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February 02, 2019

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Just skimming by, but that Abrams quote is pure truth.

What bobbyp said.

Will try to read the essays when I have the mental space, ditto the Maria Farrell piece at CT (regarding the latter in particular, the situation is currently taking a great deal of emotional energy to deal with).

It's unfortunate you can only read one article, but you get a taste of the original with Fukuyama's reply. Juxtaposition of Maria Farrell and Fukuyama, who always seemed to me to be clever rather than smart, is telling to me. It is hard for Fukuyama to imagine identity as anything other than a conscious choice made by persons, not realizing that identity is as much forced on people as it is consciously taken. And in taking that identity up and using it in a way that confronts the issues is somehow out of bounds.

I had hoped that this chronicle interview with Fukuyama might have indicated more self questioning,

https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-Follows-the-End-of/244369

Though this WaPo one suggests that isn't happening.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/09/18/identity-politics/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.89ffd1265d47

What's interesting is the video piece towards the end about Japanese Americans who are overcoming their experiences as internees by resisting current political trends, something Fukuyama's parents and grandparents experienced.

Abrams is an impressive person.
The Democratic party is developing strength in depth, while the Republicans...

As far as Brexit is concerned, this sums it up better:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-collective-madness-behind-britains-latest-brexit-plan/2019/01/31/48d4d67e-2578-11e9-81fd-b7b05d5bed90_story.html

The more I read about the Brexiteers, the more I am reminded of the scene in Blazing Saddles where the sheriff is threatening to shoot the sheriff (i.e. himself) unless the bad guys back off. In the movie, they do. In real life, the EU won't.

It's always a bad idea to try to bluff when the other guys can see your hole cards, and know you've got nothing. (Mixed metaphors for all occasions.)

Another snippet:
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6426/437
It seems we have discovered the oldest earth rock yet found . . . in a moon rock brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Talk about a long journey home!

Blazing Saddles was funny...

Although geologists have found meteorites on Earth that came from the moon, Mars, and asteroids, this would be the first example of a terrestrial meteorite.

Further to wj's link, I can't remember if I ever mentioned on ObWi (it happened when I was already posting here) that I had actually been privileged to hold a piece of Mars in my hand? It was an exciting if surreal experience, and has given me boasting rights (mainly with kids) ever since.

I second the recommendation of Maria Farrell's piece. I don't know how Britain will recover from Brexit, and doubt that it will ever recover fully.

Yes, as a gay man, my response to the culture war has been, "Look, I didn't start this war, I'm just being me, and if that offends you to the point of declaring war, well, fuck off. I'm as worthy of living on earth as you are."

And Maria's piece was beautiful.

I don't know how Britain will recover from Brexit

At a guess, once the economic pain becomes too great they will petition to re-join the EU. And will do so without all the special deals they have currently. Which is to say, the Brexiteers will get exactly the opposite of what they were pining for.

I like Pete too.

OMG, the Democrats in Virginia are reeling.

First, the Governor is discovered to have some pretty blatantly racist pictures (someone in blackface and someone in a Klan outfit) in his yearbook. (No clarity as to whether either of them is him.) And then he tried to do something other than just say "I was a jerk in college, but I've grown up since."

The Lt Governor then turns out to have a sexual assault allegation in his past.

And today, it develops that the state AG (who is third in line to take over as governor if the other two resign or get tossed) wore blackface in college, too.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-atty-gen-herring-appears-in-blackface-in-photo-from-college-days/2019/02/06/9aa4aff8-2a26-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html

What a mess!

Offense archeology seems to be becoming a thing. Can we just rule yearbooks off limits?

Funny thing: Democrats in VA have Northam, Fairfax, and Herring; Republicans in DC have Kavanaugh, McConnell, and of course He, Trump -- but it's the VA Dems who are "reeling".

If I were in charge, the VA 3 would hold a joint press conference. They would say:

"Our prior asshole behavior was adjudicated by the election. The difference between us and Republicans is that we know we've behaved like assholes, and we're not only sorry about it but we are trying to make amends by our public service now. We will not resign and leave the black folks and the women of Virginia to the tender mercies of Republicans. That is all."

--TP

That is the difference. Dems care when anyone does this shit. Rs only care with Dems do.

Funny thing: Democrats in VA have Northam, Fairfax, and Herring; Republicans in DC have Kavanaugh, McConnell, and of course He, Trump -- but it's the VA Dems who are "reeling".

You only are reeling if you care. If you (or at least your party) are capable of being ashamed.

Otherwise, what Laura said.

A good article on the Virginia mess:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/how-history-is-reflecting-on-the-political-leadership-of-virginia

What happens next, I do not know, but the rest of the Democratic party ought to resist the temptation to engage in whataboutery.
The Republican bar is set so low that it is below ground; merely being better than them is not enough.

