Sunday, December 10, 2017

Recently from Discover

A few cool tidbits from a recent issue of Discover magazine:

From A global state of mind. Vikram Patel, an Indian psychiatrist, has been working for years to document and treat depression and other mental illnesses in developing countries. For 20 years, he's been fighting the perception (on the part of the World Bank and other power brokers) that there is no such thing. He sometimes finds himself speaking to audiences where he's contradicted by white, British psychiatrists who say it's misery and poverty, not depression, that's the culprit. Patel agrees that poverty is important, but there's more to it than that. Global epidemiological research finds:

half of the 10 leading causes of disability were from psychiatric conditions: depression, alcoholism, bipolar diseas, schizophrenia and OCD. Depression alone was the leading cause of disability in every region of the world except sub-Saharan Africa, and outranked the death and disability caused by anemia, heart disease, cancer, malaria and lung disease.
The article contains this fascinating graph:

From the same issue, The peanut plague. I've known about aflatoxin, a naturally occurring killer mold in peanuts, since I was in college (thanks to my brother-in-law, an organic chemist). But somehow I thought it was restricted to peanut butter that wasn't stored properly. I didn't realize it was a huge issue in countries that grow peanuts as a staple crop, including much of Africa.
...public health experts believe that as many as 500 million people [note to self: that's half a billion!] poor people are being slowly poisoned by long-term cumulative exposure to aflatoxins, which can stunt a child's growth, suppress the immune system and lead to liver damage or cancer.
The biomarkers for aflatoxin exposure in developed countries like the U.S., with [so far] strong regulation and testing of crops are almost nonexistent, but when people in developing countries are tested, the rates are more than 90 percent. Scientists are trying to breed a resistant peanut, without success so far, and particular farming practices help, too. But climate change is likely to make the problem worse, since hot, dry conditions toward the end of the plant's growth cycle favor the mold. One current solution is to introduce a nontoxic strain of the mold, which deprives the bad strains of resources, but that costs farmers money to apply, when few of them even believe aflatoxin is real, since its effects take years to show up.

The latest issue of Discover just showed up on my doorstep, containing the top 100 science stories of 2017. The most interesting ones, to my mind, were these three:

Why do humans live to be as old as we do, when women stop reproducing by 50 years old or so, at the latest? There's been writing about the grandmother hypothesis for years, but new research assesses sleep patterns. Studying a band of Hadza hunter-gatherers, scientists studied 220 hours of data and found there were only 18 one-minute increments when all the people in the band were asleep at the same time, and that it was people over 50 who were most likely to be awake at odd hours. "Having a few members of the group awake at all times can protect everyone from predators and other threats." It's called the sentinel hypothesis, and it makes sense that groups of people who had natural sentinels would be more likely to survive over time. (I will try to take comfort from this during my next bout of insomnia.)

You've probably heard of the WEIRD bias in psychological research. If not, the acronym stands for Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic, and describes the skewed selection of research subjects in psych research. Here's an example of trying to be a bit more cross-cultural: a recent study in Child Development compared results of the delayed-gratification marshmallow test, using 4-year-old German middle-class children and Cameroonian farming children as subjects. The researchers found 28 percent of the German kids delayed gratification long enough to earn the second treat, while 70 percent of the Cameroonian kids held out for the marshmallow. (This may be my favorite bit of research ever, since it counters all of the racist messages about Germanic superiority and African lack of self-control.)

Finally, a bit of good tech news: Researchers at MIT and Berkeley have developed a water harvester that, so far, can pull a gallon a water a day from desert air, with energy supplied by a small solar panel. (This sounds like something right out of the classic science fiction novel Dune, where the people on the desert planet Arrakis harvest water using "wind traps.")

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Peek-a-Boo Covers

Book cover designers follow trends, as I've noted before. But it's a bit ridiculous these days.

All five of these books were on the same table at Common Good books last week:

I like them all, but jeez.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Billboard House

The best thing in today's paper (and maybe any recent paper) is this from the Star Tribune: St. Paul home renovation uncovers hand-painted signs of the past. A guy named Todd Johnson is renovating an 1880 house on the hill overlooking downtown St. Paul, and when he removed the asbestos shingles he found this:

The Star Tribune has a great photo gallery of close-ups that I envy (since I couldn't go into the yard). But here are my photos:

There are rainbow-striped letters throughout. A few of those letters are visible in the upper part of this photo:

The name "Leslie," visible in the upper right of this photo, is the name of the sign painter. The Strib article fills in some of his details:

Johnson plans to cover the boards up again as his renovation proceeds. I hope (and expect) that someone has taken good photos that will allow the puzzle pieces to be assembled to show what the complete originals looked like, or as much as the parts that are on the walls will allow.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vaccines, Morality, Facts

“It’s not hard to scare people, but it’s extremely difficult to unscare them.” — Dr. Paul Offit

I'm taking a break today from the constant onslaught to think about vaccines. It started from a recent Vox article called What makes some parents fall for anti-vaccine messaging?, which caught my attention because the research it describes is based on Moral Foundations Theory (which I have discussed here as part of Jonathan Haidt's work).

A quick recap: Haidt and other social psychologists have found, when querying people cross-culturally, that humans innately respond to six types of moral "taste receptors":

  • Care/harm (compassion for the suffering, prevention of harm)
  • Fairness/cheating (looking for balance, punishing cheaters)
  • Liberty/oppression (resisting bullies, resenting restrictions on our actions)
  • Loyalty/betrayal (tracking who is "us" and who is not, disliking traitors)
  • Authority/subversion (valuing order and hierarchy, disliking chaos)
  • Sanctity/degradation (elevating some things, seeing them as pure)
Within the U.S., researchers have found that political liberals have stronger receptors for three of those six (care, fairness, and liberty) while conservatives value all six more equally than liberals, but respond more to loyalty, authority, and sanctity.

The Emory University researchers found anti-vax appeals frequently are framed around liberty and sanctity, while pro-vaccination messages are based on straight-up rationality and, to some extent, fairness and care:
As the researchers wrote, “Anti-vaccination websites also often claim that vaccines contain ‘contaminants’. These concerns may be rooted in the purity moral foundation, with its emphasis on avoiding anything disgusting or unnatural. Another frequent message on anti-vaccine websites is that mandatory vaccination policies violate parental civil liberties.”
The Emory researchers plan to follow up to see if pro-vaccine campaigns based on these two types of morality are effective with parents:
“You could increase the salience of disgust associated with certain diseases, and say vaccines fight those,” said the Emory study’s senior author, Dr. Saad Omer. “Or you could frame purity positively — saying vaccines are a very natural product, they work with a natural system. Messages that talk about liberty, that the freedom to choose for your child is being taken away if other others don’t vaccinate, might work.”
Meanwhile, Penn and Teller have come up with a visual way of getting the pro-vaccination message across that doesn't have anything to do with morality:

This is just another version of the rational argument for vaccines, plus swearing and bowling pins. I guess you could say they're trying to unscare parents at the same time they rescare them, to follow Paul Offit's quote.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What Will It Take?

Remember last fall? Even election night and the days right after it?

