Linky Friday #170: Earth & Beyond

Commerce:

NASAPosters-GrandTour[C1] We bought a dryer recently off Craigslist. It contained nothing nearly as interesting as this.

[C2] Verizon’s former pitchman, Paul “Can you Hear Me Now” Marcarelli, has gone with Sprint. Verizon’s response was to concede that Sprint’s network probably is as good as Verizon’s was in 2002. Anyway, I miss the X-Files guy more.

[C3] Good news! The rent isn’t quite so damn high anymore. Actually it is, but it’s getting higher at a lower rate, and that’s something.

[C4] Buzzfeed may no longer be accepting ads from the GOP, but Washington Free Beacon wants you to know it will not discriminate.

[C5] James Pethokoukis takes issue with the recent release about the US being the 41st most entrepreneurial nation in the world.

Religion:

NASAPosters-Europa[R1] Snake people. Ugh. Also, ghost bullpucky vs alien bullpucky.

[R2] As species mutate, so do religions. Or, How Mormons Conquered America.

[R3] Tim LeHaye is best known for his Left Behind series, but check out his other great works! Or don’t, because they look awful, but interesting to read about.

[R4] Chad Bird laments the death of the funeral.

[R5] Look, Buddy, Trump doesn’t take criticism lying down… from anything!

Science:

NASAPosters-Enceladus[Sc1] David Hu would like to explain his wasteful research.

[Sc2] Scientists are working to explain how humans got super-sized brained. Also, our faces may be unique.

[Sc3] Milgram was wrong, but our culture has a fascination with dramatic psychology experiments.

[Sc4] Speaking of dramatic psychology, one of the architects of the Stanford Prison Experiment, doesn’t like porn and video games.

[Sc5] Razib Khan asks if straight hair is a recent evolutionary phenomenon.

Animals:

NASAPosters-Kepler16B[A1] What? NO!

[A2] US versus Canada, the final smackdown.

[A3] What could possibly go wrong? {via Aaron David}

[A4] The giant flesh-eating koala bear was supposed to be a legend, but it’s not. Because of course not, because Australia.

[A5] It turns out, if you love the dog, don’t hug the dog.

[A6] Katie Herzog reports on the decline of the alpaca in the US. Only tangential since they’re two different things, but one of the things I miss about the west is the llamas.

Earth:

NASAPosters-EarthOasis[E1] As best as I can figure, over the next billion years, we’re going to need to build a big straw.

[E2] Inside a cruise ship inside a hurricane. I have only been caught in a hurricane once. It was a neat experience, and I wasn’t on a boat. I was in one of the worst hotels you could possibly imagine. I remember when the out-of-state Light & Power people came in afterwards. It was like a liberating army.

[E3] For there to be redemption, there must be sacrifice.

[E4] There’s hail in the desert, and it turns out that’s not actually cool.

[E5] Stephen Smith explains environmental economics.

[E6] We thought it was cool ancient Greek crap. Turns out, it’s way ancient microbe crap.

Space:

NASAPosters-Kepler186f[Sp1] Maybe it is just a gigantic waste of space. But an expanding one!

[Sp2] It’s like one of those inflatable moon castles, except for space!

[Sp3] Marc Kaufman announces a list of most habitable exoplanets. Uhhh, Earth isn’t #1.

[Sp4] Luxembourg is diving in to space-mining, which congress is ready to declare a free-for-all.

[Sp5] Super-Earths are the most common planet there is, but none exist in our solar system. Why not? And when they’re not remotely habitable, why do we call them “Super-Earths“?

[Sp6] Speaking of uninhabitable Super-Earths, which could explain why there is no debris between Mercury and the Sun. (Another theory for the lack of debris is Jupiter, though.)

[Sp7] All images from NASA. Holy crap, aren’t these just awesome? I am pondering making posters out of some of them. Ceres is particularly cool. And Mars. Just a bunch of them are cool.

NASAPosters-JupiterNASAPosters-CeresNASAPosters-MarsNASAPosters-StarlessPlanetNASAPosters-TitanNASAPosters-VenusNASAPosters-hd40307gNASAPosters-Pegasi


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132 thoughts on “Linky Friday #170: Earth & Beyond

  1. C1: It always surprises me that so many people never get rid of the evidence. The best I could figure out is that not getting rid of the evidence is a way to be discovered for those that can’t do it themselves.

