In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

The Real Majority

Maybe Democrats Need A Little Bit More ‘Leninism’

Some Thoughts On Today’s Elections

Some Post-Election Thoughts

Subpoena Envy

Words Should Mean Things

The Next Job For The Democratic Rank And File

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Links 11/9/18

Trump_concentrate enemies
Links for you. Science:

The Main Suspect Behind an Ominous Spike in a Polio-like Illness
Global Warming Deniers Lose Bet and Won’t Pay Up
Divide and Preserve: Reclassifying Tigers to Help Save Them From Extinction
A single genetic switch changes butterfly wing color
Resistance diagnostics as a public health tool to combat antibiotic resistance: A model-based evaluation

Other:

Lessons on Anti-Semitism From Growing Up in Rural America (must-read)
Conspiracy theories about Soros aren’t just false. They’re anti-Semitic.
This Week’s Mail Bombs Are No Surprise
Trump’s Caravan Hysteria Led to This
A Prayer for Squirrel Hill—and for American Jewry
A Better Street
The Independent States of America
Storm and Menace
Democrats Are Panicked That Latinos Won’t Turn Out to Vote — but Not Enough to Talk to Them About It (professional Democrats suck at their jobs)
Pittsburgh Shooting Is A Reminder: Jews And Muslims Are In This Together
After Squirrel Hill
What the Brazilian Dictatorship Did to My Family
How Democrats Can Reverse Years of Voter Suppression (this is good, but too tepid: pack the courts)
The Case For Small-Business Collusion
Antarctic scientist ‘stabs colleague who kept telling him endings of books he was reading’
GOP Candidate’s Daughter Urges Voters to Reject Her Dad: ‘He Doesn’t Like the Jews’
‘I’m Dr. Cohen’: The powerful humanity of the Jewish hospital staff that treated Robert Bowers
Take Trump seriously: His attack on birthright citizenship is for real

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The Next Job For The Democratic Rank And File

Despite the professional Democratic class and due to the hard work of the rank-and-file, the Democratic Party managed to take back the House. We’ve stopped most of the bleeding. Now, we have to move on to the next step: making the Democratic Party a truly national party. And before anyone tries to shame us out of this, remember, it’s our party, the professionals work for us, not us for them.

While policy does affect outcomes, there is simply a lot of party building work that has to be done. Years ago, Democrats gave up on rural areas, and it still haunts them (we won’t win locally in many rural areas, but these wins can make it easier at the state level). The Democratic leadership is more concerned about keeping existing members’ seats, than they are with improving the status of the party. Yes, we obviously need seats in both houses of Congress, but the short-term focus on winning elections (which is important to elected officials!) means there’s no long-term, party-wide strategy or initiatives–and the moribund DNC isn’t getting it done. Mind you, politicians like party leaders who, first and foremost, protect their seats, but that’s not always the best thing for the rank and file, especially when that comes at the expense of expanding the party’s reach. What they consider wasting money–spending on low-likelihood districts–is really important for the party as a whole. We need to show the flag everywhere.

What that means is we have to stop looking to Democratic politicians: they aren’t going to save us. Consider the Republicans. With a brief period where Paul Ryan was the next ‘It Girl’, they are, as a whole, incredibly uncharismatic. For the most part, interchangeable. They are not about finding the Next Great Hope. Instead, they have a series of ‘extra-party’ institutions, some of which are grassroots, some of which are not, they constantly pressure the Republican Party. We need to strengthen, and in many cases, build those institutions. It’s not enough to root for Team Blue, we have to start pressuring them to do certain things. Some of those things will be non-ideological, at least within the party, such as voting access. Others will be divisive, especially once spending and taxing is involved.

There’s a lot of work to do.

Posted in Democrats | 1 Comment

Links 11/8/18

Trump_sessionstimedout
Links for you. Science:

Illumina to Acquire Pacific Biosciences for Approximately $1.2 Billion, Broadening Access to Long-Read Sequencing and Accelerating Scientific Discovery
How to Not Become a Zombie, Using Martial Arts
Found: The Largest Cluster of Deep-Sea Octopuses Ever Recorded (Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn)
Factors driving effective population size and pan-genome evolution in bacteria
Nutrition research is deeply biased by food companies. A new book explains why.

