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Guest post: Easier than persuading the laws of physics to change their minds

Oct 28th, 2017 7:11 am | By

Originally a comment by Bjarte Foshaug on There might be some coal under there.

For everyone out there who doesn’t understand the problem, I have a message for you: The economy is man-made. The environment is not. Which one do you think we could manage to remake if they conflict? And which one can we absolutely not live without?

Exactly. Beautifully formulated. Or to paraphrase Bill McKibben, as difficult as it may be to change the economic system, it’s almost certainly going to be easier than persuading the laws of physics to change their minds. My first question to anyone who argues that protecting the environment is going to harm the economy is “Compared to what?” After all, there … Read the rest

There might be some coal under there

Oct 27th, 2017 4:01 pm | By

Demon Trump is going ahead with giving part of Bears Ears National Monument to industry to develop.

U.S. President Donald Trump will shrink the size of two national monuments in Utah, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said on Friday, a change that will open the areas to drilling and mining but which Democrats, environmental groups and Native Americans are vowing to fight.

The two Utah sites, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are among several that U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended reducing in size in order to make way for more industrial activity on the land they occupy.

Former President Barack Obama designated Bears Ears as a national monument during his final days in office.

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You are to learn it over and over

Oct 27th, 2017 3:38 pm | By

John McWhorter at the Aspen Ideas Festival last June, answering questions about students and free speech.

The whole white privilege paradigm is very interesting because I think it should be part of an education for students to learn that there is something, and I’ll title it white privilege, that’s fine. These are things that must be considered, such that a student wouldn’t look at a disadvantaged part of the city and just say, “Well what’s wrong with them?” The idea is to understand that a lot of what the person sees is that people start out at different places––and that whiteness is a privilege. However, our problem once again these days is that it is being taken in a direction

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And those people got the chair

Oct 27th, 2017 11:54 am | By


On Thursday’s edition of Hannity, former White House deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka suggested that Hillary Clinton deserves to be tried for treason and executed.

“If this had happened in the 1950s, there would be people up on treason charges right now,” Gorka said. “The Rosenbergs, okay, this is equivalent to what the Rosenbergs did, and those people got the chair. Think about it — giving away nuclear capability to our enemies, that’s what we’re talking about.”

But it wasn’t hers to “give away.”

As secretary of state, Clinton was one of nine cabinet members sitting on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is tasked with reviewing deals like Uranium One.

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Yes, yes, very accomplished

Oct 27th, 2017 11:38 am | By

Mimi Kramer on Harvey Weinstein and all that.

I spend a lot of time reading about the Weinstein scandal. Like most women, I imagine, I’m fascinated by it and by everything that seems to be happening — and not happening — as a result of it. My interest probably derives from the two years I spent being sexually harassed by a married writer at The New Yorker. There’ve been some wonderful things written on the subject, not only the original exposés by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in The New York Times, and by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, but also “think” pieces, mostly by women, that have made my heart soar: Rebecca Traister in The Cut, Lena

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See ya, poppet

Oct 27th, 2017 10:42 am | By

The difficulties of writing dialogue for characters who share an idiom foreign to the writer – specifically, UKnians writing Yank and Yanks writing UKnian.

[I]t’s fairly common for British writers to create ostensibly American characters who give themselves away in dialogue. The writer need not even be British, necessarily: Lionel Shriver is an American writer who has lived in the U.K. for many years. Her most recent novel, “The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047,” imagines a financial apocalypse set entirely in the United States, albeit in the future. All of the major characters are American. And yet a father assures his son that a set of silverware “could come in useful.” A woman signs off a telephone conversation

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Lost at sea

Oct 27th, 2017 10:08 am | By

Let’s have a feel-good story, because why not.

Two women with their two dogs were lost in the Pacific in a small sailboat for five months, and then the Navy found them and rescued them.

The moment the two women and their dogs were finally rescued is captured on video, taken from the deck of a Navy boat.

