Danny Cardwell's picture

    Social Media, Self Creation, Glamour Shots, and Justin Bieber

    Social media has given us the gift/curse of being able to express our fractal selves in a variety of ways. In society we're (x); at home we're (y), but on social media we can be whoever we want to be. The person in our profiles can be a refined caricature of ourselves or a new creation that reflects our deepest desires. Our social media personas, in many respects, have become as real as our flesh and bones.

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    A Look on the Bright Side

    In the Internet Era, we see changes happening faster than ever, more impressive, bigger impact than in any other era in history. Except for the late 1800's when suddenly steam gave way to electricity, lights, refrigeration, modern medicine, mass global immigration and the falling of borders everywhere. (followed shortly by modern nationalism and modern warfare, and whoops, back up went the gates).

    The post-War period brought decolonization from East Asia to the Subcontinent to the Mideast to Africa to Latin America, a period nicely bookmarked by Mandela's release from prison in 1990 - similarly marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union's Communism. 45 years of transition and recovery across most of the world.

    white death encircles the Donald

    The Donald appears to be particularly favored by voters who live in counties that correlate with higher rates of death for middle aged whites, fewer numbers of college degree holders, and high losses of manufacturing jobs---this, according to an article in WaPo by Jeff Guo, "Death predicts whether people vote for Donald Trump."  Guo entwines his own research with the recent research by Case/Deaton indicating an increase in the death rate of middle aged whites. While all of this research, imo, is tentative, two things seem evident: 1) a huge segment of middle aged whites are in poor health and relatively poorer economic circumstances and 2) the Donald has a message which is resonating with this "group". I question whether either of the Democratic candidates has a grasp of endangered middle aged Whites, and whether this group  could help defeat Democrats this year. Even more importantly, I wonder what the solution is for people who I now see every day in rural Texas and those I grew up with in a small mill town in Ohio.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Political Advice from the Past

    I'm at a rare books library this week, with politics happily tuned down to a lower volume. That's true even though the library is around the corner from the Capitol Building, and almost across the street from the Supreme Court. So I was in town for Mitch McConnell's continued resistance to the eminent Merrick Garland, but I am busy doing other things.

    Ramona's picture

    Mitch McConnell Tells a Big Fat Lie. Or Two.

    Today, a little more than a month after Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly while hunting at a Texas ranch, President Obama announced his choice for a replacement.  He has chosen Merrick Garland, a D.C Circuit judge well known by most Beltway pols, almost unanimously endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats during previous nominations, a man whose views range from moderate to conservative, appealing to all but the most liberal among us.

    This choice by Obama was, by all accounts, deliberate.  Republicans are on record singing Garland's praises. They go way back, these guys. Good man!  If anyone could get through the gawdawful GOP gantlet this most brilliant choice for SCOTUS would be it.
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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Meta: How To Fight at Dagblog

    So, my plan has been to only blog about Infinite Jest until I'm done with my second read of the book.  That also gives me a nice chance to play in the comments on the other posts and not be one of the loudest voices in the room re: The Primary.

    That said, we've seen rising tensions re: The Primary.

    Now, I've played my fair share of War Games online...

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dear Republicans: You Did This. You Fix It.

    Dear Republicans: I know that many of you are upset by Donald Trump's rise. I know that many of you are horrified. But let's be frank. This is your party. You did this. I won't walk through the details. But the thing speaks for itself: the Republican Party planted the seeds for this, cultivated those seeds through campaign season after campaign season, and now they have borne strange fruit.

    You did this. You have to fix it.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    An Open Letter To Angry Trump Supporters

    Dear Angry Trump Supporter: I get it. For the better part of forty years I've felt an anxiety similar to what you're experiencing now. Our anger isn't that different; it's connected to our shared inability to alter our day-to-day realities in any significant way. We share an uncomfortable truth: we're stuck reacting to the ebbs and flows of society because we're powerless to control them. You've seen sections of this country abandoned by the powers that be. Some of you have been suffering economic hardships in silence for decades.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: President John Gentle and the Rise of Donald Trump

    As recapped in the excellent biography by D.T. Max David Foster Wallace loved television and could binge-watch with the best of them in the years before streaming Netflix. Netflix is, by the way, something that Wallace seems to have seen coming. In Infinite Jest, Netflix is an entertainment company called Interlace that sells both streaming videos and entertainment cartridges. Interlace basically destroys the advertising industry and the big television networks, by offering people the entertainment they want, when they want it.

    hollywhitman's picture

    Thoughts on Why Energy Will Be a Huge Part of the 2016 Election

    Politics is no longer a civil discourse about two ways to take positive actions that will benefit our country. One of the areas that is up for debate is energy. Even though the changing climate is one of the most imminent dangers facing our country, it’s hardly gotten any coverage. Compared to the gun control, women’s rights, equality, immigration and health care topics, energy has taken a backseat. While those are important issues, none of them will matter if our world collapses.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Republican Race is Over

    As I read article after article about brokered conventions and #NeverTrump campaigns and "paths" to the nomination, I'm struck by the sad futility of it all.

