Quick hits (part II)

1) The evolving relationship between facebook and politics.

2) Great collection of anti-women’s suffrage propaganda.

3) Italy has an incredibly low birth rate.  Not good.  Their PR campaign to improve things is, also, not good.

4) Drum on the totally ignored Bush-Cheney email scandal.

5) Also very much enjoyed Drum’s takes on Trump’s maternity leave proposal.  (Partial short version: it is a pointless exercise to take anything Trump says about public policy remotely seriously).

6) 538 on the science of your body clock:

Foster also pointed out that being an early riser or a late sleeper is hardwired into our genetic code. It’s a gift from our parents, who, by hereditary law, will always have a say in when we go to bed at night. This, he said, is what makes it so difficult to reset our biological clock when we travel across the world or take up the night shift.

Hardwired or not, my wife has recently transitioned to being an early riser rather than a late sleeper (never a night owl).  Weird.

7) Jedidah Purdy on NC Republicans versus NCAA basketball.  My favorite part is the absurdity of our Tea Party Lieutenant Governor:

Asked about the loss of tournament revenue, Forest replied, “Our women and girls in North Carolina are not for sale. They’re not for sale to Hollywood, to any concert venue, to the N.B.A., or the N.C.A.A.” Warming to his theme, he added, “I don’t put a price tag on our women and girls. I think it’s shameful that these entities would think it’s acceptable to invade the privacy or security of a woman or a girl in a shower or a locker room. I think that’s a shameful act.”

The lieutenant governor’s chivalrous assurances fall into a familiar Southern tradition: defending legally enforced separation as the only bulwark against sexual predators. For its apologists, Jim Crow segregation protected white womanhood from black rapists. Now those rapists have been replaced by the farcical figure of the sexual opportunist who switches genders for a look inside the women’s room. As anyone familiar with the pervasive victimization of trans people would expect, the Charlotte statute was designed to avoid potentially threatening encounters, not produce them. Either Forest does not know better or he believes that his constituency does not know better, or perhaps both.

8) Inside the collapse of Trump’s DC Policy shop.  So unpredictable and surprising this would not stand the test of time.

9) Lawrence Krauss on 20 science questions for Trump.  Somebody in his campaign who actually can string together coherent sentences answered these.  Still not quite ready to admit that climate change is real.

10) Kristoff’s take on the false equivalence:

I’m wary of grand conclusions about false equivalence from 30,000 feet. But at the grass roots of a campaign, I think we can do better at signaling that one side is a clown.

There are crackpots who believe that the earth is flat, and they don’t deserve to be quoted without explaining that this is an, er, outlying view, and the same goes for a crackpot who has argued that climate change is a Chinese-made hoax, who has called for barring Muslims and who has said that he will build a border wall and that Mexico will pay for it.

We owe it to our readers to signal when we’re writing about a crackpot. Even if he’s a presidential candidate. No, especially when he’s a presidential candidate.

There frankly has been a degree of unreality to some of the campaign discussion: Partly because Hillary Clinton’s narrative is one of a slippery, dishonest candidate, the discussion disproportionately revolves around that theme. Yes, Clinton has been disingenuous and legalistic in her explanations of emails. Meanwhile, Trump is a mythomaniac who appears to have systematically cheated customers of Trump University.

Clinton’s finances are a minefield, which we know because she has released 39 years of tax returns; Trump would be the first major party nominee since Gerald Ford not to release his tax return (even Ford released a tax summary). And every serious analyst knows that Trump is telling a whopper when he gleefully promises to build a $25 billion wall that Mexico will pay for.

Then there’s the question of foundations. Yes, Clinton created conflicts of interest with the family foundation and didn’t fully disclose donors as promised. But the Trump Foundation flat out broke the law by making a political contribution.

11) Are you an egoist?  Actually, I don’t think I’m too bad.  I think it helps that I know so many super-smart and successful people.  Also, all the references to the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, remind of of A Man in Full, one of the most entertaining novels I’ve ever read.

12) Why the Democrats don’t have a Freedom Caucus.  Great take on the party asymmetry.

13) John Cassidy with a pretty good argument that Trump may very well not be paying any income taxes.

14) Seriously, what’s David Frum doing with a tweetstorm instead of a regular column?!  But it’s a damn good one about Trump and the media.

