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November 10, 2022

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I've been trying to remember if it was Fetterman that russell wrote about! Thanks for confirmation, lj. I can't remember when it was, though.

This is the earliest that I can find Fetterman referenced.

russell: "I was not aware of Fetterman before watching this. It's impossible for me to overstate how freaking right on I think this guy is. Straight up, no BS, solid.

I hope he gets a bigger platform going forward."
On Racism and other isms. (November 20, 2020)

The thing that I'm wondering about is how much of this loss is predicated on the Supreme Court dumping Roe. If the conservative judges had know how much it was going to backfire, would they have done it?

From my scattered skimming, I think Roe played a huge part, though it wasn't the only thing.

But as to "if they had known" -- first of all, the SCOTUS justices can, if they want, live in a bubble that makes the bubbles the rest of us live in look as flimsy as ... okay, soap bubbles. They don't have to run for office, they don't have to make speeches to voters, they don't have to court donors. They are as coddled and insulated as it gets. I am making this up, but I'm not sure how much some of them give a shit about electoral consequences. Alito, for one, is a raging religious fanatic.

But secondly, by gutting the VRA they themselves have gone a long way to enabling what I said in answer to wj yesterday: Seems to me that if they get enough power to gut SocSec and Medicare, they will be gerrymandering, overriding, and generally nullifying actual votes, if they even bother to keep up a pretense.

They don't care about electoral consequences because they are helping to engineer a system where there won't be any that matter.

If the conservative judges had know how much it was going to backfire, would they have done it?

As Janie says, Justices can live in a bubble. And it would be no surprise if the three political hacks do. (And Thomas, of course.)

But I think part of their blind spot is simply that, while their confirmation hearings made plain the Senators, and perhaps the far left, cared, they just didn't grasp how the bulk of the country felt.

They knew the Republican base, or at least a big (and vocal) part of it, cared deeply. But the rest of us were naive believers in stare decisis, so we didn't feel compelled to talk, let alone rant and rave, about it. The fact is, even a majority of Republicans favor allowing first trimester abortions. And not just for the usual "rape, incest, health of the mother" exceptions. But hey, judges shouldn't decide based on the polls, right?

As for caring about electoral consequences, I think that the 3 Trump appointees, at least do care. A lot -- that's what they're there for. It's more a matter of what they thing/guess the consequences will be. So they'll go for gerrymandering, and for overriding and generally nullifying actual votes. But they aren't dumb enough to gut Social Security and Medicare by judicial fiat.

Some guy, expressing his astonishment at the lack of a red tide, blurted out that "The women went crazy!"

According to what I've been reading in various places, the other big boost for Democrats was the large turnout of Gen Z voters concerned about the future. THey want climate action and they don't want Gilead.

Listening to the Republicans is a lesson on how intellectually and morally bankrupt their spokespeople are. They are interested in issues only as a tool for blaming Democrats and getting elected. Their actual agenda is to screw everyone over except those who have enough wealth to protect themselves. Hence the need for hate/fear messages and hence the lack of any ideas for what to do about crime or inflation. They don't actually give a shit about the issues they rant about.

So their ranting wasn't as affective as expected. FOr about five minutes there was a little reflection about that. Then they all decided to blame Trump. Of course, they aren't going to take any responsibility. Refusal to take responsibility is a core Republican value.

Now they will look for a new face to pin on the the disgusting pile of pig poop that is the Republican party. And they will continue to be, as Biden noted, neo fascist.

According to what I've been reading in various places, the other big boost for Democrats was the large turnout of Gen Z voters concerned about the future.
...
So their ranting wasn't as affective as expected. For about five minutes there was a little reflection about that. Then they all decided to blame Trump. Of course, they aren't going to take any responsibility.

Neither will they consider that, in a close race (of which we seem to have several), a few lost votes will really matter. And if you have discouraged your partisans to avoid a vaccine, and other measures to avoid covid, thus killing them off in disproportionate numbers. Well, then you have just cost yourself those critical votes, haven't you?

Someone needs to do the work of looking at the voter registration numbers from 2018 to 2022, and the vaccination rates per district, and the extra deaths per district for the narrowest of the election margins nationwide and compare totals to estimate what the results might have looked like with wider acceptance of the vaccines. That might give us an idea of the size of the petard.

Might also be interesting to see the voter registrations by age group.

Finally clicked on the link Charles found and I see that bobbyp was the first to note him, passing on the Rolling Stone interview with him here

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/john-fetterman-pennsylvania-democrat-1089672/

You can't blame me for the crushing defeat we managed to mostly avoid.

Defund the police. LOL

The Secretary of State race in Nevada has not yet been called, but Cisco Aguilar is ahead of election denier Jim Marchant by 14,064, which is a lot because there are only about 60,000 votes left to count, so I expect him to win. This is a real rebuke to Marchant, because Democrats are behind in other statewide races in Nevada. It looks like some Republican voters split their ticket rather than voting for a Secretary of State who opposes democracy.

In Arizona Hobbs is 31,097 ahead of Lake in the race for governor, which is too close to call, but Adrian Fontes is ahead of Mark Finchem by 118,125 votes and has been declared the winner. Finchem, you may recall, tried to convince the the Arizona state legislature to appoint electors supporting Trump, ignoring the choice of the voters. Again, it looks like some Republicans decided to split their tickets.

Alas, The Steal still lives.

From what I've heard, Mastriano got crushed,but has yet to concede. True to form.

Oz, on the other hand has conceded gracefully, and we can wish him well for his future political endeavors in Jersey.

Alexandra Petri, in another on-point column, explains what the election means in some quarters:
It’s time to raise the voting age!

We already tried gerrymandering. And we will keep trying it! We already tried voter suppression of various kinds. That was good, but did not go far enough. It was not sufficiently well-targeted.

The answer is simple: We have got to raise the voting age. Twenty-one? That might not be enough, honestly. Millennials are not as conservative as they ought to be and some of them are pushing 40 now. We should consider whether we might not want it to be higher than that. Fifty feels reasonable. A good, round number.

