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Monday Reading


Happy Monday!

USS Enterprise FS Charles de Gaulle.jpg
“USS Enterprise FS Charles de Gaulle” by U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Doug Pearlman. – U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: 010516-N-6259P-003. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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  • White Southerners sympathetic to the Confederacy (i.e., most of ’em) are convinced to this day that Sherman’s troops slaughtered civilians like cattle, and will not take history books for an answer.

    I argued the other day that this is not only false, but exemplifies the kind of thinking that leads the same people to believe that Obama is on the side of ISIS, etc.

    • Aimai

      Fascinating piece on Marching Through Georgia. Reminding us that we can’t really understand the implications of the use of something like “negro dialect” in songs or stories unless we understand the entire context.

      • True. And not even then, sometimes. I am always of two minds about it in Huckleberry Finn, for ex.

        • Aimai

          I’m totally pro the usage in Huckleberry Finn. The only question I have is how well it gets taught in mixed race groups of adolescents. But everyone gets a dialect in HF, its how Twain deals with his characters and makes them come alive.

          • But Twain is not above mocking Jim qua black person, and I’m not sure why I should think the dialect isn’t part of that.

            Of course, Twain mocks everybody, but is that an excuse?

  • keta

    Per the cutline on the photo, I did not know there was a naval rating, “Photographer’s Mate Airman.”


    • lige

      My grandfather was a photographers mate in the Navy in WWII which meant he took lots of aerial photos- though it does seem like Airman implies a different service.

  • joe from Lowell

    Dan Pfeiffer:

    The administration has now decided that in many cases, even adversarial bargaining fails because the Republican leadership is not capable of planning tactically. “You have to be careful not to presume a lot of strategy for this group,” Pfeiffer said. “I’ve always believed that the fundamental, driving strategic ethos of the Republican House leadership has been, What do we do to get through the next caucus or conference without getting yelled at? We should never assume they have a long game. We used to spend a lot of time thinking that maybe Boehner is saying this to get himself some more room. And it’s like, no, that’s not actually the case. Usually he’s just saying it because he just said it or it’s the easiest thing to solve his immediate problem.”

    That’s going to leave a mark.

    • Aimai

      But christ it took them until losing the second set of midterms to finally get their groove on? I mean, I saw it in real time but I kept not believing it. Well, as an old friend of mine used to say (quoting his grandmother) “smart, smart, and still you’re dumb.”

      • humanoid.panda

        Did it? The didn’t negotiate the 2013 shutdown, just let the GOP back itself into a corner..

      • joe from Lowell

        No, it didn’t. Pfeiffer dates it to the July 2011 debt ceiling talks.

        The same people who spent the first six years of the Obama administration minimizing everything they accomplished are trying to make up for it by overstating what they do during the last two years, overhyping the difference between how the administration acted before, and describing actions that had been in the works for years as if they represent a sharp break.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Keep in mind these are the same people who delayed passing ACA for 8 months while hoping to get at least one GOP Senator to support it. Even though pretty much everyone else figured out that they would never get any GOP support at all.

        What else could they have rammed through during that period if they hadn’t bogged down the Senate with all that time spent pretending they might get a GOP Senator to sign on? Like, perhaps, a second stimulus, perhaps in time to jack up the economy so that the 2010 midterm bloodbath wouldn’t be so bad?

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          Um – until Al Franken finally got seated, they couldn’t ram ANYTHING through the Senate without a GOP Senator. 59/99 votes doesn’t defeat a filibuster.

        • joe from Lowell

          Keep in mind these are the same people who delayed passing ACA for 8 months while hoping to get at least one GOP Senator to support it.

          No, actually, they’re not. That was internal to the Senate. The administration didn’t delay anything. Senate committee chairs like Max Baucus get to bottle things up in their committee to try to chase Republicans support if that’s what they want to do. The formulation “they…bogged down the Senate” is completely backwards. The Senate itself was doing the bogging down.