The camera wobbles as the motorboat cuts across the ocean, some 900 miles southeast of Japan, toward the lone sailboat that had been sending distress signals for months after its engine died.

One of the women is on the deck, her arms outstretched.

She feverishly blows kisses toward the rescue boat. This is the reaction of someone who had been lost

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Taking voter suppression national

Oct 26th, 2017 5:46 pm | By

From the ACLU:

For almost a year, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, has struggled to hide the truth about his efforts to lobby the Trump administration to make it much harder for Americans to vote. Part of that struggle ended today when a federal court ordered excerpts of Kris Kobach’s testimony disclosed along with other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in our challenge to his restrictive voter registration regime.

The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law. And he has been covertly lobbying Trump’s team and other officials from day one to sell them the falsehood that noncitizens

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Sunlight soap

Oct 26th, 2017 3:17 pm | By

To the surprise of no one, Harvey Weinstein wasn’t the only hotshot guy preying on women.

Following The New York Times and The New Yorker’s revelations about the film executive and alleged serial sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein, Lockhart Steele of Vox Media, the screenwriter James Toback, the critic Leon Wieseltier, and, on Thursday, Mark Halperin of MSNBC have found themselves outed and, in some cases, fired for alleged past behavior. Preceding Weinstein were reports about alleged harassment at Tinder and Uber, and the alleged predatory behavior of Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby, among others. Many more disclosures are likely to come, as the politics, technology, news, and entertainment industries come to terms

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Suspect sought

Oct 26th, 2017 9:06 am | By

It’s almost as if assault is actually a crime.

Three suspects are being sought by police after a woman was punched and kicked during a brawl between transgender activists and radical feminists.

The 60-year-old victim was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and kicked after one of the suspects tried to grab her camera as she was filming at a gender recognition talk, the Metropolitan police said.

Officers are trying to trace a man and two others, who are believed to be transgender, over the attack at around 9.30pm on Wednesday 13 September at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.

Those three.… Read the rest

A deadly singularity

Oct 26th, 2017 8:50 am | By

Charles Blow points out that the Republicans are caught in a rage spiral.

Flake wasn’t only excoriating Trump, he was also excoriating his fellow elected officials, particularly Republicans, and the Republican Party, which finds itself caught in a perpetual rage spiral, in which no one but extremists are pure enough. The circle of inclusion is being drawn smaller and tighter around an electorally deadly singularity: White people who espouse Christianity, accept patriarchy and misogyny, and turn a blind eye to (or sometimes openly encourage) white supremacy.

They also hate fags and furriners.

I’m growing increasingly angry with Republican lawmakers expressing grave concerns about Trump in private and on background, but biting their tongues in public.

It is no coincidence

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Oct 25th, 2017 6:06 pm | By

Harvey Weinstein’s topple has dragged Leon Wieseltier down now.

Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades who was preparing to unveil a new magazine next week, apologized on Tuesday for “offenses against some of my colleagues in the past” after several women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances.

As those allegations came to light, Laurene Powell Jobs, a leading philanthropist whose for-profit organization, Emerson Collective, was backing Mr. Wieseltier’s endeavor, decided to pull the plug on it.

Bad luck for him that his backer is a woman, I guess.

A spokesman said Emerson Collective would not elaborate further on the nature or source of the information it had received. But stories about

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A quarter of households have no clean drinking water

Oct 25th, 2017 4:10 pm | By

Two more people in Puerto Rico have died of leptospirosis.

Puerto Rico has announced at least 76 cases of suspected and confirmed leptospirosis, including several deaths, in the month after Hurricane Maria, according to Dr. Carmen Deseda, the state epidemiologist for Puerto Rico.

The spiral-shaped Leptospira bacteria, which are found in the urine of rodents and other animals, can spread after floods through drinking water or infection of open wounds, according to the World Health Organization.

