(Just a few more) quick hits

Some more good links from lasts week I couldn’t let die:

1) Love this on letting your child have their own inner life.

As my children get older, I’m realizing how profoundly my instincts have been shaped by this culture of constant supervision, which wants to believe that it’s the same thing as intimacy. I still prefer it, over all, to the enormous distance that I sometimes felt as a teen-ager toward my parents. But I want to ask: Who is speaking up, today, for a young person’s right to a private life, to secrets, unshared thoughts, unmonitored conversations and relationships?

2) Really like what Drum has been writing about climate change lately:

I don’t have such a plan in mind, of course, but I do have a few guidelines that I think could help someone win this game:

  • Think international. Yes, yes, the Republican Party is hopeless right now and that makes America a non-player. But you shouldn’t obsess about America anyway. Any plan that’s worth the paper it’s written on will focus on things that are most likely to work all around the world.
  • Focus on getting the biggest bang for the buck. “Biggest bang” is pretty obvious: it just means reducing carbon emissions as much as possible as fast as possible. But “for the buck” means more than just the lowest possible price tag. “Price” should be seen as both dollars and as personal sacrifice. The more sacrifice you ask of people, the bigger the cost. The lower the sacrifice, the better chance you have of getting widespread buy-in.
  • Forget the free market. There’s no profit in addressing climate change. In fact, the profit is almost entirely on the other side. This means that any plausible plan has to include lots of government subsidies: subsidies for solar, subsidies for wind, subsidies for electric cars, subsidies for reforestation, etc. Basically, you should accept that virtually every policy you support will happen only to the extent that the government subsidizes it.
  • Lots of shared R&D. We could address climate change solely with existing technology. The problem is that even with truckloads of subsidies, it would demand more sacrifice than people are likely to accept. That means that we desperately need new and better technology on all fronts as soon as possible. This should be a Manhattan Project kind of thing, and in this case it’s OK to be America-centric. Obviously other countries do scientific research as well, but America does the most. What’s more, a project like this really would motivate other countries to get on board with R&D of their own.

And how will all this be paid for? The obvious answer is a whopping big progressive carbon tax. This would provide plenty of money for all those subsidies and would provide a tailwind for all the other carbon-reduction policies you come up with. However, a whopping tax means a big sacrifice, and that probably dooms it to fail. A carbon tax that starts small but steadily increases is one compromise that might work. A carbon tax that pays for more than just climate change might also reduce opposition.

There are plenty of other possibilities. The main thing is to be rigidly realistic at all times. If you ask too much of people, they won’t support your ideas no matter how great they are. And even if they do, they aren’t likely to respond appropriately to the scale of the problem on their own. I haven’t, after all. Neither have you. But that’s OK: climate change won’t be affected much by personal action anyway. It’s too big. Like a war, it requires action on a governmental scale. Unlike a war, however, it has no human enemy to spur citizens to accept the sacrifice it takes to win. It’s up to us to come up with an alternative. [emphasis mine]

3) Charles Pierce on McCabe, Trump, and supine Republicans:

All weekend, the president*’s defenders pounded away at McCabe’s 60 Minutesinterview as proof of the “deep state” conspiracy to undermine the administration*. On Tuesday, McCabe told Today that he had informed the so-called “Gang of Eight”—the bipartisan congressional intelligence chiefs—that he was launching the investigations and that none of them raised any objections. From Politico:

On Tuesday, McCabe disputed the insinuation made by some of his critics that he had made the decision to investigate Trump on his own, arguing that the decision was not a spurious one. “Opening a case of this nature, not something an FBI director — not something that an acting FBI director would do by yourself, right? This is a recommendation that came to me from my team,” he added. “I reviewed it with our lawyers. I discussed it at length with the deputy attorney general… and I told Congress what we’d done.”

The former FBI deputy director warned that just because investigations had been opened it did not mean the agency had drawn any conclusions about them thus far.But, he argued, “you have to ask yourself, if you believe the president might have obstructed justice for the purpose of ending our investigation into Russia, you have to ask yourself why. Why would any president of the United States not want the FBI to get to the bottom of Russian interference in our election?”

The Gang of Eight is made up of the Democratic and Republican leadership in both houses of Congress, plus the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. In 2017, at the time McCabe requested the investigation, these would have included Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, Richard Burr, and White House lawn ornament Devin Nunes from the House. According to McCabe, even Nunes didn’t object to the investigation. This is just a bit astounding, considering the supine performance of congressional Republicans once the president* got sworn in.

