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Linky Friday: Everything Is Political

Government:

mow lawn photo

Image by wplynn

[G1] Lyman Stone is skeptical that regulatory liberalization will lead to more upzoning.

[G2] On some level, this bothers me more than lemonade stands. Whereas the latter mostly teaches a child of the fruitlessness of entrepreneurialism, the mowing lawns actually teaches young people that hard work is rewarded. On the other hand, if this shows them that government regulation is not their friend, maybe it’s a wash.

[G3] We mostly think of climate change in terms of what will happen on land, but some of the biggest threats may be under water. There are, perhaps, things we can do. David Roberts talks with Paul Hawken about things we can actually do about climate change more generally.

[G4] The French deep state and political establishment had a plan, in the event of a Le Pen victory.

[G5] Meanwhile, Chip Gibbons really wishes we’d stop idealizing the FBI.

[G6] This is definitely a problem. Seriously, though, this is probably one of the most important things that Vox has ever run.

Family:

foster home photo

Image by justinknabb

[F1] This is why everybody hates you, Science.

[F2] Naomi Shaefer Riley writes on the roadblocks being put in the way of foster parenting. This runs contrary to some of what I’ve seen as I’ve looked into it, and is kind of disturbing.

[F3] Bill Nye’s comments about procreation didn’t get as much attention as I thought they might.

[F4] On the one hand, early intervention is good. On the other, three or four strikes me as a disconcerting time to make such pronouncements.

[F5] Has the time for special spousal benefits come and gone?

[F6] I, too, hate showoffs.

Media:

Image by leighblackall

[M1] Are we seeing the end of the First Person Industrial Complex?

[M2] Maybe our personal media is like our congressman, a credit to their despicable people. (Still, though, even our chosen media doesn’t do as well as you might think!)

[M3] Dammit, how did I not know about this?

[M4] For better or worse, political science blogging has become more like journalism. I suspect it’s going to be for worse for political science, though maybe better for journalism.

[M5] Journalists are the worst. Some (well, me and a few others) have commented on how devatastating Twitter has been with regard to our impression of (many) journalists. A whole lot of them are who I thought I was uncharitable in thinking journalists are.

[M6] A look into the deep, dark world of RussiaToday. (They’re supposed to be just “RT” today, but I do not acknowledge the change because I don’t like initials that don’t stand for anything.)

Transportation:

[T1] Maybe when it comes to car safety, bigger is better.

[T2] Citylabs looks at the history of Britain’s bike trails, which were a pretty big deal before cars.

[T3] Alaska Airlines is the best. I look forward to getting to fly them more often if/when we move back west.

[T4] This seems pretty need, but I wish they would get to work on Android Auto compatibility first.

[T5] Antiplanner argues that no, actually, it’s the US and not Europe that has done rail right.

[T6] We don’t associate Soviet products with quality, but they made a truck that has stood the test of time.

Politics:

[P1] Among other things, among 60% of Democrats believe that Russia tampered with voting machine. (PDF). On the one hand, answers like these have been used as a political hammer for quite a while now and the lack of interest in this question (which is rarely polled) seems… interesting. On the other hand…

[P2] From Michael Brendan Dougherty: “People give social scientists all sorts of crazy conspiratorial answers for a very simple, human reason: They don’t want anyone using their anonymous answers to bolster their partisan enemies. If a pollster calls my house and asks me whether Governor Andrew Cuomo is poisoning the water with a chemical agent, like the villain from a Batman movie, I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of a pro-Cuomo answer.”

[P3] I am buying this book.

[P4] Big business and big money continue their lurch leftwork.

[P5] Ideological bundling, conservative edition.

[P6] The Fresno Bee is less than impressed with the current state of the California Democratic Party. If only there were another competitive party for Californians to vote for. Ditto, of course, Texas and some craziness there. It’s enough to make me wish that, like Canada, we had a degree of severance between state and national party systems.

[P7] Is the UK finally transitioning to the two parties their system is designed to accommodate?


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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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644 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Everything Is Political

  1. G6:

    If you think about democracy in the terms we prefer, you might say the biggest limitation at the moment is that we don’t know how to incorporate the role of political elites in a constructive way into the governing process or to somehow make it possible to ensure that they’re working on behalf of the interests of ordinary people.

    And this is how we got President Trump.

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    • Or is THIS how we got Trump:

      “So democratic elections, on your view, are essentially just a competition to see who can activate the most identities among the voters?”

      “I would say there’s a variety of identities people have that are more or less salient and can be made more or less salient politically. For many people, the principles become part of the identity and are important moving parts of the way they think about politics. But our claim is that the identities are more fundamental, the principles come later rather than the other way around.”

      Maybe the case for Trump was just massively over-determined. Which is bad, bad, bad.

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  2. M3: For informational purposes, forging the HTTP Referer: field to say “www.facebook.com” will provide access to at least most of the WSJ content. At least so far, the WSJ appears to think the value of allowing Facebook users to follow links posted by their friends is more important than any revenue loss due to people willing to forge the entry. Forbes will also deliver content if the Referer: value is “www.facebook.com”. The Financial Times will deliver content if the Referer: value is “www.google.com”.

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      • Well, more precisely, he could say that the US wouldn’t implement anything by federal regulatory rule. Even that might not be true if the courts say that statute requires it (Massachusetts and Utility Air Regulatory Group say CO2 regulation is required). Nothing much Trump can do if Congress passes statutory requirements by veto-proof majorities (as unlikely as that seems). Also, absent statutory changes, California has permission to set tougher emission levels and other states have permission to choose to adopt all or part of the California rules.

        I’ve said before that I don’t think modifying the Clean Air Act to take away California’s privilege to lead (and other states’ privilege to follow them) is the hill that McConnell can/will kill the filibuster for, but it’s a possibility.

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      • I was listening to an interview with a VP from Mars Corp. and while they were lobbying for Trump to stay in, he didn’t seem too concerned. Despite his rhetoric that the accords are bad for business, most major corporations have seen the writing on the wall and have already invested heavily in reducing pollution in general and their carbon footprint specifically. Financial firms have also invested heavily in ‘green’ energy technology companies and aren’t really interested in shifting back to large fossil fuel investments.

        Trump was probably committed to the move, but I doubt it will have the effect he’s selling the move on.

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          • notme,
            Try multiplying $55,836 by 100 million people.
            That’s how much global warming is going to cost us, in 20 years, give or take.
            (Numbers are pinned on crop losses, with subsequent deaths of the Americans we can no longer feed. Just crop losses, mind. I could do more work, but I’m lazy)

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            • This is a bit weird because there’s ag. land going out of production all the time. There is even a type of trust available in Texas to abate taxes on family land if you agree to let it return to a state of nature.

              At least in the US, arable land is at quite a surplus. Whether water is available is a different thing.

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          • And I’ve seen critiques of those figures that say the authors are cherry picking big losers and ignoring growth that results from technological advancement.

            Either way, if a large number of the biggest global corporations are just fine with the Paris accords, and they are growing despite, or because of, those efforts, that says something.

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            • Oscar,
              One has to account for many things… For instance, when not if we lose Miami, what’ll we do with all the people? And what does that cost?

              If we prevent that, we save a ton of money, but how much do we need to do to prevent it?

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              • Losing South Florida, or New Orleans, will happen slowly, such that the region will have time to adapt, or people will just leave on their own over time.

                If we really want to mitigate things, we can stop subsidizing their home values and insurance premiums.

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                • Oscar,
                  Not if what gets them is a good storm surge. Not if what gets them is floating raw sewage (that’ll take at least a billion to fix.) and subsequent disease (there’s a Lot of Stuff that can make people Leave and Not Come Back).

                  Maybe if the issue is fresh water…

                  (and Yes, their housing values are still going up. It’s stupidity, is what it is!)

                  We’re probably going to lose the keys catastrophically too, though there’s fewer people there.

                  [A friend of mine has been working on Miami’s evacuation plans, pre-trump of course]

                  Alll-ways fun to explain to the Crunchy Conservatives that there are some things we just Can’t Fix, and seawater infiltration is one of them. (well, I suppose we could run some water down from the Appalachians, a la NYC…)

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                  • All kinda my point. If you stop subsidizing their insurance and home values, they’ll leave either before too long, or immediately after the next storm causes their house to be a total loss.

                    Alternatively, once insurance companies aren’t being forced to spread the risk around to the rest of us, residents who wish to rebuild will start being told how to reduce their premiums, and the character of the local architecture and infrastructure will change profoundly.