Further
Consider whom you want to trust with making decisions for the future. Shouldn’t you put your confidence in sober, levelheaded elders who, on their way out, are entirely unbiased and can look at the situation without considering their own self-interest?

Young people are the last people you want to make important choices about the future. They are not objective about it; they will be the ones living there.

Sounds just sooo . . . reasonable. Right?

Well, the RCC traditionally argues that only celibates can make unbiased judgements about sex.
And the rich are unlikely to vote themselves free meals, so they should be in charge of finances (an even older tradition).

Well, she was trailing, and I questioned (privately) whether the optimism in some quarters was justified. But now, 97% of the votes have been counted in Nevada, with a substantial majority of the rest being from Las Vegas and Reno. And Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) has a 5,000 vote lead.

It's looking increasingly like the question regarding the Georgia runoff will be: how much influence will Senator Manchin (and/or Senator Sinema) have going forward?

As a Georgia resident, I am beyond relieved that the runoff, while it will have consequences, will not be as consequential. I still hope that we will be spared the embarrassment of Walker becoming a senator.

I still hope that we will be spared the embarrassment of Walker becoming a senator.

My take from the previous runoff is that everyone who was willing to vote for the Republican candidate did so the first time. So the only question is whether Senator Warnock can turn out enough of his own supporters, plus of those who voted for the third party candidates, to win. And it seems like the odds favor him.

Almost, I could see it as a version of ranked choice voting. Where Walker is nobody's second (or even third) choice.

It *is* a version of ranked choice voting. Or probably more accurately, vice versa. Ranked choice is often called "instant runoff."

The difference being that, with ranked choice, voters don't need to bestir themselves a second time. Which, considering how many don't bother for midterm elections (usually), does not seem like an inconsiderable plus.

Yes, that was a selling point when we had a referendum on it in Maine, after we got Lepage as governor twice because of a 3rd party spoiler (Eliot Cutler) who was much later arrested for the huge stash of child porn he kept on his computer.

Lepage became governor with less than 40% of the vote the first time, high 40s the second time. If Cutler hadn't had the mind-boggling arrogance to run again, we might not have had Lepage the second time around.

Anyhow, the irony is that there were more go-rounds, and the Maine supreme judicial court ruled that ranked choice is unconstitutional for state offices. So we have it for congress and the presidency but we still haven't passed a constitutional amendment to be able to use it for e.g. governor races.

Also for you, wj:

A tweet:

Kevin Roberts
@KevinRobertsTX
·
Nov 12
This failure must spark serious changes in Republican leadership—and their DC-centric, consultant-driven non-strategy. Having spent the last few days with everyday conservatives at @Heritage’s annual mtg the base is on the brink of walking away forever.

And a reply to the tweet:

Patrick Chovanec
@prchovanec
It is fun to watch the leaders of the Republican Party blame “the leaders of the Republican Party” for driving off a cliff.

*****

The bit about the base walking away brought to mind our occasional conversations here about rebuilding the R party vs the unlikely rise of a 3rd party. What I want to know is, if they think the base is walking away, where do they think the base is going?

Yeats was wrong. The center did hold. At least for the Senate; we can now turn our prayers to the House.

What I want to know is, if they think the base is walking away, where do they think the base is going?

I suspect that they mean that the ultra-reactionaries who form their base will simply stop turning out. That they will, instead, sit home and sulk. God speed the day!

Also, remember our recent conversation about whether the SCOTUS justices might have second thoughts about the abortion decisions after the election?

Nope. This event happened after the election.

From the article:

Norm Eisen, an ethics expert who served in the Obama administration and helped draft the articles of impeachment against Trump for his first impeachment in 2019, said the justices had shown a brazen disregard for ethical appearances, because the organization’s mission is to move the law in a conservative direction.

“While there is no legal obstacle to them showing up at the Federalist Society dinner, the appearances are awful,” Eisen wrote in an email.

They are vile, evil people.

To me, most Daily Kos diaries are so overstated that I rarely share them, but this one I believe makes a totally valid point: most of what Republicans do is, as the author says, "performance cruelty." That is, cruelty because core Republican votes LIKE cruelty. Cruelty as the substance of their appeal.

THey have been using performance cruelty for the bulk of their messaging for decades. It goes clear back to before Willie Horton, to "bums on welfare" to the war on drugs which was intended to lock up a lot of black men and hippies. In fact, performance cruelty is a pretty close description for what makes conservatives conservative going back to when racist Democrats were considered the most conservative people in our society. Barry Goldwater was at one time the state of the art in terms of rationalizing the institutionalization of cruelty.

THe performance cruelty laid the groundwork for Trump who was a master at it. The danger is that the media might promote the message to the mushy middle that with Trump gone the Republican party has reverted to respectability.

Nope. THe Republican party will revert to something worse than TRump: cruelty behind a smiley face--Reagan, in other words. They will continue to pack the courts with judges who use states' rights and limited government as an excuse for institutionalizing cruelty, they will continue to gerrymander so they can get the House despite the fact that outside of deep red states most Americans reject their cruelty, and they will continue to use voter suppression to try to impose themselves on statewide offices.

The party of "big government for me but not for thee" has to win elections somehow and they can't do it by being honest about their agenda. Cruelty has worked very well for them when covered with a veneer of respectability.

I think a post-Trump page is very dangerous and we are even more under threat of an authoritarian destruction of representative government than we have been this year and during the Trump years.

We need to keep messaging: The Republican party is the party that says government is not the solution to problems so don't expect them to do anything constructive about anything that actually matters. Expect them to continue to appeal to act in the theater of performance cruelty with different actors but the same old shit.

Wonkie, did you mean to include a link to DKos?

"It's looking increasingly like the question regarding the Georgia runoff will be: how much influence will Senator Manchin (and/or Senator Sinema) have going forward?"