I pre-mourned a lot at the time. I mourn and act now, but in some ways I'm numb, too. I can't even find a local protest on the tax bill to attend.

Anyway... just now I was looking through past posts related to Jonathan Haidt for something I want to write about morality, and I came across this post of mine from October 1, 2016. It quotes writer Rebecca Solnit at length about "what if" Trump wins:

Don't imagine that Trump will be some joke we can sort of override or that the people in charge of carrying out his orders revolt against them. Remember that government workers rounded up Japanese-Americans when ordered to do so, under a president most people are inclined to admire, and that the loss of rights and possessions still traumatizes survivors and their children 75 years later. Remember that few besides Daniel Ellsberg revealed the lies behind the Vietnam War (one of his colleagues told Ellsberg he would, but then he couldn't send his kid to Groton, weighing prep school against hundreds of thousands of deaths and coming down in favor of the former), remember that Snowden was virtually alone in revealing what tens of thousands of NSA employees and contractors knew about the violation of our privacy.

Don't count on the revolt or the resistance. It's too iffy, and it depends on a kind of mass disobedience we've never seen, from people sworn to obedience. Remember that evil is often carried out by stages, and many people adjust stage by stage, rationalize, conform. That's how rational, obedient people exterminated my father's relations in Europe 75 years ago.

This is not to say that there is nothing to fight under a Clinton administration, just that some things—reproductive rights, attacks on Muslims in the U.S.—won't be on the table, and there are things we can fight and win, just as we fought Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline and won. On climate we can push for the agenda we need, and her climate proposals are inadequate but have many positive things. With Trump, we finish the destruction of the planet that advanced so far under eight disastrous oil-soaked years of Bush.
Solnit was right. The post-inauguration resistance may have been a bit stronger than she was predicting, but we haven't had enough effect yet, either... we haven't tucked our bodies into the gears of the machine to stop it from operating (to use Bayard Rustin's way of putting it).

What will it take?


Life these days is a constant series of flashbacks. Here's what I wrote the day after the election last year.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

When You See Yourself in a Sign

It is a mistake to go into Common Good bookstore in St. Paul. Recently, while I was making a purchase, as always happens when I go there, I saw this taped to the counter:

Here is my current set of book piles:

This does not include the ones that have been put on shelves in other rooms, of course.

The good news is that I finished all 14 of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books and can finally begin working on these piles.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Time to Close Some Tabs

A quick too-many-tabs post...

A recent archaeological study found that prehistoric farming women had arms stronger than contemporary women who are elite rowers. Which is interesting, but not as interesting (to me) as the fact that before this study, archaeologists thought prehistoric farming women were couch potatoes because their bones weren't as dense as the men of the same era. See, the earlier archaeologists had only compared the women's bones to men, not to women from other eras. Duh.

My recent favorite facts-I-never-knew article is the paradox of persistent vacancies and high prices from Strong Towns. When there is a high office vacancy rate in an area, why don't the "laws" of supply and demand force rents down until the vacancies are filled? Well, it has to do with banks and how loans are made. Or why aren't those offices made into housing, which we're clearly short on? That also has to do with banking and how loans are made.

Well, those are the two articles among these tabs that I read and fully recommend. Here are the others that are sitting in my tabs waiting for me to read them.

More from Strong Towns:
America's economic problems demand a strong solution. A podcast about the American growth model from Chuck Marohn.

From The Atlantic's CityLab:
We have to be careful not to romanticize cities. Writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie confront the limits of urbanism.

From Alternet:

From Dave Roberts at Vox:
From Mother Jones:
From the Guardian:
Electric cars are not the answer to air pollution, says top UK adviser. "...while electric vehicles emit no exhaust fumes, they still produce large amounts of tiny pollution particles from brake and tyre dust.... A recent European commission research paper found that about half of all particulate matter comes from these sources." The good news: it's not carbon! The bad news: it's still bad for human health.

From New Scientist:
SUVs double pedestrians' risk of death. And that's for small SUVs... large vans, SUVs and pickup trucks triple the risk of death.

From Truthout:
How to fund a universal basic income without increasing taxes or inflation.

From the Washington Post:
Canada tests "basic income" effect on poverty amid lost jobs.

From Matt Breunig:
What if everyone benefited when stocks soared?

From Slate:
Is violence the only way to end inequality? A certain read of history says yes. "[The] collapse of states [reduces inequality] because the rich and the powerful are either the same people or are very closely allied, and if you destroy state structures, then the rich simply have more to lose."

From Demos:
Why are we not making progress against racism? "We need Americans to go on fact-finding missions on racism, not try to engage in conversation when there is no agreement on the basic facts."

From Huffington Post:
Thrutopias: Why neither dystopias nor utopias are enough to get us through the climate crisis. (By British philosopher Rupert Read. I have to check him out more thoroughly!)

From Salon:
Reconsidering “The Reactionary Mind” in the age of you-know-who. Is Trump “not a conservative”? Political theorist Corey Robin begs to differ, in new edition of his landmark book.

From Fast Company:
The Airbnb for affordable housing is here. Nesterly, a new platform that pairs older homeowners with young renters, is riding a wave of interest in multigenerational living.

From The Atlantic:
How American politics went insane. It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse. (Update: I just realized this article is from summer 2016—before Trump was elected!)

From the Niskanen Center:
How Libertarian democracy skepticism infected the American Right.

From Signature:
Language matters: the true definition of "working class." A critique of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy.

From Cracked:
Seven reasons so many men don't understand sexual consent. Starting with this film trope: "assault a woman until she loves you."

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Virus vs. Beast

Almost a month ago, I took a photo of a paragraph within a Star Tribune story. It's one of those things I would have clipped for my filing system in the past:

In one 2015 study, people who saw crime as a “virus” afflicting society tended to be in favor of addressing the social forces — such as poverty, inequality and poor housing — that spawn criminal activity, while those who thought of it as a “beast” generally pressed for more aggressive policing.
The story didn't have much to do with that bit (it's more general, about how crime is discussed in social media), and it doesn't cite the research source. But that fact stuck with me.

Here's the story it's from.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Midwestern Values?

More than nine years ago, my credit union renamed itself "Spire," and created a wholly inappropriate logo (memorialized in blog posts here and here).

Recently, I was doing some online banking and realized they changed their tag line at some point to "Driven by Midwestern Values.." (dot dot — I kid you not, look closely at the graphic):

At first I only noticed the design of the tag line:

  • It's hard to read, because it's set so tightly, especially for an on-screen graphic. This is meant to be a large display typeface, not for use this small. 
  • It's also technically a bad use of the font, because the font has contextual alternate characters that can make it look more like hand-lettering — but the designers didn't used them. Check out the weird "Dr" combination in "Driven," the awkward way the "y" in "by" almost touches the "M" in Midwestern but has clashing shapes to the two curves, and the long tails on the lower-case "n"s at the ends of "Driven" and "Midwestern"; that tail is only supposed to be used when the "n" connects to the next letter. Here's a sample that shows how contextual alternates improve the look of this font, connecting the letters as they would naturally if hand-lettered, and ending with the proper kind of stroke on the final letter:

  • The font itself is Filmotype Honey, originally designed in the 1950s during the brush script craze, pre-Mad Men. It's a weird choice for "Midwestern Values," unless Midwestern values are backwardness and butt-grabbing. (Make America Midwestern Again?)
And that's when I started to think about the meaning of the tag line, secondarily. "Midwestern values" means something different to white people than it does to immigrants, people of color, and Native Americans. At best, Midwestern values are "Minnesota nice," with its double meaning of surface niceness that  excludes newcomers, never letting them get close. At worst, they gave us the 1863 mass execution at Fort Snelling, right? Midwestern values definitely create a vision of hard-working farmers in small towns. They imply historical whiteness.

