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The Bad Economics Behind Trump's Policies: Review of Trumponomics - N. Gregory Mankiw
When economists write, they can decide among three possible voices to convey their message. The choice is crucial, because it affects how readers receive their work.

The first voice might be called the textbook authority. Here, economists act as ambassadors for their profession. They faithfully present the wide range of views professional economists hold, acknowledging the pros and cons of each. These authors do their best to hide their personal biases and admit that there is still plenty that economists do not know. According to this perspective, reasonable people can disagree; it is the author’s job to explain the basis for that disagreement and help readers make an informed judgment.

The second voice is that of the nuanced advocate. In this case, economists advance a point of view while recognizing the diversity of thought among reasonable people. They use state-of-the-art theory and evidence to try to persuade the undecided and shake the faith of those who disagree. They take a stand without pretending to be omniscient. They acknowledge that their intellectual opponents have some serious arguments and respond to them calmly and without vitriol.

The third voice is that of the rah-rah partisan. Rah-rah partisans do not build their analysis on the foundation of professional consensus or serious studies from peer-reviewed journals. They deny that people who disagree with them may have some logical points and that there may be weaknesses in their own arguments. In their view, the world is simple, and the opposition is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Rah-rah partisans do not aim to persuade the undecided. They aim to rally the faithful.
economics  politics 
14 hours ago
Mike McCarthy and the Packers: And Insider’s View | SI.com
It is still mind-boggling that a city of 100,000 people is home to a team in the biggest sports league in the country. It is a team built on legacy and tradition, which explains in part why there is so much resistance to change. I remember when I started working there noticing that there was no way for people to contact the organization on nights or weekends, even through voice mail. When I inquired about it, the response I received was, “Why would anyone want to do that?”
sports  football 
14 hours ago
Private world of Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled in newly found film footage - The Washington Post
The segment comes from a trove of historic film, mostly home movies, being made available Wednesday by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.

The films were donated last year by the family of Marguerite A. “Missy” LeHand, a largely forgotten figure who was FDR’s longtime aide, rumored lover and the woman behind the camera in many of the shots.
history 
19 hours ago
NASA’s latest asteroid target had a wet and wild history - The Verge
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which arrived at Bennu on December 3rd after a two-year journey, is currently positioned about 12 miles above the surface of the asteroid. It recently sent back data indicating that the asteroid’s surface is littered with clay-like minerals that indicate that parts of this space rock had liquid water at some point in its distant past.

“Bennu appears to be a very water-rich target, and water is the most interesting and perhaps the most lucrative commodity that you would mine from an asteroid,” Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission, said at a press conference today.
space 
23 hours ago
Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment - Vox
To be clear, I am not particularly concerned about deficits right now, just as I wasn’t in 2010. But I took Ryan seriously when he said he was. I covered the arguments Ryan made, the policies he crafted, and I treated them as if they offered a guide to how Republicans would govern. I listened when Ryan said things like, “In Europe, generations of welfare-dependent citizens are hurling Molotov cocktails because their governments can no longer fund their entitlement programs. We can’t let that happen here.”

Ryan’s office did not grant my request for an interview for this piece. But now, as Ryan prepares to leave Congress, it is clear that his critics were correct and a credulous Washington press corps — including me — that took him at his word was wrong. In the trillions of long-term debt he racked up as speaker, in the anti-poverty proposals he promised but never passed, and in the many lies he told to sell unpopular policies, Ryan proved as much a practitioner of post-truth politics as Donald Trump.
politics 
yesterday
Distrustful, Desperate and Forgotten: A Recipe for Election Fraud - POLITICO Magazine
The number of absentees, though, was 441. Benston’s margin of victory was 554. Even without the absentees, he would’ve won.

Later, I called Melvin to tell him what I’d found. He was gracious.

“I’m glad you corrected me,” he said. “Again, though, I think, how did Prentis get more votes than Billy? They worked harder. That’s what still works today—whoever works hardest gets the votes.”
politics  history 
2 days ago
George H.W. Bush: The Last WASP President - The Atlantic
Obituaries present George H. W. Bush as the last of the Republican moderates. In reality, he was an archetypal representative of the modern party, a man whose sense of duty failed him when it came to resisting the rise of racially revanchist, libertarian forces. He embodied an Establishment that wrote very nice thank-you notes. But good manners are hardly the same as moral courage; prudence is sometimes hard-hearted. Those who are mourning the passing of the old Establishment should mourn its many failures, too.
politics  history 
3 days ago
Opinion | Why We Miss the WASPs - The New York Times
The WASP virtues also included a cosmopolitanism that was often more authentic than our own performative variety — a cosmopolitanism that coexisted with white man’s burden racism but also sometimes transcended it, because for every Brahmin bigot there was an Arabist or China hand or Hispanophile who understood the non-American world better than some of today’s shallow multiculturalists.

And somehow the combination of pious obligation joined to cosmopolitanism gave the old establishment a distinctive competence and effectiveness in statesmanship — one that from the late-19th century through the middle of the 1960s was arguably unmatched among the various imperial elites with whom our establishment contended, and that certainly hasn’t been matched by our feckless leaders in the years since George H.W. Bush went down to political defeat.
politics 
3 days ago
Here I Am - Skip Bayless
I couldn’t find it in myself that night to publicly thank my mother. The wounds were just too deep. But over the last couple of years, I was able to make peace with her. I often told her I loved her. I told her how much it meant that she made me go to church and to public-speaking lessons. I told her how much credit she deserved for blessing me with some of her gift of gab and performing charisma. I told her how my childhood made me who I am.

