Open Thread and Link Farm, No I Said She Was A PEPSI Head Edition


  1. Long-running baboon war at Toronto Zoo comes to an end –
  2. California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers – The New York Times
    Reminds me of the people who depend on Obamacare and voted for Trump. (And not all of them failed to realize that Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing.)
  3. How President Trump Could Seize More Power After a Terrorist Attack – The New Yorker
  4. DHS analysis found no evidence of extra threat posed by travel-ban nations: report | TheHill
    Americans are willing to accept big losses of freedom to a man claiming to be protecting us from terrorism.
  5. I Was a Muslim in the Trump White House—and I Lasted Eight Days – The Atlantic
  6. Poll: One-Third Don’t Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same – The New York Times
  7. Republican Members of Congress Are Hiding From Their Constituents – Slog – The Stranger
    They want to take away their constituents’ health care, but can’t actually work up the guts to talk to their constituents about it.
  8. Experience: I accidentally bought a giant pig | Life and style | The Guardian
  9. The Prisoner’s Dilemma: Why Democrats Should Block Gorsuch | Alternet
  10. Discussion of Nazi-punching on Tumblr.
    The people who most favor punching Nazis, are not people who keep careful, tight bounds on who counts as a Nazi.
  11. Income share for the bottom 50% of Americans is ‘collapsing,’ new Piketty research finds – MarketWatch
    The graph is impressive looking.
  12. Dutch Get Creative to Solve a Prison Problem: Too Many Empty Cells –
  13. This economist taught monkeys to use money.
    It’s really a pretty neat experiment – Ben told me about it. Eventually, the monkeys invented prostitution.
  14. It Takes A Village To Bully A Transgender Kindergartner
    Parents at a charter school band together – and invite in a hate group – to harass a trans child, including doxing the child on a major right-wing website (The Daily Signal). Ugh, ugh, ugh.
  15. Transplant patient holds her own heart after life-saving operation | The Independent
    I mean, you can click through and read it if you want, she sounds really cool actually, but basically I’ve put it on the link farm because I’m really into that headline.
  16. The Trouble With Anti-Antiracism | Jacobin
    Referring to left anti-antiracism, not right anti-antiracism.
  17. Article: Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State | OpEdNews
    Ballot rules are used to keep third parties down. And that sucks. Not that I’m feeling like a big fan of third parties these days, but it’s anti-democratic to keep them off the ballot for trumped-up reasons.
  18. Did George Washington’s false teeth come from his slaves?: A look at the evidence, the responses to that evidence, and the limitations of history – The Washington Papers
    His dentures were definitely made of human teeth, not wooden as the myth has it. We can’t know for sure if the teeth came from his slaves, but it seems likely, given how far below market value he paid for the teeth.
  19. Speaking of our founding fathers, according to this, Jefferson began his “relationship” with Sally Hennings in 1787, when Hennings was 14. Jefferson would have been 44 at that time.
  20. Removals vs returns: how to think about Obama’s deportation record – Vox
  21. The Complicated Racial Politics of Going “Undercover” to Report on the Jim Crow South | History | Smithsonian
  22. Senator Mark Chelgren Aims To Purge Democrats From Iowa Universities – Iowa Starting Line
    “The Secretary of State’s office would be directed to provide voter registration lists to the colleges so that new job applicants’ party affiliation could be checked before the hiring process gets underway.” But remember, it’s liberals who want to crush free speech at universities.
  23. The Story Of Henry ‘Box’ Brown, The Slave Who Mailed Himself To Freedom | GOOD
  24. Weakened Democrats Bow to Voters, Opting for Total War on Trump – The New York Times
  25. Listening to Trump Voters with ACA Coverage: What They Want in a Health Care Plan | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
    Mainly, they want lower deductibles. Which is reasonable, but there is no way to lower deductibles without either 1) making the insurance cheap and useless in other ways, which would be unacceptable to these same voters, or 2) having the government cover more of the cost, which is unacceptable to the politicians these voters put in office.
  26. Trump’s Budget Proposal Threatens Democratic and Republican Ambitions
    An interesting look at the budget as a competition for resources between generations.
  27. Tom Perez Announces Plan to Drastically Expand Voter Protections at the DNC — Tom Perez
    Good. Perez has a lot of background in fighting for voting rights; that may be exactly what’s needed.
  28. I’ve been arguing on Tumblr about why Democrats shouldn’t offer a compromise on Roe v Wade.


