Linky Friday #184: Here On Planet Earth


Will Truman

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

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203 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    J1: Japan’s address systems were one of the early problems I experienced there. They are actually cool but don’t work as well as the Western version. Using landmarks to get around is common.

    J2: This is an old practice in Japan. When a family had only daughters, the eldest daughter’s husband would be adopted as a son, take the families last name, and the family line could continue.

    A2: I want to know what the point of departure is. The map is dated from an alternate 1844. According to the map, Al-Andalus or Spain is still under Muslim rule. I think its really unfair to see the Reconquista as part of African colonization because it was the Berbers who conquered the Visigoth Kingdom of Spain in the first place. It suggests a point of departure before the 800s in this case. Another thing is that by 1844, there were already European colonial footholds in Africa.

    N1: This seems to be just a standard anti-social democratic criticism.

    N5: I read the book referred in the review. Swedish officials that the author spoke to argued that welfare state encourages individualism because it allows people to operate freely of social constructs like kith or kin. Sweden apparently has the highest number of people living alone in the world.

    The biggest fault of the Nearly Perfect People was that the author worked a little too hard to ignore the role ethnic homogeneous societies in creation of the Welfare State and the high trust nature of society in the Nordic countries. It sounded like an elephant in the room when he was writing about it in the book.Report

    • A2: It also shows Sicily in the African sphere. The point of departure seems to be, as you note, that Christendom never pushes back from the medieval Islamic high water point. This is obscured by the absence of information of what is going on in Europe outside of Iberia. The the Sultan in Vienna? Or Rome?

      Speaking of the Sultan, the Europeans were not the only colonial powers in Africa. All those sultanates imply an awful lot of activity that doesn’t seem to count as colonization because it wasn’t Europeans doing it. Add to this political disunity among them because, umm…, stuff.

      It may be that the person who made this map had well-considered assumptions rigorously worked out to arrive at this conclusion. But if so, this didn’t make its way into the linked piece. From here, it looks like someone had a fun time some rainy afternoon drawing lines on a map.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        During Egypt’s attempt at a Meiji modernization, the Mohammed Ali dynasty was playing imperial games in the Sudan. The Sudanese call this period the Turkkiya.

        It’s really useless to speak about modern imperialism at any time before the discovery of the Americas or really 1800 or so. What I’d suspect would happen if Europe didn’t colonize Africa is that you would get a bunch of modern or modernish nation-states in the coastal areas and Ethipoia and they would dominate the interior.Report

        • If we want a “no European colonization” scenario, assume that the Europeans never get a handle on tropical diseases. This, after all, is why the interior of Africa remained a dark mystery as late as it did. The earlier pattern was European coastal bases, ideally on islands or peninsulas with few mosquitoes. This isn’t precisely a no-colonization scenario (even apart from south Africa) but one of Europeans dividing up coastal zones of influence and operating through native Africans for anything inland. If we are being rigorous about this we need to ask why, in this alternate universe, Europeans never figure out how to deal with tropical diseases, but this is plenty good enough for alternative history fiction.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Your right. A lot of no-colonization scenarios imagine the world being just as technologically advanced as it is now. This doesn’t need to be the case, it could be equally because the world did not go through the Renaissance and Enlifhtenment or the Industrial Revolution.Report

          • Avatar J_A says:

            I was very unimpressed by the no-colonialism map. It doesn’t seem to consider what we know about the Subsaharan empires like the Dahomey, or the way river basins impact political arrangements.

            As mentioned elsewhere, the African colonization really started in the 1870s. Before that, you only had coastal settlements that influenced, but did not rule vassal and sub vassal states. Those trading posts would probably be there nevertheless even if the political partitioning of Africa had never taken place (similar to the Greek trading cities that circled the Mediterranean 2,000 plus years ago)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      A2: It appears to be a map that posits language/tribal groupings as of 1844 as if no European interference, but it does assume Arabization.

      It also appears to me that there is an attempt to balance size. The Arab states appear to be more fragmented than I would expect and I wonder if they are supposed to represent Ottoman vilayets. Much of sub-saharran Africa at that time was comprised of mini-states averaging about 30 miles across, so these have been combined in some fashion. If feels like the Sahara should be visible to me.

      On the broader counterfactuals, Brad de Long started a post on why no industrial revolution in the global south, which reduced to its essentials was a lack of sufficient temperate zones to create agricultural surpluses to support a more complicated economy. The same could be asserted about state formation, and I assume in this scenario maize isn’t brought by Europeans to Africa, which created the population boom that enabled the Atlantic slave trade. Africa avoids the negatives of European intervention, but also the positives that provided the opportunity to escape the Malthusian trap.Report

  2. Avatar J_A says:


    The most charming fact of Mad King Otto’s reign, is that he came to the throne because the Bavarian government deposed his older brother, Ludwig II (yes, the “Mad King Ludwig” of Wagnerian fame) as mentally unfit to rule, and somehow Ludwig ended dead three days later….

    There were then, and still are, doubts about whether or not Ludwig was mentally incompetent, or just damn peculiar. But by that time Otto had been commited to an asilum for several years

    And Pippin the Short (Charles Martel’s son and Charlemagne’s father) was an imposing man on his own. With the Pope’s approval, he deposed the last Merovingian King and turned his father’s factual power into de jure authority. And his nickname, allegedly, comes from cutting his hair short, a great break of then current useReport

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Sigh..Trump’s scandals don’t stick because in Trumpland rules are for weenies man:

    Maybe it’s no accident, then, that when Donald Trump brags about his plans to bend the law—as he did when he claimed that as commander in chief he would order soldiers to torture, or as he does when he speaks of buying politicians—it merely sounds like he’s batting away a cumbersome bureaucracy that keeps him from realizing great dreams, or pushing back against onerous international conventions that keep the U.S. from killing all the terrorists. Maybe herein lies the identification with the lawless Vladimir Putins of the world. As Timothy Snyder wrote in the New York Review of Books, Trump’s fantasy bestie is everything Trump the law-weary aspires to be. “Thus far Trump can only verbally abuse his opponents at rallies, whereas Putin’s opponents are assassinated,” Snyder wrote. “Thus far Trump can only have his campaign manager rough up journalists he doesn’t like. In Russia some of the best journalists are in fact murdered.”


  4. Avatar J_A says:

    The Japanese neighbourhood and house number system is the same as Venice’s. Your address is (one of the six) neighbourhood, called sestieri, and then the number of the house in the order in which they were constructed in the bloody Middle Ages.

    Now, being a city barely two miles long, with plenty of landmarks, it’s easy to find any place you want, Addresses are thus useful mostly for property title purposes.

    (One of the best things in my life is having lived a summer in Venice)Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The Upshot’s breakdown on the probablities of which candidate will win which states is interesting.

    The major polling/aggregate sites put Florida as a true toss up state. The NYTimes/Upshot says it is 60 percent likely to go Democratic. Daily Kos has it at 61 percent chance of going Republican. The other major pollsters are basically at a tossup. The other numbers range from 51 percent GOP to 52 percent DEM.

    Iowa seems to have gone light red to very red depending on the polling org. The NY Times and PW give it a 53 percent chance of going GOP. Daily Kos and Princeton/Sam Wang have it at solid red territory. Roth and Sabato say it is still leaning Dem.

    Ohio is more solidly red. The lowest percentage is 53 percent chance of going for Trump, Two pollsters have it leaning Dem and one has it as a tossup. The rest are solid reds between 57-65 percent chance of Donald winning.

