Morning Ed: The Circus {2016.10.24.M}

Will Truman

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

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81 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    How do you do an “AAARRRRRGGH!” With an Icelandic accent.Report

  2. notme says:

    Ceremony honoring police before HS game sends ‘frightening message,’ ACLU says

    More ACLU nonsense.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

      Did you read the article? Can you articulate the local ACLU’s single point of concern?Report

      • notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’m not sure, as you keep saying in cheap personal attacks that my reading comprehensions ain’t so good.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to notme says:

          You routinely post links whose content is in direct contradiction to your summary.

          So yes, either your reading comprehension sucks or you think no one will actually click the link. Take your pick.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Morat20 says:

            or you think no one will actually click the link.

            Well, in fairness, I rarely click his links. Years spent on usenet has served me well. It didn’t take long to spot the pattern, and recognize the summaries as background noise.Report

          • notme in reply to Morat20 says:

            I think the summary, “More ACLU nonsense” is quite accurate. Maybe I should have said overwrought liberal handwringing? I just don’t see how a pre game ceremony to honor police becomes a “frightening message.” Maybe the ACLU should file suit to stop any more of these.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

              I don’t see why anyone would care what you think.Report

            • Gaelen in reply to notme says:

              It’s kind of like you’re trying to prove Oscar’s point that you can’t identify the ACLU’s single point of concern.

              Hint: it has to do with what an officer said about other protests at football games.Report

            • Troublesome Frog in reply to notme says:

              I think the hint people are trying to give you here is that your considered opinion is a lot more interesting if you can show that you actually made an effort to understand the position you’re arguing against.

              I generally avoid the threads you start because they tend to be pretty content free, which is sad because you’re clearly informed and intelligent enough to bring some interesting diversity of opinion when you bother to engage.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I was under the impression he was simply scouring some right-wing outrage collection and randomly posting the links complete with whatever synopsis he read there.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I have maintained for quite a while that if he would approach with the intent of having a discussion (where people try to explain and understand ideas) rather than a debate (where people try to score points, often on technicalities) that he could be a valued contributor.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

          Cheap personal attacks would be like asking you if your parents had any children that lived.

          Stating that you are demonstrating poor reading comprehension when you are actually demonstrating poor reading comprehension (or, more likely, deliberately misreading something to suit your biases) is not a cheap personal attack, it’s merely an observed fact.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’m reading the article and I’m not seeing it.

        Maybe you could help us out here?

        Try to highlight actual things that actually happened at the actual event, and not “attitudes” and “statements” and what people told the newspaper afterwards.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Well the whole event is a “statement” so, for the deputy police chief to bring the cops and military to a high school to respond to a perceived lack of patriotism by students specifically protesting violence by cops… Well maybe the DPC really is that dim and it was just tone deaf, but it sure does seem like bringing a gun to a pillow fight.Report

        • Gaelen in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Seriously? The ACLU took issue with a officers statement made before the event. The fact that the headline is not particularly well written does not change the fact that the article is pretty clear on what the issue is.

          “It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger told the newspaper. “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”

          Those comments caught the attention of the ACLU of New Jersey.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

          @gaelen has it.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Following the links:
          “It was organized by Middletown Police Deputy Chief Stephen Dollinger, who said the game was chosen for a couple of reasons: It’s the highest profile game of the year and the right venue to respond to what he says are the disrespectful actions of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes.

          In response to what he sees as systemic oppression of people of color, Kaepernick has refused to stand during pregame performances of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Other players have followed suit.

          “It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger said. “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”

          Dollinger said players from both teams will be incorporated into the festivities that will celebrate the service of not just police, but all first-responders and military personnel as well.

          “I wanted to show that pro athletes are supposed to be role models, but in this case the athletes — the high school athletes — are going to be setting the example. It’s going to be kind of a role reversal.””

          Now, that first paragraph is interesting unfortunately it does not include direct quotes nor offer any sourcing for the quotes.