    R3: We should strike the 1970s from our collective memory.

    Sc4: There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. I’m a fan of Aristotle’s catharsis thesis. Certain forms of entertainment provide a safe release valve for a lot of humans more negative impulses.

    A3: Callling Dr. Moreau to delivery, calling Dr. Moreau to delivery.

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  2. Sc4: Another thing that gets me about these rants about porn is that everybody asks if porn wraps the minds of men somehow by giving them unrealistic perceptions about sex, making them unlikely to seek actual female company if heterosexual, or something. Very few people ask if women’s romantic/sexual entertainment gives them an unrealistic expectation about romance or what most men are actually capable of on a first encounter, mainly instant chemistry.

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    • I’ve asked this question and go even further in wondering about children’s entertainment that tends to be aimed at young girl and what messages it sends them about love, romance, and the like.

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      • Or really the entire princess culture because if your told your princess that comes with a very strong sense of entitlement. I guess the main reason why it is not asked is that unrealistic expectations about sex tends to have more serious consequences than unrealistic expectations about romance. Another thing is that there is probably a broader ideological consensus about the detriments of porn, you get to unite conservatives and liberals, than against romantic/sexual entertainment marketed towards women, your going to piss off conservatives and liberals.

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    • It’s not as topical as it was last year, but the Josh Duggar case was a floridly turgid example of how badly a person’s expectations can be warped by (modern) porn if that is literally his only sex education.

      It’s my impression that it didn’t used to be this way back in the VCR era. There are a number of long-term trends – the ubiquity of body modification, the increasing misogyny (choking, really?), and the genre conventions becoming more highly stylized (spitting?) that bother me in the extreme [in addition to the fact that, outside of “parodies”, they’ve given up on acting and direction entirely]. All these trends, natch, are in the direction away from reflecting reality – of bodies, of relationships, and even of the mechanics of the sex act itself (above and beyond the need for camera-friendly positioning).

      And I’m old and somewhat jaded. I can’t imagine what the effect would be on a repressed virginal teenager already in a sexual panic over his impending wedding night.

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      • It was much more difficult for people bellow the age of majority or even people above the age of majority to get porn when you needed to buy a physical copy. You generally had to go and buy it yourself at a store or at least have a checking account or credit card for mail order. Even if you could legally do this because you are an adult, many people would be embarrassing. Now anybody willing to say they are over eighteen could get tones of free porn.

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        • Ah, the rite of passage. Go back into the curtained-off area, maintain mens-room contact rules at all time (no eye contact, no conversation, definitely no comments), then walk to the front register to hand the cute college girl at the till your driver’s license and their copy of “We Shouldn’t Do This, You’re My Stepmother! Part 8”. Good times. Kids today are missing out on something.

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        • The fact that the criticisms are notable enough to warrant serious rebuttals* indicates that there is non-negligible pushback on women’s romantic entertainment.

          * No one tried to seriously rebut Time Cube**
          ** At what point are Time Cube references no longer a signal of fogey-dom and become inscrutable? 2030?

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  3. Sp7 WAY Cool. Also check out this guy: http://www.tylernordgren.com/new-products-1/

    I have the Europa and Mars posters and Solar Eclipse poster no longer offered. 20 dollars and ready for framing. They look kick ass next to this: http://www.cafepress.com/zapatopi.509768159 (Pacific NW Tree Octopus)

    Sc1: It MAY be useful research but that doesn’t mean taxpayers have to fund it. If it’s useful to someone, they can pay.

    C4: “BuzzFeed could not countenance “having employees make ads, or working at the company and having our site promoting things, that limit our freedom and make it harder for them to live their lives.” Wow. It’s SOOOO hard. Trying being of a different political orientation and living in a Democratically controlled progressive machine state and then talk to me about “limits to your freedom”. Wimps. I’m curious about this statement though: “we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health.” I wasn’t aware that running ads for cigs was hazardous to anyone’s health.

