Monday Morning Open Thread: Standing Together and Fighting for Truth

Chaz Danner, NYMag, “Scientists and Their Allies Stage Unprecedented Worldwide Protest“:

Scientists and their supporters amassed in large numbers in hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday to participate in the March for Science, a worldwide protest in support of science, scientists, and the value of scientific research. More officially, the nonpartisan event was meant to encourage “political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Many attendees in the U.S., however, appeared to be motivated as much by their respect for science as they were by the Trump administration’s perceived antipathy towards it. The sweeping White House-proposed budget cuts to federal agencies that fund scientists and their research was instrumental in driving interest in the march over the last few months, and government science budgets were clearly on the mind of many other marchers across the world too, as was the threat of human-driven climate change. Evidence and reality may be neutral, but in the present political climate, scientists may no longer be able to be so.

Whatever the specific motivations of individual participants, the overall march was undoubtedly a unique event in the history of science and politics. As the Washington Post’s Chris Mooney explains after talking to some science historians, “While scientists and their allies have argued about and even occasionally protested on specific political topics over the years, taking to the streets in a sweeping defense of scientific truth itself and its role in policymaking seems considerably broader and, for the research world, more fundamental.”…

Apart from continued #Resistance, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?
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Sunday Morning Open Thread: For SCIENCE!

From commentor James J, in Madison. First of many from the BJ community, I’m assuming.

Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

In 2017, the country needs a series of marches across the landscape to remind itself that scientific progress and American democracy are inextricably bound for their mutual survival. The current president* has leaked a budget that decimates the federal government’s role in all manner of scientific research, from the fight against epidemic disease to the war on climate change. Which was why, walking through the drizzly day on the White House end of the National Mall, you saw epidemiologists sharing umbrellas with geologists, or a group of microbiologists huddling low under a spreading cherry tree alongside a knot of anesthesiologists. People walked around dressed as bees and as lobsters and as Beaker, the lab assistant from the Muppet Show. People walked around in overalls and in lab coats. They wore the now-classic pussy hats repurposed to resemble the configurations of the human brain and they wore stethoscopes around their necks…

There was a great deal of infighting—”Some very ugly meetings,” said one person familiar with them—about how specifically political the march should be. The older and more conventional scientists—most of them white males, for all that means in every public issue these days—tried to make the march and the events surrounding it as generic as possible.

The younger scientists, a more diverse groups in every way that a group can be, pushed back hard. The available evidence on Saturday was that their side had carried the day. Given the fact that, for example, Scott Pruitt, who took dictation from oil companies when he was Attorney General of Oklahoma, is now running the EPA, they could hardly have lost. More than a few signs reminded the current president* that, without science, he would be as bald as a billiard ball.

Generally, though, there was more than a little sadness on all sides that it ever had come to this, that a country born out of experimentation had lost its faith in its own true creation story, that a country founded by curious, courageous people would become so timid about trusting the risks and rewards of science…

Apart from sharing reports & pics, what’s on the agenda for the day?


(I’m guessing from her twitter bio that this was in Boston. It is very Bostonian.)



Friday Evening Open Thread: Readership Capture Social Notes

Former President Barack Obama will speak to young people at the University of Chicago on Monday, returning to the city for what will be his first public event since leaving the White House.

Obama and young leaders will hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing at the university’s Logan Center for the Arts, his office announced Friday.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend, chosen from area universities that were given tickets for distribution, said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president. About six young people will appear on stage with him for the 11 a.m. discussion, he said.

The event will be a homecoming for Obama on multiple levels. He formerly taught constitutional law at the U. of C., and his family has a home nearby in the Kenwood neighborhood. He gave his farewell address in January in the city that launched his political career. And the discussion with students lets the former president, who came to Chicago to work as a young community organizer, fulfill one of the commitments he set out for his post-presidential years: to engage and work with the country’s next generation of leaders, Lewis said…

No tickets remain for distribution to the general public, but the event will be televised. Former first lady Michelle Obama is not expected to accompany her husband on the trip, Lewis said.

