Linky Friday #92


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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52 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    P4-A new constitutional convention is going to not work. Delegates would range from liberals who would want to make the United States into a parliamentary republic with proportional representation to Super Madisonians.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’m not sure if that would happen or not. While no doubt there is some sympathy for the idea among liberals, there is also a tremendous status quo bias. I sometimes wonder why some Democratic state hasn’t taken upon itself to establish a more parliamentary system… SQB.

      Process isn’t where I am particularly worried. I’m more worried about what we would determine our rights to be. I can imagine the debating of thousands of new individual rights, along with some substantial ones missing, with a lot of conflicting ones decided by the flavor of the moment. (“Your freedom of speech (Art 7, Sec 1, doesn’t override by right to have my sexual choices respected, Art 7, Sec 104.”/”Your sexual choices, Art 7, Sec 104, subordinates to my freedom of religious dedication, Art 7 Sec 8, which is not having to see people making your sexual decisions.”).Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Most, maybe all, of the article’s suggestions could be done by legislation or by Constitutional amendment. Creating a new Constitution would put a lot more than term limits and education spending on the table. Does this guy want to throw out all our treaties? Civilian control of the military? Separation of church and state?

      But that’s only one aspect of the article that didn’t seem awfully thought-out. The whole thrust of it was, here’s what I think we should do. Why? Why should we listen to you? Your checklist pretty well mirrors that of one party, to which the majority of Americans do not belong. Can you give me a reason that your agenda for governance should override the will of the rest of the country? “It’d be democratic” isn’t an answer; in fact, it would be the opposite of democratic.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        This. Not just could be done, should be done. I live in Colorado, where it’s as easy for a citizen initiative to add things to the constitution as it is to add statute. As a result, the constitution is full of things that should be statutory instead. With the predictable outcome that when the situation changes — particularly for the worse — the legislature can’t make adjustments.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        it might not be democratic, but it would be hilarious. sort of a ha ha choked off with sobs hilarious, but still. you take what you can get.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Riffing off Pinky, I think most people who want a constitutional convention are imagining a desired outcome, not what is likely to be the actual process. Tea Partiers are likely to be there, Michael Moore types are likely to be there, religious righters, atheistic leftists, a Barack Obama or two, as well as a couple Nancy Pelosis, and some Mitch McConnells and Newt Gingriches.

        Those people you hate the most, that you think have the worst, most godawful, wicked and moronic political ideals will be part of the process.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I think Hanley is about right. There is a bit of the lefty Silent Majority viewpoint here. That a consensus exists that would effectively silence or override those they don’t like (who only win by essentially non-democratic means)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Would the 15th Amendment apply to participation in a new Constitutional Convention?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        I’m not sure quite what you’re getting at (other than that I’d say that if we have a public vote on a new Constitution, then the current one is operative until such time as we approve a new one, so, yes, it ought to apply), but your question brings to my mind the issue of how we’d select participants for a constitutional convention. That question itself goes a long way toward determining whether a proposed new constitution had sufficient legitimacy. I wonder, if Congress called for a convention, how the selection of participants would be handled.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        I certainly didn’t mean to single out lefties. I hear righties make the call, too, and some people I’d classify as middle-of-the-road. I’m just not sure I’ve heard anyone who’s called for a convention that I think is taking that into account.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        That’s true, @james-hanley ,though I more frequently (well, less infrequently) hear such calls from the left.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      In all honestly, if such a convention were held in the near future, I’d bet that a three-way split of the country is as likely an outcome as a new unified constitution. Even if a unified constitution was the result, I’d bet the ranch that there would be an explicit exit clause this time.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        i don’t know if we’d get an explicit exit clause. most of the hufflepuff about exit is generally of the “i’m moving to canada if [bad person] wins/i’m moving my state to canada if [bad person] wins”, which is rather temporary, fixated on the executive, and usually an empty threat.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        He’s referring to an exit clause of states.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        I’m not sure Canada is taking applications from province-hood these days.

        There was some noise a few years ago from one of our … less nuanced … members of parliament about annexing the Turks and Caicos (for real, there was). It was a popular idea in the narrow demographic of cheerful morning drive DJs, but not so much generally.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        @will-truman – i know, but i’m characterizing the public “debate” (they don’t make air quotes heavy enough for this subject) regarding succession and exit.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Secession! Not succession!

        The critical distinction between this is outlined in The Second Civil War, if anyone has seen it. HBO did what they could to make sure that nobody did.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        simmer down there, michael spellman. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Even without attempts to put things that should be statutory into a new constitution, I can think of a number of interests that might have to be accommodated in some fashion. Speculation, some more far-fetched than others: some states will want assurances that Reynolds v. Sims can’t happen; some states will want assurances that the 2012 North Carolina result can’t happen [1]; the Northeast will insist on enough federal authority that at least the current EPA actions, and possibly tougher ones, can happen; the West will want a radically different arrangement for public lands; and (at least IMO) the South will insist on including an exit clause.