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                    • Florida codes have a “red zone,” which is from the coast to six miles inland at any given point. The red zone has all sorts of restrictions. Andrew did that.
                      Galveston has sort of the same thing. Different codes there that aren’t widely recognized elsewhere though. For example, metal brackets hold down the studs to every footer and header, screws, no nails for the brackets.

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                      • It is possible to build in such zones you just build the house on stilts (or the larger building with an empty lowest story, and in that case move the utilities to the top of the building. You can see such houses outside the seawalls at Galveston (not so much on the outer banks). If you provide an open space as high as the highest expected storm surge and wave height the flood won’t be a problem. I have seen pictures of houses built on barges in the Netherlands that are able to float up and down on pilings (tall enough to hold the building at max expected water heights as well) It is just that you can’t use conventional construction.

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                • Well, that’s just it. The political argument isn’t that it’s bad for the average American (cuz it isn’t) but instead that it’s bad for these particular Americans.

                  Which is why arguing that environmental regs hurt coal miners makes no sense. First, because coal jobs are declining due to market forces and not CO2 regs, and second because the argument flips the normally – and rationally – accepted justification of policy from “on average” to “not for these guys”.

                  Of course, I know that the political significance of the miners, and mining, and coal, and regulation and etc have symbolic political appeal. (“Liberals suck!”) But only because the appeal is viewed purely symbolically. Evidence contradicts the policy changes the symbolism is supposed to justify, and undermines the justification of the symbolism taboot.

                  But that’s all MAGA is. Symbolism.

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                    • I’m not trying to trivialize the argument. Back when B Clinton pushed for NAFTA I remember thinking “there goes the Democratic party”, and for precisely the reasons mentioned above: passing legislation which explicitly and predictably entails lots of job losses in identifiable sectors without also (at least) attempting to recognize and ameliorate those effects was a political nightmare unleashed. Subsequent to that both the GOP and the Dem party went all in on free trade by taking NAFTA on a world tour. More job losses, more economic uncertainty for workers. BSDI!

                      And now we have Trump.

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                    • Most of Australia’s coal mines are deep in the interior dessert where it’s hot & miserable work that requires a great deal of physical effort, long periods of isolation from friends and family, etc. From what I’ve read, the mining companies have a real problem with new worker turnover, despite offering salaries of $80K-$150K for miners who can do the work for 3-6 months.

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                    • One place still has easily available coal and is very close to 2nd and 3rd world markets that still use coal?

                      Also, that’s not actually happening.

                      http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/coals-dirty-australian-secret-its-not-coming-back-20170402-gvc357.html

                      “The world’s biggest coal exporter has a problem.

                      Demand for the dirtiest fuel is on the wane. The International Energy Agency – which has tended to overestimate coal production, and underestimate renewables – doesn’t expect consumption to regain its 2014 levels until 2021. Investment in new mines is “drying up”, according to its latest market forecast.

                      That’s reflected in Australia’s export figures. Since overtaking Indonesia as the biggest shipper in 2015, loadings at its coal ports have gone sideways. Even last year’s price spike, which drove the cost of energy coal up 87 per cent and caused the steel-making variety to almost triple, wasn’t enough to stop Rio Tinto Group selling off its last mines in the country.

                      Those seeking a revival in Australia’s coal industry – as well as those hoping for its end – have pinned their expectations on a former cattle ranch in an isolated spot of the country’s northeast.”

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                      • If it’s dying, why are they projecting that in 2021 the market will match its 2014 peak? 2021 is in the future.

                        Africa, which has a lot of coal reserves, is also turning to coal to power its growing cities. The third world is waking up, and it wants reliable coal energy.

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                  • Thinking about that some more, maybe the Trumpist wave dominating political culture comes from a deep, inherent human desire for symbolism expressive of a national purpose. Trump merely fed that appetite and reaped the rewards.

                    Why and how we got to this place will be researched for decades to come.

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                  • Yes, it’s bad if coal miners or rig workers are unemployed, and I wholeheartedly agree that we should do something to help them*. But we have to weigh that against what is growing. Wind turbines and solar farms need people to operate, repair, and maintain the systems, and we will need a lot of those kinds of workers in the coming years. Toss in all the other tech systems coming online as well as there is a lot of growth that is looking for workers.

                    *What we should do varies and we’ve had that convo before. But we should not just leave them hanging, certainly not if the decline of the industry is driven in part by policy decisions.

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                    • If the idea is to provide jobs in the energy sector, why not hire people to run in giant hamster wheels?

                      If the idea is to provide cheap, reliable energy to benefit all the people who aren’t among the 6.4 million energy sector workers, then perhaps hydroelectric, nuclear, coal, and fracked natural gas are the better base load options.

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                      • Of those 4 options, only one is not politically toxic (and even dammed hydro has it’s detractors).

                        Coal is dying, and will continue to do so. It’s going the way of whale oil.

                        Natural gas itself is fine, but fracking is getting to be a political headache. I wouldn’t mind seeing more use of bio-reactors to generate methane.

                        Nuclear, despite my sincere belief that this is the base load path we should be taking (and spending money to develop & certify safer reactor designs), is just not in the picture near term. Perhaps if China can demonstrate how it can be done safely (a stretch, I know, given how China treats industrial safety), we’d see a resurgence, but until then that topic will be dominated by fear mongers.

                        We can also start replacing dammed hydro with things like Run of the River.

                        Absent Nuclear, I think we should be investing heavily in tidal power (since as long as the moon is in the sky, the tides will ebb & flow), and telling the eco-radicals to piss off (while actually taking some care not to deploy designs that slaughter marine life wholesale).

                        All of those options need skilled labor.

                        PS If there is ever a local, or international, movement to tax carbon emissions, coal dies even faster, and gas isn’t as attractive.

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                        • Coal will stay around because it’s massively abundant and almost as cheap as dirt. India, China, and developing countries are going to use a whole lot of it. We’re not going to hunt coal to extinction anytime soon. (As an aside, I got through a power outage by burning whale oil. Unlike vegetable oils, it burns clean.)

                          China’s nuclear push is greatly benefiting Western nuclear companies because they can try out advanced designs they’ve had sitting on the shelf.

                          I think the future is in liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR), if they can gain any traction. They are inherently safe, reliable, can start up and shut down quicker, and only produce about 1% as much nuclear waste as a conventional U235, U238, plutonium plant. The hurdle is that our entire regulatory framework was built around the older solid-fuel plants, so hooking a thorium reactor to the grid is going to take an immense amount of legal work. For that reason, Kirk Sorensen of FLiBe energy is trying to target military installations that have their own, completely separate regulations.

                          My idea is that for a start, we could use the LFTR reactor as purely a source of heat, as they can run much much hotter than solid fueled reactors. That heat could split water for hydrogen, perhaps melt sand into glass (which is currently made with natural gas), make cement, or most importantly, provide the heat input for turning coal into gaseous and liquid fuels, which would slash the inherent losses in burning part of the coal to provide the required heat.

                          On another technological route, the University of Ohio came up with an ingenious way to burn coal by simply using it as a reducing agent to turn iron oxide into pellets of iron wool. The iron wool can then be transported and “combusted” back to iron oxide by rapidly rusting it, giving off heat and absolutely no pollution at all, not even any combustion products. Then the used pellets are sent back to be reduced with coal again, turned back into iron pellets, and the cycle continues.

                          And of course we can use wind and tidal power in areas with strong winds and tides, but unfortunately most of humanity doesn’t live in such places. Asia and Africa, for example, have very little wind.

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                          • You got a link for that UO process? I know there are massive coal reserves, but the appetite for expanding extraction operations in the US is waning. I suspect that we’ll exhaust the current mines and new mines will be few and far between. Doesn’t matter how clean you can burn it, it’s turning into the new nuclear (politically toxic).

                            As for nukes, there are easily a half dozen safe designs just itching for a place to prototype, and another half dozen still in the design phase, but between terrorism concerns and the looming specter of radiation, they’ll never see the light of day in the US. I give China credit for being willing to field test them.

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                          • China’s nuclear push is greatly benefiting Western nuclear companies because they can try out advanced designs they’ve had sitting on the shelf.

                            I hope this is how it works out, but I also cringe because China is the type of place that might build it with shaky safety margins, screw it up, and give the anti-nuclear lobby this generation’s Chernobyl to throw in the faces of people who are pushing for the new designs. Fingers crossed.