Other:

Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration
The Amazing Disappearing Voter
Twitter’s Problem Isn’t the Like Button
Top DeVos Deputy: Puerto Rico Will Be a ‘Beacon’ of School Choice
‘An Intense Period of Terrorism’: Expert on Right-Wing Terror Predicts a Surge in Political Violence
Colorado is a rectangle? Think again.
How $100,000 of pay-for-play access changed U.S. Syria policy
Border Patrol Union Endorses Extremist Video Featuring White Nationalists
If Democrats Want to Mobilize Young Voters, They Need to Wholly Embrace Medicare for All
Why Everything About the Trump Administration’s New Opioid Video Campaign Is Wrong
Donald Trump suggests Jews might secretly be committing anti-Semitic hate crimes on themselves so he looks bad (from 2017; Il Trumpe’s anti-Semitism is not a new ‘pivot’)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy Deletes Tweet Attacking 3 Wealthy Jews In The Democratic Party
The truth behind America’s most famous gay-hate murder
Are the Danes Melancholy? Are the Swedes Sad?
A Penetrating Glimpse Of The Obvious
US Government-Funded News Network Ran a Hit Piece on Soros That Called Him a “Multimillionaire Jew”
The Fed needs better rules. This Democratic bill is a start.
Stop Trying to Understand What Trump Says and Look at What His Followers Do

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Words Should Mean Things

One annoying thing in the post-election hubbub is the misuse of the phrase ‘progressive Democrat.’ This phrase seems to be applying to any telegenic Democrat under fifty. Look, Gillum, Beto, and many others were vastly superior to their Republican opponents. But they weren’t exactly progressive. Which is fine! (let’s just table that discussion for now). But they certainly weren’t part of the Sanders or Warren wings of the party. Hell, they’re not even Sherrod Brown.

Nothing wrong with telegenic, but let’s not fool ourselves simply because some is TEH HAWT.

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Subpoena Envy

With the Democrats taking back the House, there is now the possibility of meaningful oversight of the Trump administration. In no particular order, here are some things they should investigate–and, yes, it reads like a ‘worst of’ for the last two years:

  1. Benghazi. WE MAKE THE FUNNY!
  2. Voter suppression. Make a bigly stink about this. Performative politics has its uses, and this will, to some small extent, work the media refs.
  3. Emoluments. Not limited to, but including the D.C Trump hotel (and make sure you determine if the contract with GSA was violated) and the FBI headquarters in D.C. Also, the Saudis. Keep pounding away on this.
  4. The EPA. Lordy, where to start? Bring Scott Pruitt back and make him squirm. Find out why global warming data is no longer available on the website. Also demand more evidence that supports the administration’s ongoing attempts to pollute our air, soil, and water.
  5. Il Trumpe’s taxes.
  6. Jared Kushner, both his slumlording and his conflicts of interest.
  7. The Department of Interior. The Interior IG described multiple conflicts of interest for Secretary Zinke. Let’s hear more! And there are some questionable policies too.
  8. The use of private emails to avoid federal records requirements. What are they hiding?
  9. 2016 campaign chicanery: Michael Flynn and elite racist Steve Bannon need to be asked about what they knew about foreign involvement in our elections.
  10. There are a shit ton of documents federal agencies have refused to release to Congress, even though they’re supposed to, ranging from efforts to downsize government to regulations that make it harder for whistleblowers. Go get ’em.
  11. The 2020 Census shenanigans. Wilbur Ross needs to testify.
  12. Security clearances violations (and not just Jared Kushner). Sure, our Top Sekrit system is clunky. But when intelligence agencies won’t willingly clear you because they think you’re a security risk, we need to understand why they think that.
  13. The politicization of administrative judges. Need to more about that.

Anyway, this is just what I thought of off the top of my head. And as always, now would be an excellent time for Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Posted in The Rule of Law | 3 Comments

Links 11/7/18

Trump_WOMPWOMP3
Links for you. Science:

Trauma of US Civil War POW experience affected the next generation
A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history
Europe’s Nobel laureates step up warnings about Brexit’s effect on science
The Republican Party has become the antivaccine party
A Chinese company unveils a powerful new sequencer. But can it compete in the U.S.?

Other:

Small Town Jews Are Used To Locked Synagogues: Twenty percent of American Jews live outside major metropolitan areas and experience blatant anti-Semitism
Big Money—Not Political Tribalism—Drives US Elections (R^2 of 0.85 is pretty good…)
Quick Thoughts on the Google Walkout
Who’s Winning the Democrats’ Wonk Primary?
Metro considers changes to weekend track work (on weekends, the Red Line starts single tracking one station short of the station with the most people living around, Dupont Circle)
White Supremacist Steve King Won’t Answer Question About His White Supremacist Views
A Party Defined by Its Lies
How did pieces of Martha Washington’s dishware from China get to a trash pit at Arlington House?
‘The American People Overwhelmingly Oppose Cuts to Social Security’
Rise of the Armed Left (I’ve been saying for several years this would happen; thankfully, they seem sane and take gun handling very seriously)
The Last Gasp of Northern Ireland
Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting is a Moment of Reckoning for American Jews
The GOP narrative about black voters is that we’re stuck on the DNC “plantation,” but black voters are actually rational actors who vote in their best interests.
Trump’s Biggest Attempts to Roll Back Environmental Regulations Remain at the Starting Gate
‘I’ve never seen these positions politicized’: White House rejection of veterans judges raises concerns of partisanship
Witness to the killing
What does it mean to live like a socialist, or a capitalist?

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