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Our New Nominee For Attorney General: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.19.16

I've noticed that most people talking about what a racist sack of shit the man is have been focusing on the record that came out when he was nominated to be a judge in the eighties. Just to make it clear that we're not looking at someone who's had a change of heart, check him out in the Congressional Record in 2006:

"Fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society."

--SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R-Ala.), remarks on the U.S. Senate floor, May 22, 2006. (Congressional Record-Senate, Vol. 152, pt. 7, p. 8955)

(Quote courtesy of a Dominican immigrant friend whose skills are benefiting us, and who is a success in our society)
Afterthought: Come to think, it'd be useful to collect specifics of what makes Sessions so awful. If you've got a link, put it in the comments and I'll promote it to the post.


 

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Adaptive Mutations

Posted by Ogged
on 11.18.16

I like the secret ninja angle of basically normal people who have some trait that makes them freakishly well-suited to their jobs. Like John Stockton, the basketball player, who was a skinny 6'1" white guy, but had enormous hands, which let him make one-handed passes almost no one else made. As it happens, my tech lead here at work is one of these people: smart guy, good CS program, but basically an anyman tech middle-manager. But he has, not exactly an eidetic memory, but something on the spectrum. Vaguely describing the issue in a bug logged a few weeks ago? He knows the ticket number. Trying to make sure you do something in a way that's consistent with how it's done elsewhere in the codebase? He knows exactly which file/function to look in. Wondering how some dark corner of the app behaves if you do x, he can tell you. He has an infant at home, can be found online at 12 or 1am, and wakes up at 6 to catch the train; this is not a well-rested brain. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, but he's been here so long! No, he's only been here six weeks longer than I have, so about six months. It's kinda nutty.


 

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The Uses And Abuses Of Cultural Capital

Posted by Ogged
on 11.17.16

I think we have our Theranos movie plot now. Wow. I am very impressed with the young Schultz. Not only did he call bullshit on the company, but he held his ground when his granddad the eminence and the asshole lawyers tried to put the screws to him.

His grandfather asked if he would sign a one-page confidentiality agreement to give Theranos peace of mind. According to Tyler Shultz, when he said yes, his grandfather revealed that two lawyers were waiting upstairs with the agreement.

Michael Brille and Meredith Dearborn, partners at the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, then came downstairs, says the younger Mr. Shultz. Mr. Brille said he was trying to identify the Journal's sources. He handed the young man a temporary restraining order, a notice to appear in court and a letter signed by Mr. Boies alleging the former employee had leaked Theranos trade secrets.

 

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Guest Post - 'I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me'

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.17.16

Witt writes: It's hard to describe how angry this makes me. Regardless of whether this particular interview is fully accurate, the mere fact that there are people out there who viciously make up false, hurtful things with zero regard for the human beings who may be affected is just appalling and confounding to me. I have never understood it, dating back to when I first encountered it in the early '90s.

Heebie's take: I'm with Witt on being enraged. In this particular interview, the guy tries to save face by blaming it on rightwingers inability to fact-check. But the fact is, he's systematically eroding the trust that people ought to be able to have in journalism, and their ability to tell fact from fiction. It's enormously destructive and most certainly got us in the shitstorm we're in.


 

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Worthless Things to Argue About

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.16.16

Hypothesis: The explosion of racism this past week was going to be exactly the same, regardless of who won the election.

Furthermore: a big portion of them were gearing up the explosion, in anticipated anger at their loss, and then are just like, "Well, these angry Nazi posters can't go to waste!". (Others believed all along that Trump would win.)


 

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Debt

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.16.16

I've got a handful of friends - I think they all voted fine - who are nevertheless obsessed with the debt and seem to feel about it roughly the way I feel about climate change: impending doom, society will fall apart, why doesn't anyone seem to realize this is on the horizon.

What's the most concise, clearest explanation of why they should stop fretting? Talking about low interest rates and why borrowing should be counter-cyclical and that yes, now that the economy is improving we can work on the deficit but for god's sake, stop hyperventilating, doesn't seem to cut it. I'm looking for easily digestible bits on why they are waaaaay over-prioritizing this.


