Quick hits (part II)

Late again.  You will be pleased to know, though, that my Boys U18 Rec soccer team, the Blasters, finished up the Spring season 8-0-0 on top of a Fall 8-0-0 season.  We’ve still got a tournament in a couple weeks, but I’m going to miss coaching these boys  so much.

1) Why do Evangelicals support Trump so much?  Race.

I spent the first 15 years of my career as a scholar studying American evangelicals and race, and in my view, the failure to consider motivations rooted in anxieties about race and gender as an explanation of evangelical Trump support represents a striking omission. The history of American evangelicalism is intensely racially charged. The persistent approval for Trump among white evangelicals ought to prompt far more critical self-reflection within the evangelical community than we’ve seen so far.

Evangelicals’ tenacious affection for Donald Trump is not a bug driven by expediency. Instead, it reflects defining features of American evangelicalism that become clearer when we examine the historical record. Doing so reveals that when white conservative evangelicals feel threatened by cultural change, the old demons of racism and misogyny, which lurk at the heart of the American evangelical tradition, return with a vengeance. Trump is just another chapter in that story.

2) Charles Pierce pulls no punches on the White House Correspondent’s Association:

Faced with an administration* and a president* dedicated to poisoning both the spirit and the institutions of free government, and faced with an administration* and a president* dedicated only to looting those institutions that it cannot destroy, the representatives of the elite political media, through the woman at the head of their formal association, Margaret Talev, have determined that bowing to the fauxtrageaimed at a comedian on behalf of the administration*’s paid liar is the proper way to respond to the weekend’s festivities. The commitment to a free press is not common to this nation’s people any more, if it ever was, and it damn sure doesn’t have any fans in this administration*. Anyone who thinks that “a vigorous and free press” and “honoring civility” are equally desirable goals doesn’t love the former enough to deserve the latter.

3) We need more automatic voter registration.  The only real reason to oppose it is if you just don’t want more people voting.  Shockingly, Republicans are often opposed.

4) This is a really good Drum post on how we need more economic redistribution but that a jobs guarantee is not the best way to go about it:

Since 1980, per-capita GDP has grown 85 percent. If all that growth had been shared equally, median income would also have gone up 85 percent. It hasn’t, and we all know why: because most of the money has gone to the upper middle class and the rich. If we want something fairer, we need to increase taxes on the affluent by enough to raise about $15,000 for most working adults. I’ll let others do the arithmetic. In round numbers, call it a trillion dollars or two.

The obvious candidates for this money are universal health care and universal child care. The former goes a long way toward leveling the benefits of living in a rich country while the latter makes it far easier to hold a job. But what about something that directly tackles employment? My favorite idea is job subsidies…

Bottom line: over the past few decades, the rich have taken all this money. Let’s take it back. In the same way that Republicans compete to offer the biggest tax cut plans during primaries, Democrats should be competing to offer the biggest tax increases on the rich. That will give us all a nice, quantitative measure of just how progressive each candidate really is. And as a bonus, this is already an extremely popular position even before anyone really makes a case for it:

5) Masha Gessen on Michelle Wolf:

There is a fiction that holds that journalists and their subjects can eat and socialize together and yet maintain the distance necessary to continue performing their professional roles. There is a fiction that they can laugh at one another and themselves and not take offense, that the divisions among guests are ultimately bridgeable, that all of them inhabit the same reality, and that both the humor and the objects of the humor are innocuous.

The same fiction continues to dominate our public sphere. In this story, Trump performs the role of President, albeit poorly, and those in the media maintain a strained civility in their coverage of him. In this story, the statement that the President is a racist is still controversial. In this story, the media can discuss his affair with a porn star, and even the question of whether he used a condom, without undermining respect for the office. This is an essential pretense, because respect for the office of the President is indeed a value that should transcend the current Presidency. But it is this pretense, and these fictions, that cast a pall of unreality over most media coverage and make late-night comedy shows the better news outlets. And then there is the pretense that the late-night comedians exist in a parallel universe, separate even from the television channels that broadcast them.

Wolf’s routine burst the bubbles of civility and performance, and of the separation of media and comedy. It plunged the attendees into the reality that is, in the Trump era, the stuff of comedy. Through her obscene humor, Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all. Her last line, the most shocking of her entire monologue, bears repeating: Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

6) I hope it doesn’t make me a bad liberal to say “it’s just a dress!” and that his “cultural appropriation” business has gone way too far and is the sort of stuff that makes middle America hate liberals and not listen to us.  Should you intentionally belittle and condescend to other cultures?  Hell, no.  But borrowing from other cultures is as human as making fire.

7) Chait on Trump, Giuliani, and the GOP’s slide into authoritarianism:

Last night, in the midst of a long, deeply incriminating interview, Rudy Giuliani called FBI agents “stormtroopers.” Here was the president’s lawyer, not an outside lobbyist, comparing federal law enforcement to Nazis directly, rather than indirectly. The Washington Post’s account of Giuliani’s interview noted the remark in a single sentence, in the 30th paragraph of its story. The New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Politico accounts of Giuliani’s interview did not even mention the stormtrooper remark at all.

No doubt the flurry of hair-on-fire legal jeopardy unleashed by Giuliani’s remarks helped bury the newsworthiness of his stormtrooper line. Still, the casualness with which the line was uttered and received does indicate something important about the way Republican thinking about law enforcement has evolved. The party’s respect for the rule of law is disintegrating before our eyes, and in its place is forming a Trumpian conviction that the law must be an instrument of reactionary power…

…in the same interview, Giuliani called for James Comey to be prosecuted and Hillary Clinton to be thrown in prison, beliefs that, in the Trump era, have become almost banal. Republicans simultaneously advocate total impunity for their presidency from the law coupled with harsh and even extra-legal punishments for their enemies.

The potential for abuse in turning law enforcement into a weapon of the party that controls government is so terrifying that any democracy has to limit it. For decades, federal law enforcement has observed a series of norms, codified after Watergate, designed to wall it off from partisan considerations…

Republicans are now engaged in a concerted effort to break down these protections altogether.

8) Want to know what’s best to drink to stay hydrated?  Milk!  Here’s looking at you, David Greene.

9) Paul Waldman, “Crimes are no longer a disqualification for Republican candidates.”

Following his lead, Republican Senate candidates with criminal convictions in West Virginia and Arizona have cast themselves as victims of the Obama administration’s legal overreach. Another former Trump adviser who pleaded guilty to a felony has also become an in-demand surrogate, as Republicans jump at the chance to show their opposition to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Here’s a general rule of thumb: Lawmakers should not be lawbreakers,” said Susan Del Percio, a New York GOP consultant who advised Grimm in 2010 but opposes his candidacy. “I guess it’s a different political norm we are facing today.”

10) Pretty interesting article on how Democrats are way more concerned by technological privacy issues than are Republicans.

11) Want to improve your health?  Just move.  Doesn’t matter if it’s 30 minutes at a time, or 10, or 2.  Just move.

12) What should the law do with someone who has pretty clear plans and intent to carry out a mass shooting, but has taken no concrete/imminent steps to do so.  It’s actually pretty tough.  And we just may need to modify our laws to deal with situations like this.

13) Thanks to this pretty disturbing story of racial profiling at Colorado State, I am now familiar with the band “Cattle Decapitation.”  I am astonished by the drumming, but death metal is not my thing.

14) Whatever one thinks of John McCain— and, honestly, I think he’s a pretty complicated figure– I’ve got a soft spot for people who love books and literature and I heretofore had no idea that McCain does.


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