Sociological Overview Open Thread: Andrew Sullivan Remains the Exemplar of Upscale Republican Activism

“Generally speaking, my point of view is the whole point of a civil rights movement is to end. You’ve achieved certain things. You’re done. Now get on with your lives. And I think it was one of the most controversial things I ever said in the gay community early on was my goal to shut the gay rights movement down because we’ve succeeded. And I think we almost have, and I want to shut it down after that. I’m not a perpetual — I’m certainly not a progressive in that sense. I believe in society adjusting to social change and moderating and modulating its social institutions, so they’re relevant to current realities.”

Shorter Sullivan: Look, I have just about everything *I* wanted in the way of ‘civil rights’ — why are the rest of You People hanging around wearing those ugly expressions?


Ran across these quotes on somebody else’s twitter feed; they’re transcriptions from a National Review Online podcast. Haven’t tried to listen to the whole thing, cuz I just got some expensive dental work done, and the inside of my mouth is all torn up already.

Bonus echt “Sully” quote:

“I helped bring a lot of readers to [Ta-Nehisi Coate’s] blog, helped him get where he is. I think he’s a beautiful writer and a very, very sharp mind. I regret deeply where he’s ended up… And I think ‘Beyond the World and Me’ was really just a terrible book in the crudeness of it, in the despair of it, in the melodrama of it. It terribly disappointed me and similarly his public position that we live in some crushing white supremacy, which I don’t believe we do, or that African Americans have almost no agency whatsoever in terms of their lives and their future or that they haven’t actually made huge strides in this country and are not actually one of its most powerful and dominant cultural, social, and even political forces. So I just don’t see it the way he does. I certainly respect him, but I find myself deeply alienated by his current politics. He didn’t used to be this doctrinaire or this so absorbed by the sort of social justice left, but there we are.”

I’m quite sure Sullivan Means Well, but he simply can’t imagine any human situation outside of his own personal experience and that of his upper-class, highly-educated, media-based, mostly white, fixedly Conservative conservative bubble.

And that, IMO, is why he’s been a darling of that bubble since he first fled England for the “best, most prosperous former British colony” back in the 1980s, and why he’s made such a nice living fronting for The Bubble ever since.

Reminder to all the procrastinators out there is still scheduled to stop accepting open enrollment tomorrow at midnight.

There has been no early word yet about waiting in line extensions. There is no word on identification problems caused by credit report freeze extensions yet.

We need to assume that will stop accepting completed applications in thirty four hours.

So for all of my fellow procrastinators out there, time is up. Go and get yourself covered.

Open thread.

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This is Adam, I’ll be covering for Alain today and tomorrow.

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

Read more

Thursday Morning Open Thread


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?


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

Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: All Hail the Goddess of Consequences


Could not have happened to a more deserving Malevolent Leprechaun…



(click on either tweet to read the whole thread)

Reposting – We Are Terrifying Ourselves: Terrorism Versus Mass Shootings

Several folks asked me to repost this today/tonight because it got lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s election news. So reposted!


Yesterday a self radicalized Bangladeshi immigrant in New York attempted to blow up himself and a chunk of the New York City subway. There’s no indication so far that he was actually in touch with ISIS or any other extremist Islamic group.

Fortunately he failed.

He did burn himself and caused some minor injuries to three others. And as is always the case when this type of incident happens we are once again inundated with questions about terrorism and its relationship to immigration. The reality is that terrorism incidents are down globally for the second year in a row. Though there are increases in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, which makes sense giving the ongoing civil war in Syria and insurgencies and/or rebellions in the other states. The reality for Americans is that terrorism in the US remains rare –  a small n phenomenon.

GWU’s Program on Extremism’s tweet is only looking at attacks arising from extremist Islamic ideology and/or affiliation, but 19 in 3 years is 6.33 incidents a year. Hardly an epidemic. Overall there have been 201 terrorist plots and incidents carried out between 2010 and 2016. This is 33.5 per year. Here too, we’re not talking about a lot of terrorism. And remember it includes both plots and actual attacks that have been carried out. Here’s the breakdown, you’ll notice who is carrying out and/or planning the majority of terrorist attacks in the US:

The database shows 115 cases by right-wing extremists ― from white supremacists to militias to “sovereign citizens” ― compared to 63 cases by Islamist extremists. Incidents from left-wing extremists, which include ecoterrorists and animal rights militants, were comparatively rare, with 19 incidents.

