Link Roundup, 8/29/16

From Gizmodo: NOW I care about climate change. Coffee shortage is starting to take a toll.

From Scientific American: Our per-capita environmental impact is declining.

From Rolling Stone: The story of two soldiers left behind in Iraq.

From Recode: Google’s research unit is struggling.

From Food52: Why expensive tomatoes are worth the money.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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172 comments on “Link Roundup, 8/29/16
  1. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Interesting story, given conversations about growing technology replacing labor; robots in Lowe’s Hardware Stores to provide customer service (locating products) as well as keeping tabs on in store employees.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/09/02/robot-employees-coming-to-select-lowes-this-fall/

  2. 1mime says:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/09/commission-sets-dates-formats-moderators-for-presidential-debataes-227679

    The toughest moderator in the bunch is Quijano who drew the VP debate….Trump will devour the rest. We needed more Megyn Kelleys……

    • vikinghou says:

      I think Lester Holt is pretty solid. I’m not sure if he’s ever been a debate moderator, but during interviews he doesn’t let politicians get away with not answering his questions. In my opinion the best moderator ever was Tim Russert. He knew all the facts backwards and forwards and was never afraid to lower the boom on people who tried to evade or misrepresent an issue.

      • 1mime says:

        I so agree about Tim Russert. What a loss to broadcasting….On the female side, Kelly does a fine job but I like my moderators to be non-partisan. We’ll see how Wallace performs…..

  3. “Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second.”
    – Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)

    And yet here I sit, two hundred some odd years later, sipping a delicious cup of Kona coffee, and munching a cherry Pop-Tart, in a world populated by 7.4 billion souls. Go figure. So much for Mr. Malthus, not to mention C. Watts, et al., and the Australia Climate Institute.

    • Griffin says:

      Did.. did you just try to compare Malthus’ errors on overpopulation with scientific concern over fossil fuels?

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      Are you suggesting the Earth can accommodate an unlimited number of humans eating pop-tarts and drinking coffee? I never knew you to troll but this comment makes me wonder.

    • The only point I’m making, gentlefolk, is that as long as humans wish to imbibe coffee, we’ll have coffee. It’s just another example of what our species does best, writ in miniature – improvise, adapt, overcome. Malthus’ mistake was not in the math, but rather in underestimating the human species’ propensity for ingenuity. I’m not going to get too exercised about the prospect of the coffee plant going extinct. If you two are really worried about it, I’d suggest you go all in on long coffee futures. Put your money where your climate change zeitgeist leads you. 😉

      • Griffin says:

        You do know that trying to invest money based on predicting changes in scarcity affecting prices is not a ridiculous premise but something actual economists do?

      • formdib says:

        “It’s just another example of what our species does best, writ in miniature – improvise, adapt, overcome.”

        Which is precisely why the climate change discussion is happening, so that we can do those things. You can’t dismiss a problem by saying ‘We always come up with a solution so therefore it’s not a problem and we don’t have to solve it.’

      • Your implied juxtaposition of our ingenuity when it comes to our beloved friend, the coffee bean, and the ensuing climate crisis strikes me as… oh, what’s the right word here? Offhand? Brusque? Glib even?

        Point is is that we don’t want to wait until the ice caps melt and Southern Florida’s underwater before we start putting that ingenuity to work. Get used to having the best iced coffee in the state with a topping of salty sea water when that happens.

      • Malthus’s mistake was in assuming that we would not find alternatives. The sort of cultivation which people practised in his day (and the sort of geometric population increase) are now relegated to deeply impoverished parts of the world. The richer nations have found alternatives to both.

        I would rather not find alternatives to coffee. If I am to live in a sci-fi dystopia, I don’t want it to be one of those 80s sci-fi dystopias where people drink soycaf.

      • “The only point I’m making, gentlefolk, is that as long as humans wish to imbibe coffee, we’ll have coffee.”

        Actually, gentle folk, that is not correct. As long as humans wish coffee, no matter how expensive it is and how scarce coffee is, The rich will have it. no one else!

        The world’s population is @ 7.7 billion. expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. into the 12 billion range by 2100. with global warming, there will be huge changes in food, read that crop supplies. We are already over fishing our oceans. water will become a bigger problem than it is now. it is projected that the Middle east countries will be so hot, they will be almost uninhabitable.

        Noone knows if we are past the tipping point in climate change where nothing can be done to reverse course. But we all know one group in the United States has been a road block to any change. i live in Florida. Our governor, a Republican actually banned the use of any term to describe global warming.

        No one with an open mind does not realize the expansion of the population is a direct link to our problem.

      • objv says:

        Tracy, you young whippersnapper. You’re going to make yourself extinct if you keep on eating those Poptarts. 🙂 I admit to being jealous since I have gained weight on my summer camping trips and am limiting my sugar intake. (Luckily, not my coffee intake.)

        Yes, we humans are an ingenuous bunch! One major factor limiting human population growth is the fact that people in more prosperous countries have been limiting the number of children they have to the point of European countries having population declines.

      • johngalt says:

        The world’s population is never going to get to 12 billion. Population growth is slowing in every nation on earth; worldwide it has halved in the last 30 years and is projected to halve again in the next 30. Fertility rates are below replacement numbers in almost every developed country (the U.S. is, barely, an exception, but this is due to immigration).

        If you want to further slow population growth, the most effective means would be to educate girls in high fertility rate countries and give them the tools to control their bodies.

      • 1mime says:

        The U.S. could start that trend …..

    • RobA says:

      Malthus was a theory with not much actual empiric evidence though. His premise is flat out wrong in any case, and should have been seen as such even then.

      Population NEVER increases independent from resources. On the contrary, everything we know about species population growth is that it’s PREDICATED on resource availability. Malthus didn’t factor in technology gains that would make farmers far more productive. But even if we never made those tech gains, he’d be wrong.

      If we hadn’t increased our resource capacity via tech, we wouldn’t have a Malthusian dosaster; we’d simply have a much smaller global population today.

      You can’t compare one person’s poor hypothesis with the thousands of independent pieces of evidence across several unrelated scientific disciplines that all corroborate each other.

      You’re a bit of a conundrum, because some of your posts seem like you have an above average understanding of science, and yet anybody who can look at the overhwleimngly body of evidence for ACC and concludes it’s a massive, giant hoax, perpetuated by tens of thousands of scientists for some vague undefined reason clearly doesn’t understand science at all, or the peer review process.

      It’s like watching some guy do complex mathematics on a chalk board correctly, but who then insists that 2+2=5. It’s a puzzle, because the complex math makes it seems like they have a good grasp of it. But the inability to accept the simple premise that 2+2=5 demonstrates that this person clearly doesn’t really understand math.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I need to know – Where does Tracy stand on open carry… of dildos?

  4. RobA says:

    Mime, as we talked about the other day, more evidence that Trumpism only seems to benefit Trump. Barring his celebrity, the exact same rhetoric is going down in flames everywhere else

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/congress-primaries-establishment-trounces-tea-party-227609

    Ppl are sick of GOP insanity. Being an extremist is now becoming the new moderate.

    • 1mime says:

      Maybe so, but Trump’s poll numbers are now up to 23%+ and Clinton’s down to 77.8% (538)…He is ascendant (in polling not as a human being).

      And, Larry Sabato, with the U of VA Center for Politics, who has been bullish on Dems retaking the Senate now says this…(and, it isn’t even Labor Day):

      “Democrats seemingly hold a narrow edge in the race for a majority. But that majority could be quite small, small enough that Republicans could be poised to wipe it out in 2018, perhaps leading to another bare minimum stint in the majority.”

      http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/senate-2016-flip-flop/

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        There is no way the Democrats hold the Senate majority in 2018, and no guarantee at all that they’ll even win it in 2016.

      • 1mime says:

        I absolutely agree with you on that point, Homer. Frankly, I am concerned that the Dems will be able to take it in ’16, and the presidency as well. The barrage of media, Republican, wikileaks, Trump attacks on HRC is taking its toll on her numbers and that flows down ballot, as we know.

        This election really has me worried and has from the beginning. Republicans are going all out and I don’t believe Dems are equally focused.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Mime, let’s hope you and I are wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        We are the outliers here in our pessimism for a strong Dem performance in Nov, Homer.

      • 1mime says:

        For all those who think Republicans have any intention of folding their tent and sneaking away….This is a group who are making the best of a bad situation and they are fixated on winning this election.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/08/31/house-gop-plans-votes-on-iran-spending-and-blocking-obama-regulations/?wpisrc=fl_powerpost

      • With all due respect, we seem to be settling into something of a pattern here where things look pretty good for Clinton for a while and we’re cautiously optimistic and then suddenly things take a bit of a turn and suddenly we seem be on the verge of sweating bullets.