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21 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, No I Said She Was A PEPSI Head Edition

  1. 1
    Charles says:

    Interesting (but long) talk on the detrimental effects of violent flanks on non-violent civil resistance movements. Chenoweth also has a related paper. The nickel summary is that violent flanks sometimes harm and rarely help non-violent movements succeed, primarily because violent flanks decrease mass participation, and mass participation is extremely important. One other particularly notable point in the lecture: movements with violent flanks are more than twice as likely to be followed by civil war as non-violent movements without violent flanks.

    Most black-bloc activities that Lireal has talked about, or that RonF has cheered being prosecuted as rioting, fall under non-violent civil resistance, but setting fires and breaking windows, as well as attacking the police, get coded as a violent flank if they are routine components of the movement.

  2. 2
    nobody.really says:

    9. The Prisoner’s Dilemma: Why Democrats Should Block Gorsuch | Alternet

    Alternatively, take the West Wing deal.

  3. 3
    nobody.really says:

    Interesting (but long) talk on the detrimental effects of violent flanks on non-violent civil resistance movements.

    I’ve often wondered about the good cop/bad cop dynamics of MLK and Malcolm X: Did it help the cause of civil rights to let people know that the failure to play nice with MLK could lead to militant reprisals from others?

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    @ 7: It’s not just the Republicans. Democrats are doing the same thing.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), for one, sent a staff member rather than attend a Kansas City town hall last weekend. She will chat with voters this week via Facebook Live — a much more controlled environment, where angry mass shouting isn’t an option.

    Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have also dodged town-hall gatherings, the AP reports — opting instead for teleconferences, e-mail surveys and speeches.

    @ 22: O.K., I’m not in favor of that proposal. Let me ask a few questions, though.
    1) Do you think that centrists or conservatives are discriminated against when colleges make full-time faculty hiring decisions?
    2) Do you think that academia has an obligation to attain diversity in the social and political views presented by the faculty to their students?
    3) If you think either of these are a problem, what would you propose to solve it?

  5. 5
    acm says:

    11. …graph is impressive-looking…
    until you realize that the y-axis is totally truncated.

  6. 6
    nobody.really says:

    11. …graph is impressive-looking…
    until you realize that the y-axis is totally truncated.

    Fair enough. But the graph doesn’t even illustrate the big punchline: What has happened to the bottom 50% of adults in China, France, and the US since 1978 (the eve of the Reagan Administration)?

    China: Real per capital income up 401%. (Share of national earnings fell 27.5% to 15.0%.)

    France: Real per capital income up 39%. (Share of national income held steady at 22.5%.)

    US: Real per capita income down 1%. (Share of national income fell from 20% to 12.5%.)

  7. 7
    desipis says:

    @16 seems to be rather confused with itself. In one paragraph it claims:

    Welfare reform was sold to the American public as a racist initiative.

    And then in the very next paragraph it admits the opposite:

    Yet welfare reform was not pushed by American elites primarily as a way to hurt black Americans… welfare reform was promoted by low-income employers who wanted an even more pliant and desperate workforce.

    The first contention seems to be key to the overall argument:

    If racism was central to selling a reactionary social policy that was ultimately motivated by capitalist class interests, shouldn’t challenging racism be important in derailing class attacks?

    As far as I can tell, the second point, that welfare reform was sold on economic ideology, and not racial ideology, is far more accurate. So challenging racism will do little to undermine the arguments that underlie the support for the neo-liberal approach to welfare.

  8. 8
    desipis says:


    You don’t like the argument that punching fascists, assaulting nazis, is categorically different from other violence. OK. Then let’s perceive the phenomenon dimensionally. Everyone can be placed on a scale of 0-100 in terms of nazi quintessence. Public outcry for and against violence done to a fairly high level nazi is a known value: lots of approval, some guilty appreciation, lots of moderate condemnation, and some nazi response. Someone is lower on the nazi scale? Radicals still cheer, but the guilty appreciation and moderate condemnation factions grow. Nazi response is a constant, because they’re nazis. This pattern continues until the majority of society sort of agrees that no, this particular act of violence is not meme-worthy. The market speaks, and our collective decision tree reaches a conclusion – level 69 nazis are not nazi enough to punch, or whatever the needle lands on. People won’t keep slapping level 12 nazis, because the blowback will be huge. It will get no likes.

    I trust this system. It will never bite me in the ass.

    Wow. Someone really needs to go read what happened to the Wiemar Republic. Violence is evidently quite capable of corrupting the “collective decision tree”. At some point the system of violence becomes self sustaining and no longer relies on underlying majority support.