    It may still be numerically possible for Trump to lose the nomination, but practically speaking, les jeux sont faits.

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    Why refuse to call out Trump as racist?

    Surely the low point, at least as measured by plain speaking, of last night's debate was the strange reticence that seized both candidates in re: the manifest racism of Donald Trump.

    Even if one were to give a pass for the enabling reported vis-a-vis his gangster casino customers disgusting behavior, surely the enunciation of two BLANKET policies ( the Muslim ban and the universal deportation) not to mention the rapists and drug smugglers trope which informed the very launch of his campaign ought to qualify him.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Where were you, Senator?

    Any time you leave a bad idea or a dangerous idea alone, any time you ignore what could become an evil force, you wind up regretting it.

    -- Lindsey Graham

    Thank you for these wise words, Senator. I couldn't agree with you more. But pardon me for asking, where the hell have you been?

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    Donal's picture

    Sanders Beat Polls, Still Has to Beat Clinton

    I usually drop off before 9 PM, but I knew I wasn’t going to fall asleep while Bernie Sanders was nursing a slim lead, so I stayed up until AP called Michigan for Sanders at 11:30 or so. I had TPM’s AP link, FiveThirtyEight’s live feed and LisB’s Facebook thread open.

    During the reporting phase of the Michigan and other primaries, Nate Silver and Harry Enten took a lot of flak in FiveThirtyEight’s comment feed, which ran along the right side of the screen while Silver, Enten, Carl Bialik, Julia Azari, Aaron Bycoffe, Micah Cohen and others posted their thoughts on the left. Once it seemed clear that Sanders was outperforming the polls, Silver admitted:

    Of Knowing & the Garden of Earthly Delights

    "Don't sit under the Apple tree...with anyone else but me...."

    The case between DoJ and Apple is one of those defining moments coming ever since Al Gore backed the Clipper Chip for backdoor get devices 20 years ago. While we expected things to get worse under Bush, most of us are gobsmacked to see the continuation of Bush-era security overreach under Obama.

    Sadly this is one area where Bernie could draw Hillary out, drive her to the left without evoking Cuba or other negatives, and would be doing us all a favor. But so far (AFAIK) crickets.

    Ramona's picture

    When the cameras leave Flint, Michigan Will Still Be Michigan

    On January 1, 2011, Rick Snyder, Michigan's new governor was sworn in.  Almost immediately after he solemnly swore to uphold the duties of his office, he made it clear that Michigan was in for a drubbing.  He was going to Make Michigan Great Again. The message was clear: "I'm the boss and you're not. I have friends in high places and you don't. Thanks for the votes, now get outta here."

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Trump vs Hamilton

    A brash loudmouth from New York City has been taking America by storm lately, to the consternation of the traditional political elite. I'm talking, of course, about Alexander Hamilton, and about Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's monstrous, Grammy-winning Broadway hit.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: An Artistic Dilemma

    I think that a problem artists have, when trying to deal with the world, is that we tend to know ourselves better than we know anyone else and we tend to be a cerebral, analytical and, to borrow an old term from Woody Allen, "verbal," lot.  David Foster Wallace was, artistry aside, a genius level intelligence.  He was not only extremely facile with the English language and possessor of a large vocabulary, but was highly educated in arcane modern branches of philosophy and mathematics as well.  He also had excellent understandings of music and competitive sports.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Personal Note

    As many people who read this blog know, my mother has been very ill for some time. I don't have much to say about that, but having mentioned how sick she was it seems strange to let the topic drift off inconclusively.

    My mother has passed away. We had her funeral a week ago. I may have more to say about that later, but right now I do not.

    If you are a praying type, spare a few thoughts for my dad, who was married to her for more than 47 years, and who has suffered the heaviest loss of all. Thank you.

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    David Brooks finally nails it. Congratulations.

    Brooks column in the NYT today has been a long time coming. In his tortured columns over the past eight years he has confounded, amused, and frustrated me in his attempts to find kernels of truth and conservatism in the deeds of the Republican party. In today's column, he doesn't mince words about the con games the Republican politicians and the "establishment" have perpetrated upon Republican voters and most of the rest of us.

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