Since the hurricane hit in September, many in Puerto Rico have not had access to clean drinking water or electricity. As of Wednesday, a quarter of households did not have access to clean drinking water, according to data from Puerto Rico’s

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Let the predatory financial practices flourish and thrive

Oct 25th, 2017 11:37 am | By

That vote against a new consumer protection:

Senate Republicans voted on Tuesday to strike down a sweeping new rule that would have allowed millions of Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions.

The overturning of the rule, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-to-50 tie, will further loosen regulation of Wall Street as the Trump administration and Republicans move to roll back Obama-era policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. By defeating the rule, Republicans are dismantling a major effort of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog created by Congress in the aftermath of the mortgage mess.

The rule, five years in the making, would have dealt a serious blow to

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Declaration of conscience

Oct 25th, 2017 11:31 am | By

In case you want to read Margaret Chase Smith’s speech in its entirety: it’s here.

I’ll share an excerpt.

The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body in the world.  But recently that deliberative character has too often been debased to the level of a forum of hate and character assassination sheltered by the shield of congressional immunity.

It is ironical that we Senators can in debate in the Senate directly or indirectly, by any form of words, impute to any American who is not a Senator any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming an American — and without that non-Senator American having any legal redress against us — yet if we say

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Smith decided she had to speak out

Oct 25th, 2017 11:16 am | By

The Post offers us a history lesson today. Jeff Flake’s speech yesterday reminded Kevin Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton, of Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” address to the Senate on June 1, 1950.

Like Flake, Smith (R-Maine) spoke to denounce a demagogue in her own party and to announce her refusal to stand quietly by as he did damage to the nation’s institutions. Smith’s target — unnamed in her speech, much as Trump was unnamed in Flake’s — was none other than the junior Republican senator from Wisconsin: Joseph R. McCarthy.

A few months earlier, in February, McCarthy had set the political world on fire with his stunning accusation that there were 205 “known communists” working

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There are hundreds more

Oct 25th, 2017 10:04 am | By

It’s odd the way choice and liberty and autonomy and making one’s own decisions are usually core values for Republicans and conservatives. Of course those values are often in tension with other core Republican / conservative values that come from the goddy wing, like obedience and deference and respect for tradition / hierarchy / the sacred…but they are core values nevertheless.

Or maybe they’re really core values only for men, while the goddy ones are more suited to women. Real Men™ make their own decisions while Real Women™ obey Real Men™ and clerics and Mr God.

But even so, it’s a little odd for a political orientation that is so strongly libertarian, often at the expense of concern for the … Read the rest

The flagrant disregard for truth and decency

Oct 24th, 2017 5:55 pm | By

Trump’s going to be blistering up the Twitter now, after Jeff Flake’s goodbye speech.

Senator Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who has tangled with President Trump for months, announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in 2018, declaring on the Senate floor that he “will no longer be complicit or silent” in the face of the president’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior.

Mr. Flake made his announcement in an extraordinary 17-minute speech in which he challenged not only the president but also his party’s leadership. He deplored the “casual undermining of our democratic ideals” and “the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency” that he said had become

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Oct 24th, 2017 5:27 pm | By

Brilliant satire.

House Republican leaders on Capitol Hill said they were launching two new investigations into Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, keeping alive a pair of storylines that have fueled anger with the party base.

One is a project aimed at looking into the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Less than an hour later, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he would look into Clinton’s role in a 2010 uranium deal that became a favorite attack line by then-candidate Donald Trump.

Hahahaha that’s hilarious – saying they’re still investigating her even though she doesn’t have any kind of government job any more and they … Read the rest

Promptly and without delay

Oct 24th, 2017 5:00 pm | By

A court has ordered the Trump administration to let that teenage Jane Doe in Texas have her abortion even though the Feds have her in custody because she crossed the border from Mexico without papers.

Lawyers and advocates for the girl accused federal immigration and health officials of preventing her from having an abortion and of taking extraordinary steps to persuade her and other undocumented pregnant minors to have their babies rather than abort them.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Washington sided with the girl, sending the case back to a lower court, which immediately ordered the Trump administration to allow the girl to obtain an abortion “promptly and without delay.” The ruling may be only one of

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