with a platform to speak in the public square into the same category, and doing so blurs the more important issue driving this particular worry: the collapse of the distinction between good and bad journalism. We’ve reached a point where any piece of politically oriented journalism (first order level, not meta stuff) no matter how well sourced and how well grounded in evidence and facts will be viewed as a hit piece by the “opposition” along predictable partisan and/or ideological lines. None of that is the media’s fault, seems to me.

            And the reasons for the collapse in this distinction are complex, seems to me. Some of it can be accounted for by political-cultural factors (increasingly, people view journalism as good or credible when it reconfirms their priors), some of it is economically driven (the economic model of pretty much all media is ad revenue, which means eyeballs), and some of it is a result of the way news is predominantly disseminated in our day and age (on the interwebs, or via twitter, where the competition for eyeballs is based more on flashbangs than considered judgment).

            All of which is to say: it isn’t the media’s fault that people can no longer distinguish between good journalism and bad journalism. It’s the people who choose to confuse those two things and by doing so generate clicks, which mean eyeballs, which mean ad revenue, which means profit!!

            Which means more bad news.

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            • Well, I mean, if the media wants to take the position “Actually, it’s not our fault because what we do and the mistakes we make don’t matter”… I guess they can. But they’re the ones that screwed up fact-checking, for example. They choose where their attention goes and doesn’t go. They’re the ones that overwhelmingly sided against a candidate, and the public responded by electing him anyway. Which suggests, to me, that maybe a different strategy is warranted.

              (As Saul alludes, others suggest that the media’s failure was in trying to be neutral and being de-facto too soft on Trump. Public perception is that isn’t the case, and I don’t know what even more unanimity and forcefulness on the media would have accomplished.)

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              • Well, I mean, if the media wants to take the position “Actually, it’s not our fault because what we do and the mistakes we make don’t matter”… I guess they can.

                The media is not a single entity capable of top-down decision-making. What you said strikes me as equivalent to saying “if the economy wants to take the position that graft and corruption are not its fault, then it can.” The media is a collection of individuals who disseminate stuff for various reasons, one of which, necessarily (unless the outlet is privately funded) is to make money.

                They’re the ones that overwhelmingly sided against a candidate, and the public responded by electing him anyway.

                Which shouldn’t be viewed as the public rejecting the media, nor should the media’s failure to determine (what you view as its preferred) outcome constitute evidence that the media ought to be rejected. That would only follow from the premise that the media should have enough power to determine electoral outcomes.* Personally, I’m not willing to go that far, myself, but I presume that you aren’t either.

                *Which, ironically, strikes me as exactly what generated the most recent wave of conservative media rejectionism culminating in election of Trump.

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                • Did the media really overwhelmingly side with one candidate? Maybe their personal preferences were for H-dawg, but the reality is her emails received more coverage than anything else. They sat on the Trump/Russia accusations. They indulged in all sorts of false equivalencies. They were very reluctant (and remain so!) to call much of what Trump said what it actually was: lies. Who knows why they did all that but they did do all that. They simply did not apply the same level of scrutiny to Trump that they did to Hillary.

                  So we have a news media that, collectively, made Clinton look worse than she was while making Trump look better than he was while also falling victim to accusations of a vast liberal media conspiracy. This created a double-whammy that generated much heat among the right. “The media is against us! And look at all these reports of just how awful she is!” with no one pointing out the obvious irony of those two statements.

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                  • The most egregious treatment difference was the coverage of Trump v. Clinton Foundations. One literally solicited bribes from lawmakers and violated the law. That one got less coverage unless you were David Fahrenthold

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                    • This actually touches on what I mean by “Going after Trump smart, not hard.”

                      Because while they weren’t focusing on the Trump Foundation, they were going after him really hard on a lot of other things. It just turned out to be things that people didn’t care sufficiently about.