She died last March 3, at 91. I rarely cry but I cried the rest of that night and am crying again as I write this. I miss you, Mom. I succeeded in spite of my father. I succeeded because of you.
people 
4 days ago
Judging Bolsonaro – Foreign Policy
Since its founding, Brazil has had a dizzying number of constitutions—nine in total, one lasting only three years. Most featured strong executives and no judicial review, which contributed to years of political instability. By contrast, Brazil’s current constitution, ratified in 1988, finally established a strong separation of powers. The president is now accountable to both congress and the judiciary. Meanwhile, a quasi-fourth branch of government, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, composed of independent public prosecutors who work at both the federal and state level, is also insulated from executive influence. Together, the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s deep investigatory powers and considerable autonomy ought to be a warning to any politician attempting to centralize executive power in Brazil.
politics  IR 
4 days ago
The Helium Balloon With a Magical Ending
[T]he two Laura Buxtons not only shared the same name, but were nearly the exact same age, were the same height (which was unusual, considering they were both well above average for their age at 4 feet, 7 inches), had brown pigtails and blue eyes, and were in Year 5 in primary school. In a Radiolab interview, the girls recalled the astonishing similarities that arose as they spoke for the first time: they both had three-year-old female black labrador dogs, grey rabbits, and guinea pigs with identical markings (orange spots on hind legs). Upon meeting, they unintentionally chose to wear identical outfits — a pink sweater, and jeans.
5 days ago
Apple Music Analyser
Following Apple’s recently launched Data and Privacy portal, which lets customers download a copy of their Apple-related data, developer Pat Murray has built a browser-based app aimed at visualizing your Apple Music activity. With the download of one file on Apple’s Data and Privacy portal, Murray’s app organizes your complete Apple Music listening history since you first started using the service.
apple  products 
5 days ago
dirty work - fredrik deboer
The problems with all of this are legion but I’ll spare you. (For one thing, part of the reason so many regular people distrust the media is because the media class seems to do nothing but make fun of people all day, every day.) The biggest issue is simply this: it’s all fake. None of those people, not one, is actually at all like the caricature they perform online. They aren’t above everything. They don’t think everything’s funny. They aren’t disaffected. They don’t proceed through life unconcerned with the major tragedies and petty indignities that affect us all. They don’t actually find themselves to be inherently superior to those around them and they don’t live or want to live they way they’re behaving. In my experience those who act this way are deeply sad, deeply scared people. You show me the most jaded irony boy in the world and I promise you there is someone consumed by loneliness inside. Some people are really good at keeping kayfabe. But they don’t fool me.

John Updike said that celebrity is a mask that eats the face. I can’t decide which would be worse: if the people who adopt this profoundly disordered way of engaging with the world never actually become that way, and find their internal life at perpetual war with a role they feel obligated to perform; or if they actually become the way they act, and live lives that have programmed away depth, connection, intensity, and meaning.
politics  culture 
5 days ago
Why Doesn't The US Army Develop Thermobaric Weapons?
In February of 2000, the Human Rights Watch quoted a study by the DIA on thermobarics [2]:

“The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique–and unpleasant…. What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs…. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.”
politics  military 
5 days ago
He tried to stop a sexual assault. Strangers are now mourning his death. - The Washington Post
I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know.

In the pew in front of me sat two women who also hadn’t met him. And in front them, in rows packed with people, there were others who knew nothing about Patricio Salazar’s love of sports or books or his ability to talk to anyone he met.

They knew only how he had died: trying to help someone.

If a measure of our worth is who mourns us when we’re gone, it is the rarest among us who are missed by not only friends and family members, but also strangers, people we touched without even knowing it.

And in recent days, it has become clear that Salazar, 54, touched many with his selfless last act.
america  people  politics 
5 days ago
Getting In - Malcolm Gladwell | The New Yorker
Shulman and Bowen would like to argue that the attitudes of selective colleges toward athletes are a perversion of the ideals of American élite education, but that’s because they misrepresent the actual ideals of American élite education. The Ivy League is perfectly happy to accept, among others, the kind of student who makes a lot of money after graduation. As the old saying goes, the definition of a well-rounded Yale graduate is someone who can roll all the way from New Haven to Wall Street.
harvard 
6 days ago
Sinclair Requires TV Stations Defend Tear Gassing Migrants
Epshteyn continued the rant by describing the migrants as an invading force:

“The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country. Period. Our border must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. However, it unfortunately appears that there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole.”
media  politics 
6 days ago
Marriott strike: employees strike deal for raises and pension - Vox
The new union contracts vary by city, but in San Francisco, housekeepers will get a $4 hourly raise over the next four years. Right now, their median hourly wage is $23 an hour, according to the New York Times. Retiring employees will also get a small pension based on how many years they’ve worked at the company.