Manchin, that power-crazed Republican-lite shit, has already made a public statement about working with Republicans to reform or save Medicare (I can't remember his exact words.)

I hope Biden will simply call him up and say that anything that reduces benefits now or in the future will be vetoed. Period. And same fo SS and Medicaid.

Yeats was wrong. The center did hold

wj, I am afraid this is your irrepressible optimism at work. The center is barely clinging on by its fingernails, and while I am not entirely as apocalyptic in my prediction as wonkie, nor entirely in agreement that "cruelty" is the underlying impetus (my own opinion is that in the case of their base it is weakness using what it perceives to be "strength" to subdue its own fear of inadequacy, and in the case of the leadership who pandered so cravenly to Trump their motivation is a) power and b) money), I do, however, completely agree with her when she says:

they will continue to gerrymander so they can get the House despite the fact that outside of deep red states most Americans reject [their cruelty], and they will continue to use voter suppression to try to impose themselves on statewide offices

The danger is very far from over. De Santis has already claimed a mission from God, and proved that (unlike Trump) he is capable of competence. American democracy is still on a knife edge, the reckoning has merely been delayed. The Dems still have their work cut out to get serious messaging together for 2024, and not just for the presidential election but for the means to pass meaningful legislation which will make your democracy safe.

performance cruelty is a pretty close description for what makes conservatives conservative

I'm trying to recall what I have said here that could be construed as "performance cruelty." Perhaps, wonkie, you can assist my failing memory here.

Yeats was wrong. The center did hold

wj, I am afraid this is your irrepressible optimism at work. The center is barely clinging on by its fingernails,

Clinging on by it's fingernails, hard to argue that. But clinging nonetheless.

Only reflect how, not that long ago, our expectation was that the Republicans would recapture the Senate, probably with a couple of seats to spare. And a majority in the House was considered a lock.

Yet here we are. McConnell is stuck being Minority Leader again. And if the Republicans do manage a majority in the House (far from certain as yet), it will be a matter of a couple of seats. For a party which includes a huge segment interested in performing, and not at all in governing. Leading that will be impossible; even for someone with greater skills than McCarthy has ever shown. Actually, even getting them to all agree on a Speaker looks a bit problematic.

My irrepressible optimism is shown in my increasing feeling that even the House may not fall to the Republicans. The Democrats may well have an even narrower majority than currently, but still....

nor entirely in agreement that "cruelty" is the underlying impetus (my own opinion is that in the case of their base it is weakness using what it perceives to be "strength" to subdue its own fear of inadequacy

Nitpicking, but what's the difference? This is like the classic observation that most bullies are making up for inadequacies (or feelings thereof).

You get them to stop beating you up and maybe then, if you're saintly enough, you can magnanimously try to get them to therapy. /snark

For some bullies, the only effective therapy involves a 2x4 up side the head. Which is to say, the only plausible change is in their behavior; their psychology is beyond reach. The MAGAts appear to fall into that category.

Nitpicking, but what's the difference?

No difference in practice, the damage done is the same. But a difference in origin, so theoretically susceptible to different tactics in opposition. Also, at least in my worldview, it is always better to understand stuff properly, whether it has practical application or not. But get them to therapy? I agree, no way.

The bit about the base walking away brought to mind our occasional conversations here about rebuilding the R party vs the unlikely rise of a 3rd party. What I want to know is, if they think the base is walking away, where do they think the base is going?

What, exactly, qualifies as centralized GOP leadership these days? When you look at the people that the local GOP are attempting to send to DC it seems pretty clear that the poison is at the local level, and it will have the same toxic effect on any third-party that forms from Tea/Q/MAGA rejection of "party elites." All their bluster is the same self-delusional flattery that keeps those "Which Marvel Avenger Are You" quizzes circulating. They fit their responses to the answer they want to hear, not to actual circumstances.

If the right of the GOP attempts to split off, it will just be the GOP shedding its mask and embracing the authoritarian illiberal democracy that they yearn for in their bones. The establishment wing will try to keep the name and claim the history, but it won't survive without its local activist base.

So the actual third party that puts a stake in the heart of the Republican Party is either going to come from whatever centrist group arises to sweep up the remnants of the establishment conservative infrastructure (all those federal faithful in the military and in the DHS, etc.), or it's going to come from some sort of shift on the left into new coalitions that break on different demographics than the left/right split.

At least that's how I see it. The sane conservatives I know have all walked away from the local party and the fever dreamers are committed to push on, and damn the consequences.

I forgot the link that inspired by comment upthread. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/11/8/2125026/-Broken-Republican-Party-goes-all-in-on-their-most-evil-strategy-Performance-cruelty?fbclid=IwAR0uOcbgZdLmaQesNA0ChUIMeLj50Jnse3FbLpQadbj2ILzqZ6V0mMa1-Kc


Wj, I have never made a comment that was aimed at you.

When I use the word "conservative" I am referring broadly to people who have enough of a platform in the media or as politicians that I am aware of their actions.

Every election year the whole Republican party, comprised of people who call themselves conservatives, unite behind a party line of hate-mongering BS.

Every primary season is a race to the bottom to see which self-proclaimed conservative can be the biggest hater and thereby win the hearts of voters who call themselves conservative.

Every day Faux engages in performance cruelty.

Performance cruelty as a way of getting votes has been standard with the Republican party for decades.

Republican voters seem to like the message that they are the only good Americans The LOVE the message that Republican public figures are going to go be mean to other people on behalf of the R voters

These people seem to think that they are conservatives

I did not mean to attack you personally, wj. But, given the behavior of people who call themselves conservative not just now under Trump, but back to GOldwater, it does seem to me that cruelty has been a highly recurrent theme, from "bums on welfare" up to "Trans kids in bathrooms" and including, "Gee gerrymandering and voter suppression are bad! Too bad my conservative ideology prevents me from allowing the government to do anything about it." which is the ideology of those who expect someone other than themselves to be harmed by their ideology.