"Our prior asshole behavior was adjudicated by the election."

I haven't paid close attention to the VA mess, but people didn't know about the behavior before the election did they?

More important, isn't Fairfax's alleged behavior called sexual assault? It's an alleged crime (presumably difficult to impossible to prove or disprove now), and not just someone being an asshole when much younger. It's Kavanaugh all over again.

It's Kavanaugh all over again.

only if Fairfax gets a promotion.

Re Brexit, admittedly it was C4 News (not the most staid, establishment media), but their final word tonight, on Theresa May and Brexit, has just been to quote Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going." and then they played out on Highway to Hell. We take our (small) pleasures where we can.

More later on this Virginia stuff, but the fun has just begun:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/top-virginia-republican-oversaw-yearbook-peppered-with-blackface-photos

Myself, I wish Clarence Thomas would stop appearing in public in blackface.

Especially since his wife hangs with, hired and touts a fellow conservative, all of whom were dirtying up the upholstery at the White House with p about a week ago, whose website touts this pearl "I hate black people ...." and more.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/ginni-thomas-crystal-clanton-i-hate-blacks.html

Not her website, but her email.

The Republican bar is set so low that it is below ground; merely being better than them is not enough.

Yes.

“only if Fairfax gets a promotion.”

True. The analogy only goes so far.

Which he will if Northam resigns. And Northam shouldn't, based on what is currently known.

I see the Brexiteers are getting their knickers in a twist over the (deserved!) comment from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, that there's “a special place in hell . . . for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely.” Apparently it hit a bit close to home.

Wonder how they will enjoy this from Guy Verhofstadt, the EU's Brexit negotiator: "Well, I doubt Lucifer would welcome them, as after what they did to Britain, they would even manage to divide hell."

only if Fairfax gets a promotion.

Fairfax and Northam will probably serve out their terms and then disappear from political life. Herring's situation is salvageable.

There's also this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-ralph-northam-and-others-can-repent-of-americas-original-sin/2019/02/07/9aef18ec-2b0f-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html

...Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism. We have to talk about policy. But we also have to talk about trust and power. If white people in political leadership are truly repentant, they will listen to black and other marginalized people in our society. They will confess that they have sinned and demonstrate their willingness to listen and learn by following and supporting the leadership of others. To confess past mistakes while continuing to insist that you are still best suited to lead because of your experience is itself a subtle form of white supremacy.

At the same time, we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy...

we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation...

We can't? How might we stop them?

Blackface in 1984? I can't think of an excuse for that. A Ku Klux Klan costume? Even less so.

However, I think it reasonable to let the electorate decide whether having been carelessly offensive in 1984 should be disqualifying. Preferably in a primary election.

I think also that it's not as bad as the targeted ugliness of "Renate alumnus".

We can't? How might we stop them?

My guess is that implicit in "allow" is "without vigorously pointing out their hypocrisy" or some such.

The point, I don't think, is that blackface is okay, rather that the people who support institutional racism should be shamed into shutting their gobs.

Speaking of Kavanaugh, as I nearly did, is there any excuse for yesterday's 5-4 ruling in Dunn v Ray? Kagan's dissent seems unanswerable.

Except for "respectfully" which I hope is to be understood in the British sense.

a ruling that will live in infamy.

Kagan makes a strong case that the USSC RW-5 should be summarily executed, without benefit of clergy.

They're going to Hel anyway, so what does it matter?

However, I think it reasonable to let the electorate decide whether having been carelessly offensive in 1984 should be disqualifying. Preferably in a primary election.

Does Virginia have recall votes ?

Failing that, he appears to be going nowhere, for the next three years.

Another piece about Brexit, similar to the crookedtimber one.

https://psmag.com/ideas/brexit-how-austerity-and-a-cowardly-ruling-class-brought-down-england

Kagan's dissent seems unanswerable.

Totally unanswerable. Indeed, it would appear that the prison was violating its own policy of allowing an inmate's spiritaul advisor to be present. Making the Court's ruling even less defensible (if possible).

Blackface in 1984? I can't think of an excuse for that.

I have to say that I think that Herring (the AG) has a bit of an excuse. He was, as I understand it, wearing blackface because he was going costumed as a close friend (who is black). Still a dumb thing to have down. But more of an ignorant kid thing than Norham's.

a propos de rien - this is pretty impressive:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/8/18216884/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-video-campaign-finance

I wish we someone like this in the UK parliament - Caroline Lucas comes close, but unfortunately she has neither the charisma nor the clout (sole Green Party MP). We'll have to do with Ken Clarke, lol.

blackface

There is a lot of crap that you used to be able to get away with, that is simply not going to fly anymore. Because it's fucking rude and insulting, and the people toward whom it is rude and insulting have, after hundreds of years and many generations, fought their way to a position where they don't have to put up with it anymore.