          Like, perhaps, a second stimulus, perhaps in time to jack up the economy so that the 2010 midterm bloodbath wouldn’t be so bad?

          I’m not sure what is a more unlikely – that the Congress would have passed another stimulus bill, or that it would have made enough difference to the economy in a few months to change the outcome of the 2010 elections.

          • CrunchyFrog

            It would have had to have been passed in the summer of 2009, the earlier the better.

    • Murc

      What do we do to get through the next caucus or conference without getting yelled at? We should never assume they have a long game.

      That’s unfair.

      The Republican legislative leadership doesn’t have a long game.

      The conservative movement, which largely but not completely overlaps with the Republican legislative caucuses, absolutely does, and legislative gridlock is part of that, and their willingness to stick to the long-term plan when they could have gotten shorter-term gains is impressive.

      • keta

        “The good of the party before the good of the country.”

        They don’t even try to pretend anymore.

        • Murc

          I also think that’s kind of unfair. I prefer to try and have a clear-eyed view of my political opponents, and I honestly do think they see themselves as patriots acting in their utmost to better the country, if only because most people do not see themselves as cackling supervillains.

          In fact, the real true believers honestly don’t give any more of a shit about the Republican Party than, say, I do the Democratic Party. It’s a vehicle for their ideology, nothing more.

          • “I also think that’s kind of unfair. I prefer to try and have a clear-eyed view of my political opponents, and I honestly do think they see themselves as patriots acting in their utmost to better the country, if only because most people do not see themselves as cackling supervillains.”

            Agreed, at least for the rank and file. The problem is that they tend to have a very narrow definition of patriotism, where the Second and Tenth Amendments are sacred and absolute while there are always exceptions to the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth, etc.

            Want to have fun with a conservative friend or relative sometime? Let them go on about the Second Amendment for a few minutes, then bring up the First or Fourth.

            The grifters and the Big Money Boyz, however, are cackling supervillains.

          • CP

            I prefer to try and have a clear-eyed view of my political opponents, and I honestly do think they see themselves as patriots acting in their utmost to better the country, if only because most people do not see themselves as cackling supervillains.

            The problem is, not only that their patriotism is narrow (as CS points out), but that their definition of “the country” is narrow. As far as they’re concerned, somewhere close to half the country is made up of foreigners and fifth columnists. All those Hispanics who immigrated illegally and don’t have the right to be here, all those leftists and Muslims who’re betraying America from the inside, all these non-Christians and other folk who don’t share the common patriotic American Values and who, while technically American, don’t appreciate or even really deserve that honor…

        • “Even the best party is but a kind of conspiracy against the Commonwealth.” -Syme

  • Gwen

    Nate Cohn may have some points, but generally I think he’s falling into the nattering nabobs camp vis-a-vis Hillary.

    Here’s how the next 19 months or so will play out:

    1.) The media will continue to throw shade at Hillary until…

    2.) One of the Republicans starts getting fawned over…

    3.) At which point all the other Republicans will destroy that person…

    4.) At which point someone the media detests will win the Iowa caucus…

    5.) At which point the media will lay off Hillary for a while…

    6.) Until the conventions, where the spin will undoubtedly be that the Democrats are in disarray, or some other trite predictable bullshit.

    7.) Pretty much everything after August is going to be just plain embarrassing.

    I have no idea who will win, but I am pretty sure that anyone expecting the media to be sane or rational, has already lost.

    • keta

      You forgot 8.) IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME!!!

      Because it will be, you know.

      • Aimai

        They will never, ever, “lay off” of Hillary. From the very beginning of the Clinton’s run for power the press narrative has always been that they are jumped up imposters, outsiders, hicks, charlatans and thieves. The press will never decide that “its hillary’s turn” or “she’s so civil and grandmotherly” or any of the other crap that they like to say about a Republican like McCain. Christ, just look at Joe Klein’s tongue bath for Jeb!–the fix is in. If a Republican can get through the primary without swallowing his tongue, rolling on the floor gibbering, or commiting necrophilia with anyone other than Ronald Reagan’s corpse he will be greeted as a “shy, humble, but utterly prepared to lead man of the people.”

