Open Thread and Link Farm, Dancing In The Wind Edition

  1. Ponies | Popehat
    The Ponies category at Popehat is awesome. You will learn more about the pony threat then you ever imagined. (Thanks Mandolin!)
  2. Why Trump wants to get rid of the “Johnson Amendment”
    If Churches can become tax-free political campaigning organizations, that gives them an enormous advantage over orgs like Planned Parenthood. It’s also a way for political donors to hide their identities.
  3. U.S. judge finds that Aetna misled the public about its reasons for quitting Obamacare – LA Times
    Calling them assholes seems so inadequate.
  4. Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl – The New York Times
  5. At least 300 people form barrier to shield Portland churchgoers from harassment |
    Three “Alas” folks – Charles, Ben and myself – were there for this.
  6. AP: Trump’s voter fraud expert registered to vote in 3 states
    There’s no indication that he’s ever double-voted, but this is still notable, since Trump has cited double-registrations as evidence of voter fraud.
  7. TransGriot: Boy Scouts To Allow Transmasculine Boys To Join
  8. At GOP leaders’ urging, Texas Supreme Court will consider undoing gay spousal rights | LGBT | Dallas News
  9. The White Nationalists Come to Washington | New Republic
  10. Feral Bunnies Are Taking Over Las Vegas | Atlas Obscura
    I can’t understand why they don’t make trapping and eating the adorable little things legal.
  11. South Dakota lawmakers declare state of ’emergency’ to force repeal of voter-imposed ethics law
    “The bill guts all of the Act’s provisions, including creation of an independent ethics commission, limits on lobbyists gifts to politicians, tougher penalties for bribery, stronger transparency, and a two-year ban on politicians becoming lobbyists when they leave office.” There are parts of the law which should be modified or clarified, but wholesale repeal? They just want to be corrupt.
  12. The Myth of the Well-Behaved Women’s March | New Republic
    “Bad behavior is enough to lead to arrests, but good behavior isn’t enough to avoid it. If the cops didn’t arrest anyone, it’s because they didn’t want to.”
  13. Report: hundreds of US hospitals follow Catholic rules on reproductive care | Society | The Guardian
    Which leads to cases like what happened to Mindy Swank.
  14. Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually – The Washington Post
  15. Democrats Want To Pick Their Battles With Trump. Their Base Wants All-Out War. | The Huffington Post
  16. President Trump’s illegal-voter paranoia is a fantasy. But the consequences are real. – Vox
  17. This Stat Will Make Your EPOP | The American Conservative
    Thanks to Harlequin for this link, about the prime-age EPOP: “The employment-to-population ratio for adults between the ages of 25 and 54.” This is a good statistic to look at, not instead of but beside the unemployment rate. The EPOP has mostly recovered since the 2008 recession, but there’s still a ways to go.
  18. Why Donald Trump Has Made American Less Safe From Terrorism
  19. Are Factory Jobs Good Jobs? – Lawyers, Guns & Money
    Not if they’re not union jobs.
  20. Sentencing Law and Policy: The hardest of cases for death penalty abolitionists: convicted murderer who keeps murdering while in prison
  21. On Male Feminists | Thing of Things
  22. Montreal’s Car-Free Street Network Gets Bigger All the Time – Streetsblog USA
  23. Trump to CIA: We now have 2nd Chance to take Iraq’s Oil
  24. German court rules that firebombing a synagogue is not anti-Semitic – Vox
  25. NAFTA Has Been Awesome for Mexico???? – Lawyers, Guns & Money
    Not so much.
  26. heron61 | Thoughts on 2 Films – Passengers (2016) & The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (1959)
  27. The Lesson of 2016: Rabid Congressional Investigations Work | Mother Jones
  28. Graphic essay: What the Civil Rights Movement can teach us about surviving Trump | Fusion
  29. How Louis CK Tells A Joke – YouTube
  30. You’re Fired: Political discourse in the age of Trump | Liza Featherstone
    I wish I could cut the final sentence – which is yet another iteration of the “it’s because of liberals I disagree with that Trump was elected!” cliche – but other than that, this essay criticizing the left for calling for people to be fired is spot-on, and by spot-on I mean it says things I agree with.
  31. Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, wasn’t black. But here’s why so many people think he was.
  32. Quebec City imam’s profoundly magnanimous eulogy includes white gunman in list of victims.
    Thanks to Closetpuritan for this and the previous two links.
  33. Arkansas passes law allowing rapists to sue victims who want an abortion | The Independent
    Specifically, the law allows a husband to sue his wife’s doctor to prevent her from getting an abortion, even in cases where the husband raped the wife. That headline-grabbing news is disgusting and noteworthy, but the broader principle in the law – that a husband has an ownership stake in his wife’s body – is also disgusting.
  34. Partisan Redistricting Goes To Court | The American Conservative
  35. Resistance, and Being a "Sore Loser" – Greta Christina’s Blog
  36. Milo and the Violent, Well-Funded Right-Wing Attacks on Academic Freedom
  37. Anarchists, NOT Cal students, responsible for violence in UC Berkeley protests – California Golden Blogs
  38. The Debate Link: Berkeley’s Partially Pregnant Protests
    Very good points from David Schraub: “The fact of the matter is that there were three speeches scheduled at Berkeley last night.” Thanks to Harlequin for the link.
  39. Carl Beijer: Nazi punching probably doesn’t matter either way
  40. On Punching Nazis | Popehat
  41. The Long History of "Nazi Punching" | Mother Jones


