Link roundup, 8/21/2017

From the Austin American-Statesman: The University of Texas removed its Confederate statues overnight.

From Scientific American: Trump administration disbands NOAA’s climate advisory board.

From Quartz: Many US homes cannot support electric car chargers.

From The Week: Why aren’t US political parties more fluid?

From GQ: The making of an American Terrorist.


  1. If you’re in the greater Houston area DO NOT GO OUT. Emergency flood conditions exist. It’s pouring rain, and supposedly it’s going to continue almost nonstop for the next 24 to 48 hours. It also doesn’t help that there’s a tornado warning every couple of hours. I live in the Heights, on the northern end, so I usually don’t have to worry about water getting into my house, but I am terrified of tornadoes. I’m staying awake listening for tornado warnings on the radio. Stay safe, everyone.

    1. Hope everything is still good for you, Tutt.

      I’m in Spring Branch, in the neighborhood in which the original branch used to run through. It’s underground now.

      So far, so good. But my back yard had been flooding since spring when my backyard neighbors tore down their house and started to put up a new one: bigger footprint, higher elevation, closer to our shared property line.

      When the media says Houston is flood prone due to ‘development’, what they really mean is flood prone due to lace of development rules.

      1. I’ve lived in this house since I was a kid. Over the past 50 years or so the elevation of the yards has shifted back and forth. We were higher than lower than higher again. My neighborhood has certainly seen its share of new development. Fortunately, one of my newer neighbors invested in improving his own drainage system, and this has proved beneficial for everyone on this block.

      2. Houston’s lack of zoning has contributed to drainage issues and people have resisted paying a dedicated tax to address the problems that can be improved or added. Although I live in a master-planned community (The Woodlands), there is great density resulting in similar problems to yours, BoBo. I live in a zero lot line neighborhood with one drainage egress from back yard to front yard – as do all the residents. Water shedding off adjacent roofs into a common narrow route works fine as long as both properties manage their own drainage needs. We guttered the entire side of our home and excavated the drainage egress with a swale which I maintain. Many adjacent neighbors haven’t installed adequate drainage and probably don’t realize that not only is their home at greater risk, but so is their neighbor’s.

        No man is an island, right? So far everything is working well for my immediate area but not sure of low-lying areas and those that abut creeks and watershed areas.

        Tutta’s advice is solid. Don’t get out unless there is an emergency. Rain is expected to continue for another couple of days. So far this area has experienced 20+” of rainfall, but is managing it pretty well. Areas south of me have received far more. At some point, the ground cannot contain (there now) and the rivers into which all this water collects cannot handle the flow or the volume. That’s where some areas are now and I hope they are getting help because they are going to need it.

      3. Note: The Woodlands proper has experienced 11″of rainfall by 7 am this morning. By 7 p.m tonight rainfall is predicted to be an additional 2-6″ with an additional 2 to 3 inches of rain forecast from 7 p.m. tonight until 7 a.m. tomorrow. The Woodlands Township advises that these predictions are dependent on the intensity and duration of rain bands from the storm. Areas to west and south of The Woodlands have experienced higher levels of rainfall over night – hence the 20″ citation. No electricity loss yet but I expect soggy ground conditions to result in some problems with trees falling and we have plenty of those in the W.

        Stay safe all. Many of you are far more vulnerable and I am thinking of you all. If you need a place to stay, I’ve got room.

      4. Glad to hear my fellow Houston area orphans are OK. So far so good at Chez Fly. The drainage ditch isn’t even 1/3 full and the street doesn’t have much water on it. Back yard is swampy, but that’s the usual. I moved the birds and some of the heirloom furniture upstairs last night as a precaution. I slept very, very badly last night when the rain was coming down at a clip of almost 10 in in 90 minutes. I’m hoping that this is the worst of the rain coming down quickly in huge batches. The weather guys are saying we’ll catch a break this afternoon. Drain, baby, drain!

        Harvey is a big jerk !!

      1. Flooding usually doesn’t affect me, as long as I don’t leave the house, but I take tornado alerts very seriously. For that reason I left the radio on during the night, just in case, so as not to be caught off guard. I’ve never experienced a tornado, but I have my carriers ready so I can throw my pets in and move them to a safe space.

      2. I hear the president is coming to Texas next week to survey the damage. I’m not going to worry too much whether he says something like, “I’m going to send federal help, and it’s going to be okay.” As long as he provides assistance, or at least stays out of the way.

      3. I hope he’s not too much of a distraction. He’d better not try to “steal our thunder.” 🙂

        Seriously, though, I hope he is moved by the loss and damage he sees firsthand. Maybe this will be a turning point for him. If not, so be it.

    2. mime, there’s a swale in my future. Until that time, yesterday I dug a little ditch from my back yard to the drainage ditch out front.

      When I checked on it at dawn, it appeared to be helping to rapidly move the accumulated water. Or it makes me feel better to think that.

      1. Future project. Get some strong people who know how to design a swale and pay them to do it. Swales can actually be very attractive although mine is simply functional….not enough room to do much more. Save your back, girl!

  2. дождь (Russian for Rain) is a russian news outlet I follow as well as Meduza. The link below is to a translated page of an article describing treason charges brought against FSB officers…the charges are hazy as under Russian law details of certain crimes don’t have to be made public but stems from their sharing the names and locations of russian hackers involved in US election to US counter intelligence.

    This likely accounts for the amount of detail US intelligence agencies have regarding the “who did the hacking”…of more immediate concern to Russian authorities is did they share names and locations of US citizens that helped with directing the “misinformation bots” set loose in key counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Link to дождь story as well as Vanity Fair article detailing Peter Smith’s alleged involvement with russian hackers and subsequent suicide are below. Mr. Smith was terminally ill so I am not suggesting the suicide was motivated beyond his illness but another unusual sequence of events.

    Both Rain and Meduza are reasonably accurate and definitely independent news agencies operating in difficult circumstances….many of their reporters disappear or are detained. I have to disclose that they do sometimes run stories that are not vetted to US news standards….the art to reading russian news is knowing what is dead on right…what might be speculation and what is outright lies. This story is consistent with recent reporting in NYT and WAPO so I share it with some confidence.

  3. The decision in Texas regarding voting laws and gerrymandering may back SCOTUS into a corner should they hear the case. Their Shelby decision is premised on our “post racial history”….which thanks to actual data collected by Judge Ramos proves otherwise. Texas may be smart to let this decision go and not push further….but they won’t. Could land them back under pre-clearance rules for a decade.

    1. With this pardon, T’s rants on Tuesday and Tuesday one week ago, criticism of Congress other senior people and the increasing stridency of his Tweets, I am beginning to think that he knows he is deep political trouble and accordingly is doing everything possible to appeal to his base in an effort to keep them satisfied. He doesn’t seem to be making any effort to govern effectively and for the benefit of the entire nation. The only times in the last 2-3 weeks that he has seemed to be in command of his faculties were the speech on Afghanistan and the 2nd statement on C’ville. On those occasions he was very controlled and following a prepared script. I am thinking these are the actions of a man who is about to lose his sanity, i.e. go over the edge. What do the rest of you think?

      1. Perception is reality. He is the smartest guy in the room. The scary reality is the paranoid shell he lives in. It is an enabling rationalization that could lead us to ruin.
        People think Trump and his ilk are crazy, in fact they are just removed from reality by a sea of money and contempt.

      2. Glad to see you are still active and posting Mary.

        I saw an article in Salon this morning that stated that Trump’s main motivation was erasing everything Obama did, largely because of Trump’s racism. That could explain what’s happening in the last 2-3 weeks. Trump knows he may not be President much longer and is in a hurry to eliminate Obama’s legacy.

        Maybe I am being paranoid and cynical myself, but that is the thought I’ve had. Probably T is not capable of that deep of thought. It’s is probably just his inability to stay focused.

        The link is:

      3. I don’t care for the strange format Salon is using – the image rolls over the story…Very frustrating so I elect now to read Salon. You’ve evidently found a way to avoid this silly format?

        Just posted a piece in Off Topic from Graham Fuller who poses an interesting choice for the U.S. about our involvement in the world…..since we all need a distraction from what is happening domestically!

      4. I like that article. I firmly believe that Trump is trying to erase the legacy of Obama as fast as he can. He is so obviously threatened and obsessed that a black man was more popular and successful than he could ever be but, as you said, he lacks self-perception and deep thoughts.

        I’ve been drawing comparisons between these two and the Egyptian pharoah Hatshepsut, a historical figure I find somewhat fascinating.

      5. The Salon article came across as simplistic. I don’t think Trump is acting from an evil conspiracy of racism but maybe from jealousy or a rivalry he feels exists with Obama. I’m sure he’s aware how a big part of the nation constantly compares him to his predecessor and finds him lacking. Or maybe he’s unsure how to do his job, sees himself as the anti-Obama of his base, so instead of having to make a studied decision about how to proceed with something, he asks, What would Obama do? and then does the opposite. Makes it easy for him.

      6. There is plenty in Trump’s past to indicate that he is a snob and his actions and words related to people of color have been disrespectful. I guess that doesn’t make him a racist, just a despicable individual. He certainly seems to play to the racist crowd. If he turns against the DACA kids, that will be the final nail in his coffin for me. These children know no country but the US. They didn’t ask to be brought here. Where’s the compassion? And, what he did to Obama regarding the birth certificate was unforgiveable – never acknowledging he was wrong over years despite documentation to the contrary. I mean, why do something like that?

      7. As for the eclipse Tweet, I don’t think it’s a sign of an obsession with Obama. I think he’s just being silly, like a lot of people who made silly jokes about the eclipse. Maybe not very Presidential, but I don’t see any evil intent here. If he’s obsessed with anything, it’s with the eclipse theme. Rather juvenile, but not evil. That’s my take.

      8. Mime, I’m getting the impression that’s he’s fallen into the way of thinking of the right wing media, which villifies Obama and anyone considered to be on the nefarious Left, with its polarized way of thinking. These beliefs are reinforced by his adoring base, and he’s egged on by them. We’ve all seen it happen to totally sane and reasonable people. It’s especially scary when it happens to the President of the United States.

      9. When the POTUS surrounds himself with ideologues, why wouldn’t his information be distorted? That was a choice, however, and despite his “great” education, the man doesn’t read – therefore his frame of reference is principally verbal, from those he intimidates or fires if they are not compliant.

        Regardless – is this the kind of thinker America needs at its helm? Making decisions to expand military engagement sending our sons and daughters into harm’s way (not his sons)? Making major financial decisions? Hurting so many people with his rhetoric? Demeaning and insulting those who disparage him or tell the truth about him?