15) I’m not impressed by explanations I quickly found for why we have two kidneys.  If we really only need one (like a heart, liver, spleen, etc.,) why would natural selection have not eliminated the extra over time rather than wasting resources on an unnecessary organ?

16) Liberals who are unhappy with Clinton and supporting Gary Johnson are morons.  Jim Newell version.  And Drum.

17) Maine voters keep on being really stupid with their gubernatorial votes.  Ranked choice would be a good solution for them.

18) Alternatives to asking your teenager “how was school?”  Ironically, my teenager usually spends 10-15 minutes telling me about his day in high school where I have the hardest time getting more than “fine” or “just a normal day” out of my 5th grader.

19) No,, Jimmy Fallon is not exactly a hard news reporter.  But with Trump, still…

20) The Post takes a look at who the prominent climate change deniers are.

21) Damn did Trump make the cable news networks look like fools with his birther announcement.

22) What’s with all the Japanese virgins?!  Sure, I get it in misogynistic societies with a great stigma on pre-marital sex, but that’s not Japan.

23) Krugman on Obama’s “trickle-up” economics.

24) Missouri has passed new gun laws.  Time for a new motto, “The Shoot Me State.

25) It is breathtaking how pathetic our NC Governor, Pat McCrory is:

Speakers at Hood Hargett Breakfast Club events routinely take questions from the floor. McCrory required that all questions be submitted in advance in writing.

When the moderator asked how to get started, McCrory said, “Anything you like. No filter here.” Sure, who needs a filter when you posed the questions yourself?

When I tried to ask McCrory a question, the filter went up. “We’ve got three Observer questions answered already. I think you guys dominate the news enough.”

Of course, those weren’t Observer questions. They were softballs from his staff about what he wanted to do with his next term; how he wanted to reduce the state’s rape kit backlog; and how the state crime lab performed under McCrory’s opponent, Roy Cooper.

When the event was over, McCrory did not meet with the throng of reporters who were there. He ducked out a side door and down a hall that led to a back exit. I followed him to try to ask him about HB2, but his staff blocked me.

26) This interview with Sasha Issenberg on how Trump’s campaign is a throwback to 1980 style campaigns (and not in a good way) is really, really good.  Kept meaning to give it it’s own post.

Issenberg: I’ll say that I think Trump has a more coherent worldview about campaigns than many politicians, and his tactics actually do a pretty good job of reflecting his strategic assumptions. He considers campaigns to be purely a candidate-driven, mass-media exercise. One could also say, perhaps less charitably, that he sees his candidacy as an extension of the mechanism of becoming a celebrity: It’s about using television to get in front of as large an audience as possible to get as many people as you can to like you. Even as his campaign has grown and changed, he has been remarkably disciplined at not spending much time or money on anything that doesn’t reflect that approach.

Now I think that dramatically fails to appreciate the extent to which campaigns are not just about changing people’s opinions to get them to like you. Now more than ever, thanks to partisan polarization, campaigns are about modifying the behavior of people who already like you — getting the unregistered to register, mobilizing infrequent voters to turn out. That is best done through targeted communications that don’t involve the candidate.

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

4 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. Jon K says:

    4) no link provided

  2. ohwilleke says:

    #22 Part of the issue is that Japan is one of the most gender discrimination free countries in the world for single childless women, while having extremely intense gender discrimination for women who are married or have children, combined with the fact that a lot of the functions of the welfare state are internalized with employers. Add to that a generation of Japanese young men who are NEETs (not in education, employment or training . . . borrowed from the UK bureaucratic expression) after a decade plus long economic slump – like the U.S. but worse with many staying home and playing video games instead of getting out and getting jobs and marrying. Add to that the fact that condoms are extremely dominant as birth control and not as effective as alternatives.

    A woman who wants independence and affluence and power in society is better off not getting entangled with a man, particularly when a lot of the candidate men are economic losers. And, while the Japanese use condoms much more reliably than any other country on the planet, the risk of a fling turning into single motherhood with a much weaker social safety net and no job prospects leads many Japanese women not to take the risk.

  3. ohwilleke says:

    #18. Learned years and years ago that this didn’t work. Prompting with more specific questions can help and since I am lucky enough to have two kids in the same school at the moment, sometimes it is easier to get clues from one kid about the other and then follow up with that than to get everything about a kid from that kid. However, after a few years, the kids get wise to the additional detailed questions thing and learn how to dodge that as well, so they you have to get more creative or informed in your questioning.

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