  9. 9
    Ruchama says:

    1) Do you think that centrists or conservatives are discriminated against when colleges make full-time faculty hiring decisions?

    I’m not sure that it would even be possible to discriminate in that way when hiring in math, but I know very few conservative math faculty. There are a few, but not many. And most of them lean more toward libertarian than Republican — I think I only know one who was actually against legalizing gay marriage, for instance, and a couple more who are anti-choice. Completely anecdotal, but it seems like most of the conservative math people became engineers, not academics.

  10. 10
    Harlequin says:


    1) Do you think that centrists or conservatives are discriminated against when colleges make full-time faculty hiring decisions?

    I don’t know; the balance of the evidence seems to say that, if this happens, the effect is small.

    I think there’s an analogy here to women in STEM: we know that discrimination is part of the reason there are fewer women than men in STEM jobs; we also know that a lot of that discrimination happens before the terminal step of getting hired for a potentially long-term STEM job, such as a tenure-track professorship. Similarly, it’s clear the number of conservatives in higher education decreases the farther you go along, but a lot of that dropoff happens earlier–in my experience, at the high school/undergrad and especially the undergrad/grad school boundaries. I don’t know how much of that can be attributed to discrimination, how much to self-selection for practical reasons, and how much to self-selection based on a feeling of being unwelcome. I do know that conservatives who have succeeded in academia report low levels of discrimination, but those are the people who stayed in so there’s a huge selection effect. Like Ruchama, I know some conservative STEM folks (mostly libertarian-leaning too) though based on the description in the comment it seems like I probably know more of them–don’t know if that’s an institutional or a field difference.

    In the interests of balance, here is one professor who claims to have witnessed discrimination against conservatives when he was part of the search committees.

    2) Do you think that academia has an obligation to attain diversity in the social and political views presented by the faculty to their students?

    I don’t know. It depends on what you mean. For example, in what way and for what reason do you think the social and political views are being presented? Most teachers don’t stand at the front of the class and declaim their entire social and political philosophy. They’re mostly just teaching their subjects. When politics is relevant to the course material, I would expect such teachers to give a fair and unbiased overview regardless of their own point of view, though if relevant some might also admit to their own POV so students can think about how the teacher’s subjective views influence what they’re presenting.

    I was going to write more about this, but instead I’ll just point to some interesting studies from a conservative professor on how much the teachers’ politics affects their students. The summary: it doesn’t affect them very much, though having a teacher with wildly different politics makes students less engaged and less interested (which might have an affect on whether conservative students want to continue). Note, relevant to both this point and your previous question, that liberal and conservative college students start out with very different levels of interest in an academic career–it’s not all caused by what happens once they’re in college.

    I also ran across some references to this book, which may answer many of your questions. And as a side note, here’s a set of interesting graphs of party affiliations by occupation. It’s based on campaign contribution info, so not exactly a fair sample, but still interesting.

  11. 11
    Charles S says:


    Even with the axis scaling, the income share of the bottom 50% fell by half in the US over the period of the graph. That seems precipitous and substantial.


    While the US civil rights movements is not included in Chenoweth’s dataset (it doesn’t cover civil rights movements or autonomy movements, just independence movements, movements to overthrow a government or to kick out an occupation), nonviolent movements with a violent flank are marginally less successful than nonviolent movements without a violent flank, so the good cop/bad cop dynamic is at least frequently out-weighed by the negative effects of having a violent flank (my impression is that the main negative effects are that it decreases total participation and that it decreases popular outrage over state violence against the movement).

    desipis at #7 about link 16,

    I think you are failing to understand those two points: welfare reform was sold to white Americans on an argument of racism, in order to create a more pliant workforce for low wage employers. The low wage employers and the elite class weren’t concerned about the threat of black people getting welfare, they were concerned about the threat of poor people getting welfare, but they sold the idea of welfare reform to white Americans on the threat of black people getting welfare. Their goals and their arguments differed.

  12. 12
    MJJ says:

    I think you are failing to understand those two points: welfare reform was sold to white Americans on an argument of racism, in order to create a more pliant workforce for low wage employers.

    i.e. exactly what those farmers in #2 wanted. Losing their fieldworkers and having to hire Americans at higher wages and better conditions is a good thing. Even moving to automation would be a good thing.

  13. 13
    Duncan says:

    From the article on Gorsuch: “If America were still a rational political system…” Ahahahahahaha!