Does my credit union know this is a dog whistle, or are they just as clueless about this as they are about the religious connotations of their name and logo? It's weird, because I (a white lady) don't get the feeling they are exclusionary when I am at the credit union, and believe they are doing themselves a disservice in their identity and branding.


I was already planning to write this post when I saw a Tweet that said, "DC Metro sued for rejecting Catholic ad urging people to find God this Christmas," accompanied by this image of the poster rejected by the Metro:

I wonder if the Washington, D.C., Catholic group is using the same graphic designers as Spire?

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Failure of News Interviewers

The tax bill — still not approved but impending — is a travesty, as I've written before. No one even knows what's in it at this point, since it hasn't been published, but they may vote on it anyway. Maybe even tonight. What the heck, right?

Despite my clear opposition to all its various stinky bits, I am still interested to hear why anyone would support it. (And not those who, like Trump, pretend it will cut taxes on the middle class, which is an obvious lie.) Maybe there are reasons for at least parts of it, other than "It gives money to our donor base" and "It sets us up to be able to cut Medicare and Social Security."

To that end, I listened to an NPR interview with Iowa senator Chuck Grassley yesterday.

It was painful to hear. Grassley made statements, based on Republican talking points, and host Robert Siegel generally didn't challenge him, no matter how obviously wrong he was.

First Siegel asked about the $1.5 trillion deficit the bill will create (according to the Congressional Budget Office). Grassley said that was just "on paper" and that by growing the economy at a 3–3.5 percent rate (rather than the average 1.4 percent rate we've been at in recent years), we will fill that deficit.

Siegel did not challenge him on that, even though only 1 out of 42 top economists queried on that very question said the tax cut would help the economy at all, and every one of them predicted it will raise the deficit. Grassley is cherry-picking years in order to find that 3–3.5 percent, 50-year average. Rather than, say, a more realistic time period like the past 20 years, after globalization really took hold... when we averaged 2 percent growth. Or the last 10 years, which averaged 1 percent under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Instead of pointing any of this out, Siegel moved on to ask why Grassley thinks CEOs will use their big tax savings to bring jobs back to the U.S. or pay higher wages. We all know that's not going to happen, as the CEOs themselves admit. Grassley gets away with a complete non-answer on that one: hey, he says, either way the money will be in the U.S. so that's all we need! (Wrong.)

Then Siegel moves on to the estate tax, pointing out the tiny number of people who benefit from raising the ceiling to $11 million. To this question, Grassley gives a jaw-droppingly stupid and extremely offensive answer:

I suppose to show appreciation for people that have lived frugally early in their life, delayed spending so they could save. It seems to me there ought to be some incentive and reward for those who work and save and invest in America as opposed to those who just live from day to day. You could take the same $100,000 income for two people — one of them, they spend it, have it all spent at the end of the year and the others have saved a fourth of it and invested and create jobs and leave something for the future. The first person leaves nothing for the future.
Grassley is passing off the myth of the frugal "millionaire next door" as the person who will benefit from this change in the estate tax, when in reality it's people like the Trump children and other trust-fund babies who will benefit the most. Siegel does challenge his logic, but Grassley replies,
Listen, in no way is my statement meant to dispute the statistics you gave me. I'm giving you a philosophical reason for recognizing savings versus those who want to live high on the hog and not save anything or invest in the commodities.
Oh right, when you have no facts, you resort to "philosophy." People who spend their incomes because they must to get by are "living high on the hog." While very wealthy people who've extracted everything they can out of other people, the land, and the climate should be rewarded by giving their ill-gotten gains to their heirs tax-free. That's a philosophy, all right.

The last question is about the lack of bipartisanship and the bad process on the tax bill. Siegel contrasts this with the 1986 tax overhaul, which was approved by 97 senators after many public hearings. Grassley says that was because Bill Bradley led the Democrats to join with the Republicans, and there's no one like him now. Awww. But Grassley also mentions that the marginal tax rate was 70 percent then (vs. 28 percent now), which might account for why Democrats are acting differently now than then (not to mention the bill's many other horrible dictates). And he dares to claim they don't need hearings because the "public comment [comes] from the 70 hearings that we've had over the last six or seven years on taxes": which had nothing to do with the specifics of this bill at all.

I was yelling at the radio at this point, but all Robert Siegel had to say was, "Chuck Grassley — thanks for talking with us."

What is the point of having anyone on the radio or other news program if the only purpose is for them to put out their propaganda without any reminder of facts? If you listen to the BBC at all, you've heard interviewers grill government talking heads much more stringently than this.

Where can we get us more of that, beyond Vox and some of the other written media? Why can't television and radio interviewers ask the questions that should be asked, and follow up when they are evaded by talking points? As journalists, how do they sleep at night?


After I posted my thoughts above, I saw a tweet storm by Dave Roberts of Vox (who did not write either of the Vox articles linked above, by the way). Here are his thoughts on the tax bill:
A note on the politics of this tax bill, which is so absurd and horrendous it can scarcely be believed — like, really.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, GW Bush and the GOP put together an "economic stimulus" bill in response. It was (brace yourself) a huge tax giveaway to the rich. So grotesque a giveaway to the rich that even the Wall Street Journal acknowledged as much! Paul Krugman wrote: "It was so extreme that when political consultants tried to get reactions from voter focus groups, the voters refused to believe that they were describing the bill accurately."

"Voters refused to believe." Remember that. Now fast forward to 2012 and the Romney/Ryan tax plan, which would have (brace yourself) slashed social spending to pay for giant tax cuts for the rich. Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, ran focus groups on it. Here's what happened: "When Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed 'ending Medicare as we know it' while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing."

Again, when GOP economic policy is accurately explained to voters, they simply cannot believe it's true.

Lots of people have used this as a kind of punchline, but I think it's worth taking some time to think about it seriously. Most people have other priorities and are woefully ignorant about politics. Research has confirmed this again and again. *Boundless* ignorance. Average people absorb politics piecemeal, through osmosis. What they generally see is a haze of pettiness, squabbles, and conflict.

Viewed from this distance, most people conclude that "politics" is hopeless, all politicians are venal, and the whole game is corrupt. Unless you're willing to put in serious time and work to suss out the details, "a pox on both houses" is kind of the default destination.

So when voters are confronted by the idea that one party wants to take from the poor and sick and to fund tax cuts for the rich and the other party doesn't, it simply doesn't fit the hazy "both sides suck" model. It *sounds* like an unfair partisan attack. The truth about the GOP sounds like an attack on the GOP, so people dismiss it as such. It's a perverse form of immunity.