    North Carolina and Nevada have polling that is all over the map with numerous polls giving each party a 53-55 percent chance of winning the state.

    So HRC’s biggest concerns come down to Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. Which seems typical considering that Bush II’s victories in Ohio and Florida helped him win the White House in 2000 and 2004 and Obama’s victories in North Carolina were a bit surprising in 2008 and he barely held on to the state in 2012.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:


    Quoting the article, on a tangent

    “Carl Sagan said, “the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.””

    The reason why people laughed at Columbus is because Columbus was totally wrong, and every cultured person in Europe (that’s a short list, but whatevs) knew it. The earth circumference was known since Eratostenes, 300 years before Christ. The distance from Europe to China was known, at least in days of camel travel, if not in actual miles. Europe to China was known to be about 1/4-1/3 of the earth’s circumference. Then current available vessels could not travel 2/3 of the globe on one go.

    Columbus had been in Iceland, and is likely he had heard of Vinland there, and confused North America (where no one had traveled to in centuries) with China. But on the factual matters, the people that laughed at him were correct.

    Also, he was lucky if was the Quuen of Castille that finally financed his trip, making him use the Canary Islands as his last stop. Had he gone, as he initially wanted, from Portugal and then the Açores, he would have missed the trade winds and most likely died at sea somewhere east of North CarolinaReport

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    Quiet Cafe: I think I’d like this as long as the store silenced exterior noise as well. Nothing but peace and quiet in the middle of a busy noisy city. Woot.

    Conflict Minerals: Of course. But who’d have thought that if you can’t sell your ill gotten swag in one area, you won’t take it to another area and claim it’s local either? Shesh. The idiocracy of some of these laws astounds me. As one comment said “TOP MEN”.Report

  8. H3: The collapse of the late bronze-age states is definitely a thing, and has received its share of attention and theories. Unfortunately, this includes attracting the attention of cranks. It is hard for the non-specialist to sort them out. I don’t know if this is serious or crankery, but coming from “the head of the Luwian Studies foundation” with its “extensive website” is not hopeful.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      In any case the real World War Zero was the 7 Years War. Alternatively, maybe the part of the Napoleonic Wars that coincided with the (US) War of 1812, though there was a lot less interdependence between theaters in that one as there was in 7 Years/French & IndianReport

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        Yes, the Seven Years War took place from the Philippines to India to West Africa to Europe to North America. I don’t know why a war in the Eastern Mediterranean would count as a world war unless any war where the three continents meet becomes a world war.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I say that the Bronze Age societies collapsed because they grew too prosperous and started eating processed food rather than their Mediterranean diet. As an early obesity epidemic crept in, rulers turned to a vigorous exercise regime to get the population into shape. Unfortunately since this was early in human history, it meant mass warfare rather than calisthetics. Things got out of hand.Report

    • The Bronze Age collapse goes mostly to show how much there is we don’t know about history, even about things that aren’t all that long ago or far away.Report

  9. S4: I love how in the headline this guy is a “physicist” but by the second paragraph he is a “science professor [with no institution identified] and former Air Force meteorologist” while between them, the first paragraph is utter gibberish.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    J2 – it seems there’s some precedent for that in the Western (or specifically Anglo-American) tradition, though more famous in fictional examples like Wayne/Grayson and Bilbo/Frodo. It’s also how many of the Roman Emperors handled succession.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The difference is that it became widespread in Japan, more so than the West. Samurai families would adopt the oldest daughter’s husband and pass on the estate through him. I’m not aware of any instance of this happening in a European landed family, if a family had only daughters, the land used to go to a nephew or cousin instead.Report

      • Avatar J_A says:

        For some reason Christianity abandoned the concept of adoption when it took over the Roman Empire.

        I can guess many theories (to avoid bastards being brought into the legitimate family, perhaps?) but I can’t think of any example of adoption as a legal and public process between Rome and the XX century. At most you had families taking infants and raising them (secretly) as their own, or taking a ward that was treated somewhere between a servant and a distant relative, but no where you see examples of adopted children as such.Report

  11. N1: There is nothing like a Dane.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    J4: Those are the types of materials my school likes to use, due to their open-ended nature and their being made from a ‘natural’ (i.e., not plastic) material. I just forwarded that to my boss who worked in Japan and she said they were all the rage there but couldn’t be had in the States. If they are now available here, we’re going to try to get some. I’ll report back if we do.Report

  13. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    More sighs of Donald. I don’t think anything can stop this man.

    Maybe I should just sedate myself until November. See who wins and then decide if I need to sedate myself for the next 4-8 years.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Maybe you should get out more. Hang out with fewer Trump supporters, maybe.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      That may be best. Freaking out does no good and all the swings in the campaign need to be evaluated over time not day by day like everybody does. Trump is the same liar he has always been expecting him to change is pointless. Most of the press don’t care about it and lord knows the people who can clearly see liberal bias in the press are blind to any other bias. I’ll bet there will be one or two more big swings in the campaign and handful of big stories. It’s just that kind of year. I’m just trying to avoid over analyzing each days crapful of stories.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        “lord knows the people who can clearly see liberal bias in the press are blind to any other bias.”

        Nah, not all of them.

        “Trump is the same liar he has always been expecting him to change is pointless.” Yep. Same applies to HRC too.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Ahh the good ol BDSI about clinton and trump. Fine if that works for you but it seems for that to be true you have to by into the media bias. They are no where near equal. Trump has been outright lying almost daily about a bucket full of issues.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            “I can’t believe Trump won even though he and his followers engaged in oh-so-many transparent logical fallacies. Remember when they used a slippery slope?”Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              So you are a Trumpet?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                That’s the only explanation that makes sense to you, isn’t it?

                We’re in some weird situation where it’s our job (as a society!) to will Clinton into office and this guy is not only conspicuously not willing her, he’s laughing at the people who are doing their best to will conspicuously.

                He’s gotta be a Trump supporter. That’s the only explanation that makes sense.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                No not at all and if you think that is what i meant you are way off.

                The points i raised were that the press has some significant biases. Some of those are liberal which, as i remember, you and will have pointed out and are largely correct on. They also have other biases, mostly of the ” Earth round or flat: experts disagree” variety. So when Trump has repeatedly lied about many things the press hasn’t said that. In fact some of the press have said its not their job to do that. They just report. But they are willing to post pieces about how many glasses of water clinton drinks. The press has biases and not all are liberal. Is that really such far our statement?

                None of that equals willing Hillary into the office, which should be pretty clear since i didn’t say anything like that. I think the BSDI about clinton and trump both being liars is off in how it just simply makes them equals. That’s my opinion, feel free to have your own. Trumpy went full birther for a few years now says it was Hillary’s idea and he knows O was born in Hawaii. That is pure high grade horse poo. That’s just today’s example.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                A lie is a lie, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little white lie or a whopper.

                You wan to talk magnitude of lies? Fine. Hell, I’ll concede for the purposes of argument that Trump lies bigger. As far as I am concerned, it’s irrelevant. Why? I’m not planning to vote for either of these idiots, but I am enjoying the drama.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Which makes me then wonder why “so you’re a Trumpist” was your counterargument rather than “everybody says that the press is liberal, when really it’s merely pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and pro-corporations! MY GOD!!! THE MEDIA IS FYIGM LIBERTARIANS!!!!”Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                The “so you’re a trumpist” relates to seeming to want to ignore any pro conservative bias or seeming to want to ignore how the press is going easy on trump. I said i think there is some validity to the press having liberal biases mostly around cultural issues since most of them share lefty cultural beliefs. The press also has some biases that help a guy like Trump. People who can see the liberal biases seem blind to the conservative biases. That was the point i raised. I never suggested anybody will clinton into the job, you picked that out of the ether.