        • witlesschum

          ….or commiting necrophilia with anyone other than Ronald Reagan’s corpse…

          I want to have a more conventional romantic and sexual relationship with this comment.

          • Aimai

            You can hold hands. But that’s ituntil the banns are read.

          • Dennis Orphen

            Necrophilia is wrong, but it is a victimless crime.

            • Ahuitzotl

              Where’s ZRM when you need him?

        • joe from Lowell

          From the very beginning of the Clinton’s run for power the press narrative has always been that they are jumped up imposters, outsiders, hicks, charlatans and thieves.

          I wonder if doesn’t date to Bill’s survival of the Gennifer Flowers scandal. The media thought they’d gotten a scalp, and then they realized they hadn’t.

          • tsam

            Probably because Clinton didn’t dare the media to come at him, like Gary Hart did. That was an epic flameout.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    Any discussion of Kirk and Spock that is based solely on the movies is doomed to be shallow and trite (as more than half of the movies are).

    All of the best moments that explore these characters are in the original series. Kirk is thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate in the series. Spock demonstrates tremendous loyalty to Kirk, the Enterprise, and the Federation throughout the series.

    • Aimai

      Oddly, we just watched the Nimoy directed movie about the whales last night. It was both funnier and crummier than I remembered but Latverian is right. The elderly versions of themselves that they played in the movies was parodic while the original tv version was, in its own way, wry and self deprecating. Kirk certainly made many mistakes of passion and judgment but he was always sincere and sincerely trying to follow a principled path.

    • Hob

      I’ve been rewatching the original series recently with my wife (who grew up on The Next Generation, and knew the previous crew mostly from the movies) and while the dumbest episodes are just as dumb as I remembered, the rest is holding up awfully well— including, to my surprise, Shatner’s acting. He can be a ham but as you said, his Kirk is pretty admirable in many ways and not at all a one-note swashbuckling lunkhead. I was especially impressed with him in “The Enemy Within”, where a pretty ridiculous Jekyll/Hyde plot still works as an oddly moving character piece because Shatner understood the metaphor they were after and played both the “good” and “evil” Kirks as frightened damaged people who were aware of their incompleteness.

    • mark

      I’d say the most anti-Spock event is in the series, though. The one where the shuttle is stranded and natives attack. Spock gets to act like Robert McNamara, assuming the other side will act in accordance with his game-theory analysis of the situation and screwing it all up.

      • Halloween Jack

        That’s a very interesting analysis of the episode in question. I’ve always thought of it as a thematic twin to “The Corbomite Maneuver”, in which Kirk and Spock compare and contrast the poker vs. chess approach to strategy, since, at the end, Spock basically shoots the moon.

  • JMP

    Kirk was a bad Captain; the only keeping him from being the worst lead Captain in Trek history was the existence of Captain Jonathan Archer. But Kirk was pretty damn bad (and for the record, Sisko was the best).

    • John F

      I assume you did not list Janeway since she didn’t Captain the Enterprise… but neither did Sisko…

      Seriously, the worst Captain in Star Trek was Captain Styles of the Excelsior… then there was also Captain Harriman…

      Captain Maxwell went rogue of course and nearly started a war, so for that reason alone you could call him the worst Captain in Trek… but apparently he was quite a capable tactical commander…

      so the very worst Trek Captain HAS to be the Exeter’s Captain, Ronald Tracey

      • tsam

        Captain Obvious blows them all away.

        • joe from Lowell

          Well duh.

      • Woodrowfan

        how about a shout-out for Commodore Decker??

      • JMP

        Well I wasn’t listing all the captains here, but for the record: Sisko > Picard > Janeway >>>> Kirk >>>> NuKirk > Archer. Though Picard and Janeway are pretty close (Voyager had a lot of problems, but the Captain wasn’t one of them – nor Seven of Nine or the Doctor; but the rest of the characters…)

        • CP


          Wow, Hogan’s Heroes flashback.