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                        • I wonder if it would be a winner for someone (hypothetically, since neither side would do it) to promise:
                          – Multi-billion dollar infrastructure project
                          – Targeted at exceeding Paris goals and demonstrating that America always leads the rest of the world follows
                          – Thousands and thousands of honest industrial jobs
                          – Bring the highest tech industrues into depressed areas that need them the most
                          – Costs largely offset by taxing the living hell out of imports from countries dirtier than we are
                          – Did I mention what that last one does for goods made in the USA?

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          • I don’t get this “cost to the economy” argument.
            When I was in the trades, I worked on a few super-critical steam coal-fired plants. There were a number of developments that led to them, the main ones being the introduction of high-chromium steel in the late 80’s – early 90’s, and the introduction of telecommunications equipment to massively expand the sensor points.
            I have also worked on a gasification system, which refines coal to its component gases prior to burning.

            And I don’t understand why new coal technology, developed primarily by the Japanese and Germans, is reviled by both Right & Left.
            Consider the difference in mileage between an Edsel and a Neon. It’s that big of difference, if not more.
            Some of those old coal plants were built back in the 1930’s.

            Innovation used to be seen as a benefit for business.

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              • I didn’t really pay attention to the Paris Accord.
                Not something I can influence one way or the other.

                In this case, not having gov’t regs is what’s costing money.
                Imagine no hard figure for how much E. coli bacteria is safe for a cut of meat. Now imagine that everyone knows that the gov’t is going to come out with a number someday, but no one knows what it is, though there is a lot of speculation.
                Now, say a rancher wants to slaughter 300 head of cattle. If he guesses low enough, then the meat can stay on the shelves until it sells. If he guesses too high, all that meat has got to come off the shelves once the gov’t comes out with their number.

                That’s where power companies are at with coal-fired plants.
                The biggest difference is that there has been enough speculation for so long that there is the standard guess, and the approved deviation upward guess, and then the lower just-to-make-sure guess.

                In this case, having a published regulation that everyone can abide by means removing a lot of uncertainty from the equation.
                The workarounds for that uncertainty are rather costly, and doing away with them would mean more productivity.

                If you’re going fishing, you want to know the bag limit and size limits beforehand, rather than have the game warden tell you, “Go ahead and fish, and I’ll just come out with few numbers here directly– and there will be hell to pay if you get it wrong.”

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                • In this case, having a published regulation that everyone can abide by means removing a lot of uncertainty from the equation.

                  This assumes the Greens will be happy with an agreement which doesn’t “solve the problem”, and actually barely addresses the problem.

                  After we put into place a regulatory framework which can be tightened, it will be tightened, because the Greens will pocket any concessions and demand “more”.

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                  • After we put into place a regulatory framework which can be tightened, it will be tightened, because the Greens will pocket any concessions and demand “more”.

                    Are you asserting the US *doesn’t have* a regulatory framework to address carbon usage outside the Paris Accords?

                    Because, newsflash to all those people here who LITERALLY SEEM TO HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE PARIS ACCORDS ARE, the Paris Accords do not have any regulatory framework in them. They do not have regulations in them at all. There are no requirements whatsoever, except that we give a relatively microscopic amount of foreign aid.

                    The Paris Accords say we have to create carbon goals (Which we already do.) and have to issue reports on how well we met them (Which we already do.)

                    So not only is there no regulation in there, there is nothing in there we already aren’t doing. The Paris Accords were jut trying to get *everyone* on board with that and putting the information in one place and the goals issued to the same timetable and progress kept updated, and then we’d all meet and talk about it.

                    The US *does* have all sorts of climate goals, and has regulation intended to meet them, but *that* regulation has fuck all to do with the Paris Accords.

                    Everyone here, and I mean *everyone* because there appears to be plenty of pro-Paris people who do not understand what it does, needs to go read:

                    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/5/7/15554286/paris-climate-accord-exit-bannon

                    I quote, emphasis mine: The spirit of the Paris negotiations was to solicit ambition, to get every country on record with specific action plans. In order to do that, negotiators deliberately refrained from including any legally enforceable compliance regime. The only thing participating countries have to do is a) have an NDC on record, and b) report emissions during regular reviews.

                    Trump can weaken the US NDC, without penalty. He can roll back all of Obama’s carbon regulations, without penalty. He can simply fail to meet the targets of the NDC, without penalty. All he has to do is explain himself at the five-year review, and the explanation can be as minimal as he likes.

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                    • I was wondering what this thing was other than a photo op and signalling, and it turns out the US has to pay $2 Billion (more) to join this club.

                      Which means Trump has a point when he says we’re not getting our money’s worth.

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/06/05/michael-bloombergs-millions-cant-compensate-for-trumps-climate-policies/?utm_term=.21f8ec725ad6

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                      • Worrying about what seems to be about half a billion dollars a year in foreign aid is a bit absurd.

                        We give the world half a billion dollars in foreign aid every year to support ‘Good Governance’.

                        Wait, no, I lie. We give half a billion dollars in foreign aid every year to support good governance *just to Afghanistan*.

                        As for getting our money’s worth: Well, we *used* to actually have ‘reduction in world’s CO2 emissions’ as a *national goal*, and thus whether or not we got our money’s worth would be dependent on if this worked or not.

                        I have yet to hear anyone argue the Paris Accord is not *working*. If someone wants to claim that, they should probably do so.

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                          • Erm, the agreement didn’t even come into force until *November 2016*, when the EU signed it (Yes, apparently as a whole), which got it over the ‘goes into effect’ threshold.

                            We are currently eight months into the agreement. Almost everyone’s plan was on the *decade* timeframe.

                            We have not even had the first status meeting about how everyone is doing, which will happen in 2018. Everyone *just*, like in the last month, published their *first* status update.

                            Some countries are meeting their goals, some are not. A few, like China, have been criticized for setting goals they were already meeting. (Although complaining that China was *already* reducing carbon emissions is a weird complaint.)

                            notme, I know this is probably pointless, but maybe I can get through to you: Looking at this via any sort of *objective* viewpoint, this agreement is not possibly anything to complain about. It basically tries to reduce carbon emissions by *peer pressure*. It does nothing at all, and the US hasn’t even done anything in response to it. (We already had all those carbon reduction policies in effect.)

                            In fact, we didn’t even do anything at all, not even write down our plans…because the plans required under Paris (Nationally Determined Contributions) *were actually created by Kyoto*! The first, non-binding part of Kyoto, had everyone create plans to reduce emissions, which everyone, including us, did…and then no one would sign the binding part.

                            So Paris says ‘Okay, forget binding. Everyone just keep publishing your NDC, update them if needed, and also every year you now have to publish if you’re meeting the goals you made up. Nothing is binding at all. And we’ll get back together to talk about this later. Oh, and also, let’s create some foreign aid so that poor countries can measure all this, because there are countries that have no idea how much carbon they are emitting.’.

                            That’s it. It’s the most inoffensive ‘treaty’ in history. Normal treaties are laws, or contracts, creating obligations and all sorts of things. This is a bunch of drunks deciding to set up a fricking AA group, where everyone decides they’re going to show up and talk about whether or not they met their goals of not drinking each month, and Trump is whining because it cost $100 to rent the church basement and we had to pay $30 of that because we’re one of the people who has a job.

                            It also might not *work*, which is a valid point (That is apparently why Nicaragua didn’t sign on.) but it not accomplishing anything at all seems very unlikely, and the price is *incredibly* low. $3 billion dollars is loose change. (And, it sorta looks like we’ll have to pay that anyway.)

                            And, BTW, we’ve *already* been spending *more* than that much helping other countries deal with climate change: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/americans-spent-745b-3-years-helping-other-countries-deal-climate (Note the year, that’s from before Paris.)

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                        • I have yet to hear anyone argue the Paris Accord is not *working*. If someone wants to claim that, they should probably do so.

                          I thought I’d already done that. The previous agreement apparently did *nothing* because basically everyone but the US broke it. So all of these countries (including us) are following economics or local politics or both.

                          That 2 Billion dollars could do a lot of good in the world, using it for Global Warming is basically just taking it out and setting it on fire.

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                          • I thought I’d already done that. The previous agreement apparently did *nothing* because basically everyone but the US broke it. So all of these countries (including us) are following economics or local politics or both.

                            We actually have very little information as to who ‘followed’ the last treaty (Which was Kyoto), which, BTW, no one ‘broke’ because everyone refused to sign the binding part. (Well, a few countries did, but not enough to trigger it going into effect.)

                            Instead, everyone signed the first part, and, as required by that part, published the plan they were supposed to be following, but then refused to sign the second part that *legally obligated* them to follow that plan, with the threat of various sanctions and fines if they didn’t.

                            So that clearly didn’t work.