        I don’t really care “why” he thinks the way he does; I care that he thinks the way he does. And, I worry, because of the enormous power he has and what he is doing and can do with it.

      10. EJ

        I think you have an excellent point, Tutta. Trump actually believes what he sees on Fox News, rather than just using it cynically.

        This is the problem with propaganda: eventually, it takes over.

    2. I will re-iterate what many others have already said.

      The biggest takeaway from the puppet tyrant pardoning another racist fascist is the fact that he will most certainly use the pardon as a defense against any criminal/treasonous activities uncovered by Mueller or any other future investigation. The rule of law is meaningless to this guy and his crew.

      Since November, I have been thinking that having a religious fanatic in power who might also might be competent enough of implementing the economic and social agendas the far right was far more dangerous than the current situation. I now realize that is wrong. No one could be worse than this wanna be dictator and his close circle of advisors, handlers, and sycophants.

      Bottom line, Congress, the Senate and the courts will not stop him. And the planet cannot wait for the increasingly small chance of a change in the Congress in 2018. Be it the incompetence of the Democrats in a campaign, or the very strong possibility of the election being rigged, or the Senate stonewalling any moves by the Congress, this regime will continue dragging the U.S. and the rest of the planet towards oblivion. Only a bullet will stop this madman and his regime.

  4. Hi Fifty
    Run the numbers – people don’t need a 10 Kw charger – and if they have one it will only go on for 90 minutes on average
    I’m sure that even in the USA people can plug it into a timed outlet!

    Here the power companies have been able to switch our water heaters on and off remotely since the 60’s

    1. Duncan – Here are the numbers:

      First, the average round trip commute in the US is 30 miles. There are 1.9 cars per household, but only 1.8 drivers, so we use 1.8.

      The Tesla S uses about 0.33 KWH per mile. (an example only)

      So we have 30 x 0.33 x 1.8 = 17.82 KWH per day per household.

      A 6 kW charger could charge both vehicles in about 3 hours. Assume this occurs during the 12 hour period from 7 PM to 7 AM.

      Average energy consumption of a US household is about 3 kWH/day. We’ll use this as a base load of 0.125 KW. The load from charging an EV (*if* it’s perfectly spread over the 12 hour night interval) is 1.45 KW, or nearly 12 times the base load. Mismanage the apportionment of this load in time just slightly, and you could easily exceed the base load by more than 25X.

      This is the issue. It’s solvable with technology, and time, and effort. It won’t solve itself.

      1. We are doing a lot of theoretical calculations. True the actual load created by a automobile recharging station is not great. However, when one gets to the point of actually installing a charging station there is a lot more to it. I am not familiar with the actual requirements for a charging station, nor am I familiar with the current code requirements for automobile charging stations. But most likely a separate circuit should be provided and it may need to be GFI protected since it is in a garage. Also the typical charger may require 240 Volts, although most likely they are also available in 120 Volt versions. All these things need to be considered.

        Chris did say the electrical wiring in his garage was improvised. Perhaps it is not up to current code. Perhaps there is not a circuit box readily available or a circuit is not available. The garage wiring may need to be brought up to current code and require considerable rework. There is a lot more involved than just theoretical load calculations. Without knowing the exact conditions, I could not speculate on the requirements. I am a professional electrical engineer with over 50 years of design experience (mainly in industrial facilities, which is the reason I am not familiar with the specific code requirements). I could easily determine the requirements, if I knew the situation. I do not. Accordingly, I think it best just to leave it with Chris’ statement that serious work would be required including a new circuit box.

      2. Hi 50
        You have dropped a decimal – the average US daily residential power consumption is NOT 3 Kwhrs/day – but 30 Kwhrs/day

        So 1.2 times the baseload – just a wee bit easier to handle than 12 times the baseload

        At the current and projected build rate of EV’s – even with Tesla making 500,000 a year there is plenty of time to make the very minor improvements that the Grid needs

        AND it will cost LESS money to produce a MORE ROBUST grid simple because of all of the power storage that will be out there cheap

      3. I am not so sure that the required improvements to the grid are “very minor”. Installing the switching equipment and communications systems to efficiently utilize the storage capacity in the EVs and local storage batteries will take considerable effort and some time. I know some utilities are working in that direction, but these systems are not that inexpensive to install, operate and maintain. It is all possible, but it does take some investment. Also regulatory systems must be adapted. I would like to see some studies and actual project implementation data and history.

        Do not get me wrong, I believe that is the direction the electric power industry must head, but let us be careful about casually assuming it can all happen, quickly, inexpensively and miraculously.

      4. Duncan – I did! I’d say that I left my HP41 at the other house, (I did), but unlike the president, I can’t lie. I divided 901 KWH/month by 30 days per month, and got 3 KWH/day. Must be losin’ it or something…

    1. Thanks, tmerritt! Plan to hunker down.

      Just read something that relates to your neck of the woods. Sen. Jeff Flake is proposing to create a new 12th appellate district by reducing the size of the 9th district that serves the west coast area. Let me know what you think of his rational. Given population shifts, there is logic to adjusting districts borders..One might also ask Sen. Flake how he feels about senatorial adjustments based upon population shifts…..

      1. The idea of splitting the 9th Circuit Court does make sense on paper. However, typically these proposals have the sole political purpose of limiting the power of the 9th Circuit and substituting non-representative (read conservative justices). As it is the 9th Circuit is very responsive to the populace and is quite efficient. As the article noted to backlog is quite low. So I have not seen a problem. Note the statement that Senator Feinstein of California made.

        Furthermore, Flake’s proposed split makes no sense at all. California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii have more in common with each other than the other states. Of course, the four states, I just mentioned have the bulk of the population and would have the 5th largest economy in the world.

        In summation, I feel that Flake’s proposal is primarily political and most likely will go nowhere. Harris, California’s other Senator, though being a freshman has already accumulated considerable clout. Murray, Washington’s senior senator is No 3 in the Senate leadership and has a lot of clout. Cantwell, our other Senator is also highly respected. She will certainly get reelected in November 2018. Wyden in Oregon is influential. Flake is bucking considerable power and he does not seem to be a fool.

      2. Mary,

        I had some additional thoughts regarding Flake’s proposal.

        Arizona has traditionally been controlled by the ranching and mining interests. Mining has been slipping as the mines have closed. These interests of course are conservative. In more recent years as the Phoenix and Tucson areas have grown they are beginning to exert a lot of influence. They do have a large percentage of snowbird retirees who have tended to be moderately conservative. But nevertheless there is a lot of high tech industry in those areas. Those two areas are where the bulk of the population is and they are trending liberal.

        Jeff Flake himself is from a ranching family in Snowflake. Snowflake is in NE Arizona and was settled by the Mormons. It still is primarily Mormon and is very conservative. Very possibly the Flake family was one of the founders. That is also the reason Flake is opposed to the draconian immigration measures being implemented. I have distant and somewhat estranged family living there.

        I do know that the ranching interests have often been unhappy with the liberal bent of the 9th Circuit. Since the 9th Circuit Court hearing was in Phoenix and Flake is in a tough reelection battle, the hearing was probably largely designed to help his reelection campaign. Weakening the 9th Circuit would be an additional benefit.

        Arizona is slowly but surely changing towards being a swing state due to the influence of the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas combined with the Navajo and other native American nations. It has recently had a Democratic governor and the Senate races are always highly contested. It already has a reasonably balanced slate of representatives. It has implemented by citizen initiative an independent redistricting system. The old-guard is fighting to maintain its power.

      3. Good explanation, tmerritt. Interesting theory as to why Flake likely proposed the change to split the 9th circuit. If he is Mormon, that also speaks to his confidence in opposing Trump in such a public manner. They support their own and clearly saw how badly Trump treated Romney, and now they see Trump bullying Flake. He seems like a decent person and showed courage in speaking out against Trump. Other than that, armed with the additional information you provided, I don’t know much about him.

    2. “Duncan – I did! I’d say that I left my HP41 at the other house, (I did), but unlike the president, I can’t lie. I divided 901 KWH/month by 30 days per month, and got 3 KWH/day. Must be losin’ it or something…”

      I did the same! – and got the same wrong answer!

      But I knew that NZ power consumption was about 20 Kwhrs a day so I went to some other web pages and then finally I saw the mistake –

  5. Off topic, but I went to the store today to pick up a few things and people were grabbing water off the shelves like they were preparing for the zombie apocalypse. The media really needs to quit ramping up hysteria every time a hurricane is in gulf. Having weathered many of these I’m kind of nonchalant.

    1. If you live in Houston or south of there, flooding can make it very difficult to get out. Kids are usually at home as schools close. If you are north, you may or may not have flooding but I recall very well being w/o electricity for two weeks a few years ago. That was difficult – and in the heat we’re experiencing, not safe to endure without plenty of water.

      We lived in FL for 5 years and know how the media hypes these storms, but you don’t have to experience but one first hand to make you cautious. I bought water and I’m addressing loose chairs, pots on my porch. Better safe than sorry(-;

      1. I’m in far west Katy bordering on the Ft. Bend County line. I don’t think we’ll have much flooding. I have rental property in Galveston that did not flood during Ike (highest part of the island). Other than that, I’m not too worried. I stayed in town during Rita and glad I did after that fiasco. We’ll hunker down with our favorite libations and ride it out. 🙂

      2. A few years ago at the Sci Guy blog on, there was a running joke: Should Katy evacuate?

        People seemed to ask that question so sincerely in unrelated weather situations that regular commenters would insert it into varied conversations just for its gestalt value.

        Sorry. I saw kayray lives in Katy and couldn’t stop myself.

    2. kayray, don’t be nonchalant.

      I can’t help but recall the woman who decided to stay on Galveston island as Ike was coming in.

      By the time she changed her mind, the surge had made getting to the mainland impossible. Her last message to friends was something like “I think I made a mistake.”

  6. Salon Magazine today posted an article by Amanda Marcotte, entitled “Unfair and unbalanced: Media defined Trump by his key issues and Hillary Clinton by her phony scandals”. Links are listed below. The first is direct to Salon and the second is to the same article in MyDropbox cleaned up and without the advertising.

    This article is based on a study about the role of the media in the 2016 election. I found it to be very interesting. The second paragraph states: “Simply by dint of being a loud-mouthed boor, Trump was able to dominate the media coverage so thoroughly that it’s a miracle that Clinton even got through, the researchers found.”

