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“Why could that one not have been worked out?” Glad You Asked, Mr. President

May 1, 2017, 5:41 pm

What-if scenarios regarding history can be appealing. Change one butterfly fluttering its wings, and you can’t be sure how the rest of the world will react. This becomes particularly poignant on the level of presidential politics, which is one reason Alternate History has become something of its own sub-genre in recent years, attracting such luminaries as Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, and Stephen King. Personally, I’m still waiting on the great novel where Sandra Day O’Connor bumps her head on Thanksgiving
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100 Reasons Why: A #100daysofshame Post That Will Annoy Liberals AND Conservatives

April 24, 2017, 5:18 pm

This post has serious beef with both America’s left-wingers and America’s right-wingers. As we approach President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, the hashtag #100daysofshame is trending harder than Kendrick Lamar. But there’s a big problem: conservatives use the hashtag to laugh at liberal crybabies, and liberals use it to express their frustration with all of Trump’s follies and foibles. I’ve written this post because I don’t agree with either approach. When liberals lump in every one of Trump’s decisions
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Trumpism /= Conservatism. Trumpism = Short-Term-Ism

February 13, 2017, 11:28 am

And ye shall know them by their words and deeds. Ye shall not know them by their empty, forgotten promises. And that means that we need to dispense with the illusion that Trumpism has anything to do with conservatism. There’s a much better term for it, or at least there ought to be: short-term-ism. The word “conservatism” implies, well, conserving. It implies preservation or at least rehabilitation of old ways, traditions, institutions. In our country, conservatism generally at least genuflects
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Obama Bombed, But You Don’t Have To

February 6, 2017, 2:52 pm

I’m going to leave this right here. Ever since the #Muslimban Executive Order, Trump supporters repeat a refrain on social media and news site comment threads that goes something like this: “To all these liberals outraged at Trump banning refugees: Where were you when Obama was dropping bombs on their homelands?” The comment/tweet is meant to confuse and demoralize well-meaning liberals, to paint them as hypocrites, to stop their support of Muslim refugees in its tracks, and to make them question their
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It’s 2003 All Over Again

January 30, 2017, 4:50 pm

The definition of cognitive dissonance is simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs. Right now, cable TV news shows feature state-sponsored cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, Trump defenders call him a “post-partisan president,” as though we shouldn’t expect the same problems of the past, and on the other hand, Trump defenders say “this is normal during a transition,” as though we should be guided by the past. Which is it? In this scary moment for all Americans who love liberty and
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The Hollywood-Led Resistance?

January 23, 2017, 1:26 pm

Meryl Streep didn’t exactly call for it, but Madonna most certainly did. Can you hear me? Are you ready to shake up the world? Welcome to the revolution of love. To the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger, but all marginalized people…It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the fuck up. It seems as though we all slipped into a false sense of
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MLK -> BHO -> ?

January 16, 2017, 12:22 pm

(This article is accompanied by photos of my family’s visit to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta last March.) Martin Luther King would have been 88 years old today, but it’s never a bad day to think about and learn from Dr. King. I grew up in Berkeley where his birthday was a holiday before that became federally mandated. The other night, I went to my son’s MLK assembly and thought, I guess it’s getting harder to get people
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The Week of Margaret and Meryl

January 11, 2017, 4:22 pm

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of my friends, and if that’s true, you probably heard about or saw Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes, which attacked the President-elect’s debasement of a disabled person. His spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, came on TV the next morning to disparage Streep for failing to address the disabled victim of a recent hate crime in Chicago. Frank Bruni’s reaction: “Is this the new bar for taking Trump to task? You can’t do it
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New Idea: Identify Social Media Commenters by Country

January 9, 2017, 4:23 pm

Also posted here. Whatever one thinks about Russia and Wikileaks working to influence the 2016 Presidential election, it’s clear that Russia and Wikileaks were not powerful enough to elect Donald Trump by themselves. Instead, they relied upon legions of re-tweeters and commenters on social media to intimidate and belittle people who questioned a foreign power meddling with American democracy. Should Americans have known better than to believe thousands of commenters saying that Hillary’s emails prove she’s corrupt? Perhaps, but the cumulative effect
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Confession time here’s what I got…

December 31, 2016, 9:58 am

“…my fellow soldiers will tell you I’m a terrible shot.” – Aaron Burr, in the musical “Hamilton” I begin by expressing my deepest gratitude. First, I am today and on all days incredibly grateful to you, dear reader, for keeping up with my smatterings of blatherings here. It means more to me than I can say. Second, “look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” Lin-Manuel Miranda gave us that refrain in his musical
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