As part of all new contracts, Marriott will provide GPS-enabled panic buttons for housekeepers to alert security staff if they feel unsafe with a guest when cleaning a room. And for the first time, the company has agreed to ban guests who have a history of sexually harassing workers.
business 
7 days ago
Iraq Offers to Help Establish Democracy in North Carolina | The New Yorker
“If North Carolina gets democracy, it’s only a matter of time before the people of Wisconsin, Georgia, and other failed states demand it as well,” Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi politician and cleric, said.
funny  politics 
7 days ago
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
Which brings us back to Sheryl Sandberg, the ostensible exemplar of what Harvard Business professor Bill George calls Authentic Leadership. Before the wheels started to fall off at Facebook, Sandberg was profiled in George’s book, Discover Your True North, as a model of the kind of authentic leader H.B.S. claims to churn out. Sandberg, after all, has led something of a charmed educational and corporate life, palling around with the likes of Larry Summers, working at McKinsey & Company (which also claims to be a leadership-factory nonpareil), then Google, and now Facebook. Indeed, there is no question that Sheryl Sandberg is one of the premier managers of her time—she oversaw stupendous growth of ad-driven sales organizations at both Google and Facebook. But as new evidence emerges regarding Facebook’s maddeningly foot-dragging response to scandals ranging from data abuse to election interference, the pertinent question is whether she was ever really a leader.
tech  business  politics  harvard 
8 days ago
How George H.W. Bush Made Modern Europe - POLITICO Magazine
By chance, this trustworthy, ”professional” president assumed office just as the postwar world was beginning to come apart. Europe and the Middle East. Russia and China all presented major challenges. Bush not only understood diplomacy, he reveled in it. Time and again, leaders from that era recall that it was George Bush’s personal contacts and his skill in using them which made success possible.

Bush’s empathy with foreign leaders was central to his success. This was especially true in a chapter in which I played a supporting role, the end of the Cold War. By 1989, the rapid economic collapse of the Soviet bloc was evident to all who wished to see it. But Europe and the world were so unprepared for the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 that it came as a shock to most everyone.
politics  strategy  IR  history 
8 days ago
Donald & Jean-Claude, a (kinda) love story – POLITICO
It’s tempting to call them the transatlantic odd couple. But that would be an astonishing understatement.

Juncker is a polyglot internationalist; Trump a self-proclaimed nationalist who speaks only English and never much liked traveling away from home.

Trump is famously a teetotaler, while Juncker is known to enjoy more than a tipple.

Juncker is the son of a steelworker; Trump the son of a multimillionaire real estate developer.

The list doesn’t stop there.

For instance, Trump traveled by private jet long before he won access to Air Force One; Juncker flies commercial, generally Lufthansa — a fact that left Trump utterly flabbergasted when the European leader announced that he had to rush to the airport from a meeting at the White House.

“[Juncker] said, ‘I have to leave, I have to catch my plane,'” according to one official in the room. Trump was stunned. “He said, ‘What? You are flying commercial?”
politics  people  funny 
10 days ago
Beto 2020's Obama problem
These two decisions were morally hideous, in that they directly caused millions of people to suffer for no just reason. But they were also politically idiotic. The undersized stimulus meant unemployment was nearly 10 percent on Election Day 2010, which as even a cursory glance at history would tell you, means the ruling party gets thrown out. The pro-foreclosure agenda made the economic damage much worse, as millions of homeowners either had their credit wrecked through foreclosure, or were stuck paying down enormous underwater mortgages.

That is why the Democrats were blown out of the water in the 2010 midterms. It's by far the biggest reason why they lost the House for eight full years, the Senate in 2014, and about 1,000 state legislative seats over Obama's whole presidency. It was fundamental political incompetence.
politics  history  strategy 
12 days ago
Drew Brees is hiding in plain sight | SI.com
The proprietor of the Mother-in-Law Lounge in New Orleans knows his history. Kermit Ruffins—trumpeter/singer/composer/Saints fan—wore his black number 9 Brees jersey for 15 straight days this fall, not wanting to mess with his quarterback’s mojo. “Brees sets the tone for the city the same way musicians and chefs set the tone,” says Ruffins. “Playing his ass off like that at almost 40 years old—that is freakin’ gangster! Anything else you think gangster ain’t gangster!”