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32 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Dancing In The Wind Edition

  1. 1
    Lirael says:

    I have to say, I really dislike the “Anarchists, not Cal students, were responsible for…” framing. First, what, these are supposed to be mutually exclusive categories? Cal is a big school, I would bet nontrivial-for-me money on there being anarchists at Cal. Second, it’s fearmongering about anarchists, which has consequences for real people – it leads to anarchists and people who are perceived as anarchists being targeted at protests, and targeted by police outside of protests (FBI agents knocking on their doors before large protests, police parking cars outside their houses, tracking their activities, stalking and harassing them, trying to entrap them, etc). At the RNC protests, street medics were profiled as “anarchist troublemakers” by police and treated with suspicion, to the point of having bags searched and treated as the villains when we were hassled by Trump supporters (and many street medics are anarchists, though I am not, so this is not about “Oh, the poor street medics were scapegoated for being anarchists,” it’s about “This is the kind of thing that happens when people fearmonger about anarchists”).

  2. 2
    Elkins says:

    Okay, probably many people saw this one back when it was fresh, but it’s new to me and gave me a belly laugh–or, well, something somewhere between a belly laugh and a scream of pure outrage, anyway–this morning, so I thought I’d share.

    Obama’s sentence…commuting (brain is not supplying me with proper nounifying, sorry) of Chelsea Manning, back in January, inspired someone to tweet in outrage: “Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning. How many people died because of manning’ leak?”

    That someone?

    Judith Miller.

    Happy Tuesday!

  3. 3
    standgale says:

    That rabbit situation is bizarre. Like, just poison them or shoot them? I was hoping the article would say *why* that is illegal, but if it did I missed it. Presumably because rabbits are somehow classified as pets and not wild animals? Like, I am pretty sure it would be illegal here to shoot or poison a stray or feral cat or dog, even though you can kill as many rabbits as you’d like.

    (Also, isn’t this a fascinating sentence structure with 3 “or”s in it: “to shoot or poison a stray or feral cat or dog”)

  4. 4
    Jake Squid says:

    Oh, yes. Judith Miller has no sense of irony. No. That’s not the words I’m looking for. No self awareness? Not quite right. No conscience? That seems better.

    And it did make my brain all splodey when I first saw it. Now I just wish her a quick vanishing from public view forever.

  5. 5
    Elkins says:

    No shame, perhaps?