 

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I Declare My Episteme Closed

Posted by Ogged
on 11.15.16

This is kind of remarkable. This prof is basically the rural-Wisconsinite whisperer, and here's the latest interview in which she shares the knowledge that "the people who support Trump are not all a bunch of crazy idiots." Then you read the interview, and it turns out, no, they're much worse than that!

Right -- there's definitely this view that racial justice is not a concern. The term "racial justice" isn't even in their vocabulary. It's not their thing. It's not something they think the world should be worried about in this moment.

Just this morning I was in Central Wisconsin, and there's this group that meets in the back of a warehouse. We talked for a long, long time. They're happy that Trump won. They have a lot of hope for the future, because they think that finally, we have someone who is not a politician. There is a chance he will run the country like a business, and he will stop spending money that we don't have.
They don't have much to say about what a great person or great leader he is. They think that he's kind of arrogant. But his promise to shake things up, to overturn what we have been doing, to just do things completely differently in Washington, D.C. -- that was really appealing to them.
Here's the thing that was really eye-opening to me this morning. Eventually, we got around to discussing specific policies. I asked, "So what are you hoping he accomplishes in the next four years? In what ways do you think he's actually going to make your life better?"
And they kind of looked at me. And they said, Well, probably nothing. Presidents don't do anything for people like us. But at least he's going to balance the books and stop spending money that we don't have.
They did believe that Trump was going to boost the economy. They thought there would be 4 percent growth in the economy under him, and there might be more jobs and things would perk up. But they also said, Well nobody even notices that this place exists, so it's probably not going to affect our lives that much.
I think that's a good indicator of the perspective that folks are coming from. They are feeling so stuck. Even this person, whom they support because he represents overnight change to them -- they still don't have hopes that he will significantly improve the quality of their lives.

It probably won't make a difference to us, and yeah, no denying he's bad for minorities, but what the hell, let's roll those dice. And they actually believe he's going to be good for the economy, because he's a businessman. Malevolently indifferent idiots.


 

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Smile, baby

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.15.16

A bear at a wedding! What the heck. Crazy Russians. (An alligator with sunglasses? Traffic signs INDOORS?) And these engagement photos circulated a few weeks ago, but they're also good for a smile.

Alternatively: Where shall we donate our money to get the most indulgences for our buck during these times? We were thinking ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the local Muslim Students Association.


 

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Calling This One Early

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.16

It's a well-known fact that David Duke is the only real white racist in America and, wait, what's this? Pamela Taylor of West Virginia has something to say?

"It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

Two!


 

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Jobs

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.14.16

This is a distraction post, not a reality post. In an Obama presidency (say), what does create more jobs? Is it just a matter of having a federal jobs program? Do states do things other than the reverse-un-tax-free-money giveaways that Texas loves (which don't create jobs anyway - at best it just poaches them, and I think mostly it's just free money that doesn't influence the decision.)? Would uncoupling benefits from salaries make companies more likely to split a job up into two? Can local governments do anything?


 

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Guest Post - yum

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.14.16

Chris y sends in: To temporarily To temporarily lighten the mood.

Heebie's take: I'm going to stake out the Diversion Poster role for a while, I think. I'm on a limited-news diet, still. I fasted for a few days last week, and now I'm gradually introducing different kinds of news, and observing what my body can tolerate, and what gives me a reaction.

I think, culturally, we're kind of living in a 70s decade. You just can't see the fish bowl you're swimming in (but I can. I decorated the fish bowl.) There'd be more tolerance for showing up at a dinner party with some avant garde wack-a-doo hors d'oeuvres in a kitchsy shape than there would have been 15 years ago. Specifically, you could bring the hedge hog, the cauliflower, and the grapes to a mainstream potluck and no one would bat an eye. It's even possible that these billowing drapey cocoon fashion styles will look dated someday.


 

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Class

Posted by Ogged
on 11.14.16

You can quibble with parts of this, but it's a great summary of the case for class having been at the heart of the presidential race.


 

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