Ruffins takes a long pull from a Bud Light. “History is funny, man. Sometimes it sneak up on you.”
football  sports 
13 days ago
The Forgotten Story of the Julian Assange of the 1970s - POLITICO Magazine
Like Assange, Agee claimed First Amendment protections while disseminating classified information. He and his associates made no effort to hide their dedication to destroying American intelligence agencies’ ability to spy on or disrupt adversaries. Agee was seen by many Americans as a threat to national security, yet there was widespread fear that any attempt to stop him—and especially his associates who had never held government jobs—from publishing secrets would erode the independence of the press. He was accused of having close ties to foreign intelligence services. And just as Assange and WikiLeaks have conspicuously failed to target the abuses of Russia’s intelligence services, Agee and CovertAction ignored atrocities and human rights violations committed by communist governments.
[...]
An article in the inaugural issue of CovertAction called the CIA the “Gestapo and SS of our time” and asserted that “exposure of its secret operations—and secret operatives—remains the most effective way to reduce the suffering they cause.” The magazine proposed a “novel form of international cooperation” in which opponents of the CIA would scour lists of Americans working as diplomats or on aid projects, identify likely CIA operatives based on telltale signs described by Agee, and send the information to CovertAction. The magazine promised to check the research and publish all the information it could confirm. It made clear its goals: destruction of the CIA and, ultimately, the installation of a pro-Soviet, communist government in Washington. From the start, it urged readers to collaborate in the struggle against the CIA, “together with the struggle for socialism in the United States itself.”
history  politics 
13 days ago
Knickers, the extremely large cow, isn’t actually a cow - The Verge
Yesterday, the world was introduced to Knickers, an extremely large Australian bovine. The steer was a sight out there in the field, towering benevolently over his smaller female peers. (No, Knickers is not a cow. Cows are female cattle who have had a calf; a steer is a neutered male.) The very big boy is a Holstein Friesian, a breed that originated in North Holland and Northern Germany that humans have been breeding for dairy production over the last 2,000 years. He lives on cattle farmer Geoff Pearson’s property in Western Australia.
funny 
13 days ago
How many places are named Springfield?
How many places in the world are called X?
travel  web 
13 days ago
Books and Calendars in Photos for Mac
Apple started in leaning into extensions last year, but with its official announcement that it’s getting out of this category, a few other companies have finally jumped in. The result is that there are two apps—available for free from the Mac App Store—that are worth checking out if you’re interested in printing photo books or calendars from within Photos for Mac. They are Mimeo Photos and Motif. (Unsurprisingly, the companies behind both apps seem to have been past suppliers for Apple’s book-printing services… so this is their way of staying in the game.)
apps 
14 days ago
Clinton's Politicking Is Sincere | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson
The roots of Clinton's political prowess go back to his childhood. An awkward, slightly overweight, and very unathletic tyke, Clinton was out of his element in Hot Springs. Not only were these traits obstacles to childhood and adolescent acceptance, but his social life was also hampered by his glowing intellect: Clinton was just too smart to fit in. His only recourse was surely his personality, and what a personality it was. Recognizing this talent, Clinton developed at a young age his easy-going, affable, glib, hail-fellow-well-met attitude that has so characterized him for years.

His well-documented family troubles made him value intimacy in all of his relationships; hence, the capacity for sincerity and empathy. A truly complex man, it would take years to fully understand him. Nevertheless, he can make you feel as if you have known him all your life in less than a minute.
politics  people  history 
15 days ago
Nancy Pelosi’s Last Battle - The New York Times
What sets her apart from other legislators of her stature is her gender. Pelosi has been known to say: “No one gives you power. You have to take it from them.” The leitmotif of her three-decade ascent is that of a woman wresting power away from a male-dominated political machine, until one day the machine discovered she was its master.
[...]
Pelosi — who in her first floor speech in 1987 vowed to fight AIDS and who in 2002 was the most high-profile Democrat to vote against invading Iraq — fell back on the credibility she had with progressives to persuade them that the “public option” hybrid of single-payer and privately managed health care plans was now dead on arrival in the Senate. Then she persuaded Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an anti-abortion Democrat, to drop his demand that the health care bill prohibit federal funds being used on abortion. When a host of other backstage deals with Blue Dogs — like reckoning with disparities among states in Medicare reimbursements — failed, Pelosi managed the fallout. Obamacare passed in the House by three votes.

“I’d remind people: We would not have health care today were it not for Nancy Pelosi,” Obey said. “There were all kinds of people, both in our caucus and in the White House, who were willing to settle for one-tenth of a loaf. And she said, ‘To hell with that. We were sent here to do more.’ ”
people  strategy  politics 
16 days ago
Legendary "Lizard Man" reappears in South Carolina - CBS News
BISHOPVILLE, S.C.--After nearly a decade without a sighting, the mythical beast "Lizard Man," is once again popping up around a South Carolina town, reports CBS affiliate WCSC.
funny 
17 days ago
Regular Exercise May Keep Your Body 30 Years ‘Younger’ - The New York Times
The muscles of older men and women who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds, according to an uplifting new study of a group of active septuagenarians.
health  future  life  guide 
18 days ago
How canned, jellied cranberry sauce became a Thanksgiving tradition - Vox
Then in the very early 1910s, Marcus Urann, a lawyer who abandoned his first career to buy a cranberry bog — and would go on to become one of the founders of what would become Ocean Spray — began canning the stuff as a way to sell the seasonal berry year-round. The cranberry harvest lasts six weeks, Robert Cox, a co-author of Massachusetts Cranberry Culture: A History from Bog to Table, told Smithsonian. “Before canning technology, the product had to be consumed immediately and the rest of the year there was almost no market.” Then suddenly, there was.

The jellied log became available nationwide in 1941. Thanksgiving history was forever changed. Ocean Spray, currently the world’s largest grower of cranberries, sells roughly 80 percent of its jellied sauce for the year Thanksgiving week. (There are also miniature peaks around Christmas, Easter, and the Super Bowl, thanks to a cult recipe for “Ultimate Party Meatballs.”)

Americans love buying jellied cranberry sauce

Ocean Spray makes 70 million cans of jellied cranberry sauce, which Dignan observes amounts to one for every American family. It is wildly more popular than canned whole-berry sauce; three cans of jellied are sold for every one can of whole-berry. Every jellied can requires 220 cranberries.