                            Except now everyone was obligated to keep publishing carbon reduction plans that no one was obligated to follow.

                            If only we had, at that point, come up with a treaty that built on that, and took those plans that everyone was already having to publish, but it *wasn’t* binding, so people would agree to it. Instead, (and this is the clever part so bear with me) what if everyone was just required to publish how well they followed their own plan?!

                            Man, that would have been awesome! I mean, even if *no one* met those plans, or everyone wrote plans they can easily met, we *at least* would know how well everyone is doing. Everyone would have to stand behind their plan, win or lose, making the results public for all to see.

                            Instead we *holds hand to ear* oh, I’m being told we did *exactly that*. Literally that exact thing.

                            Weird.

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                • I didn’t really pay attention to the Paris Accord.
                  Not something I can influence one way or the other.

                  In this case, having a published regulation that everyone can abide by means removing a lot of uncertainty from the equation.

                  So, yeah, not to be rude, but please don’t talk about it when you don’t know anything about it. You’ve already got people talking about how ‘those’ regulations will lead to more regulations.

                  But the Paris Accord is not any sort of ‘regulatory framework’. At all.

                  The Paris Accord is all the signatory involved promising to a) set *their own* carbon limits, and b) publish updates on how well they did.

                  There is no regulation *at all* in the Paris Accord. There is nothing we have promised to do except say what our targets are, and then judge *ourselves* on how well we hit them.

                  This is, incidentally, why it didn’t have to be ratified by the Senate, and is not technically a ‘treaty’. It’s just something the executive branch said it would do, and that thing was already *entirely* within the executive branch’s capabilities. In fact, we *already* set goals, and we *already* judge ourselves on them….we’re just now (Or, were.) going to do it how and when the Paris Accords wanted it.

                  (The Paris Accords, also, apparently, involved 15 million dollars of foreign aid to help subsidize this in poor countries, but 15 *million* dollars of foreign aid is pocket change.)

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                  • I was referring to a conversation with a field engineer from Duke Energy on a jobsite at a gasification facility, where we were comparing that power plant with others, and the additional questions that raised.

                    I don’t know anything about the Paris Accord.
                    Frankly, I haven’t heard of it apart form this site.

                    But if it’s as inconsequential as you claim it to be, why even bother?
                    If there is an international agreement for no one to drink down sea level by three inches, and Donald Trump rescinds U.S. participation in that agreement, big deal. No one was going to drink down the water line at sea level by three inches anyway.

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                    • But if it’s as inconsequential as you claim it to be, why even bother?

                      I didn’t say it was inconsequential.

                      It’s basically the first climate change treaty that the entire world is participating in, and it has resulted in a lot of countries setting goals and *sticking to them*. (Not particularly the US, because the US was *already* doing that.)

                      However, our removal from that will alter nothing at all. The international community pretty clearly understands we are now operated by batshit morons, but that doesn’t color the good we *used* to do.

                      If there is an international agreement for no one to drink down sea level by three inches, and Donald Trump rescinds U.S. participation in that agreement, big deal. No one was going to drink down the water line at sea level by three inches anyway.

                      Because a) Donald Trump appears to think this agreement *stops* us from doing that, and it’s something he’s planning on doing, and b) we look like complete fucking morons.

                      There are a lot of very stupid people on the right and the left that think withdrawing from this agreement is going to accomplish something WRT carbon emissions.

                      It is not.

                      What (trying to) withdraw *does* do is makes us look incredibly stupid and selfish on the international stage by reminding everyone we have a political party that denies climate change.

                      We are, at this point, in a downward spiral to try to *remove* ourselves as the moral authority in the world, as the global leader. That *really is* going to be the end result of the Trump presidency if it continues….a United States that has lost *all* the international goodwill it’s built up over the decades.

                      And at some point other countries are going to stop putting up with Trump’s bullshit and actually slap us with some tariffs.

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                      • Actually the opposite is true. What we have are a bunch of incredibly stupid world leaders who think a 2 degree shift in global temperatures will happen, and that 2 degrees will be some kind of catastrophe. Basically, that if Brussels becomes as warm as Paris suburbs, homo sapiens in Europe will go extinct.

                        It’s bat shit insane.

                        And the funny thing is, those morons deny climate change. The Holocene has been highly unstable. We’ve had five major climate shifts in the last 11,000 years. Those will continue to occur. We can’t yet change the Earth’s orbital parameters or the sun’s output, so we’re just along for the ride.

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  3. T1: There’s a growing body of work on the subject that all indicates designing a safe tiny car involves different principles than just scaling down the ideas that work in large cars. Radical changes to the steering wheel arrangement have bigger benefits. Across a wide range of accident types, there’s a net gain from making the car much more rigid.

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  4. F4: If accurate, wow, that’s chilling. I tended to think of all small children as “potential psychopaths if not socialized properly” but I guess that was an oversimplification. It also raises all kinds of questions in the “nature vs. nurture” debate.

    The question that is still hanging is: what do we do with the “hardened” cases? I am a college prof – the last paragraphs where they talk about “training” the kids to respond to reward and then sending them out to the workforce or college….given HIPAA and the like, I would not know if I had a student who had these problems. I wouldn’t know how not to “set them off” if such a thing were the case.

    (I once had a student explode with rage in my office over something he saw as unfair – being asked to do a homework that required use of the textbook – and it was terrifying, not least because he was blocking my office door as he yelled at me. I called his advisor after he left, because I was thinking “There needs to be a paper trail about this so there isn’t a chance of some later incident on the evening news being played out as ‘oh, we never knew he could be violent'” Nothing ever came of it – the student wound up dropping out – but it is kind of terrifying to contemplate what I would do, with NO psychological training, if I had someone prone to violence in my class)

    (Maybe I am extra sensitive to these things; one of my good friends in high school was raised by her grandparents because her father was dead and her mother had some serious psychological issues, and I know my friends’ grandparents – her mother’s parents – wondered if they had messed up or if the woman was just born “lacking” something)

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    • A few months ago I ran across an interesting article about two different brain mutations for the gene that produces an enzyme that helps processes serotonin and dopamine. One of the mutations was slightly more common in Africa. It seemed connected to psychopathy.

      I hope that’s the case, and if it is something simple like an enzyme (one with broad consequences for how the brain responds, feels, etc), then perhaps we’ve had treatments sitting in our laps the whole time, as we have a host of drugs for adjusting serotonin and dopamine. If could be that the psychopath brain is developing into what it is because of a simple chemical imbalance, and if we can intervene very early we can completely prevent it.

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      • Of course, that then raises the whole ethical question of, “Can you force people to take these treatments even if they say they don’t want them?”

        I’ve read that “a little bit of psychopathy means you’re a better businessperson.” No idea if that is actually true but apparently the supposed “dark triad” of personality traits correlate with that kind of financial success.

        But yeah. It would be nice for parents to realize that they could intervene early and prevent the kind of problems with their children described in that article.

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  5. P5: The battle lines there are just baffling if you attempt to understand it any other sense than pure tribal signaling. Also, is it the height of irony that gun owners (or at least the groups purporting to represent them), who likely suffer more hearing loss on average, are on the forefront of legislation that would seem to disproportionately benefit them?

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    • I think we’re going to see more and more cases of constituencies torpedoing things that would be good for them primarily out of spite.

      We’re all going to come to hate government because before too much longer, everybody is going to vote for things that hurt them as long as they think those things will hurt the other team more. We’re going to see proposals like, “Let’s stop filling potholes. Think of the liberal tears!”

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      • Right. This is going to happen a lot and why a lot of people on the left think Cleek’s law is a real thing. See also the right-wing tweet bellow. For many people, the issue is pissing off the other side or hurting them more.

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        • I think Tom Nichols once tweeted something along the lines of, “I’m not sure what they’re getting out of this other than the fact that it upsets people who are more informed than they are.”

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    • Yeah, I don’t get this. If she was writing a bill trying to outlaw suppressors, or noise cancelling headphones, I could see it. But opposing it just because Warren is pushing it is pure spite.

      But then, that is par for the course for American politics today.

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    • My belief is that “gun rights” advocates, at least at the level of leadership, are much not all that interested in actually advocating for the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. They’re much more interested in scoring culture war points for purposes of fundraising, or just advancing “bundled” issues that have nothing to do with guns.

      The linked article sure didn’t do much to challenge that belief.

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  6. G1: There are some places that can only be built up and not out for a variety of reasons. The questions is how high up are people willing to go. Personally I’m freaked out by the super-tall skyscrapers/apartment buildings because I dislike heights and have a phobia of falling. I don’t even like going on roof decks.