    A4: I prefer the term “carnivorous wombat” because wombats are cooler than koalas, particularly the “common” wombat.

    A5: Dunno about dogs, but I’m hugging my cat. If she doesn’t like it, well all the better. Payback for waking me up in the middle of the night at 1:30, 4:00, and 4:30.

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  4. C3: I have noticed more for rent signs in SF and they have been staying up longer. I have also noticed more for sale signs. The issue is that SF rents will probably not go down until the current start up bubble bursts. The big players are here to stay but a lot of the smaller companies need to go bust and/or do layoffs. When people stop making the 9 millionth delivery or transportation or other lazy person service and calling it a “tech” company, rents will cool down in SF.*

    *I still maintain that most “tech” companies are not so much about tech but about designing a smart phone app that sells a service to lazy 20 somethings. Sometimes 30 somethings. The big issue about these companies is that they really can’t scale beyond the well to do in urban areas. GrubHub, Blue Apron are great ideas. I don’t know if we need a million copycats. InstaCart is just absurd and a damn luxury.

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  5. Sp4: Finally, we’re going to get our self-regulated society of ruggedly independent asteroid miners! You can have my oxygen when you pry it out of my cold, dead lungs!

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  6. R2: The linked article is quite good. My major bone to pick is

    Social pressure will not change the church.

    *snort!* Of course it will. Organized political activity won’t, but those are not the same thing. The revelation in the 1970s that blacks are people, too, is a classic example of the church changing due to social pressure.

    What the article doesn’t really touch on is that the Mormon church is unusual in having a formal process for receiving new revelations. Most churches adapt by reinterpreting core beliefs, while leaving the statements of those core beliefs unchanged. The Mormons have a mechanism by which they can declare that the rules have changed. So the old doctrine about blacks is not not interpreted as having been wrong, but rather that the rules have since changed. Contrast this with my Lutheran church. Luther wrote some awful things about the Jews. This doesn’t present a problem to the modern Lutheran church because these writings were never considered normative, even when Lutherans were nodding in agreement with them. Nowadays we look at them as respond that Brother Martin really screwed the pooch on that one.

    As an exercise for the student, consider how the Roman Catholic church deals with times a-changin’.

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    • I’d say the Lutherans have an advantage that, no one thought that Martin Luther was writing holy scripture. Instead, he was writing critique of a particular interpretation of holy scripture. In the end, a big part of his message was, “We can read this and think critically and object to how it is applied by the authorities,” which can then, just as easily, be applied to his own authority. So yeah, a modern Lutheran can say, “We’ve studied scripture, and we’ve looked at the world around us, and we’ve concluded that Luther was wrong about that part.”

      It’s going to more difficult for Mormons. They claim divine revelation.

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        • You could conclude Muslims are bad because of the actions of two Muslims.
          You could conclude North Africans are bad because of the actions of two North Africans.
          You could conclude refugees are bad because of the actions of two refugees.
          You could conclude men are bad because of the actions of two men.
          You could conclude people in their mid-20s are bad because of the actions of two 26-year olds.
          You could conclude that the actions of these two men reflect only on themselves, and not on any of the other people with the misfortune to be cooped up in a camp next to such lousy neighbours, regardless of any demographic traits they do or don’t share with them.

          You could conclude all kinds of things, and what you conclude says more about you than it does about the facts from which you’re drawing conclusions.

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      • What evidence is there of a riot? Which “poor folks” are you referring to? Did the headline writer mean “Two furious migrants” or “All migrants are furious”?

        That you can’t see the relevance is telling.

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      • I never said the Clintoons were the first. I’m surprised they would be so blatant and sell such an important job. She is someone for all Dems to be proud of for her honesty and transparency.

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        • I’m not a fan of patronage, but it’s about as old as the republic. Patronage, like the deficit, federalism and a host of other issues, is an issue that is only cared about when used as a cudgel against you opponents and otherwise ignored. The people who have the vapors about this didn’t care about Jim Langdon being on the presidential intelligence advisory board. I get this is a pretty clear cut BSDI comment, but I actually see less issue with random one off patronage in positions with no operational responsibilities, like advisory boards or figurehead ambassadorships than I do with real responsibilities like FEMA or the Fed.