And here we come to the true, twisted genius of the decades-long right-wing strategy. They have fractured trust in mainstream institutions so there is no widely trusted person or institution who can tell the truth about the GOP in a way that will be broadly accepted. There are no more trusted referees or arbiters, so the media atmosphere is filled with "both sides" yelling, with no way to resolve.

In that atmosphere, everyone can just comfortably believe whoever is saying good things about "their side." Epistemological bubbles. Which brings us to this current tax bill, which is even more comically malign and grasping than past GOP budget plans. Any attempt to accurately describe it sounds like a f'ing comic book villain revealing their evil plot toward the end of the movie.

But it is surrounded, in the media atmosphere, by the *exact same* haze of both-sides charge-and-countercharge as ever. So your average citizen, just going on instinctual heuristics, isn't going to believe an accurate description. It sounds too ludicrous. An accurate (horrific) description sounds like what "one side" says, and we all know the truth is in the middle somewhere, right?

In this way, the GOP, whether through design or accident, has stumbled on a brilliant political strategy for advancing kleptocracy. They exploit public and media heuristics that make us highly averse to asymmetry. They exploit the folk wisdom of "both sides do it." They do their deeds right out in the open, trusting (accurately!) that a good chunk of the public won't believe it is what it is.
Journalists understand the model of "finding and exposing hidden information" — the pre-internet-age core of journalism — but they have not yet solved the dilemma of how to help the public focus on and understand *already public information* that is surrounded by a fog of misinformation, bullshit, and distraction.

This ludicrous tax bill is a real-time test case. Can the media convey that it really is as cruel and plutocratic as Democratic critics are saying it is? Can they convey that the GOP has become something more unhinged and venal than even its worst critics charge? I doubt it. I'm not sure there's *any* economic policy that could break through.

Remember: "respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing." And that's how they get away with it.
Emphasis added about the comic book villains, because I just love that line.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Cold Month of November Tweets

November 2017… one year since the election. I’m still in shock, honestly. Every day, I think of something akin to this Shaun King tweet:

I've said it many, many times, but shame on this nation for voting Donald Trump into office. It's a daily clusterfuck of offensive bigotry and downright incompetence. It's outrageous that he even ran. Even more ridiculous that he won.
That said, life on Twitter goes on, starting with some seasonal tweets, whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other — political or not:
From light to darkness, an American Horror Story:


Buy things you don't need, with money you don't have, to make an impression which won't last, on people you don't like... #BlackFriday
Joss Sheldon‏

In all fairness, we Brits probably don't do Thanksgiving because if we had to take a day off for the anniversary of us fucking over a native people and ruining their country we'd never have to go to work.

Spice up a nativity scene at 88 mph:

Amy Berg‏ @bergopolis
I noticed there were some tweets about health care that were also seasonal, so here’s a transitional spot that combines both seasonal and health-care-related thoughts:
Nothing says Christian conservative and “Merry Christmas” like holding 9 million children hostage in order to punish 700,000 people living below the poverty level, so that hedge fund managers and real estate tycoons can buy another f’ing yacht.
The Baxter Bean‏

For the rest of my life I will never forget a 26 year old started a gofundme to get insulin, didn’t get the amount he needed and died rationing his not costly medicine. Just before Thanksgiving.
Dave Anthony‏

The best way to dramatically reduce both sexual harassment and partner violence is to make sure everyone has food, shelter, healthcare and what they need to survive not contingent on employment or romantic partnership
anne boyer‏

Free medicine for everyone financed by a middle class tax hike? Impossible! Corporate tax cut financed by a middle class tax hike? Passing the Senate next week, apparently!
Matthew Yglesias

Guns are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol and every congressman has case you're wondering how these people really feel.
Mikel Jollett‏
And then there was the usual raft of Trump-related tweets… mostly about his behavior and tweets over the month:
Let's just say what happened: The President broadcasted a murder through his state-run media because he wanted his citizens to be more afraid of Muslims.
Hank Green

Telling white guys they're being attacked by "Muslim immigrants" when they're actually being attacked by other white guys sums up this entire administration.
Samuel Sinyangwe‏

Our President joked about "Pocahontas" in front of Navajo Code Talkers behind a portrait of Andrew Jackson. Where are all the people who said taking a knee was disrespectful to our military veterans? Are Native Americans not American enough?
Eugene Gu, MD

Since Trump is so uncontrollably, consistently racist in his remarks in public, one can only imagine how vile a mouth he has backstage #Pocahontas
Langdon Winner‏

Trump is doing more damage to US national security capacity than any foreign adversary could....which people should keep in mind when they wonder why Putin did what he did
Ben Rhodes

We don’t have a leader for a president. We have the personification of all of America’s ills.
Jared Yates Sexton‏

It seems increasingly clear that Trump's job is to incite an endless succession of personal and cultural feuds to draw the spotlight while exec agencies and GOP Congress advance an undiluted agenda of tax cuts for top, deregulation for business and spending cuts for lower income
Ronald Brownstein‏

when he tweets about North Korea it's pretty telling how everyone freaks out about supposed threat to US cities while ignoring, oh, all of Asia
Nicole Chung‏

I have a chrome extension that makes all of trump's tweets seem like they were written in crayon. This one is just a little too real for my taste:

sanjana‏ @riseuphes

Thank God we don’t have a female president. She’d be so emotionally volatile and obsessed with her appearance!
Jess Dweck‏ @TheDweck

If you want to understand the concept of normalization, just watch Trump contradict America’s intelligence and give aid to Putin and the resulting yawn from a country that’s already gotten used to this madness.
Jared Yates Sexton‏
Followed by tweets about Trump's appointees, their policies (including the tax bill), and his family members:
this entire tax thing — the process, the policy, all of it — is completely insane, will be a disaster, and has nothing to do with Trump. This would be happening under President Rubio.
slackbot‏ @pareene

This is insane. Not a single Republican voted against judicial nominee who never tried case, spent year as paranormal investigator & praised KKK.
Ari Berman

Can't make it up: The leading pick to run the Census Bureau is the author of a book called "Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.”
Blake Hounshell‏

Don’t ever let them say “we don’t have the money.” We do; we just keep spending it on handouts for the rich.
Rep. Keith Ellison‏
Of course, there were comments on the current state of our politics and the media:
occasional reminder: the DC press Could. Not. Sleep. At. Night. knowing Obama might pass a bill without GOP support. today, the same DC press couldn't care less about the Trump Whitehouse going 10 months without a SINGLE Dem vote.
Eric Boehlert‏

Weird how the people who complain about virtue signaling also demand that we publicly salute the flag at football games.
Jason Ross‏

Richard Sackler, who made his fortune from OxyContin, has given grants from his foundation to the organization that served as the original source of the debunked claim that 3 million illegal immigrants voted in the last election.
Yashar Ali

Libertarians are just Nazis who don't want their neighbors to egg their houses.