“What’s interesting about cranberry sauce is that three-quarters of Americans use store-bought sauce for their Thanksgiving,” Dignan muses. “It really is the only thing on the table that the majority of people don’t just buy but want to buy.”
history  food 
18 days ago
How the Beto Bubble Could Burst - POLITICO Magazine
If this was truly O’Rourke’s only moment to become president, the logical choice would be to seize the moment. But he has another, more promising path: Stay in Texas first and finish the job of turning it blue.
[...]
And Cornyn appears ripe for the plucking. Dr. James Henson, who teaches government at the University of Texas-Austin, recently noted Cornyn is “one of the least popular top-tier statewide officials in Texas,” with an approval rating among Texans that’s 28 points lower than Cruz’s. In turn, Henson concluded, “Cornyn’s relatively soft support among the GOP base, coupled with presidential year turnout among Democrats, makes Cornyn appear less formidable in 2020 than Cruz in 2018.”
politics 
18 days ago
Title IX: The Civil Rights the ACLU Won't Defend - The Atlantic
The ACLU doesn’t object to any of those due-process protections when a person faces criminal charges. Indeed, it favors an even higher burden of proof, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to find an individual guilty.
politics 
19 days ago
Thomas Nast's Thanksgiving Vision of American Identity - The Atlantic
In the drawing, Uncle Sam is carving the turkey; opposite him sits Lady Columbia; and at the abundant table are members of the American nation, men, women, and children from all corners of the globe in good spirits and affable conversation. The table centerpiece proclaims “self government” and “universal suffrage;” on the wall hangs a banner proclaiming the passage of the 15th Amendment on voting rights and a picture of Castle Garden, the nation’s great immigration receiving point before Ellis Island; the captions below read “Free, Equal” and “Come One Come All.”

What confidence! What a contrast between Nast’s image and the dark defensiveness of our times. “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner” is not a politically correct affectation; it is an expression of civic patriotism, a vision of America as truly “Novus ordo seclorum”—a “new order of the ages”—as is written on the Great Seal of the United States. (And, yes, even a nation based on common conviction can have and enforce immigration laws and maintain a regulated border; it would be nice to do so with a feeling of confidence, not fear.)
america  art  history  politics 
19 days ago
Thanksgiving Biscuits: The Secret to the South's Recipe - The Atlantic
The one ingredient I took for granted had indeed been the key all along, says Robert Dixon Phillips, a retired professor of food science at the University of Georgia. To make a good biscuit, “you want a flour made from a soft wheat,” he says. “It has less gluten protein and the gluten is weaker, which allows the chemical leavening—the baking powder—to generate carbon dioxide and make it rise up in the oven.” It turns out that in most of the U.S., commonly available flours are made from hard wheats, which serve a different purpose. “Hard wheats are higher in gluten protein, and when they’re turned into a dough, the dough is very strong and elastic and can trap carbon dioxide,” says Phillips. If you want to make bread, you want a hard wheat. Northern biscuits suck because they are made with bread flour.
america  food 
19 days ago
Nancy Pelosi stopped the Bush Social Security privatization plan - Vox
Pressure mounted on Democrats — including from inside their own caucus — to propose a Social Security fix of their own to counter Bush’s proposal. Pelosi’s insight was that any Democratic proposal would necessarily prompt intraparty infighting and muddy the waters, while Republicans simply had no way of resolving the internal contradictions of their own position. If Democrats simply stayed united and critical of privatization, the GOP plan would collapse under its own weight.

What they had to do was do nothing:

As the spring of 2005 wore on, some pestered her every week, asking when they were going to release a rival plan.

“Never. Is never good enough for you?” Pelosi defiantly said to one member.
It worked. While Democrats refused to engage in the details of the debate, infighting consumed Republicans. And the fact that the whole idea was unpopular loomed larger and larger in the minds of GOP elected officials who had no particular stake in the details.

Bush attempted to barnstorm the country in support of privatization, but that only drew more attention to an embarrassing and unpopular situation. No bill ever came to a vote in either house of Congress.
strategy  politics  history 
20 days ago
Donald Trump’s weakness is policy - Vox
Second, Trump is at his weakest on policy, in part because he understands it so poorly, and in part because it puts him crosswise with his own party.

“Trump’s problem has always been that he’d be happy to cut a deal, but every time he tries to do it, his own party holds him back,” Klain said. “He doesn’t understand the policy issues, and he’s intimidated by his party. He doesn’t want to cross them. And do you think Mitch McConnell will slam a $15 minimum wage bill through the Senate?”