    I found that to be true throughout the coverage of the election. Clinton had well thought out and researched policy positions, but they never were discussed. Rather the conservative media and the GOP pushed the fake Clinton scandals. Trump was able to use that to completely dominate the MSM. That then energized the voters who do not really analyze current affairs with a particular focus on the swing states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He was able to get just enough votes from disgruntled voters combined with the active voter suppression efforts to win those states. Combined with the disproportionate representation of some of the deep red states in the electoral college, that gave him the election.

    Why the msm reacted as it did is the subject of much discussion. I subscribe it to some key problems:
    1. The fairness doctrine, i.e. if a scientist says the earth is round, then the media must find someone to state that no the earth is flat. Rather they could treat the original statement as fact, then move on.
    2. Much of the media was cowed by Trump. They let the blackballing and other outrageous actions, influence their coverage.
    3. The profit motive and ease of reporting on the outrageousness of the Trump campaign plus the difficulty of objectively covering substantive issues, resulted in very limited objective analysis. Since many voters would not have paid much attention to that anyway, that made it easier to limit objective coverage.
    4. This all aggravated by the economic stress much of the media is under at this time.

    I have previously complained in this blog, regarding the coverage. But people who pay attention to forums such as this are very limited.

    1. EJ

      Amanda Marcotte is very thoughtful. In my opinion she’s one of the best media commenters writing in English today.

      I think your analysis is very interesting. I would also suggest a fifth and sixth factor: anti-intellectualism masquerading as anti-elitism; and old-fashioned misogyny masquering as “I don’t know why I hate Hillary but I just do.”

    2. “1. The fairness doctrine, i.e. if a scientist says the earth is round, then the media must find someone to state that no the earth is flat. Rather they could treat the original statement as fact, then move on.”

      We no longer operate under the fairness doctrine. Right now, if a scientist says the earth is flat, no media outlet is beholden to find a scientist to to state that no, the earth is round.

      Even if we brought back the fairness doctrine, nobody is going to be able to get Breitbart to bring on a scientist that says the earth is round, and if they manage to find some way of getting Breitbart to bring on anybody at all, it’s not going to be a scientist who says “No, the earth is round,” it’s going to be someone who says, “Calling the earth flat is racist, Marxism proves 2+2 = 5 and the hollow earth is where I fly when I’m on drugs on weekends.” Both sides, amirite?

      1. You may be right, but I don’t pay much attention to Breitbart, RedState, etc. I generally use the “decrepit fake” news sources such as the NY Times, WA Post, LA Times, The Economist, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, NPR, PBS, to a lesser extent Politico, Solon, and some other web based publications and of course the local Seattle Times. I know, I’m an old fuddy duddy stick in the mud, retired engineer. But when someone says 2+2=5, it kind of sticks in my craw.

      2. I am 100% with you with the ‘fake MSM’ readership and getting viscerally upset when someone says 2+2 =5, but what I’m saying is that in the current media landscape, if the fairness doctrine was re-enacted, it would force the New York Times to include anti-climate change opinions in equal proportion to climate change facts, while FOX News would ‘balance’ their sober, adult-looking climate change skeptic with some clown who believes the USS McCain crashed into another ship because of climate change.

      3. How about for every hour of programming, 1 minute of commercial time be provided to present an opposing point of view? Maybe available in 30 second chunks. Or even smaller. If no one claims the time, regular commercials would run. So if you were presenting material that is hard to refute, your profits are higher because you have more commercial time to sell.

        You could run a debunking video of material presented or just show a link or two to opposing views.

        I could see programs becoming really fair and balanced if the producers knew that they might be exposed as liars.

      4. EJ

        I applaud your purpose. However, there are four issues with that suggestion that I can see.

        Firstly, deliberately-weak “straw man” opposition is a well-known phenomenon. I am told that Fox News uses this extensively to give the illusion of balance.

        Secondly, lying by omission is also a well-known phenomenon. When I was a child, the official Communist television would simply not spend any time at all on anything which they found ideologically inconvenient.

        Thirdly, not every story has two sides. Some stories only have one side. (Climate change.) Some stories have three or more sides. (Kashmir.) Some stories have two sides but also attract people who like to bloviate in the belief that they represent a unique and different take on the issue, and who will push to have equal airtime for “their side.”

        Fourthly, some stories have “another side” which is so monstrous that it should not be given airtime. If the news spends an hour talking about how Daesh committed ethnic cleansing against the Yazidis, the Daesh should not be permitted airtime in which to argue that ethnic cleansing of religious minority communities is in fact a good thing.

        Media is hard. It is not a solved problem. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about it, but I think the whole “balance” attitude towards it is unhelpful.

      5. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, EJ. All the issues you raise are valid and show that this idea would not provide a perfect answer.

        First point first. Yes, Fox does use several techniques that give the illusion of balance. The opposition would see this and counter it. A lot of these techniques could be countered by just pointing them out to the viewer.

        Second, omission would be the easy to fix. For example – “Trump said this crazy thing today, this station did not mention it.” or “the house passed this bill today, did you hear about it?”

        3rd, I think you could include all multiple sides, after all it would not be “equal airtime”. In some cases, only a hint of lies, obfuscation, or omission. Maybe just a link to a web site with charts and stuff.

        Fourth, having a truly evil group mouth their hate is troublesome. But we have that problem now. We sort of handle it, and we even protect it as free speech. i.e ACLU suing on behalf of nazis or kkk.

        So the more I think about it, the more I like it. It could be done as paid ads. Maybe just a requirement that the “host” program run it. The opposition party or interested parties could produce the ads. If there was some cost, it would deter those casual bloviators. By the way, google “Floyd R Turbo” to get an idea of the fairness doctrine of old.

        I see advertisement on MSNBC quite often that were produced by interested parties, ads that have a point of view opposite the editorial slant of the network programs.

        It seems to me that someone on the left, be it the Democratic Party or others, could produce these spots and buy time on the offending shows. The thing is now, can the cable channel or tv station refuse them, for political reasons?

    3. “Her campaign’s efforts at creating a robust, progressive political platform were largely wasted on a mainstream media that was almost entirely uninterested in educating the public on her policy views.”

      Many reporters take pride in their cynicism. Clinton was so clearly the most qualified candidate they must have felt they had to dig beyond her stated policies to reveal what must surely — surely! — be the dark underbelly of her professional life.

    4. Might I suggest the profit motive for the media as well. People were tuning in for news over other programming. Trump was everywhere – people watched in dismay and others were thrilled… Media simply met demand. Where they can be faulted, is for not holding him accountable to the standards of responsible journalism. Instead, it was too easy to go with sensationalism.

      Giving the Trump campaign their due, they worked the media very effectively – more than Clinton did, who was, after all, “old news” for most of the major news pundits. That is no longer the case (except for the pass the WSJ”s Girard seems to be giving Trump). If it weren’t for the media’s digging NOW, the Russia story would never have seen the light of day.

      Too little too late? I hope not.

      1. You’ve got the crux of the problem. As long as the Republican establishment clings to the notion that with T’ they can pass their agenda, there will be no action taken. That includes a move towards impeachment, Article 25 or a senior delegation to the White House to encourage him to resign. We’ll probably start seeing that play out next week.

        If the Mueller investigation begins to start getting indictments against senior officials, then and only then will there be significant movement by Congressional leaders. I keep hoping that with the increasing criticism of T’ by senators such as McCain, Corker, Flake, etc. there’ll be some movement, but that is probably noise at this point.

      2. And, boy do the Republicans have an agenda! Brookings had a piece on how the GOP may “tweak” the budget process that will allow them to add almost half a trillion dollars in new spending while maintaining their conservative “creds”. The inset link to Grover Norquist fleshes out how they will attempt to game the system… Per the article, Dems and deficit hawks will have their work cut out for them. Oh, they also plan to use reconciliation again…that didn’t work out so well for them with the ACA repeal, but, we’re talking $$ here, a subject which warms the hearts (and pocketbooks) of conservatives like no other cause….(except maybe Hil’s emails and Obama’s whatever).

        Anyone who wants to know why the GOP doesn’t come down hard on Trump needs to follow the money. This Brookings piece lays out a pretty good gameplan for conservatives to achieve tax cuts for corporations (and the wealthy) in the range of 15%. The middle class? Chopped liver.

  7. Over time I’ve gotten used to our new President. We can nitpick constantly over his every word, attempt to micromanage his every speech, roll our eyes at his pre-dawn tweets, but he is not going to change, and you’d think we’d be used to his ways by now, even if we refuse to accept them. His preferred channel of communication is Twitter, so if we want to know what he thinks, look to Twitter. He is not a great orator — sometimes goes by script, but more often than not, any prepared script goes out the window. At least we know what he REALLY thinks, and not what his advisors (spiritual or otherwise) are urging him to say. I think it makes sense to listen to his words, unvarnished and unfiltered, without the noise of the chattering classes, both pro and con, in the background, so that we can really hear what he is saying. I find that once you remove all the background noise and chatter and excuse the fact that he’s not a great orator, a lot of what he says actually makes sense.

    1. What is he saying that makes sense to you? Trump has zero capacity to actually understand what his job is. I think he thinks that he has always been “presidential”, and is genuinely puzzled and angered by his ever lower approval ratings, and the media’s coverage of him. In his head, he doesn’t understand any of it, and internalizes any critical and honest commentary as a personal slight.

      This is why he can’t stop talking about himself as a victim, a man unfairly targeted by MSM. He compliments himself to the point where I wonder what his internal dialogue is. The man truly cannot step back and judge his own performance as POTUS. He has no ability to ask himself what he can improve on, or how can he become a better POTUS. Instead of being an adult, and asking himself these questions, and seeking professional counsel, he chooses to deny it all, while shooting himself in the foot repeatedly.

      Either this guy knows exactly what he is doing, and wants out of office, or he is one of the MOST personality disordered persons who I have ever witnessed in my life.

    2. I’m sorry, but I profoundly disagree. It is not respectful of the office of President of the United States to utilize twitter in the manner in which Trump does. It is not respectful to say the kinds of things about people and events via twitter or any public forum as Trump does, using the office of POTUS as cover. We as Americans should be able to expect our president to be able to communicate more appropriately. If he wanted to speak out in an unvarnished and disrespectful way, he should not have sought the presidency. Trump disrespects the office of presidency and I refuse to lower my expectations of the office. I do not think his communication is cute, appropriate or acceptable. He is an abomination and if I were ever in proximity to the man, I would turn my back to him.

      1. Did you see this story in WaPo? That look he’s giving her IS creepy as hell. Almost as if he wants to attack her but Trump has always been weirdly obsessed with women and bleeding and in my opinion he has a disturbing contempt for women in general.