    For me, the fact that her username is “JMfreespeech” was the cherry on the brain-asplodey sundae. No parodist would have dared go that far if writing this up as fiction. They would have been all “No…no, gotta leave that bit out. That’s just totally overegging it.”

  6. 6
    kate says:

    My book is coming out in paperback!!!!

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    Lirael, I have the greatest of respect for you, but I disagree.

    First, just because “black bloc” and “Berkeley student protesters” are not mutually exclusive categories, doesn’t mean it’s wrong to make the distinction.

    Two groups that overlap are not the same as two groups that are interchangeable. And when people speak as if the two groups are interchangeable – and many people, including the President, have been speaking about Berkeley protesters and black bloc activists as if they were interchangeable – it’s reasonable to point out that they are not.

    Second of all, if that article – which mainly pointed out that the student protestors and the black bloc were two separate groups – counts as “fearmongering,” then I think the definition of “fearmongering” must be unreasonably broad.

    I don’t deny that some people fearmonger about anarchists – for instance, I’d say that right-wing rhetoric that makes it sound as if no Trump fan can wear their MAGA caps in public without being physically assaulted counts as fearmongering. So I’m not denying that fearmongering happens. And that it’s a bad thing. But I don’t think that the article I linked to was fearmongering.

    Third, people who are deliberately violent are also fearmongerers. The reason that people think that groups of young (mostly) men in black masks throwing rocks and fireworks and breaking windows and punching/macing people are fearful isn’t (only) that they’ve been getting bad newspaper coverage; it’s that groups of young (mostly) men in black masks throwing rocks and fireworks and breaking windows and punching/macing people are genuinely frightening to most people. And that fear is reasonable.

    To a great extent, that ordinary people are fearful of black bloc activism is a result of deliberate choices made by the black bloc people themselves.

    Fourth, I definitely don’t condone police abuse and violence. But the logical endpoint of your argument seems to be that no one should criticize black bloc activism – or point out that the block bloc activists at Berkeley were almost certainly outsiders, and not a group of Berkeley students – for fear of encouraging police abuse. I don’t think that’s reasonable.

    There has to be a distinction between saying “people shouldn’t fearmonger about black bloc activists” and saying “people shouldn’t criticize black bloc activists.” And I don’t think your argument maintains that distinction.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Congratulations, Kate! That’s great news.

    For folks who didn’t click through:

    Large state temples in ancient Egypt were vast agricultural estates, with interests in mining, trading, and other economic activities. The temple itself served as the mansion or palace of the deity to whom the estate belonged, and much of the ritual in temples was devoted to offering a representative sample of goods to the gods. After ritual performances, produce was paid as wages to priests and temple staff and presented as offerings to private mortuary establishments. This redistribution became a daily ritual in which many basic necessities of life for elite Egyptians were produced.

    This book evaluates the influence of common temple rituals not only on the day to day lives of ancient Egyptians, but also on their special events, economics, and politics. Author Katherine Eaton argues that a study of these daily rites ought to be the first step in analyzing the structure of more complex societal processes.

  9. 9
    Charles S says:



  10. 10
    kate says:

    Thanks!! I’m so excited!

  11. 11
    Ben David says:

    Wow! Love that video! Must be an amazing experience to do that.

  12. 12
    Jake Squid says:

    Congratulations, Kate!

  13. 13
    Lirael says:

    To a great extent, that ordinary people are fearful of black bloc activism is a result of deliberate choices made by the black bloc people themselves.

    I’ve been at dozens of protests that had a black bloc presence, in five different states that come to mind. The number in which black blockers directed physical violence toward anyone who didn’t attack protesters first is…one, I think. By contrast, the number that have behaved in a protective way toward fellow protesters is a lot more than one (and the one is included, strongly, in that second set).