Fascism counts on you thinking people who notice fascism are suffering from hysteria.
Joy Reid‏

Chillingly apt: "If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy." – from David Frum's upcoming book Trumpocracy.
Steve Silberman‏

Above and beyond anything else about this New York Times [uncritical profile of an Ohio Nazi] thing: We already know that Nazis are people. We've covered the fact that Nazis are people. The people that Nazis want to kill are also people. That's what we seemingly haven't established yet.
Sady Doyle‏

It’s so weird how all these Ron Paul fans end up as Nazis
Jamie Kirchick

Future generations will look back on TV as the lead in the water pipes that slowly drove the Romans mad.
Kurt Vonnegut‏

Seriously, the fact that USA Today refers to Marshawn Lynch's protests of police violence as "antics" tells you something re: newsrooms. Especially when the "president" is being childish on Twitter all day, thirsting for attention of any kind because his life is empty of meaning.
Ed Baptist‏

So I guess you got what you wanted. Modernity got a slap in the face with your 1950s whip hand, amirite!? Yeah, you sure showed us. Enjoy the tax hikes and oil spills, and the “age of the alpha male!” or whatever. And good luck. When you lose your health care and Social Security disability benefits and your taxes go up so corporations and billionaires can hoard more stuff, just remember 65 million people tried to warn you. But you wanted your “wall” to keep Mexican immigrants out, and your Muslim ban, and your grievances stroked, apparently more than you wanted your health care and nursing home fees. Last November, 63 million of you voted to pretty much hand this country over to a few uber wealthy families and the religious far right. Well done.
Joy Reid

It is important that folks remember that Trump is not the boogeyman — the problems that the US is facing are systemic and entrenched for hundreds of years. He will be out of office soon one way or another — we will no longer be able to blame him. What will WE DO to make things better?

We're told that we have to understand young White men's economic and social rage in the US, UK and Europe... but what about non-White men's economic and social rage? The bottom literally fell out of the urban US economy in the 70s and 80s. Many young men fell into economic and social rage. The answer wasn't compassion and understanding. The answer was to ramp up the carceral state. What exactly are we supposed to understand now? In 2017? (Oh, I forgot. That's just thuggery. And terror. My bad.)
Ebony Elizabeth @Ebonyteach

Thanks to literally every other oppressed group on earth for saving white ladies from their own determination to self-immolate on the pyre of gross old dudes
Sady Doyle

Virginia: Where you can campaign as a "populist" while being a Koch-bankrolled namesake of a corporate lobby firm
David Sirota

The best Democratic counter to the surge of GOP white identity politics is more candidates of color and fewer performatively woke white ones.
Matthew Yglesias‏

Trump is incredibly inept, but don’t think for a second there aren’t people studying him in order to replicate what he’s done by accident. Our country’s vulnerabilities have been exposed when it comes to what we’ll accept. If someone with more principles and guile comes...
Jared Yates Sexton‏

The alt-right's "liberals pushed us to extreme positions by not making an effort to understand" is every abuser's "see what you made me do?"
Alex Andreou @sturdyAlex
This month we had the special joy of sexual predator Roy Moore specifically:
Today a Roy Moore spokesman publicly said women can never be believed without a corroborating witness.
Pat Thompson‏ @pattho

A man accused of felony sex crimes thinks he should be allowed to be US SENATOR while people convicted of lesser crimes shouldn’t even be allowed to vote.
Samuel Sinyangwe‏

How in the world did the strong on Russia, pro-family Republican Party become the pro-Putin, pro-men dating teenage girls party?
stuart stevens‏

Republicans hedging their bets on someone accused of child sexual abuse so they can pass a tax cut for corporations is worse than the worst liberal caricature of their party
Dan Pfeiffer‏

Fox News enabled then fired under pressure Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly and after all that Sean Hannity sits in that house and leads a discussion on how women lie about harassment. What a foul corporate sewer it is.

All of a sudden we have the phrase "teenage women" being used in Alabama, when it's all too common for of-age women to be referred to as "girls."
Pat Thompson‏ @pattho

To any sane person who’s worked in journalism, the idea that the Washington Post would conspire to fabricate a story like [the Roy Moore story] is plainly ridiculous. But an unsettling number of Americans now seem to find it plausible.
Julian Sanchez‏ @normative

You can defend child molesters or you can have “family values,” but you can’t do both.
Susie Meister

Roy Moore's entire career is built around his belief that he should his impose his personal morals on other Americans, which means his personal morals are what he's running on.

So who had "Using Mary and Joseph to downplay allegations of pedophila" in their office "what will make 2017 unbearable" pool?
John Pfaff‏

Doug Jones prosecuted KKK members for bombing a Black church. As judge, Moore argued a confessed child rapist could use child's sexual history as defense. But Moore is the one who's "tough on crime"?
Bree Newsome‏

Funny how the party which worried so much about their daughters' safety in the bathrooms is now going on the record to defend pedophilia…
William LeGate‏

Shaming someone who waited to report assault is probably the reason they waited in the first place. They knew some asshole like you would find a way to be dismissive
Cacje‏ @Ebony_musings

To recap FOX:
39 year old Don Jr is "a good kid."
36 year old Kushner is too young looking to have done anything illegal.
29 year old Papdopoulos made a youthful mistake.
14 year old Leigh Corfman is a consenting adult.
Liz Gumbinner @Mom101
Followed by sexism, misogyny, and “metoo” (beyond Roy Moore):
Most men are so fragile they’d crack open like eggs if there was a recurring pattern of someone stealing their sandwich. But women, every day, probably right in the trenches with you, are enduring a constant onslaught of coworkers’ inappropriate shit.
Spanish California‏ @_danilo

Can't stop thinking about how Matt Lauer made $25 million a year while 23,000 U.S. journalists have lost their jobs since 2007.
Mike Rosenberg‏

I noticed the mainstream media and GOP go back to Clinton but never back to Clarence Thomas and the cruel treatment of Anita Hill by white Democrats and GOP men. Ms. Hill was skewered for telling the truth.
daphne barconey‏ @deebarc1

The Franken situation has taught me that if you come out publicly as a victim, you're looking for fame and attention. But if you come out anonymously to avoid fame and attention, you don't count. Gotta love that gordian knot.
Ana Mardoll‏

Take it from a bitch in management AND talent. There is no abusive, misogynist, sociopathic "genius" out there that CAN'T be replaced by an equally creative person who is not a living trash fire.
Iron Spike‏

I don't want to be "very special," I want to be taken seriously as a full human being. Men who think women are "very special" are not those who take us seriously or treat us equally.
Kate Tuttle‏ @katekilla

I sometimes wonder if our party lines are merely organized around those who consciously experience trauma and its effects, and those who negate/perpetuate trauma by identifying with the aggressor.
Martha Crawford LCSW‏ @shrinkthinks

The "why women aren't funny" statement Hitchens made years ago is coming into focus that it isn't that we aren't funny — it's that men lack an ability to see life through our experience, and lack the empathy to want to try. In other words, they don't get the joke and never wanted to.

