Quick hits (part I)

1) Nice NYT feature on “what happened to North Carolina?”

But it is also Exhibit A of the partisan self-sorting that has defined national politics in recent decades; a trend that has produced violent mood swings. Its population is divided between the predominantly Democratic metropolitan areas surrounding powerful research universities, corporate centers and high-tech industries on one hand, and majority Republican voters in emptying towns struggling to survive the shuttering of once-dominant furniture, textile and tobacco industries on the other.

The opposing demographics held each other in relative check until after the 2008 election. But after Democrats won the presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial races that year, the national Republican State Leadership Committee coordinated donors to flip the Statehouse. Taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allowed virtually unlimited private spending on campaigns, this group of donors — led by discount-store magnate James Arthur Pope — flooded cheap, often-ignored state legislative races with attack ads against Democrats.

The resulting Republican majority immediately moved to impose drastic abortion restrictions and curbs on same-sex marriage, along with new limits on voter access — disproportionately and, according to the federal courts, intentionally affecting black voters — and police accountability. These policies have predictably sharpened the state’s partisan divide, but they have also more unexpectedly created a rift between what used to be the Republican Party’s most durable bases: social conservatives and business. The man most clearly caught in the middle is Governor McCrory.

2) Like this take from Ezra– at last, Trump has been un-normalized.

3) Drum takes a look at Clinton’s paid speeches and is unimpressed at what, if anything, we’ve really learned:

In other news, we learned that Clinton is pretty much the same person in private that she is in public. She’s moderate, pragmatic, and willing to work across the aisle. She dislikes protectionism and thinks we should try to cut the budget deficit in a balanced way. She doesn’t demonize Wall Street.

You may or may not like this, but it’s who Hillary Clinton has been forever. There are no surprises here. So while I may have skipped past a couple of small things too quickly on my first read, my overall opinion remains the same: There’s just nothing here that’s plausibly damaging, even when it’s run through the Donald Trump alternate universe pie hole. I guess we’ll find out tonight if I’m right.

4) Jamelle Bouie on Trump’s calls for race-based voter intimidation on election day.

5) Dave Leonhardt on Trump in the 2nd debate.  Honestly, this aspect got far too little coverage:

He lied about a sex tape.

He lied about his lies about ‘birtherism.’

He lied about the growth rate of the American economy.

He lied about the state of the job market.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about tax rates.

He lied about his own position on the Iraq War, again.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about the Benghazi attack.

He lied about the war in Syria.

He lied about Syrian refugees.

He lied about Russia’shacking.

He lied about the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her health care plan.

He lied about her immigration plan.

He lied about her email deletion.

He lied about Obamacare, more than once.

He lied about the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

He lied about his history of groping women without their consent.

Finally, he broke with basic democratic norms and called on his political opponent to be jailed — because, in large part, of what he described as her dishonesty.

6) Among the more bizarre things… conservative radio host and Trump adviser Alex Jones thinks Clinton is literally a demon.

7) Fascinating essay (and call for restorative justice) from a woman who discovered her husband was a violent rapist.

8) Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Clinton’s coming struggle with Trump supporters.

9) Though Republicans tend to refer to anything they don’t like as “political correctness” it is a real thing and can reach truly absurd lengths in America’s universities.  This case at University of Tennessee is just appalling.

10) Chait with a thoughtful post asking “would you vote for a sexual predator?”

Donald Trump is a vile human being. He also happens to advocate policies — or, in some cases, policy-esque impulses — that I find dangerous and horrifying. And so revelations about his boasting of sexual assault serve to reinforce my repugnance for this grotesque bully. This makes it easy for people who agree with me to judge the Republicans willing to overlook Trump’s obscene and even criminal mistreatment of women. But what if the candidate I supported were the Trump-like character? And, hence, what if the election of a sexual predator was the only alternative to eliminating health insurance for millions, allowing runaway climate change, submitting to right-wing control of the courts, and so on? Well, then, I have to admit that I would probably hold my nose and support him anyway…

Now, an important distinction has to be made between accepting a leader’s moral unfitness as a necessary trade-off for the greater good and minimizing or justifying the behavior itself. The most disturbing response to the Trump tapes is the casual insistence that his behavior is normal and therefore acceptable. A recent Politico survey of anonymous political insiders provided harrowing evidence of this very belief…

But policy matters an awful lot. Republicans find their policy preferences linked to the triumph of a loathsome man. I have little agreement with those policy preferences, but the dilemma is one with which I sympathize.