Some folks haven't quite gotten the memo yet. Apparently.

I don't know what the folks in VA should do. Should Northam et al hand the state over to whatever (R) is waiting in the wings?

Are you going to try to tell me that VA (R)'s of a certain age never played black-face dress-up in their youth?

The situation is a clusterf***k. Racism is deeply baked into American history and culture, and it's gonna keep popping up like a toxic zit for another hundred years, even with the best of intentions. If we should be so lucky that it only takes that long. It's been 55 years now since the Civil Rights Act, and black people are still obliged to put up with crap that would make most of us burn something down out of sheer pique.

Personally, I'd say throw them all out, and keep on going down the line until you find somebody with completely clean hands. It'll probably be the dog-catcher from Floyd.

"somebody with completely clean hands" will probably have to be young enough to have grown up after racism became embarrassing and old enough to have grown up before selfies became sexy. I think there were a couple of weeks in about 1994 when such a person might have been born. I don't know when "the dog-catcher from Floyd" was born.

--TP

I don't know what the folks in VA should do. Should Northam et al hand the state over to whatever (R) is waiting in the wings?

No. SASQ.

This is what should happen, but won't:

Justin Fairfax, who has now been credibly accused of two rapes (of African American women), should step down (although it doesn't appear that he will, and it's not clear that he can be impeached). If Fairfax does step down, Northam should appoint a replacement, someone who has been thoroughly vetted, preferably a person of color, preferably a woman.

Northam should then resign.

Herring doesn't need to resign. His conduct was stupid and offensive, but he was younger. He's been one of the best attorney generals of Virginia in my lifetime, and has a spotless career championing people's rights (unlike Northam, who was somewhat late to the party).

Republicans in Virginia have blatantly run on racism. There is no comparison.

All that said, I am somewhat certain that no one will go anywhere (although this second allegation against Fairfax make it more difficult for him to stay put).

If Fairfax does step down, Northam should appoint a replacement, someone who has been thoroughly vetted, preferably a person of color, preferably a woman.

Northam should then resign.

sapient -- can this happen with no confirmation-like process from the legislature? And if such a process is required, what are the chances of it succeeding?

JanieM, you're right. Northam doesn't appoint an LG. The duties of the LG, if that office is vacant, are performed by the President pro tempore of the Senate (but that person doesn't actually succeed to the LG position).

If the Northam and Fairfax resigned, Herring would be governor (is the way I read it).

The AG position is filled by the legislature if it's in session, and if there's a recess, it's a gubernatorial appointment until 30 days into the next legislative session. So waiting (at least) until this legislative session is over would be wise.

What a horror show. Anyway, Herring deserves forgiveness. Northam not. Fairfax definitely not.

I confess, I don't know what should happen. I'd like to see someone step forward and say 'you know, what matters more than Northram being an idiot as a youth is his commitment to making things right, and we expect him to begin to move on [list]' But I guess that would be deemed too transactional.

Also this
Blackface in 1984? I can't think of an excuse for that.

I hate to say this, but I'm not surprised. Mocking Black history Month parties were common in Mississippi and Virginia is still the south. If we started going thru yearbooks, I'm sure there is no end to the kind of crap we could find. And African Americans put up with it, because they weren't in the system in any large numbers and they were keeping their head down.

I tend to see this as a way the system avoids meaningful change, by concentrating on these points related to image. Tony's point about there being some sweet spot between being embarrassed by racism but pre selfie is to the point.

Herring doesn't need to resign. His conduct was stupid and offensive, but he was younger. He's been one of the best attorney generals of Virginia in my lifetime, and has a spotless career championing people's rights

And expressed an apology actually worth a damn, in contrast to the governor.

The sight of the party of white supremacy coming all holier than thou over this mess is pretty sickening.

The sight of the party of white supremacy coming all holier than thou over this mess is pretty sickening.

Well how else can they discourage an increasingly diverse electorate from supporting their opponents? Vote suppression can only take you so far. Besides, simply discouraging enthusiasm can't get you taken to court.