Political confrontations often leave Trump polarizing but clearly in control. Policy confrontations, on the other hand, tend to leave him looking overmatched. He seems less like a tough-talking populist than an in-over-his-head plutocrat (“nobody knew that health care could be so complicated”).
policy  politics  strategy 
20 days ago
The rebellion against Nancy Pelosi is absurd - The Washington Post
What’s truly absurd about this is the fact that everyone — both her supporters and her opponents — agrees that not only does no one else have Pelosi’s combination of skills and experience, but also that she might be the most effective congressional leader of the past half-century or so. The current speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, had to struggle to pass a tax cut through a Republican-led House; when Pelosi was speaker she passed cap and trade, a huge stimulus, banking reform, and a whole lot else besides. And of course, the Affordable Care Act — the most important issue in the election we just had? It never would have passed in 2010, at a moment when other Democrats were ready to give up, had it not been for Pelosi’s skill and determination. Seriously, look it up.
politics 
20 days ago
A lesson on infrastructure from the Anderson Bridge fiasco (Larry Summers) - The Boston Globe
This glacial pace of implementation does not reflect the intrinsic technical difficulty of the task. For comparison, the Anderson Bridge itself was originally completed in just 11 months in 1912. General George Patton constructed nearly 40 times as much bridging in six months as American soldiers crossed the Rhine to win World War II. And even modern-day examples abound; for instance, in 2011, 14 bridges in Medford were fixed in just 10 weekends. In contrast, the lapses exposed by the Anderson Bridge project hold key lessons for America’s broader inability to solve its infrastructure problems.
[...]
The Anderson Bridge is approximately one-sixth the length of the bridge Julius Caesar’s men built across the Rhine in 10 days in 55 BC. Caesar’s feat is admired not just for its technical mastery but also for its boldness. An allied tribe had offered boats to carry Caesar’s troops across the river, to avoid the difficult task of bridge-building. Yet Caesar rejected this offer, on the grounds that it would not be “fitting for the prestige of Rome.”

We should hold America’s infrastructure to the same standard.
politics 
20 days ago
Nancy Pelosi Is Likely to Be House Speaker Again - The Atlantic
How did these progressive hard-liners justify supporting Pelosi, whose history of ideological compromise and big-donor fund-raising represents much of what they despise about the modern Democratic Party? They said her opponents were worse. Jayapal told Politico that the “drive” by party moderates to depose Pelosi “is not going to take us in the direction that we should go. It’s going to be the opposite of what the election really told us, which is a much more diverse, progressive, bold agenda.” MoveOn tweeted that “Dems must reject attempts to defeat” Pelosi “and move caucus to the right.” Indivisible declared, “We shouldn’t let a small group of white, moderate men sabotage her.” On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez—who had refrained from endorsing Pelosi during the campaign—justified her support in identical terms. “Out of the field, I would say that she is the most progressive candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez announced on Instagram. “All of the rebellion for the speakership are challenges to her right.”
strategy  politics 
20 days ago
Technovision (Dot-X)
You'll not only find our video walls in th Mall of America, you'll find them in most malls in America. And with good reason. DOT-X stackable video wall display series offers three CRT sizes specifically designed for "Continuous On" applications that require versatility, high performance and true colour with sharp, bright, dependable images. Combine this with the industry's largest selection of affordable options, and you have a reliable solution that fits your budget and your design needs.
products 
20 days ago
Trump’s latest lies: a linguist explains how the media should respond - Vox
People think in terms of conceptual structures called frames and metaphors. It’s not just the facts. They have values, and they understand which facts fit into their conceptual framework. You can’t understand something if your brain doesn’t allow it, if your brain filters it out in terms of your values.
politics  media 
23 days ago
OK, let's put this Tom Brady 'noodle arm' narrative to bed real quick
Of Brady's 20 incompletions, at least four can be credited to drops. There were several throwaways with pass rushers in his face. A few fell incomplete due to what looked like miscommunication between Brady and Josh Gordon (Chris Hogan too). The Titans made four pass breakups, and mainly due to tight coverage and not slow, fluttering footballs.

There's pretty much one (one!) incompletion that you can even argue was the result of declined arm strength. On third-and-4 in the second quarter, Brady whipped it toward James White at the sticks, but the throw landed low and short. Even that might have been a bit of a throwaway; Brady was definitely trying to put the ball where only White could get it. But sure, give them the "noodle arm" on that one.
football 
26 days ago
The Best Campaign Money Can Buy - POLITICO Magazine
J.B. Pritzker won the Illinois governor's race by spending $171.5 million of his own cash. Here's an inside look at how he spent it—and what it means for 2020.
[...]
So what did she learn? Caprara points to two takeaways for 2020: Digital rules, and so does authenticity.

On the digital piece, there’s long been a fight between new- and old-school campaign operatives over how much of the budget should go to TV vs. digital. That fight is over, as far as Caprara is concerned—and digital is now king. An in-house photographer and videographer are now necessities, she says, and without a doubt, campaigns have to bring digital staffing in-house. Capitalizing on voters’ moods means having the ability to react quickly to breaking news events.

As for authenticity, “I think more than everything, campaigns have to stop being afraid to bust the ways we used to do things, particularly on advertising,” Caprara said. “Let it go, just let people be human.”
electionStrategy  politics  strategy 
27 days ago
Home - Conid Pen
Beautiful Belgian fountain pens (super expensive)
writing  products 
27 days ago
How a Difficult, Racist, Stubborn President Was Removed From Power—If Not From Office - POLITICO Magazine
Why wait until the end of a term to remove a president? Methods ranging from the deft to the downright unsavory have undermined presidents’ authority, seen so clearly in Andrew Johnson’s case. Most of the same mechanisms used to undermine him remain in others’ toolkits today, which means it’s equally true now as it was under Johnson: You don’t have to formally eject an unpopular or unfit president from the White House if you can use various other means to limit the damage he is causing to the country.
politics 
27 days ago
California’s New Governor Has a Problem: His Own Party - POLITICO Magazine
That decision put him on the national political map—and sparked a national uproar. Republicans lambasted Newsom, as did some Democrats like Dianne Feinstein, and many more—like then-Senator Barack Obama — declined to have photos taken with him in the immediate aftermath. Pundits predicted the end of his political career, but it was Newsom’s prediction that marriage equality would be the law of the land some day — “whether you like it or not,” he said — that turned out to be spot-on.