      2. I concur that he disrespects the office of the Presidency.

        Regarding Trump’s character deficiencies and his narcissism, I believe that a lot of that is attributable to the fact that he has lived in a complete bubble for his entire life. He has virtually no real life experience, requiring him to face the consequences of his actions. He was protected by his father, had the business handed to him, and then was able to escape the consequences of the numerous bankruptcies, by laundering money for the Russian oligarchs. Reams could be written regarding his narcissism and other deficiencies, but I honestly believe the fact he has been in a bubble his entire life is a major causative factor.

      3. Maybe that is true (Trump living in a bubble), but he is being enabled by those who excuse his divisive, cutting rhetoric – and that includes those in the American public who give him a pass.

        From a legislative perspective, no one has done more to encourage Trump’s despicable behavior than the party that helped elect him. They have a moral and fiduciary responsibility to neuter his unacceptable behavior, yet – they don’t. In case there is any doubt who I am speaking of, it is the GOP apparatus. They know better, as James Fallows explains.

      4. One point not made in the Atlantic Fallows piece on Trump is that the more he insults members of the media, the harder they work to expose his many faults. So, go right ahead, Donny – criticize them all and just know that there will be consequences and you will not like them.

    3. Tutts sez, “I find that once you remove all the background noise and chatter and excuse the fact that he’s not a great orator, a lot of what he says actually makes sense.”

      So watching a trump clip on tv with my wife, I said, “I hate when I agree with him.” She replied, “But that is not what he says now!” Oh, Ok, that is true. So if he’s making sense now, wait a month, a week, a minute and he will contradict himself. And then deny it. Then bully you if you remind him of his lie. Then brag about it.

      For myself, I don’t know how anyone can thoughtfully consider what he says or tweets.

      1. I guess I’ve become cynical, or maybe I’m actually an idealist, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Or maybe I don’t take politics as personally as you guys. I probably should, since politics affects us all personally.

      2. Cynicism is an unfortunate reality of the current political environment. Idealism is a luxury. I think it’s fair to state that the majority who follow spend a great deal of time reading, studying and thinking about what is happening to our democratic institutions and way of life. We may individually react differently, but that doesn’t change the facts on the ground, only our perception. I want to be more positive but each new day of Trump’s administration and Republican’s governance brings new disappointments and dangers. I choose to try to confront what worries me rather than dismiss it. I am worried about our country – note the “our” – and it is my opinion that my concerns are well justified. If one is not worried, they are not paying attention.

      3. Everyone wants things to be “OK.” We have a remarkable capacity for convincing ourselves that things are OK. To a certain extent, we have to do this to keep our sanity.

        This trait becomes awkward when things are not OK, especially when we feel we have no power to influence those circumstances. I’ve never lived through something like this and I never imagined that I would. I can’t say I know what to do, but I’ve determined that I’m not going to sink into complacency or complicity. Beyond that I’m groping my way along just like everyone else. We’ll figure this out, but it may be a very rough ride.

      4. No one who follows this blog faithfully is low information – They may differ with opinions that are expressed, but facts are facts, and they are usually made quite convincingly in Chris’ posts and by those who contribute regularly – yourself included. This is simply not the kind of blog that one frequents who is “low information”.

      5. For me, one result of all this (maybe a form of coping) has been to look elsewhere for leadership, guidance, comfort, and inspiration, to local lawmakers, state and especially city ones, even looking more inward, towards myself and my loved ones, to make the world a better place, regardless of (or in spite of ) the president, to acknowledge that the president is just part of the grand scheme of things in our lives and we can manage on our own, thank you very much. In other words, I’ve had to downplay the importance of the presidency in my own mind. That may not be all bad, since I’ve taken a greater interest in local politics as a result.

      6. You’ll appreciate this thoughtful contribution from a young journalist who shares our frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed by all the negativity. I’ll cut and paste her best thoughts below:

        Jessica Valenti – The Guardian: “I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can find time to rest when it feels like there’s no space or opportunity for anything but constant outrage and careful attention to what’s happening in politics.

        If we log off for a few hours, another national emergency crops up. When we sleep, the president of the United States tweets something out that could send us into a political tailspin. How do we get the work done needed to stop this administration when there is never any time to stop working and take stock of what to do next?

        I know I’m not the only person who feels paralyzed by the sheer amount of awful rotting through our country at the moment. I’ve spoken to seasoned activists – people who have been doing this work for decades – who describe being more burned out than ever before. So take some comfort, I suppose, that you are far from alone.

        In moments when I don’t know what do – when I’m too tired to think about what comes next – I reach out to those who are doing what I wish I could. Give money to a local organization, if you have money to give. Send some supportive words to an activist who you think could use them. At this point, even the small acts of kindness and resistance mean something. Hold on to them.”

      7. Thanks, Mime. We all come from different backgrounds, have different levels of education, differ in age, hail from different parts of the world, and therefore have different points to contribute. Imagine if we all thought the same.

      8. We may all be pessimistic, discouraged and concerned about our present administration and governance. However, I do know that the US has been through some very rough times in the past and pulled through, stronger than ever. The Civil War era was probably the worst. Second to that was the Great Depression, followed immediately by WWII. Our present situation is not nearly as bad as those three.

        With the way the Resistance is coalescing, Congress is beginning to react, senior leaders are speaking out, taking action, etc., I have become increasingly confident that the US will pull through this as well. That is not to say that things will be smooth and easy going; THEY WILL NOT. Nevertheless, as I keep saying, I think “the center will hold.” Initially, I was more concerned, but as I said I’m becoming more confident. I do not think I am being pollyannish.

        I think back to the WWII history I’ve read and the way the populace reacted including the stories I heard as a small child. FDR, Churchill and senior leaders, knew the allies would win as soon as the US entered the war. That is the reason they began planning for the post-war era during the Washington conference with Churchill and the senior military leaders during Christmas of 1941, just days after Pearl Harbor. Of course, they also knew there were going to be difficult days ahead, and they were preparing the public accordingly. They did have CONFIDENCE, however. But they were also realistic. We do need to get some realistic , but confident leadership. I believe that is beginning to happen. I also have confidence the “center will hold” and put that leadership in place.

      9. Tmerritt – You’re a student of history. There is an excellent book about America’s entry into WWII and three American men who made a profound difference to that effort. It was not without problems, as you will learn. The three men who were pivotal to the successful integration of US soldiers with the existing British war apparatus were appointed by Roosevelt, who does not come off looking as notable or generous as history has portrayed. They were: Averell Harriman, Edward R. Morrow, and a man unknown to me but very important, John Gilbert Winant. The title is: Citizens of London – non-fiction, by Lynne Olson. When one reads about what England experienced prior to America’s entry into the war, it gives one courage for America. Excellent read.

      10. I read the preview and sample sections on Kindle. As it turns out, I will finish my present book tomorrow morning while I am exercising. So I think, I’ll download it to my notebook and start that next.

      11. It is a most unusual “back room look” at how these three men contributed to America’s involvement in WWII, and, in fact, were critical to the success of the effort. I think you will find it enlightening. It affirms the tremendous sacrifices made by the Brits and how close we came as western allies to they came to being overwhelmed by the Germans. The world would be a much different place had America not intervened, however belatedly.

      12. For myself, its a flashback to life in the 80’s. Gay people stayed out of sight and mind all of us on the down low. There was no social media then but you never “wrote” to your friends and had your newspapers delivered in brown wrappers like the Advocate and The Blade.

        I wonder if other minority communities are feeling the same way. Social media may insure we can’t disappear and remain hidden. I agree though the damage being done to our institutions is the biggest threat. The armed forces being asked to discriminate again (and reluctantly complying)…Congressional oversight appears to be non plussed by all the potential conflicts of interests this administration has and the constant 24/7 attack on all media. Those wounds and the renewed lack of trust in those institutions will be hardest to restore.

      13. Let me ask a hard question: why couldn’t the military “just said no”? Isn’t their highest obligation to country and those under their command? If they felt strongly about transgender people being unfairly singled out, where is their courage? Maybe the real answer is they agree with Trump.

  8. Okay, seriously, where do these mentally ill loony tunes crawl out from? “When you oppose Trump, you are ‘fighting against the hand of God'”——Yeah, okay, sweetheart.

    For one, who knew atheist Trump had a “spiritual adviser”? Second, how do these people, most of whom are judgmental as hell, reconcile the fact their “savior” is a two-time divorcee who brought along his mistress on a family vacation, beat his first wife, uses the services of hookers and may have raped an underage girl? Then again, take a good look at the Dominionists where incest and pedophilia are rampant.

    1. EJ

      It’s my understanding that Dominionism has always had very ugly streaks of patriarchy and misogyny in it. Trump, who is almost the living breathing incarnation of the term “patriarch”, has merely brought it to the fore.

      (Also, could we not internet-diagnose people with mental illness, please? Stupidity and motivated reasoning are much more plausible hypotheses.)

      1. Yes, on the misogyny and patriarchy. They do not allow their girls to go to college and they are taught to their only worth is being brood mares. They also have these weird father/daughter weekends where they promise their virginity to their fathers until they marry and get rings and learn how to shave their fathers be obedient. Very, very creepy and reeks of incest.

    1. I did not watch the Arizona speech for obvious reasons. The reports indicate that it was actually worse than I expected.

      His last two occasions where he ad-libbed and was allowed to be himself, Tuesday following C’ville and last night have revealed a man who appears to be dangerously unhinged. Many senators are getting very unhappy and are speaking out. He will never get his agenda through the Senate using the tactics he is using. Former senior officials are speaking out with increasing frequency. I am beginning to wonder, if a resignation, implementation of the 25th Amendment, or beginning of the impeachment process is in the not too distant future. The problem is that there is not yet any sense of where the House stands and specifically the Freedom Caucus. Wee might begin to get a better sense next week after Congress returns from the recess.

      I might also mention that per the Washington Post, the crowd noticeably thinned as the rant wet on. Maybe even his base is getting fed up with him.

      Another thought is that the generals in the administration may be keeping Trump in tight control, except for such occasions as Phoenix, which was political. I do know they are coordinating with each other.

      Regardless, I am beginning to sense that a tipping point may be approaching. We’ll have to wait and see. I do know that I want TRump out of office. Having lived through Nixon’s disintegration and eventual resignation, I do see similarities.

      1. I heard from some sources that the crowd was much smaller than reported (certainly Trump is going to lie about his “bigliest” crowd yet) and that it was fairly obvious that they had hired people to fill in the crowd.