          The inclusion of students is interesting. I strongly hope their participation was fully voluntary. Even then, I’d be a bit concerned about how exactly their participation was achieved.

          But this guy wants to stage a rally at a high school game to send a message to professional athletes? Really?Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    Re: Prager – He’s not silenced. Not at all.

    It’s not terribly difficult to turn off the filter for youtube. And if you’re at work and either can’t or don’t want to, tough tiddlywinks.Report

  4. Pillsy says:

    I can barely contain my shock to learn that Marine LePen is using Islamaphobia as an excuse to push anti-Semitism.Report

    • Pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It’s interesting how rarely the blame for the demise of populism in the Democratic Party is rarely laid at the feet of the Democratic populists who thoroughly discredited themselves and their political tradition by aligning it with segregation and the Vietnam War.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Pillsy says:

        That’s another very big reason for the decline of Democratic populism. There was a big clash between the Old Left/Libersls and the New Left/Liberals in the democratic world at this time, even in countries unburdened by Vietnam and without America’s racial issues.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I think @leeesq makes a good point here. As Dave Shor (you should follow him on Twitter, if you don’t already) he same dynamics that occurred within the US left mirror an international phenomenon. Away from rural populism and towards the urban/suburban upper middle class. That makes it a bit harder to pinpoint purely American triggers.Report

          • Pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

            What’s Dave Shor’s Twitter handle?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

            The Democratic Party was always split between a Northern, urban, and liberal wing and a rural, Southern, and conservative/populist wing.

            NYC was always a Democratic city. Depending on who you ask, the Democratic Party started becoming more Northern, urban, and liberally dominated in 1948 when Humphrey made his civil rights speech at the DNC and Strom Thurmond walked out.Report

            • The South wasn’t the only part of the transition, though. That transition lagged most of the others (West Coast being an exception, and upper New England).

              There is an argument to be made that the international angle is a case of other countries following our lead (for instance, our cities went left before France’s did). That’s an awfully American-centric way of looking at it.

              Another possibility is that the New Deal and post-war boom gave rural populists enough that economics ceased being the driving issue. Which would make sense for Europe, too, since they were recovering while we were booming and so it took longer to happen there.

              There are a number of possibilities, some of which interrelated and few mutually exclusive. It seems more complicated than a speech HHH gave in 1948, though, or the isolated decisions of Republican and Democratic leaders.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


                I am currently reading True Confessions which is a fictionalized version of the Black Dahlia murder in 1940s Los Angeles. The two main characters are Irish-American brothers, a cop and a priest.

                If the story is right, there were huge ethnic divisions that we would find silly now. If you were Irish, you mainly associated with fellow Irish-Americans. If you were Italian, you associated with Italian-Americans. They went to different Catholic churches, attended different schools, etc. IIRC, there was an anecdote about an Irish-Catholic Church that was given a Polish priest in NYC. They beat up the Polish priest and sent him packing and warned the archdiocese not to try this again.

                See also the work of Ira Katznelson in exploring how a lot of the New Deal and other early welfare state was designed to help whites and whites alone. This was not necessarily the choice of FDR but he needed the votes of the South and this is how he got it. Katznelson’s books are When Affirmative Action Was White and Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time.

                The Humphrey Speech was not the cause but just an argument that the split began happening over a decade before people usually give it credit for starting.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Who counted as really white had a much more limited definition back than. Protestant America considered Catholics suspect until at least Kennedy’s election to the Presidency. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. hated when he and his family were referred to as Irish rather than American. All these little ethnic divisions were really important and the thing about Catholic parishes getting divided by ethnicity is really true. Every group might have been Catholic but they were Catholic in different ways. The Irish-Americans practiced a very strict and austere form of Catholicism while the Italian-American Catholics were into the more festive and colorful aspects of Catholicism like all those Saint festivals and worship. German Catholicism was more reverential than what the Irish were comfortable with because it was more directly affected by the Counter-Reformation and the fight against Protestantism.Report

              • Damon in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Funny, cause my Catholic Mother in Law considered the Presbyterians “a cult” and said so when her daughter (my wife) started attending services there.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Damon says:

                My mom definitely has an ex-coworker who talked about wanting to take a mission trip to Europe to convert the Catholics. That stuff is out there.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

            The Democratic party had a lock on the urban vote in many cities since the 1850s. It was already seen as the urban party by 1920, its just that they dreaded and feared minorities from the cities were Catholic and Jewish Americans rather than people of color at that point. The socialist parties in Europe were also decidedly urban since the 19th century. So I think describing the changes as a trend away from rural populism is not accurate.