ANd even if TRump goes away, the Republican party will continue to use messaging design to hold someone up to be hated by their voters and compete to see who can please the base by saying the most disgusting mean things.

Wj, I have never made a comment that was aimed at you.

When I use the word "conservative" I am referring broadly to people who have enough of a platform in the media or as politicians that I am aware of their actions.

Thanks for the clarification. (Although it seems to me that to accept their definition of "conservative" is essentially to let them define the terms of the debate. Which, as in all the other places where they attempt to do this, is IMHO the wrong way to go.)

It does occur to me that, if I don't like wonkie's (misunderstood) definition, it might behoove to lay out what I see as a better definition. Basically, I would say that a conservative is someone who knows that he does not necessarily have the perfect answer to the problems before us. And that the answers that he (or anyone else) proposes may well have unintended, and unforeseen, consequences. As a result of which, he is reluctant to make sweeping changes.** He prefers increments changes, so that the negative consequences can be identified and addressed before the whole new pattern is locked in and becomes a new problem in itself.

In short, someone who has a little humility. Something which, all too often, both the reactionaries and the liberals appear (from the outside anyway) to be short on.

** Of course, circumstances alter cases. Sometimes emergencies require big and fast changes. Not that those may lack unintended consequences. But sometimes the risk outweighs the potential downside.

wj - I hope these arguments about definitions are soothing to you because they are not going to make any self-proclaimed conservatives stop identifying as conservatives or any right wing media corporations brand themselves as anything but "conservative." And I don't see that it does anything to change the political trajectory of the battle to try to convince non-conservatives that those others have mislabeled themselves.

It's a doctrinal dispute. The opinions of those in other denominations and religions are not going to change the core disagreement among the faithful.

If I could interject between nous and wj:

wj is "conservative".
the MAGAts are "Conservative".

Pronounced the same, subtle difference in print, big difference in attitude.

Maybe as large as the difference between "calories" and "Calories".

A legal principle: better that a dozen guilty go unpunished than that a single innocent be hanged.

A Regan/Bush/Dubya/Trump principle: better that a dozen billionaires go untaxed than that a single pauper get a freebie.

That the above-named presidents all happened to be Republicans who proclaimed themselves conservatives is mere coincidence, I suppose.

--TP

hope these arguments about definitions are soothing to you because they are not going to make any self-proclaimed conservatives stop identifying as conservatives

I can identify myself as a foot taller than I am. And therefore a prime candidate to play center in the NBA -- with all the wealth that comes with that. Sadly, my claiming to be over 7 feet tall doesn't make it so. No matter how loudly I self-identify that way.

So yeah, I prefer we use language which lines up with objective reality. Whether GOP talking heads accept reality or not.

wj - It's your hobby horse, you can ride it as much as you want.

nous, I had known that the vast majority of the GOP was all in on ignoring reality. If you wish to join them on that (albeit on little else), feel free.

I just don't see the point in arguing about what the people doing the thing that needs stopping *get to call themselves* when I can spend my time arguing against the thing they are doing and trying to stop it.

Whether or not they are True Scotsmen they need to be stopped, and insisting that they are not true Scotsmen doesn't do anything to actually stop them.

What is "reality" where language is concerned? "Refute" used to mean "prove false by means of logic", but I have learned with some bitterness that it would be unwise now to use it that way, if one were keen to be properly understood. Ditto disinterested v uninterested, and on and on ad infinitum. One has to pick one's terminology with an eye to the understanding, age or education of one's audience.

nous, we can at least agree that they, under whatever label, need to be stopped.

I can identify myself as a foot taller than I am. And therefore a prime candidate to play center in the NBA -- with all the wealth that comes with that. Sadly, my claiming to be over 7 feet tall doesn't make it so. No matter how loudly I self-identify that way.

If you identified yourself as 7 feet tall, you would be a party of 1. The people self-identifying as "conservatives" number in the tens of millions. The people accepting that labeling for purposes of conversation and politics number in the tens if not hundreds of millions.

These things are not equivalent.

You say that nous is joining the vast majority of the GOP in "ignoring reality" because you don't agree with the application of a word that is understood by almost everyone, now, to mean a certain thing in our politics.

I would say that *you* are abandoning reality in thinking that the older, stricter definition matters in the least.

Call it a nickname, call it a misnomer, call it a slur, call it what you want, but everyone (okay, almost everyone) knows what it means in the context of our current politics.

I say this with no ill feeling, only bemusement. And, as nous says, it's at best entertainment, since I don't think it does anything to move us forward toward sanity.

Speaking of "bemusement" (a condition with which I am familiar),

GftNC, what in the world has happened to "refute?" I am unfamiliar with its redefinition.

ral: I only discovered it during and after the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. His lawyer kept saying that he refuted the allegation, I scoffed at that (remembering from Philosophy at university what actual refutation entailed), got into a fight with bc on here about it, but then was forced to realise that the new meaning of "rejected" or "contradicted", or actually "denied" is now in common use, and in some dictionaries.

And similarly, disinterested now seems to mean uninterested, flaunt is often used for flout, and we even had an instance on a decent site recently where guttural was used to mean "from the gut".

IMO, it's all a significant loss. Losing nuance in language is connected to losing nuance in public discourse.

On the other hand, I do realise I am turning into one of those old-timers who go on about the good old days, and how everything used to be better. That's not right, either.

GftNC, I think what has happened is that people who wished to be perceived as highly educated (as, oh horror, part of the elite) tried to use a vocabulary which they didn't actually understand. Even when they were supposedly well educated lawyers, for whom words are usually the core tools of the trade.

Sometimes, we lost nuance as those misusages became widespread. Sometimes ("gutteral" -- LOL!) words acquired meanings remote from their origin. But nothing requires those of us who know better to embrace those errors. Especially when we aren't attempting to communicate with the "great unwashed".