        “Another thought is that the generals in the administration may be keeping Trump in tight control, except for such occasions as Phoenix, which was political. I do know they are coordinating with each other”

        I heard Kelly was brought in to try and restrain the lunatic and that if he keeps bucking orders he will be taken down. Also, talk of a “suicide pact” between Kelly, McMasters and Mattis. If one goes, they will all go which is scary because then who will be in charge of the asylum and that’s exactly what the WH is these days.

        I think something is going to happen very, very soon. I could be wrong but I think we are reaching critical mass.

      2. EJ

        That’s an interesting point, tmerritt.

        What long term effect, if any, do you believe that President Trump’s tenure will have on the political landscape of the American Republic?

      3. EJ, I really have no idea. I suppose that a lot depends on how long he remains in office and how much damage is done. Most likely the his tenure will end up accelerating some of the changes that are already happening, such as the realignment of the political parties, which is under constant discussion in this blog.

      4. Trump is threatening to block approval of raising the debt ceiling if the budget doesn’t include “enough” funds for “his” wall. What could possibly go wrong here? “His” wall?

        Another point – As for Trump’s agenda – This has always been about the GOP agenda. They have ignored Trump’s rants/insults/incompetence only because they need him for “their” agenda, not from any respect for Trump’s agenda. Sure, the GOP apparatus has always opposed illegal immigration – but they’ve had many years to tackle that with walls, pathways to citizenship, etc when they have been in the majority, and haven’t. They are big supporters of the defense division, but even the GOP recognizes that the defense budget cannot dominate all other funding needs…And, so forth.

        Where we are in total agreement is the deathly silent Freedom Caucus. Not.a.peep. from them in a long time. We will soon find out what their agenda is as we approach Sept. 30 budget deadline and the debt ceiling vote.

        As for America’s political landscape? I believe it is forever changed. Unless and until the majority of Americans coalesce around national priorities that translate into a referendum, I don’t see any change for the better, and given a real national emergency, it could be worse because the normal function of our institutions has been so compromised.

        Wish I could be more positive. We do have elections in a year so there is an opportunity for change – if people vote for it.

  9. Off topic but has anyone else noticed how dejected and glum Orangina looks if he’s caught in a candid shot? Slumped shoulders and a very dejected expression on his face. I don’t think he’s finding this job as fun as he thought it would be and the delving into his personal life has got to be scaring the crap out of him.

  10. This is somewhat off-topic, but I listened carefully to Trump’s speech last evening on Afghanistan and have a few comments.

    First, it was the best speech that I have heard him make, bar none. It was obviously read from a teleprompter, but there seemed to be no ad libs or other departures from the prepared text.

    However, I have serious doubts regarding the “South Asia Strategy”
    1. The crux of the problem in Afghanistan is that the Pakistanis allow the Taliban to maintain safe havens in Pakistan and they provide material support to the Taliban.
    2. They do this to preserve their influence in Afghanistan.
    3. That is because they consider Afghanistan as a buffer zone and a safe zone in the event of conflict with India.
    4. India is considered an existential threat by the Pakistani military and in particular by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
    5. The Pakistani military and the ISI effectively control the Pakistani government.
    6. For this reason getting the Pakistanis to shut down the safe havens will be virtually impossible.
    7. For the “South Asia” strategy to succeed those safe areas must be shut down. Most likely the Pakistani military must be convinced that India is not an existential threat. That is essentially impossible. Thus, there is a quandary here.
    8. Furthermore inviting India into Afghanistan will be seen by Pakistan as a direct threat. Pakistan may react by shutting down US land routes into Afghanistan and rescinding overflight rights. The alternative is through the other “Stans” which are to greater or lesser degrees under the influence of Russia.
    9. An additional difficulty is that Trump is essentially neglecting the State Department. There is no ambassador to Afghanistan or Pakistan at this time and the State Department is severely understaffed.
    10. Perhaps Trump intends to allow the Americans to mount overt operations against the safe havens. Pakistan becomes an obstacle again.
    11. There are also the problems of extensive corruption in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    In summary, I feel that this entire South Asia strategy is basically a means of continuing the same old strategy, but repackaging and remarketing it. Until such time as the problems with Pakistan outlined above can be resolved, I do not see any means of getting to a negotiated settlement. The key is for Pakistan and India to make a rapprochement. As long as the Pakistani military controls Pakistan that is virtually impossible. Militaries do not easily give up their primary reason for existence.

    I may be missing something here in that Pakistan will be far more cooperative, but I’ve seen nothing recently to indicate that the dynamics that have existed for 70 years have changed.

    1. I think you summed it up well. I won’t even rip Trump for capitulating to the “swamp” here, because on this issue he’s not much different from other candidates who made big promises while running for office, but got a big reality check that things weren’t so simple upon taking office. Obama’s promise to close Gitmo comes to mind.

      But I will rip Trump on that asinine “I know more than the generals” statement, until he actually apologizes for it. Which is probably never.

    2. Good points all, TMerritt. I thought the speech was well written and nicely delivered as well. I have doubts (as an armchair foreign affairs critic) that anything will help bring peace to Afghanistan. There always seems to be a new group emerge after an old one is subdued. As for Pakistan – they received around $1B in financial aid last year from the US and other strategic benefits. Who needs whom the most, I wonder?

      At any rate, it didn’t take Bannon long to light a fire under Breitbart News on Trump’s decision to expand/extend America’s role in this country.

    3. I’ve noticed that some of the media is reporting that McMaster showed Trump a photo of Afghani women wearing miniskirts. Huffpost actually has that photo. The catch is that was only in Kabul, and was not typical of the remainder of the country. It was under the last King of Afghanistan, who was attempting to westernize Afghanistan. That king was subsequently assassinated and Afghanistan has been in a state of turmoil ever since. It was actually very unstable even then. The photo is very atypical. I have seen similar photos in some Afghan history books I have read.

      As far as the idea that Afghanistan at one time embraced Western values, that is nothing but a crock of s…. Afghanistan has been, is and will remain a very conservative Islamic state for the indefinite future. That is perfectly acceptable and the US must be cognizant of that.

      BTW, I have worked with an Afghan engineer. He was a good engineer and quite secular, though he was a practicing Muslim. Post 9/11 he presented some history classes on Afghanistan and recommended additional reading. I of course followed through.

    4. I think you pretty much nailed it Tmerrit. One thing I believe you missed though was his single line about “developing” Afghanistan to “defray the costs”. The devil is in the details, but like I said yesterday, that sure sounds like that he plans on stealing Afghan resources to pay for the occupation, which contravenes the Geneva Convention.

      There is a good Canadian movie about the mess in Afghanistan called Hyena Road. There is a line near the end of the movie, apparently that can be attributed to the Taliban: “You have the watches, but we have the time.”

      I don’t think any Western leader truly understands that.

      1. RIGHT ON!! I did miss the line regarding development. I believe that was when he was discussing India. The catch is that Western companies will almost certainly not be interested in developing Afghan resources, since the risks and the costs would be exhorbitantly high, without governmental funding and insurance. The same would largely be true for India. That is not true for China, however. China would be willing to take the risks and fund the developmental costs. Obtaining easy access to the resources of Central and Southern Asia is one of the major goals of the ‘one belt, one road’ initiative.

        The US was willing to take on those risks and costs when the West was developed. The transcontinental railroads were largely financed by the Government through land grants and other means. As recently as the 1950’s we were willing tax ourselves to develop the Interstate Highway System. Such initiatives now seem to be a thing of the past for various reasons. One of those is the reluctance of the modern Republican Party to develop infrastructure as Chris has discussed in the past.

    5. Thank you for taking one for the team and paying closer attention. From my side, I only kept my eyes on the news long enough to make sure he didn’t say something completely stupid like “And we’re gonna pull out — tomorrow, immediately!” or “We’re escalating our options and I have ordered a nuclear strike.” As soon as I got the gist that Afghanistan is business as usual* I moved on.

      Scanning the NYTimes ‘Partisan writing you shouldn’t miss’ overview of his speech, it pretty much just looks like everyone is in agreement in their own way that the entire event boiled down to ‘I’m not going to change anything about this right now.’ Which in this administration, is probably about as good as it’s gonna get.

      * I do sympathize with people on both the right and left that point out that calling the longest running American foreign war ‘business as usual’ or ‘normalcy’ is in itself part of the problem, and highly concerning.

  11. Shall we do another wager for fun? Does Trump pardon Arpaio at the rally tonight? I suck at predicting such things, but I’ll go out on a limb and say yes, yes he does. I have no doubts that he has been advised against doing so in the strongest possible terms, but I’ll wager the cheering of the cult goes to his head and he spontaneously pardons Arpaio on the spot to pump up the volume.

    I could be wrong.

    1. I think he might because he needs a sop to throw to his base after aligning himself with the traditionalists vs Bannon position on Afghanistan. Frankly – I’m not going to waste my energy worrying about what he may or may not do or how to react if he does pardon him. Arpaio is an old, vile, bigoted man and he will meet his karma sooner or later.

    2. I didn’t watch his rally (and why the hell is he still holding rallies anyway?) because I become physically ill watching his pursed up little mouth, that looks like a horse’s puckered up anus, moving and he’s painfully incoherent. After reading headlines all I could was think “what the hell did the fat orange fuck do now?” Reading up on it though all I can do is sigh and wonder how this grifter conned so many people. Low intellect, willful ignorance and racism must be much more widespread than I ever imagined.

      So much stupidity and same old, same old. Attacking the media, lies and incoherent babbling so the disconnect between this and his supporters actually thinking he “speaks for us” is incomprehensible. I got this comment off of another website and am baffled and disturbed it comes from a retired police officer. I hope they raise their testing standards.

      “Trump backer Randy Hutson, a retired Phoenix police officer, began standing in line more than seven hours before the speech was to start. “He is the first president I feel in my lifetime that speaks his mind and speaks from the heart,” Hutson said. “He says what needs to be said.””

      But no, he doesn’t. He neither thinks nor does he tell the truth and he has no heart nor moral compass.

      1. Yeah me too, as the media cycles spin their constant revolution across the Internet and television, I go through the rollercoaster and right now I’m right back at, “You guys seriously listen to this dude talk for, like, more than a minute, and think anything meaningful is coming out of that blowhole?”

        I guess maybe the proper response is a Socratic dialog: “You say he means what he says. What did he say? What does it mean? What did he say after that? What does that mean?” and so on. This would presume I am ever in a position to engage without getting riled up, which I’m bad at, so the dissonance just continues.