                People have been talking about liberal bias in the press for years: true. People have also been talking about consecrative bias in the press for years: true.

                “FYIGM”…at this point jay you are one to throw that out far more than anyone else.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                What do you mean I “want to ignore how the press is going easy on Trump”?

                If anything, I’m pointing out that Trump is playing the press like a goddamn fiddle and Hillary is tripping over her own streptococcus pneumoniae.

                And when I point that out, I’m being told that I must be biased to see the very thing that, right now, you’re accusing me of wanting to ignore.

                I’m saying that NPR is talking about Hillary being replaced, Greg. You’re arguing against that by telling me that Hillary isn’t going to be replaced.

                I’m saying that Trump is playing the press like a fiddle. You’re arguing against that by telling me that the media doesn’t have a liberal bias.

                I’m saying that Trump is going to win despite the fact that he’s engaging in transparent logical fallacies. You’re arguing against that by telling me I must be a Trumpist.

                I think that it very much looks like Trump is winning and Hillary is losing.



                If your counter-argument is that you agree but you think it’s bad as opposed to my position that it’s happening but I’m one of those arrogant horse’s asses who thinks he’s above the fray when, really, this is the most important election of our lifetimes and I’m treating it like some form of entertainment, then I’d be left slack-jawed with little to say in response.


                Instead, you’re arguing against the stuff that we’re both seeing as if you think that I can be embarrassed from saying out loud what we’re both seeing is to ask, here, let me cut and paste this:

                So you are a Trumpet?Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Nate Silver: “Democrats Should Panic … If The Polls Still Look Like This In A Week” Link I think the trend will reverse and stabilize, but if this were the Republican primaries and the media was hijacked for 24 hours on a Trump announcement on birther issues, I would think he was punking them and taking up all of the oxygen from his opponents.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                Breitbart basically bragged about the media getting pranked.


                The media is potentially now going to call out Trump. I’ve seen them write lie and falsely accuse in headlines regarding Trump.

                Sadly it took them this long to get here.

                I also suspect that these will reverse and stabalize with HRC back on the campaign trail.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                They invented a new chyron technique at least a month ago for this purpose.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We still have no idea what he’s doing.

                Just that what he’s doing ought to be impossible.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Wait…you think i said the press doesn’t have a liberal bias????? You really didn’t’ read anything i wrote since i said twice that they do have some liberal bias.

                I also think they have biases that favor conservatives. If we leave it that then we agree so i’m not sure what else is going on.

                Fwiw i still think Hillary is likely to win at this point. We’ll see where things will go and that forecast may change.

                Fwiw Pt 2. I think its fair to say neither of us read each other in a remotely chartable manner at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I admit that the press is pro-human rights and, I suppose, that makes them “liberal” so, I suppose, they’ve got a liberal bias.

                Isn’t that better than false balance?Report

          • Avatar Damon says:


            There is a persistent media bias to the left. Folk have been talking about that since the 80s. As to why the press seems to not be going after Trump all that much or it’s just much less effective, I cannot say.

            Where you see Trump lying almost daily, I see that and HRC doing pretty much the same thing since she was first lady and not baking cookies.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              Exactly. Those on the right can see a lefty bias in the media and they are correct to a degree. But are blind to the bias that goes rightward. Exactly what i said.

              Yeah baking cookies in the 80’s….killer example there.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                @greginak @damon

                I still think this essay sums it up best:


                Savviness! Deep down, that’s what reporters want to believe in and actually do believe in — their own savviness and the savviness of certain others (including master operators like Karl Rove.) In politics, they believe, it’s better to be savvy than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.

                Savviness is what journalists admire in others. Savvy is what they themselves dearly wish to be. (And to be unsavvy is far worse than being wrong.) Savviness — that quality of being shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, “with it,” and unsentimental in all things political — is, in a sense, their professional religion. They make a cult of it. And it was this cult that Karl Rove understood and exploited for political gain.

                What is the truest mark of savviness? Winning, of course! Everyone knows that the press admires an unprincipled winner. (Of a piece with its fixation on the horse race.) Josh Green, a reporter for the Atlantic Monthly who actually took the time to understand Rove’s career, totaled up his winnings in a 2004 article (“Karl Rove in a Corner”) that I highly recommend.

                I think the media imagines themselves to be cynical, worldly, world-weary, and into the uselessness of it all. And for whatever reason, this lets them be hoodwinked by people like Karl Rove and even Donald Trump. This explains the debacle of Cokie Roberts discussing the Ds replacing HRC with someone because of the flu. It also explains the anonymous reporter in the GQ article whose philosophy seems to be Loki and thinking “How much shit can Donald Trump blow up if President? Wouldn’t that be interesting to write about instead of a boring technocratic, policy wonk HRC administration?

                The journalists are good kids who really want to be the kids who sneak vodka into class in water bottles and smoke weed in the woods next to school. But they are too cautious for that themselves so they mock the nerds and just talk about how cool the bad kids are.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                That does cover most of it. Add in that actual policies don’t matter. The press doesn’t understand policy and is mostly to lazy to learn about so that gets ignored. But it is mostly about the cool kids wanting to be like the other cool kids. This leads them to have a variety of biases that cut both ways.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Saul, I think that’s an interesting point. Well said.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                The press are the kids who weren’t smart enough to be nerds or cool enough to be jocks and cheerleaders, so they compensated by cultivating apathy to seem sophisticated.Report

              • the debacle of Cokie Roberts discussing the Ds replacing HRC with someone because of the flu.

                Did she? I managed to miss that. But then again, when she comes on NPR and change the station. There was a day when she was good for learning what the “beltway insider” Washington establishment thought, or wanted us to think. She was at least minimally useful back then. But those days are long past. I realized this when, after the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Obama took a short break, as is typical of presidential candidates, and spent some time with his grandmother in Hawaii. Roberts dutifully informed us that doing something so exotic as going to Hawaii would alienate voters. That is when I realized that her function had devolved into parroting Republican talking points, and extraordinarily stupid ones at that. I already know what the stupid Republican talking points are, so she no longer is even minimally useful.

                It would seem that she is still a faithful flunky. What is shameful is NPR giving her air time. If they feel it is necessary to give time to a right wing commentator, they could still do much better than Roberts.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                Jaybird discussed last night.


                Sadly a lot of people might fall for this because they want to be savvy and sophisticated to.

                We live in a strange age. To discuss unsubstantiated rumors is to be savvy and sophisticated because those rumors feel juicy and confirming of our worst suspicions. Plus they are totes cynical.

                To dismiss them outright is to be one of the “sheeple” who just follows the party line and is hopelessly naive.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Most folks can’t see their own biases. Funny huh?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Well it is hard but some people try to see them and others just love their biases because they are sure their ideology is right.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        That’s Sam Wang’s whole thesis – there will be massive micro momentum swings to both sides of the eventual trend line, but in the end they don’t influence it overmuch. It’s still a trajectory rather than an accomulation of events.
        Kind of like how Football Outsiders always looks back at least eight weeks in figuring DVOA – it takes that long to tell a real trajectory change from so much micro noise that eventually settles down.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      If it makes you feel better, the media is apparently irked that he did this to get a free commercial for his new hotel.

      They still can’t use the word “lie” though.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    How’s about that Snowden movie?