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            • Have you seen the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board under Bush? This stuff is SOP. Hell, the CEO of US Steel was on the first one under Ike.

              Brent Scowcroft, the chair
              Pete Wilson, a former governor of California
              Cresencio S. Arcos, Jr., an AT&T executive and former US ambassador
              Jim Barksdale, former head of the internet company Netscape
              Robert Addison Day, chairman of the TWC Group, a money management firm
              Stephen Friedman, past chairman of Goldman Sachs
              Alfred Lerner, chief executive of MBNA
              Ray Lee Hunt, scion of the Texas oil fortune
              Rita Hauser, a prominent lawyer
              David E. Jeremiah, a retired admiral
              Arnold Kanter, a national security official in the George H.W. Bush administration and a founding member of the Scowcroft Group
              James C. Langdon, Jr., a power-lawyer in Texas
              Elisabeth Pate-Cornell, Chair of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University
              John Harrison Streicker, a real estate magnate
              Philip Zelikow, a National Security Council staffer

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                • Criticism?
                  What criticism is being presented here?
                  What is the argument being made?

                  This is just a potshot, a grabbing-at-straws fauxtrage of the moment.

                  Its on par with OMG Obama put his feet up on the Presidential desk, or OMG Obama bowed to a foreign king.

                  These people aren’t serious, they don’t have anything meaningful to say.
                  These are the same people who suddenly on Jan. 20, 2009 woke up and discovered that the federal government was running a deficit, and became wildly outraged.

                  Be honest, without Googling first, how many people here were aware of the “President’s Intelligence Advisory Board” and knew what it does, and what sorts of people sit on it?

                  No, but we are being invited to suddenly become alarmed over such a Grave National Matter.

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                    • I would find this concern trolling to be a powerful argument in its own right, if I were a Nader-esque, Trump-curious Bernie bro, who is shocked and appalled that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two!

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                  • I think it’s the whole impropriety of the quid pro quo of donating in order to get on an intelligence committee.

                    But, hey. Maybe it’s like bowing to a foreign king.

                    Be honest, without Googling first, how many people here were aware of the “President’s Intelligence Advisory Board” and knew what it does, and what sorts of people sit on it?

                    I have no idea.
                    So let’s google it!

                    Here’s what CNN’s article says:

                    “The ?International Security Advisory Board was established to provide the State Department with independent insight and advice on a broad range of international security matters. The ISAB’s charter stipulates that the board should reflect a balance of backgrounds and points of view. Generally speaking, it’s not unusual for the State Department chief of staff to be involved in personnel matters,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement to CNN. “Members of the International Security Advisory Board are required to have security clearances. But, as is standard, the department does not comment on individuals’ security clearance status.?”

                    Here’s all that ABC’s story about it says:

                    The Chicago securities trader, who specialized in electronic investing, sat alongside an august collection of nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and members of Congress to advise Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and on other crucial arms control issues.

                    It makes you wonder why the news didn’t do a better job of ripping into Bush, who did the same thing, and probably put those people on the board after they donated to him.

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                • You must have missed the part where I noted there was patronage on the very first PIAB under Eisenhower. That seems to indicate that patronage is not entirely incidental to the purpose of these advisory boards. Frankly, I’d rather have patronage at ‘advisory’ boards where the real decisions aren’t made than in positions with actual operational responsibility.

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              • If you’d bothered to ask me, I would have said that folks should have something to contribute to such a board, not just the money they raised.

                This instance is amusing from a number of aspects including the fact that Hill’s folks first stonewalled the press and delayed so he could resign. Did I also mention that he is a superdelegate?

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          • The interesting question, to me, is why a financial securities trader would want to be on the intelligence advisory board. Did he get confused about the “Security” part of the Department of Homeland Security?

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          • “I’m not a fan of patronage, but it’s about as old as the republic.”

            So it’s…okay, then, that this happened? You’re okay with the fact that it happened?

            PS you’re bringing this up as a response to me, like I personally was utterly 100% on board with patronage during the Bush adminstration, and that I have defended it. Please to be finding quotes, or else to be shutting up the fuck.