        [1] Per this Sam Wang piece, the overall US House vote split was 51/49 for the Dems, but the elected Representatives were split 9/4 for the Republicans.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A5: Why am I not surprised?

    H1: Interesting! Too bad it would be really expensive to test this. Someone get Bill Gates interested in biblical archeology.

    H6: This kind of fan art always makes me eyeroll.

    F3: I would argue that there is also eugenics and quasi-eugenics backed into continued support of the death penalty especially in executing the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Slate recently ran an article about Texas going out of its way to execute a paranoid-sczhiophrenic who was allowed to conduct his own defense and conducted one that was nothing short of bizarre including claims that he subpeoned Jesus. I think a lot of people support executing him simply because they view he can’t be cured and it is too expensive to put him in a mental hospital forever.

    P1: I think it is a variety of factors but not necessarily a death blow to liberalism or the Democratic Party. In other news, Chuck Schumer wants the Democratic Party to go back to a New Deal/Great Society, Government can help improve your lives book:

    P2: I think I linked to this article in my own posts about the 2014 wrap-up.

    EC2: I liked the essay but it is not really commenting on anything new. The internet is filled with a lot of righteous and strident shut-ins and people with very far-out politics (on the left and the right) can find communities that reinforce their views. Gamergate is an example of a neo-reactionary movement that is probably relatively small but causes a ton of damage. Random tweeting from overly-earnest freshman about “heteronormative” norms is annoying but it is not damaging like Gamergate is damaging. The Right are far worse in their attacks here.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      EC2 — This is going to sound weird coming from me, but really I think both sides do it and this is a problem. Like, look, I think the left is correct more often than the right, but the mass ragefests and knee-jerk Twitter pileons are getting really old and really destructive. And I’ve watched too many of my friends post some rancid hate-screed about “fat neckbeards” and how terrible they are — which like, these are fucking feminists ragging dudes cuz our their body weight or their grooming choices (I say as I remind myself I need to shave my pits). And you all know I have little sympathy for douchey nerd guys — but principles people.

      Anyway, I have this Twitter friend, and she’s an anarcho-capitalist trans women — which, yeah, what the fuck, right? — but she is smart and cool and sweet and literally terrified she’ll reveal her politics and get retweeted by someone w/ 100k followers and then get doxxed and fired and otherwise totally messed over.

      And she has a hard life already.

      And, sure, her politics suck ass but she’s a sweetheart I cannot tell her that her fears are false.

      So, let’s just stop.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I generally don’t find anarchism to be a viable philosophy and anarcho-capitalism is the least viable among them. That being said people are weird and most people have complex and heterodox identities. Very few people fit into neat boxes. I would suspect that people who fit neatly into ideological boxes are the really odd ones.

        Though, Justine Tunney is someone who was well known for her role in Occupy and then went over to making tweets about how Eric Schimdt should be the C.E.O. of America. I’m not sure how she got to said position but those extreme switches always fascinate me.

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        For the record, my friend on Twitter is not Justine Tunney, who I consider genuinely odious.Report

      • Avatar Guy says:

        Well said. There’s nothing quite like a tumble/twitter psuedo-intellectual rage pileon. It’s important for the normally unheard to be heard, but the environment often gets toxic to the point that nobody is willing to speak unless they believe their words will be approved by their audience. And then sometimes they’re wrong.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @saul-degraw and @veronica-d It’s interesting the different takeaways we have from things. To me, the article wasn’t really about doxxing, online antagonism, etc. Rather, it was about the habit of reducing art to its political and sociological components, and doing so in a passive-aggressive manner. So a wacky-crazy-silly video on the Internet that mocks 90’s family sitcoms sends a bad message (and not primarily because of the serial killer).

        So I don’t see the rightward equivalent being Gamergate at all. Rather, I see it being Big Hollywood. This is a case of BSDI. While one could argue that the right is far worse, I’m not sure if the overall effect of it doesn’t make the left’s partaking in it more significant, as more prominent cultural critics lean in that direction and they have broader influence (at least, in the current political environment).

        On the other hand, the people the writer is more specifically talking about don’t particularly have outsized influenced. Any discussion about Too Many Cooks is inherently a niche discussion with limited broader ramifications.

        I do think the passive-aggressive nature cited is more of a left thing than a right thing, though that’s yoked to traits about the left I like. I’d rather they be a bit passive-aggressive at times than full-on-aggressive the way that righties more frequently are.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        When every act is a moral act, every act can be judged.