    When I think about “what impact will this flick have on the various political dynamics going on in the country?”, I quickly come to the conclusion that “Clinton fans will probably agree with everything this movie says but will find it difficult to use everything the movie says as a reason for why it’s so important to vote for Clinton.”

    So, politically, it seems like the best that Clinton fans can hope for is that the movie flops… even as it’s a movie that they will very likely enjoy as it confirms their priors.

    What am I getting wrong, here?Report

    • Avatar Pillsy says:

      Among other things, the extent to which it confirms Clinton supporters’ priors, the extent to which people in general use movies as a source of direct political motivation, and the extent to which the trailer makes the movie look like a ludicrous cheesefest.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Oh, it’s Oliver Stone. We know it’s going to be a ludicrous cheesefest.

        That’s one of the reasons to see a movie.

        I don’t know the extent to which people in general use movies as a source of direct political motivation, but there are movies that re-enforce comfortable narratives and movies that do less of a good job of this.

        As for it confirming Clinton supporters’ priors, you’re right. I probably ought to have said something like “people who, if they were going to vote at all, were going to vote either for Clinton or write in Bernie.”Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          You might want to check out Citizenfour – an actual documentary with the actual Edward Snowden speaking his own words and no Oliver Stone treatment.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          Mileage obviously varies, but Stone movies don’t trigger the so-bad-it’s-good center in my brain. They’re mostly just awful.

          As for the “comfortable narratives” thing, my entertainment choices tend to skew pretty heavily to the “reactionary fantasy” end of things, and that’s really not where my politics are at all. Most movies (TV shows, et c.) that would tend to stroke my ideological priors are, IMO, tedious, pretentious dreck.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            We’ll see how the movie does this weekend, of course.

            Personally, I think that huge numbers indicate bad things.

            I think that anemic numbers will not indicate those bad things.Report

            • Avatar Gaelen says:

              What are those bad things? Why are huge numbers indicative of them?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The bad things, it seems to me, would involve the narrative that The Federal Government (BOOOOOO!) was doing BAD THINGS and it took someone willing to stand up to it to help turn things around.

                And he’s still a wanted man.


                They would also involve “which of the two candidates were part of the machinery of government circa 2013?”

                Given that only one of the two candidates was part of the machinery of government circa 2013, this narrative works against this candidate.

                Of course, if the movie flops, that particular narrative won’t get out into the wild.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                That argument (only one candidate was part of the government when….) proves too little or too much

                The US economy did not collapse into nothing in 2009. Only one candidate was part of the government that stopped the economy from collapsing.

                The Sicial security checks were printed, mailed, and delivered timely in 2009-2010. Only once candidate was part of the government that printed and mailed checks timely.

                The Florida real state tanked in 2009-10. Only one candidate was involved with Florida real estate in 2009-10.

                Gambling destroys working class families. Only one candidate is involved with gambling.

                Are you now convinced? .Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Are those narratives actively competing with the ones being introduced by the Snowden movie?

                I’m down with the whole “TRUMP IS EVEN WORSE!” argument. I’m not having that argument, though.

                I’m talking about the narrative that is being introduced into the wild by this movie. I’m not denying the existence of additional narratives that, were they introduced into the wild, would do even more damage to Trump.

                Of course those narratives exist.

                But the existence of those narratives does not translate to those narratives being propagated to a mass audience under the guise of entertainment.

                The narrative that I am talking about is the one that is being disseminated out by the movie.

                And, personally, I think that huge numbers indicate bad things.

                I think that anemic numbers will not indicate those bad things.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                It is possible to think that Clinton is a bad person, likely to be a poor President if given a free hand, requiring close supervision and harsh criticism at every turn, and still think she’d be better than Donald Trump.

                The issue is not that people criticize Clinton because they think Trump should be President. People criticize Clinton because they want us all to remember what exactly it is we’re buying come November. They want her to remember, when she sits down in the Oval Office next January, exactly how it was that she came to be chosen to do so.

                Because we are going to hear about how increased surveillance is necessary. How drone activity and preemptive strikes are necessary. How a belligerent status with China is necessary. How the US Army intervening in African tribal conflicts is necessary. And we are going to hear “well you VOTED for ME, that must mean you WANTED THIS”.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Since I really, honestly, cross my heart and die, have not heard her have those positions (at least to the degree you are presenting them here) in the 25 years she’s been a national figure, I wonder if, if those things don’t come to happen, will you come and say “I was wrong, she’s not really a bad person”.

                Really, when has she said hat we needed to be more belligerent with China? Before or after she refused to take a Chinese defector (which we discussed here a couple of days ago)? I know that Trump has said we would be much more aggressive towards China, but since no one believes a word he says, that doesn’t count either. When did she say anything about tribal conflicts in Africa? She voted for the Iraq War, which was a political calculation at a time when the war was extremely popular, and she was around during the Lybia collapse, a process in which the Europeans were in the driving seat, was going to happen nevertheless yes or yes, no matter what the USA did (short of protecting the Khadaffi regime with men and weapons), and where the USA participation was relatively marginal.

                I’d rather we discussed the things she says she’s going to do with respect to health care, education, taxes, etc. There’s a lot to discuss about those things, and you can be in favor or against, but really, African conflicts? Where did that come from?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “When did she say anything about tribal conflicts in Africa? ”

                She’s already got us involved in tribal conflicts in Africa. She wanted us to get involved in tribal conflicts in the Arabian Peninsula.

                “She voted for the Iraq War, which was a political calculation at a time when the war was extremely popular…”

                OK so see this? This shit here? This shit is exactly what I am talking about. This shit where we can’t hold people responsible for what they did, this shit where what they’re going to do is totally OK because, despite the horrible cockup we got the last time they did it, it’s totally different this time around and we should just accept that.

                “I’d rather we discussed the things she says she’s going to do with respect to health care, education, taxes, etc.”

                You mean, the things that Senator Sanders said he was going to do, and Clinton offered a half-hearted “uh, yeah, imma do all that!”

                “she was around during the Lybia collapse…”

                uhhhh she was rather more than just around, hossReport

              • Avatar J_A says:

                “She’s already got us involved in tribal conflicts in Africa. She wanted us to get involved in tribal conflicts in the Arabian Peninsula.”

                So you can then give me a link about when she got us involved in tribal conflicts in Africa (Lybia does not count – no double dipping) to see what it is she really did

                And about the Iraq War vote, hindsight is 20/20.

                She had the same information you and I and the rest of the American public had at the time of her vote (which we now know it was a pack of lies). Had that information been true she (and the majority of Democratic senators, who voted the same way as her; like Kerry) would be lauded as patriots. Plus the war was immensely popular at the time. Very few people in this country (Obama and me as far as I know, because even Trump was in favor then) were against the war at the time of the Senate vote. Even in 2004 it was not clear if more voters were in favor or against the war, hence Kerry explaining he had voted for and against it.

                Of course no one, even those like me that believed Hans Blix saying there were no WMD, could imagine that the war would be conducted in such an incompetent way.

                So, I wonder how many here in the OT commentariat were against the war in day one. Tell us your story @densityduck , tell us about your prescient opposition. I told you mine already.Report

              • I was against it the Iraq war at the time because I could picture the post-invasion civil war. (Also because the WMD thing was clearly a crock.) But that the administration would refuse to do any planning for the occupation was too bizarre for me even to imagine.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “Lybia does not count”

                Lybia’s part of Africa, hoss.

                “about the Iraq War vote, hindsight is 20/20.”

