9) Yes, we are having the wrong arguments about GMO’s (but the author interviewed here is a little too willing to be agnostic on the science):
By focusing so much on GMOs, you’re not paying attention to species loss or the decline in aquifers or soil depletion or greenhouse gasses or all the other problems tied up on industrial food production. And I’m sympathetic to that argument. I think GMOs have gotten a lot of attention because they elicit a visceral fear from people, but really we have a lot of other agricultural problems that predate GMOs. If you think about factory farming or fossil fuels or toxic chemicals or soil loss — those things all existed before GMOs, and GMOs just scaled them up.
10) Life under “alternative facts,” e.g., the Soviet Union.
11) Damn, when even war criminal and torture apologist John Yoo says you are abusing executive power, that’s really something.
12) Trump sort of takes on Texas state legislator who opposes the policy horror that is civil asset forfeiture. I think Drum’s take is spot-on.
This demonstrates the problem with Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip style.1 My guess is that he has no idea what civil asset forfeiture is and has no real opinion about it. If, say, Trump had been in a meeting with a few senators, and Bob Goodlatte had remarked that “police can seize your money even if you weren’t convicted of a crime,” Trump probably would have reflexively answered, “Can you believe that?” Instead, a sheriff said it was a bad thing related to Mexicans, so Trump automatically agreed with him. That means it’s now official Trump administration policy.
Sad. But then again, Jeff Sessions is a huge fan of civil asset forfeiture and all the corrupt incentives it creates, so he probably would have gotten Trump on board one way or another. It’s yet another big win for the working class.
13) I love this– science determines what makes a good dancer:
…very specific patterns may make some people appear to be better dancers than others. That’s the conclusion of a study published on Thursday in Scientific Reports, in which researchers asked 200 people to rate 39 female dancers. A few features stood out as contributing to higher-quality dance: big hip swings, and the right and left limbs moving independently of one another (which the researchers describe as asymmetric arm and thigh movements).
14) A fair amount of public policy comes down to different organized interests fighting each other. Who gets to do basic laser eye surgery in NC is a great example.
15) Don’t worry about skynet, worry about the AI coming for your middle class job.
16) School integration works. We should be doing more, not less.
17) The right very much has it’s own political correctness. Great take from Conor Friedersdorf.
Trump has yet to name right-wing extremism.
He said nothing about the attack in Quebec City. His press secretary, who did mention that attack, suggested that it showed the need for recent security measures taken by the Trump administration, though those measures were targeted narrowly and exclusively at stopping foreign threats from seven majority-Muslim countries. It was as if the press secretary could only conceive of Islamist terrorism.
That is the politically correct posture under Trump…
The White House’s behavior doesn’t make much sense if it prizes common sense over political correctness. But it makes perfect sense if a White House staffer wanted to maintain plausible deniability while catering to the sensibilities of the alt-right, a community where diminishing the relative suffering of Jews in the Holocaust is politically correct––transgressing against Holocaust norms gives them a special thrill. Or even if the original omission was inadvertent, but the White House didn’t want to offend those sensibilities by changing the statement.
18) Amy Davidson on the total Trumpism of Sessions.
19) It may not be “extreme vetting,” but we already have a very good, very thorough vetting system in place for refugees. This is important as the right is very much suggesting otherwise. It is 100% foolproof? Nope. Also cannot guarantee you computer or phone battery won’t catch on fire right now.
21) Happy 45th birthday to me.