    G2: Interesting that the seems to be in a very GOP area. It also shows them the power of entrenched interests because it seems to be professional gardening companies that are trying to undercut competition.

    G5: I am not as far left as Jacobin but I do find it odd that a lot of people on my side are becoming Intelligence hawks because of the boorishness of Trump.

    G6: The restless voter/1916 shark thing would be fine in a system where both parties were ideologically close and very center-oriented but that isn’t the case anymore. We know have stark partisan division with a GOP that seems to go further and further to the right no matter what.

    P4: I don’t know if I would call this leftward lurching per se but it is clearly not racist friendly.

    P6: The problem is that the California Republican Party is a lot like their GOP counterparts in the South and just can’t get it into their heads that what flies in Alabama doesn’t fly in California.

    F3: This is running into the same issue that another linky Friday article did. This is written for a very specific audience and/or it assumes that everyone is a kind of latent Protestant Evangelical/Fundamentalist. I’d like to see Bill Nye’s comments in a more neutral platform. I found something on the Post where it characterized him as “wondering/questioning” whether we should “penalize” parents for having extra kids. This sounds very different than the alarmist tones of this article and something in the always derp-filled Federalist. The whole paragraph begins with the idea that people are God’s greatest gift. This isn’t going to play well with secular types or even many religious types.

    M1: I hope so.

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    • G2: This looks to me more like a poorly drafted ordinance. The mayor mouths a piety about following the law, then pretty comes comes out and says they aren’t actually going to do anything, and then talks about rewriting the ordinance. It also isn’t clear if the people leading the charge are more than one guy.

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    • P6: The problem is that the California Republican Party is a lot like their GOP counterparts in the South and just can’t get it into their heads that what flies in Alabama doesn’t fly in California.

      I’m guessing that’s what Will was getting at when he was lamenting the lack of separation between state level and national level parties. A California GOP that was soft on social issues and immigration but highly focused on lean government an deregulation could probably do quite well here. I’m betting that there are states where pro-life Democrats or something similar would make a big dent in the Republican majority.

      Ideological bundling a the national level has resulted in a really bizarre set of litmus tests that really don’t have anything to do with each other. The fact that party lines are such a hodgepodge of unrelated stuff makes me immediately suspicious of anybody who appears to 100% support everything in a particular party platform. It’s kind of hard to arrive at all of those beliefs with a single coherent ideological framework. It’s much easier to arrive at them if all you’re doing is rooting for a team.

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      • I’m guessing that’s what Will was getting at when he was lamenting the lack of separation between state level and national level parties.

        Yep. That is exactly what I was getting at. Either in the form of the California GOP being more tangibly different than the Alabama GOP (and Texas vs Oregon Dems) or in there being a state-only party that represents the centrists and rightwards in the state spectrum, ranging from Republicans to Ahnold to Loretta Sanchez.

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          • To some extent, this is why I was happy to have two Ds on the ballot for Senate in California rather than the usual D vs R. I was initially horrified, but I came around to it. It’s not because I want one-party rule with no checks. It’s because I think that it might actually end up giving people more of a voice in the general election.

            If I lived in a place that was solid Republican and I was given a choice between voting for a D who would lose or an R who would win, I’d probably stay home. If I could choose between two Rs on a spectrum, each of whom actually has a shot, I might actually be happy to have a say. It might be something to counter the primary system that produces polarization and foregone conclusions.

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            • This is why I am registered Republican. I am in a solidly red county in a blue state. For local offices, the Republican primary is the relevant election. And some of those Rs are raving lunatics. So I vote in the primary for the sanest Republicans on the ballot, and usually vote for the Democrat in the general.

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          • Oh, there are a number of problems with it. Republicans, Democrats, partisan instincts, etc. Some of it comes down to the lack of organizational distinction that exists between state and federal parties in the US compared to (for instance) Canada.

            California Republicans and Texas Democrats are working within the confines of the existing system. If the system were to change, so would behavior. We actually sort of do see it in California when Republicans line up behind Loretta Sanchez. Back home where they have non-partisan mayoral elections the Republicans usually have a preferred Democrat.

            So why don’t state parties adapt? Partisan instincts of members are one example. The notion of having a California Party (analogous to the Saskatchewan Party) is rather anathema. More practically, state parties are very reliant on federal fundraising dollars, making it pretty hard for one to break free even if they were so inclined.

            I don’t have an agenda to reverse this or anything. I am merely noting that I do not believe people in California and Texas are optimally served by it.

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      • @will-truman

        Maybe but I am not so sure. IIRC I’ve seen California GOP politicians try and do what you describe and fail. The last GOP candidate for Governor tried this.

        But the simple issue is that a lot of California Republicans in the Central Valley or rural Eastern parts of the state might just be really out of step with the rest of the State. They could sincerely believe in their social conservatism and they control the state GOP. I’m not sure who in charge the California state GOP can decide to change this and jettison their base in the Central Valley and eastern parts of the state. As far as I know, the state GOP elite could come from those sections as well.

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          • I was thinking more of Neal Kashkari who tried to do what Troublesome Frog describes above. He marched in Pride parades and really tried to avoid speaking on socially conservatives issues all together. He still only got 40 percent of the vote and only did well in those rural and still GOP parts of California. Bill Simon did slightly better.

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            • I think there is a fear among voters that the national parties won’t permit a local or state politician deviate from the national platform, so even if you have, for instance, an ‘R’ politician who avoids religious and socon issues, the GOP will turn the screws on the guy when votes come up.

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                • No, it’s not, and it runs both ways.

                  There is value in parties maintaining some platform discipline, but if you turn the screws too often, you start losing your ability to win in a given area.

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                  • Honestly, here in MA, they could run a queer/trans Republican who promises abortion on demand and free buttplugs, versus a Democrat who literally ate a baby on the capital steps, and all the same I know how I’ll vote.

                    It’s just, too much damage done. The national party long ago proved they’ll use my dignity as a “wedge issue.” Actions have consequences. If you spit in my face I’m not going to like you, even if you are nice to puppies.

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              • I think this is especially true when it comes to federal office, where they will be voting and will be subject to whips. On the other hand, state parties can and have behaved differently from one place to the next. It’s a decision they make or don’t make. So it’s reasonable to break party lines and vote for Charlie Baker for governor and then oppose him vociferously for the Senate. It makes more sense to “vote the man (or woman)” in one context than another. Though in some cases, like Manchin, it can make sense for either if you’re not far off-center. That’s pretty rare, though.

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                • Except, as you note above, that dependency on the federal party check book is an ever present threat. If my local rep annoys the party bosses too much, even if he is responding to his constituents, and the national party supports someone else in the primary…

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                  • Well sure, there is always the possibility of being primaried. Though, as always, I feel I have to point out that it is the most overstated threat in politics. And it’s pretty unusual the national party backs a challenger (I can think of only one case that didn’t involve corruption, Bob Smith of New Hampshire).

                    Governors that play to the base and against their constituents usually do so for a different reason, though. Either it’s what they were elected on, or they have presidential ambitions.

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              • Also, if the choice is between a guy in the other party who seems to be not terrible versus someone in your own party who seems to be not terrible, why vote for the guy in the other party? This only really kicks in if your own party nominates an obviously terrible person.

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        • Recall that the northmost counties in California have off and on discussed the idea of seceeding from Ca to form a new state. These counties have population densities of less than 10 per square mile, while the two emptiest counties are Alpine and Inyo (which largely covers death valley, 1.6 and 1.8) So in essence Ca has a smaller version of the problem of the whole us, in that differing population densities call for different kinds and levels of regulation. The most densely populated county is San Francisco at 17k per square mile. (city=county here).

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      • There are also plenty of times when Ds push for deregulation.

        Look at SF where it was Scott Weiner v. Jane Kim and Scott Weiner said “If you want cheaper housing, you got to build more housing.” It was close but Weiner won over Kim in the primary and the general.

        You also have Jerry Brown telling the legislature that they need to make it cheaper, faster, and easier to build new housing and he will veto any housing reform bill that fails to do so. Essentially, deregulation.

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  7. Jeet Herr on those who see politics as total war against their ideological/partisan enemies:

    https://newrepublic.com/article/142962/conservative-intellectuals-pledging-loyalty-general-trump

    Oakeshott’s quaint, gentlemanly Toryism is just one form of conservatism, of course. In many ways, Trump-era conservatives are closer to Oakeshott’s German rival, Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), who believed it was delusional to hope for a respite from political warfare, either domestically or in foreign relations. The “friend-enemy distinction,” for which he’s famous, asserts that politics is inherently combative, everyone an ally or foe. “The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy,” he wrote in The Concept of the Political (1927). “Only the actual participants can correctly recognize, understand, and judge the concrete situation and settle the extreme case of conflict.”

