Open Thread: “But Trump Has Jewish Grandkids… “

I’m guessing this will be dismissed as a totally innocent coincidental error on the part of some unfortunate intern in the graphics department, because Lord Short Fingers pays so little attention to the minutiae of his campaign.

Or then again, maybe it’s a new version of the Cinco de Mayo taco bowl tweet — no ‘political correctness’ on The Donald’s watch, hurhurhur!

Oh, they’ve got an extensive vocabulary — mostly of phrases the rest of us can’t imagine sharing.

Open Thread: Ivanka, It May Be Time to Hide Daddy’s Car Keys…

When does it stop being a joke, and start being a genuine issue?

Stop Me If You Have Heard This Before

It never ends:

The man being held in connection with the death of MP Jo Cox has been named as Thomas Mair, who was described as a “loner” with a history of mental health problems who had previously subscribed to a far-right magazine.

Mair, 52, who was arrested by armed officers shortly after the attack, had spoken about receiving “psychotherapy and medication”, and was described by his younger brother as having “a history of mental illness”.

Despite being born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, a decade-old website posting identified Mair as a subscriber to S. A. Patriot, a South African magazine that was published by the pro-apartheid group, the White Rhino Club.
Police on the scene

The club describes the magazine’s editorial stance as being against “multi-cultural societies” and “expansionist Islam”. A blog post attributed to the group, dated January 2006, described Mair as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of S. A. Patriot.”

I suppose we are just lucky this was in the UK, and not the US, or the guy would probably have been armed with a helluva lot more firepower.

Late Night Horrorshow: Zika Is Coming, Ready or Not

I’m probably gonna get dinged for chicken-littling, because hey, no Ebola outbreak happened in America, right? And yet… “White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014 to 2015” Klain’s Washington Post article:

The good news is that both the House and Senate have finally passed bills that would provide some funding to combat the Zika virus. The bad news is that this action comes more than three months after President Obama requested the aid. Moreover, the House bill provides only one-third of the response needed; pays for this limited, ineffective response by diverting money allocated to fight other infectious diseases; and necessitates a conference committee to resolve differences with the Senate bill, meaning we still do not know when any money will finally get through Congress to fund the response…

As befuddling as Congress’ refusal to approve funds for the Zika response is, perhaps even more of a mystery is why such approval is needed in the first place. If nature was threatening us with serious injury and evacuations via fire, flood or hurricane, the president could use his authority under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide immediate aid without waiting for Congress to act. The fact that epidemic “natural disasters” are the result of disease and not an earthquake or tornado should not constrain the federal government’s ability to provide a timely, comprehensive response…

Speaking of those damaged babies? Once the Zika virus gets established in “our” mosquitos, microcephaly is going to become yet another standard prenatal test for women in the afflicted areas. Or who’ve visited those areas. Or whose male partners were exposed to Zika, even months before the pregnancy. And by the time microcephaly can be diagnosed, it’s too late for a quiet ‘medical abortion‘ — women will need full surgical services, and most will have been visibly pregnant. It’s not going to be easy for ‘fundamentalist’ anti-choicers to find reasons to blame good married Christian white ladies in the Sunbelt for having been bitten by the wrong mosquito… but I’m sure they’re gonna try their damndest.
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Mansplaining Feels The Bern

Not to put a downer on the site after the quadrapedal delights below, but this nugget from the festering gob of one Jeff Weaver caught my attention:

While he was not at Saturday’s convention, Weaver said that based on the account of Sanders surrogate Nina Turner, the reports of a violent atmosphere had been overblown.

“She said, no one went on the stage. No one had the right to feel threatened,”

Oh no — no right at all to think a howling claque might do harm, wasn’t already doing so.


Instead, Weaver argues, it’s all the fault of those facing what he sees as righteous fury:

“What happens is when you rig the process, and you get an angry crowd, you know they’re not used to that.”

Again with the bullshit about a rigged process — one in which Bernie’s folks failed to show up, didn’t register, and all that.  But that’s beside the point here.

