Michael Maiello's picture

    Identity Politics is Actually Important

    Since the election numerous critics of the left, some from the left and some not, have identified "identity politics" as a culprit in Democratic political failure and the election of Donald Trump.  Identity politics is a great term for this because it, ironically, covers up more than it reveals.

    Best I can tell, identity politics just means that religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, largely through the Democratic party or left of center political movements, make the case for equal and dignified treatment in society.  This should not be controversial, but it apparently is.

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    Fusing Group Identity and Class-Based Politics

    In respective post-election “taking stock” articles, Columbia History Professor Mark Lilla for the New York Times and Alex Seitz-Wald at NBC suggest how the Democratic Party can return to prominence. Lilla contends that Trump’s victory should mark the End of Identity Liberalism. Identity liberalism, as practiced by Democrats like Hillary Clinton, consists of appeals to discrete groups identified by race, ethnicity, gender, and sexually orientation. This is a losing strategy, Lilla argues, and must be rejected in favor of one that seeks to attract voters based on shared economic interests and overarching national goals.

    tmccarthy0's picture

    A Potemkin Presidency with Baghdad Sean and Tokyo KellyAnn

    It's been a really weird day and a half. Things changed drastically for me after I'd read Emperor Tiny Fists inaugural address. The carnage was apparent as I approached the bus stop to go to the Womyn's March in Seattle. The carnage was real, I stepped over bodies as I ran to the unprotected bus stop. I knew I had to stop at a Walmart and get a shotgun because bears often attack us near public schools. It's a known fact grizzly, and brown bears crave a public education. After that, I made my way to the Army Surplus store to get some body armor because of all the carnage in the city! Every single day it's like NCIS LA out there. We've all seen it, we just didn't know we saw it. Alternative Facts people, you don't know, no one does.

    Play Ball (Better Luck Next Year)

    1) Focus on things that make a difference - ignore the chatter and buzz, the click-bait and easy gotchas - they just chip away at time. Baseball announcers have to fill a lot of dead air, so can talk about anything from root canals and outboard motors and somehow connect it to the game. My mother called it "diarrhea of the mouth", but in baseball circles they call it "a good living" or "Harry Carey", depending.

    2) Time is money, money is time, and we don't have enough of either. Stop the class warfare over money - money largely wins elections and ball games. Everyone says the players are overpaid, but they still buy tickets and fill the stadium. Care about values, cultivate rich ethical friends, fast track the road to wins.

    (Jesus corollary: as the poor will be with us always, so will the rich and glamorous and obnoxious. Deal with it).

    3) Watch Moneyball, take away key points: a) adapt or die, b) you're not out to replace a player - you're out to buy scores and wins, c) the competition will copy your successful techniques if allowed, d) don't trust the polls - do your own analytics.

    PS - argue about candidate values and flaws and street-cred *after* you win the pennant - until then, make lemonade: get up earlier, hustle after grounders, and don't confuse being a player with being a commentator.

    Did we give up? (when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor)

    An old yogi asked me once, "is the purpose of suffering to suffer?", presumably to mean it's to learn, as a way to avoid suffering. He continued, "the baby poops its diaper - do you put a flower in it? No, of course you don't put a flower in it - you clean the diaper".

    Yes, to stay on this road is to kill ourselves, spiritually, psychically, maybe if lucky even physically. Gurdjieff talked about a man enthralled with this most beautiful fruit he'd discovered, so much he couldn't put it down, even though the red peppers were killing him. Yes, we as a party and a people do love to hear ourselves talk.

    28 years ago, the Berlin wall came down, freeing millions behind the Iron Curtain soon followed by apartheid crumbling in South Africa and then the Soviet Union itself. The US responded as it usually does, put on its suit, grabbed its briefcase, went out to try to sell these people something - computers, fertilizer, cars, deodorant, stuff. Plenty of stuff.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Donald J. Trump: Beyond the Thunderdome

    I guess I missed it, somehow... the ruination of America, the collapse of society, the onset of post-history.  I thought Donald Trump didn't read much and was not a reflective man, but he does seem have to a taste for Cormac McCarthy:

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    librewolf's picture

    The Strange Firing of Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz

    Let me share the strange tale of the firing of Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz who is in charge of the joint forces gathered for the inauguration on Friday.

    He "has spent months" helping with the planning of protection of the President-Elect/President, along with everyone else. In other words, this requires a high degree of coordination. The Washington Post broke the story and gives explicit detail.  Here are the specifics...

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Diane Nash: Still Fighting

    In an era where the left seems more occupied with being right about their technocratic arguments than engaging meaningful causes related to life and death, it was refreshing to travel from my little corner of the Confederacy amid the throngs of Confederate flags and Trump Minions to meet someone who risked it all. Diane Nash's humility was the only thing that topped her quick wit and intellect. She wrote her will at 19! To put that in context, most of the new left (some twice her age then) won't stand up to their boss and ask for a raise. The new left expects people to follow them into battles over the environment or trade deals,but then turn their back when it comes time to address police brutality and our fraudulent criminal justice system.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    No Negotiations Without Preconditions

    No Black person with a prominent platform should meet with Donald Trump or representatives from the Trump administration without preconditions. The United States government has a long-standing policy of setting preconditions for negotiating with hostile state actors. This is a policy Black America should employ as we move into the age of Trumpism. The duplicitous nature of Donald Trump’s rhetoric has damaged any credibility his words have. If he’s serious about his outreach efforts (something I doubt) his next move needs to be his best move. The CDC and Pfizer couldn’t make a panacea capable of eradicating his past racial transgressions, or the racially insensitive attacks on Barack Obama, but taking some bold steps in the right direction would be a good start to open the space for future negotiations.

