We Need Better Liberal/Left Pundits

In non-Ossoff related news, there has been a spate of articles in the left-ish media about the problems of anti-trust and monopolization–which, to be clear, are serious problems. But what is worth noting is that the old ‘hot issues’, such as the $15/hour minimum wage, have been falling by the wayside while chasing this Shiny New Pebble.

Intellectually (if such a word can be used to describe this sucky blog), I shift gears over the long term because I get bored writing about the same stuff after a while (though some themes I do stick with of course). So I get wanting to flog a new idea. And for those at thinky tanks and the like, there are professional and financial incentives to come up with New Ideas.

But maybe we shouldn’t abandon what was the Hot New Idea from a year or two ago until that work gets done?

And rank-and-file Democrats, we shouldn’t be taking our cues from them. Emphasize what we need done.

Posted in Democrats | 1 Comment

‘Because I Don’t Want Republicans To Kill My Mom’ Is A Compelling Reason To Run For Office

There has been a lot of buzz about Democrat Randy Bryce, an ironworker who has decided to challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, because of this commercial (while I don’t usually post video, this really is worth the 2:30):

While much of the discussion has focused on Bryce being an ironworker, the gist of the ad is what is truly compelling: if Republicans aren’t stopped, my mother could die. It resonates with a lot of people (including people who happen to be mothers themselves). This message also stems from honest conviction, as there is a sense of urgency to it.

During many Democratic campaigns, including Clinton’s 2016, it’s often hard to figure out why someone is running. What is ‘the elevator pitch.’ Well, there’s no question as to Bryce’s motivation for running. It definitely provides the much-vaunted authenticity. And it will resonate–and has so far nationally–because it speaks to a desperation a lot of people feel. Too many Democratic officials have lost that sense of desperation and urgency (and some never had it to begin with). Urgency allows you to take the high road (‘help people’) while simultaneously appealing to people’s lizard brains (‘don’t kill my mom!’)*.

Say what one might about Sanders, his brother at the DNC convention summed up his motivations rather succinctly:

They [Sanders’ parents] did not have easy lives and they died young. They loved the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and would be especially proud that Bernard is renewing that vision.

When that does motivate you, it comes through (and unless you’re suffering from Sanders Derangement Syndrome, it’s clear that this is what drives the guy).

Conviction, tinged with a little bit of desperation, matters. And it can’t be faked.

*I’ll write more about this in another post, but one issue Democrats have is they can’t close out elections. If it’s the ninth inning, and they’re up by one run, they lose. It has to do with an inability to build positive messages about Democrats and negative messages about Republicans that reinforce each other. The positive message early lays the groundwork for the late ‘Republicans are going to kill your Mom!’ message you pull out with a week to go. Appeal to the lizard brain–after all, it’s what is getting people out to yell at Republicans at townhalls.

Posted in Democrats, Healthcare | Leave a comment

Links 6/20/17

Links for you. Science:

Study Finds Tech Can Generate Electricity From Urine and Kill Salmonella
Report reveals years of suffering, death from therapies for “chronic Lyme”
The Epic Shared Journey of Bison and Grizzly Bears
Blue catfish are destroying the Chesapeake Bay. Congress isn’t helping.
How to give an applied microbiology talk


Obama / Trump / Caesar (excellent)
The Man Who Secretly Taped Planned Parenthood Could Be Going To Prison — Alongside His Criminal Lawyers (the far-right is successful because they’re usually able to get away with chicanery–and worse. When they’re held to account, it’s easy to see just how stupid they are)
Can Progressives Make The Democratic Party Worthwhile?
Behold the Most Amazing D&D Map Ever Created!
We do have proof Trump and Russia colluded
‘Heartbroken’ MP David Lammy becomes tearful remembering friend who died in Grenfell Tower fire
Mississippi is rejecting nearly all of the poor people who apply for welfare
How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire
The end of the cosy game of politics
What is the EITC: Earning Income Tax Credit
This is the best @RealAlexJones joke ever made.
National Portrait Gallery Looks At Marlene Dietrich, Icon Of Androgynous Glamour
One Congressman’s Response To GOP Baseball Shooting: Loosen D.C. Gun Laws
Perlstein vs The Trumpie
Shit Is Fucked Up And Bullshit

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

Politics in New Orleans

Observed on Poydras Street, French Quarter (-ish), New Orleans:

New Orleans 2017

Posted in New Orleans | Leave a comment

Not Feeling So Good About Ossoff’s Chances

Like Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog, I’m not optimistic about Democrat Jon Ossoff’s chances in the GA-6 special House election today, though for a different reason. As I’ve noted before, to win these districts, either Democrats need to have much higher turnout than Republicans, or else they need to convince a significant number of Republicans to vote for the Democrat.

Unfortunately, GA-6 is one of the wealthiest and best-educated districts in the country–and that means turnout will be high. I’m guessing Ossoff needs to get at least ninety percent of the total in 2016, during a special election. I suppose this is my equivalent of a hot take, but I think these districts are really hard to flip, as there will be enough loyalist Republicans who will turn up to vote, meaning Democrats will have to get nearly as many votes as they do in on-year elections.

And while I’m all for convincing the occasional Trump voter, I think the real electoral gold mine is bringing Democratic voters who sat 2016 out back to the voting booth. But in GA-6, there just won’t be many of these voters.

What Democrats need to do is target Republican districts with low turnout. In these districts, high Democratic turnout could defeat Republicans.

I hope I’m wrong about Ossoff though.

Aside: There has been speculation that negative ads highlighting Kathy Griffin’s beheading video along with the Congressional baseball practice shooting is bringing wayward Republicans back to the fold. While I’m skeptical about that, Democrats needed to hit Handel much harder personally, and link her voting suppression–and other actions–to healthcare (‘if she lies about X, she’s lying about Y’.) The high road gets you nowhere.

Posted in Democrats | Leave a comment

Links 6/19/17

Links for you. Science:

Millions of dollars’ worth of research in limbo at NIH
Resilience and funding and the NIH
‘Wired’ Roads Could Power Electric Cars As You Drive
In the hunt for new antibiotics, scientists hit pay dirt
Boston posts data that disappeared from EPA’s website


America has a corruption problem. And it’s not just Trump. (must-read)
From Russia With Blood (holy shit)
‘Gwyneth glows like a radioactive swan’ – my day at the Goop festival
The Silence of the Hacks
President Trump chooses inexperienced woman who planned his son Eric’s wedding to run N.Y. federal housing programs
Mr. Mueller Is Following the Money (I told you it would be about the money laundering)
Nothing Really Changed on That Ballfield Yesterday
Dear Paul Ryan: As you work with President Trump to cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood, I consulted some experts — patients in your own district.
How the HIV outbreak in Indiana under Mike Pence would have impacted Indiana under Per-Capita Caps
On Political Violence, Do Listen to Shakespeare
How Conservatives Are Trying to Rewrite the Constitution
GOP congressional candidate Handel ignored election integrity report, Georgia professor says
Donald Trump Has Made Millions of Dollars off His Presidency
Wasserman Schultz Not Allowed To Speak At Fla. Democrats’ Annual Dinner
Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is a new form of American politics known as a cover-up in public view
Trump Officials Overseeing Amazon-Whole Foods Merger May Face Conflicts of Interest

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

Morning After

Observed on Chartres St., between St. Ann and Madison, French Quarter, New Orleans:

New Orleans 2017

Posted in New Orleans | Leave a comment