        And I’ll answer that concern the same way I do every time. Show. Me. The. Numbers.

        Can Trump win the presidency with his numbers among minorities being what they are? No, absolutely not. There is not some massive “secret Trump bloc” of voters just waiting for the right guy to come out and vote for the very first time. Republicans are maxed out.

        Furthermore, Trump continues to hemorrhage college-educated whites, a group that he absolutely cannot afford to lose. What we’re talking about here isn’t even winning the election anymore, but just holding together the voters that Romney lost with four years ago.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-voters-with-college-degrees-against-donald-trump_us_57c6c4d8e4b0a22de0931a20

        If you think I’m wrong, fine. Prove it. Baseless worries and concerns help no one.

        As for the Senate, just look at the states. WI and IL are both long gone. Repubs are so far behind there that it would take nothing short of a miracle for them to win. That’s two out of four seats the Dems need.

        New Hampshire? Ayotte hasn’t lead in a single poll since the end of July.

        Pennsylvania? Same thing.

        The margins in those last two have narrowed, surely enough, but the pattern is clear. That’s four out of four and the majority right there.

        With all that said, please excuse me if I came off as rude. It wasn’t my intention, and I understand the genuine concern out there and just how important it is for Dems to win this one. I get it, but barring a political earthquake, they will.

        My only real worry at the moment is that the popular vote could be closer than a lot of us are hoping for. This cannot be won by just a couple of points like a normal election. For Trump to do that well would be incredibly demoralizing and give more fuel to the nationalist and racist movements in this country more than anything else I could think of.

      • 1mime says:

        Prove it.

        Here’s Trump’s plan: maximize the white voter turnout. That will enhance popular vote and electoral vote. The blue collar (lower and middle income Whites – males and females) are running 18% over for Clinton, and this group is going to vote. Minorities – Blacks – are the targets of voter suppression in all of the red dominated states. Articles I have read said it could impact 3-5% of that vote. Democrats, who are much better at voting in presidential years, are not happy supporters of Clinton. Per the WaPo and NYT articles yesterday and today (posted already) – Trump and Clinton are now tied in their unfavorables “among registered voters”. Hispanics (article already posted) are always “iffy” in their voter turnout, and in states like FL, where you live, are split between the two candidates.

        Yes, I am concerned and pessimistic, but for good reason. We both realize that polls from Labor Day forward will be much more significant and accurate, and that what we are looking at here are trends – which trends clearly show Trump’s numbers rising and Clinton’s, falling.

        You are not rude to point out what you believe to be different trends, but it is possible that you could be wrong. For the record, I hope I am wrong and that HRC has a landslide in both electoral and popular votes. What I am is cautious and for a very good reason – from my reading. As for the Senate races, I posted a good article on that today from the Center for Politics.

        Don’t forget, Sophie gets a blue scarf if you are correct and I am wrong….a wager I’ll pay up on once the votes are tallied. I guess I am just a worrier because this election is unusually significant.

      • vikinghou says:

        1mime,

        As you have been saying all along, GOTV will be essential for the Dems to succeed. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Hillary isn’t miles ahead. If her poll numbers are too commanding when voting begins, Dems may become complacent and fail to show up at the polls, thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

        I’ve been taking a break from the election coverage, thinking I may wait until the debates to reengage. It’s been good for my blood pressure.

      • RobA says:

        There’s a chance that if they get things done in the two years by then, ppl will remember what a functioning government is supposed to look like and either demand of their GOP reps, or punt them for Dem reps.

      • 1mime says:

        If Dems win the presidency, especially with someone Repubs have loathed for decades, and Dems barely take the Senate, knowing (as Homer correctly points out) that in 2018 they will lose the Senate, why would anyone think Repubs would allow a Pres. HR Clinton to function anymore than a Pres. Obama? I’m not saying that I don’t think she isn’t capable of doing so, but I do not see this Republican Party slowing in their vitriol and scheming nor having learned any lessons in humility or practical political reality. Do you? I think HRC could be a fine president but I wonder if she will be “able” to circumnavigate the GOP blockade that worked so well with Obama when he took office with “majority” control of both houses….Republicans are NOT going to lose the House in November. The House controls appropriations. That’s a problem for any president who is trying to run government.

        Gee, I hate being so negative but this Republican Party is hell-bent on ignoring demographic and social changes in America. They are focused on extracting every last ounce of power and control they can until they take their last breath. Do you see it differently? Key is Senate control and without a filibuster proof majority, that is going to be a big problem. Reid has hinted that the nuclear option rules could be changed. That’s fine for two years …

      • RobA says:

        Ryan, I’m with you. The national polls have the prestige, but they’re actually not nearly as important as the state polls (specifically swing state polls) where Clinton is still handily beating Trump.

        In fact, the swing states not closing nearly so much as the nat’l polls is highly unusual. If I had to guess, I’d say that nobody wants Trump as Prez, and so anybody in a swing state is going to vote HRC. Those in safely red or blue states may be using their vote as a way of expressing their dislike at the options, thus leaving us with the oddity of national polls closing in but swing states remaining not nearly as close as swing states should.

        How many times have we heard someone say “I’m voting for *insert candidate* but only because I’m in TX/CA/NY ” (or some other deep blue/red state).

        This is the same dynamic. Being in a safe state gives a voter the luxury of voting their conscience in a way that swing state voters don’t have. They are aware they are literally deciding the election, and their voting patterns act accordingly.

      • RobA says:

        Mime, the problem with Trumps strategy of GOTWV (get out the white vote) is that he’s not going to win white women, and he’s not going to win college educated whites, both of which are a very significant constuency, and who tend to have high turnouts in a NORMAL year, let alone one like this.

        Romney won college educated voters by 12 points, and Obama still won the election fairly easily. Today, HRC is beating Trump among college educated voters by 24 (!) . AND Trump will get far less Hispanics then Romney did. The math just doesn’t work for Trump. If the election was a simple nation wide “check in the box” he might have a decent chance . But with the electoral college, it looks like he needs a black swan event.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        I am beginning to think that HRC will likely win a solid victory – it will be similar to Obama in 2012. But, it will not be a blowout as I had originally hoped. The GOP will be throwing everything at her they can think. Wikileaks will be releasing another dump or 2-3 dimps. Probably, one during the debates and maybe one in October. There is also the problem of the national press being very good to Trump but picking apart everything HRC says or does and carping all the time about how she refuses to give press conferences and is not transparent. Perhaps, the national press is intimidated by Trump, because he has removed the press credentials of any organization that stands up to him, i.e Huff Post, Politico, Daily Beast, Washington Post, etc. In any event there is little coverage about Trumps lack of transparency, his manipulation of the press, refusal to release tax returns, etc All these headwinds, will make life difficult for HRC. But has been mentioned, with the swing state polls staying consistent, maybe there is the phenomenon of people being scared stiff of Trump, but feeling the luxury of casting a protest vote in the safe states. The West coast states are examples of that. Trump has no chance of winning CA, OR or WA. All of those states had strong Sanders contingents. It is quite possible that the Greens will do very well in the West coast states. I’ve not seen recent polling.

        The main consequence, that I see, is that if HRC does not get a blow out, then the likelihood of getting a significant Democratic majority is the Senate and significantly narrowing the GOP majority in the House is thereby reduced significantly. At this point, I think that the D’s will get a narrow majority in the Senate and narrow the majority in the House. However, this in turn significantly hurts the efforts in 2018. The U of VA Center for Politics article in Politico (linked elsewhere) seems to sum up the quandary rather well. We can only hope that the 50 State Strategy, good governance and the demographic trends will have a significant influence in 2018.

    • 1mime says:

      All Trump needs is “enough” crazies to win in a close election, a point that his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski made in the CNN post-Trump immigration speech coverage last night. He is, BTW, a smart guy (who talks waaay too much). Behind a quality candidate, Lewandowski will be a powerhouse. I see now why CNN added him to their roster. “Trump’s speech,” he said, “was designed for one purpose: fire up and turn out his white, male base who VOTE!” Full.stop. He leads Clinton by 18 points in this group and as the candidates move closer to election day, it’s all about turn out in one’s base vs general turn out.

      Trump delivered his immigration speech extremely well. He has mastered the teleprompter. Whoever put together the plan he presented, clearly understood the issue. It’s just that the solutions were hard line only. Too bad, but clearly, Trump’s audience was not the Hispanic voter.