        • Halloween Jack

          Janeway was the worst of all those captains, because of the very last episode of the series, in which she (as her future self) goes back in time to save three crew members who, it has to be said, the Federation and Starfleet seem to be getting along without just fine, and (as her present self) lets her future self do this, even though it’s at the risk of the Borg getting their hands on future anti-Borg tech and, by implication, maybe assimilating the Federation. She should have been court-martialed; instead, per Nemesis, she’s promoted to admiral.

    • I’m not sufficiently up on naval history to back this up, but Kirk seems to me an exemplar of the 19th c British navy style of frigate captain, someone who’d be out of touch with his superiors for months or years at a time, and pretty much got used to doing things his way.

      Whereas Picard seemed much more like someone in a 20th c navy where there are, um, rules.

      • The Dark Avenger

        Part of the sales pitch for TOS was Captain Kirk as a version of Horatio Hornblower, which was a series about an English officer during the Napoleonic Wars who rises to the rank of captain published between 1937 and 1967.

        From Memory Alpha:

        Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch for Star Trek described the ship’s proposed hero (Robert April) as a “space-age Captain Horatio Hornblower”. Both tales shared major themes centering on the captain of a ship far from home, depending on his vessel, a loyal crew, and his own considerable wits to resolve military and diplomatic crises threatening his country’s interests. While clearly bearing Roddenberry’s stamp, the spirit of Hornblower and the age of sailing ships was evident throughout the franchise, and most prominent in original series episodes like “The Corbomite Maneuver”, “Balance of Terror”, “Arena” and “The Doomsday Machine”, as well as the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

        • Lurker

          Yep. In my opinion the ST TNG is technologically the equivalent of a British steam gun-boat on Yangtze river in 1910’s: rapid communications (esp. telegraph and wireless) exist, help is about a week away and on shore, you have an extremely unstable situation.

          Although, as far as I know, the steam engines of early 20th century were nowhere near as undependable as the TNG warp cores. How on earth do other Starfleet ships survive? Mr. LaForge is an engineering genius and the warpcore he should be maintaining, controlling and fine-tuning is near a catastrophic accident every second week. How do the ships with engineers who have only the skills of a normal, competent Starfleet Chief of Engineering fare?

      • mark

        Which gets to my big beef with the JJ Abrams movies. I liked the Horatio Hornblower set up, it felt as if they were half a world away, out on their own. In the movies it feels like they are a short freeway ride away from everything.

    • Dennis Orphen

      What? There are more Captains than Kirk and Pike?

  • MacK

    To be very clear – Gerry Adams was at least Provisional Sinn Fein’s boss in West Belfast/Divis – pretty well everyone thinks he was the local commander of the provisional IRA. But anyway you slice it, Jean McConville would not have been abducted without Gerry Adams being informed, she would not have been held if he had said she should be released and she would not have been murdered if Gerry Adams has raised his little finger (or even an eyebrow) to stop it. He had at least three opportunities to prevent her murder, she was murdered, QED.

    Pretty well everyone remotely well informed about Belfast in the early 70s knows that. And inter alia pretty well everyone knows that the Provos killed pedophiles as a security risk, except for Liam Adams. And any rapist who attacked Joe Cahill’s granddaughter, Maria Cahill, who was not a senior provo could have expected a grisly death – she was disowned and obviously threatened for a long time into silence, and is now being actively defamed, which means she was raped while under age by…

    • witlesschum

      That New Yorker story, man. Don’t know what to say about it, other than I’m glad Michigan never fought a dirty war against itself.

      What do you think about the notion alluded to that a truth and reconciliation commission type thing is what’s needed?