                      And it’s important that if you do go after Trump for the important stuff, you have credibility and aren’t just viewed as Hating Trump. That was a trap that everyone opposite of Trump, from the primaries to the general election, fell into. Including the media.

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                      • Trumpers deemed every critic a Trump Hater unless/until they kissed the ring. People are solely responsible for their own closed-mindedness.

                        We are a long way aways from, “But you didn’t listen!”

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                          • I think this is the best case that HRC’s campaign screwed up: her attacks on Trump focused on the identity-based flaws (racist, sexual predator, etc.) rather than on him being a greedy billionaire that screws the little guy.

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                          • I have a different view of that, Will. USA Today DID expend great effort to write up a long-form, investigative journalism story, based on facts and evidence, and the response among media consumers was the functional equivalent of crickets. So it wasn’t that people got distracted, it’s that the vast majority didn’t care.

                            Which sends a signal to other media outlets who may have been otherwise inclined to engage in some real journalism, no? Don’t do it!! Stick with meta discussions about the appropriateness of his Judge Curiel comments!!! Give the people what they want!!! (Etc and so on.)

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                  • Kazzy:
                    They simply did not apply the same level of scrutiny to Trump that they did to Hillary.

                    And still you’ll find enormous numbers of people convinced that they were biased against trump because more negative stories about Trump got published.

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                  • I mean, when all-white juries were using jury nullification to acquit white defendants accused of killing blacks, was the issue with the prosecution and their case? Or the monsters on the jury?

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                    • More directly: if there is nothing CNN or the NYT could have said re: Trump foundation that would have changed someone’s mind, the issue is with that particular someone, not CNN or the NYT.

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                  • If your goal is to Hold Trump Accountable, and the way you do so makes people more sympathetic to him than less, or more antagonistic towards you than towards him, then… something is not working right.

                    I don’t think the media’s treatment of Trump is making more people sympathetic to him*, at least as it would be revealed in public polling. Last I heard (a couple days ago) Trump’s approvals as the P-Elect were at 37%, well below Obama’s and W’s approvals at the same time before inauguration.

                    As it stands, given that polling, a significant number of people who voted for Trump appear to disapprove of him.

                    *Personally, I think that’s a meta, “above the fray”-type analysis which is fun to play but doesn’t pan out in practice without begging some important questions. For example, that hyperbolic, exaggerated, often entirely false claims generated anti-liberal/anti-Dem hysteria culminating in the current GOP sweepstakes.

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                    • That was really my thinking going into election day. Then, with an approval rating of 37%, he won. So now I’m thinking that some of the things we did backfired. Making a lot of voters, if not sympathetic to Trump, indifferent to criticism of him.

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                      • This relates to the hypothetical I had about 2018.

                        Some right-leaning folks look at truthful, critical stories of Trump and say, “Bullshit!” and rally to him.

                        Some left-leaning folks look at truthful, critical stories of Hillary and say, “Ugh!” and stayed home.

                        When can we say, “One of those groups acted like reasonable adults and the others didn’t?”

                        Because that is what happened.

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                        • I don’t mind saying that Trump voters are to blame for the outcome of this election. But Trump voters are pleased with the outcome of this election. So it’s up to people who are displeased with it to figure out how we might have contributed to it.

                          It can be a blurry line between “X contributed to” to “X is to blame for”… but it’s still something that’s there. I don’t want to lose to him again. Trump’s ardent supporters are not likely to (consciously) help me with that aim.

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                        • In 2020, he’ll be running against somebody else. (Probably.) And we don’t know how things are going to look when he’s president and there hasn’t been a nuclear war with China yet. There won’t be a FUD argument against him, going forward.

                          I expect 2018 to be a good year for Democrats*. Though I think the best way for that to be wrong is for Democrats to go into it believing “2018 will be a good year for us!”

                          * – Granted, it’s an uphill battle for the Senate and the House. But there should be gains at least in the latter. The governors’ mansions are the big thing to look at.

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                          • Biggest question mark is the Wisconsin gerrymandering case.