    Bandannas are common protective gear and lots of people who aren’t black blockers have them at protests (it’s pretty easy to find photos of e.g. Standing Rock water protectors or Black Lives Matter protesters who are clearly not black blocking with bandanas on their faces). I understand the concerns about them, both that they scare some people and that they can provide cover for provocateurs, which is why I don’t pull mine over my face unless I think a chemical attack is imminent (the one I carry these days is green, my favorite color, and has the steps of a wilderness medicine patient assessment system on it – you can spot me with it around my neck at the left of the “Trump supporters push their way past…” photo here). But a wet bandana does also help against chemical attack, and there’s a long tradition of people telling me that any kind of protective gear (like my swim goggles, also around my neck in that photo) is bad because it scares people, that informs my reaction. And a lot of antifa protesters in particular fear being doxed and targeted by Nazis, because it’s the nature of antifa work.

    There’s a larger conversation to be had, I think, about how bandanas at protests are kind of like Internet anonymity/pseudonymity – they provide cover for the malicious, and are seen as scary by some people and are the object of a lot of concern, and are also extremely useful protection for the vulnerable or for those doing risky work. Not an easy subject.

    This gets, of course, to part of my criticism of your first panel in your recent comic. Another part of my criticism is the implication that people who would break windows or wear masks don’t do difficult, important organizing. Antifa work is rigorous. Organizing protests – and if you don’t think anyone who would break a window also organizes protests, you’re incorrect – is rigorous. It’s a cheap shot. Finally, it seemed unnecessary to include a panel about the left in there at all when most of the people complaining about “liberals” use the word “liberal” to mean “everyone left of center” rather than intra-left-squabble definitions.

    Black blocs are not above criticism, but right now there’s no shortage of criticism, some good, mostly bad, and a dearth of people looking at black blocs as an instrument for anything other than tactics they don’t approve of. Meanwhile, a friend of a friend (who was protesting in the parking garage, a relatively isolated area, and had already been punched by a Milo supporter without provocation) had a knife pulled on him by a Nazi at the Berkeley protest, and black blockers disarmed the Nazi, possibly saving the life of the innocent protester, at risk to their own. And you’ve seen my post about what black blockers were doing in DC besides smashing a couple of windows – running into danger to rescue people, flagging down medics, protecting working medics from aggression, shielding protesters with their bodies. They shielded peaceful BLM protesters there from Bikers for Trump and other aggressors. They’re not doing that in spite of being black blockers, they’re doing that as black blockers, it’s a common role.

    There are many people, people with large platforms, people with influence, criticizing black blocs right now. There are very few making the points that I’m making. I’m filling a gap.

  14. Congratulations, Kate! Routledge is a wonderful press.

  15. 15
    Sam Cole says:

    Checks and balances for the win!

  16. 16
    Jake Squid says:

    Hey! Page 25 gives points to this non-lawyer.

  17. 17
    Kate says:

    According to the New York Times, Bannon cited Evola, an obscure fascist philosopher, in a recent speech at the Vatican.

    …some on the alt-right consider Mr. Bannon a door through which Evola’s ideas of a hierarchical society run by a spiritually superior caste can enter in a period of crisis.

    Evola’s ideal order, Professor Drake wrote, was based on “hierarchy, caste, monarchy, race, myth, religion and ritual.”

    That made a fan out of Benito Mussolini.

    The dictator already admired Evola’s early writings on race, which influenced the 1938 Racial Laws restricting the rights of Jews in Italy.

    Mussolini so liked Evola’s 1941 book, “Synthesis on the Doctrine of Race,” which advocated a form of spiritual, and not merely biological, racism, that he invited Evola to meet him in September of that year.

    Evola eventually broke with Mussolini and the Italian Fascists because he considered them overly tame and corrupted by compromise. Instead he preferred the Nazi SS officers, seeing in them something closer to a mythic ideal. They also shared his anti-Semitism.

  18. 18
    nobody.really says:

    Topics addressed at Trump’s press conference today:

    1. Trump’s concern for people protesting the repeal of Obamacare

    We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It is’s disaster. I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our alleys [rallies?] with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people that our representatives are representing….