Actually, a lot of the linguistic drift going on is a product of the democratization of media access. Before the Internet our linguistic worlds were far smaller and more insular and a lot of these words were things most people just didn't encounter in their daily lives. A much smaller segment of the population had access to a broad, international audience, and the new access channels have no meaningful gatekeepers for content or quality.

Our moment reminds me a lot of the start of the Early Modern period and the growth of vernacular literature in the moment before the normative influence of dictionaries.

And a lot of the people who are using those words with less precision *are* highly educated, just not particularly well or widely read. It's a marker for me of the institutional influence of STEM and the neglect of the humanities.

Random reactions --

1. As much of a nitpicky grammar and usage nerd as I am, I also know that language never stands still. If it did, we would all be speaking Indo-European. Or those of us who cared to read books would be reading Beowulf in Old English. Or ... take whatever stopping point in the past you'd like.

2. I'm sure I've said this more than once here, but I think people use words and pronunciations that they think the cool kids use -- it really just comes down to that. "Cool" -- in the broadest sense. So when one "cool" person (however defined in any individual's world) uses a word or pronoun in a non-standard or even just regional way, other people may copy it, and then it spreads.

3. nous's STEM point: I spent my childhood reading, almost literally all my waking hours, including looking up the meaning and pronunciation of every word I didn't know, reading about the subtle differences among synonyms, etc. Hence I got spectacular SATs and got to go to a famous STEM school. ;-)

But more seriously, besides being a programmer, I was dragooned as a copy editor at my place of employment, where most of the people were math nerds. They were very smart, competent people in their way, and yet most of them couldn't write a polished, coherent paragraph to save their lives. I attributed this not only to the fact that they weren't avid readers, but also to the way reading and writing had been taught during the era when they were going through school. I knew (know) many people who weren't all that brilliant at math or in school generally, who could write much better than my colleagues.

It's complicated....

"word or pronoun" s/b "word or pronunciation"

where is my proofreader?

Question of the day:
if anyone here (or elsewhere) characterized members of a racial, religious, or ethnic minority the way nous does STEM graduates, what would the reaction be?

dragooned

Favourite word of the day! Would young'uns now think it was to do with dragons? Or pirates? (I may be excitedly thinking of doubloons...oh, I now see from a cursory check that the origin may be to do with a weapon originally called a dragon after all).

I have to say that nous's comment seemed to me quite persuasive, and not insulting, but although Janie can hardly be considered typical of STEM people (look at her PhD for God's sake), she is right when she says it's complicated. Everything is, I guess.

Much as I deplore the use of "refute" to mean "deny", one must recognise that language evolves. Shakespeare might wince at the changed meanings of "protest", "revolve", "wink", "fact", "ecstasy"...

I doubt that STEM has got anything to do with it. The pattern recognition skills seen in scientists are equally applicable to analysis of language. (I've been consulted by professional copy editors about finer points of usage.)

A few days ago the BBC wrote about the election of the 25-year-old Maxwell Frost "...his presence in the House of Representatives stands to lower Congress's median age - the highest in two decades - by quite a lot." Letting arts types loose with scientific terms, there's a problem.

nous, we can at least agree that they, under whatever label, need to be stopped.

Incrementally, neh?

More random reactions:

1. Speaking only for my own STEM college, the "humanities requirement" when I was an undergraduate amounted to one course per semester (out of 4 or 5 typically). These courses were valued at 9 units; most STEM courses were valued at 12 units. ("Units" in theory represented the number of in- and out-of-class hours a student was likely to spend on the course. Ha.)

"Humanities" meant literature, history, and philosophy. That's a lot of territory packed into 20% or less of one's coursework.

I don't know what other colleges were like 50 years ago, much less now.

2. To me, good writing combines elements of music and logic as well as language. When I spend time on a piece of writing, I am hearing it in my head, and in particular I'm paying attention to the way the flow of my sentences embodies the logic of the thoughts I'm trying to convey. Pro Bono's mention of pattern recognition skills seems relevant. But also, I think people who read a lot are far more likely to be able to recognize and at least attempt to reproduce such effects. I would make a long analogy to the expansion of my experience of music over the past couple of years, but I don't have time at the moment.

3. Related to #2: try reading Dickens, George Eliot, GBS, or (to take it to the limit) Faulkner, and then read a modern novel. Look at the sentence structures. Which do you think gives you more practice at understanding how thoughts and logic are encoded into sentences and paragraphs?

And that the answers that he (or anyone else) proposes may well have unintended, and unforeseen, consequences...

This is a standard conservative trope that what, begs the question? Assumes the conclusion? I'm no expert on logical fallacies, but I know one when I see one. Why it's as if current public policy can, by definition, have no "unintended consequences". Fancy that!

A Conservative Guide to Rhetoric

Re STEM and writing. Reading is important. So is writing, and someone marking it up, all the way from grammar to organization.

When I was a senior in college the CS department hired me to be the lab TA for Numerical Analysis I (they didn't feel comfortable with the strength of any of their grad students on the math end of things). The lab was traditionally a program per week, based on some part of what had been covered in the lectures. To that, I added a one-page write-up on the program. What worked the way you thought it would? What was a surprise? Should different algorithms have been stressed, and why?

At the end of the semester a group of the students came to my tiny (literally, a converted closet) office. "We hated you at the beginning of the semester. Writing? Actual sentences, and spelling, and organization? We're here to say we were wrong, and realize now why you said that communication was a critical skill."

During my career, I spent a couple of years as a referee for a technical journal. When I agreed to do it, I didn't understand why there was a category for "Paper is unreadable to the point evaluating it is impossible." I found out.

As JanieM and Pro Bono note, language changes.

I was taken aback recently to be told that Korean was beginning to develop tones, something I though entirely absent from the language (as possibly do most Koreans ?).

See this, from a decade back.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024384113001344

Michael Cain's comment reminds me that my best writing teacher in all the years was a civil engineering professor, as much because he showed me how much I had yet to learn as because he taught me anything specific about writing.

