Programming Note About The Barr Report

And it is the Barr Report, not the Mueller Report. I likely won’t have much to say for a few days about it because it will be long and it will require some thought to put it in context. Consider that when you read HOT TAKES! about the Barr Report over the next 24 to 48 hours (also remember that our national political press corps on the whole is very stupid and credulous).

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‘Catch And Release’: Losing The Rhetorical War On Immigration

What worries me about the politics of immigration is that the notion that the choices are between completely ‘open borders’ and Trump’s brutality. Dan Nexon puts it very clearly:

The root of the problem isn’t the phrase ‘open borders’, it’s ‘catch and release’, which was the previous policy (certainly pre-Obama). The phrase catch and release taps into previous right-wing propaganda in which lenient liberal judges would free dangerous criminals and then said criminals would murder your family. (Of course, the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants just want to work crappy jobs, and, in some cases, not get murdered themselves which would happen if they were to stay in their countries of origin).

Once treating crossing the border without authorization became a ‘serious problem’ of national security (BOOGA! BOOGA!), as opposed to a misdemeanor, it closed off a lot of rhetorical options. Because the immigration that could lead to the looming nightmare of taco trucks on every corner isn’t a national security threat. It’s not even really a ‘cultural threat’ (immigrants don’t really want to live in places where people hate them for being different anymore than the native-born do).

In other words, once we’re fighting over ‘open borders’, we’ve already lost the rhetorical war. The issue is that the ‘catch and release’ policy, while not ideal, isn’t a security threat. That’s the ground on which we have to fight.

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Links 4/17/19

Links for you. Science:

A Deadly Pig Disease Is Reshaping Global Soybean Markets
Dogs Watch Us Carefully and Read Our Faces Very Well
This ‘frenemy’ fungus provides clues about a deadly new one
A rare trio of bald eagles — two dads, one mom — are raising eaglets together in one nest
Trolls hijacked a scientist’s image to attack Katie Bouman. They picked the wrong astrophysicist.


What Is Freedom?
Elizabeth Warren: My plan for public lands
Bernie Sanders’ Letter Accusing CAP of Undermining Democratic Unity (CAP is bad. Not utterly evil, just bad. New Democrats are one of many reasons we’re in this mess)
Congress, stop blocking D.C. from regulating its marijuana market
Prediction regarding Peter Buttigieg: this candidacy will expose the major faultiness between white gay men and the rest of the LGBTQ community.
Just say it: Trump’s attacks on Ilhan Omar are designed to incite hatred
Dupont Circle Metro station entrance to get precipitation-shielding escalator canopy (42 years to figure this out…)
Niall Ferguson isn’t upset about free speech. He’s upset about being challenged
Trump Is Endangering a Member of Congress Because He Thinks It’s Good Politics
Ask Him Anything
Leaving NYC
Trump’s War on Democracy: An Update
Trump Would Wreck the Rule of Law to Keep Hiding His Taxes
Trump’s plan for sanctuary cities must mean he actually believes his own lies
Bernie Sanders Accuses Liberal Think Tank Of Trying To Stymie His 2020 Campaign (the letter isn’t bad)
My people didn’t integrate well into America. And they were German
Bernie Sanders Imagines a Progressive New Approach to Foreign Policy
Yemeni bodegas boycott New York Post over attacks on Ilhan Omar

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Shaming Works

I’m old enough to remember when yelling at people who are responsible for keeping babies in cages would cost Democrats the 2018 elections (boldface mine):

The official called the current situation at the border, which is experiencing the highest number of unauthorized crossings in some 15 years, fundamentally a “court and congressionally created crisis,” but acknowledged that mistakes early in the administration have exacerbated the problem.

For example, “very few politicals were put into key positions,” the official said, referring to appointments of Trump supporters as opposed to civil service employees, which enabled workers who philosophically opposed Trump’s initiatives to drag things out as long as possible.

“The mere act of electing a Republican president doesn’t mean that suddenly every civil career employee goes to work every day and starts undoing all the things that they did for the last eight years,” the official said.

The failure to fill political appointments quickly and keep them filled was a function of the social disdain for Trump administration officials — particularly officials who have implemented his immigration policies such as the Muslim ban or the separation of families.

The official said that former Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Tom Homan received multiple death threats, while other officials have been harassed in public.