Rather…what the f**k?

Here’s some  middle aged white guy telling those — headed by a women — running a meeting what they get to feel, what they’re allowed to view as a danger.

Makes me weep for my Y chromosome, as well as my party and my country.

I know this is piling on the Balloon Juice Bernie-bile, but I have to say — this one makes the MRA strain in the Sanders campaign shine in high relief for me, and it ain’t pretty.  More to the point — it ain’t what Bernie asked folks to sign up for months ago.  Power — just the whiff of power — corrupts even (or especially) those convinced of their own sanctity.

Image:  Thomas Gainsborough, Study of a Woman in a Mob Cap, undated (before 1788). [Sorry — couldn’t resist the pun]

Canada Providing a Preview of the Trump Presidency


Only because I have Canadian friends (and so do you all- Redkitten!) am I aware that Canada is dealing with a horrifying forest fire:

The sky in Fort McMurray now looks like a wall of fire and smoke as a mammoth inferno swallows parts of the Canadian city.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of about 80,000 people, including the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said Wednesday.

The blaze has already destroyed 80% of Fort McMurray’s Beacon Hill community, RM Wood Buffalo said. Well over a dozen homes burned down, but the full breadth of the destruction remains unclear.

The videos are terrifying. Let’s keep our neighbors to the north in our thoughts.

Open Thread: Snowden and the Unasked Questions

There’s a sub-branch of linguistics where the experts search for the words that don’t exist in a particular language — sometimes because certain subjects are considered too dangerous to speak of directly. From the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog, “New study: Snowden’s disclosures about NSA spying had a scary effect on free speech”:

.[I]t’s difficult to judge the effect of government-spying programs. How do you collect all the utterances that people stopped themselves from saying? How do you count all the conversations that weren’t had?

A new study provides some insight into the repercussions of the Snowden revelations, arguing that they happened so swiftly and were so high-profile that they triggered a measurable shift in the way people used the Internet.

Jonathon Penney, a PhD candidate at Oxford, analyzed Wikipedia traffic in the months before and after the NSA’s spying became big news in 2013. Penney found a 20 percent decline in page views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that mentioned “al-Qaeda,” “car bomb” or “Taliban.”

“You want to have informed citizens,” Penney said. “If people are spooked or deterred from learning about important policy matters like terrorism and national security, this is a real threat to proper democratic debate.”

Even though the NSA was supposed to target only foreigners, the immense scale of its operations caused many to worry that innocent Americans were getting caught in the dragnet. A Pew survey in 2015 showed that about 40 percent of Americans were “very” or “somewhat” concerned that the government was spying on their online activities.

The same survey showed that about 87 percent of American adults were aware of the Snowden news stories. Of those people, about a third said they had changed their Internet or phone habits as a result. For instance, 13 percent said they “avoided using certain terms” online; and 14 percent said they were having more conversations face to face instead of over the phone. The sudden, new knowledge about the surveillance programs had increased their concerns about their privacy.

Penney’s research, which is forthcoming in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, echoes the results of a similar study conducted last year on Google Search data. Alex Marthews, a privacy activist, and Catherine Tucker, a professor at MIT’s business school, found that Google activity for certain keywords fell after the Snowden stories were splashed on every front page. Both in the United States and in other countries, people became reluctant to search for terrorism-related words such as “dirty bomb” or “pandemic.”…

The Wikipedia data suggest that the Snowden revelations had a noticeable impact on people’s Wikipedia behaviors, says Penney. “I expected to find an immediate drop-off in June, and then people would slowly realize that nobody is going to jail for viewing Wikipedia articles, and the traffic would go back up,” he said. “I was surprised to see what looks to be a longer-term impact from the revelations.”…

Of course people will find a way around the Forbidden Terms — people always do, whether it’s Siberian nomads referring to Grandfather (Bear) or devout Jews not speaking the name of their god — but wasn’t there a time when “Watch what you say, watch what you do” was righteously mocked as un-American?