I would just like to affirm how exceptionally painful it was to, like, SMELL the violent misogyny coming off certain media dudes during a woman's run for President, get called crazy for noticing or reacting to it, and finally, to get confirmation now, when it's too late to help.
Sady Doyle

A message to men about consent that billions of women have said billions of times. Consent is not:
• optional
• assumed
• permanent
• possible from a minor
• gained via abuse of power
Stop pretending you don’t understand consent. Just stop.
Qasim Rashid, Esq.‏ @MuslimIQ

One of the toughest parts of this fall has been realizing that so many male colleagues assumed our careers didn't take off like theirs because we were less talented.
Amy Sullivan‏

Newsflash: it is not uncommon for a woman to be polite even in uncomfortable situations. That is not a romantic overture, nor does it indicate any degree of interest. It is called not making a scene. We’ve been trained in it (basically) since birth.
Emily Ochsenschlager‏ @NPREmily

every time a man tells me to stop whining about feminism, i feel like saying "you first"
Aparna Nancherla

the "Pence rule" is not the opposite of predatory behavior. if you think the only way to avoid sexually harassing women is to not be around women, that speaks volumes as to how you view women.
JuanPa @jpbrammer

imagine if women were like “we can’t stop kicking men in the dick” and when men got upset women were like “that’s what you get for being alone with us”
marisa kabas‏

"I don't recall sexually assaulting her," is a sign of admission that they've done it so many times that it's all a normalized blur to them.
Stacey Patton‏

How is it that men, who commit 99% of sex crimes and 90% of over-all crime, killing, and atrocities on Earth are able to convince people in this day and age that women are the liars when they are brave enough to report a sex crime committed against them?
Edan Clay

If we’re being honest — and I feel like this crosses race and class lines — male culture tries to make boys/men feel fucked up for NOT being harassers. that’s how warped this shit is. it’s hardcore indoctrination and we get it CONSTANTLY from the time we are little. that’s not any kind of excuse, just a reminder of what needs to be rooted out.
Saladin Ahmed

every time a female comedian succeeds, we still get "are women funny?" 7+ pervs in the past month and not one piece called "are men monsters?"
Aparna Nancherla‏

My husband just casually asked me why our daughter’s clothes never have pockets and I’m not quite sure he expected the passionate, angry feminist reply I gave him.
Jacki Antonovich‏

If true. If true. If true. All these men have opinions on my marriage and your uterus, sight unseen. But hand them a story told by a dozen women and suddenly it's the riddle of the goddamn sphinx.
Mark Harris‏

Next time in the same old gender pay gap debate someone says women choose lower paying jobs, remember these sexual harassment stories
Philip N Cohen @familyunequal

God, I could really get used to this strange new world of Men Experiencing Consequences.
Iron Spike

dang mankind is obsessed with respecting imaginary boundaries (countries) and disrespecting real ones (other peoples' bodies)
Aparna Nancherla‏

I am so angry about what has been taken from us, and the freedoms denied us by the toxic will of men. I am angry and I am exhausted. It's not just me. So many of the women I know are reeling emotionally. Our bodies are physically reacting to the anger and exhaustion we can't fully express in words.
Ashley C. Ford‏ @iSmashFizzle

stop mourning the work that's been tainted by shitty men and start mourning the work we lost from the people they targeted
Caroline Framke‏

Our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers.
Barbara Ehrenreich‏

Walking through Heathrow airport, looking at royal pictures on the walls, reminds me how latent sexism can be. They were both 5’10’:

Chris Markesky‏ @keskvox

People think "believe black Women" means we are always right. It means "assume we are rational". That's all I will say about that.

always worth examining if your negative feelings about another woman were originally shaped by a man who stood to gain from keeping u apart.
Jessica Blankenship‏ @blanketboat

Read a comment this morning stating that Maker culture is 80% male and had to laugh. Only if you discount the millions of women sewing, knitting, weaving, and more. But oh right, they're just "crafters." That artificial distinction enrages me.
Kris Howard

“It’s no wonder so many men deride and degrade gossip: It’s our most effective armor against their abuses.” — @annehelen
Gene Demby‏

I would just like to point out how hard it is for women not to hate men.
calamity jane‏ @gabsthehuman
I only flagged a few on the net neutrality decision at the FCC:
It should also be mentioned that the direct cost of Internet transit bandwidth is trivial today. Well under $0.50/month per Megabit now, and peering bits can be nearly free. ISPs spend VASTLY more money just billing their customers than they do on Internet bandwidth.
Jim Troutman‏

Nationalize the internet. We paid to develop it. We dropped 400 billion for infrastructure that the companies never completed and just kept. Why the fuck should private companies restrict it? Fuck them. Nationalize it.
Dave Anthony‏

Of course, a handful of megasites could ensure Net Neutrality remains with trivial effort. If Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter went silent for three days with a simple explanation splash page, people would lose their minds. But they don’t seem to care anymore.
Catherynne Valente‏
But as usual, there are quite a number about racism and white supremacy:
Georgetown researchers found that black girls are perceived as sexually mature from the age of 5. Important study on how America overall perceives, degrades & sexualizes these girls.
Lauren Wolfe‏

Say it with me: The words "liberal" and "racist" are not antonyms.
Crystal Marie Fleming‏ @alwaystheself

In 1845, Charleston, South Carolina, founded a professional police force in order to “prevent the growth of an organized colored community.” Destroying communities of color is not the result of policing gone bad but of policing achieving its goals.
Av Gutman‏

When Malia Obama cuts off an elephant's tail and sells our country out to the Russians call me.
Jeremy Newberger‏

Maybe when the president talks about "crime" he's not actually talking about crime, but something else entirely.
Chris Hayes

I feel like racism is better discussed as something to be 'dismantled' than 'solved.'
David Kaib‏

James Baldwin was right. White Americans have been massively lied to about the true nature of this nation for centuries. It's a sin and a shame.
Ebony Elizabeth‏ @Ebonyteach

The best example of the fleeting commitment of white Americans to the actual idea of meritocracy is their reaction when people of color win against white competition. Hank Aaron? Death threats. Obama? Birtherism. South Asian kids win the spelling bee? Online racist trolling.
jelani cobb

"Race is the modality in which class is lived." –Stuart Hall
Nikhil Goyal‏

Wow! My mother, a reference librarian, once told me of a book about the history racism in U.S. armed forces. The Library of Congress categorized it as fiction. They reclassify our stories when they are uncomfortable with them.
Phillip Atiba Goff‏

clearly, asking Americans to reckon w race is a politically disastrous mission, it's also a crucial mission; we're otherwise locked in a spiral of incoherent historical narratives and terminal dissonance

Black & brown people killed by cops for shit like having a broken taillight. White dudes: "Pretty sure they deserved it." 3 white dudes lose their jobs for sexually abusing multiple people. White dudes: "THIS IS INJUSTICE! THIS IS A WITCH HUNT! WE'RE BEING TARGETED!"
Ijeoma Oluo‏

Outcome of the Freddie Gray case demonstrates once again police are allowed to detain anyone for any reason and kill that person while in custody
Bree Newsome‏

I feel the major problem with running against racism as a political strategy is that racism is actually quite popular.

more convinced than ever that we need to teach kids less about the civil war and more about the experience of chattel slavery.
Jamelle Bouie‏
It's odd to realize the relative sanity of the sustainable cities, clean energy, and climate change tweets:
an ounce of solar panels is cheaper than a pound of seawalls.
Adam Browning‏

First Mexico City, now London readies ban on new parking spaces. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. If you find yourself with too much traffic, stop building more parking.
Janette Sadik-Khan‏

# of traffic lanes has big impact on walk safety:

Our Streets Mpls‏

"A person with a one-hour drive to work must earn 40% more to be as satisfied as someone who walks. Shifting from a long commute to a short walk would make a single person as happy as if s/he had found a new love."
Mark Abraham‏ @urbandata

The goal of transit systems isn't to turn a profit. Just like the goal of schools isn't to turn a profit, even though they, too, add enormous value to society.
jennifer keesmaat

Babies born in areas with mountain top coal removal had 181 percent increased risk of heart defects. In contrast, babies born to mothers who smoke have only a 30 percent increased risk. The issues associated with coal, go far beyond burning it as fuel.