  14. 14
    closetpuritan says:

    At Boskone (convention centered around science fiction books) this year, at a panel called “Geek is Chic–Or Is It?”, there was a little bit of discussion about the Sad/Rabid Puppy phenomenon. Two gray-haired longtime fans, a man named Steve Davidson and a woman named Leslie Turek, (Turek said she’d been a fan “since the first Boskone”) were on the panel. Davidson was talking about how the Puppies did not respect the culture of science fiction fandom–basically, he saw the Puppies as interlopers into the culture, which is of course the opposite of the Puppies’ own narrative, where they are the keepers of the torch defending against “SJW” interlopers. Davidson was also concerned that fans today no longer have the “fortress”/”ghetto” mentality that science fiction is something that needs to be protected (but later added that this made him sound more dismissive of newer fans than he really was). Turek talked about how she had always felt welcome as a female science fiction fan, and said “In the real world, we had discrimination, but in fandom, we didn’t.” I think she also said that taking leadership roles in fandom helped her to take leadership roles at work.

    Davidson went on to say that he got from reading Heinlein that anything a man could do a woman could probably do as better. Turek said, You got that from reading Heinlein?

    Relatedly, Davidson writes about Sisters of Tomorrow: The first women of science fiction here.

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    More tolerance of free speech by left-wing college students.

    I wonder how long this is going to go on? How long before someone gets seriously injured (although one could say that Prof. Stanger was seriously injured) or even, God forbid, killed? How long before colleges actually DO something about this kind of thing by providing adequate security, doing what it takes to ensure that speakers are not prevented from speaking, and arresting and expelling people who do so?

    How long before there is a perception among the public that increasingly radical left-wing political activism and not intellectual development is the primary force on college campuses, and that gets translated into declining support for higher education? It is NOT in the long-term interests of colleges to permit this to continue.

    Charles S. @ 11:

    I think you are failing to understand those two points: welfare reform was sold to white Americans on an argument of racism, in order to create a more pliant workforce for low wage employers.

    That’s not how I remember it. My memory tells me that welfare reform was sold on the basis that people who could be productive should work for a living rather than consume aid that should go to people who could not be productive. What is your basis for your assertion?

  16. 16
    Charles S says:


    I am not surprised that you have consigned Reagan and his claims about ‘welfare queens’ to the memory hole. From link 16:

    Even on the bowdlerized excuse you’ve back-dated for welfare reform, it was a miserable and cruel failure.

  17. 17
    Jake Squid says:

    I’ve been reminded, once again, how nearly uniformly terrible Financial Advisors are. So… If you’re fortunate enough to be able to save for retirement – or even more fortunate to be able to invest – please never go to a Financial Advisor who charges you a percentage of your assets yearly (and, most likely gets commissions from what it sells you). If you absolutely must see a Financial Advisor, be sure that it’s fee for service only. You’ll save tens of thousands of dollars by doing that rather than your run of the mill Edward Jones type advisor.

    But, better than that, save your money. Don’t see an advisor. Put all your money into low cost, no load mutual funds. Vanguard is an excellent, reputable company with extremely low cost mutual funds. Put everything you can into stock market index funds and let it grow for decades. As you get closer to retirement and retire, keep 2 years of expenses in a stable account. A savings account will be fine for that. That way you’re not screwed when the market tanks. And when the market crashes, which it will do, 2 years is usually enough time for it to recover.

    But please, please, please stay away from commissions based Financial Advisors. Please.

  18. 18
    Harlequin says:

    I can’t remember who linked me to this Forbes piece on socialism for rich-slash-white people (and, indeed, it might have been Amp himself on Twitter), but I thought it was really great:

    Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage in the US

  19. 19
    desipis says:

    Things seems to be a little crazy at the state department:

    And many State staffers are surprised to find themselves on the outside. “They really want to blow this place up,” said the mid-level State Department officer. “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows nothing.”

    And it seems to be having consequences: Africa Trade Meeting Has No Africans After US Visa Denials.

  20. 20
    Harlequin says:

    And here’s a depressing essay on what the Iowa legislature’s been up to this year. Kansas or Wisconsin but on fast-forward: less than four months in and most of the damage is already done.

  21. 21
    nobody.really says:

    ICYMI: New Superbutch page! It’s a webcomic about a 1940s lesbian superhero protecting the bar scene.

    ICYMI: No, there ain’t–at least, not at that web address. I can read the new page on Twitter, but the web address doesn’t display it.