      I chose to watch CNN to get a little different viewpoint and was VERY impressed with one Bakari Sellers. Smart, articulate, unequivocating backed up by facts, 31! DNC, are you listening? Watching? This is the type of young Democratic star that should be on every list.

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/lewandowski-trump-immigration-speech-white-men

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakari_Sellers

      • johngalt says:

        According to estimates from Pew, an 18% lead amongst white men, given demographics and historical turn out numbers, would amount to just under 9 million votes. In contrast, African-Americans prefer Trump by a 97% margin, which would be about 18 million votes. Trump cannot win this election pandering to white males.

      • pedneuro says:

        1mime, if white males were the only demographic in the US, then yes. But it isn’t, so Trump cannot win by simply appealing to this demographic while at the same time turning off every other. Remember, with all these polling ups and downs for Hillary, Trump numbers themselves more or less stay stable. It’s Hillary numbers that fluctuate.

      • 1mime says:

        You would be surprised to learn how many white females are supporting Trump. I have been not only surprised but extremely disappointed. Usually women can smell a rat from a long way off.

      • pedneuro says:

        Well in that case I can only say, I hope you are wrong.

      • RobA says:

        Mime, yes and no.

        Yes, I would probably surprised at the number of women who support Trump because any number higher then single digits would surprise me. But from an election standpoint, HRC is leading by 23 pts. That’s a death knell. Romney only lost women by 5.

        http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/clinton-opens-23-point-lead-women-gains-democrats/story?id=41148222

        Basically, Trump is doing worse then Romney among women, college educated voters, Hispanics, and probably even African Americans (most of these groups by very wide margins). And Romney lost by around 125 electoral votes.

        There just aren’t enough high school educated white males in America to make up that kind of deficit.

        Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the urge to not get complacent, and I’m sure that’s mostly what you’re doing. Tempering expectations is probably a safe bet here, if only to protect ones mental health should he eventually win.

        But mathematically, it’s really, really tough for Trump right now.

    • 1mime says:

      An amazing story, Bobo! 100 push ups every morning at the (venerable, tu EJ) age of 97! “Law not war.” Growing up in a crime ridden neighborhood in a broken family, he was told: “You’ll either be a good lawyer or a good crook!”…What a wonderful life. He “came into this world poor and wants to go out poor.” He has pledged up to $10M to the Holocaust Museum for the purpose of furthering peace…..

      They don’t make ’em like they used to, folks. Eat your hearts out, Millennials and GenXers!

  5. Griffin says:

    North Korean Vice Premier executed for falling asleep during meeting. Spymaster punished for “arrogance” but was merely banished for a month (why would you antagonize your spymaster?).

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-koreas-top-education-official-executed-seoul-022737788.html

    • RobA says:

      This guy is like a cartoon villain. I heard his education minister was executed for nodding off during a speech.

      That whole situation is unsustainable, and sooner or later, he’s going to be deposed, or a coup will take place. His father was pretty batshit crazy, and he looks like King Solomon compared to this goof.

  6. RobA says:

    Good news, SCOTUS says no to NC’s appeal of the voting ID law.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-wont-let-north-carolina-use-strict-voting-law/2016/08/31/b5187080-6ed6-11e6-8533-6b0b0ded0253_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_scotusnc-405pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Most interesting is that this appeal was made directly to Justice Roberts, he of the “race is no longer an issue in America” fame. To be fair, this was pre Ferguson, pre BLM, pre a multitude of high profile police killings of unarmed black men etc etc. It was not unreasonable that a privileged white man could honestly have made that assessment a few years ago. Not anymore though.

    This suggests Roberts realizes he made a mistake, which bodes well for similar cases in the future.

    • 1mime says:

      If Roberts had really recognized his error on overturning the VRA, he wouldn’t have voted with those to uphold the NC voter ID and early voting. He chickened out. He could have ruled on this solo and made a clear statement, instead, he referred the appeal to the entire court. Nah, he doesn’t get any brownie points from me on this. If you’re going on principle, CJ Roberts, you are consistent. If you know you made a mistake, you are consistent and you vote against the appellate court.

      Roberts is trying to have it both ways and that is chicken stuff.

      • RobA says:

        Ah, my mistake. I hadn’t seen the breakdown of the votes, I just assumed he hadn’t vited against it becausd otherwise, why refer it to the court? Just rule on it.

        I agree with you now that I know the facts. That is some weak tea from Roberts.

      • 1mime says:

        As much as I disagreed with Scalia, at least the man had the courage of his convictions, however wrong they were. Roberts doesn’t deserve to be CJ. He’s way too equivocating. I don’t think history will be kind to him.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        Roberts knew what the result would be, but he is probably hoping that either T is elected or that Senate will stay R and can refuse to consider Hillary’s appointment or if the Senate goes D, they will be able to filibuster her appointment. If that happened, he may be hoping that H. would then come back with a very moderate to conservative appointment and the NC law might stand.

        Regardless, since he voted with the conservatives, it is clear that he has probably not changed his mind. When the case does finally reach the full Supreme Court and is argued, there is a possibility that he will change then, but he will have the advantage of writing a fully considered opinion. I doubt he will change, but he is a politician, so anything can happen.

      • 1mime says:

        Tmerritt,

        Roberts has a lot to lose personally, if Clinton wins. He will likely lose his position as Chief Justice. Clinton has stated that if she wins, she will go forward with Merrick Garland’s nomination, which makes sense as he is already fully vetted, and merely needs to have confirmation hearings scheduled by Republicans. He is also eminently qualified, but not at all a far left appointee. He could well become the new “swing vote” on the court….a vote that Justice Kennedy is probably longing to relinquish.

        First, Clinton needs to win, and that is hardly assured. IF she does, she can fill the 9th SCOTUS slot and if it is Garland, he will likely be confirmed. Actually Sen. Grassley has intimated that the Repubs may allow Obama a lame duck appointment….obviously, despite their obdurate stance on approving Garland, he is a very centrist jurist and they know it. That would leave Clinton (or Trump) in 2017 to pursue other nominations should a vacancy occur, which could happen, most likely by a liberal member of the court. (Ginsburg) The GOP won’t be as accommodating for a liberal nominee and this would mostly likely require the Senate (if under Democratic control, however slim) to invoke the nuclear option that would allow confirmation with a simple majority in lieu of the 60 votes that has been in effect. Since it is obvious Dems will be lucky to have a one vote majority, this is going to be a tantalizing option to employ. After all, if they could replace the aging liberal members of the court in the first two years before the mid terms return the Senate to the Repubs, they wouldn’t have any appointees to make. The nuclear option “only” applies to SCOTUS appointments.

        Getting back to the NC “stay” decision, the crux of the issue was stated in this paragraph:
        “The deadlock indicated that the high court will have trouble agreeing on a host of challenges to restrictive voting measures passed around the country, meaning that appeals courts’ decisions could be the final word on such laws before the election.” There are conservative appellate jurisdictions in other areas of the country who would be more supportive of states rights regarding voting restrictions. That is why Shelby County vs. Holder was so devastating to states which are heavily gerrymandered and have large minority populations. Recourse is only through the courts and some of the appellate courts are just as “stacked” as the legislatures which are passing these onerous voting restrictions.

        There has been ample commentary and links posted about the need for uniform, fair and democratic procedures that are consistent throughout the United States. At its most elemental basis, this issue squarely pits states rights against any broad based national system. Such a consistent system of voting rights in my view should be inherent in our democratic process, yet, it’s a patchwork…for purely political purposes. It’s a fascinating issue to follow and critically important to individual rights. That ought to make it easy to find concurrence….

        Sorry this was so long. I am keenly interested how this process works. Or, doesn’t.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        Mime,

        Thank you for your long reply. I have not really read much on the NC decision, as I have been busy. I have been given an assignment from the firm from which I retired that has kept me busy recently. I have some personal commitments for today as well. But I have a couple comments. First, I thought the Chief Justice held his appointment for life, as the Senate actually confirmed him to that position. Second, I too feel that a national election system that is consistent for all federal offices, should be inherent in our democracy. The Constitution generally gives a lot of electoral power to the states, but in many cases gives the Congress the authority to change it. For example, see Article 1, Section 4. A clause in the first sentence gives the Congress, the authority to change the Regulations regarding elections. I am not an attorney, so I can only speculate regarding the various ramifications. I am sure there would be many arguments and litigation over any attempt to change those regulations. In any event, Congress acting to address those issues at this time would be impossible.

        I must run now.