                I’m so interested to see you defending George W. Bush and Karl Rove.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Lybia’s Arab Spring popular raising and crackdown is like a tribal war in Africa, because Africa. And mole sauce is like chocolate cake, because chocolate

                Your claim was that Hillary was going to involve us in every tribal war in Africa. There’s plenty of tribal wars in Africa, and I don’t see Hillary trying to get us in any tribal war. I think you somehow are now recognizing that African tribal wars are not Hillary’s thing, even if the Arab Spring might be her thingReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Guys, Guys, Guys.


              • Avatar notme says:

                Why did you correct them? It was amusing to watch.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I was just waiting for one of them to suffer the full Freudian Slip and spell it Labia.Report

              • Avatar Pillsy says:

                Proper spelling doesn’t even get lip service around here.Report

              • Avatar rmass says:

                It just goes to show, democrats are much better at the whole getting our empire on thing.

                Yet another plus for voting competent supervillian 2016! I’m with her!Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              I think huge numbers will indicate that Americans have crummy taste in movies. I am, I am sure, letting my biases run away with me, as I am assuming the movie is garbage sight unseen.

              I’m very skeptical of attempts to draw straightforward connections between the perceived politics of movies and the likely voting behavior of their audiences. There was a spate of (basically terrible) anti-Iraq War movies during the mid-aughts that nobody wanted to see. This did not mean that the Iraq War was popular.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This did not mean that the Iraq War was popular.

                Absolutely not.

                But do you agree that huge numbers for “In the Valley of Elah”, “Stop-Loss”, “Lions for Lambs”, or any of the others would have indicated something beyond the crummy movie taste of the American public?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Most likely it would have indicated that they weren’t crappy movies. The pattern is almost always that a good movie gets really popular and then people decide that its political message resonated with the public, but usually the part where the movie is actually good gets glossed over. I think some of this is the specific tastes of movie critics [1], and some of it is a patronizing desire to understand “the masses” using the clarity of hindsight, but in any event it always strikes me as a very silly exercise.

                [1] Who, IMO, persistently underestimate the difficulty, and thus the value, of making a movie that a wide audience will really enjoy.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I don’t think America has figured out Edward Snowden’s story just yet, on a cultural level. The subject matter of Snowden’s disclosures (trying to be neutral about them here, because I’m talking about the movie, not the movie’s subject) is too intensely polarized in our current political debate.

        Oliver Stone, it seems to me, is close to precisely the wrong guy to take on this argument. Stone approaches all of his subjects with heavy cultural baggage of his own, and he is not particularly subtle about things. He’s not going to present a credible enough “prosecute-Snowden” argument even from an antagonist in the movie, because he’s too busy preaching about how awful and totalitarian the security state is. About the only director who I could think of who would be more one-sided on the subject would be Michael Moore.

        A narrative about Snowden will need a lighter and more thoughtful touch than Stone could possibly bring. And that’ll probably take some time, some movement towards broader resolution both of the specifics of Snowden’s case and of the larger issues about the role of governmental surveillance versus privacy, in a free society that faces actual security threats.

        So the Snowden movie is flopping? It’s no wonder. The movie is obviously gong to be a sermon rather than an exposition. And it’s just too soon for it to be a worthwhile exposition.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          I don’t think there will ever be an easy Snowden story since it an inherently mixed story with arguable positives and negatives. To much security state vs. spying on other countries is what every country does vs. dude you ran to Russia and have been sort of cozying to them which makes you look doubtful are all viable narratives. None of those are ever going away.Report

        • About the only director who I could think of who would be more one-sided on the subject would be Michael Moore.

          Mel Gibson. Snowden would be either a devil or a martyr.

          Tarantino. Snowden wouldn’t be arrested; he’d be shot, dismembered with a chain saw, and finally blown up.Report

  15. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [J5] “Handorukipa” the joke being that you’ve taken the door handles off the car so the person can’t get in.

    I swear I’ve heard stories like this–like, there was a flash of recognition when the article listed it–but Google is full of non-useful results.Report

  16. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    The portolan charts in H5: Portolan charts are the subject of consideration historic research, including international conferences. This year, Utrecht University granted a Ph.D. to Roel Nicolai for work disproving the possibility that the charts were constructed using the standard assumed methods (book version of the dissertation available here).

    I am always astounded at the effort that must gave gone into building maps in the days before modern computation and reproduction. The Albers equal-area projection, still in wide-spread use today, was created in 1805 and includes sin, cos, and square root calculations. I assume that organizations that produced Albers maps had whole books of precomputed tables that would have been extremely valuable intellectual property.Report

  17. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I’d love to see some dedicated missions to Uranus & Neptune. Here’s hoping!

    I thought the Jupiter article was going to be about how we intended to dive into the atmosphere, instead of surviving the radiation bath.

    The Warp drive is going to have to have something move a lot before anyone will take him seriously.Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Matt Taibbi wrote an article called “Stop Whining About ‘False Balance’

    Here’s something from the middle:

    The essence of that debate is whether or not it’s appropriate to write negative things about Hillary Clinton when there’s a possibility that Donald Trump might become president. Or, rather, we may say negative things about Clinton, but only if we always drape reporting in plenty of context about the worse-ness of Trump, or something.

    There’s not much to say about this debate apart from the fact that it’s phony and absurd and that the people shrieking for “balance” are almost always at heart censors who are really concerned with keeping a view of the world with which they disagree out of the news.


    • Avatar pillsy says:

      That is certainly the sort of thing I’d expect Taibbi to write. That bit where he blithely assumes that the “we” complaining about the way the New York Times has handled the Clinton Foundation and email stories is the same “we” that is watching reality TV most of the year may be true–but certainly isn’t obvious.

      It also assumes, unsurprisingly for a defense of the way the Times has been covering things, that the content of the stories has no moment beyond whether it is positive or negative. This is precisely the kind of blindspot that allows false balance to flourish.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think that much of the problem is that bastard Nietzsche.

        That whole thing where, and I’m stealing this from the internet:

        But the Christian Faith had within itself the seeds of its own destruction: its insistence that liberation comes through truth, which, of course, meant that Christians had a moral obligation to uncover the truth. This obligation to the truth produced modern science, and modern science in turn showed the truth to be this: that the Christian Faith is a silly myth and that there is no God. God is dead.

        You’ve got all of these ex-Christians running around who have this whole “obligation to the truth” thing going on and they’re now dealing with the fact that they’re getting pushback whenever they offer the tiniest criticism of Clinton.

        You need to realize this: if these arrogant bastards were capable of understanding that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and not scream about what is or isn’t true in the face of service to the greater good for the society, they’d still be Southern Babtists.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          If the New York Times et al. want to appeal to their obligation to the truth, they really should do a better job actually reporting it. But, even according to the Liz Spayd apologia that Taibbi inexplicably finds convincing:

          On the other hand, some foundation stories revealed relatively little bad behavior, yet were written as if they did. That’s not good journalism. But I suspect the explanation lies less with making matchy-matchy comparisons of the two candidates’ records than with journalists losing perspective on a line of reporting they’re heavily invested in.

          The demand being made here isn’t that liberals tolerate unpleasant truths about our preferred candidate out of a commitment to transparency–it’s that we accept unpleasant untruths because expecting things to be reported properly is just unfair, either to the media or to Trump, or maybe both.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          But they were Christians because they were dumb! And if you aren’t dumb but you refuse to agree, then you’re evil.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          There have been plenty of criticisms of Clinton. I know i’ve made them and most of the liberals here have. She has plenty of flaws and past mistakes. I haven’t seen anybody say people shouldn’t’ criticize her.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The criticism that people have about the mainstream media’s handling of this election is that they hyper-focused on minor to nothing scandals about Hillary Clinton and ignoring some very big scandals committed by Donald Trump and signs that indicate his Presidency is a disaster. Its the inability to call a spade a spade.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David says:

          The press is looking for a story with legs, nothing more. Trump isn’t giving it too them.