If you've watched cities evolve over any period of time, it becomes apparent that wealthy suburbs have disproportionate and undemocratic influence on urban policy.

David Levinson proposed an urban design principle: "No street should carry more than four lanes of private vehicle traffic in a city. No more than two of those lanes should go in the same direction. Most streets should be three, two, or one lane wide.”

Neighborhood character is how you treat your neighbors, not how your house looks. St Paul is lacking.
Father Sonn @mikesonn

Winter isn’t an argument against bike lanes. It’s an argument for protected bike lanes.

People tend to adapt and “figure it out” if they want to go someplace that doesn’t have abundant parking. Conversely, people also tend to “de-adapt,” and consume as much parking as is available if the zoning codes require it. Take your pick.
Strong Towns‏

In Singapore watching people use indoor and outdoor commercial areas, totally different people and behavior. Indoor malls segregate; street level integrates.

I am becoming convinced that autonomous vehicles are designed to solve the problem of "I live in a wealthy suburb but have a horrible car commute and don't want to drive anymore but also hate trains and buses."

"a familiar Catch-22 for designated side-street bike routes around the country: If the route goes where you want to go, it’s probably got too many cars to be a low-stress bike route. If it’s pleasantly low-traffic, it probably doesn’t go where you need."

Paris is defined as much by its cafes and bakeries as it is by the Eiffel Tower. Grandiosity, in the absence of granularity, has never made a city great. And it never will.
Rik Adamski‏

Driving past blocks of historic buildings in Detroit, broken-up by kitschy fast-food joints set far back from the street, surrounded by parking. History will judge the late 20th Century harshly for what it did to the form and function of our cities.
Jason Segedy‏ @thestile1972

We’ve structured our economy around the principles of the Suburban Experiment, an approach to growth that provides lots of short-term rewards at the expense of our long-term strength and resiliency. It's time to change that model.
Strong Towns‏

Terrorism gets the headlines but it's people driving cars that's really killing and wounding people, on a global scale. Will we design our cities differently? It's a matter of life and death. From The Economist’s Safe Cities Index:

jennifer keesmaat

What if you overstayed your parking meter by $2.50 and a police officer came and put you in handcuffs and took you to jail? You'd be outraged. That's what we do basically with transit riders and fare evasion, for whatever reason.
Angie Schmitt‏ @schmangee

82% of people in 13 countries want 100% renewable energy [survey result, link given].
Mark Z. Jacobson‏

Uber wants to fly over cities; Elon Musk wants to drill under them. Or we could just invest in fixing them and getting rid of the dumb cars that clog them up.
Lloyd Alter‏

"Right On Red appears to be about the 5th highest cause of deaths and injuries of pedestrians in Minnesota."
William Lindeke‏

The CDC estimates the cost of fatal car crashes at $99 billion, or ~$500 for every licensed driver in the US.
Devon Zuegel‏

I’m sick of people complaining how unsightly bikeshare is. You know what’s ugly? Cars. People just park them wherever. All over town.

“Large-scale problems don't require large-scale solutions; they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework.” –David Flemming
dan burgess‏ @dansolo

Cemeteries are such a problematic urban land use and I can't believe we're doing nothing about it.
Tony Webster‏

Just your occasional reminder that a baby born today is likely to live to see 2100. In 2017, planning for 2100 is not hubris, it's common intergenerational decency.
Alex Steffen

Why aren’t we acting on climate change? It’s simple: the power of corporate lobbying.
Rob Hopkins‏ @robintransition

Can we just hire Russian hackers to convince us to act on climate change?
Jon Foley @GlobalEcoGuy

driving and meat are the first things that have to go. buying green energy in the suburbs won’t cut it
wire mother‏ @supportdrone

Climate change will make the world's refugee crisis much worse. Tens of millions by 2030, up to 1 billion by 2050.
Eric Holthaus (replying to a tweet that recorded more than 65M refugees and displaced people around the world currently)


Ken Paulman‏
With a few about education:
If the good people of the United States of America learned -- and more importantly, *retained* — information through lectures, 45 wouldn't be President.
Ebony Elizabeth‏ @Ebonyteach

Irony: teaching mindfulness in schools that constantly talk about preparing for the future.

Studying science fairs. Depressingly, most really aren't fairs at all but contests; the point is to triumph over other budding scientists. Discovery is framed as just a means to the end of winning.
Alfie Kohn‏

The underlying toxic premise of school: "You're only good enough if you're better than other people."
Carol Black‏

Percent of the donor class who think the government should make sure that everyone who wants to go to college can do so: 28%. General public? 78%.
Mark Huelsman‏

Schools normalize sorting. So a segment of children internalize disposability. As adults, hierarchy is consequently reinforced and accepted.
Arash Daneshzadeh‏
...on guns and mass shootings:
Don’t ask if solution is arming Americans everywhere. Ask who profits from arming everyone. Ask lawmakers if they take NRA money.
Shannon Watts

Why not just ban guns and when people are upset about it, just send them thoughts and prayers?
Erica Buist

Theses days, "foiled" means only four people were murdered:

Pat Thompson‏ @pattho

Lol at white men who say we need lots of guns to keep us free from tyranny. Bruh, white men with lots of guns ARE tyranny.

Say it with me: I utterly reject the death of expertise. I will fight for evidence-based decision making. I value knowledge and experience.
Jacquelyn Gill‏

The entire tech world is gonna be gobsmacked when they finally realize the solution is to take more time and think about people more.
Alan Cooper‏

Why even have a government if it won’t regulate the market to preserve human rights?

Using people who can’t vote to give people who can vote extra representation in the census is what the 3/5 Compromise was about
Arthur Chu‏ (responding to a tweet about how incarcerated inmates can't vote, but do count in the census and are used to gerrymander the states)
... and about wealth and income inequality:
Journalists should stop using the term "business-friendly" when what they really mean is "anti-worker."
Jonathan Cohn‏

I’ve said this before, but today is a good day to remember that what you have largely results from the arbitrary nature of birth & circumstance. None of us inherently *deserve* what we have.