      • 1mime says:

        Supreme Court Chief Justice – You are correct TMerritt. Must have missed this in Civics 100..:

        “Like the Associate Justices, the Chief Justice is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. There is no requirement that the Chief Justice serve as an Associate Justice, but 5 of the 17 Chief Justices have served on the Court as Associate Justices prior to becoming Chief Justice. Three were members of the Court when they were elevated to Chief Justice:

        Edward Douglas White (Associate Justice 1894-1910, Chief Justice 1910-1921)
        Harlan Fiske Stone (Associate Justice 1925-1941, Chief Justice 1941-1946)
        William H. Rehnquist (Associate Justice 1972-1986, Chief Justice 1986-2005)

        Two had a break in service between their periods of service:

        John Rutledge (Associate Justice 1789-1791, Chief Justice 1795)
        Charles Evans Hughes (Associate Justice 1910-1916, Chief Justice 1930-1941)”

        And, this tantalizing thought: “While the Chief Justice is appointed by the President, there is no specific constitutional prohibition against using another method to select the Chief Justice from among those Justices properly appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court, and at least one scholar has proposed that presidential appointment should be done away with, and replaced by a process that permits the Justices to select their own Chief Justice.” (WIKI)

        I would love to see the body of SC justices select their own Chief, rather than have it be a political appointment by a politically elected president. That will probably never happen, but I think it would be ideal. I was incorrect in my statement that Roberts position would be threatened. It is a position of great power.

      • johngalt says:

        There is no precedent and no legal way to remove a chief justice except for impeachment, and that’s not going to happen. Roberts will be the chief justice of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

      • 1mime says:

        May he grow in wisdom and humility.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        RE: Chief Justice Roberts

        During Roberts confirmation hearings, I concluded that though he was more conservative than I would have liked at least he was not an ideologue, was very intelligent and was capable of reasonably fair and rational thought. Realizing that Bush was a very conservative President, I came to the conclusion that Roberts might be as good as we were likely to get at the time. I felt that given time, Roberts had a good likelihood of growing in “wisdom and humility” and could perhaps move more towards the political center. So far I have not been disappointed. He has made some nuanced decisions and has actually irritated the extreme right wing, to the point they no longer consider him a conservative. He did save Obamacare, although it was weakened considerably.

        On the other hand, Alito, Bush’s other appointee is a down-the-line ideologue. To think that Bush might have appointed someone like that to be CJ, gives me shudders. I kind of feel that Alito and Thomas are incapable of having original thoughts.

  7. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    Sorry to post so far off topic but couldn’t hold this in. Here is what the ‘moderate’ John Kasich and his ilk did for (to?) Ohio women…

    http://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2016-08-31/study-ohios-abortion-pill-law-led-to-worse-health-outcomes

    From the article…

    Supporters of the Ohio law had argued it would help protect women’s health by mandating a federally approved protocol. But the study, led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, suggests the opposite.

    They found that after the law, there was an increase in the percentage of patients who required additional medical treatment to complete their abortions. Medical interventions rose to 14.3 percent compared to 4.9 percent before law. Such treatment included repeat dosages of the drugs, blood transfusions and surgery.

    The rate of women reporting at least one side effect also increased to 15.6 percent from 8.4 percent.

    “They were performing evidence-based medicine that was not in the label, and they had to go back to the label,” Trussell said.

    Often, doctors change how they prescribe old drugs as new research is reported in scientific journals, something that typically happens well before the FDA changes the official labeling. But Ohio’s law prohibits any of the so-called off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs. Similar laws are in place in North Dakota and Texas.

    “Just as what happened before, there will be advances made that are not in the label,” Trussell said. “Providers in Ohio won’t be able to follow it.”

    John Kasich did not sign this into law. That happened in 2004 but legal challenges kept it from taking effect until 2011, so all of the damage was done on his watch. The statistics in the above paragraphs are young women who suffered because of BAD, EXTREME government. The GOP in Ohio should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. pedneuro says:

    Totally OT, but Trump of all people is going to meet Mexico president before his big immigration speech today. Oh the horrors.

    • RobA says:

      It’s interesting, because I can’t figure out the angle. I get why Trump wants to go, I dont understand why an unpopular president (30% approval rating) wants to invite and legitimize an extremely unpopular foreigner (Trump has a 2% approval rating in Mexico).

      I can only see two possibilities: o
      1) he invited both as a diplomatic formality, but never expected them (especially Trump) to accept

      2) he’s planning a trap, so to speak, by trying to embarrass (or take a hard stance with) Trump

      Oddly enough, in some ways, whether it’s 1 or 2 might not matter, both may have the same outcome. If it’s the first option, the Prez (I forget his name) will likely now feel forced to embarrass him or take a hard stance.

      I just don’t see any way possible they come out hand in hand and talk about how they’re looking forward to working together. That won’t play well for a president with low approval ratings.

      • 1mime says:

        The people with the real problem are the Secret Service agents who have to protect Trump. An international trip on extremely short notice is a nightmare situation for those who put their lives on the line for presidential candidates. It’s all grandstanding – for both. I’m glad Hillary demurred. Plenty of time for official visits after she wins – if she wins – if she doesn’t, it won’t matter.

        I suspect T is doing this as part of the “image remake” to make him look “presidential” more than any concern about Mexico/American relations. After all, if you’re going to wall off a country, make them pay for it, what foreign policy could possibly erase this sleight?

      • RobA says:

        Good point Mime, it’s got to be a nightmare for his security detail.

      • formdib says:

        The news cycle is moving so fast I didn’t even get to respond to your comment before it all played out. Oh well.

        What I was going to say is that of course this *can* work well for both parties. Trump and Pena get together, share their grievances about Obama and Hillary, shake hands, take their picture.

        Trump goes home and sez, “See guys, I went and talked to Mexico DIRECTLY and told them to stop sending their rapists and murderers, and they said they’d take care of it. I got more done in a single visit than Hillary ever did all her years as Secretary of State.”

        Pena sez, “See guys, I got that crazy American politician whose entire thing was this whole wall, to forget about and not bother with the wall. I’m a Strong Man. I can deal with shit.”

        Apparently, based on reports, Pena didn’t succeed as well on optics as Trump. Bad for him, questionable results for Mexico. Good for Trump, shit for America.

        But there was no way this was ever going to reflect poorly on Trump, State side of the border. Even if Pena went full “Put up or shut up” on Trump like others were thinking he would, that would have just sold to Americans that Mexicans are the problem and actually make Trump look like a victim.

        Reminder that the two most significant ‘gaffes’ that dropped Trump’s ratings, ever, for over a year, involved situations with relatively successful and arguably popular in-office Republicans criticizing him: the Judge Curiel thing and the Khan family thing. The rest doesn’t change anything. News, out-of-office ‘former’ Republicans, you and I, and Hillary can all point at Trump and say, “See, he went down to Mexico for this absurd meeting and got nothing done,” and nobody on his side will listen, but the margin of undecided mostly white people who tittletum over ‘Presidentiality’ will be all like ‘Yeah okay well I hate Hillary so Trump managing to shake hands with Pena is good enough I guess whatever’ and throw the red lever.

        The only way to defeat Trump is for Republicans to turn against him. They won’t. The primaries are almost over and they are, for the most part, retaining their seats. They don’t have to change a thing, learn anything, or stick their neck out for ‘principles’.

      • 1mime says:

        The Republican smear campaign, assisted by sloppiness on Clinton’s part, is working. People who have been “groomed” to hate her over decades, need little justification to vote Republican. This election is going to be close as this WaPo piece indicates. Registered voters are who you want to poll, and they are dead even split between the two candidates, after hearing all of the outrageous, nasty things Trump has said, Republicans are going to do what they do best: vote straight ticket. I never had any doubt. And, Democrats? Will they GOTV?

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/31/a-record-number-of-americans-now-dislike-hillary-clinton/?wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

      • RobA says:

        Good insight formndlib. I agree, it’s basically (like so many other things Trump does) a Rorschach test. Everyone will see whatever they want to see.

      • 1mime says:

        So, what’s different?

    • pedneuro says:

      1mime, whatever the reasons may be for his trip in his mind, there is virtually no chance it will help his numbers. This type of Hail Mary Pass reminds me of the Vatican visit by Bernie a few months ago.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, I don’t know, pedneuro, I’d say the visit to the pope did a whole lot more for Bernie – “personally – not politically” than Trump’s visit will to Mexico. The good news about T going to Mexico is that he won’t be in America (-;

      • RobA says:

        I saw something funny on twitter from Rob Reiner about the trip, something like “when America sends ppl, they’re not sending theyre best”

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        I think you are mis-underestimating Trump and this trip.