The participants on stage with Obama are expected to range from high school to college to recent university graduates. According to Lewis, they have all been chosen and are from the Chicago area, but their names were not released Friday…

Obama has been writing his memoirs amid a succession of celebrity-filled vacations intended to allow him and the former first lady to decompress. Reports have had him as far away as Tetiaroa, a French Polynesian island once owned by Marlon Brando.

Now, the timing of the Chicago event suggests an increasing public profile for the former leader. On May 7, he will be in Boston to receive the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Profile in Courage award. It’s being called the centennial award because Kennedy was born 100 years ago.

What else is on the agenda, as we wrap up the week?



Protest Open Thread: (Virtual) Green Balloons for the Science March

No real balloons permitted at the DC march, or probably some of the other larger marches as well. Maybe y’all can carry signs that say ‘green balloons’.

After my post yesterday, there were comments announcing that members of the Balloon Juice community will be at the March(s) in St. Louis (hi, Quinerly!), Pittsburgh, DC, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Madison, St. Paul, Raleigh NC, London, ‘the Bay Area’, Buffalo, small-town Ohio (hi, Kay!), Sarasota, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, ‘Maryland’, Chico CA, Denver, Hartford CT, ‘Dallas or Denton’, Seattle, Greenville NC, and Kansas City (tell Michael Bersin hello!).

I’ve done my best to strip out the relevant comments, which will (should) be mostly below the fold here. If you can’t organize through comments to this post, send me an email at annelaurie dot verizon dot net, and I’ll forward your message to the commentors in the community you flag.

Here’s who’s spoken up, so far:

geg6 says:
I’m going to the Pittsburgh march
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frosty says:
I’m Planning on the DC march this Saturday. Early arrival, but my colleagues will be leaving before 2:00. I’d be interested in meeting up during the day (if it’s even possible)
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Another Scott says:
I’ll be at the DC march, probably collecting with the DC, NoVA, MD IEEE group.
https://meetings.vtools.ieee.org/m/44343
Here’s hoping for a big turnout!
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Wyatt Derp says:
I’m going to the Boston march. Currently just planning on showing up at the Common around 1 pm
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Quinerly says:
Thanks, Anne Laurie! Not sure how many people I’ve gathered for our St. Louis area march and possible meet up. I’ll be at Howards in my beloved Soulard neighborhood in the City of St. Louis by noon for a 12:15/12:30 launch to Union Station. Howards is at the corner of 13th and Lynch, down by our Anheuser Bush Brewery. Would be cool if any area peeps gather after the march for a meet up, drinks, food. Very good Blues band playing…. If you want, pipe in on this thread. I’ll check it later and get a reservation for a head count. Bartenders know me.??
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pamelabrown53 says:
Spouse and I are eagerly anticipating meeting Quinerly and hopefully other Juicers in St. Louis at Howard’s and the March!
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Origuy says:
I’m going to the one in San Jose. It ends at a park near the convention center, where Silicon Valley Comic Con will be happening. There will be Comic Con activities in the park after the rally, so it should be a lot of fun.
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ceece says:
I’m going to the San Jose march, with some students from my school. The lineup of speakers at San Jose is very diverse, with some overlap of people from the Silicon Valley Comic Con. The march ends at Chavez Plaza, where the free public portion of Comic Con is scheduled, and where the Tech museum is having a free kids day. Definitely take the bus or train, as there will be very little parking downtown.
—- Read more



Open Thread: Who’s Going to A Science March?

Note from commentor Quinerly, whose Travels with Poco enlivened many early-morning threads:

It would be cool if a Front Pager would throw up a dedicated Meet Up thread maybe on a Wednesday before these marches. People could pipe in with their areas, pick places for Juicers to meet, if they wanted to….no pressure, no planning clusterfucks. Just a suggestion.