      2. Why is Trump still holding rallies? First, he must stroke his ego. Second, and I think more important, campaign funds may be used for legal expenses. Think of what’s coming at Trump via Mueller, and he’s going to need a lot of rallies, er, fund-raisers. Just last night Rachel Maddow reported on the NYT coverage of Trump’s shouting match with McConnell on August 8th, in which he berated McConnell for not protecting him from the Russia investigation. A former US DA stated that this clearly is a threat to the power of Congress to investigate, and therefore can be utilized along with Trump’s efforts to co-opt Comey, as interference, subject to the rules of impeachment, Title 18.

      3. I’ve thought a good deal about this common description of Trump and have concluded that he’s as fake as they come. He speaks of the plight of the working class yet undermines those programs and policies that would help them most. He appoints people who have actively worked to destroy the agencies they represent. He says he is for “all people” and then denounces Muslims and others. The list is too long to repeat and too irritating as well.

        About the only consistency in his rhetoric is his self-aggrandizement. I find nothing to admire or commend this man about and remain saddened that our nation – for whatever reasons – elected him as president.

      4. Say what you will about Obama but he was a statesman. Educated, eloquent, well-spoken and respected by allies and repaired a lot of damage the Bushes did to our standing abroad. It’s sad that Trump has destroyed all that in the short time he’s been in office.

  12. I’m having lunch and reading the GQ article about Dylann Roof and was struck by this phrase:

    “Over and over again, without even bothering to open his mouth, Roof reminded us that he did not have to answer to anyone. He did not have to dignify our questions with a response or explain anything at all to the people whose relatives he had maimed and murdered. Roof was safeguarded by his knowledge that white American terrorism is never waterboarded for answers, it is never twisted out for meaning, we never identify its “handlers,” and we could not force him to do a thing.”

    1. Also, this excerpt:

      And Trump showed us this, that we underestimated how vulnerable and precarious self-esteem is for white, working-class people in this society. They not only see the white elites, but then they see…”
      “They see us, black people, coming from behind, eclipsing them.”

      1. At some point, people have to accept responsibility for their choices. Under-educated, under-employed people spoke out in the last election, but did they make a good choice or just an easy choice?

        Consider that the nation’s exports are falling which means we’re not making things that other people want, or they’re making them for themselves and more cheaply. Either way, we’re talking jobs for the very group pointed out above.

        Consider that a study linking table top coal mining to disease and health problems is being shelved by the Trump administration. Consider that health care via the ACA – with all its short-comings- is even less available under the starvation plan of Trump – “just let it die on its own”. Until working class people start looking critically at what is happening vs what they were told “would happen”, they have essentially helped undermine their own situation.

      2. I will never feel even a molecule of pity for those who are willfully and spitefully ignorant. The quote sums up nicely the sort of person I’m talking about:

        “The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of whom will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

        I can’t force you to love your neighbor, nor would I ever try, because I believe in freedom of thought. Even bad thoughts. But at a bare minimum, I ought to be able to appeal to enlightened self interest- our society is most stable if everyone can meet basic needs. If stigginit to “those people” becomes more important than anything else, even your children’s future, that is malignant, cancerous spite. If that 50-70 million number is anywhere near correct, I fear for the future of the country, because that’s a serious metastasis.

      3. Chris has warned us (on the left) about extremism that is occuring in that sector. The Antifa is one group that identifies with liberal issues but may utilize extremist actions that mimic the Alt-right. We have to be very careful about how we interact with fringe elements . It’s difficult to change their minds if not impossible. But we can choose to not become involved with them.

      4. “They see us, black people, coming from behind, eclipsing them.”

        I think this idea, made whole by Obama, is why a great many high-income white men voted for our current 45th president.

        Obama’s election cast all their accomplishments in a different light. What did it say about their achievements when a black man can be elected president?

      5. I like the idea of the eclipse, this gradual thing that catches you unawares, creeps up and overtakes you while you’re preoccupied with day-to-day activities, secure in your status, and then this cosmic event takes place, and your life will never be the same.

        Better than the idea of the “race,” where one outruns the other. It mistakenly suggests a contest in which both sides take off from the same starting point, and both sides are working equally hard. Not so.

      1. I understand Tutta. Despair is a very painful human experience. The tragedy is that Trump and his team cultivated those experiencing it without really caring about the people for any other reason than their votes. His agenda has made these people’s lives harder – especially in regards to health care. His support to end the ACA without a viable replacement would have been devastating for the poor and low wage earners. But, at least this need was brought into public view which had to be affirming to those experiencing this sense of futility.

  13. And while most of the U.S. media and blogsphere continues on about the madman and his racism, that Scientific American article shows that this regime continues apace with its anti-science policies.

    While there is no doubt that the last week’s comments from the puppet tyrant once again prove his unfitness to hold ANY position of power, this crew’s crimes against humanity will continue, regardless if the tyrant or his V.P. is in power.

    If there was ever a justification for a coup, I would think trying to save certainly hundreds of millions, likely billions, perhaps most of the entire human race, from horrible living conditions or death would be it.

    Oh, and I expect the puppet tyrant tyrant to ditch the 4th article of the Geneva Convention tonight when he discusses the Afghan mineral wealth as some kind of compensation for the american invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

      1. That’s why I chose to go to Beto O’Roarke’s town-hall style meeting last Saturday rather than do any statue protests. My time is not infinite, and I decided it was best spent telling a MoC about my concern over this war on science that the GOP wages, and making some contacts for future volunteer work. Protesting peacefully is a fine thing, but it won’t do the heavy lifting. We need some turnover in Congress badly.

  14. A statue of Bill Clinton, assembled in some distant future by a men’s rights group, who wanted to use it to commemorate their successful campaign to legalize and legitimize rape, would definitely be something that should be torn down.

    The stubborn determination of most white Americans to not grasp what this means is kind of infuriating.

    1. So, you would not accept a statue of Bill Clinton under any circumstances? What if the town of Hope, Arkansas decides to “erect” a statue of him, simply in honor of their hometown boy (if they haven’t already)? Or is it only the intent that you consider important?

      Maybe statues are put up for nefarious reasons, but over time they lose that nefariousness, because the people who put them up are no longer alive, and a statue is just a statue.

      1. One of the problems here is that the excuse the sugar-coated the real reasons (it’s heritage!) has taken on a life of its own, and it prevents people from facing up to all of this. We keep getting these flareups on this issue because we won’t come to terms with the bad parts of our history. It’s like an infection that keeps coming back because we refuse to take ALL the antibiotics.

      2. I am going to suggest something radical – how many of you think that if there were a genuine effort to correct the racial issues that impede people’s right to vote, a quality education, opportunity to work and advance, and respect for one’s race that the issue of statues would become moot?

      3. It’s like me getting all bent out of shape over the use of the word EXPAT. It infuriates me, because I see it as an unconscious belief in the superiority of white people living abroad (versus non-whites, who are referred to as MIGRANTS or IMMIGRANTS). People who use that word are clueless, unable to grasp how it could possibly offend anyone, but I know they are still good people, and I’m not going to demand they stop using that word.

      4. Mime, I have thought the same thing, but I was afraid it might sound callous if I said “there are more important things to worry about than statues.”

        I know statues mean something, and I don’t want to dismiss the importance of that.

      5. Actually, all of these issues are relevant, it’s overwhelming to try to order them. I understand the message these images send and my hope is that all of the actions and discussion surrounding the Confederate symbols will result in something far finer and more significant. I am not a black person and therefore cannot feel the same as they must when viewing these symbols, but I deeply believe that we continue to ignore the big problems while tinkering around the edges. Respect for others, equality of access, dignity – those are the core problems that concern me more even as I see the pain and anger represented by these monuments. Even if we take down every Confederate monument, flag, etc, what will we have achieved on the bigger issues? It’s like building “the wall” without addressing the millions of illegal immigrants within America. You can hunt people down and lock them up and ship them out – and STILL NOT have a comprehensive immigration process?

      6. It’s funny that you brought that up. I attended a continuing ed class today for seniors and one of the discussion topics dealt with the Confederate statue issue. It may amuse you to learn that I approached this topic first from an “art” pov. Art’s importance is its construction, quality, appropriateness and message. Our society and discourse has broken down so completely that we lack the ability to manage a civil discussion about these monuments. When the intent of a monument is to convey a message of power and oppression, it will be viewed differently by people from different backgrounds – especially if the history of the pieces becomes known – as is happening today. I would prefer that these statues be preserved in a museum accompanied by a thorough historical and social history explanation rather than destroyed. I used the example of visiting the Holocaust Museum in an earlier post which teaches through pictures, symbols, and history – without a word being spoken. Or, experiencing the tragedy of Pearl Harbor in that stirring, emotional presentation in Hawaii. I’m not so naive to believe that you can teach all people, but I do believe that we should always try. The good that hopefully will emerge from these monuments and their removal (or not) is for people to learn the lessons of history and why these pieces of art convey painful messages to many Americans.

      7. mime, sounds like an interesting discussion.

        I think Gail Collins’ idea is a practical one: every 20 years, put the statue up for renewal. She cites a few examples that definitely need a cleansing of yaes or naes.

        Not a perfect idea, given the voter suppression of our day, but still, an idea.

        A comment by a professor in her article reminded me of something I heard a gallery owner say: “When I’m delivering a painting to a buyer, it’s just a bunch of pigment on canvas bouncing around in the back of my van. But as I get into the condo elevator in River Oaks, something magical happens. On the way up, it becomes art.”

      8. So true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, thus the inverse must be true as well. I love Gail Collins and her quirky sense of practical humor. I just read this piece by SPLC that offers some historical perspective to this topic. I hope this doesn’t duplicate another post. I’ve read so many articles on this topic that my brain can’t recall where I found them!

      9. Here’s a statement from the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum on the events of Charlottesville.

        “At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we are committed to bringing history—with all of its pain and its promise—front and center. Only when we illuminate the dark corners and tell the unvarnished truth can we learn history’s lessons and bridge the gaps that divide us.”–

      1. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not an excuse. I don’t know have we overcome this except through time and education. Obviously, hatred, bigotry and racism are not dying out, as evidenced by the age of those marching in the streets. This flaw in mankind will always be with us – the only question is degree – and that factor is within the control of the majority.

    2. Don’t call me white – I’m Mexican-American. 🙂

      Seriously, though, it’s not just about what Blacks and Whites think. I’m sure Americans of Hispanic, East Asian, and Middle Eastern descent have their own opinions on the matter, as objective “bystanders,” or as minorities who would put themselves in the shoes of either Blacks or Whites, depending on whom they identify with.