        Are you drinking Coca-Cola?
        Are you making fun of 80’s sitcoms’ opening credits?

        When I was a kid, the Southern Baptist church was like that. Like every single person on the planet in the 70’s, we had “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in our album collection. I was asked “Who is our bridge over troubled water?” and I gave the right answer: Jesus.

        Are you listening to Simon and Garfunkel?

        Every act is a moral act.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:


        Have you ever heard of Karl Hess? He was, at different times, a speechwriter for Goldwater, a member of the SDS and the IWW, a libertarian ally of Rothbard, and a fan of Emma Goldman.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    EC4: London sounds like a good idea, right up until the year that they host a playoff game against a West Coast team. At that point, eight-hour time difference seems like a rather extreme disadvantage for the visiting team. Plus scheduling the game into one of the TV time slots that maximizes US viewership probably has the game being played at a rather extreme London time. The NFL already makes things work a bit differently during the last couple of weeks of the season in order to ensure that all the playoff teams have a chance to get into a rhythm; don’t see how that continues with a London team in the mix.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      Not to mention, the British already has a perfectly serviceable tackling and oblate-spheroid-throwing sport.

      Personally I’ve never quite gotten why NFL style football displaced rugby in the US – WWII movies are, after all, a lot more exciting than WWI movies. CFL football has ratherm more movement than NFL, but is still more trench-warfare-y than rugby.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      In 1992 Barcelona played at Sacramento in a playoff game in the WLAF.Report

  4. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:


    Very cool


    It should be noted that the first link is not from an unbiased source. And I don’t believe any of the survey results contained in the link.


    McArdle’s article reads like it was writted by a seventh grader.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    En1: We know how to build reliable grids with very large renewable share.

    (1) Diversity. Diversity of types, diversity of locations for each type.
    (2) Overbuild. There will be more unexpected outages, so you have to have more backup. During times when you have too much capacity online, you use it for…
    (3) Storage. Pumped hydro is relatively cheap and proven.
    (4) HVDC transmission network to shuttle power around freely, with control distributed over a very large area.

    The Western Interconnect has the resources to pull this off (numerous nuts-and-bolts studies of low-carbon options pretty much all come up with the same designs for the Western). The Eastern and Texas Interconnects, probably not. Federal policy established in the 1990s make it difficult to implement any of those four, though.Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    F3 — I have some pretty severe issues with the framing here. I don’t think most people choose to abort a child with birth defects because they’re against children with birth defects, I think they do it because they’re afraid of their ability to cope. But it’s nice to blame them, to make them feel guilty, I’m sure. Makes you feel all superior, and hey, think about the children.

    If it’s not your body doing the pregnancy, the birth, and the caring after, it’s just not your business. So I’ll say it: this is just another variation of slut shaming; another way to blame women for taking control of their reproduction and their bodies. Shame on you.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Is there any criticism of any decision to abort (excluding the pregnant woman herself) that you do not consider slut-shaming?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        if you knew that you had a 15% chance of birthing a rapist, would you go ahead and have the baby, or would you get an abortion?

        Yes, I’m mean. But I’m accurate, and we don’t condone sterilization anymore.

        It’s a pretty bad day when a parent realizes that their kid just tried to rape someone, and doesn’t know that rape is wrong.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        note: that number’s not for Downs Syndrome. It is accurate for a different developmental disorder.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        It’s not your body doing that pregnancy, it’s not your life altered by that pregnancy. When people get the notion that all their well-meant criticisms are (in fact,) a violation of someone else’s medical privacy, maybe I’ll feel more free to let crap criticisms like this go without challenge. But today? It’s just more guilt forced on a woman making a difficult choice.

        There are other issues here. I’ve a friend who had a child with downs in her late 40’s. She had a hella fight to have the child (a daughter) sterilized when she realized she was sexually active. Ended up going to Europe. She’s now trying to figure how and who will be responsible for her daughter after she dies; which will be sooner rather than later, she has a terminal illness; there are no other living relatives. She’ll have to presume on friendship to assure ongoing care.

        But more to the point; some women do, in fact, opt to give birth despite known birth defects. They willingly commit to mothering a child with special needs. Many women actually refuse prenatal screenings. But here we go, suggesting that women who find themselves pregnant with downs children are bad because they don’t want these adorable children (think about the children).

        Perhaps, the truth is, that women are thinking about the children and this biased prose (parents, for they are already the parents of the child in the womb? Emotionally twisting things a bit?) is just more guilt on what’s already a difficult and fraught situation. It’s disgusting.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I’d say that these advocates for Downs syndrome should be allowed to present evidence, alongside the rest of the risk-analysis. It’s a free country, and we shouldn’t shame a woman for saying “I want an awesome child”.