I. remember the olden days.
A. When we had to write up an outline.
1. Before writing the essay.

I was taken aback recently to be told that Korean was beginning to develop tones

"Horrified" would be the correct reaction to any language starting to involve tones! (It is probably the biggest single feature which prevents Chinese ever becoming a world-wide language of choice.)

I. remember the olden days.
A. When we had to write up an outline.
1. Before writing the essay.

Writing from an outline would definitely lead to far better essays. Or any other written communication. More people should do so today.

Question of the day:
if anyone here (or elsewhere) characterized members of a racial, religious, or ethnic minority the way nous does STEM graduates, what would the reaction be?

I don't think it's about STEM graduates. It's about curricula, I'm guessing starting at educational levels well before post-secondary, affecting everyone's education.

I doubt that STEM has got anything to do with it. The pattern recognition skills seen in scientists are equally applicable to analysis of language.

Kind of the same response as above. It's not even necessarily that scientist are particularly bad at analysing language. It's that people in general are being taught STEM-oriented subjects at the expense of rigorous language instruction starting at an early age.

(I write this as a degreed EE, so it's not like I'm anti-STEM.)

To overturn a 50-year-old precedent is not to conserve. The six Republican politicians posing as justices are reactionaries, not conservatives.

people in general are being taught STEM-oriented subjects at the expense of rigorous language instruction starting at an early age.

Perhaps things have changed in the last half century. But as I recall, everybody got the same education in English, etc. thru high school. So I'm not clear on where "starting at an early age" comes from.

+1 Henry Cohen

wj: Perhaps things have changed in the last half century. But as I recall, everybody got the same education in English, etc. thru high school. So I'm not clear on where "starting at an early age" comes from.

Even when I was a kid in a poor, tiny Catholic high school in the latter part of the sixties, there were three tracks: academic, business, and general. The groupings for classes like English weren't completely rigid (e.g. because I was in the band, and that messed up my schedule, I was in several classes with the non-academic track kids). But although the curriculum for the different tracks might have been superficially the same, the teaching was aimed rather differently.

Also, most non-academic track kids didn't take Latin or French, our only foreign language options. Nor did they take the same math or science that the academic track kids took. I think the foreign language instruction in particular made a big difference in a lot of kids' capabilities in English -- certainly it did for me.

Now there are AP classes, honors classes, all sorts of ways that kids get tracked differently and taught differently.

nous may know more than I do, but there was also the whole language movement, which I hold responsible for a lot of the bad writing I had to edit when I was supposed to be writing computer programs. But I know very little about that so I will stop there.

And if wasn't only high school. We were tracked, by perceived ability, into reading groups from when I was in first grade (Brownies, Elves, and Fairies). If you don't think those three groups were taught differently, guess again.

Even so, as I said earlier, I think most kids then learned to write better than kids did during the whole language era. I could be wrong...again, nous probably knows a lot more about this. And I don't really know the balance between language skills and STEM classes now. I just know that at least in my little corner of Ohio, what you (wj) said about "the same education in English" absolutely did not hold, from first grade on through 12th.

I am reminded of a famous passage about "The Two Cultures" by C.P. Snow:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's? I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question – such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had.
There has been lots of controversy about this for over half a century. I am not equipped to comment on that. But I can say, based on personal experience, that most of humanity is indifferent to and ignorant of both "cultures".

Re STEM and writing. Reading is important. So is writing, and someone marking it up, all the way from grammar to organization.

This is true to an extent for some students. It often works especially well for self-taught coders and other autodidacts.

But for it to work at all the person in question needs to have the motivation to care about the nuance and about communicating that nuance. And for a lot of students, especially those in STEM who are there to credential and to build things that are cool, they are far more interested in puzzling out the doing than they are in communicating about the doing. And that is all they really need to do to graduate and find employment.

This has become a greater marker since standardized testing hollowed out language arts and turned them into high stakes template writing with pre-digested content. It's baked into a couple generations.

My own writing instruction splits the writing process up into stages a developmental draft (some combination of zero draft and rough outline or projected organization), a working manuscript, and a final submission. I don't comment on grammar until after the penultimate draft. The research says that whenever we try to put together information in new ways that our supporting language skills go to shit, so I try to force them through finding a way to express the information and get that stable before putting them back through the tidying up step.

Passive voice stuff gets dealt with earlier because it usually heralds some sort of underlying logical struggle that needs teasing out, but word choice or stylistic stuff gets no attention until they have actual information to convey.

Question of the day:
if anyone here (or elsewhere) characterized members of a racial, religious, or ethnic minority the way nous does STEM graduates, what would the reaction be?

Zing! Ha!

Scholars talk about linguistic markers and discourse communities all the time. It's no different than pointing out that certain linguistic backgrounds have difficulty with pronoun gender, or with direct articles, or the like. It is a description, not a value judgment, and it is a selection effect, not an inherent quality.

I also specified that they were highly educated and I don't judge their ability to communicate based on my own tendencies towards belletrism. All I am saying is that when I ask a room full of students about what they read, the *self-identified* STEM specialists tend to be much more narrow in their reading habits and literary interests. How we train our personal lexicons and the sort of difference that matters to our in-group communication really do shape the sorts of language at which we become proficient.

Full confession, Tony P., I can't stand CP Snow's take on the Arts/Sciences debate. I see no reason for the divide.

In my high school, we had three tracks as well. But the honors track (for those going to high end universities) included 4 years of English. And, of course, anyone aiming for university was expected to take at least 2, usually 4, years of a foreign language. If there was any sorting by projected major (i.e. STEM vs social science or humanities), it wasn't apparent. Not to mention that, in those days, nobody had much of a clue as to what they would end up majoring in; certainly the school did not.

Now far be it from me to defend the notable ineptness of technical people when it comes to writing. No matter what (technical) position I have held over the years, I've ended up doing lots of technical editing -- which was more about editing the English used than about the technical content. So my dispute wasn't there; just with the assertion that some kind of sorting, allowing future STEM majors to avoid English classes, was happening at some early age.