    2. Is Reince Priebus trying to take over the job of Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway?

    We are running – this is a fine-tuned machine and [Chief of Staff] Reince [Priebus] happens to be doing a good job but half of his job is putting out lies by the press….

  19. 19
    Jake Squid says:

    Topics addressed at Trump’s press conference today:

    And Nuclear Holocaust. Don’t forget about addressing the forthcoming Nuclear Holocaust!

  20. 20
    nobody.really says:

    And Nuclear Holocaust. Don’t forget about addressing the forthcoming Nuclear Holocaust!

    In fairness, I found that talk encouraging–given the context. Here’s the talk:

    We’ve pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military, and I will tell you that is my – I would be so happy if we never had to use it.

    * * *

    [I]t would be much easier for me to be so tough — the tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world.

    If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along — and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no upside. We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other.

    They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

    And here’s the context: Trump previously said–

    • “So a general gets on, sent obviously by Obama, and he said, ‘Mr. Trump doesn’t understand. He knows nothing about defense.’ I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.
    • “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them?
    • He would not be taking a daily intelligence briefings, and does not care for briefings, oral or written.

    So to learn that Trump has accepted, and internalized, briefings about the down-side of nuclear war is encouraging.

    (Hey, I take my victories where I can find’em. If a glass is still damp, it looks half-full to me!)

  21. 21
    Ruchama says:

    And also how he’s the least antisemitic person you’ll ever meet, and therefore asking him to address antisemitism is insulting.

  22. 22
    Jake Squid says:

    And also how he’s the least antisemitic person you’ll ever meet, and therefore asking him to address antisemitism is insulting.

    That was good, too. My fave is asking the reporter to set up a meeting for him with the CBC (“What’s that?”).

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    My fave is asking the reporter to set up a meeting for him with the CBC (“What’s that?”).

    Apparently Trump assumes that all Black people not only know each other but can set up meetings for him with other Black people? He comes pre-parodied.

  24. 24
    Harlequin says:

    As a reminder that the world is far weirder than fiction, here are people in My Little Pony costumes acting to songs from Broadway musicals.

    (Er, and I guess, side note, I’m now occasionally doing political Twitter things at @harlequings, when I find the time.)

  25. 25
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    A movie about Daryl Davis, a black man who’s been befriending KKK members– in some cases they give up the KKK.

    The movie is available until 2/28.

  26. 26
    dragon_snap says:

    The Globe and Mail* has conducted a “20-month-long investigation into how police handle sexual assault allegations.”

    Unfounded: Why police dismiss 1 in 5 sexual assault claims as baseless

    The Globe’s investigation looked at police forces across the country to see how often sexual assault cases were closed as “unfounded,” meaning the investigator didn’t think a crime had occurred. The findings upended conventional wisdom about how sexual assaults are reported to police, prosecuted and documented.
    Key findings:
    – Nationally, police close about one in five sex-assault cases as unfounded.
    – Unfounded rates vary considerably between provinces and cities, and even between cities that are close to one another. Calgary’s rate, for instance, is 12 per cent; but in Medicine Hat, Alta., it’s 22 per cent.
    – The high numbers of unfounded cases aren’t being documented or published by Statistics Canada, which stopped collecting the data in the early 2000s because it was concerned police forces weren’t using the “unfounded” category consistently.
    The Globe sent 250 freedom-of-information requests to every Canadian police service. It got replies from 873 police jurisdictions, which represented about 92 per cent of Canada’s population.

    Unfounded: How police and politicians have responded to The Globe’s investigation so far

    Within a week of the Unfounded investigation’s debut, more than 30 police forces representing more than 1,000 communities had announced investigations into sexual-assault cases that were deemed “unfounded.” More are likely to follow after the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police urged “all police services to review practices around sexual-assault investigations.”

    More links: The story behind The Globe’s Unfounded series ; and the Methodology of the investigation.

    This page gives an overview of the country and discusses trends, and lets you look up any police jurisdiction to review its statistics: Will the police believe you?