        I’d give them more credibility if they were all crying in rage about sperm banks screening for autistics, though. Because if you want to say “let god do what god does, and let women deal with the consequences” you better be consistent.

        … also, fwiw, you’d better not mind when women “accidentally” abandon kids they can’t deal with. [For some, keeping a mentally disabled kid is akin to jail… so many rules, so much designed to give the kid the “best life”]Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I personally think the Down question is fraught. Complicated. More fraught and complicated than a lot of abortion decisions that I’ve seen made. I also consider the argument against aborting a Down kid for having Down – like aborting a girl for being a girl* – to be among the least slut-shamey anti-abortion arguments in existence as it disproportionately – though obviously not universally – targets intended pregnancies between stable couples. As close to “the right kind of sex” that abortion opponents have.

        * – Though I have more moral clarity on that one. Less complex, at least in the American context.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Is there any criticism of any decision to abort (excluding the pregnant woman herself) that you do not consider slut-shaming?

        Is there anyway a person who views abortion as murder or as a sin against God could refrain from negatively judging a woman for choosing to have one? I mean, if a person believed that (for example) economic considerations constituted a sufficient justification for having an abortion, then they wouldn’t negatively judge the person who chooses to act based on that rationale, yes?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Is there anyway a person who views abortion as murder or as a sin against God could refrain from negatively judging a woman for choosing to have one?

        Probably not, except for mother-saving abortions. Some do draw other exceptions, though that does cast some doubt on the “murder” question.

        FTR, I was interested in the “slut-shaming” criticism most specifically. Not the “misogynistic” because, while I don’t think it’s true that any opposition to any abortion is misogynistic, I at least do understand where the speaker is coming from. I find the “slut-shaming” angle specifically to be dicier, but if that’s what Zic believes that’s what she believes. That’s why I asked, though.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @will-truman I had to deal with the potential of making such a decision after I was required to have an amnio to find a doctor who would deliver my first child. And I’ve never known a woman who’s not told to screen for downs. So we have, on the one hand, a medical community pushing women to have prenatal screening for birth defects, and on the other, people who think if you take legal action based on those results, you’re a murderer. I’ve talked to people who think it’s punishment for some past sin.

        And yes, I do think it’s slut shaming, most specifically because thinking through that filter makes it okay to tell women what to do, instead of giving them credit for being able to make their own choices; it suggests it’s okay to make women feel guilty about acting, instead of recognizing they have agency to act.

        I’d be pretty upset at someone who attacked a woman for opting to have a child with a birth defect; but I am equally upset at someone who thinks it’s okay to guilt a woman for not having that same child. Because it is her choice. Not someone else’s choice.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        That, to me, makes a case for sexism (if we assume that we would not tell a man the same thing), though not a persuasive (though I have no doubt some portion of those who make the argument are indeed sexist). But even if I grant a sexism (or misogyny) argument, I still see this as one of the least slut-shamey arguments against abortion that there is.

        Anyway, thank you for the clarification.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      To be fair, I don’t think @will-truman stated he agreed with the first link in F3. Perhaps he can clarify his position.

      I agree with you on this issue, BTW. I have gotten tremendous heat on this website about it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        My views are briefly mentioned at 1:59. I consider some attitude’s towards Down children – and the prospect of having a Down child – to be quite ugly. But I can also (at least vaguely) grasp the degree of commitment involved in having a Down child, see someone honestly believing that they are not in a place where they can take on that degree of commitment, and believe that it would be to the betterment of the living, including present and future children, that the Down child not be born. That argument is more convincingly made in some situations than others.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Regarding F5 — How snarky am I going to sound (I honestly don’t intend to) if note how it seems like celebrity champions of libertarianism always have a way of vehemently supporting government intervention when they realize lassez faire isn’t in their own personal potential financial interest?Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    P3: The article peers to sneer at the notion that human behavior, for at least understanding and predicting it, may be reduced to quantifiable algorithms. But isn’t this what economics does? Doesn’t the fact that there are such things as actuaries indicate that human behavior, at least in some ways, really is predictable and reducible to something to kin to an algorithm?Report

  9. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Well, the way I hear it, there was massive troll fail. At least three candidates whose campaigns had been infiltrated still got elected. [Yes, it may have been a bad plan to actually annoy the creative class into doing something about elections. Particularly the folks involved in industrial espionage.]Report

  10. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    En3: Google discovers that being smart with integrated circuits and software doesn’t necessarily carry over into being smart about mechanical and chemical engineering, or materials science…Report