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            • I’m not ok with it, but there are literally thousands of things I don’t like that happen. On the scale of damaging government corruption, it’s pretty low. Does this guy actually do anything? Is he a national security risk or does he just take up a spot or a board that has fewer members than their allowable max and have no impact? Seems to me that this is the skin tag of government corruption; it’s not attractive, but it doesn’t actually have any impact.

              What is the relevance of this? What effect did the guy’s presence on the board have? We go through this whole charade of, “I’m shocked to find that there’s patronage going on in the State Department,” every administration when some donor gets named ambassador when it is a 200 year old tradition. If I were building up the government from scratch, I wouldn’t have that be a feature. On the other hand, if we’re rooting out government corruption, we’d be a lot better off spending time and energy rooting out professional courtesy by local PDs.

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  7. Sc4: It all makes sense now. Zimbardo is basically one of the wizards from Pratchett’s Unseen University, and he simply hates the whole idea of having actual students at his university.

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  8. Will Truman and other conservatives: given the hammering Trump is receiving on his past business practices, his racist remarks re Curiel and judges’ impartiality, etc and so on, what’s the likelihood that the GOP invokes the nuclear option at the convention?

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    • Zero. Absolutely zero. That’d antagonize the only engaged part of their base.

      If they had a single king who could do it, maybe. But a collective decision? No way.

      They’re already moving into “Don’t tick off the base, don’t get tied too closely, we’ll pick up the wreckage in 2020”. (I suspect there’s a large strain of “We have Trump, they have Clinton, obviously HRC has to be as bad as Trump, ergo 2020 will be prime pick-up material” thinking there too. Human nature. Diffuse the blame out).

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    • It’s not clear that they can. For a host of reasons:

      1) It would require a degree of coordination that the party wouldn’t be in this position if it had existed.
      2) The people who are freaking out are a different people than the people who get to make the decision. If it were up to a vote of congressmen, for example, they could do it. But it’s up to delegates.
      3) As soon as Trump became the presumptive nominee, the RNC took it as their job to work with and not against Trump. So…
      4) After Trump became the presumptive nominee, his people started getting the appropriate committee assignments. So even if the delegates were so inclined, I’m not sure there are enough of them.

      So… if it were up to the electeds, maybe. It’s does seem to be dawning on them exactly how much of a disaster this is. But the wheels to take Trump over the finish line were put into motion two weeks ago, and I don’t believe they can be stopped.

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      • Ahh, thanks.

        Followup Q: Are you aware of any efforts to get delegates to vote for the rule change or the degree to which Trump delegates might be so swayed?

        The reason I ask is that Trump is such a complete, utter, total disaster to the GOP both politically and practically that I just can’t imagine the Big Players aren’t availing themselves of any and every option to keep him from getting the nom.

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        • I am not aware of any such efforts. I think the total scope of the disaster is simply too big to wrap their heads around. I am not even sure I can wrap my own head around it. Denial may simply be the easiest course of action for them.

          (There has been a lot of effort, from all quarters really, to paint Trump as some degree of A Normal Republican. Or that having the id revealed is good, or isn’t so bad. It hasn’t been completely successful, but it’s ongoing. There is really some extraordinary reluctance to believe “No. Seriously. He’s different.” I’m wondering if it’s simply too late to turn back.)

          It all has me remember good old Jonas.

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          • /I dont think the republicans keeping their heads down and hoping for 2020 are wrong.

            Obama has basically been a truly great President frustrated by the failings of the US political process and the power it gives to those who put winning above doing the best for the country. Its heartbreaking when i look back to 2008. Obama’s whole schtick was that he wanted to bring people together – read his books. And he tried desperately to get consensus, even on his flagship healthcare that he ran and won on. But the republicans calculated that electorally it was better to oppose oppose oppose rather than work together to make the best system possible.

            Honestly, i get that people (including me!) will disagree with some of Obama’s brliefs and decisions, but how anyone can look at him and look at the GOP and think they are even in the same league.

            And despite everything, nearly half the country voted romney in 2012. And voted the republicans into congress, rewarding the gop party-before-country line.

            Hilary Clinton, if she wins, will be a mediocre uninspiring president. And she will lose to whatever idiot the republicans chose to run in 2020.