    Prager struck a Schmittean note in calling for conservatives to follow Trump into battle, as did Townhall columnist Kurt Schlicter in a Monday tweet declaring war on liberals:

    Why did I (since Cruz dropped out) and still do support President Trump?
    Because fuck liberals.
    We win, they lose.
    Nothing else matters.
    ??
    — Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) May 29, 2017

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  8. [F1] two thoughts on that:
    How did we get to where gauging gaps in traffic to survive darting across a busy road without any lights or pedestrian crossing (because of course you can’t just wait for drivers to stop, you’d be there all day, and walking over to the nearest signalized crosswalk is a mile and a half detour) is a normal and required life skill?

    So kids can’t safely walk across the street until 14, but they’re just fine to drive a car at 16? No way the fact that roads are full of 16 year old drivers could be part of the reason they’re dangerous to cross in the first place?

    Nah. Better to lower the driving age to 14 and not allow walking outdoors until 18.

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        • Actually the recent events in London, suggest Jersey Barriers between streets and sidewalks, with bollards at defined crossing points 4 foot apart. The idea is that cars can’t get to the pedestrians and vice versa. I wonder how much safer these measures would make streets and roads?

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            • I’m always surprised by conservatives’ insistence that we can bomb our way to peace in the ME, and especially so since ISIS is a direct result of employing that very principle to justify the war in Iraq.

              What’s the source of an ideology? It’s not a physical location, right?

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              • I’m not sure which generic conservative you making assumptions about but I prefer a multi prong strategy.

                For years the Europeans have had an issue with folks not assimilating. They let folks travel to war zones and then let them back in. The chickens have come home.

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                • All of ’em, cuz it’s the generic conservative response. But in this case I’m speaking specifically about you:

                  Why not just fix the problem at the source?

                  Are you now suggesting that “the source” of Islamic violence in the west is lax vetting of Muslim immigrants? That makes no sense on any level whatsoever.

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                  • Actually better vetting might have helped in the San Bernardino case. And if you really think that the US gov’t really vetted all those Syrian refuges very well you are naïve. Plus I’d remind you that some of the Paris attackers were “refugees”.

                    Investigators probe whether wife radicalized husband before San Bernardino massacre.

                    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/12/04/investigators-probe-whether-wife-radicalized-husband-before-san-bernardino.html

                    When I said source of the problem what I meant was that putting up jersey barriers won’t fix Islamic terrorism. There are many ways to fight Islamic terrorism only some of which involve direct force.

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                        • I believe that was in one of the links.
                          An old tactic, really.
                          General knowledge.

                          And it really isn’t surprising to anyone who has studied criminal justice; i.e., law enforcement personnel (I took the classes as part fo a paralegal certificate program).
                          Four models of policing which have been popular in the history of the U.S.:
                          Political model, then professional model (both of which have generally accepted and alternative start dates), the community policing model, and intelligence-led policing.
                          That’s on the state level.
                          The feds are, and always have been, in the political model.

                          As one CJ prof. (a police detective, who won the Officer of the Year award the year previously, for breaking up a burglary ring) stated it to the class:
                          The feds work the complete opposite of us. What you’re used to is finding a crime, and then going to look for a suspect. The feds work the other way around. The decide who they’re going to arrest, and then go looking for a crime.

                          Common knowledge.

                          The political model of policing entails exactly what it sounds like.

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          • Let me modify from Jersey Barriers a bit. Thinking about the cable barriers they put in interstate medians, perhaps these would work as speeds on bridges are less than on interstates. A couple of cables perhaps 1 and 2 foot off the ground would not impact the viewscape, and also make it obvious that jaywalking is not to be done, plus confining vehicles to the traffic lanes.

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      • While I agree with not jaywalking, it’s no panacea.

        At least where I live, the city is somewhat walking back its big “don’t jaywalk” campaign, in the face of people pointing out that only a small minority of people killed crossing the street, were in fact jaywalking.

        e.g. http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/new-edmonton-jaywalking-signs-anger-victims-friends

        (The particular crosswalk in the article is notoriously bad – some of my friends call it “the crosswalk of doom”)

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        • The actual lesson to teach is that you want to cross at the crosswalk because that is where drivers expect you to cross, and thus where they will be looking (ideally) for you to cross.

          As for busy streets, I sure do like pedestrian overpasses.

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          • That’s the problem – they’re not reliably looking for you to cross, or are driving fast enough that they’ll too often see you too late, because the road was designed with a mentality of “a good road is a fast road”, and then crosswalks were put in without measures to slow the traffic because that would make the road “worse”.

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          • I once had an a-hole speed up as I was entering a crosswalk. I was able to jump back but I wasn’t happy. (And he SAW me, I know he saw me).

            I grew up in a town that allegedly would ticket jaywalkers. As an excessively-law-abiding child, it had the effect of making me always use crosswalks.

            Pedestrian overpasses are an excellent, if costly, solution. Locally, they installed a new crosswalk with flashing warning lights (when you cross, you press a button, which turns the lights on telling cars to STOP and WAIT). The crosswalk is between the basketball arena and its parking lot across the street from it and I confess I WISH my university had had the bucks to do an overpass, because there are times you wind up sitting and waiting for 5 or more minutes when a lot of people are crossing. This is the main north-south spine of the east side of town and the route I take to get home at the end of the day….I just try really hard to leave early on the days when there’s a game so I can avoid most of the pedestrians.

            There have been a few cases in the DFW area of people trying to run across interstates and it has almost always ended badly.

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    • I’m trying to figure out how the story is even all that shocking given the existence of crossing guards? Like, the idea that kids up to a certain age need special help to cross a street safely is not remotely new, and the article itself says that the older kids would compensate by waiting for bigger gaps in traffic.

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    • walking over to the nearest signalized crosswalk is a mile and a half detour

      Can you give me the GPS coordinates of three non-rural spots (because rural roads are generally not particularly busy or particularly wide) where this is the case? You can get the coordinates on Google Maps or some similar site. Links would work, too.

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      • Do you reckon the argument in the link – kids’ younger than 14 inability to judge gaps in traffic is relevant to their ability to safely get about on foot – doesn’t make sense?

        A mile and a half is an exaggeration for effect, for sure. There are only a couple of places where it’s notably bad in my city.

        For example, https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.5469809,-113.5483283,17z – Stony Plain Road is an arterial road through the middle of a residential area; four lanes, gets very busy during rush hour. In the section on the map link (if I managed to get it to work), there are lights at 127 St and 134 St. If you’re at 131 St and want to go to a signalized crossing, it’s only about a half mile detour to the nearest signalized crossing.

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      • I was sure that I had to walk a half mile out of my way to go to a signalized crosswalk when I was a kid, but when I looked at it on Google Maps it was more like a quarter mile.

        In my defense, my legs were a lot shorter then.

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      • Can you give me the GPS coordinates of three non-rural spots (because rural roads are generally not particularly busy or particularly wide) where this is the case?

        Oh, for God’s sake:
        https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Starbucks,+110+S+Chestatee+St,+Dahlonega,+GA+30533

        That is Starbucks. There is a Suntrust Bank across the street. And….goooo!

        Most locations have signaled crosswalks *only at the traffic lights*, and there are a hell of a lot of places where there are heavily trafficked roads *without any nearby traffic lights*.

        Some of those places do not have traffic lights because they rely on stop signs and yield signs…and some just don’t have traffic lights because they don’t have any *cross* roads!

        I know you’re trying to dismiss those areas as ‘rural’, but that has very little to do with the amount of *traffic* on them, or how many people attempt to *cross* them.

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  9. Former OTer Bouie on the Trump reawakening the dark currents of American history:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/06/this_year_s_string_of_brutal_hate_crimes_is_intrinsically_connected_to_the.html

    ey to all of this is the interplay between racism in culture, in politics, and in public life. Each reinforced the other, creating an atmosphere of hostility and violence that wasn’t otherwise inevitable, even as it had its antecedents. Put differently, racist violence isn’t spontaneous; it creeps up from fertile ground, feeding on hate and intolerance in the public sphere. The lynching epidemic exploded with the end of Reconstruction and the reconciliation of Northern and Southern whites under the banner of white supremacy, pogroms in towns like Tulsa occurred in an atmosphere of unimaginably virulent racism, and the killings and assassinations of the civil rights era were inseparable from the segregationist fire-eaters that governed states like Mississippi and Alabama. Today, the rising pace of hate crimes is tied to a political style that has harnessed and weaponized white resentment by way of an ethno-nationalist movement that sees America in narrow, racially exclusionary terms.

