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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March for Science Live Feed

I’ve embedded a live feed  from the official DC March. They are retweeting from a lot of locales around the world and I suspect as today goes on they’ll add US locations. There is also a SnapChat app for you younguns.  :-D

Feed is below the fold:  Read more



Luxury Denied (Open Thread)

Who was it who said (paraphrasing) a competent administration provides its citizens the luxury of not thinking about politics all the time? This cartoon is my life now:

I hope the science marches are HUGE today. I can’t go because of a family thing, but my encouragement, admiration and good wishes go with those of you who are marching!

Open thread.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Keep Resisting

Bill Nye, star of the megahit “Science Guy” television show of the 90s, announced his public support of the March for Science in a blog post on Thursday. The April 22 march is billed as a call for the world to support and safeguard science in light of recent policy changes disrupting research at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, NASA, and more. The event will include a teach-in and rally on the National Mall followed by a march through the streets of D.C.

Nye, whose new Netflix series will drop the day before (an air date set long before the march was planned, but presumably also intended to coincide with Earth Day, which is on April 22), will be at the event as a speaker and honorary co-chair. He explained his support for the march in a blog post for The Planetary Society, a science nonprofit of which he is currently the CEO…

What else is on the agenda as we start the new week?
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Hearings on Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS seat are due to start again tomorrow…



Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Vernal Equinox


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Apart from #Resisting, what’s on the agenda as we start another week (and season)?
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A new Washington Post feature, from Media Columnist Margaret Sullivan — “Tracking the special treatment media get when they play nice with the White House“:

True, it is not the proper job of journalists to provide favorable coverage but rather to hold powerful figures accountable.

But that doesn’t get you far these days, at least in terms of access.

So we’ll be taking note of what does.

Consider Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent trip to North Asia — his first such foray. Tillerson broke with long-standing tradition by not including State Department reporters on this foreign trip. The norm is to have a solid group of reporters who provide “pool reports” to others not on the trip, so that American citizens might have a sense of what their government is doing abroad.

Tillerson had only one press representative with him: Erin McPike of the Independent Journal Review, a conservative website founded by Alex Skatell, a former Republican operative.

McPike has little experience covering foreign affairs and has been with IJR only a few weeks, but she had written a piece about why Tillerson might be avoiding the press and how well he and the president were working together behind the scenes to get things done…

The decision was a way to give access to a “broader representation of U.S. media,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters last week, adding, “This is just an attempt to reach beyond the usual suspects, and I’m not trying to say that in a demeaning way at all.”

Tillerson’s own words showed how little respect he has for journalists’ role in keeping citizens informed. He made it all about himself, telling McPike: “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.”…

If they’re not courtiers, what good are they? And I personally don’t need courtiers, so…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Snow (Job) Day?

Not sure how much of DC will be shut down, so this next may or may not be postponed:

Here in the Boston exurbs, the weatherpersons are predicting somewhere between a foot and two feet of snow; I’m selfishly hoping the snow/sleet line doesn’t get this far north, because I’d rather move two feet of dry fluffy stuff than ten inches of frozen sludge…

Apart from March Snowmaggedon Madness (and you Left Coasters rolling your eyes), what’s on the agenda for the day?


 

And finally, happy news for us Washington Post subscribers — the Mad Bitcher is taking his talents elsewhere:



Monday Morning Open Thread: People Power

Probably a more viable alternative, at the present moment:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It had all the trappings of a campaign rally: the signs, the Bruce Springsteen songs on repeat, the clipboard-hugging volunteers in matching T-shirts.

But the 2,000-odd people in the University of Miami’s basketball arena were there to hear Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, try to recruit them into a legal army.

“It didn’t take a lot of work to fill this auditorium,” Romero said, as the screens surrounding him showed mass protests against President Trump. “People want to be deployed. They don’t just want to write you a check, or sign a petition. They want to be engaged. You want to be protagonists with us.”

The ACLU is spending millions of dollars on a plunge into grass-roots politics — a “People Power” campaign. It’s the newest and largest development from a sprawling “resistance” movement that regularly moves faster than the Democratic Party’s leaders can think and isn’t waiting on politicians for cues…

“We’ve seen this exponential growth in people becoming card-carrying members of the ACLU,” Romero said in an interview after his speech. “They’re younger. They’re in every state around the country. The biggest danger was in not doing something like this, where people get apathetic and they fall asleep.”

There’s little apparent risk of that, and the biggest organizations on the left, broadly defined, are staffing up to give it direction. The Center for American Progress is planning a grass-roots conference for “rising” activist groups in California next month, and an ideas conference in Washington one month later. Super PACs such as American Priorities have become promotion machines for the Indivisible movement, which in just a few months has begun to organize some local chapters as official nonprofit groups.

But no organization is transforming as quickly or as boldly as the ACLU. Since the 2016 election, it has tripled its membership to more than 1.2 million and raised more than $80 million, with plans to add 100 staff members to a team of about 300…

Here’s the ACLU website’s update. You can watch a recording of the whole session here.

More, from the Christian Science Monitor:

The event marked a distinct strategic shift for the civil liberties group, which has traditionally focused on courtroom litigation. The ACLU’s new campaign, PeoplePower, is the organization’s first grassroots mobilization effort in its nearly 100 years of existence, leaders say, driven by a recent surge in membership and widespread activism efforts across the country in the months since President Trump’s election victory. Since November, group membership has tripled to more than one million, with more than 135,000 people signed up to take part in the PeoplePower campaign as of Saturday.

“Before, our membership was largely older and much smaller,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told Reuters. “Our members would provide us with money so we could file the cases and do the advocacy. What’s clear with the Trump election is that our new members are engaged and want to be deployed.”…

Speaking at the event on Saturday, Mr. Romero said priority issues for the campaign are immigration, free speech and religious freedom rights, civil and reproductive rights, and LGBT rights.

“We will bring all the lawsuits necessary to defend these rights,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press. “We’ll do the work in the courts. You do the work in the streets. People are motivated. They want to be engaged.”

The Resistance Training coincided with the ACLU’s launch of a new grassroots online organizing platform, PeoplePower.org, a tool to help people planning a local protest or rally connect and coordinate with others around the country. The site will also provide details of ACLU initiatives…

Apart from staffing The Resistance, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?