      • Ronan

        It faces a lot of obstacles, from the politics of getting people (from the paramilitaries or the British and Irish establishments)to engage in a meaningful process to even deciding the questions that a commission should be primarily investigating.
        There are a number of practical problems aswell, most importantly that a truth and reconciliation process would probably mean impunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony, which would be catering towards a small subset of that population (those who engaged in violence) over a larger, innocent portion (those who suffered) The current system, though, is a no mans land of settling grudges, politicised prosecutions, endless tales of victimisation and convenient historical narratives

        This is an interesting idea


        as far as it goes.

        The populations who really suffered during the Troubles were concentrated in very specific places. They weren’t on mainland Britain and they werent in the Republic (by and large), they were in working class Belfast and Derry and the border counties. It’s their suffering and their history, so a proper historical ordering (as in the linked piece) unbiased, broad and with access to all the major actors (including the security services, who seem to have become absolved from all culpability for their actions) would be a good start, imo.

        • Thers

          It would be, but pragmatically, in the wake of the Boston College debacle, I can’t see how it would happen.

      • MacK

        Well, that is interesting. Sinn Féin’s idea of a Truth & Reconciliation Commission is one that focusses entirely on the British Military, security services, the RUC and any connections with Loyalists terrorism – ignoring the IRA, PIRA, INLA, etc.

      • Halloween Jack

        I was disappointed in the New Yorker story. Lots of time rehashing stuff that you can find in Wikipedia.

        • Ronan

          I thought he told it well, he’s a decent writer and captured the madness of the Republican tradition nicely. It’s good pushback aswell to this juvenile perspective that has developed that says they ‘were all criminals’, (or the alternative that they were all solely ‘victims of history’), which they werent. The top level people believed this stuff, were raised in it.Ignoring that fact negates them as meaningful political actors and removes all agency from the the choices they made, and doesnt explain why they made the choices they did whereas others made different, better, ones.
          I think his forays into Southern politics showed he had the potential to lose the run of himself though. That’s the interesting story now, I think. The Troubles has been the most written about conflict in modern history, but mainly around two storylines (1) the horror of the paramilitaries war (2) and the question of ‘how do democracies fight domestic insurgencies’ (with the case study being the UK) The participant that’s generally ignored is the South, where the PIRA were at one stage a potential existential threat, but also an ongoing ideological one to the extent that they werent on mainland UK (where they were a nuisance, mostly)
          I dont think it’s neccesarily hyperbole to say that the generation of public servants like Dermot Nally helped save Irish democracy, and had to deal with very difficult circumstances (fighting against the ideology at home, dealing with blowback to British behaviour in the North, dealing with sympathetic political factions and constituents, dealing with the border and the low level police collusion that developed etc)
          That’s the story people should be looking at, i think.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      are things better in ireland than they were and if so how much credit for that does adams deserve?

      • I don’t live there, but most of my family is there; yes, things are better there now, and Adams deserves some of the credit for that. He also deserves a hefty amount of blame for the way things were, along with his counterparts on the Loyalist side.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Truth. I’ve spent a lot of time in Belfast the last 10 years. If you spend time with the people one thing you’ll find right away is that the vast majority (like at least 85%) were sick of the Troubles and sick of the militarists on both sides who perpetuated the Troubles.

          So, no, very very few people give Adams credit for ending the troubles because he was so prominent in perpetuating them. Perhaps surprisingly to outsiders, the one person many locals LOVE for his role in the Good Friday Agreement is Bill Clinton. They’d roll a red carpet out for him any time.

          You’ll also find that the city is really safe, and although there are a few relatively unsafe zones a) those areas are really, really, really poor, which is where most of the militarism originated, and b) if you walk through with an American accent you’re going to be fine anyway. You’ll also find that the more extreme side now is by far the UK loyalists, with their Union Jack displayed even more than a US flag in a US military town on the 4th of July. Some writers will try to describe the situation as “both sides do it” because you will find some Irish flags or symbols as well, but, no, the best US analogy for the UK Loyalists is the modern Confederates in the south.

          It’s amazing just how bad things were. Just 20 years ago you could not go shopping in downtown Belfast without having to pass through numerous military checkpoints. Today you can visit thriving downtown shopping malls and districts and no one gives a crap who is Catholic or Protestant – and don’t bring up the topic, as they really don’t want to talk about it.