Per sapient's suggestion, above, here's a variation (snipped from a much longer post) from John Holbo at Crooked Timber:

Here’s my best proposal, which depends on everyone being honest and open about what is at stake, and why the problem is being handled this way. Fairfax should resign, due to these credible accusations of sexual assault. He can proclaim his innocence (maybe he’s innocent), but, since his continued presence prevents salvaging the situation, he has to go, for the good of the party. (I’m not suggesting that quitting, if you are guilty of rape, gets you off the hook for that. But he should quit either way.) Then Northam commits to resigning, for the good of the party, but only after the following happens. Herring (third in line) needs to quit, and then (if I am reading the rules correctly), the Virginia General Assembly elects a replacement. From Wikipedia: “When an Attorney General resigns, it is the responsibility of the Virginia General Assembly to elect a replacement to finish the term of office. Often the Chief Deputy Attorney General is chosen, as in the case of Judith Jagdmann.” The General Assembly, which has a narrow Republican majority, would presumably elect a Republican. But here’s the deal Northam offers. If Fairfax resigns, and then Herring quits, and the General Assembly picks a suitable Democrat, to reflect the will of the voters, then I, Ralph Northam, will resign, and that person shall fill my seat.

If Fairfax and Herring then resign, and the General Assembly breaks the deal, by electing a Republican, trying to snag the Governor’s seat unfairly, then Northam can stay with a clean conscience. He tried to do the right thing. He did the only thing he could to arrange the least-worst betrayal of the trust of voters. The Republicans wouldn’t let him. End of story. Sounds good to me.

It's interesting, but probably unworkable. For one thing, it would require cooperation in a lot of directions, and I don't get the idea that these people are in the mood for coordinated action.

Interestingly, in Maine the former AG was just elected governor. The Maine AG is elected by both houses of the legislature, so an AG has some experience with electoral politics. (Indeed, I think a lot of them have served in the legislature at some point.) But the chief deputy is another story -- not elected, and probably not the same skillset.

To echo sapient: what a horror show. Reverend Barber is one point of light that I'm trying not to lose sight of. (I think someone already linked that piece, but it's worth another mention.)

Better option: Northam and Fairfax resign, making Herring Governor. He then makes a similar offer regarding a new AG.

Why is this better? Because, IMHO, Herring is (deservedly) less damaged than Northam. For the simple reason that a) he was younger, and b) he wore blackface once, but wasn't moved to make a photo of that (and a Klan outfit!) part of his yearbook entry.

In fimo
Where better to put this addition to the lexicon? (Really need a new Open Thread. But it's not happening this morning.)
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/studies-can-be-in-fimo-poop

I'm betting we can find political applications for the new term as well. But can we get them to go viral...?

Proof that some people's, ah, poop really is better than others.

"With data on poop’s therapeutic potential piling up, scientists have gotten wind of the possibility that some among us may be extraordinary excreters, dropping deuces with divine healing powers. In a review article published Monday, January 21 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, researchers at the University of Auckland dig out all the evidence for these deific defecators from the mound of studies on fecal microbiota transplantations, or FMTs."
Some of us may produce super-healing poop—and scientists are on it: There isn't one stool to rule them all, but some are clearly better than others.

The gut bacteriome is a hot topic of research at the moment.
A recent sequencing effort discovered a hundred or so previously unidentified bacterial species - over a third of those present in all the samples.

I'm assuming this is the current open thread ?

So here's a good article on cricket analysis, which highlight the principle differentiator between baseball and cricket:

http://www.thecricketmonthly.com/story/1173792/-analysis-is-easy--the-trick-is-turning-it-into-info-players-can-use

Baseball is perfect, football is at the other end of the continuum - it's really hard because there are no discrete units to work with. There are very few patterns that digitise. It's fluid and hard. And in the middle you have cricket and rugby, where you have some nice discrete units, but the big thing in cricket that tips us from science towards art is the pitch. The pitch is always different.

When I was with St Lucia as analyst, we played a block of games at home. It was a great pitch, and after two games I put together a chart of what the strike rates were for different balls, so the players could get an idea of what was and wasn't working. I said to them: "I don't know if the pitch is going to do the same, but this is what it has been doing." A couple of local players said it would do the same. After two games of over 200, we got rolled for less than 100. I don't think the pitch had changed that much, but I think our players went at it exactly the same, and it had changed enough. But I think, you and I know, there is no way we can tell the future of anything, let alone with a living organism like a pitch…

"can we get them to go viral...?"

Bacterial.

Though of course the gut is also home to billions of bacteriophage.

With apologies for being absurdly literal...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796561/
There may be at least 1.000.000.000 virus-like particles (VLPs) per gram of human feces, ten times more than that of bacterial cells...

Teenagers rebelling in good cause:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/02/10/unvaccinated-teens-are-fact-checking-their-parents-trying-get-shots-their-own/

It's really appalling that there are so many parents endangering their children over nonsense that was debunked long since. I say that as one who grew up when there were no vaccines. And parents routinely took kids over to play with children who had measles, mumps or chicken pox -- because getting them as adults was so much more dangerous.

In the light of further data....

It seems that Ultima Thule isn't the two round blobs stuck together that we initially thought.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190211.html

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