                            It went 5-4 in 2004? I think, but from Kennedy’s decision that was only because of a lack of a working test. The Wisconsin case had exactly the sort of test Kennedy was looking for, and seems tailor made to appeal to Kennedy (it’s objective, straightfoward, and pretty much impossible to game).

                            If partisan gerrymandering gets kicked to the curb, along with a working test for lower courts, then…some things will get really interesting really quickly. (Depending on whether those districts have to be redrawn before the census).

                            Just on the state legislative level between 7 and 15 states fail the test (depending on what criteria you use. 7 fail when the gap is two seats, 15 fail when it’s more than 7%. Wisconsin was sitting at 13%. I suspect there’s few states that bad).

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        • I think the right underestimates the laziness of the media, and the left underestimates its bias. The M1 article points to a strange combination of both laziness and bias. It’s more busy work, really, nitpicking Trump without any relevant facts or a goal of educating the reader. It’s something new, and the author was right to call attention to it.

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          • That’s part of it. But there is also a real blurring between actually reported journalism, opinion pieces, and Vox style ‘explainers.’ So it’s that there is a conscious goal of educating the reader, or providing context, or explaining whether the statement is true or false.

            There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I think there needs to be a much clearer demarcation.

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            • I think “Fact-Checking” needs to be considered “Claim Investigation”… not so much rated as “True” or “False” but more along the lines of “Here is how that claim is true, and here is how it isn’t.” In some cases, of course, a claim is going to be completely true or completely untrue, and so in those cases you don’t need the “and.”

              But people like scores, so it’s a tough sell to the media business.

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                • The M1 link is a good one.

                  Opinions can and should be challenged, but this should be done via a countering opinion, backed up with reason, logic, facts, and whathaveyou.

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              • I think “Fact-Checking” needs to be considered “Claim Investigation”… not so much rated as “True” or “False” but more along the lines of “Here is how that claim is true, and here is how it isn’t.” In some cases, of course, a claim is going to be completely true or completely untrue, and so in those cases you don’t need the “and.”

                I agree that what your describing is a more useful tool in a different universe, but in this one it won’t change anything.

                The problem with fact checking political claims these days isn’t that the media is too liberal or conservative. It’s that no one has an interest in recognizing any facts that don’t correspond with political narrative. That’s not going to be different when you substitute TRUE/FALSE buttons with more words. Everyone’s still going to reject anything that says their guy or gal wasn’t 100% correct.

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                • Mitt Romney said that our Navy is the smallest it has ever been since 1917. That’s true insofar as the Navy is substantially smaller than it was in 1917 and it has not since been consistently smaller than it is right now. Critics will point out that we don’t need the number of ships that we used to have. They might also point out that in 2005 there were technically fewer ships than there were in 2011, though there is a natural ebb and flow. (Elaborate greatly, provide numbers, context, arguments for why some argue we don’t need as many ships, and why others argue that we actually do.)

                  Romney people can read this and say “See? Romney was right!”

                  Obama people can read this and say “See? Romney was wrong!”

                  And both might have a better idea of how our present navy stacks up against our previous navy. And more importantly, people who are not committed to one side or the other have an idea of where, precisely, the disagreement is.

                  More than anything, it’s actually scoring the claims with Pinocchios and meters and pants ablaze that push everybody into their defensive corner or embolden an offensive posture.

                  On the other hand, it’s the scoring that gathers the attention. It’s the partisan aspect that draws readers. So my proposal would be (I believe) more informative and better for the body politick. But that’s not the same thing as giving the consumers what they actually want (and, more importantly, respond to).

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          • I generally agree with this for print media. The Times is usually liberal and so is the Wash Post. The Post does have more conservative columnists though in their op-ed sections.

            CNN is not really liberal to me. I think they seem to try to be all about ratings and the lowest common denominator.

            And what did the head of CBS say: “Trump might be bad for America but he is great for ratings”? Or something close. I think there is a lot of truth in the statement as to how the media operates.