But Newsom cautions that recreating that “lightning in a bottle” moment will be “tough.” He adds: “That issue chose me, I didn’t choose it.”

But even as he sought to tamp down expectations, Newsom noted that his campaign slogan was “Courage, for a Change.”

“I don’t want anyone to be surprised with what they’re getting,” he said. “I’m not saying courage is always noble and righteous—but it’s an expression of a willingness to lean into issues” when others “may be a little more reticent to do so.”
politics  strategy 
27 days ago
Massachusetts has an answer to America’s gun problem: Gun Licenses - Vox
Several studies have looked at permit-to-purchase systems similar to Massachusetts’s over the years, and the findings have consistently been positive.

The big studies so far come out of Connecticut and Missouri. In Connecticut, researchers looked at what happened after the state passed a permit-to-purchase law for handguns — finding a 40 percent drop in gun homicides and 15 percent reduction in handgun suicides. In Missouri, researchers looked at the aftermath of the state repealing its handgun permit-to-purchase law — finding a 23 percent increase in firearm homicides but no significant increase in non-firearm homicides, as well as 16 percent higher handgun suicide rates.
policy  politics 
28 days ago
What Democrats’ big win in Arizona means - The Washington Post
Fifth, exits polls in the race showed Sinema hung on to a high percentage of white voters (44 percent) and won big with Hispanics (69 percent), white college graduates (53 percent), white college-educated women (55 percent), voters 18 to 44 years old (59 percent), and voters who ranked health care as the most important issue (77 percent). That sort of coalition succeeded for Democrats in a previously red state — and in races all across the country. When looking at presidential candidate, Democratic primary voters should consider who has the ability to put together that kind of coalition.
strategy  electionStrategy  politics 
28 days ago
Opinion | Do the Math. Moderate Democrats Will Not Win in 2020. - The New York Times
Over the past 20 years, the best-performing Democratic candidates in statewide elections in Florida and Georgia have been Mr. Obama, Mr. Gillum and Ms. Abrams. (Hillary Clinton in 2016 was actually Florida’s highest Democratic vote-getter ever.)
politics 
29 days ago
Forget Pelosi. Challenge Hoyer. - POLITICO Magazine
The question about the speakership for Democrats to ask is not, “Who would be the best face of the party?” There’s a little thing about to happen that will answer that soon enough, and it’s called the presidential primary. The correct question to ask about the speakership is: “Who would be the best speaker?” Who can count heads? Who can keep a caucus unified as much as possible? Who can protect vulnerable members from tricky votes? Who knows when to lean on a member for a tough vote, and when to let him or her go their own way?

For all the criticisms of Pelosi, none of them have cast doubt on her ability to actually do the job of speaker.
politics 
29 days ago
Fortnite fans rally around VoiceoverPete after he gets booted from Fiverr - The Verge
Over the last three months, you might have seen a joke format that asks viewers to help pop culture figures by giving them their credit card number. That meme was the calling card of “VoiceoverPete,” an actor who delivers lines with such an impressive command that people were willing to pay him for custom videos — that is, until the website that hosted his services terminated his account for promoting scams. But VoiceoverPete’s career didn’t die there. Instead, an adoring public has now found a new way to pay Pete thousands of dollars for more memes.
funny  games 
4 weeks ago
Dan Crenshaw started the week as a punchline and ended it as a star. The real story came before that. - The Washington Post
The campaign started in November 2017, four months before the Republican primary.

“I had never heard of him before he arrived. I would venture to say most people had never heard of him,” said Vlad Davidiuk, communications director for the Harris County Republican Party. “The district has changed demographically, and is no longer as solid red as it used to be. It required a candidate who was willing to campaign hard. . . . What distinguished Dan Crenshaw most is his ability to engage with voters.”
politics  strategy 
4 weeks ago
Trump Isn’t Orwell’s Nightmare. He’s the Kind of Politician Orwell Thought Would Save Us. - POLITICO Magazine
Excerpted from Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed

Since Orwell, it has become a common complaint among pundits and commentators that overblown or confusing language stacks the deck against ordinary citizens who just want to know what their government is up to. His notion that plain language will make awful politics unbearable is simple and appealing—and largely wrong. Remember that for people to recognize a falsehood, they need to know the truth. Orwell assumes that once deception is stripped away, the truth will be plain. But populism, or at least the brand of populism represented by Trump and Brexit, proves that Orwell was wrong.

The year 2016 rocked Western politics. First, in June, Britain voted for Brexit: to leave the European Union, against the advice of the overwhelming majority of politicians, economists, academics, business leaders and elite journalists. Then, in November, America rejected a former secretary of state and senator, Hillary Clinton, for a political novice and a billionaire with a habit of saying appalling things, Donald Trump. In both cases, the experts misread the sentiment of a part of their country far away from the big cities where journalists tend to live and work.