            Thats the better outcome. The other possibility is trump wins (eg sonethibg comes of the email scandal) and it’s game over for the us system. Go read volokh and see them rightly freaking out.

            The only surprising thing is that some conservatives are surprised at Trump. All of you who have cavilled at obama these past eight years, and insisted on BSDI etc are responsible. You let your dislike of liberalism blind you to the fact that there are more important things than left-right splits. The GOP has worked to destroy your system of governance – which like any political system relies in part on good faith in its participants – and you have enabled them.

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            • My ultimate fear is not that a Trump coalition will lose, but that it will eventually win. But if it does, the current leadership will not be a part of it. They will be displaced, or quit, before that point.

              Their folly is believing that, without action, things will return to normal. Or that the risk they won’t is worth taking.

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              • I agree.

                But why would they oppose Trump? Doing so would only damage them with the GOP voters and harm their careers. And although a trump win would akso damage thrm, that’s only a possibility. Why take certain danage to avoid it?

                Now you and i would say that the risk of Trump to the country is so grest that noone should hold back because of that sort of caculation. But that sort of calculation is what GOP leaders have done for the past 8 years, and it has worked well for them.

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                • But why would they oppose Trump?

                  Because Trumpism isn’t an extension of the status quo, and they know it. That’s why there is such visible discomfort. It’s why, while they haven’t opposed Trump, they haven’t really supported him either*. All of the talk of falling into line is largely applicable to the voters, but not really to the electeds. Yet, anyway.

                  Now, your response may be that Trumpism Realized is just an extension of the party’s status quo. And therein potentially lies our disagreement. They don’t believe so, and neither do I.

                  * – I’m excluding the Duncan Hunters and Chris Christies, who have thrown in their lot. Also, the RNC whose hands are more-or-less tied at this point.

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              • Early in his second term, 538 did the 538 thing and number-crunched a bunch of scholarly analyses and put Obama 17th, between the first Adams and the first Clinton.

                Since then, we’ve had:
                – The Iran deal, which is working out better than even his own side had hoped
                – The Paris accords, which even China are buying in to, and if you think that had nothing to do with US diplomatic efforts, not least of which was being a signatory in the first place…
                – Daesh is unsettled, it’s quite possible that Obama’s long game in that department is working
                – Significant normalization of relations with Cuba, thawing after decades of ice
                – Republican-led states are giving up their holdouts on providing their citizens health care
                – Gradual expansions of civil rights, which has the bonus of irritating a lot of the appropriate people

                Even if you think 17th was too high in 2013, the fact that he has any bullet points at all since then given the continued intransigence of Congress has got to be worth quite a bit.

                A good case could be made that the second term would push him above the likes of Polk and Johnson (not that one, the one who liked to show off his Johnson) into the seventy-fifth percentile or so, which puts him on the fringes of the top 10 with the likes of Kennedy and Eisenhower.

                I don’t know if that makes him great, but good? Certainly.

                Flaws? Certainly. The TPP, which Obama himself rates as one of his biggest achievements, has had a lot of negative knock-on effects, primarily in extending the lack of economic recovery in the rural USA but also in expanding exploitation regimes in our trading partners.

                The question is like baseball – how big do you want your Hall of Fame? There are some people who put Joe Morgan in only reluctantly. There are others who think Lou Whitaker should have been a slam-dunk. Do you have to be a top-10 President to be great? Top-5?

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                  • The Peace Prize was – famously – in his first term, so it’s already taken into consideration. Just between you and me, I think it was a little premature, so I don’t rate it either way as evidence. Don’t let that out, though. I might lose some liberal bona fides.

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            • Well in all fairness, the party DID nominate the guy and the party establishment is mostly falling in behind him.

              I suppose it depends on what you mean by “normal”. In the end, he’s pretty much where every other Republican candidate was after clinching the nomination. Certainly after the convention.

              Is he normal? Did he redefine normal? He’s certainly not so abnormal he was rejected.

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              • That’s part of what I meant by my original comment about normalization. Especially since clinching the nomination, Republicans have been trying like hell to treat him like he’s normal. Many of them can’t actually say his name when they voice their “support” but they support him because he’s the nominee and they have to support the nominee.