            Karl Rove’s observation is that the media is oppositional by nature, not partisan. A kind of knee jerk opposition seems to be their M.O.

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            • I got to watch some CNN this year before the election. I used to think that MSNBC was partisan, but I’ve never seen anything like what CNN had. I’ve attended campaign rallies that were more balanced.

              The head of CBS is right. His statement doesn’t tell us anything about how the press operates. Not on a day-to-day basis in terms of bias, at least.

              As for knee-jerk opposition, I haven’t seen a lot of it in the past 8 years. Do you remember many pieces opposing President Obama? The bailout, the war on terror (Mother Jones isn’t in the mainstream press), gay rights, health care, the NLRB, Sotomayor and Kagan, the Iran deal? There may have been pieces opposing the Republican obstructionists, or panels with 4 pros and 1 anti, but not a lot of opposition.

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      • — I feel as if “the media” is a large collection of disparate people operating within their own structural frames and thus talking about what “the media” should do is just as pointless as talking about what “the voters” should do.

        Which obviously “the voters” should reject Trumpism. Likewise “the media” should enact a perfect Trump resistance strategy. Etc.

        I’m trying to figure out what veronica should do.

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        • When “the voters” act the same way in meaningful clusters, it’s worth looking at why, and there is merit in talking about those clusters. When “the media” do the same thing, ditto. These days, most of the largest media outlets act in a similar way.

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          • When “the voters” act the same way in meaningful clusters, it’s worth looking at why, and there is merit in talking about those clusters.

            One fact that seems to be consistently overlooked is that Trump’s victory in the primary constituted a rejection of the GOP, masked, to some extent, given that he ran on the GOP ticket. But I think the point still stands: Trump’s victory constituted a rejection of BOTH parties, and establishment politics and political culture moreorless generally.

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            • Very much this. That’s why the GOP princes and aristocrats were doing the Fry and Zap Brannigan’s expression on election day. “Death, by snu-snu!” *horror*delight*horror*delight*

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      • And Bush, and Clinton, and etc…

        The shuttle program was extended far, far beyond it’s expiration date because everyone wanted to kick that can down the road a bit more.

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        • Yes, the shuttle was extended too far. Yes the decline may have started under Bush and Clinton, however, Obama did kill the Constellation program which cemented our reliance on the Russians. That isn’t a good thing to me.

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          • We are moving towards using the various private space companies for regular transit to LEO. We have invested a fair amount of dollars in them. NASA’s budget can’t do everything so letting the private companies takeover some of that seems like a decent choice and gives a boost to private industry. The Constellation program would have sucked every dollar out of NASA. If we would treble or more NASA’s budget they could do all the things we want, but as is, they can’t.

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              • Yup. We shouldn’t’ be reliant on the Ruskies. That was never good. It was an unfortunate cost saving measure and stop gap. Given how often high tech space projects take longer than expected it was bound to drag on to long. But not good and we’ll be better off when that is done. Sharing the ISS is fine but that should be it.

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    • Another in a similar vein: https://medium.com/being-liberal/liberals-stop-the-self-loathing-and-get-to-fucking-work-8574a548f126#.1r71k0ope

      All of this culminates in a deep sense of self-loathing among liberals that is counterproductive to the cause. When progressives co-opt right-wing talking points about how Democrats are “latte-sipping” “smug elites,” who “live in bubbles,” they’re doing Republicans’ rhetorical dirty work for them. What’s more, these characterizations are wholly inaccurate?—?Trump voters have a HIGHER median income than Clinton supporters, and blue urban centers more closely resemble America than red rural areas. As George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at UC Berkeley, underlines about the importance of establishing your own narrative:

      When arguing against the other side, don’t use their language because it evokes their frame and not the frame you seek to establish. Never repeat their charges! Instead, use your own words and values to reframe the conversation.

      Bam!