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  10. P: The quote from P2 explains P1. People will lash out in polls. As surveyed and questioned as we are in this age, we still feel unheard, so when the pollster finally gets around to asking us a question, we’re going to choose the most inflammatory option on the list. I suspect that most of the truther and birther poll results were just people’s way of saying that we don’t trust anyone anywhere. There’s a lot of signalling going on in polls, too. (I wonder if in another few years we’re going to look back in embarrassment at how many things we attributed to tribalism and signalling just because they were trendy. Nevertheless, I think I’m right on this.) If a president does something in foreign policy that a party likes, the members of a party will increase their support for the president’s foreign policy, but also his economic policy, health care policy, whatever, even if he hasn’t made a change in those. That’s just someone clicking as hard as they can on the “like” button. It doesn’t mean anything like what pollsters claim it means.

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    • I think this is one of those plausible arguments that doesn’t hold together quite as well as all that. To take the really obvious example, in polling, Republicans for years said they were open to birther conspiracy theories, and then in the primary election… they nominated the birther. Now, maybe they still didn’t believe it [1], but if saying it to a pollster became a good way to assert their identity, why wouldn’t voting for the guy who got up and said it as loudly as possible with a national audience?

      [1] But given the whole motivated reasoning thing, I expect that vehemently saying something is true is going to incline people to believe it’s true.

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  11. Kevin Drum ponders Michael Tomasky’s article on liberal elites:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/contempt

    Drum thinks the problem of the Big Sort goes back to the GI Bill in WWII but this is the key section:

    The two groups barely interact anymore. They don’t really want to, and they’re physically separated anyway. (More and more, they’re also geographically separated, as liberals cluster in cities and conservatives live everywhere else.)

    Second, there’s the decline of unions. Fifty years ago, the working class commanded plenty of political respect simply because they had a lot of political power. No liberal in her right mind would think of condescending to them. They were a constituency to be courted, no matter what your personal feelings might be.

    But young liberals in the 60s and 70s broke with the unions over the Vietnam War, and the unions broke with them over their counterculture lifestyle. This turned out to be a disaster for both sides, as Democrats lost votes and workers saw their unions decimated by their newfound allies in the Republican Party. By the time it was all over, liberals had little political reason to care about the working class and the working class still hated the hippies. Without the political imperative to stay in touch, liberals increasingly viewed middle America as a foreign culture: hostile, insular, vaguely racist/sexist/homophobic, and in thrall to charlatans.

    I’m off two minds here. I think my dislike of how large segments of the United States seemingly uses the word elite is well known and tiresome to most of this community but it seems like elite in the United States means you went to college and/or grad school regardless of your income and it also corresponds with your entertainment choices. So a 24 year old teacher or admin assistant is an elite if he or she lives in a blue city and likes to go to the Ballet and/or read the New Yorker and/or likes This American Life. But a person who makes a good salary or might even be really wealthy is salt of the earth if his or her hobbies include hunting and fishing and prefers Toby Keith to the Magnetic Fields.

    I think this is bonkers and nuts but it is what it is I suppose.

    I suppose there has always been a tension in center-left parties historically between their middle-class bourgeois members (who always had a semi-Bohemian and artsy streak) and the working-class and Union base. The UK Labour Party had these tensions and similar fissures in the 1960s. You had middle class or above types in Labour like Clement Attlee and you had people who worked real working class jobs like Aneurin Bevan and James Callaghan and Harold Wilson potentially. Then you had some in-between types like Roy Jenkins (he was from a working class background but toff’d himself up. There is a famous anecdote where people were speculating whether Jenkins was lazy and Bevan replied “No one from Jenkin’s background who learns to speak with an accent like that is lazy.”)

    The other issue is that contempt seems very large here and it seems like a lot of people complaining about liberal elites have eggshell skins despite being allegedly so tough.

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    • So don’t think “élite”. Think “Team Blue”.

      No dissonance required. Sure, they’re “only” a 24 year old teacher or admin assistant BUT! he or she lives in a blue city and likes to go to the Ballet and/or read the New Yorker and/or likes This American Life.

      Team Blue.

      Hell, you know they like the ballet, the New Yorker, and This American Life?

      You can now guess as to whether they caucused for Rubio during the primary. (We both know that “they didn’t caucus for Rubio.” If I’m wrong about that, I’ll eat a bug.)

      It also explains what happened with the unions. Sure, they had a coalition for a bit… but, man. Team Red and Team Blue ain’t no joke. Reagan really brought those guys home, didn’t he? It’s like they didn’t even care that he made jokes about nuclear war! And they claim to love their kids!

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      • I mean, actually, over at RedRacingHorses, a right-leaning electoral analysis site i like to visit because it has one of the last sane conservative commentariat in the world, a lot of them were Rubio supporters, and a lot of those people were cosmopolitan young folks who used happened to be conservative.

        Is it likely the person you listed didn’t vote for Rubio? Absolutely. But, if they are a Republican, they likely did caucus for Rubio over the rest of the GOP competitors.

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        • Strikes me as a hell of a lot more likely that they caucused for Bernie.

          Or Clinton, maybe.

          I mean, given little more information than “lives in Blue city, likes the ballet, the New Yorker, and This American Life”.

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      • OK, but without that, so what? If it’s just two “teams” with their own cultural preferences, why is preferring to drive a Prius instead of an F150 horrible snobbery, but thinking it’s profoundly immoral for a dude to bone another dude A-OK?

        I mean, my experience is that dudes who bone dudes think boning dudes is pretty damn fun, but somehow social conservatives aren’t being scolds when they endlessly wring their hands about it?

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    • I gotta say, I question the utility of analyses attempting to tease out deep causal connections which account for often questionable and necessarily incomplete descriptions of our current culture. Eg., analyses like what was quoted above:

      Description: the liberal elites are held in contempt.
      Account: it’s the hippies fault.

      Political culture is always changing. To the degree policy reflects political social culture in a liberal democracy (or is perceived to), that society is +/- stable. Questions of how we arrived at a point where political culture has fractured into two (or more) fundamentally oppositional, antagonistic and destabilizing groups seem to me entirely distinct from questions regarding best practices or likely outcomes or amelioration going forward, and especially so once dissatisfaction peaks out from under the political covers. So identifying the causes of political tension which destabilize a political economic system which is viewed (probably incorrectly) as recently being in equilibrium strikes me as either a purely academic exercise (in the sense of practically and politically useless tho intellectually interesting) or a function of blame-assignment.

      We live in a democratic republic. Viewed as a whole, our politics appears to be increasingly chaotic because our culture appears to be increasingly fractured. Whether that’s the case or not is subject to opinion but also beside the point. There are no fixes within our system other than letting the feedback loops which define the democratic process proceed and hope that a new equilibrium can be achieved. The alternative is that dissonance reaches a tipping point realized by regressive measures undermining liberal democratic institutions themselves. IOW, that all hell breaks loose.

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      • Part of what happened over the past eight years is that the elites (all those Harvard and Yale graduates who take cushy, super-important jobs in New York and Washington) have continually exposed themselves as being both arrogant and dumb as a box of rocks.

        When government was much smaller and much less important in people’s lives, we really didn’t mind so much that there were elites who were utterly clueless, as it was rather funny, kind of like watching British Lords who don’t know where eggs come from because their butlers never told them about chickens.

        But when stupid people like that are demanding control, authority, and obedience, the public blanches. We watched State Department spokesman Jen Psaki open her mouth day after day, regularly removing the slightest doubts that she was way dumber than the average viewer. The Iranians mocked her as “that stupid girl”, and they were right. Then we see videos of Yale graduates protesting and realize that they’re all probably too clueless to pass muster at a two-year college in the South.

        So along comes the election and the Democrats run perhaps the most out-of-touch candidate in history, one who couldn’t find Wisconsin on a map and who can’t even comprehend the most basic security protocols, ones that even enlisted soldiers follow without the slightest problem. She couldn’t even remember her own passwords. She couldn’t find Wisconsin on a map. She couldn’t drive a car. She couldn’t set her DVR to record. She had to depend on her staff for things like that.

        Scads of elite celebrities breathlessly endorsed her as a feminist icon, even though she used private detectives to harass and threaten her serial rapists husband’s many victims. The conclusion was that the elite celebrities are likewise not very bright.