        Assuming it is not a fiasco, there is no way this hurts him.

        He’ll get to be seen with a world leader, and he can come out and say, “I can negotiate with this man. He wants the best for his country, but he now understands that we want what is best for the US. This was a good meeting. Great meeting. I am glad he got to hear my side, and I can make this work.”

      • 1mime says:

        With Trump, it’s all about image. I agree with your assessment, Homer. This whole trip was to prove his foreign creds….

      • 1mime says:

        The other positive for Trump is his name dominates the news cycle… He’s “out there”.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Yes, Trump’s play is apparent but I’m with Rob… How does this help an unpopular Mexican president??

      • RobA says:

        Just watched the presser. Man, what an idiot Pena is. Trump got the “presidential” photo op he wanted, he made Pena look like a total fool.

        I doubt it helps Trump too much, but it certainly doesn’t hurt him. It was a smart move by him.

        Pena is a total fool, and he’s already being rightly excoriated in Mexico. And if he had to have Trump come, he should have challanger him on certain things. As one of them said on Mexico’s main news channel, you challange a tyrant, you don’t appease them.

      • RobA says:

        And of course, now that he got his photo op, he’ll say something offensive and humiliate Pena even more at his rally tonight to give his big immigration speech

      • pedneuro says:

        RobA, I’m now actually thinking that it will help Trump. He got to look presidential in front of an undecided audience. His numbers are already on the upswing, with a couple polls today showing the race considerably tightening. Today will bump his numbers further, count on it. I think Reince Priebus prediction that Trump will be tied or just behind Hillary come Labor day will come true. Media wanted a horse race, they are getting it. This race will be close.

      • pedneuro says:

        Why in God’s name the Mexican president seems intent on helping elect Trump, I don’t know.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Trump in Mexico……QUICK, BUILD THE WALL!!!

  9. Off topic:
    Once upon a time, America’s eating habits were truly metal. I salute them.

    http://m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/mince-pie-the-real-american-pie/Content?oid=1267308

    “Most remarkably, mince pie achieved and maintained its hegemony despite the fact that everyone—including those who loved it—agreed that it reliably caused indigestion, provoked nightmares, and commonly afflicted the overindulgent with disordered thinking, hallucinations, and sometimes death.”

  10. North Carolina proves they know how to run an election that suppresses the votes of minorities! The Republicans in NC do not even try to make the rules look fair!

    “He was referring to a proposal by the board’s two Republicans to allow 106.5 hours of early voting before the Nov. 8 election — less than a quarter of the time allowed in the 2012 presidential election — and to limit early balloting to a single polling place in the county seat of a largely rural eastern North Carolina county that sprawls over 403 square miles.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/politics/election-rules-north-carolina.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    • 1mime says:

      And yet Democrats are the ones who Republicans accuse of voter fraud! I wonder if these local election board decisions can be appealed since the federal court had allowed them to set the rules? It is obvious there are abuses…Will try to follow on SCOTUSBLOG…

      Mean-spirited, ugly politics. Win on platform and performance, conservatives, not voter suppression!

      • RobA says:

        I think, Mime, that the GOP business model has become one of farcical projection. Everything the GOP accuses Dems of is actually things they themselves are far more guilty of.

        This is personified in the absurdist Trump. Laughably, the most objectively racist candidate (at least relative to the norms of the day) in history calling HRC a bigot. Or the nominee with a fake-ish doctor with phony credentials writing a bizarre letter talking about “positive tests” (never a good thing in medicine) and talking about the health of long dead presidents like his comments are factual making up rumors about Hillary’s health. The list goes on and on.

        In many ways, Donald Trump isn’t an anamoly from the GOP. The case can be made that Donald Trump is the most accurate personification of the GOP in decades, a person whose personal attributes most accurately reflects the values, temperament, and tone of actual GOP policies.

        If anything, the Paul Ryan’s and Marco Rubio of the world, with their friendly faces and false ideology of “compassionate conservatism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) are the ones whose public statements are at odds with the policy opinions of the GOP. If policies could be personified into actual living breathing humans, the GOp’s would look, sound, smell and behave like Donald J Trump.

      • 1mime says:

        This Politico article on the success of establishment conservatives over Tea party conservatives says a whole lot if you think about what is happening. The Republican Party is fighting against those ultra conservatives who have disrupted GOP business as usual. They’ve been aided by some big benefactors – The US Chamber and PAC money. What this tells me is that the Republican establishment is: not giving up; has a plan; and is focused on winning. This is hardly a party that is going up in smoke. It is unfortunate that they appear to be ignoring some basic structural problems for the future health of the party, but the party seems to be weathering the Trump storm pretty well. There is more happening behind the scenes than we can see.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/congress-primaries-establishment-trounces-tea-party-227609

    • 1mime says:

      All of the news out of NC wasn’t good for the GOP. The SC deadlocked 4/4 on the NC voter ID law and early voting. Here’s details. Those “rumors” by Grassley about the Repubs “allowing” (uh hum) a SCOTUS lame duck appointment (as long as it’s ‘you know who’) might well occur because the Repubs are losing too many SC appeals due to the 4-4 tie. Poor babies…

      “The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to reinstate a 2013 North Carolina law that required voters to show photo identification at the polls.

      In a 4-4 split decision, the court said it would not hear a challenge to a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down parts of the law.

      Along with new voter identification requirements, the Circuit Court also ruled against a provision in the law that cut the number of early-voting days to 10.”

      http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/294003-supreme-court-blocks-north-carolina-voter-id-law

  11. 1mime says:

    This is interesting – While the Kochs, Adelsons, etc are focused on the Congressional races, George Soros is quietly using his fortune to make changes within the justice system through financing the campaigns of district attorney candidates. Having been involved with the MADD program decades ago (it was a great experience in our community), our group worked closely with our local D.A. I learned just how powerful this person is in the justice loop so it makes sense to focus resources there if you are trying to reform the justice process. Of course, judges are also important but first the defendant has to get through the D.A.’s office.

    This politics business is complicated!

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/george-soros-criminal-justice-reform-227519

  12. Okay, so John Oliver did a segment a while back on charter schools. Didn’t pull any punches (no surprise there) and you hopefully walked away a more healthy and informed skeptic on the state of education in this country.

    End of story, job well done? Not exactly. As you might imagine, charter schools and their supporters weren’t exactly thrilled and so they decided to do something, something to the tune of $100,000 to the school that can come up with the best anti-Oliver video, the endeavor itself literally called: “Hey John Oliver! Back off my Charter School!”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/08/30/john-oliver-theyre-after-you-charter-school-backers-sponsor-100000-anti-oliver-video-contest/

    Throwing down the gauntlet, one might say?

    • 1mime says:

      Not ALL charter schools are bad – but, from my tracking this subject for years, Oliver was accurate in his remarks. If he is found to err in anything he said, he should be called to task, but I’ll bet it won’t happen because the charter school industry is full of problems. The one problem I have with Oliver’s report is that it’s difficult to present such serious charges through comedy. He’s quite skilled in that regard, but it does over-emphasize some problem areas. There are some good programs that are doing good work – just far too few for the cost, and oversight and accountability is, as he stated, horrible.

      Charter schools are hardly the only for profit education problem we are facing in the U.S. The NYT did a piece today on the terrific financial burden this issue is for the DOE (Dept. of Ed) both financially and on a regulatory basis. Think Trump School multiplied by thousands of similar projects. Lots of scams, lots of working around rules/regulations by people who are really in the business of making money not educating its students. This is a trillion dollar debt problem and is growing by leaps and bounds. As always, the students and the US taxpayers are the big losers.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/27/your-money/us-puts-private-student-loan-servicers-on-notice-play-nice.html?mabReward=CTM&moduleDetail=recommendations-1&action=click&contentCollection=Politics&region=Footer&module=WhatsNext&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&src=recg&pgtype=article

    • Griffin says:

      “Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry. I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task.”-Steve Eisman

      http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2010/05/steve-eisman-big-short-michael-lewis

      • 1mime says:

        Money is truly the root of all evil. What’s interesting about the whole “for profit” educational alternatives – trade/business/charters – is how poorly they perform. With all the criticism of public education, in comparison, these government run programs are doing a pretty good job and they take “all” children/students. It’s so sad. Taking advantage of people who are trying to help prepare themselves to work is despicable.

      • Creigh says:

        ITT Technical Institute not enrolling new students… Eisman right again.