      I feel as if this might be relevant to the general tone around here.

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      • Sometime in election season, I saw a factiod that the community that is the most representative microcosm of the USA as a whole is New Haven, CT.
        If true, not at all how commonly pictured.

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      • I generally agree though I have a feeling there’s some baby being thrown out with the bathwater in the articles.
        For instance I agree entirely that on policy we have very little we really need to give. I do, however, think that in tactics and tone we have weaknesses that we shouldn’t overlook. The lecturing celebrity focused talk down attitude that some elements of HRC’s campaign adopted? The “it’s not our responsibility to explain it to you, check your privilege and educate yourself” line of argument? We could chuck those things into the trash without giving an inch on policy and principle.

        I’m gonna harken back to an oldie: Memories Pizza. Some bored reporter roams into some rural shop and asks them if they’d cater a gay wedding. They say nope. Shit show ensues.
        Now I’m down with deciding not to patronize said restaurant for their stance. I’m down with telling all your friends you’re not and why. I’m even down with organizing boycotts. But the people calling them to scream at them? The ones shutting down the places phones with repeated calls? The ones sending in death threats? Fuck those people, they’re idiots and they’re not fucking helping. Hell if I HATED gay rights and wanted to hurt gay people I can’t think of many things that would hurt them more than by pretending to be a gay ally and pulling that kind of shit.

        Now my other instincts angrily protest and say “hold on now, gay businesses, gay sanctuaries and gay friendly organizations suffered this kind of bullshit for decades, every fishing day! Some still do!” And that is true! But to that we should consider: Gay rights are one of the subjects where the population has swung to our side with historic speed. We’re not just talking a generational shift, we’re talking a wholesale route in just about every facet of the populace. Should we be fishing imitating the strategies of the people who LOST that fishing argument faster and more completely than any opponents of civil rights in our history? Why the hell would we want to do that? I don’t want to do that. You know what’d really chap the asses of the religious gay haters? If gay people and their allies, triumphant, then choose NOT to ape the goals, tactics and attitudes of their defeated foes and prove for all of history that we are better than they were.

        How does one defeat their opponent? Killing them just yields a dead opponent (and on the internet silencing them merely yields a silent opponent, even worse than a dead one). No, the way to defeat an opponent is to convince them you are right or they are wrong so they cease to be your opponent (or even become your ally). And I don’t know if it’s possible to accomplish that in the space a tweet affords.

        So that’s where I think the articles, while largely right and excellently written, are lacking. There is space between acting in the tactics and manner our side does and giving up fighting for what we’re fighting for. We could choose to not give up any of what we’re fighting for but choose to fight and police our allies to fight in a manner that is most likely to yield victory.

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        • When NeverTrump Republicans were trying to argue against other Republicans falling into line, Memories Pizza was easily in the top five counterarguments. It was… not helpful. Even among Republicans that are sympathetic to gay rights.

          As far as Lakoff goes, I partially agree. Time spent defending yourselves against accusations of being snobby is time wasted on enemy terrain (including, perhaps especially, by sneering or mocking the notion that you are snobby). Move away from it as quickly as possible. But *not* by arguing how people like you actually represent America and not people like them or anything along those lines. You only want to ram those cleaves when you’re sure you have a majority on your side of it. Which neither side does.

          Make the arguments, evaluate and monitor your own behavior and see if there is anything you’re doing that is unhelpfully contributing to the problem. Then move on to arguing that your ideas are better, your coalition is better, their ideas and coalition are both actually worse, and so on.

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      • Seeing as this article was in a sense written in response to John Stewart’s interview (and other similar sentiments). I agree with Stewart much more than I agree with the author (though she is right about organizing on the local level).