          • MacK

            I agree. Part of the strategy of the Good Friday Agreement is to create ‘history,’ i.e., to make things like Bloody Sunday, the La Mon bombing part of a historical narrative rather than things that happened just yesterday. One of the problems with the disappeared is that as long as they are disappeared, it is not history.

            On the flag issue – recent rioting has been over the decision to stop flying the Union Jack every day from Belfast City Hall and restrict flying it to dates typical of other city halls in the UK (Queens Birthday, etc.) The problem with this decision, taken by a nationalist/alliance majority on the council is that it was a ‘thumb in the eye’ to the loyalists and unionists. So in effect you had a group determined to take offence, and a group determined to give it. (To understand this you need to realise that in the UK, flying the Union Jack every day is regarded as a little gauche.

            And that to a degree defines certain behaviours in Norn-Iron – a desire to be offended and an enthusiasm for taking offence. Everyone seems permanently aggrieved and convinced that they are especially persecuted. Another example of this is the journalistic nickname for Derry/Londonderry – it is known as stroke city (as in ‘/’) The reason was that on BBC the city’s name was written in scripts as Derry/Londonderry and the rule was if you used one form in the headline, you had to use the other in the body of the story.

            The BBC is full of idiotic crap like that – there was from 1949-2011 a standing instruction in its “style guide” that the south must be referred to with the vaguely deprecating and diminutive “Irish Republic” as opposed to its proper title “Republic of Ireland.” Of course because it was intended to be offensive, the southern Irish found it very irritating. They finally ditched the rule in 2011, just in time for the Queen’s visit to the Republic of Ireland.

            • CrunchyFrog

              I’ve seen all of that – especially the London/Derry silliness. And yes, outside the US in most countries flying your flag all the time is seen as weird – implying an unhealthy does of militarism, nationalism, and probably some ethnic/racism as well. Which of course is probably accurate about most Americans who have a permanent flag anchored to their house.

              There are still more than a few funny things left. Like the automated train station announcements done in a proper Sloan Square London accent instead of Northern Irish. And some of the sensitivities around how easy it is/should be to use Euros in Northern Ireland. But, what I keep observing is just how steadfast almost everyone is to let stuff like that go and never go back to the pointless fighting.

          • MacK

            “no one gives a crap who is Catholic or Protestant”

            It is suggested that in northern Ireland they can tell your religion at 20 paces. Still, many people I know from Ireland, especially northern Ireland describe their shock on moving to a US suburb, particularly in the south – when new neighbours and acquaintances ask “have you found a church yet?” Names, especially first names usually give it away anyway.

            In England and Ireland such a question would be absolutely socially verboten – a major gaffe. You never ask a question that would in its answer elicitate someone’s religious affiliations – it is just not done.

            • John F

              Still, many people I know from Ireland, especially northern Ireland describe their shock on moving to a US suburb, particularly in the south

              That’s mostly a southern thing, though every now and then in the North East people will ask you what your religion is… I’ve found that white southerners have an annoying habit of looking at me and assuming I’m a Baptist or some other flavor of protestant evangelical (I’m Catholic). The “have you found a church yet?” line comes from people who habitually assume that anyone who looks like the questioner has a similar religious persuasion to the questioner… Which is something you really don’t get in the Northeast because anyone here (any color etc) could be any effing religion (or none at all) (excepting of course the people who literally advertise their religious affiliation)

              • tsam

                I thought everyone there was a ginger daywalker. I had no idea appearance indicated religion.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Oh, certainly you can tell by names – the point is that when walking around together in shopping districts or working together most of them don’t care. This is in contrast to the article’s description of how in the poor districts people from one side of the street won’t visit a business on the other side of the street. Yes, there is self-segregation there, but not on the whole in the vast majority of the city.

    • Happy Jack

      I’ve read about the Belfast Project before but never knew what a creep he was about incest.