11) On the absurdity of Trump’s love for the “new” Russian nukes.

12) And a nice Post editorial on Trump as “Putin’s puppet.”

13) The behavioral economics of recycling.

14) How FIFA soccer video game is actually a useful tool for pros.  Personally, I haven’t really liked sports video games since I had a IBM PC Jr.  I am pretty intrigued by the idea of Football Manager, though.  Any recommendations on it?

15) The Post makes their “closing argument” against Trump.

16) Great tweetstorm from a Republican woman fed up with her party nicely compiled into a post, by Conor Friedersdorf.

17) I must admit I was shocked and fascinated to read this post on racism in academia.  I literally see absolutely zero of it among my colleagues.  We are so happy to have good minority applicants in our hiring pools and look to find more that I find it truly shocking that their are college professors who would look for ways to discount quality minority applicants.

18) I really find it kind of amazing that Samsung engineers simply could not solve the battery-catching-on-fire issue in their new phone and had to give up on it.

19) John Oliver was born to take on Trump’s latest scandal.

20) EJ Dionne on the problems in today’s GOP.

For years, Republicans managed an exceptional acrobatic act: to mobilize right-wing populist anger and white working-class voters behind a program whose benefits flowed to the economic elites. The operation was supported by large expenditures from the very rich. The assumption was always that the base would get the noise and the elites would get the policy.

21) Amazing story of how a drone and a twitter photo led to a NC man being saved from flooding.

22) After supporting him in numerous elections, The Charlotte Observer is done with Pat McCrory:

The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board has endorsed Republican Pat McCrory in every one of his bids for office since 1991. That includes twice for City Council, seven times for mayor and twice for governor. That streak comes to an end today.

McCrory’s term as North Carolina governor is the ultimate illustration of the Peter Principle: that people are promoted based on their past performance and not the abilities needed for the new role and thus rise to the level of their incompetence. McCrory has certainly done that…

McCrory had a notable career in public service. But he has climbed the ladder beyond his abilities. It is time for him to come home.

23) Republican former prosecutors on the amazing wrongness of Trump’s threats to put Clinton in jail.

24) Russell Berman on the wikileaks of Clinton-related emails:

But the leak of thousands of hacked email exchanges among Clinton’s top advisers suggest the same can be said about her—at least in her role as a public figure. They capture a candidate, and a campaign, that seems in private exactly as cautious, calculating, and politically flexible as they appeared to be in public. The Clinton campaign underestimated and then fretted about rival candidate Bernie Sanders, worried about Joe Biden entering the primary race and Elizabeth Warren endorsing her opponent, plotted endlessly about managing Clinton’s image in the press, took advantage of its close ties to the Obama administration and the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, and took public positions to the left of comments Clinton herself made during private paid speeches to Wall Street firms…

The most common thread in the Podesta emails, however, is that they show a political candidate being political. Not much more, and not much less. Clinton is a mainstream Democrat who admires “moderates” and pragmatism. And yes, she did move to the left to defeat an insurgent liberal opponent.

25) Loved this story about a math genius NFL player who knows he’s putting his brain and future at risk with every snap.

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

2 Responses to Quick hits (part I)

  1. Jon K says:

    9) This highlights a huge issue I have with the new PC idiocy. It is this idea that somehow intent doesn’t matter in these incidents. This is encouraging people to not only disengage their brains from participating in the evaluation of these matters, it is encouraging them to judge people in the worst light possible. As an advocate of the principle of charity – where we require interpreting a speaker’s statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, consider its best, strongest possible interpretation – I find this particularly disturbing.

  2. Mika says:

    #14 I downloaded Fifa16 to our tablet and played it for some time. I used to put it on autoplay, got cash when I won games, bought and sold players, and developed my team. I got bored doing that after a while and quit playing it. Then few weeks after that I tried to check out how my team is doing but my daughter had deleted it because she needed disk space for her games 🙂 Kids today, no respect.

    I must say that you must not pay any attention to that, I have no authority on this kind of games. I don’t play sports video games or managerial games at all. Only Fantasy Premier League and I suck at that too right now, my current rank is 945,338 out of 4,006,783 players.

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