  13. RobA says:

    One heartening development of this whole toxic Trumpist movement is that so far it appears to have absolutely no pull outside of Trump. I.e. it appears more a cult of personality then anything else, and it doesn’t appear to extend to anyone else.

    Nehlen getting hammered by 60 something points in the primary vs Ryan is the prime example, but there’s tons of evidence that, outside of Donald Trump, the Politics of Crazy is getting beaten everywhere else. Huelskamp got beaten pretty badly. Looking for that trend to continue tonight in McCain and Rubio primaries.

    • 1mime says:

      Huelskamp got beat because the US Chamber of Commerce and other business interests didn’t appreciate how he thumbed his nose on critical agriculture votes. The Chamber is actively financing and working to unseat those conservatives who they perceive as a threat to business. There is no such effort to defeat McCain or Rubio who I predict will easily win their primaries. It is going to be a lot harder for Dems to rack up the Senate wins they need to retake this body then many think. Wish it weren’t so, but…….

      • RobA says:

        I agree that’s a big factor Mine. I do think that ppl understand that the vast majority of dysfunction in Congress is the GoP and they’re sick of it. I think being an extremist in the coming years will be the dangerous position.

        Remember…..the majority of Americans do not agree with Freedom Caucus style obstruction and the majority of Americans are liberal leaning. The GOP holds an advantage mostly due to indifference from the electorate. Yes, gerrymandering is a big problem, but gerrymandering isn’t the major factor. If it were, the Dems wouldn’t dominate in presidential election years, but they do.

        Presidential elections “get out the vote” because of the draw of the big ticket, but off years are just as important and I think ppl are realizing that.

        The GOP business model is to rely on voter apathy while they destroy the country. IMO, that’s not sustainable and it’s effectiveness as a strategy looks to me to be just about finished.

        Ppl might let you get close to the cliff before they notice and intervene, but they won’t let you totally drive off it.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, your premise that gerrymandering isn’t that significant because Dems dominate during presidential elections is not correct. Republicans have dominated state and national house elections with 2008 being the short-lived exception. Gerrymandering, after all, doesn’t impact Senate seats as these are at-large positions.

        I emphatically agree with you about Democratic voter indifference in off-year contests. That blame rests solidly on the DNC for its lack of education and motivation of its base plus the party’s gross neglect of grooming talent to move up into leadership and contention for elected offices at the national level. The Dem Party leadership is OLD. That is a conscious choice and it is not helping them develop a deep bench of future leadership.

        As for the Freedom Caucus, I can’t remember if I posted this but it will give you a clearer idea of how powerful the FC is. They don’t give a s*it what anyone thinks – including the American people – they don’t even care if they are re-elected just so long as they have a large enough voting block to control the outcome of issues important to them. Here’s more within this TPM piece on Paul Ryan.

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/fivepoints/paul-ryan-house-majority-slim-margin

      • 1mime says:

        Wonder how old “big” business is going to like another government shut down….of course, Repubs are already spinning that Dems are the obstructionists, which they will but on principle given the poison pills built into the ZIKA funding law. More significant, however, is the internal power struggle within Republican ranks within the House between the establishment and the Freedom Caucus. For the rest of us ordinary Americans trying to hold onto our savings, shut downs are not political sport, they are hits.

        http://thehill.com/news/senate/294205-senate-braces-for-shutdown-fight

  14. 1mime says:

    This is why the Senate is so important in the political process. Think it doesn’t make a significant difference? More importantly, does SCOTUS still work for democracy – for all Americans?

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/08/the-court-after-scalia-standing-at-the-crossroads-on-voting-rights/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scotusblog%2FpFXs+%28SCOTUSblog%29

  15. tuttabellamia says:

    Regarding the article about the Google research division . . . I normally resent Google, for its arrogance, and for trying to get into everyone’s personal business, but now that I read about its struggles, I’m concerned, because I do admire and appreciate their intelligence, their creativity, and their daring. I hope they get their act together.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      And I found out recently that a friend of mine from college worked for Google for several years. He is one of the coolest people ever, so Google can’t be all bad.

  16. johngalt says:

    Regarding the falling environmental impact…the energy intensity of the world economy (that is, the amount of energy it takes to produce one dollar of GDP) has been falling for decades. The charts linked to below show that it is 40% lower than 25 years ago and the fall has been steady at about 1.4% per year. For the U.S. it is 54% lower (1.85%/year).

    We are constantly told that energy efficiency will harm the economy (CAFE standards, scrubbing sulfur from smokestacks, etc.), but it never really seems to. There are, to be sure, probably better ways to promote energy efficiency that what the federal government usually does, but why would we think that CO2 limits would be any different.

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.GDP.PUSE.KO.PP.KD?end=2013&start=1990&view=chart

    • 1mime says:

      In support of the post link on declining coffee production and common sense……. What is it going to take to convince people that global warming is real and our window of opportunity to intervene is diminishing? Call it whatever you want – if there are steps we can take to address this condition, why should this be controversial?

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/08/30/nasa-earth-warming-at-a-pace-unprecedented-in-1-000-years.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

    • formdib says:

      My worry is Jevons paradox:

      “In economics, the Jevons paradox (sometimes Jevons effect) occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

      Basically, as energy becomes more efficient it gets cheaper. As it gets cheaper, it’s easier to buy higher quantities of it, or for more people to enter the market to buy it. Sure, per capita energy consumption may decrease, but the capita expands at higher rates. Or, previously unattainable high energy processes become attainable and enter the market, providing more goods and services for people to buy. And so forth.

      And of course, that increased consumption creates increased emissions, often exceeding the savings from the efficient energy (in fact, cost savings are feasible, emissions savings or so-called external costs are, sadly, much harder to control).

      For all the political arguing over energy versus environment, I think most people of the non-denial persuasion are split over whether it’s the governments’ (plural) role to cap energy consumption finitely, or just trust technology to make energy so efficient that no total emissions by any size populace could possibly exceed that limit (which to date is considered 350ppm and has been exceeded for decades).

      That latter is a great hope and not yet technically impossible, but it’s very very unlikely. Despite the fact that any global energy consumption cap is basically a political nightmare with at least some amount of truth behind New World Order paranoia, it’s still may actually be the only real solution possible.

      Sucks, don’t it?

      For further information, look at the heirarchy of waste management:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_hierarchy

      No matter how you cut it, prevention and minimization of consumption in the first place is the best and most effective method of reducing waste in large numbers. We always talk about all solutions as matters of reduction, recycling, and reuse (with a few good TED Talks waxing eloquent on recovery for good measure). But behaviorally, we manage most waste by disposal. And there’s no structure to consider the disposal of emissions as any true economic or political ‘cost’, so all reduction and recovery we do just expands the market for consumption resulting in disposal.

    • johngalt says:

      I completely agree with this column. Allowing companies (legal entities separable from their owners) to skirt employment and discrimination laws based on “sincerely held” religious nonsense is a dangerous game. Conservatives froth at the mouth about Hobby Lobby having to provide comprehensive insurance that covers women’s health care (which is the basic issue) or about the famous bakery that can’t bring themselves to put a figurine of two dudes on top of a wedding cake, but I suspect they’d be a lot quieter if it was used to defend a Muslim-owned business that did not serve unveiled or unchaperoned women (or Jews, for that matter).

    • Creigh says:

      From the Supreme Court decision in Employment Division vs Smith: “To permit this* would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to be a law unto himself.” Written by Antonin Scalia.

      *Use of peyote as a religious sacrament protected by the First Amendment. The decision upheld Alfred Smith’s firing for peyote use.

      Unfortunately I think what this tells us is that Scalia liked Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom but didn’t like Alfred Smith’s.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s ok, I didn’t like Scalia! Using the highest court in the land to advance legislation that skews to a particular political POV , is why I personally support nomination of non-partisan justices. It is my hope that HRC, if elected, will not yield to pressure to replace Scalia with someone equally opinionated along liberal lines. I am willing to take the chance that justice can be served by a SC which rules on the merits of issues rather than through narrowly held positions that favor a political preference.

    • Creigh says:

      Also, one of the finest pieces of legal writing I’ve run across is New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson’s concurring opinion in the case of the wedding photographer. Justice Bosson’s concurrence is at the end of the full opinion, starting on page 27 in the link below. With full sympathy for the photographer’s religions beliefs, Bosson shows how some landmark religions freedom cases (Barnette vs. WV, Loving vs.Virginia, Heart of Atlanta Motel) led to this decision.

      https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/sc33687.pdf

      • 1mime says:

        Thank you for posting this opinion, Creigh. I loved the concluding paragraghs of Bossan’s concurrence. Would that our nation mirrored his statement.