          HRC is.

          (This is a huge portion of why I think the R’s picked Trump. He is a master of media manipulation, while she has no idea how to play to the media. And no matter their politics they are sharks when they smell blood.)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The R’s didn’t pick Trump.

            Unless I am misunderstanding what you mean by “The R’s”.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David says:

              The Righties?

              The Rejects?

              The lovers of Ronald?

              Or do you think Trump picked them?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We’re certainly not talking about the “Republican Establishment”.

                We might be talking about “The Rejects”, but that’s not quite appropriate to say in public just yet.

                Maybe after the election when we’re doing a post-mortem.

                The “Righties” is a term that I’m not sure about. I’d probably need it unpacked.

                As for “The lovers of Ronald?”, I’m not certain how many there are of those anymore.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Well McDonald’s hasn’t been doing well for a while so i don’t think it’s the Lovers of Ronald.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Well, I am certainly not using it for Establishment Repubs, but generic Repubs works, in general.

                Though I would be interested in thoughts of how Trump picked them, not the other way around. As that crosses my mind, it seems… Interesting…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’d have to write an essay about both #gamergate and preference cascades.

                With a good smattering of discussion of “social ineptness”.

                @ContentOfMedia @voidfraction @mattytalks Preference cascades of the socially inept in meatspace are impossible.— Jaybird (@OG_Jaybird) September 15, 2016

                Note: That thread provides what is probably very important context to that particular tweet. Of which I am proud.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            There are plenty of stories with legs with Trump. Most of the popular media isn’t looking into them because it would require at least some work and investigation while with their Hillary Clinton scandals, they can just speculate and make things up. The Trump Foundation, Trump University, Trump’s foreign ties, etc.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David says:

              Do you know what a story with legs looks like? Once the media has done its initial reporting, the public looks like it gives a shit. That is a story with legs. Sometimes the media can make that happen, such as Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate, but right now, the media is in a crap position with the public. The public doesn’t trust the media and the media knows it. So are they breaking to the right currently to overcome that? Maybe, but what I do know is that if there is a story that will keep generating interest, they will be on it as the fear of some other reporter getting the scoop is often what drives the car.Report

  19. Avatar Teckelvik says:

    I5 links to a story about lung cancer.Report

  20. Avatar Jaybird says:

    So, um…

    There was a thing.
    Now there are arguments over whether the thing, which blew up and injured 25, was a bomb.

    I don’t think that the argument over whether the thing, which blew up, was a bomb is going to do a whole lot to prevent the narrative of it being a bomb from coalescing.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Oh, I understand the drama now.

      There was an explosion. Before the authorities said “it was a bomb!”, Trump said that it was a bomb. Then the authorities used every word except “bomb” to describe it. An intentionally set improvised device or something like that. Clinton was asked about Trump prematurely calling it a bomb and she criticized him despite she herself referring to it seconds prior as being a bombing (though, granted, her calling it that was *AFTER* the authorities called it that).

      The optics for how this is being covered are going to make this worse.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I thought it was that Trumpy called it terrorism and that we have to get TOUGH without knowing if it was a bomb or if it was what the deal was.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Now there are arguments over whether the improvised kinetic device that exploded is terrorism or not.

          The optics for how this is being covered are going to make this worse.Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            This sounds like one of those topics where you are always going to think everything is going to get worse no matter what.

            We don’t know what happened and should just wait until we actually have some idea before going off quarter cocked.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            FWIW, I can think of at least two makor explosions in NYC in the last few years that were not bombs or terrorism:



            So immediately jumping to the conclusion that this was necessarily a bomb planted by the folks we tend to reserve the word terrorism for was premature.

            We do know now it was a bomb. We don’t yet know who left it.

            And I don’t take this lightly. I work less than a mile from where it went off. My sister lives even closer than that. A good friend lives around the corner, another a few avenues over. Many families live right there. I will very likely be driving right by the area today en route to my race (alsotoo several bombs were left at a charity run in NJ, which thankfully due to an unexpected delay in the race and shoddy construction of the bombs left no one harmed)… So this shit is very real to me. Jumping the gun, peddling unsubstantiated theories, and exploiting this for personal gain doesn’t sit well with me… Nor most NYers. We don’t take kindly to being targetted. But we won’t leave ourselves patsies either.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              “Prematurely correct” is not a winning argument.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It’s an accurate argument, if not a winning one.

                I think we (Trump critics) should probably let this one go. (The bomb part, if no the terrorist part… information pending)

                Among other things, there’s the problem of while criticising Trump for saying what it is before he knows, lots of opponents seem quick to say what it is not before we know.

                It’s gotten to the point that when I hear (early on) “We don’t think it’s (Islamic) terrorism” I don’t believe them anymore. Which… is a problem.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                “Perhaps we lost the argument, but at least we will have been right.”

                I’m old enough to remember Romney supporters saying that sort of thing.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Being right and having people agree with you are distinct entities. I think sometimes you gotta let things go even if you are right.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There’s a very particular dynamic that I’m seeing.

                Remember my formula?

                A + (B/Z)

                A is the number of Significant Events in the USA. Stuff like riots in cities, police officers killed in particularly horrible ways, terrorist attacks (or events that present similarly to terrorist attacks.

                B is the number of these things that happen in Europe.

                Z is some number that I don’t know what it is but it’s probably between 2 and 5 given that crazy stuff that happens in Europe is important… but it’s not *AS* important as the stuff that happens on US soil.

                If that number hits some number (let’s call it “T”), then Trump will win the election. If that number is lower than T, Hillary will win.

                I think that this could probably use some cleaning up, some tweaking, but it accurately represents the state of affairs.

                Note: I’m not saying that it should be this way. I’m merely saying that it is this way.

                I think that because it is this way, it’s something that other people will notice as well… and that includes journalists (a term I’m using broadly enough to include us enthusiastic amateurs here).

                Because we know that this formula captures the dynamic of the election, it becomes vitally important to make sure that A + (B/Z) never equals or becomes greater than T.

                Which is why there was such a big deal about Trump’s calling it a bomb before we knew it was a bomb. He was pointing out that A + (B/Z) just got bigger.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                One of the constant liberal criticisms of the press is an obsession with horse race discussions; framing everything solely in terms of how it effects the race instead of the actual facts or what the parties have done. This conversation is exactly replicating that dynamic. What was the deal with the bombs? Doesn’t matter. Was Trump irresponsible or not? Doesn’t matter. But of course personal projections about the race are filling up the space.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                My point is that if Trump makes an issue of, “I called it a bomb while everyone well PC-pussyfooted around!” that is not a winning argument in NYC. Now, he ain’t winning NYC, but he won’t make friends with that.

                If he leaves it alone, it’s inconsequential.

                I drove as close to that ‘hood today as was possible and ran a half marathon in nearby JC that was stripped of garbage cans. Don’t make NYers victims when they aren’t. It’s a bad play.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Are there places worth talking about other than NYC?

                Would it be a bad play in these places or just in NYC?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                If Trump tried to exploit NYC to win PA, NYC will respond poorly in a way that might make PA respond poorly.