And in both cases, those angry voters, ready to vote for change of almost any kind, were seduced not by “cuttlefish squirting out ink,” but by politicians making it perfectly clear what they wanted and how they planned to get it. Without making a statement on whether these voting choices were right or wrong, both Brexit and Trump ran campaigns filled with lies—lies in simple, bold language. When they lied, the lies were often perfectly clear to anyone who cared to learn the least bit about the facts. But either the lies were not recognized as such, or voters didn’t care.
politics  writing  language 
4 weeks ago
Analytical Space
Analytical Space is launching a nanosatellite network to provide a secure, reliable, high-speed data connection for Earth observation satellites. By uploading to the network, operators will have access to more of their data in less time, while using their existing hardware.
space 
4 weeks ago
What Beto O'Rourke Won in Texas - The Atlantic
Issues have never been the issue for Texas Democrats, just the same as Democrats nationally. Their problem has been putting together a coalition, and O’Rourke’s charisma and positivity gave people on both the left and in the middle a reason to invest in him. After the election, Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, hunted for years by the far right, strongly hinted that he had voted for O’Rourke. He warned that the “Republican Party and the state of Texas are moving in opposite directions.”
politics  strategy 
4 weeks ago
An Unlikely Friendship: A Liberal and a Segregationist | Merion West
Biden and Strom Thurmond

And he (Stennis) ran his hand back and forth across that mahogany table in a loving way, and he said, “You see this table, Joe?” This is the God’s truth. He said, “You see this table?” And I said, “Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman.” He said, “This table was the flagship of the Confederacy from 1954 to 1968.” He said, “We sat here, most of us from the Deep South, the old Confederacy, we planned the demise of the civil rights movement.” Then he looked at me and said, “And now it’s time, it’s time that this table go from the possession of a man against civil rights to a man who is for civil rights.”
politics  history 
4 weeks ago
China’s Hukou Reforms and the Urbanization Challenge | The Diplomat
But despite the government’s attempt to attract migrant workers to lower-tier cities and drive economic rebalancing toward its less developed regions, migrants moving to these areas face huge challenges, meaning that many millions of migrants have no interest in applying for an urban hukou at all.

For starters, migrants having to give up their land rights in rural areas as part of their application for a urban hukou are often not compensated properly, if at all. Indeed, disputes over improper compensation, or blatant expropriation by responsible government bodies, are the main source of unrest in China. Aside from having little left over to start again in a nearby city, migrants also lose their main source of support in their hometown should things go wrong. Despite regular government promises to secure property rights and ensure adequate compensation, swathes of research show that little has changed, meaning migrants have less incentive to consider moving to a local city.
politics  china 
4 weeks ago
Opinion | Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional (George Conway) - The New York Times
If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his “favorite” sitting justice. Last year, the Supreme Court examined the question of whether the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board had been lawfully appointed to his job without Senate confirmation. The Supreme Court held the appointment invalid on a statutory ground.

Justice Thomas agreed with the judgment, but wrote separately to emphasize that even if the statute had allowed the appointment, the Constitution’s Appointments Clause would not have. The officer in question was a principal officer, he concluded. And the public interest protected by the Appointments Clause was a critical one: The Constitution’s drafters, Justice Thomas argued, “recognized the serious risk for abuse and corruption posed by permitting one person to fill every office in the government.” Which is why, he pointed out, the framers provided for advice and consent of the Senate.
law  politics 
4 weeks ago
How Democrats in Congress Can Fight Trump
The House Foreign Affairs Committee could set the tone early by holding two full committee hearings with senior State Department officials to discuss Iran and North Korea. Shockingly, in 2018, the committee did not hold a single hearing with administration officials dedicated to either topic. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will likely spend a good portion of its time investigating the Trump family businesses. It should prioritize taking a close look at the Chinese and Russians who have bought Trump properties in New York and elsewhere, as well as the lavish spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. A brief, preliminary report laying out the facts would establish a road map, allowing the media and members of Congress to connect the dots between Trump’s private businesses and his official actions.
IR  politics  strategy 
4 weeks ago
Following investigation, Houston Chronicle retracts eight stories - HoustonChronicle.com
The Chronicle spot-checked several other stories written by Ward. A pattern began to emerge: Alongside quotes from easy-to-find political figures, his stories were spiced with sparkling quotes from ordinary Texans, including a software engineer from Dallas, a businesswoman from Williamson County, a tea party activist.

Many of them could not be found, despite extensive searches in multiple databases by a newsroom researcher and more work by a private investigator.

Ward was confronted by Chronicle Executive Editor Nancy Barnes. Ward insisted that every person in his stories did exist and that they eventually would be found; he spent a week looking for them, but turned up nothing. Asked for notes used for his stories, Ward said he had destroyed them.

Barnes accepted Ward's offer to resign.
media 
4 weeks ago
Interpreting Susan B. Anthony for Our Times – National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House
Following emancipation, they anticipated taking up the cause of voting rights for all. They founded the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, whose purpose was “to secure Equal Rights to all American citizens, especially the right of suffrage, irrespective of race, color or sex.”

Imagine Anthony’s indignation when she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were privately approached by Wendell Phillips and Theodore Tilton to suspend work for universal suffrage, to concentrate on getting the vote for men of color only. Anthony’s biographer, Ida Husted Harper reports that Anthony responded that “she would sooner cut off her right arm before she would ever work for or demand the ballot for the black man and not the woman.” It was a betrayal to Susan B. Anthony to be asked to compromise on the issue of universal suffrage.
quotes  history  america 
4 weeks ago
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