Open Thread: Some Ideas Really Are Too Stupid Not to Curb-Stomp Fisk

I put Walker Bragman’s latest Salon post in the “Life Is Too Short” pile, but fortunately Wonkette has done the hard work of comprehensively dissecting it

Dear Salon, Set Your Dick On Fire And Eat It
The granddaddy of liberal internet news sites, Salon, has taken time off from begging the FBI to put Hillary Clinton in email jail, and urging young folk to skip voting this year if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and is instead inviting you to consider, hey? Why not vote for Donald Trump? He may be a fascist, but there is one thing about him you cannot deny, and that is that Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton. Salon ain’t lyin’! Vote Donald Trump, you guys, for all the many good reasons laid out by Walker Bragman (the non-Haha Goodman half of the He Man Hillary Hater Bois Club) in his masterpiece, “A Liberal Case for Donald Trump: The Lesser of Two Evils Is Not at All Clear in 2016″…

Go read the whole thing, because it is glorious, and will get you in the mood for tonight’s #NerdProm.



Open Thread: On the Delicate Honor of Donald Trump, and His Most Fervent Supporters

I always enjoy Julia Ioffe’s journalism for her deadpan Sancho Panza/Twelve Chairs wit. When I read she was being twitter-mobbed by antisemitic Trump followers, I assumed their grievance would be associated with her latest Foreign Policy article, “On Trump, Gefilte Fish, and World Order”:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was eating my mother’s gefilte fish while watching Donald Trump’s foreign-policy address Wednesday afternoon. First, it was lunchtime; second, it is Passover; and third, the fish patties in front of me — an amalgam of lots of different ingredients (porgy, rockfish, matzo meal) that, mashed together, resemble nothing immediately recognizable as naturally occurring food — couldn’t help but echo the strange consistency of the policy combinations Trump put forward.

Punctuating his carefully scripted speech with Trumpian bursts of “believe me” and “very bad” — consider them bright bits of rhetorical magenta horseradish — Trump set out his vision of America in the world: America first, but America everywhere. America cutting down on its debt, but also expanding its standing army and revamping its nuclear arsenal. America standing up to China, but also striking an alliance with it. America supporting its allies, but also cracking down on them. America being restrained and judicious in its use of force, but also getting involved militarily and fighting to win…

Should’ve known better; the piece that so offended Der Trumpfuhrer’s fans was an apparently anodyne GQ profile of the woman a Stormfront blogger called “our Empress Melania”:

Back then, in 2005, it didn’t seem odd that she and Donald Trump would mark their happy occasion with the former president and First Lady, then a senator from New York. “When they went to our wedding, we were private citizens,” Melania reminds me. Just two private citizens getting hitched at the groom’s 126-room Florida palace. He in a tux; she in a $100,000 Dior dress that laborers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals—jewels fit for private citizens like them. A pair of ordinary people, really, uniting in matrimony in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Ripa, as Billy Joel serenaded the couple and guests slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake.

Those were, in some ways, simpler times. But things change quickly—which is perhaps the enduring fact of Melania Trump’s entire improbable life—and when your husband works up a plan to make America great again, the very same Clintons you once smiled with on your wedding day can now become your family’s mortal enemies. And you can think, as Melania Trump says she does, that it’s no huge deal, really. “This is it, what it is,” Melania tells me. “It’s all business now; it’s nothing personal.”…
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Excellent Read: “The World Is Full of Dogs Without Collars”

James Gorman, in the NYTimes:

Add them up, all the pet dogs on the planet, and you get about 250 million.

But there are about a billion dogs on Earth, according to some estimates. The other 750 million don’t have flea collars. And they certainly don’t have humans who take them for walks and pick up their feces. They are called village dogs, street dogs and free-breeding dogs, among other things, and they haunt the garbage dumps and neighborhoods of most of the world.

In their new book, “What Is a Dog?,” Raymond and Lorna Coppinger argue that if you really want to understand the nature of dogs, you need to know these other animals. The vast majority are not strays or lost pets, the Coppingers say, but rather superbly adapted scavengers — the closest living things to the dogs that first emerged thousands of years ago…

In 2001, their book “Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution” challenged the way scientists thought about the beginnings of dogs.

They argued against the widely held view that one day a hunter-gatherer grabbed a wolf pup from a den and started a breeding program. Instead, they argued, dogs domesticated themselves.

Some wild canines started hanging around humans for their leftovers and gradually evolved into scavengers dependent on humans. Not everyone in canine science shares that view today, but many researchers think it is the most plausible route to domestication.

During their travels over the years — to look for sheepdogs, to introduce them to sheep farmers who hadn’t used dogs, to attend conferences — they noticed dogs in the street wherever they went, and after a while they began to think about the dogs’ lives…
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: One Makes Room for More

The Democratic delegate count for New York has been finalized — Clinton 139, Sanders 108 (full pledged delegate count: Clinton 1444, Sanders 1207). Reporters are feeling secure enough to start pestering Clinton surrogates about her VP choices. John Podesta promised the Boston Globe that Hillary’s short list would include a woman (because of course they asked, and what else was he gonna say?) The Washington Post‘s premier horse-race tout Chris Cillizza likes Amy Klobuchar, Tom Perez, Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown, and Julian Castro, and his explanations are reasonable enough to consider them the Conventional Wisdom picks.
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But apart from nitpicking the backup Prom Queen/King, Ann Friedman at NYMag has pointed out that there’s more women running for office than ever:

There are currently 27 women in the running for the U.S. Senate, and 216 are vying for U.S. House seats. Plus six women running for governor. Not all of them will win their primaries to make it to the ballot in November. But there are hundreds of women campaigning right now — you’re just not hearing much about them.