      As a Mexican-American I identify with both sides (Black and White), at different times, and depending on the circumstances. It’s not a matter of convenience, or of my skin color. It’s a feeling that comes deep from within. It’s hard to describe.

      1. “… I’m sure Americans of Hispanic, East Asian, and Middle Eastern descent have their own opinions on the matter…..”

        A most excellent point. Add to that many White Americas who are descending from the waves of immigrants who arrived post-Civil War (and weren’t considered to be White back in that day). They wouldn’t have the family ties to the Old South and as much emotional attachment, although some could still
        “adopt” the mythos to fit in.

        I’m a mongrel in that respect. One grandparent came through Ellis Island; two others were the children of such immigrants. The 4th is from people with English ancestry from the Ohio/West Virginia region, so probably not Confederate sympathizers. I know the least about the branch of the family tree that’s been in this country the longest, so my personal vision of America isn’t inclined to romanticize the Old South.

      2. We will have arrived as a nation and a people when we are able to respond as individuals without racial or ethnic qualifiers. IOW, this is how “I” feel – not, this is how I feel as a white person or person of color… This person is my friend, not “this person is my black or Mexican friend”.

      3. True, Mime, but this is how “I” feel, and “I” happen to be of Mexican descent, so being of Mexican descent does play a role in how “I” feel, although “I” cannot speak for all people of Mexican descent, so in the end I guess it does come down to the individual. Still, I am not just an individual. My views are “colored” by my ethnic background, my gender, my upbringing, among many other things.

        I’m sure your perspective is affected by the fact that you’re Louisianan.

      4. Mais, yeah! I’m looking generations ahead Tutta when we can focus more on the individual for their own inherent qualities and efforts rather than their race or ethnicity. People should be proud of their heritage, but not drown in it.

    3. As a first generation American, it wouldn’t bother me if all the Confederate statues came down. None of my ancestors were in the country at the time of the Civil War and the 70 decades afterwards. I feel no connection to that period of time. Pull down the silly statues if that makes you happy. If you are so sure that the “intent” of putting up the statues was to promote racism, cleanse the country of part of history.

      On the other hand, Bill Clinton has been actively abusing women during my lifetime. I’m sure that was his “intent” or he would have stopped his predatory behavior before he got caught lying about Monica Lewinsky.

      Aren’t the people honoring Bill Clinton “intentionally” ignoring that part of his history?

      Saying Bill Clinton did much for women’s rights is a cop-out. It’s like an abolitionist not giving his own slaves freedom.

      It’s complicated, isn’t it? People aren’t completely bad or completely good. Discerning intent is not easy.

      1. “Aren’t the people honoring Bill Clinton “intentionally” ignoring that part of his history?”

        Nope. It would be looking at the whole of his history and weighing that. It the same reason that the argument for taking down monuments to Washington or Jefferson doesn’t work. Your false equivalence is more original, I’ll give you that.

        Also, this is no endorsement for any statues of Clinton on my part, as he doesn’t rank among the great Presidents in my estimation. He squandered some great potential.

      2. If we’re going to start comparing virtues of male public figures, that is a slippery slope to go down when you have Trump as potus. Let’s focus on men who ride horses in breeches. That should just about cover the range.

      3. You beat me to it Mary. One can’t castigate Clinton without also condemning Trump, Mr. “Grab ‘Em By The Pussy”, who still has heavy rumors of all kinds of kinky hijinks with hookers, some possibly underage and is verbally and emotionally abusive to staff and family. Heck he bragged about drunken orgies to the BSoA.

      4. It isn’t complicated when you’ve already made up your mind. Some of us are still thinking about it.

        If I were on city council I would invite my constituents to provide their views on the matter. I would encourage EVERYONE to participate, lest the loud ones get their way as usual — all my constituents — White and especially Black — and all other ethnicities, because it’s their community, too. I would take their views into account, read up on the topic, and hopefully I’d have enough information to be confident enough to decide one way or another and cast my vote.

      5. EJ

        By all means, let’s tear down statues of rapists and wife-beaters. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people will complain very loudly when you force them to acknowledge that their favourite cultural and historical figures were far worse than we’d like to admit.

        (Here’s a fun experiment: try to convince a Beatles fan of the well-recorded fact that John Lennon was a domestic abuser. Ask them how they feel about listening to his music knowing that. See how angry they get at you.)

        I have to take Chris’s side here: a statue built to honour Bill Clinton would not primarily be intended as a statement on gender (though perhaps a more enlightened future will one day interpret it as such.) A statue of Robert Lee, built during Jim Crow, is primarily a statement on race. Therein lies the difference.

      6. EJ

        By the way, objv:
        What kinship, if any, do you feel with those kinsmen of ours who went to America after the Springtime of Nations and fought for the Federal government during the American Civil War? Carl Schurz and Franz Sigel are the highest-profile ones I can think of, but there were tens of thousands of others.

      7. “(Here’s a fun experiment: try to convince a Beatles fan of the well-recorded fact that John Lennon was a domestic abuser. Ask them how they feel about listening to his music knowing that. See how angry they get at you.)”

        I’ll admit that OJ Simpson was very funny in “The Naked Gun”, despite his history of being an abuser. I once enjoyed Bill Cosby’s comedy very much, but now I can’t. I’m also a fan of Richard Wagner’s music. His personal life (adultery, failure to pay debts, extreme egotism, bigotry) sounds quite familiar. But it’s easier to separate the artist from the art if they’ve been dead for over a century.

  15. Interesting article about electric cars as well. One of the modules I undertook for my MsC was energy, and no single component of an electrified future based on renewable energy can work singly without being integrated into a completely overhauled system of electricity delivery. In other words, you would have to have a smart grid, decentralised power stations, energy storage systems, smart meters that enable the DNO to access your domestic electricity consumption details, domestic battery storage etc that is part of a synergistic whole. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t start switching over, and as soon as possible. And I’m not surprised about this administration’s decisions, they seem to be based on petty spite

    1. Yea, I posted it because we had the same problem. I wanted a Tesla, but we live in a hundred year old house. The wiring in our garage was, let’s say…”improvised.” There’s no way I can power an electric car without having some serious work done on our house, including a new circuit box.

      1. I probably could power an electric car at my house, but there’s the lack of other places to power it. What’s the range on them now? My current car can do a Houston San Antonio round trip on one tank. If electric cars get comparable range that would be a big breakthrough.

      2. Re – electric cars
        You simply do NOT need a lot of power
        If you do 40 miles in a day then you need about 15 Kwhrs to re-charge it

        With a small 3 Kw charger that is 5 hours!

        As you will be charging every night that is probably 1/3rd of the time that the car is sitting there each night

        If you are a heavy user – say 200 miles a day – which is a LOT then you need a larger charger
        But that is still only 75 Kwhrs – so you could use a 6 Kw charger (about the same as a dryer) and charge it in 12.5 hrs – out of the 15 or so that it is sitting there
        Or use the 11 Kw charger that the article is talking about and put it on a timer so it operates in the wee hours when everybody is asleep and nobody is using the dryer

        If you have a supply to your garage then you should be able to use the 3 Kw or 6 Kw chargers
        3 Kw is (in the UK) a kettle!
        You can charge a Tesla from empty to full with a dinky 3 Kw charger in 30 hours
        Or two days with using the car inbetween

        Flypusher – an EV uses electricity – there are sockets EVERYWHERE – every house or business has several

        I have the charger in my car (my icon) set to a very low current specifically so that I can plug into any outlet – even the light duty ones

      3. Duncan – A typical hair dryer uses about 1,500 watts, or about 25% of the 6kW you stated. Not the same at all.

        Having said that, I think EVs are actually much more useful than most give them credit for. For over 95% of people, even their current range is quite sufficient for 95% of their trips. And actually, in most installations, upgrading charging capacity in a garage is not that expensive. (Chris is an exception.)

        On the other hand, the grid is *no where near* ready to take the additional load that would come with very widespread use of EVs. This is the problem. It’s not range, or any of that.

    2. Hoonteo, you are correct that we need to start making the modifications to the grid and electric transmission and distribution systems to accommodate a future with electric vehicles. I am a Professional Electrical Engineer who specialized in electric power systems and realize that using solar power and electric vehicles will be an important part of the future. However that can be accomplished. But as you say, we will need to allow the electric utilities to have control of many of the in home and facility distribution systems.

      Chris, regarding the modifications to your home, at this time the costs would be substantial. Nevertheless, those changes will gradually come about. Our home in central Seattle is also over a century old. It originally had coal heat and gas lighting. Then electricity was installed using knob and tube wiring. It was converted to a duplex in the early 1950’s. We have had new services installed for both apartments and many of the outlets have been converted to grounded wiring. The services could handle a charging station but that would require a considerable amount or rework. However as I outlined, the changes do get done over a period of time.

      When we sell, the house will likely be reconverted to a single family home with a major remodel including complete rewiring and replumbing. But do not forget that the widespread use of electricity is only a little more than a century old.

      Fly, I know the problem. I am beginning to look for a new vehicle. I would like a hybrid, but I need a SUV that is suitable for off-road travel. Hybrids at present are not suitable for those uses. I sometimes go 30-40 miles into the backcountry on rough dirt roads and need a reliable vehicle for those trips.

      1. Hi Fiftyohm
        A “dryer” is a cloths dryer! – being a bit “short” in the hair department I never even thought of a “Hair Dryer”!

        I would also say that the Grid is not very stressed by adding electric cars as the vast majority of the charging will be done when the rest of the loads are very low

        By the time that there are significant numbers of EV’s to worry about there will actually be a lot of people with their own home batteries (from crashed EV’s) and these have the effect of reducing the peak loads on the grid plus as batteries get cheaper there will be lots of battery substations – if there is a high peak load it is often cheaper to install some batteries than to upgrade the feeders

        Your grid does need to be upgraded but you will find that EV’s will actually make more of a contribution than a problem

      2. Duncan – Are you sure you didn’t use one of those 6kW hairdryers? That could be what happened to your hair!

        Here’s a link regarding a review of data from the National Grid in the UK.

        The grid is in fact “no where near ready”. The problem is not simple capacity, but integrated load balancing. There is currently very, very little of this technology in place. I didn’t say it was impossible. We’re just a long way from the goal.

      3. Hi Fifty
        That article –
        I don’t know why people who don’t think logically are asked to write these things
        The writer starts by assuming that batteries are going to get larger – a reasonable assumption
        He then leaps to the conclusion that the much larger batteries will need to be 75% charged EVERY DAY
        The fact that that would mean that the overall miles driven would then be five times the miles driven now escapes his comprehension!