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    Selfish Loser Dems

    Establishment favorite neo-liberal Hillary Clinton faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.  Ultimately, Clinton lost disastrously in November to historically unpopular billionaire Donald Trump who posed as an economic populist. Sanders is now probably the most well-liked politician in America. Under these circumstances, you could be forgiven for expecting a chastened shrunken Democratic Senate minority to unite behind an unabashedly progressive economic agenda, but you’d be wrong.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Barack Obama, American Stoic

    If the Founding Fathers had a chance to meet Barack Obama, they would of course be shocked. Even the most enlightened of them were not prepared to imagine an African-American President. And what they would think about his policies is anyone's guess: the Founders' political philosophies were shaped by their political environments, and they wouldn't fit easily into today's debates.

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    Fuck Da Noize

    Yesterday a female CEO/glorified saleswoman "broke LinkedIn"** with a potty-mouth post to blatantly flog her not-so-in-demand and rather niche/regional product. Predictably it got a lot of reads, attention, comments, and a predictable followup post - basically, "so I said fuck, get over it".

    LinkedIn will undoubtedly not "get over it", but *will* absorb the change and suffer another hit to its already waning fortunes as professional-network-turned-Facebook, anticipating the day where it becomes MySpace (read: past tense).

    But the noise is instructive. She did what many insurrectionists will do - drive the bus straight into the wall and laugh about it. The famed article "The Tragedy of the Commons" was based more on shared markets being damaged by neglect, less cared for than private spaces - Adam Smith's non-benign one-handed twin.

    Here the noise is not just the uproar - it's also the cognitive dissonance - the "you can't do that" feeling that destroys our confidence and basic precepts, violates our now (epi-?)genetically encoded values system - taking the last cookie without asking, crossing the street on red, etc., etc.

    librewolf's picture

    Globalization, Lost Jobs, Immigration and More

    Long before one line of NAFTA was written, manufacturing in the United States was dying. Not just factory after factory was shuttered, but entire industries were shipped out of the country, until virtually noting remained. While it is not part of this discussion, as manufacturing left, the strength of unions bled out onto the broken foundations of the dead factory floors. By the 1970's there was already the movement from an Industrial to Post Industrial society, and the burning question was 'Could a society that produced nothing survive?' (Something that is still a viable question) However, the question that was not raised until much later was 'Can the middle class survive?'

    Donald Trump Attacks Civil Rights Legend John C. Lewis.

    Representative John C. Lewis does not view Donald Trump as a legitimate President.Lewis believes that Russia and other forces aided Trump's victory. Trump responded with a predictable, insulting tweet condemning Lewis for being all talk and no action. Trump also told Lewis to work on improving the poor, black, and crime-infested neighborhood that the Civil Rights icon represents. Trump has no idea about the location of Lewis', Trump operates from racial bias. Lewis's district includes wealthy areas like Buckhead, the airport, and Georgia Tech. Trump cannot envision a black man representing a wealthy community. Trump is a racist.

    Why Trump's Inauguration Will Be Different Than Any Before

    Calling Donald Trump’s rise to the highest seat in the United States eventful is an understatement. In about one week, Trump will take the stage and officially be inaugurated as the 45h President of the United States. However, Trump's inauguration raises plenty of questions. Here is what you can expect to see in Washington D.C. on January 20th.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Actual Reason Markets Do Not Work In Healthcare is... Pain!

    Today, David Brooks asks whether or not markets function well in the American health care system and he seems to think that, when it doesn't, it's largely because health care providers know so much more about health and wellbeing than health care consumers:

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    Was Comey Blackmailed?

    The most obvious question, yet no one's asking it.

    It's not like he didn't know the rules. And it was a complete nothing-burger.

    Did Putin get to Jimmy? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Discuss.

    Bayesic Instinct

    Towards the late days of October, Huffpost's lead pollster started releasing polls claiming greater than 90% probability of a win, explicitly challenging Nate Silver of 538 and his "conservativism" or even manipulating the data. One commenter noted, "we'll know after Nov 8". It was all too funny and surreal, like a guy saying he knows all about carpentry and grasping the hammer head and nailing with the handle.

    No, you can't "know" anything from a single outcome, unless you predicted 100% that it wouldn't happen - that your certain hypothesis was refuted. Otherwise, you're simply left with false confidence in 1 data point - unless you bothered to research your outcome.

    As background, I'm pretty awful in probabilityand statistics - having the basics of dice permutations down, and getting the math of certain cross-correlations in dependent events, and doing enough damage in trying to model stochastic processes. But mostly I done forgot.

    But even if I hadn't, it might not matter. Just as the field of linguistics is going through a phase of rough and tumble re-evaluation after 30-40 years of certainty centered around Chomsky, probability and data analysis is getting an upgrade - perhaps not changing the science, but more how people use it as an art.

    In trying to make some sense from this awful year and a half, and draw some usable lessons from it (rather than another set of kneejerk platitudes and I-told-you-soes, I'm digging into both psychology and analytics in the new year to get some different insights - angles I wouldn't have thought of before.

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    Richard Day's picture

    THE NEW PC

    Okay, so we now have this irritant known as Political Correctness. Or PC.

    Now just to start off; Personal Computer seems good PC to me!

    But if we move on to Laptop. Well, to tell the truth, most folks have laptops with gigabytes so much more intensive than the old PC's....I mean I have a Laptop with four wires coming out of it and I never ever move it...
    .
    Anyhow, laptop does not seem so PC to me.

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