                The media has done this as well. A whole lot of (non-Trumper) voices during the delegate scramble intimated that it was unfair that Republicans weren’t treating him like any other frontrunner. “If it were anyone else, they would have lined up by now!” And when it looked like there might be a contested convention, well he got the most votes so they’d have to give it to him, right? Like they would any (implication “normal”) frontrunner. Some liberal-types joined in here, and a whole lot of Republicans (though mostly Trump supporters).

                And Democrats and liberals, too, though to a lesser extent. A fair number of voices suggesting that Trump isn’t substantively different than, and may be preferable to (because Social Security), Rubio and Cruz and so on.

                I could go on, but that’s the crux of it. From my vantage point, there is a whole lot of desire to put Trump into a particular role. To normalize him. Or at least present him as a different – cruder, more blunt, whatever – variation of normal. But tempting, I guess, for a variety of reasons.

                I also think that, next to Trump beating Hillary, it’s the worst thing that can happen for the country.

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                • But I think that’s a chicken and egg problem.

                  Trump bashes a judge based on his heritage — is that any different, really, than Reagan’s “Strapping young bucks”? (Aside from pointing to a specific person).

                  Trump’s a grifter but….so is Palin. Trump’s an authoritarian, but so are other GOP candidates.

                  I’m wondering if he’s only abnormal in his bluntness.

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                    • Well yes, I get that I just said what you say liberals say.

                      My question is: Are they wrong? Is Trump really abnormal?

                      I mean you can argue he fits right into a very common type of politician in parliamentary democracies (not constrained to just two parties), for instance. Which is admittedly not terribly normal for the last few decades of American politics, but we’re pretty abnormal in out setup.

                      I’m getting a on the one hand, on the other hand problem here.

                      When you say he’s not normal — is that true? Or wishful thinking? How is he different from Sarah Palin, for instance?

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                      • For what it’s worth, Palin cones the closest. But (and I didn’t make this clear) I was referring to a normal nominee, frontrunner, or at least viable candidate.

                        Trump, as a potential candidate, is fundamentally different in my view than even those I dislike and disrespect (ie Cruz). If you don’t see it, you don’t see it. Not sure I can help you.

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                      • When you say he’s not normal — is that true? Or wishful thinking? How is he different from Sarah Palin, for instance?

                        I’m with Will on this issue but I also see your point, Morat. Restricting ourselves to politics by leaving out the man’s character as revealed by his past and present practices, seems to me Trump is radically different than your average GOPer (and he’s radically different than GOPism) even tho he’s (apparently!) not all that different from what a plurality of conservative’s comprising the GOP base think a GOPer ought to be (Palin 2.0).

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  9. Kolohe:
    How many people that want Turner to face consequences for the rest of his life also want to ban the box?

    The interesting thing is if he’d been chucked into prison for 5-10, there’s a pretty good chance he would have been paroled out sooner and allowed to competitively swim. The blatant favoritism that the judge showed him (plus the embarrassingly tone-deaf letter his father wrote) did a *really* good job of stopping that.

    He’s a white upper-class twit, so banning the box or not won’t make much difference to his future career. But in any case it’s harder to redeem yourself if you can’t even get a job to pay the bills after you’ve paid you debt to society.

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    • Like most of the USOC sanctioning bodies, the very large majority of USA Swimming’s membership are minors. Under pressure from the liability insurance companies, all of the sanctioning bodies have gotten even more serious about background checks and such on people who deal regularly with the athletes — coaches, referees, trainers, event organizers, etc. Competitive members aren’t usually subject to such checks, but if information comes to light that they would fail such a check, they get the same punishment.

      Sex-related crimes are pretty much an automatic lifetime ban — in many cases, these are sports where parents are being asked to send their 16- or 14-year old children away on trips where the only supervision/protection is being provided by the coaches, event organizers, and other athletes.

      Full disclosure: I sit on the executive committee of the Colorado Division of the US Fencing Association, a USOC sanctioning body. Because that means I deal with kids at events, I had to pass a background check. I spend time with those kids’ parents regularly.

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