        And the whole of the rest of the article is about that misapprehension!!

        The comments about people who cannot charge at home are correct – but then he talks about charging on his drive using a wire through the window!
        Somebody who does not know about outdoor sockets should not be writing that sort of article

        The fact that it was from the “National Grid” just means that somebody there got the tea boy or the idiot son of a senior manager to write it

        As far as “Integrated load balancing” is concerned – damn right the grid has Integrated load balancing – and it will need LESS when there are lots of EV’s

      4. First :

        Next : Integrated load balancing. These are virtually no appliances that modify the load they present to the grid based on signals or information from it. The exceptions prove the rule – like time of use for air conditioners, for example.

        Let’s say that everyone has a 10 kW charger. They plug their cars in at 6:00 when they get home from work. Well, wuddya think is gonna happen? Somehow, the load from all these appliances has to be apportioned both in time, and space on various sub-grids in a coordinated fashion. No system for this exists.

        Your sanguinity is shared by virtually no one in the power distribution community. As an electrical engineer myself, I see myriad complexities associated with the problem. Arm-waving them away solves nothing. Yes Duncan, there is a problem, whether you choose to believe it or not. I happen to think it’s one worth solving. The way forward is to acknowledge it in the first place.

  16. That’s such a wonderful way of describing the arc of justice, may it long be so. I hesitate to comment on anything American, because I’m not one, but I wonder if the statues are controversial because they unfortunately serve the same psychological function as the Orangemen marches in North Ireland. In other words a show of force where the dominant power ( the Confederacy ) lords it over the power-less ( the ex slaves ). Happy to discuss

    1. Yes. Exactly. Although the Orangemen marches have a more explicit purpose. One of the factors that makes racial reconciliation so complicated in the US is the culture of denial on the subject. We’re supposed to pretend that those statues are “historical monuments.” The Orange marches are relatively direct.

      On a side note, there is a strong cultural connection between the Protestant Scots and Irish in the UK and the “Scots-Irish” in the US, right down to religion, music and politics. Large numbers of border Scots and Northern Irish protestants immigrated to the Southern US in the decades before and just after the Revolution. The similarities between Southern culture in the US (especially in poorer, hill country regions) and the loyalists in Northern Ireland are remarkable, and not an accident.

      1. There’s a big difference between statues that just stand there and a direct show of force. Just about every small town in East Texas has an MLK street, and even Beaumont has an MLK park, even if there may have been resistance to this. I don’t see why it’s necessary to tear down controversial white monuments if we are building and naming new ones after historical African-American figures.

      2. I’m a white person. Don’t call those “white monuments.” They are not monuments to my race, my values or my identity.

        My heritage, like everyone else’s is broad and vast. People could have put up a lot of interesting statues to commemorate a white heritage. They chose Confederate military figures for some specific reasons, and those reasons were intimately intwined with a campaign a violence they were carrying out at the same time those monuments went up.

      3. I don’t believe monuments should be erected to people whose lives were dedicated to tearing down our country. There are many fine examples of black and brown people who have made significant contributions for our country and their race. They deserve recognition beyond their community, yet, where are their monuments?

        It’s similar to the issue of edited Texas history and science textbooks. Just because those who control the TXBOE don’t “like” or “want” much space or discussion in these texts for certain people and ideas, doesn’t make their contributions less important to Texas’ history. Controlling the minds and hearts of people, especially our young people, by controlling textbook content is egregious to me. How do you overcome this problem? With the vote. Texas’ history in this area has been seriously compromised.

      1. Well, no. The argument is that those statues were erected specifically to communicate with the black community. The message they were meant to communicate is fundamentally violent. It may look to you like the “good guys” won the war, but we’re still here. We still control all of the mechanisms of power. Our legacy is still more powerful than your right to protect your children. And if you step out of line, we will use the same violence we wielded against your ancestors to crush you.

        Go back far enough and almost every major US figure supported slavery. Not all of them murdered their fellow Americans to protect it.

      2. Those statues are rhetoric, erected to communicate a specific point of view in response to social and legal events in the U.S.

        In Whose Heritage?, a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are graphics that show when various confederate statues were installed.

        The step-up in installations coincided with race riots, the civil rights movement and legal rulings that ‘separate but equal’ was just fine.

        The SPLC committed acts of excellent technical communication in their report.

        Simply counting the installations, noting where they are, and when they were installed certainly clarifies half of the ‘it’s our heritage’ meme.

        The other half, usually unspoken and untweeted, is ‘and we don’t want people of color to get any ideas about who makes the rules around here’.

  17. I still have my doubts as to whether removal of the statues is a good thing. I see it as denying history. We should preserve our history, warts and all. These people were a product of their time. No one is or was perfect. I don’t like the idea of the removal of statues taking place overnight, undercover, without the vote of the greater community. It reeks of purging, of history in this case. These rash decisions are being made out of fear, under threat and pressure from small groups. That’s not the way to go about it.

    I think statues of African-American leaders and educators should be erected and placed alongside the statues of controversial white figures, to illustrate the continuity of our history, to represent the arc that bends toward justice mentioned by Dr. King.

    1. Did you feel that way while watching all the statues of Lenin and Stalin being taken down in places like Poland and East Germany in the 90’s? Did you feel that way while watching the Berlin Wall dismantled? I didn’t.

      I won’t miss our memorials to racial terrorism. Even as a kid I thought they deserved to be hacked down and dragged through the streets. They have never had any purpose other than oppression. Good riddance.

    2. Tutta, I think you are missing the distinction between remembering and honoring. Ed Rogers of all people (he’s one of the token Trump apologists on WaPo’s OpEd section) came up with the perfect test- if a child asks you “What did this person do to deserve a statue?”, and you cannot answer with anything more than “He fought in the Civil War on the side that wanted to preserve slavery”, then it needs to be moved. Putting a statue of someone in a public place is an honor (in addition to other messages it can send, as Chris has mentioned). It is long past due that we question who we choose to honor, and why.

      1. EJ

        There are plenty of Southerners who acted admirably in the abolitionist cause; a quick google suggests Robert Purvis and William Wells Brown. If people from yhe Southern states want to commemorate their heritage without also supporting white supremacism, they would be good people to build statues of.

      2. These statues were symbols of power “over” others. Domination. They are also erected in public places near public buildings – courthouses, etc. I would like to see a concerted effort to erect statues of people who have made positive contributions to our communities and country. Why not Barbara Jordan? Start a list – you will be surprised at who is Not memorialized as much as who is.

    3. Interesting discussion.

      If statues commemorating Confederate heroes are to be taken down, what about statues to others who offend large groups of people?

      I would say that a statue of Bill Clinton sends a message that it is okay for men in power to abuse and take advantage of women.

      Should his statue come down? It offends me. Off with his (statue’s) head!

      1. It’s not about who may be offended. It’s about why is this person being honored? It’s about the reasons underlying the veneer of the excuses. I really can’t see anyone putting up a Bill Clinton statue to “put women in their place.” There’s also the grey area of even if you don’t like his personal behavior, were Women’s issues/concerns in a better place or not as a result of his time in office?

      2. A statue of Bill Clinton, assembled in some distant future by a men’s rights group, who wanted to use it to commemorate their successful campaign to legalize and legitimize rape, would definitely be something that should be torn down.

        The stubborn determination of most white Americans to not grasp what this means is kind of infuriating.

      3. Another example- Donald J. Trump disgusts and offends me greatly. But would I say don’t put his picture or statue among the likenesses or the other Presidents? No, I wouldn’t because he’s one of them, no matter how rotten and incompetent he is. Harding and A. Johnson and Buchanan are still remembered, as bad as they were.

      4. OMG – if we start making a list of all the males memorialized in statues who abused and asserted power over women, we’d create a whole new field of employment – there are so many. I think it is entirely appropriate for Little Rock to commemorate Bill Clinton’s service to his state is they so choose, but given the politics of Arkansas, I don’t think we’ll see that happening for a while.

    4. Unless our written history is purged I doubt anyone is going to forget it, with or without statues. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other about them. I don’t think they should be vandalized or destroyed though. Moved to museums perhaps.

      I feel that too many of my fellow Southerners are way too caught up in some romantic version of the old Confederacy. Too much Gone with the Wind or something. The reality was brutal and ugly and should not be revered or celebrated.

      1. Exactly. Exceptions exist (Auschwitz being perhaps the most singular example), but by and large, if the intent is to honor history, then do it in the classroom and with every successive generation. It’s not as glamorous as building a statue or a monument, but the difference in substance is like the gap between the heavens and the earth.

    5. If you honestly believe that, would you support building statues of Hitler and Himmler in Germany with respect to the memory of WWII? I certainly hope not.

      Robert E. Lee got didn’t want monuments to the Confederacy or the Civil War built. He believed they “kept open the sores of war”, and he was right. Furthermore, these statues aren’t about honoring history or anything of the sort. They were built as a message to African-Americans that no matter what happened, they would always be an inferior people and they should never forget who their betters were.

      If they couldn’t be put in actual chains anymore, they’d be chained by social and economics conditions to the fullest extent possible. That is what these statues represent. That is their purpose, and it’s a repulsive and disgusting one.

    6. Tuttabella-

      I think putting up a statue to Robert E Lee is denying history. Whoever states that the statue is only there to remember Lee’s brilliance as a military commander is denying the history of what cause and country he chose to apply that brilliance to.

      William T. Sherman spent most of his military time pre-civil war in the South, and rather than apply his considerable military talents in support of the South, he begged and pleaded with the Southerners to not start this war, telling them they are guaranteed to lose. And when they didn’t listen — unlike Robert E Lee — he resigned his position as the head of the Luisiana Military academy and joined the North.

      That’s a southerner that should be heralded: he was every bit as brilliant as Lee (probably more), but even with the risk of losing most of his career, he warned the South against war, and then joined the North when they didn’t listen. If you believe Lee was a reluctant supporter of the South, that he personally believed the Civil War was foolish, as some apologists believe, then he’s a coward: unwilling to have the courage of his convictions in the gravest matter of the day, and choosing his own honor as the leader of an army over his conscience as a “good man” (if that was indeed the case).

      As another poster said, monuments can be used to celebrate or to be remembered. For example, most war memorials celebrate the war, but the Vietnam War Memorial is to remember. No one views it as a celebration of the War. IOW, there are ways to remember shameful periods of our history and not forget the lessons we should have learned from them. Putting up a statue of Lee on his horse charging against his enemy (we Americans) is not a way to do that.

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