There may be no reason (or rather, justification) for it, nous, but it certainly exists, at least in the UK. It is perfectly possible, common even, for a person to study no maths past the age of 16 and very little science after 14. This applies even to clever kids, at good schools, who go on to excellent universities and then further and further education. I know very eminent scholars in the fields of arts and literature who would be unable to answer Snow's questions, and who don't see any problem with that at all.

There has been lots of controversy about this for over half a century. I am not equipped to comment on that. But I can say, based on personal experience, that most of humanity is indifferent to and ignorant of both "cultures".

Ignorant of the details, yes. Indifferent to the results? They care very much that the bridge stands, even though they don't understand the details of design or construction. They care very much at the end of Romeo and Juliet, or about the music that helps move them in Star Wars, even though they don't understand the details of design or construction of either.

Schools have had all sorts of incentives to try to raise their STEM standards (since they are tied to our ideas of national economic competitiveness) and that has resulted in a big budget shift at the K-12 level away from art and music classes (since those things don't directly move the bar for testing results or qualify the district for additional funding).

Meanwhile, we are seeing worsening shortages in HEAL (health, education, administration, literacy) fields along with high burnout and low morale. No one wants to be a literacy teacher. They get low pay, no agency, disdain for having chosen a "soft" major, and blame for the failings of thirty years of a bad education model.

And after the COVID backlash against health care workers and educators? Who would want a piece of that?

Something needs to be done about this.

It's cultural priorities like these that lead people to not care about reading. They have never been given a reason to see value in it.

…just with the assertion that some kind of sorting, allowing future STEM majors to avoid English classes, was happening at some early age.

Quote, please.

There may be no reason (or rather, justification) for it, nous, but it certainly exists, at least in the UK. It is perfectly possible, common even, for a person to study no maths past the age of 16 and very little science after 14.

All y'all Brits are wacky. And I'll venture a guess that it has something to do with the deep and abiding effects of classism?

This conversation is why I love ObWi!

First, to the question of "refute," I find that usage execrable, since there is a clear, accurate term with which any lawyer should be familiar, "rebut" (as in "a rebuttal"). I have worked with lawyers. This misuse is a perfect example of the maxim, "not everyone graduates in the top 50% of the class."

The importance of clear communication in a technical field has been driven home to me over and over in my career. Recently, in my current gig, I lent my copy of the Mythical Man-Month to a manager. A central argument and prescription for success in that book is the vital need for clear, well ordered communication in a large technical project.

Meanwhile, we are seeing worsening shortages in HEAL (health, education, administration, literacy) fields along with high burnout and low morale.

Not least because these professions, which covid revealed to be critical, are paid extremely little. Pay those folks a living wage, decent benefits, and provide adequate staffing levels? Watch morale rise and burnout drop. Watch an influx of people looking to work in those fields. It ain't, you should pardon the expression, rocket science.

An insight into "every vote counts": In Livermore, CA (which is just a dozen miles down the road from here) all the votes have been counted. 14 votes separate the two candidates for mayor. Automatic recount in prospect, of course.

Just saw a comment from one of the candidates: "I wish I'd knocked on a few more doors."

Pay those folks a living wage, decent benefits, and provide adequate staffing levels? Watch morale rise and burnout drop.

You'd think so, but in education it has less to do with those things and more to do with a lack of teacher agency. They are trained to teach, but then their classroom is so administratively micromanaged that they are unable to serve the needs of their students.

Healthcare workers tell similar stories about their lack of input into the process.

Staffing and money would help, but the burnout would still be happening.

To return to lh's original question. Kari Lake has lost the governor's race in Arizona. Which means that, in 100% of the cases where a 2020 election denier was running for an office which oversees state elections in a swing state, they lost. 100%; lost. Even if other Republican candidates in that state won.
https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2022/11/politics/election-deniers-winners-losers-midterms-2022/

Which I take to mean that, regardless of party preference, most Americans are not willing to write off elections in support of those preferences.

Of course, there are exceptions. The 40% of the GOP who are hard core Trump supporters** apparently care about power and nothing else, whatever it takes to get it. Not even the tenets of the religion that they loudly profess, and which they demand everyone else follow, matters to them as much.

** And a substantially higher percentage, more like 95% of elected Federal office holders, feel the same. However low their opinion of Trump, what matters to them is power.

They lost, but a lot of the margins were not encouraging. At the same time, more generic Republicans would have likely won a lot of those offices, with detrimental effects. I’m relieved but defending Helm’s Deep is but a small setback for the enemy.

My college housemate, who had been a New Age-y Democrat in the 90s, has turned into a Kari Lake supporting technolibertarian while also subscribing to Great Replacement Theory (so long as she can convince herself that Carlson’s support for Israel means he’s not including jews on his enemies list). I’m still dazzled by the convolutions she has to put herself through to arrive in that mental space. Sad and disturbing to witness.

They lost, but a lot of the margins were not encouraging.

Not cause for great celebration, certainly. On the other hand, they were expecting, and we were expecting, them to win big ("red wave" or even "red tsunami"). But they barely won the House (if they do; looks like they'll only have a couple votes margin, if that) and otherwise only came close.
"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

Still lots of hard work ahead. But at least a bit of breathing room to do it in.

nous, I observed similar transitions among some of my fellow Baby Boomers. Sad to see that it's still happening.

they were expecting, and we were expecting, them to win big

Who is this "we" of whom you speak? All I kept seeing for weeks was how impossible it has been to do reliable polling in recent cycles, and how the Rs were deliberately promoting the expectation of a red wave so that if/when there wasn't one, they could cry fraud.

Then again, I pay attention to the MSM only very secondhandedly. Maybe that's my problem.

Less wryly: I didn't know what to expect, but I did cherish a strong hope that women hadn't forgotten Dobbs, and were going to have their say about it.

Some after the fact (but early) analysis, which suggests that Dobbs did play a significant role.