        ““I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points,” Stewart said, “but there’s now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric . . . In the liberal community, you hate the idea of creating people as a monolith. ‘Don’t look at Muslims like a monolith. They are individuals, and it would be ignorant.’ But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith—is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”

        The author’s take:

        And yet, I hear way too much deference toward conservative voters from my fellow liberals. They argue that we should try to “understand” Trump voters’ motivations and see if we can convert them over to our side of the aisle. To that I say, THERE ARE LITERALLY THREE MILLION MORE OF US, and it’s a waste of fucking time.

        Why is it a waste of time? Because they are racists and misogynists, of course. Color me unpersuaded that this right way to get out of the wilderness or convince people to elect liberals and progressives in state and local government.

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  5. E1: This is the left’s version of “repeal and replace” for Obamacare. Sure, we don’t have a good plan for what we’ll do when it’s gone, but let’s go ahead and tear out this load bearing wall. We’ll figure something out.

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      • Renewal has been in limbo for a while. Entergy wants a 20-year renewal and the state wants a 6-year. In any event, this was a deliberate political action rather than a bureaucratic one. And as Frog points out, nobody quite knows where the power is going to come from. The state is hoping this announcement will encourage energy companies to step up.

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        • Chances are excellent that the power is going to come from natural gas-fired generators. IIRC, there have been multiple proposals to build natural gas boilers at the Indian Point site and use them to drive the existing steam turbines. The big problem there is how to get through the years-long period while the reactor is decommissioned and replaced. From memory, after the Fort St. Vrain reactor was decommissioned in Colorado, it took four years to bring a set of gas-fired turbines online (including the process to approve the pipeline), and another four to add the heat recovery system so that the exhaust from those turbines could be used to generate steam to drive the plant’s original turbine.

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            • With the problem(s) that folks farther up the Hudson Valley have been fighting tooth-and-nail to block any expansions of pipelines or transmission lines. A friend who lives a hundred miles or so up the Hudson was ecstatic this past year when local opposition got Kinder-Morgan to give up on a natural gas pipeline expansion. When I asked her what the locals there were going to do about energy, she said they were New Englanders and would freeze in the dark, feeling smugly proud about the whole thing. I seem to recall Joel Garreau saying the same thing about New England and energy in The Nine Nations of North America. Doubt NYC feels quite the same way.

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  6. Lessee if we can pin down a strategy (otherwise called “some random thoughts on Trumpianism”:

    1. Definitive reports come out about Russian involvement in the US election;
    2. when coupled with allegations of Trump’s business ties to Russia John Lewis says he doesn’t think Trump is a legitimate President;
    3. Trump childishly, petulantly, disingenuously, disrespectfully, attacks John Lewis’ character in the form of an early morning Tweetstorm;
    4. now everyone’s busy defending the two antagonists honor and have (almost completely) disregarded the content driving Lewis’ judgment, which is Trump’s ties to Russia.

    3 is obviously key here, and constitutes a (or I’m inclined to believe THE) fundamental political tactic employed by Trump: drive the news-cycle into a passionate and furious distraction.

    Of course, this tactic works ONLY IF people persist in allowing themselves to be passionately and furiously distracted by trivialities. But that basic impulse, from both the left and the right – that is, the ideologically driven emotionally based impulse to get caught up in and derailed by identity-based “trivialities” – is why we have Trump. He’s the one who figured out it could be used as a valuable political tool.

    Final random thought: I wish there was a name for this type of context dependent dynamic.

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    • In that vein, we had a morning ritual while eating breakfast.

      “What did Trump tweet?”
      “(outrageous thing)”
      (nervous laughter)

      We did that every morning (my co-worker is from the internet but he’s from Reddit rather than, say, Slashdot or 4Chan or, god help us, the Blogosphere) and, God help me, I can’t remember what we laughed nervously about last week.

      I can barely remember what we laughed nervously about yesterday.

      Today, during breakfast, I asked and he said “Trump tweeted about wanting us to get out of NATO”.

      Nervous laughter.

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  7. H4. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable until the corrupt CVS repository can be rebuilt. They tried making it available on Git, but no one had the disk space to fetch all the previous buggy versions too.

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