    *one of Canada’s two national newspapers, the other being The National Post
    **summary in first blockquote is from the second article linked

  27. 27
    RonF says:

    I’m wondering how many of these folks were “black bloc” people and how many were just random protesters. In any case, it’s good to see people actually being held responsible for violence and property damage. Berkeley should follow suit.

    Jake @ 22 and Amp @ 23: Here’s an alternative take on that press conference question by Trump that you reference:

    [Trump’s] exchange last week with April Ryan, a correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network, captured that perfectly. She asked him a loaded question not as a neutral reporter but as a water-carrier for the Congressional Black Caucus. So he treated her that way. “I’ll tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” the president said to her, after she asked if he would meet with the CBC. “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?” Of course, they are friends of hers and she was trying to score a partisan point for them. Had Trump not deconstructed that for the audience, her question might have done him damage. Instead, it fell flat and looked unserious.

  28. 28
    Jake Squid says:

    That certainly is an alternative take, RonF. I don’t know if you’ve seen the video of the question, but it didn’t seem loaded and she didn’t sound like a water-carrier for the CBC. It was a simple question asking him if he planned to meet the CBC. His first response was, “What’s the CBC?” So I don’t think he “deconstructed that.” He just responded as any racist bully would have.

  29. 29
    Jake Squid says:

    Because nothing makes for good leadership like making sure you bully children whenever possible.

    The GOP is not leaving a favorable impression on me with their various bigotries, acceptance of corruption and desire to destroy the environment. Never mind their goals of eliminating health care for millions and transferring wealth to the wealthiest.

  30. 30
    closetpuritan says:

    Milo Yiannopoulos’ comments regarding pedophilia seem like the ideal way to test whether CPAC actually considers disinviting an invited speaker to be a violation of free speech rights*. If they really believed that speakers should not be disinvited no matter how offensive or unpopular some of their past statements had been, they would never have disinvited him. Of course, they dropped him like a hot potato, showing that this is not about free speech, it’s about which speech is inexcusably bad and vs. maybe bad, but not something you’d stop associating with people over.

    *CPAC’s statement includes the line, “We initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers.”

    As Alyssa Rosenberg points out, painting right-wing college students as less naive than left-wing college students is questionable. If college liberals are so naive, why did the campus right fall for Yiannopoulos?

    Roxane Gay and Paul Campos make similar points: that Simon & Schuster’s decisions are purely financial in nature.

    In an earlier conversation about the incident with Milo at Berkeley, and the negative reaction to that sort of violence compared to the reaction when neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was punched, a friend and I came to the conclusion that if you’re really committed to violence, you’ll get a more favorable reaction if you directly attack the speaker than if you try to shut down their ability to speak. Part of the difference may come from the fact that a lot of people seemed to interpret the punch as a speech-like expression of contempt; I would expect that sending Spencer to the hospital would have caused a different reaction.

  31. 31
    Ruchama says:

    On a similar topic, I’m pretty pissed off about something I saw at a rally I went to this morning. The rally was outside a hotel where Mitch McConnell was speaking. People who live in Kentucky have been getting increasingly aggravated that no one at his office ever answers the phones, and if they email him or write a letter, the best they’ll get in response is a form letter. And, while he’s in the state this week, the only appearances he’s got scheduled are at things like Chamber of Commerce luncheons, where you need to buy a ticket to get in. So, protesting outside.

    Anyway. There was a guy there from the Aryan Brotherhood. His shirt clearly identified him. He wasn’t really doing much, other than standing there and holding up a “Long Live Trump” sign. I pretty much just ignored him. But there were a bunch of people who went up to talk to him, and hugged him, and posed for photos with him, and then tweeted those photos like it was a heartwarming “reaching across the aisle” and “we love everybody” sort of thing. I just don’t get it. This is not a guy who just has a different viewpoint. This is an actual, literal, member of a white supremacist prison gang, who clearly identified himself as such. This is not the place to show off how tolerant and accepting you are!