True confessions: I haven't read the whole thing, and right now I'm going back to bed. Besides the fact that it's barely the middle of the night for me, the sight of a fringe of ice around the edge of the lake, despite the persistently warm daytime weather, makes me want to go put my head under the covers.

Let's say I would not have been surprised about widespread actual violence at the polls and expected far more direct shenanigans (in particular 'eligibility challenges' by 'concerned election watchers' in order to slow the process enough to have many go home because the waiting lines would reach into the next county or state) than seem to have happened.

All y'all Brits are wacky. And I'll venture a guess that it has something to do with the deep and abiding effects of classism?

I think you're right, and the historic and cultural admiration for the classics (i.e. Latin and Greek), which of course also had class connotations. What I wrote was certainly true for my generation (I am 67) and some time after, and although it has changed somewhat (but for those doing GCSE only to make science education less detailed for those who so elect, although the increasing popularity of the Baccalaureate improves matters for those taking it), it is still possible for e.g. a very highly educated friend of my acquaintance, married to and on equal intellectual terms with a justifiably internationally eminent and respected scholar, to look at me in amazement, as if it were an absurd idea, when I said that I thought it necessary for people to study Physics because I thought it important and necessary to know how the universe works.

"The 40% of the GOP who are hard core Trump supporters** apparently care about power and nothing else, whatever it takes to get it."

I'd put the percentage higher much than 40% for the base and even higher than that for elected officials. Though our democracy was protected at critical points by some brave Republican officials with integrity, those officials stood in contrast to the rest of the cowards and self-promoters and some lost their primaries because of their principles.

Yes, we managed to pull off an election with few screams about false claims of voter fraud, though there was plenty of election legally sanctioned institutionalized election rigging going on by Republicans.

The Republican party remains fascist and the most likely lesson they will learn from this is that next time they do need to attack local election offices to block voters from voting with bogus challenges, and they do need to move polling places or close them at the last minute, and they do need to pack the polling places with their people and try to actually deep six ballots and make bogus challenges to signatures etc.

ANd one thing I totally predict they will do is try to make ballot curing illegal.

For the record, I was only (and lightheartedly) responding to wj's implication that "we" all expected a red wave. If I'd had to bet, I'd have bet that significant violence from the right was more likely than a big voting victory for their side.

wonkie is probably right, but the hopeful side of me wants to believe that enough people have now seen through it, and are sick of it, to make a significant difference. As the BJ folks keep pounding home, all the secretary of state candidates who ran on "the steal" lost.

...expected far more direct shenanigans (in particular 'eligibility challenges' by 'concerned election watchers'...

Both threats to do that and responses to those threats were overwrought. Surprisingly few states allow challenges to individual voters; where it is allowed challenges must be made for a specific cause; and the number of challengers is sharply limited. Very few election officials are willing to allow watchers and challengers to harass their (usually older, and volunteer) election workers.

Very few election officials are willing to allow watchers and challengers to harass their (usually older, and volunteer) election workers.

Here in California (Contra Costa County), our Poll Worker's Handbook and our training spent a fair amount of time on de-escalation. Beyond that (someone who won't stand down), the explicit direction was "call local law enforcement, then call the county Election Control Center."

So yeah, definitely not tolerating disruption of the voting process, either by hassling voters or poll workers. Happily, we didn't have a problem where I was working. But we were carefully prepared, just in case.

I went down a bit of a Fetterman rabbit hole after re-reading the top post and comments. One of the most frequent anti-Fetterman ads I saw featured his response to a question about fracking during his debate with Oz, when he struggled to say he supported fracking, juxtaposed with a short, out-of-context quote from however long ago saying he didn't support fracking. You may have seen the clip from the debate, which appeared to show the effects of his recent stroke on his ability to form clear sentences while speaking.

Anyway, here's what he had to say about fracking in the Rolling Stone article bobbyp linked to and russell commented on:

I want to talk about another issue that came up a lot during the presidential race: fracking. Where did you come down on this issue? How do you see it play out in 2020?

In 2015, I signed the no-fossil-fuel-money pledge and I have never taken a dime from that industry, or ever will. Fracking is complicated because right now over 60 percent of our nation’s [newly installed] electricity is derived from natural gas. That’s a fact. And another scientific fact is it is dramatically cleaner than coal. So our country has transitioned away undeniably from coal to natural gas, and that has reduced our greenhouse emissions. That being said, we need to move along the arc of clean energy, and I would hope we eventually reach a threshold where 80 percent or all of our electrical needs come from renewable sources. But right now, we’re not there.

I’ve said this line time and again: that Republicans must become honest about our climate, and Democrats need to get honest about energy. And if you take nuclear out of the equation and you want to take natural gas out, well, OK, where does 60 percent of our electricity come from overnight?

I have people in my own community that can’t afford to keep gas on in their house during the winter. If we ban fracking, for example, overnight, how do people heat their homes or afford to heat their homes or cook their food? These are all practical issues, and it requires a true bipartisan Marshall Plan. And right now, unfortunately, it’s hopelessly divided. The truth of the matter is, climate change is real and we must act as stewards of the environment for our children and our grandchildren and their grandchildren. And we also have to do it in a way that acknowledges that we all can’t work for Google. I’m a 51-year-old man, and I wouldn’t like it if someone sneered and said, “Go learn how to code.”

In Georgia the challenges are not at the polls, but ahead of time challenging registrations.

https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/tens-of-thousands-of-challenges-to-georgia-voters-eligibility-create-embarrassing-last-minute-hurdle

Did I end up in the spam bucket?

In Georgia the challenges are not at the polls, but ahead of time challenging registrations.

indubitably...much more bang for the buck. cf Florida's non-stop efforts to disenfranchise voters since the infamous election of 2000.

hsh -- released you; also a short one from bobbyp from several days ago.

bobbyp's that was in the spam filter, although I don't know if this link will work right.

Or you could find it by searching this page for "defund the police" -- there's a link to an article.

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