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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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In Defense of Pantsuit Nation

December 26, 2016, 4:56 pm

In recent news, Pantsuit Nation founder Libby Chamberlain decided to turn the site into a book. Some longtime members have made it very clear that they are bothered about this, and I absolutely respect anyone who opts out of the site. Here’s what I have more of a problem with: In a new Huffington Post piece titled “Pantsuit Nation is a Sham,” Harry Lewis excoriates site founder Libby Chamberlain for minimizing the experiences of persons of color (POC) and for
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Blair Was Bush’s Poodle. Trump is Putin’s _______?

December 16, 2016, 4:29 pm

Cross posted here. If there’s one word you want to avoid saying around Tony Blair, it’s “poodle.” Profanities won’t bother him. But when you’re walking through a dog park with Britain’s former Prime Minister, you don’t even want to casually remark, “hey, that lady has a nice poodle.” The word is quite triggering. This blog post is dedicated to one question: what kind of word can we come up with to trigger Trump this way? First, background for those of you who
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Against Liberal Preening, Windmill-Tilting, Heel-Digging, and Straw Men-Fighting

December 12, 2016, 7:30 am

A month later, and way too many of my leftist friends are still preening, tilting at windmills, digging in their heels, and fighting straw men. I’m talking about headlines like this and this and this and this. And the articles as well, wherein the author proudly declares how anti-racist he/she is, without remotely addressing the arguments of any halfway intelligent conservative. No, those last three words are not a contradiction. Or as Nicholas Kristof wisely put it yesterday, “Of course,
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What About the Conventions and the Presidential Debates?

December 2, 2016, 1:22 pm

Like you, I’ve been reading a lot of post-mortems on the election. One question that never gets answered, or even asked: why weren’t any of these post-mortems made after the conventions or after the three Clinton-Trump debates? It’s not like journalists didn’t have the air time, or the available pixel space online. I think we can all agree that the talking heads on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News had a little extra time to kill. Why didn’t we hear, then,
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A Plan to Engage Online Prejudice During the Trump Era

November 20, 2016, 6:23 pm

(Also on medium.) Some people have blamed the astonishing election of Donald Trump to the Presidency on the over-stridence of broadly defined political correctness, like Robby Soave at Reason and Amanda Marcotte at Salon. In this, they basically agree with Jeff Greenfield, who in Politico blamed the election results on Democrats’ “wholesale embrace of identity politics,” with Yuval Levin, who wrote in Slate, “There’s a kind of descent into a really crude identity politics among some younger voices on the left
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Truth Ends Here. Trumpth Begins Now.

November 11, 2016, 8:45 am

On November 8, 2016, when a reality-TV star became the most powerful person in the world, reality ended. And not for any one reason, but for ten of them that most people don’t fully understand. Bye bye Truth, hello Trumpth. May I explain? (1) Big Data took a Big Hit on Tuesday. Big Data, and Long Tail economics, have completely reshaped most industries in America, particularly the advertising of every single product made by the Fortune 500. Corporations pay X
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Political Correctness After Trump Loses

November 7, 2016, 11:59 am

A year ago, I said that the real war on PC was coming. And it came, oh, how it came. We now know that America contains many more openly prejudiced people than anyone thought possible two years ago. And now, many smart people are wondering what we’re going to do with all the “deplorables.” Well, I have an idea, but you’re not going to like it. After Hillary Clinton is elected President, the temptation for her supporters will be to
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