  • tsam

    The president is not the only writer who has drawn comparisons between himself and Spock. I am also a Star Trek fan, but I admit I was somewhat confused by my rather apathetic reaction to Nimoy’s death. And as I thought more about the president’s statement, I realized he identifies with the very aspects of the Spock character that most annoy me. I don’t love Spock at all.

    Not only do Spock’s peacenik inclinations routinely land the Enterprise and the Federation into trouble, his “logic” and “level head” mask an arrogant emotional basket case. Unlike the superhuman android Data, a loyal officer whose deepest longing is to be human, Spock spends most of his life as a freelancing diplomat eager to negotiate with the worst enemies of Starfleet. He’s the opposite of a role model: a cautionary tale.


    He was apathetic about the death of the actor who played the character Spock because he didn’t like the character. I can see why he didn’t like Spock and all his dumb logic and shit.

    But I see what’s going on here. Obama said nice things, therefore SPOCK IS SATIN AND SATIN LIVES.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Exactly. It’s obvious from the writing that he went looking for anti-Spock stuff entirely because of Obama. Don’t worry, I’m sure he has lots of practice looking for entirely one-sided info being a card-carrying wingnut.

      • Dennis Orphen

        Real Wingnuts hate both Spocks.

        • tsam

          . At the time his books were criticized by Vietnam War supporters for allegedly propagating permissiveness and an expectation of instant gratifications that led young people to join these movements,

          Holy crazy. Wingnutty, frothy screeds have never been a bit different, have they?

    • Halloween Jack

      Spock spends most of his life as a freelancing diplomat eager to negotiate with the worst enemies of Starfleet.

      He’s not freelancing (except in the TNG two-parter “Unification”, in which he’s helping the Romulan underground), and major powers negotiate with their worst enemies all the time; per Star Trek VI when Spock is telling Kirk why he insisted on Kirk leading the Federation delegation for the negotiations to cancel out the Klingon Neutral Zone, “Only Nixon could go to China.”

  • solidcitizen

    Hillary would need to lose 62 of Barak Obama’s electoral votes. The not-terribly-popular Obama who was managing a sick economy. It’s doable; Lord knows Kerry pulled it off, but that’s a lot of states that would need to decide that President Bush, Walker, or Christie sounds a lot better than President Clinton.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I’m fully confident that the Democratic Party could manage that kind of electoral loss, given their terrific performance in 2002, 2004, 2010, and 2014.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Given that a good chunk of the left hates Hillary so much that they are preparing to pull a Nader – AGAIN!, don’t forget 2000…

        • CrunchyFrog

          Look, voting for Nader was unforgivable then, and doing the equivalent in 2016 would be the same.

          However, Nader was right that the election should never have been that close that he could have made a difference in the first place – so yeah, 2000 is yet another great example of the poor election ability of the Democrats. From bad planning, triangulation strategies, and failure to take seriously the vote blocking of the GOP.

        • Don’t ever forget that election was stolen, not lost, and not by Nader.

  • CP

    The first is rising polarization—“the great sorting,” as he called it—which, over a period of decades, has driven white conservatives out of the Democratic Party and moderates out of the Republican Party, creating two ideologically homogeneous political organizations.

    I wouldn’t call it that. The Republican Party is ideologically homogenous, yes, the Democratic Party, not so much. We’re basically back to the pre-Civil War days in terms of insanely intense polarization, but the polarization is pretty much “extreme right” and “everyone else.”

    • joe from Lowell

      It seems pretty inarguable that the Democratic Party has become more ideologically cohesive since, say, the 1970s, when Robert Byrd was the Majority Leader of a Senate caucus that included Mike Gravel.

      The party isn’t as cohesive as the Republicans, but in historical terms, it is much more cohesive than it usually has been.

    • tsam

      The Republican Party is ideologically homogenous

      Largely racially and religiously too. Sort of a built in advantage in the VOTE DIS GUY CUZ XTIANIST arena.

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