They all know. That’s the main thing. They all know and they’ve done nothing. Historians one day will fall out of their anti-gravity chairs.

4) This is good, “Stop Using the Word “Collusion”—How to Frame the Critical Question at the Heart of Trump-Russia.”

5) CNN’s hiring of a totally unqualified Republican hack to be a “political editor” is do disappointing.  “Liberal media” my ass.  Margaret Sullivan:

In early 2017, Isgur was summoned to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office, where she needed to pledge her loyalty to be named the Justice Department’s spokeswoman by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Now CNN has hired Isgur — who has no journalism experience and once slammed her new employer as the “Clinton News Network” — as a political editor.

The network, under heavy fire for the move, was insisting by Tuesday night that she wouldn’t be directing political coverage, although that surely is what a political editor might be expected to do.

That sounds a lot like damage control.

But why CNN made this move to begin with is the deeper and more troubling question.

It strongly suggests that the network’s big thinkers — including head honcho Jeff Zucker — are aiming for a kind of false fairness: a defensive, both-sides-are-equal kind of political coverage that inevitably fails to serve the voting public.

This approach is not guided by what’s good for citizens, but by a ratings-first effort to position the network in the middle of Fox News Channel on the right and MSNBC on the left…

If you’re trying to deepen understanding, bridge the divide or do excellent journalism, this is one of the last moves you’d make.

6) NYT with a “how self-compassionate are you quiz.”  Very.  Honestly, I am probably too self-compassionate :-).

7) Among things I will never feel guilty for– struggling to use “they” as a personal pronoun for a single person.  Sorry, decades of linguistic use wires the brain pretty hard.  I think Virginia Heffernan needs more self-compassion.  Also, I think person who really don’t want to use he or she need to find an entirely new pronoun.  We already have a they and it means more than one person.  And, yes, I accept that languages evolve in change, but not typically in ways that are almost impossible to organically adapt to.

8) Why the Catholic priesthood needs women.  My views on the role of women in the Catholic Church are an area where keeping an open-mind (and some good impetus from my progressive, feminist mother) allowed me to undergo as dramatic a change of opinion as on anything.

9) Interesting research on how the number of push-ups you can do is more predictive of future heart health than a treadmill test.  The best category was 40+ push-ups before muscle failure.  Much to my dismay, I can get into the 30’s, but not quite 40.

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

4 Responses to (Just a few more) quick hits

  1. Nicole K. says:

    7) I learned all about this at the workshop I attended. I also met non-binary people for the first time. They already have invented their own pronouns that nobody has ever heard of. For example, ze/hir (Ze wants you to use hir pronouns) co/cos (Co wants you to use cos pronouns) no pronoun/name (____ (name) wants you to use _____ (name) pronouns) xe/xem/xyr (Xe wants you to use xyr pronouns) hy/hym/hys (Hy wants you to use hys pronouns)

    But when they had us go around the room and give our own pronouns at the beginning, almost every non-binary person present said they, theirs. And they are much more insistent and easily upset about it than just about any other trans people I’ve interacted with.

    Since I don’t want to have the entire local transgender community angry with me, in that setting if it’s not ok to use he or she, I just default to avoiding the use of pronouns unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s too hard to keep track of everyone’s non-obvious preferences, especially since I lack a visual memory and don’t remember a ton of details about people I haven’t been around multiple times.

    But I am apparently different than many trans people. I don’t dwell on being transgender all that much. It’s just who I am. I don’t mind talking about it, but I don’t feel uncomfortable around cisgendered people who aren’t openly transphobic, I don’t worry much about the greater transgender community or its politics and rules, and I just don’t feel like the fact that I’m transgender needs to be the defining characteristic of my life.

  2. Nicole K. says:

    6) I took the self-compassion quiz and got this: “You show a high rate of self-compassion, suggesting that you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends. Keep nurturing this side of your personality with self-care and mindfulness exercises.You show a high rate of self-compassion, suggesting that you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends. Keep nurturing this side of your personality with self-care and mindfulness exercises.”

    Glad to know the 10+ years I spent getting CBT for the anxiety disorder I don’t have rather than the narcolepsy I do have actually did me some good. Because I absolutely wasn’t always able to treat myself as compassionately as I have learned to do now.

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