                Remember wheb Trump deftly pivoted “NY values” into 9/11? This risks being the opposite if played wrong.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                There are more people playing this game than merely Trump, though.

                The media is playing it.
                Clinton, I think, is playing it.

                To some extent, he doesn’t have to be “deft” as much as merely “deft*ER*” than the media and/or Clinton.

                How’s that looking from your vantage point?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Honestly? The most the peeps I’ve seen have said is how inconvenient the street closures were and that it was cool JCPD swept the race course several times overnight.

                I remain unclear on your position.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                My position is that A + (B/Z) is larger than it was on Friday.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Well, you created a formula where A is a counting tally. A increased. So, yes, A + (B/Z) is larger than it was Friday.

                Now prove why your formula matters.

                “I predict that the number of explosions will be larger after 2 explosions than before 2 explosions.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                And all this conveniently ignores what I’m saying. I’m sitting here giving you essentially “on the ground” analysis from NYC. And you want to pretend I’m not doing that. Or what I’m saying is of no consequence. Because of your formula.

                Let me ask… what do YOU imagine the scene in NYC is right now? Doesn’t that matter? Does that fit into your formula?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Kazzy, the votes that I am thinking about are not NYC votes.

                They’re like, national votes with a small, but not exclusive, emphasis on swing states.

                I agree that New York is going to vote for Hillary even if they find out that both improvised explosive devices they found were set by the same person.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Here’s my point:

                Trump goes to PA and says, “See what they did to NYC? See how bad they were to NYC? Seehow NYC suffered? I’ll protect NYC and I’ll protect you.”

                Then anyone who is anyone from NY (city or otherwise) says, “WTF? We don’t need Trump. We’re straight!”

                Now what? Trump can attack the people he’s claiming to be protecting OR back down. Neither looks good.

                Explain how he “wins” this.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m not sure that this is what wins this for him.

                It’s another thing. Yet another thing.
                Like with Hillary fainting.

                I wouldn’t be able to explain to you how Hillary fainting would win the election for Trump. Of course it wouldn’t. It was a hot day that day. People faint all the time. She had pneumonia. Like Trump has never fainted.

                That won’t win the election for Trump!

                This won’t win the election for Trump either.

                But when he’s the guy who says “we’re under attack, we’re being terrorized, I’m the only one that’s telling you the truth” and Hillary explains that Islam is a religion of peace, that won’t win the election for Trump.

                The bombing won’t win the election for Trump either.

                But A + (B/Z) is getting bigger.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Prove that it matters? I can’t. I can only provide evidence that if that formula eventually hits some number (let’s call it “T”), then Trump will win the election. If that number is lower than T, Hillary will win.

                Here’s a piece of evidence: quite a few pro-Hillary forces were quite invested in explaining that it was wrong of Trump to say that the improvised kinetic device that exploded was terrorism.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Yeah saying it was a terrorist bomb before anybody knew it was is an example of the many failings of trumpy. Saying that “we have to get tough” without even knowing who to blame is another. Does that matter to The Narrative, i doubt it but that doesn’t mean they aren’t judgments individuals can make. It certainly means people care about different things.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                So, @greginak does it matter if Hillary Clinton also called it a bombing before it was established to be a bombing?

                At the risk of Unauthorized Concern from Someone Who Probably Supports Trump, I think Jaybird is mostly in the right here. Where I would disagree with him is that he views it as a singular significant trip, whereas I don’t. It mostly leaves me concerned for how Operation Finally Start Getting Tough On Trump is going to pan out. Which is to say, not effectively.

                I know, I know, effectiveness doesn’t matter. This is about truth. Except whether Trump’s actions were bad is a matter of opinion. And it’s rather context-dependent. Does it matter if Hillary Clinton called it a bombing? I don’t care, to be honest. I wouldn’t care if it were Rubio. Or Jeb. I probably wouldn’t care if it were Cruz. I assume or would assume they got a bit ahead of themselves and move on.

                I care that Trump said this because it is indicative of his broader behavior. That’s what I see. But most anyone else is going to look at this and say that I am holding a different standard because I hate Trump. And… I’m not sure that’s wrong. Except I would say my hate is justified. Except that’s only valid reasoning to someone who already shares my priors.

                For anyone else, it’s evidence that Trumwill (or Greg or @kazzy or the media or whatever) hates Trump and will jump on little old thing. Which makes future criticisms less effective.

                And for what? What precisely would be accomplished by denouncing this? Waving the flag of truth? Whose truth? Whose mind is changed?

                And if we scream something that is True but nobody who doesn’t already share your priors believe it’s true, did the falling tree make a noise?

                Which leaves me glum. Not because of this, but because it’s indicative to me that criticism of Trump is not going to be as effective as I had hoped.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I’m not talking about the horse race aspect and if i were i don’t’ think this incidence will much effect at all. I think the horse race stuff Jay was getting into is the kind of MSM silliness that leads no where. I care more about what actually happened ( as in, was it a bomb and if so who put it there and why). At this point we only know it was a bomb. I also know that in many ways i am out of step with my fellow americans. Plenty, almost all trump supporters, want quick and loud mouth action regardless of how little we know. Trump supporters are just going to see his loud mouth as evidence of him being a man of action and whatever. I much prefer Obama’s calmness, but Gosh knows that isn’t universally popular.

                It is easily popular this will all be forgotten if the motive doesn’t fit an already set MSM narrative or takes a few days to figure out.

                Will any of this be effective against Trumpy? Beats me. But i think evidence of how His Trumpness has gotten in the head of many people is that no matter he does, people always think it will benefit him. But that has been far from the truth.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Everybody agrees what happened. Trump said a “bomb” before we knew it was a bomb.

                Whether he should have or shouldn’t have isn’t a question of fact. It’s a question of commentary. If most people don’t gave a problem with what he did (and I don’t think they do) then it’s not useful commentary to say he shouldn’t have done it.

                Thus, for most people, putting the whole thing in the category of the same sort of horse-racy non-sense being complained about.

                Except that while the media seems to think chasing this might make Trump look bad, I would say it actually makes the media look bad if anybody.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I think the point of commentary is for people to say what they think. That may be popular or confusing or not popular or funny or whatever. Commenting/discussing is an end in itself.

                I doubt most people are paying enough attention to the details to know how fast he shot off his mouth. For most it will just fortify what they thought of him in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It seems to me that when the media is jumping to ask Hillary what she thinks of Trump’s use of the word “bomb” we’re pretty much in the land of Trump’s comment being mostly a horserace issue and the main question is the handicap. I think it’s the only context in which people care about the story to begin with. And in that context, I think it either has no effect or in a background way helps the target.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Nothing much makes want to watch the MSM regarding anything. This isn’t changing that. What the MSM does is make everything about the horse race and The Holy Narrative. So this sounds like par for the course. But i guess if they have stopped running pieces on how many glasses of water hillary drinks then that is good.

                Also they have to fill a lot of airtime and repeating that we really don’t know what happened is boring. So they gotta fill time with something.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It would be better if they focused on better things. Both substantive things and even stupid things that might have a more desirable impact.Report

              • The main thing is that it doesn’t matter what Trump says because it won’t hurt him, while it doesn’t matter what Hillary says, because it’s the reason she’ll lose.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I think stuff Trump has said has hurt him. I think stuff he’s said in the last couple days might. I don’t think this in particular will. And I don’t think Hillary will lose. But others disagree.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Speaking of making the media look bad, if anybody…

                Looks like CNN edited out the part where Hillary mentioned the bomb too.

                Did this stuff used to happen?