While we normally separate out terrorism from mass murder (four or more victims not including the perpetrator) by shooting, commonly called mass shooting, the difference in the number of incidents is staggering. We have now reached the point where there is at least one mass shooting per day in the US. As of 14 November 2017 there have been 317 mass shootings in the US so far in 2017. 2016 had 438! Mass shootings are not rare in the US – they are a very large N phenomenon.

The two types of violence do have some significant differences. Specifically in regard to motivation. Terrorism requires a political motivation; an attempt to use violence to force the state, the citizenry, or both to change their behavior as a result of the fear created by the act or acts of terrorism. Mass shootings that don’t have this component are just mass murders using a firearm. And, of course, the latter gets wrapped up in the ongoing argument over what the 2nd Amendment means and how it should be applied in the 21st Century.

There are, however, attempts to conflate these two issues. For instance, the attorney for the three Kansans facing trial for plotting to blow up an apartment complex where the majority of the residents are Somali immigrants is claiming that his clients activities are covered under both the 1st and 2nd Amendment. Specifically, his clients actions are protected as political speech/actions and as a type of freedom of assembly, as well as under the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

“This case is uniquely political because much of the anticipated evidence will center around, and was in reaction to, the 2016 Presidential election,” defense attorneys wrote.

They also argued the case will require jurors to weigh whether the alleged conduct constitutes a crime or whether it is constitutionally protected speech and assembly and the right to bear arms.

This conflation, of an attempted act of domestic terrorism with lawful and protected speech and the right to keep and bear arms, heavily elides the distinction between terrorism and mass murder by mass shooting, which is the usual contact point for questions as to whether mass shootings are a form of terrorism. Short answer: if the shooter had a political motivation it could be terrorism. If the shooter doesn’t, then it most likely isn’t.

And this really gets to Robert Schooley’s observation. Because the Las Vegas shooter was a very affluent white man, despite the fact that he killed 58 people and wounded 546 more in under a half hour, outside of Las Vegas and maybe the home towns of the victims, the coverage dropped to almost zero quickly after the attack. Had yesterday’s attacker been a white guy with a gun there wouldn’t be any calls today to reform the US immigration system or for travel bans. There wouldn’t even be real calls for sensible reforms regarding firearms sales. Rather there would be calls for thoughts and prayers. And emphatic statements that it is too soon to discuss doing anything but thinking and praying. Americans have built up terrorism into an existential, uber-threat out of all proportion to the reality of terrorism to the lives of Americans. At the same time we’ve decided that mass murder by shooting is just something that happens – a type of background noise to our daily lives.

The national anthem, which has recently gotten recognized more and more, I notice, unequivocally states that the US is the home of the brave. It is high time Americans started living up to that statement and stopped being so easily spooked.

Blowed Up (Open Thread)

There are a million reasons to rejoice at Doug Jones’ victory over the lawless, bigoted, kid-diddling theocrat Roy Moore. But I have to admit one of my favorites is this: It’s another example of how thoroughly the literal walking Confederate monument Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has exploded in Trump’s ugly face.

Sessions is one of the most abject toadies who ever licked a would-be authoritarian’s boots. Recognizing a fellow bigot, Sessions jumped on the Trump train early, giving establishment imprimatur to a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue when most elected Republicans still believed Trump would blight their 2016 prospects.

Then Trump won, and Sessions was rewarded with a plum post. All Sessions ever wanted to do was advance the worst aspects of Trump’s bigoted agenda. He’s doing that. But despite his devotion, Sessions has proved a personal liability for Trump at almost every turn, and in the process, he’s earned his boss’s utter contempt.

Trump blames Sessions for the Russia probe. He publicly humiliated him over it. And I’m sure Trump blames Sessions for losing the Alabama senate seat too because nothing is ever Trump’s fault.

Trump is a three-time loser in Alabama — first picking Sessions, then backing Strange and then endorsing Moore. Sessions is taking a wrecking ball to civil rights, so it’s cold comfort. But he’s been a fucking disaster for Trump, despite his best intentions, and I bet Trump reminds him of that at every opportunity.