Quick hits (part I)

1) Ezra on why Bernie’s campaign makes him worry about what kind of president he would be.

2) Ross Douthat suggests Rubio announce that Kasich would be his running mate.  Interesting, but I don’t think it would help enough.

3) Conor Friedersdorf on Trump and “political correctness.”

Trump has been running against “political correctness.” This has sometimes meant attacking taboos that prevent real discussions, foster social exclusion, and signal snobbery. One key to taking Trump down is pointing out that he is also violating norms that are essential to American democracy. And that is a different offense. Every “crazy” Trump quote may be “politically incorrect,” but those labels conflate all categories of controversial rhetoric as if their substance is equally wrong. Neither impoliteness nor tone-deafness nor crude insults are to his credit. But a pol who seeks to gain power by demonizing ethnic-minority groups and threatening their core rights is engaged in a special category of leadership failure.

Too few Americans see that distinction. And Trump benefits from their dearth of discernment. It frees him from the burden of carefully deciding which taboos ought to be challenged and which safeguard life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Instead of careful critiques, he rants off-the-cuff, knowing that the bad press will look basically the same regardless of whether he attacks Rosie O’Donnell or the taboo against torture. His supporters are as inclined as the press to treat every utterance as an undifferentiated instance of political correctness—as if the appropriate degree of political correctness is all that’s at stake this election cycle.

4) Voter registration in Oregon is now automatic and opt-out, instead of opt-in.  If you believe in a little thing called, voter participation, this is an excellent and obvious idea.

5) Speaking of voting, John Oliver’s excellent take on Voter ID laws.

6) I’m an Iphone guy, but I loved reading that the new Samsung Galaxy phone will have fewer, but larger pixels for it’s camera.  About time!  We are long past the point where the number of megapixels matters for the average photo (really, 4mp is actually great for something on a screen), but the size of those pixels really affects low-light performance.  Would love it if this is the start of a trend.

7) Friedersdorf on how the conservative movement enabled Trump.

8) And why we’re at it, Trump supporters not big fans (relatively speaking, to be fair) of a little executive order known as The Emancipation Proclamation.

9) Really enjoyed John Cassidy on the failure of Jeb!’s campaign:

At the outset, Bush had money (lots of money), name recognition, a reputation for decency, and a gubernatorial record that appealed to conservatives. But he didn’t have much else. He lacked charisma, eloquence, passion, enthusiastic supporters, and a distinctive message. In politics, you can sometimes get by without one of these things. But sallying forth without any of them is a recipe for misery.

10) There are no longer any rules on Supreme Court nominations.

11) The mayor of Ithaca, NY wants to allow heroin users to have a place to safely use heroin.  Actually, a great idea.

12) I so love the 1930’s style government posters.  Here’s some new Department of Energy posters in that style:

wind energy

13) The true meaning of coincidences.

14) On a related note, was recently trying to explain the birthday paradox to my kids and failing.  Found this good explanation.

15) Maybe giving public schools more money will actually help their performance.

16) Good take on how Flint’s water problems are what you end up getting with Republicans’ anti-government philosophy.

17) Ron Fournier on Republicans’ unwillingness to even pretend to govern:

Let’s say you hate your job, but not enough to quit. Let’s say you’re no good at your job, but not bad enough to be fired. Let’s say you’ve decided to go through the motions—punch a clock, dodge the boss, and go home. You’re faking it.

Now let’s say you’re a Republican member Congress and your job is to work with other people, pass laws, and govern. You may hate your job. You certainly aren’t getting anything done; the GOP-led Congress is dysfunctional.

And now you’re not even faking it.

18) Or, as Kristof puts it, “the party of no way.”

19) So, Trump basically called for eliminating first amendment protections for newsmedia today, but the newsmedia were far too interested in Christie to write much about it (though, they sure lit twitter up with it).

20) Say what you will about the transgender bathroom issue, but out-and-out fearmongering from Republicans is disgusting and pathetic:

House Speaker Tim Moore has emailed members asking if they would be willing to return to Raleigh for a special session aimed at overturning Charlotte’s new non-discrimination ordnance.

The Charlotte measure broadly defines how businesses must treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers, but as in other cities recently, the debate has focused on bathrooms. In particular, the ordinance would allow men and women who identify as something other than their birth gender to use the bathroom in which they are most comfortable.

Many conservatives have been outraged by the law. Gov. Pat McCrory has vowed he will seek legislative action to overturn it.

“While special sessions are costly, we cannot put a price tag on the safety of women and children,” Moore wrote to members Wednesday

Shawn Long, director of operations for LGBT advocacy group Equality NC, called Fitzgerald’s statement “fear mongering,” noting 250 cities across the U.S. have similar ordinances, including Columbia and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

“There have been zero incidents of any sort of a safety issue,” Long said. “The real issues come into play when you have someone who lives and presents as a female and then they’re told they have to use the men’s restroom. That’s a safety issue.”



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Quick hits (part I)

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Re: Trump and political correctness.
    Trump lambasted a New York Times article the other day. The article was sharply critical of him, he said. Trump’s response was to say, at a televised campaign rally, that when he is President he would end all those laws that make it difficult to sue for articles like that. He said the article was full of lies and distortions and he would like to be able to sue. and win and make “them” pay money for this.
    I haven’t seen any reference to this statement by Trump anywhere and I think it’s one of the more dangerous ideas he has floated. His audience loudly clapped and yelled in favor of this idea.

    • R. Jenrette says:

      Re: Trump and political correctness:
      Let me amend my first reply by adding “except today in the Steve Green blog” after “anywhere”!

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