        “On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its
        promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case
        teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to
        accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of
        our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe,
        as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in
        their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that
        respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our
        civic life.
        {92} In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public
        accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave
        space for other Americans who believe something different. “That compromise is part of the
        glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts
        of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they
        do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of
        the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of
        citizenship.”

  17. Archetrix says:

    Re the Freedom Caucus story, it seems like we’re haphazardly evolving into a pseudoparliamentary system.

  18. Griffin says:

    The prime minister of Australia has hit a new low in popularity ever since his party (The Liberal Party) has been forcing him to abandon his more moderate, center-right positions in favor of far-right ones: http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/newspoll-prime-minister-malcolm-turnbulls-popularity-plunges-to-new-low/news-story/053ea4b911d4445c1259257c28d805a0

    Some conservatives and libertarians are pushing back a bit more against the Alt-Right, though they have clearly already lost. From The Federalist (it does a good job documenting the Alt-Right’s undeniable racism if nothing else, this articles a couple weeks older though): http://thefederalist.com/2016/04/14/you-cant-whitewash-the-alt-rights-bigotry/

    • RobA says:

      My guess is it’s not that Australia dislikes like real politics. It’s that Turnbull isn’t a credible leftist. It’s like how Trumps “softening” is doomed to failure (looks like it’s already being walked back) and will lower his support. It’s not that Americans like his hard nosed immigration policy. It’s that those who support it are turned off, and those that don’t support it just dont believe him. It’s better to have an unpopular policy that ppl believe you believe in, then a popular one that everybody thinks you’re just faking for votes.

      • 1mime says:

        Yet, if you read the link about the division of support from within the Hispanic population between those who support Trump or Clinton – immigrants vs those born here, as difficult as it is to fathom Trump getting any of this support, he’s pulling down enough to be concerning from Hispanics born here, Clinton more from the others (who can’t vote, which is as it should be, no argument from me on that point). Still, Formdib’s comments about Hofstadter’s explanation on this contradiction was instructive….Those American born Hispanics are benefiting from their parent’s immigration – whether legal or illegal – and they are now more likely in the working class that Trump appeals to. Crazy world out there.

    • Griffin says:

      Oh my bad I got too excited. A different anti-gay loon had marriage problems when his wife left him for another woman Perkins is “merely” in the news for saying that natural disastors are God’s punishment for gay people existing.

      • 1mime says:

        Shades of Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts……What kind of “god” uses disasters to harm human beings….I have to admit – even with my cynical secular belief, I respect all faiths – except when people use it to justify hurting others.

      • Griffin says:

        Yes but his own home being destroyed in a natural disaster is ironic. Thankfully I’ve never met someone who actually trusts the Family Research Council, it seems like the FRC is only for the most hardline of the hardline religious fundies.

      • johngalt says:

        The “Good News” only motivates people to a certain degree. Beyond that, you need fear, and the vengeful god of the Old Testament provides that in abundance. The lack of any sort of correlation between piety and natural disasters seems to be lost on many of the flock.

      • RobA says:

        “Perkins is “merely” in the news for saying that natural disastors are God’s punishment for gay people existing”

        Which is rich, because didn’t he just lose his Louisiana home to flooding?

        These ppl are such morons. If you believe in God, and you believe God created all people, does t it follow that God also created gay ppl? Who the f are these scumbags to say Gods creations are made wrong?

    • formdib says:

      That article on pseudo-conservatives from the 1950s by Hofstadter that gets shared here points out:

      “Paradoxically the intense status concerns of present-day politics are shared by two types of persons who arrive at them, in a sense, from opposite directions. The first are found among some types of old-family, Anglo-Saxon Protestants, and the second are found among many types of immigrant families, most notably among the Germans and Irish, who are very frequently Catholic. The Anglo-Saxons are most disposed toward pseudo-conservatism when they are losing caste, the immigrants when they are gaining.8”

      https://theamericanscholar.org/the-pseudo-conservative-revolt/#.V8TfObVbPfY

      By describing this tendency of pseudoconservativism (today called ‘alt-right’) to come from white people who are losing status and immigrants that are gaining status, Hofstadter is pointing out that the people most prone to pseudoconservative revolt are those with the most to lose against the system. They don’t gain the benefits of the system on the one hand, but they’re not outside the system like newly arrived immigrants on the other.

      There was another article recently that pointed out that the largest demographic for anti-immigrant and racist bias were not the poorest whites, but the next-to-poorest whites: those who are currently living right on the line above poverty, who see ‘Others’ around them receiving government benefits and believe those benefits can only be provided at their suffering.

  19. Creigh says:

    Some of the most expensive tomatoes I ever ate came from my back yard, and yes they were worth it.

  20. vikinghou says:

    The following is my 92 year old father’s reality as he sees it. He sent me this and told me he agrees 100%. It’s pointless to argue with him.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    I never realized what kind of person I have become in today’s world

    It seems that lately my life has been getting more complicated, and I want to thank those of you who are brave enough to still associate with me regardless of what I have become.

    The following is a recap of my current identity:

    I was born a white male, which makes me a racist.

    I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which makes me a fascist.

    I am heterosexual, which makes me a homophobe.

    I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.

    I am a Christian, which makes me an infidel.

    I am older than 65 and retired, which makes me a useless old man.

    I think and I reason; therefore I doubt much that the mainstream media tells me, which makes me a reactionary.

    I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.

    I value my safety and that of my family; therefore I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.

    I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual’s merits, which makes me anti-socialist.

    I acquired a good education without student loans and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of odd underachiever.

    I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland by all citizens, which makes me a militarist.

    Please help me come to terms with this, because I‘m not sure who I am anymore!

    Newest problem – I’m not sure which bathroom I should use.

    • flypusher says:

      Nobody dictates your identity to you in a free society unless you allow it. What I find interesting is that I have more in common with that particular list than I don’t. I’m not male or over 65 or religious- those are the major differences in list. But the relevant difference is in attitude. I don’t get defensive about things where I had no choice (like gender, sexual orientation, race, whatever my ancestors may have done, etc.). I also don’t feel threatened that there are people who look different from me, speak different languages, have different religious beliefs, are attracted to the same sex, have different politician opinions, etc. I don’t seek validation for my personal choices by expecting everyone else to choose the same things.

      I’d say to your dad, stop whining, go live your life, and why should you angst that much over what people you’d never hang out with anyway have to say about your choices.

    • goplifer says:

      There’s nothing to be done about these folks. A fish don’t know he’s wet.

      Across most of the country until about 1968, there were still “whites only” signs plastered all over the place. Almost anyone who reached the age of five or six by the mid-sixties had the experience of drinking from a “whites only” fountain. “Black” was universally synonymous with ghetto, criminal, poor, and uneducated. Until the late 70’s, a large number of major state universities (including Texas A&M) only granted regular admission to men. Blacks? That would take a bit longer.

      If you were born before about 1965, you were probably forty or fifty years old before you saw your first black doctor, lawyer, professor or any sort of respected professional in person. In fact, you might not have seen that up close and in person yet, depending on what part of the country you live in. Same goes for women. The “good” ones were quiet and at home.

      Never once in your childhood did you see a black person portrayed in a “normal” role on TV or in films. You were probably in your fifties before you saw a black actor in an inter-racial relationship in which that relationship was not the subject of the show or film.

      If you attended a state university before 1970, you faced no competition for admission or resources from other races or even from women. All of the resources of your civilization were set aside for your use, even resources extracted from women, blacks, and hispanics. No one questioned this arrangement. It was the natural order of the world.

      Since no one else could get fair access to an education, you entered more lucrative job markets unchallenged by anyone but other white men. You never knew why, you just knew that you were special and far more successful than those whining losers.

      No one needed to use the term “white supremacy” because it was incorporated into the air we breathed. Nothing that might challenge the notion of white superiority was allowed to enter your field of vision. Even racial segregation, when it finally started to arrive, was interpreted as product of the benevolence and enlightenment of whites. Black people who continued to press for justice were greedy socialists, or just too lazy to make their own way. Tired of being beaten up by cops? Try to be more submissive.

      Until the late 70’s black families still could not get a access to conventional mortgage. Until the 80’s realtors regularly intervened to block black families from seeing listings in better neighborhoods. And still today, black mortgage applicants are routinely steered toward more costly mortgage products.