Look forward to meeting you [St. Louis, Missouri]. I just put up an invite on my Book of Faces page to generate some interest. My neighborhood peeps pretty much hang at Howards on Saturday and Sunday anyway. Soulard is a neighborhood of misfits, hippies, and derelicts….we like our music and cocktails…Ozark will attest to it from his days in the area.

I know various commentors from a number of cities/states have expressed their intentions over the past several weeks. If you’d like to meet up with other Balloon Juicers, or have questions, leave a comment below. (Or you can email me at annelaurie dot verizon dot net, but don’t expect to hear back until late afternoon or early evening.)



Open Thread: The Tax Rallies

The Washington Post reports:

In all, dozens of protests occurred throughout the country. The main march unfolded in the nation’s capital, where protesters gathered for a rally in front of the Capitol and then marched west along Pennsylvania Avenue. In South Florida, activists marched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where the president is staying this weekend. Thousands more gathered at a large march in New York City, where activists, comedians and a state senator spoke. Many of the protests featured an inflatable chicken, a mascot of sorts for the march…

C.J. Ingram, a D.C. resident in her 50s who works in a funeral home, attended the march, her first protest during Trump’s presidency.

“I’m really mad because he made Barack Obama produce his birth certificate, and he’s not even producing his tax returns,” Ingram said. “Come on, really? What are you hiding?”…

The non-profit, Electronic Privacy Information Center filed suit in D.C. federal court Saturday over Trump’s tax returns, arguing there is a provision in IRS regulations that allows their release.

During the march in the District, the lineup of speakers included Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) and others. The speakers derided the president, and called on him to act ethically and read the Constitution.

“Releasing your tax returns is lowest ethical bar for a president,” Wyden said. “And we’re going to make sure he clears that hurdle.”…


h/t Buzzfeed therealdiggysmalls / Via instagram.com



Friday Morning Open Thread: Good Friday / Easter Weekend

Bless this man, now and forever. A twenty-three minute podcast might be a little long first thing, but I understand many people use their commutes for good listens like this.

Salutations to those of our Balloon Juice community who will be observing Good Friday, a supremely significant Christian holiday that nonetheless sits oddly in our modern American calendar (Financial markets will be closed, but it’s not a federal or state holiday.) We’ll have a three-day weekend here in the People’s Commonwealth, because Monday is (the original & only true) Patriots’ Day, also known to some as Marathon Monday.

What’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?

There’s also another big protest march scheduled this weekend:

An idea that sprung from a law professor’s tweet after President Trump’s inauguration will unfold Saturday on the Mall, where thousands of protesters plan to call on Trump to release his personal tax returns. The demonstration is expected to be the largest of more than 100 affiliated protests planned across the country.

The Tax March, which falls on the nation’s traditional April 15 deadline to file taxes, is expected to be one of the most high-profile demonstrations of the Trump era since protesters around the world participated in women’s marches — marches that served as an unprecedented rebuke to Trump’s presidency on his first full day in office. Presidents are not required to release their tax returns but have done so voluntarily dating to the 1970…

Marchers in Washington are expected to be joined by those in more than 100 other cities across the country and around the world, including New Orleans, San Antonio, Nashville and London, organizers say.

In Washington, organizers have worked with government agencies, including D.C. police and the National Park Service, to obtain permits. The Park Service permit indicates that organizers expect up to 10,000 people.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the Park Service, said the Tax March and the Science March the following weekend are among the largest protests the agency is expecting this spring in Washington.

The Tax March will begin at noon Saturday on the west lawn in front of the Capitol, with a lineup of speakers that includes Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.). From there, protesters will march west along Pennsylvania Avenue NW before ending near the Lincoln Memorial. The event is expected to end about 4 p.m.

In an interview, Raskin referred to polls during the presidential campaign that showed a majority of Americans — and a majority of Republicans — believed that Trump should release his tax returns. Raskin said Congress couldn’t have meaningful conversations about a tax revamp without knowing whether proposed tax laws would be a financial boon to Trump and his businesses…

Official TaxMarch website here. (They have a great logo.)