There’s a cost, a personal cost associated in today’s hyper-partisan environment with an increasingly vocal hard left on immigration,” the official said. “You would not be able to go out to, like, a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

One consequence of that, the official said, has been hiring unqualified managers for important jobs: “The skill set that translates to managing a large and sometimes very recalcitrant bureaucracy is a very different skill set, sometimes, from working at a think tank or drafting messaging amendments or doing blogging.”

Definitely different from blogging. Anyone who says social shunning and shaming doesn’t work is wrong. It can, and it did.

Posted in Basic Human Decency, Conservatives, Immigration, Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

Links 4/16/19

Links for you. Science:

Medieval parasites
AMNH Employees Revolt Over ‘Appalling’ Decision To Host Bolsonaro At Museum
Meet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image
Company led by Trump nominee was rife with harassment, including groping and kissing, report says (potential head of NOAA)
The largest plane ever built takes to the air on a morning for both triumph … and sadness


What Conservative Dems– The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party– Don’t Want
Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers’ libraries
‘His own tax lawyer testified against him’: Trump biographer David Cay Johnston explains why Trump is terrified of his taxes
Working Families Tax Relief Act Says ‘Fuck You’ to Poor Children (“If we can’t have a well-designed welfare state, can we at least have a poorly-designed one that doesn’t intentionally deprive the poorest children?”)
I’m proposing a big new idea: the Real Corporate Profits Tax
This exchange between a Democrat and a CEO should shape the 2020 campaigns
To increase bike safety and ridership, DC needs protected bike lanes
Israeli democracy is rotting from the inside
“Civility” Means “Shut Up”
Let’s talk about 9/11, shall we?
“Iowa had the most agriculture debt of any other state in the nation last year at $18.5B, outpacing even California, the country’s largest farm economy… Nationally, debt is projected to reach the highest level since the 1980s farm crisis.”
The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed
D.C.’s Public Housing Stock Requires $2.2 Billion In Repairs, Housing Authority Says
Cherry Blossom 10 miler wasn’t actually 10 miles
They believe more students should attend neighborhood schools. But what happens when it’s their child?
Senators to Metro: No more federal funding if you buy Chinese rail cars

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It Helps When Politicians Directly Experience Life Like The Rest Of Us

One of the more bothersome things about the politics of quality of life issues is that it usually takes a politician experiencing something inconvenient (or worse) directly to get anything changed. In Houston, TX, for instance, mass transit managers are required to use the transit system forty times per month. With that as prelude, we bring you this interesting snippet from a puff piece about D.C.’s Mayor Bowser:

“That is one issue that I probably didn’t see as well, but if you try and push your kid through a road where people are going 50 miles per hour and there’s no sidewalk, you really see how important it is to get missing sidewalks done,” she says.

Now if she would only use mass transit regularly…

Posted in DC, Transportation | 1 Comment

Links 4/15/19

Links for you. Science:

‘Yanked from the ground’: cactus theft is ravaging the American desert
Iconic consoles of the IBM System/360 mainframes, 55 years old
Moving beyond P values: Everyday data analysis with estimation plots
Ottawa cancer survivor calls out anti-vaxxers after she contracts measles
The Great Barrier Reef Was Seen as ‘Too Big to Fail.’ A Study Suggests It Isn’t.


The Moral Order of Panera
Living with Type 1 Diabetes When You Can’t Afford Insulin
Beto O’Rourke, Ilhan Omar and the Democratic future: Time to kill off the ghosts of the past
Barcelona is pushing out cars and putting in superblocks. Here are the 2 biggest challenges ahead.
From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change
And Then The Trolls Came For Katie Bouman
New York City
The Manipulation of a Minority
It’s Time to Stop Pretending the Murdochs Are in the News Business
The Radical Way Berlin Plans To Solve Its Housing Crisis
Representative Katherine Clark takes on Betsy DeVos over ‘racist’ policy change
The new way your boss can tell if you’re about to quit your job
The exceptional life of a man whose son just so happens to be the most influential writer in America.
Cory Booker, a would-be bachelor president, says Americans are ‘open to lots of different types of families’ in the White House
Americans Are Delaying Health Care Until Tax Refunds Arrive
1 in 5 Bus Riders in New York City Evades the Fare, Far Worse Than Elsewhere
Restraining the power of the rich with a 10 percent surtax on top 0.1 percent incomes
Illinois billboard welcomes drivers and shatters stigma: ‘Where You Can Get A Safe, Legal Abortion’
The Great Untaxed
Ever wondered why flight times seem to be getting longer? It’s called “padding”, a phenomenon that helps airlines arrive on time – but at a cost.

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