                How would we know?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Did it make CNN look bad when they hired Trumpy’s former campaign head? Did it make them look bad when they gave him tons of coverage?

                I guess the answer to all that is yes and no.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Yes and yes, in my view. But I’m biased.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Clearly i’m more inclusive then you are.

                My yes and no was meant to suggest that both answers were correct for both options. CNN is terrible in general. They should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Do we bring this up the next time Greg yells “both sides do it”?


              • Avatar greginak says:

                How often do i go BSDI? Are you defending CNN????? What kind of monster would do that. BSDI can often be a good point. But like most good points it gets beaten into the dust when it turns into an ideology or blinds people to differences. But then again i’m not sure what you are referring to, which i’m used to.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                (Though, honestly, I don’t think that this will change any minds. The only people who will see it are already high-information and they made up their minds back in June who they were going to vote for.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                That evidence isn’t what you think it is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It doesn’t matter what I think it is.

                I’m looking at Group Three and trying to think what they’re going to think it is.

                And I think that they’ll think Trump is the only one telling them the truth, between the two candidates.

                But, sure. Everyone in NYC is chill. They’re on top of things. They know that a silly bomb isn’t going to slow down the city that never sleeps. Have you seen Hamilton yet? My friend managed to catch a Matinee two weeks ago and he hasn’t shut up about it yet!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “I’m not expressing an opinion! I’m just expressing an opinion of what others’ opinions are.”

                This is silly. Later dude. Let’s talk post election. I have a hunch one of us will be much happier than the other.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’ve already said what my opinion is. A + (B/Z) is larger.

                But I also know that my opinion doesn’t matter. So I’m trying to read tea leaves and figure out what’s going to happen.

                I can explain to you, if you want, why people who are still on the fence between Trump and Hillary might be moved to Trump based on this and why those explanations have more explanatory power than explanations for why they won’t do anything or why more people will support Hillary.

                Those won’t be “proof”, though. Just arguments about tea leaves.

                Out of curiosity: do you think it’s possible to make an educated guess about what the polls will look like come Wednesday or Thursday?Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Last time, I checked, neither trashcans nor dumpsters usually catch fire or explode on their own. NJ and NYC maybe be different but I doubt it.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            Going to make WHAT worse?

            This is another rorsach test… Trumpers will love his response and hate hers… Hilsters will love her response and hate his. The middle will lean the way they tend to lean.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        It looks like it was an intentionally set bomb. Probably in a construction tool box. We don’t know who set the bomb. There was also a pipe bomb in New Jersey.

        The issue with Trump is that he called it a bomb before anyone knew anything and raised the specter of Islamic terrorists and ISIS in the US. This is irresponsible incitement and fear mongering.

        This was also a week where two Islamic women and their babies were attacked in Brooklyn and another woman’s hijab was nearly set on fire.

        But in your telling the optics are bad except for pure panic. That says nothing good.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          In DC last night, there was a shooting where 2 people died, 7 people injured, and the Mayor was on the scene personally in the aftermath – yet the Manhatran 25th and 6th incident led the DC *local* news this morning over the actual local story.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            @kolohe @chip-daniels

            I would say that is because a lot of people think “bomb” = terrorist. Specifically it means “Islamic terrorists” even if the terrorists could be right-wing ethnonationalists or just anarchist pranksters who want to see everyone panic.

            Bombs play into our fears of chaos and a world going to seed more than random shootings (which always get interpreted as gang warfare if they happen in cities or at least are seen as targeted somehow).Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          As a Los Angeles resident, why should I be concerned about the Chelsea bombing, and what should it mean to me?

          In the 3000 miles between me and Chelsea, there were last night several hundred murders, thousands of assaults and vicious attacks.

          In my neighborhood there were probably a few fights and maybe a killing.

          Yet we never lock our apartment door, ever. When we go out all the people we see are friendly and welcoming.

          So why do I hear so many people trying to gin up fear and anxiety, telling me I should be afraid, so very afraid, and maybe carry a deadly weapon at all times?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Because it’s New York, the center of the world for news media, and an attack on NY is an attack on the media, and you are required to care.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I was actually expecting something closer to “if you people are allowed to not care if some nut shoots 29 people, I am allowed to not care if some nut bombs 29 people!”Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              We could, though, talk about the 62 people Obama had killed in Syria.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                I’m happy to talk about them (*)

                One hing I’ve noticed is that all the Republican leaders I can think of, are on record about wanting the USA to kill many more Syrians, not less, since the days of the Red Line, and “We Can’t Allow Assad to Use Chemical Weapons with Impunity”, all the way to “We Need to Get There and Destroy ISIS”. A position supported, btw, by almost all the Republicans I talk politics with in my work or private life.

                So we should all tip our hats to Obama and Kerry that the USA’s headcount is as low as only sixty-two. Job work, guys.

                (*) I have no idea where the number sixty-two came from, nor do I care. My argument stands irrespectively.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                J_A: (*) I have no idea where the number sixty-two came from, nor do I care. My argument stands irrespectively.

                Contra the late great Edwin Starr, we know what war is good for – Impassioned ignorance in service on one’s poltical preferences.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                Is that supposed to counter my argument? Or it’s just a passing comment that you just remembered and wanted to share?

                I did talk about the sixty two, as per your request.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                By applauding one of the men responsible for the deaths. Kinda lIke how the cops put a medal on a good shoot.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                I’m applauding the two men responsible for avoiding many more deaths.

                The many more deaths that all those clamor in for boots on the ground would have brought forth.

                There’s merit in stopping a mobReport

              • Avatar KenB says:

                oops, nevermind — removed.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                If that is the case, it’s a regretful accident.

                Edit: THAT , above, is a link posted by KenB (now removed) about the USA possibly having targeted Syrian soldiers instead of ISIS by mistake, killing sixty two

                My personal opinion about Syria is that we should let them (and the Russians, Turks, Iranies, and Kurds) fight them on their own. There’s nothing we can do that would improve the situation and a lot that will make it worse.

                Since, at least through the spring of this year, the official position of the Republican party (and a significant portion of the Democratic party) was that the US honor required us to topple Assad, kick the Russians away, and stop the Irani influence, the fact that Obama and Kerry had insisted on minimum engagement and maximum diplomatic efforts is laudable. That is my point

                But thanks for the clarification. We are definitely talking about different things

                And definitely is not as if Obama ordered sixty two Syrians to be killed.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                I read your link. I think you are right and Kohole was talking about your link, which I knew nothing about. ThanksReport

              • wanting the USA to kill many more Syrians, not less

                But only if the USA are run by a Republican administration. If a Democrat’s in charge, it’s a war crime.Report

              • Avatar J_A says:

                At the time of the Red Line in the Ground, refusing to kill Syrians was the war crime, at least according to the Republicans in CongressReport

      • Avatar notme says:

        Apparently Hill criticized Trump for saying bomb but then said bomb herself.

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          “”Well I think it’s important to know all of the facts about an incident like this. That’s why it’s critical to support the first responders, the investigators who are looking into it, trying to figure out what did happen. I think it’s always wiser to wait to until you have information for making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.””

          Please point out what is wrong with this response or how it is inconsistent with her words and actions.Report

        • You’re talking about a Donald Trump statement; if The Donald said the sun was coming up, the reasonable reaction is to get an independent third party to verify it.Report

  21. Avatar j r says:

    J1: I was in Tokyo over the weekend. The address struggle is real. I managed to find a small ramen shop without using Google maps (didn’t have cell service), just the address and a map, and it felt like a major accomplishment.Report