      Thanks to countless subtle advantages, those Communists and agitators at the Wall Street Journal estimate that it will take 228 years for black families to close the wealth gap with whites.

      http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/08/09/it-would-take-228-years-for-black-families-to-amass-wealth-of-white-families-analysis-says/

      Your father, like mine, understands none of this. Confronted with any of it, he’ll just shut down. Their world is fading away. Good riddance.

      • Griffin says:

        Even today job applicants with “black sounding” names are 33 percent less likely to get call backs than white applicants. Affirmative action is clearly still necessary.

        http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/mar/15/jalen-ross/black-name-resume-50-percent-less-likely-get-respo/

        However while the email list is absurd and just a cover for their culture war there are a very small number of individuals who unironically believe and say those things and in doing so give ammunition to far right racists. They will never have a chance to get any “real power” themselves but my worry is that they could drive persuadable moderates to the social hard-right. Admittedly there is not much data on this so it’s hard to be certain of the “backlash effect” maybe I’m just worrying about them too much.

      • Griffin says:

        Well really nobody says THOSE things (those emails can’t even feign persecution well) but I’ve heard from one professor that NAFTA is part of a racist plot to exploit Mexicans, and articles that argue science is racist/patriarchial, words like “stupid” or “crazy” are ableist slurs and anyone who questions any social justice tactic is a homophobe/transphobe or closet racist. I don’t think those people are helping.

      • The philosopher Daniel Dennett was born in 1942, so has passed into that age bracket in which academics like himself are called “venerable.” He has asked that people not make excuses for old people: that we not write old people off as being from another world and unable to comprehend modern times, but also that we hold their feet to the fire about things just as we would anyone else.

        On the other hand, I can remember hearing my grandparents mention offhand that a particular person was admirable “but was Jewish but we mustn’t bring that up nowadays.”

        It’s hard when it’s a person you love saying it.

      • Stephen says:

        I almost hesitated. But where you wrote
        “Even racial segregation, when it finally started to arrive, ”
        should segregation be intergration?

      • 1mime says:

        This piece by Viking’s dad is circulating among conservatives. I have seen it before….But, you are right – live in peace and good riddance to the past.

      • Griffin says:

        True EJ it’s worth noting that older people can change their minds… if they want to. My father was influenced by more extreme family members into listening to talk radio crazies and I noticed the quickly he started shifting towards reactionary views. I just started debunking their talking points and he stopped listening to them and made an offhand comment that he can’t believe he ever listened to them. He’s the target demographic for Trump, a non union blue collar white guy over fifty who grew up in a pretty racist environment yet he hates Fox News and Trump more than anyone I know and holds moderate to liberal social views so not everyone is a lost cause.

        I admit that my much older family members are out to lunch though.

      • 1mime says:

        EJ has suggested that those who reach age 72 are “venerable” and need to be treated with respect – Likewise, these seniors need to be responsible for their actions. I have entered “venerable” status and am now approaching “magnificence”. Or, so they tell me….

      • tmerritt15 says:

        You are correct Lifer. Though I did see professional blacks earlier than you mention. And we did have blacks at the U of Washington earlier. Nevertheless, there were no blacks in my cohort of graduating electrical engineers, nor were there any women. Also I had no significant experience with blacks until I enlisted in the US Army in 1963. Of course I grew up on a farm in rural Washington State. I am approaching the “venerable” status, but not quite there yet.

      • @1mime: >] “EJ has suggested that those who reach age 72 are “venerable” and need to be treated with respect – Likewise, these seniors need to be responsible for their actions. I have entered “venerable” status and am now approaching “magnificence”. Or, so they tell me….

        I hear that line of thinking (by different kinds of people and to varying degrees) and it never ceases to get my blood boiling. Just because someone’s lived a comparatively long time, has some title to their name or whatever else, they think they’re entitled to respect? Nonsense. There may not be very many things between people that one could call sacred, but another’s respect is surely one of them, and it’s precisely because it must be earned, not just once but consistently and over the course of a lifetime.

        Lincoln himself said that if you but once forfeit the people’s confidence, you can never never get it back.

        There is not a single person, living or dead, that doesn’t understand what a devoted and fragile labor respect that would ever be worthy of it.

      • 1mime says:

        Agree, Ryan. Aging doesn’t guarantee wisdom nor goodness, and it does not absolve one from personal responsibility.

      • No offence was intended to anyone over the use of the word “venerable.” My apologies if it came over wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m the “most venerable” person here (I think) and I thought your comment was lovely. There is a tendency to pacify the elderly for intractable behavior. With family, that is more understandable but it does not absolve any senior of their responsibility to be kind, make an effort to make informed decisions, and be responsible for their choices. With people living longer lives, there is no guarantee that they will live better lives – either for themselves or for others. We can all continue to serve our fellow man even as we age – or, not. Life will be much richer if we choose the positive path.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Interesting thread. I do think the elderly have earned respect for the simple fact that they’ve been around longer and have experienced more of life than the rest of us. I also think they deserve a bit of a pass for clinging to certain beliefs, for being set in their ways. However, I do think an attempt should be made to reason with them. They’re not stupid.

        I cringe when I recall how many years ago I had the nerve to tell my mom, “You don’t understand anything.”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Lifer wrote: Their world is fading away. Good riddance.
        ***************************
        I hope you’re referring only to that world, and not to your father himself. As EJ pointed out, it’s someone you love, and that world is part and parcel of them. Keep in mind that those “angry White males” who are dying off are your fathers and grandfathers. You are here because of them.

      • 1mime says:

        “You are here because of them.” As you noted with your mother, when elderly family members don’t understand things, or their views are factually incorrect or hurtful, I agree with Ryan and you that it is right to try to help them understand and to let them know you disagree – respectfully – knowing that they probably won’t change. Sometimes it can make a difference as Griffin found out with his patient explanations to his grandfather. The elderly should not get a “pass” for irresponsible decision-making, but if they choose to remain locked into illogical positions despite lack of rational coherence, it may be an effort in futility to try to educate them. Try, yes, while accepting their limitations. As Lifer has pointed out innumerable times, the older, White principally male sector of American society who believe their rights are threatened by diversity, may never change and may simply need to die out before progress on this issue can be made.

      • @tuttabellamia: >] “Lifer wrote: Their world is fading away. Good riddance.
        ***************************
        I hope you’re referring only to that world, and not to your father himself. As EJ pointed out, it’s someone you love, and that world is part and parcel of them. Keep in mind that those “angry White males” who are dying off are your fathers and grandfathers. You are here because of them.

        Your point being what, exactly? Just because they’re your family and helped give birth to you is no excuse for their belief system being reprehensible, perhaps even unforgivable. If my mother condoned such thoughts (which she doesn’t, of course, but purely for the sake of argument). I would tell her right to her face, both as her son and as an individual, that that would be something I could never excuse and I could not possibly be more disappointed in her.

        Of course she would still be my mother whom I love and it would certainly hurt to have to say that, but I firmly believe that an essential part of being human is to never shy away from difficult realities or averting your eyes from hardship.

        It’s specifically because they’re your family and you care about them that you have to be strong and set them straight when they stray, no matter how late the proverbial hour is. I sincerely hope and believe that my family would do the same for me.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime and Ryan, sorry for not being clear. When I told my mom “You don’t understand anything,” I was a young, arrogant know-it-all. I was the one who didn’t understand, and I was being disrespectful to my mom. That’s why I cringe now.

      • 1mime says:

        I can see why you would cringe after making that comment to your mom, and I am sure you regret it still. We elders forgive our children for most things they say and do as part of the maturing process. However, Ryan is correct, as is EJ, and Griffin – being old doesn’t exempt one from making good decisions, especially when these decisions are not well reasoned. I support that approach even as I recognize it is still their choice. At the very least they deserve to know the facts and consequences of those decisions which can be shared respectfully, but honestly.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And the point I was trying to make is that we owe our elders respect, because they raised us, and because they have years of life experience. I detect a lack of respect for them in this thread, and I don’t think our elders should be denigrated, even if we do disagree with them.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, with all respect, you have no way to determine how each of us has interacted with our elders. The fact that many of us feel that it is responsible to make certain they are making informed decisions in no way implies disrespect to them, in fact, it shows we care – not about being right – but about their well being.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You’re right, Mime. I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

  21. 1mime says:

    OT link but the first schism within the GOP ranks in the House. The Freedom Caucus is a dangerous, hard right group of Republicans who have tremendous power because of their 40 member block votes – which they are working to expand. This is potentially big news and big trouble for the GOPe and Paul Ryan, in particular. (Not to mention the nation’s business being democratically advanced.)

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/293673-freedom-caucus-members-might-leave-rsc

  22. I just got my gift card. Thanks Chris!

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