The silence is a real shame, because in 2016 we could see a record-breaking number of women elected to the Senate. There are nine pro-choice Democratic women running for Senate this year, most of whom have a good shot at election. Compare that to the supposedly watershed “Year of the Woman” in 1992, which only saw four women senators elected. And, this year, four of the nine contenders are women of color, which is huge because only two women of color have ever, in history, been elected to the Senate…

Not all of these women candidates, it’s worth noting, have endorsed Clinton. And for those of us who are just voters — whether we’re Clinton superfans, merely lukewarm on her, or Sanders supporters who care about electing women — it’s time to look down the ticket. A lot of signs point to 2016 being a big year for women voters — especially if Donald Trump, who seems to actively hate women, is the Republican nominee. If we’re smart, we’ll use the wide gender gap among voters to lift women candidates at all levels of politics.

Here’s how to start: Rutgers’s Center for American Women in Politics has a list of women who are running in every state. Read it. Find a woman near you, or a woman on the other side of the country whose values you share. And decide to support her — financially, if possible. But in other ways, too. Volunteer. Talk her up. Do what you can. Many candidates are facing primary elections in May and June, so now is a great time to get onboard with their campaigns…

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Apart from bickering about terminology working towards change, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Money Money Money

This is great:

Harriet Tubman is going to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, according to a report.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday, according to Politico.

Sources told the site that he has also decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill.

Replacing a racist mass murderer with an abolitionist humanitarian and union spy is change I can believe in.

For the non sportsball people, Peter Gammons is a baseball writer/analyst who has an uncanny resemblance to Jackson.








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Lest We Forget…

From the Washington Post, “New York has plenty of values that Ted Cruz wasn’t counting on”:

With the New York primary just days away and the airwaves filled with presidential candidates talking about New York values, two guys were discussing the subject during a coffee break on Wall Street.

“Hey Steve,” one friend called to another. “What’s a New York value?”

“Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — and Ted Cruz is a complete a–hole,” said Steve Giannantonio, who works in finance. “That’s a New York value.”…

“Where is Ted Cruz from anyway?” said Freddy Aponte, 35, a building super from the Bronx.

“I don’t know, Kansas?” said his co-worker Elijah Moses, 30, from Harlem. “Ohio?”

“Some place with 99 people,” said Jeury Jimenez, 19, a baker from Harlem…

Just down the street, two guys in nice-looking suits were standing outside, not far from where the World Trade Center had once been. They looked like Wall Street bankers, but it turned out that one of them was a lawyer who was a part-time actor, and the other was a writer, director and actor, and they were about to film a car commercial, proving the point that another New York value is not making assumptions about people.

“I think he meant to distinguish New York Jewish elite liberals from the rest of the country,” said David Denowitz, 59, the lawyer, referring to Cruz’s jab. “I took it very badly, because I’m a New York Jewish elite liberal. Well, upper-middle class and educated.”

“New York is really a shining example for the rest of the world — we’re Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, and we all ride the same subway, we all sit at the same lunch counter, and no bombs go off because no one feels the need,” he said, pointing out that the obvious exceptions were the work of outsiders…

Apart from the New York primary (as if that weren’t enough, for us political junkies), what’s on the agenda for the day?



Excellent Read: “Farm to Fable”

When “we” go out to eat, we want freshly sourced, local, pesticide- and GMO-free food. We also want asparagus in September, oranges in New England, and a menu that reliably includes our favorites. And keep in mind that we’re using McDonalds — well, maybe Applebee’s — as a cost yardstick. (The economists’ Golden Triangle, reduced to a bumper sticker: Good, fast, cheap: pick any two!) In the back of our minds, we know these demands are, shall we say, difficult to balance. Tampa Bay Times food critic Laura Reiley is getting attention for her excellent reporting on how “At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction”:

… This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby.

More often than not, those things are fairy tales. A long list of Tampa Bay restaurants are willing to capitalize on our hunger for the story…

It’s a trust-based system. How do you know the Dover sole on your plate is Dover sole? Only that the restaurateur said so… Your purchases are unverifiable unless you drive to that farm or track back through a restaurant’s distributors and ask for invoices.

I did.

For several months, I sifted through menus from every restaurant I’ve reviewed since the farm-to-table trend started. Of 239 restaurants still in business, 54 were making claims about the provenance of their ingredients.

For fish claims that seemed suspicious, I kept zip-top baggies in my purse and tucked away samples. The Times had them DNA tested by scientists at the University of South Florida. I called producers and vendors. I visited farms.

My conclusion? Just about everyone tells tales. Sometimes they are whoppers, sometimes they are fibs borne of negligence or ignorance, and sometimes they are nearly harmless omissions or “greenwashing.”…

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The menu reads: This menu is free of hormones, antibiotics, chemical additives, genetic modification, and virtually from scratch. We fry in organic coconut oil and source local distributors, farmers, brewers and family wineries … Our fish is fresh from Florida or sustainable/wild fisheries.
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