        And then Trump entered the race and the elite Republican politicians and pundits denounced him and laughed off his candidacy. The first to crash and burn in ignominious defeat was Jeb Bush. The rest of the pack followed, and all the while the elite GOP opinion makers went bananas, with National Review Online becoming a sick parody of The Daily Kos. George Will seemed to get up every morning and somehow hit himself with an egg. Donald Trump said Washington was being run by morons, and he was right.

        All the elites, the pundits, the thinkers, said he didn’t have a chance of winning. He said he did. He was right and they were embarrassingly wrong, and not just wrong, but utterly clueless.

        So what’s happening in both camps is that we’re looking at a bunch of out-of-touch, privileged elites who have been at the trough of public policy for far too long, and gotten far too much benefit than what we’d expect from people with their very limited faculties.

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        • I agree with quite a bit of this.

          On the Right, it started with McCain as presidential candidate. Whatever his campaign failings were, he had the reputation of a maverick. The SoCons holding the Bush coalition together had folded. It wasn’t so much that they were out of favor in the party, but rather an uprising occurred.
          This was followed by the Tea Party, a stern rejection of the Republican establishment.
          And then Trump.

          On the Left, it was Bernie’s surprise showing in the coronation of HRC. He stepped on the trailing robe of Queen Hillary during the coronation ceremony, just as she was stepping up to claim her crown.

          It’s a shift occurring in both parties, a rejection of the establishment. The donor base has separated from the voter base. The talking heads spew gibberish (Same as it ever was!) because the lines they’re talking are tied to a shipwrecked party whose main deck just broke the waterline.
          In short, a realignment.

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        • When government was much smaller and much less important in people’s lives…

          I get that this has become part of the conservative/right of center mythology, but this time never existed.

          If there was ever a time that you or your parents/grandparents/etc. didn’t feel the heavy hand of government being asserted in your life, it’s because that hand was busy elsewhere, exerting itself on other people for the benefit of keeping you comfortable.

          If folks on the right really want to speak up for individual freedom, the first thing that they need to do is come to terms with history. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, though. We are in a populist moment and the only thing to do is hold on and hope that it passes without doing too much damage.

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          • The point is that it used to be state and local governments that imposed the handedness I have heard a comment that before the income tax amendment most folks sole dealing with the federal government was the post office.

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    • This is dishonest rubbish and the author is a lying sack of shit:

      Rhetorically, the big issue dividing liberal elites and middle America is less the existence of different lifestyles, and more the feeling that lefties are implicitly lecturing them all the time. You are bad for eating factory-farmed meat. You are bad for enjoying football. You are bad for owning a gun. You are bad for driving an SUV. You are bad for not speaking the language of microaggressions and patriarchy and cultural appropriation. Liberals could go a long way toward solving this by being more positive about these things, rather than trying to make everyone feel guilty about all the things they enjoy.

      Something seems missing here — right? — some other side of this equation. Can we guess what it might be?

      Oh yeah, they think I’m a faggot. Somehow the author missed that part, where I suppose I wouldn’t mind mixing with these folks, inasmuch as I actually enjoy things like shooting guns, and I’ve been to tractor pulls and monster truck rallies, and honestly I don’t hate those things. But they think I’m a faggot. And even if it’s only 10% who will step up and call me a faggot, those 10% can harass me, even hurt me, and the remaining 90% will stand aside and do nothing, cuz even those who won’t call me a faggot kinda think I’m a faggot nevertheless.

      Evidence: the Brietbard comments section, the Fox News comment section, a metric fuckton of YouTube videos, where gap-toothed hillbillies explain how they would murder me if they saw me in the women’s room, etc.

      Fuck this. The question is, are they actually bigots?

      If the answer is yes, then it is yes.

      Hint: the answer is yes.

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      • It’s comprehensively fucking idiotic and I’m actually kind of disappointed in Drum for repeating it. “I’m just going to pretend that liberals hate every sort of fun based on absolutely nothing,” is not a good way to argue. I mean, around here Lawyers, Guns, and Money is kind of the watchword for out-of-touch liberal craziness, and it seems like every other post there is about football.

        Which makes sense because football is a lot of fun and even liberals often enjoy fun things.

        Also, of course–and it’s deeply entangled in the bigotry angle–there’s a general, endless, and persistent drumbeat of rage from social conservatives over people daring to enjoy sex and romance. They’ll couch it in terms of “consequences”, of course, but casual examination shows that the concern over consequences are lies and have nothing to do with their objections. “Yeah, gotta stop men from marrying each other or else they’ll have a lot of babies out of wedlock,” is perhaps the most flagrantly stupid thing anybody could possibly believe, yet barely disguised versions of it have been coming from the right for decades.

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              • They’re sick of people like you looking down their noses at them. People like Erik Loomis talk about the difference between punching up and punching down then make fun of how proles eat their food.

                And this has policy implication soda is taxed but arugula is not.

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                • Heck I’m sick of people looking down on me. SoCons have been looking down on me for decades for not being a believer. People have told me i hate freedom or that i’m a traitor for being a liberal. The food thing would be a better point if conservatives didn’t’ have a freak out about Obama choosing some fancy mustard. Nobody likes to be looked down on, so everybody should stop doing it.

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                  • Heck I’m sick of people looking down on me. SoCons have been looking down on me for decades for not being a believer. People have told me i hate freedom or that i’m a traitor for being a liberal.

                    The people who say aren’t the cultural elites.

                    he food thing would be a better point if conservatives didn’t’ have a freak out about Obama choosing some fancy mustard.

                    That’s nopt looking down on him that accusing him of looking down on them. It’s the difference between punching up and punching down.

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                    • Highly paid preachers with huge TV shows are sure as hell elites. Rich folk with Benz’s and corner office jobs are hella elites. Plenty of conservative folk are elite.

                      The mustard freak out came after some quick snip on tv where Obama was ordering a tasty sammich and asked for the wrong kind of mustard. There was no looking down involved. That’s why i raised the point. It was as a silly a freak out about ketchup on a steak.

                      Listen i’m all for not looking down on people. If that is to mean anything we all have to do our best at that because looking down on others is a people thing not a one side does it thing.

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                      • Highly paid preachers with huge TV shows are sure as hell elites. Rich folk with Benz’s and corner office jobs are hella elites.

                        They may have money but they are hated in Cambridge, Georgetown and Hollywood.

                        The mustard freak out came after some quick snip on tv where Obama was ordering a tasty sammich and asked for the wrong kind of mustard. There was no looking down involved. That’s why i raised the point. It was as a silly a freak out about ketchup on a steak.

                        They were making fun of him for having snobby taste not unsophisticated taste, that makes it punching up not punching down.

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                        • And hollywood types are hated in various parts of the country.

                          They were making fun of his tastes. Yes exactly. They were looking down on him for having the right taste. That is just the kind of crap we shouldn’t do. Don’t look down on people for having different tastes.

                          I’m with you on the soda tax thing. They are not a good idea and are aimed only at certain people.

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                          • Elvis ate peanut butter banana sandwiches.

                            Back then we didn’t judge people by their diets, but by their table manners. You could tell someone was going to hell because they’d eat their salad with the dessert fork.

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                          • And hollywood types are hated in various parts of the country.

                            By people with lower social status not higher social status.

                            They were making fun of his tastes. Yes exactly. They were looking down on him for having the right taste.

                            They were not looking down on him they were accusing him of looking down on them. It’s comparable to when Liberals made fun of Paul Ryan for drinking expensive Wine, something I did not object to them doing.

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                      • Because of the mustard he ordered on his own fucking sandwich?

                        Give me a break.

                        I don’t care what he puts on his sandwich, I do think that making fun of him for it is fundamentally different than making fun of someone for eating like a prole. No one here would argue that joking about Obama eating fired chicken and watermelon is the same as joking about Romney eating caviar.

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                        • I’m not particularly fussed about people making fun of Obama ordering fancy mustard. Whatever.

                          What’s bizarre is assuming that he’s looking down on you because of how he eats his own sandwiches.

                          Then again, the idea that people are punching down by making fun of a guy who’s been ridiculously wealthy from birth and went to an Ivy League school for how he orders his $60 steaks is pretty bananas, too.

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                          • Then again, the idea that people are punching down by making fun of a guy who’s been ridiculously wealthy from birth and went to an Ivy League school for how he orders his $60 steaks is pretty bananas, too.

                            Is it punching down to make jokes about Obama eating fried chicken and watermelon? They are making fun of Trump for eating like a prole, they aren’t just making fun of him they are making fun making fun of everyone who isn’t a yuppie foodie, they also made fun of Pence for eating at Chili’s.

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