Thursday Morning Open Thread


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Despite the 22F temperature, the biting wind, the unexpectedly heavy light pollution from passing traffic, and the clouds scudding in at great speed, Spousal Unit & I saw at least half a dozen bright Geminid meteors flash across the sky, so we’re satisfied with our expedition.

Apart from resolutely staying positive, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Strong contender (in a year full of them) for Best Internet Protest of the Year, as reported by David Roth at Deadspin

On Wednesday, a number of prominent Native American activists began tweeting a statement purporting to announce that Washington’s NFL team would, next season, be changing its name to the Washington RedHawks…

If you were scrolling through Twitter with your mind in energy-saver mode, which is really the only safe way to do it, this looked like more than just an attempt to hustle a hashtag. It looked for all the world like news, albeit of the unlikeliest kind. Not just in the sense that it was good news, although there’s obviously that, but in the sense that it was being covered everywhere.

Or, more accurately, it was being “covered” “everywhere.” There were what appeared to be links to what appeared to be stories from what appeared to be major sports publications—the Washington Post, Bleacher Report, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated—that reported, in a rough simulacrum of those venues’ house styles, various angles on the story. The team issued no such statement, and the stories were all fakes that appeared on rather shockingly artful spoofs of each of those publications’ pages. Each of the hoax pages had been registered last month, through the French web registrar Gandi SAS by a registrant named Mark Jones. There is a field for “registrant organization” on Gandi’s form, but Jones left it blank…

The ghoulish bile-baiting tone of most Fake Sports News was nowhere to be found in these stories, each of which told the story of a team belatedly doing the right thing at the end of another lost season and of Native American activists belatedly seeing their advocacy turn into a hard-won reality. More than that, these stories told the story well, with quotes from all the appropriate corners…

It is so easy to admire the technical deftness and general craftsmanship behind the RedHawks hoax that it’s worth taking a moment to consider how slashing the satirical intent is, here. It emerges gradually as you click across the various spoof sites, as the realization builds that all this decency and equanimity just sounds wrong coming from the people it’s coming from. There is no more devastating assessment of how Daniel Snyder has handled his team’s shameful name than imagining him saying, as he’s “quoted” in the Sports Illustrated spoof: “[The RedHawks] is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect—the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.” It’s all the more so when you realize that this is an exact quote from an actual statement that Snyder made in 2013, in defense of continuing to call his team the Redskins



Open Thread: #Persisting


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Meanwhile, on Planet Repub…

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Things Get Better, Eventually


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What’s on the agenda, as we start an unexpectedly bright day?
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From the Washington Post:

Doug Jones’s odds-defying victory in Alabama — handing Democrats a vanishingly rare Senate win in the Deep South — scrambles President Trump’s legislative agenda for the coming year, threatens to heighten Republican infighting and sounds an alarm for the GOP’s prospects in November’s midterm elections.

Any dent in the two-seat advantage Republicans hold in the Senate would carry major governing consequences, but the loss of what had been considered one of the party’s safest seats carries a special sting for the GOP.

One consequence is Democrats’ much more plausible path to the Senate majority next year. The 2018 map was widely seen to favor Republicans, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won last year and only two Republican seats clearly at risk…

Some Republicans view the Alabama seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as the first casualty in an internecine GOP battle that has pitted establishment Republicans personified by McConnell against populist insurgents led by former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

“It should be a hurricane siren for every Republican,” said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to McConnell. “This is what the death of a party looks like, and without an immediate course correction and rejection of the Steve Bannon view of the world, you can lose races in states like Alabama.”…

Barring a new effort at bipartisan dealmaking that has been largely absent so far under the Trump administration, the GOP appears on track to head into the November midterms with only one major accomplishment to tout: a tax-cut bill that has polled poorly and delivers most of its direct benefit to corporations and the wealthy…



Late Night Gloating Open Thread: Moore Is A Losing Luzer Who Loses

To be honest, I’m actually curious how many votes were tipped — or just not cast — after Moore’s Big Barn Burning Hate Fest last night. Sure, it pleased Moore’s base, and no doubt the small-dollar donors who provide his steady income, so he’s got no reason to regret the show. But it’s gotta sting that so many out-of-state Repubs are suddenly seized with the urge to “refudiate” Judge Roy, like he was some shoeless drifter snuck under their big tent and stank up the joint…


Read more



Open Thread: And There Will Be Much Rejoicing!


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CONGRATULATIONS, SENATOR JONES!

The upset delivered an unimagined victory for Democrats and shaved Republicans’ unstable Senate majority to a single seat.

Mr. Jones’s victory could have drastic consequences on the national level, snarling Republicans’ legislative agenda in Washington and opening, for the first time, a realistic but still difficult path for Democrats to capture the Senate next year. It amounted to a stinging snub of President Trump, who broke with much of his party and fully embraced Mr. Moore’s candidacy, seeking to rally support for him in the closing days of the campaign.

Sue Bell Cobb, a former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, said Mr. Jones had overcome a culture of “toxic partisanship,” reaching out to Republicans and electrifying restive Democrats.

“Never has there been this level of civic engagement,” said Ms. Cobb, who is planning to run for governor next year. “Never has it happened.”

She was drowned out by a raucous cry from her fellow Democrats, and clasped her hands to her face as she saw on a massive projection screen that Mr. Jones had pulled ahead. Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, a newly inaugurated Democrat standing just feet away, beamed as returns from his city helped put Mr. Jones over the top….

The election is a painful setback for Republicans in Washington, who have already struggled to enact policies of any scale and now face even tougher legislative math. Mr. Moore’s success in the Republican primary here, and the subsequent general-election fiasco, may deter mainstream Republicans from seeking office in 2018 and could prompt entrenched incumbents to consider retirement.

But there is also a measure of relief for some party leaders that Mr. Moore will not join the chamber, carrying with him a radioactive cloud of scandal. A number of Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, had indicated that Mr. Moore would face an ethics investigation if he were elected, and possibly expulsion from the Senate….

Yeah, I’m not buying that line, either. If you read the whole article, there’s an obvious tension between the genuine reporters and the NYT head office’s determination to stenograph the new GOP talking points — that they had Moore forced upon them by that parvenu Trump, who isn’t even really a Republican, after all. It’s not gonna convince many Democrats, and somehow I suspect Republican voters aren’t liable to be persuaded, either.

But tonight is OURS!



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Hannukah!


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Apart from the immediate topic(s), what’s on the agenda for the day?

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Monday Morning Open Thread: Find Joy Where You Can


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What’s on the agenda, as we start the new week?
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Meanwhile, in Alabama…