The cost to New York City to jail a homeless person for a year is over $30,000. Providing the same person a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher at fair market rent would cost $18,000 a year. Criminalizing homelessness is not only immoral but also expensive and inefficient.

I guess this confirms that the biggest fucking thieves are the goddamn people in charge:

Christmas Sam‏ @CollectableCat

For the "I worked full-time to put myself through school" crowd. In 1980, it would take a month to earn a year's public U. tuition working for min wage. Today, tuition at same school = 48 wks of min wage work.
John Warner‏ @biblioracle

It's the paradox of end-stage capitalism: Every megacorp wants poorly compensated employees and wealthy customers, casually forgetting that means their consumers are inevitably someone else's badly paid workforce.
Iron Spike‏

It’s extremely offensive for rich people to tell the unemployed/underemployed they should move across the country to find work. Everyone makes their career based on their social network, especially the rich.
Marshall Steinbaum‏ @Econ_Marshall

My take is: all 30 Under 30 lists should include disclosure of parental assets
Helen Rosner

Man, I could go my whole life without any more point-scoring about racism vs economic anxiety like they aren't twinned in the working class. Precarity and hardship makes people worse and makes them waaaaay more vulnerable to propaganda.
Erin Kissane‏

Ok, so we have an epidemic of opioid abuse. Time to look at the underlying epidemic of pain, often caused by years of unrelenting labor.
Barbara Ehrenreich‏
Then finally, the best of the rest:
"Prevention and rehabilitation is so much cheaper than incarceration. It costs more to imprison a young person than to send them to college. Let’s try sending people to college. Let’s try getting people jobs." –Elizabeth Hinton
Center for Bioethics‏ @HMSbioethics

…there was [not] a huge increase in crime in the ’60s; what there was is lots of federal money to improve reporting of arrests. Measure of crime is actually measure of arrests. – Elizabeth Hinton
Alan Mills‏ @alan_uplc

There is no race. We are not rats. We don’t have to compete. There is no barrel. We are not crabs. We can work together and get further than we could alone. We need each other. We need each other. We need each other. We need each other. We need each other. We need...

Silvio Berlusconi looks increasingly like a Max Headroom that someone has sat on:

Rob Hopkins‏ @robintransition

honestly I’d trust the vote of most folks who’ve been through the prison system more than I would the vote of the average American
Saladin Ahmed

Twitter is rotting my brain from the inside yet it feels like the only thing fast enough to track the massive changes happening in the culture on an hourly basis.
Matt Pearce

i open browser tabs like i'm assembling an army, an army of unread articles
Aparna Nancherla

I hate the term “soft” science fiction. Hard SF is a very specific (and very small) sub-genre of SF. The rest of it is not “soft” it’s just... science fiction.


Ryan Dow‏

Apropos of nothing, it crossed my mind that the very first words of the very first fan at the very first science fiction convention were probably, "It's not as good as it used to be."
Steven Brust‏

I'm not anti-adoption, which I have to say, for some reason, all the time. I do think we could do a much better job acknowledging how complicated it is.
Nicole Chung

If I talked about married people's lives the way they often talk to me about mine, they would call me a monster. "Still got those kids? And the same guy? Don't worry - something will come along and free you...maybe a giant hawk!"
Eliza Skinner‏

I put a heating pad out for the neighborhood cats. I think they like it:


The most embarrassing thing about Americans is how many of us assume anyone with an English accent is smart.
Josh Barro‏

Enough with using “tribal” as a shorthand term for myopic selfish groupthink. Tribes, actual tribes, are generous, supportive and nourishing.
Kat - Indig/Nation‏ @rasberet

Dear America: They do not "hate you for your freedom." They hate you for your tyranny. Also, the bombs.
Werner Twertzog‏

Onion angry faces:

Faces in Things‏

In Minnesota we don’t say “excuse me.” We say “ope” which directly translates to “oh excuse me kind sir/lady, I did not mean to bump into you, please accept my apology as I am a fellow midwesterner and meant you no harm”. Isn’t that amazing?
Sam Rossini‏

In 2016, the NFL earned $14 billion in revenue. Billion with a b. There shouldn’t be a single volunteer for the Super Bowl.
Kara Lynum‏

Being in structural opposition to the status quo because of one’s identity, however, is quite different from being consciously and actively opposed to the status quo because one is a radical and understands how the system works. – Barbara Smith, 1993
tamara k. nopper‏

Jesus's moral philosophy, if taken seriously, is absolutely antithetical to (small-c) conservatism. It is anathema to every form of social and economic privilege. It is corrosive to every form of prejudice and discrimination. It is intrinsically hostile to almost *every* form of socioeconomic status quo, as status quos always reflect embedded advantage. Taking "love everyone" seriously — not in pious Sunday prayers, but as a way to arrange socioeconomic institutions — would lead to a degree of political radicalism that would make today's white evangelical Christians faint right in their Big Gulps.
David Roberts

Christians as a % in the USA:
1996: 65%
2006: 54%
2016: 43%
This is a remarkable change - more than 1% drop each year identifying as Christian. The pro-GOP “Moral Majority” may have helped Republicans, but at the expense of majority-Christian status in the USA
Lee Drake‏

Of all the forms of braindead whataboutism, "you say you're tolerant but you're intolerant of my intolerance!" is the plug dumbest.
David Roberts

If you really want to be an advocate, consider an actual under-served community, instead of, you know, the devil.
Aparna Nancherla‏

Dissent is the world's most underrated form of optimism.
Barry Crimmins

I'm no constitutional scholar, but was the intent of the Framers of the 2nd amendment really to put death in the hands of any yahoo with a few bucks in his pocket and a need to feel powerful?
Alfie Kohn‏

Japan (at its actual latitude and size, as compared to the eastern U.S.:

Jason Segedy‏ @thestile1972

How to improve voting:
• Automatic + Election Day Registration
• Restore Voting Rights Act
• End gerrymandering
• Overturn Citizens United
Ari Berman‏

Demanding debate is a key strategy of those who are essentially wrong - see how "let's debate" has poisoned the discussion about evolution
Paul Thomas‏ @plthomasEdD

The most vacuous, commonly misused word in English is "we." As in "We must never again..." (Who is the "we" you're talking about?)
Langdon Winner‏

Immigration is fiscally a net positive, reduces crime, and promotes growth. Without it, population shrinks and we are Japan: homogeneous and gray.
Marty Manley

True last week... true this week:

Sheppard Seed Co‏

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Always Erring

So today (Today) it's Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor. More to come [yuck], I'm sure.

I just saw this thread on Twitter by @franlophonic, whose Twitter bio reads as just "ivory tower escapee":

Never forget how easy it is to not sexually assault your co-workers. The first rule of dicks is:

always err on the side of not taking your dick out

always err on the side of don't touch your co-workers beyond shaking hands

always err on the side of don't touch people's boobs, butts, or genitals

always err on the side of don't do sex stuff with kids

always err on the side of women are people

always err on the side of wear clothes at work

always err on the side of nobody wants to do sexy stuff with you
Meanwhile, a Star Tribune letter-writer used the word "lynching" when describing the treatment of Al Franken, and Geraldo Rivera says that media and entertainment are a flirtatious business.