            What I think caused the change is mainly that a lot of liberal and leftist thought started to emphasize factors other than class during the mid-20th century because of civil rights, feminism, and de-colonialization. The narrative changed from the wealthy and powerful vs. everybody else to something more complicated but more accurate that took more factors into consideration. This provided for a more detailed and informed political theory but as trade off, it eliminated a lot of the spirit that animated the Old Left or New Deal liberalism.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Pillsy says:

        Which are you saying was populist? Pro-Vietnam war or anti-Vietnam war? The answer is clearly the latter.Report

        • Pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

          Well, the thing is the piece in question says that the populist tradition of the Democratic Party was sold out by liberals who objected to the way the populists in the Party championed the war. That may be an incorrect understanding (though it looks at least correct-ish to me), but if it is, it’s a common one.Report

  5. Kim says:

    The Pirate Party is about as relevant as the Greens winning a seat on SF’s city council.
    Well, actually, less than half as relevant, if you go by population size.

    Iceland’s election system is pretty much trolled.Report

  6. Mo says:

    Re: the kippa ban. I’m guessing the rabbi that supported the burquini ban is feeling really dumb right now.Report

  7. Oscar Gordon says:

    Because I do try to read the articles before I link them…

    10 year ago, the Pentagon was offering generous re-enlistment bonuses and pressuring active duty & guard units to keep enlistment goals high. 10 years ago, our military activities in the Middle East were not terribly popular and meeting those goals was tough, even with the bonuses. Part of the reason was the bonuses had some strings attached, particularly that they were to only be offered to members with in-demand jobs.

    Some guard units decided to overlook that bit about only offering the bonus to certain jobs, and offered it much more liberally, because stiff enlistment goals. This was wrong, and the people who made those decisions have been identified and prosecuted.

    Now, however, the Pentagon is, 10 years after the fact, going after members & vets who got the bonuses improperly and demanding they pay back $10K-$15K+interest & penalties, despite no evidence that the members & vets were complicit in the fraud (they largely didn’t know the bonuses had such requirements & trusted that their Chain of Command would not knowingly perpetuate such a fraud).

    Legally, the Pentagon is right to do this. The bonuses were paid as the result of fraud, they have every right (& quite possibly a legal duty) to recover those funds with interest.

    Morale wise, they are quite busily shooting themselves in the foot. It’ll be years, possibly decades, before members will trust the bonus system, and those members that are getting screwed, and their friends, will certainly keep telling the story of this to new recruits long after it’s all said and done.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Yeah, that seems a darn bad move by the Pentagon.

      I wonder how high up the flagpole that was authorized? I doubt it came from the top, so I’m wondering who decided this would be a great idea and who signed off on it — and who is left to go “Um, no”.

      (Then again, as you note, it’s possible they have no legal recourse but to seek reimbursement. If that’s the case though, I’m confused as to why it took a decade…)Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

        I am betting they have a legal obligation to clawback the money, so I don’t think the Pentagon is just being a bunch of dicks for the hell of it. Stopping this might require an executive or congressional act, in which case media exposure is a good thing.

        Although I did think that the whole, “forgive the debt of the guy who is seeking class action status so he has no standing” was shady.Report

        • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Yeah, I’m betting this is being done as hard as socking someone in the gut, deliberately, to make sure it gets fixed quick. Military knows how to do strategy (and at least some of them know public relations. That’s the difference between a colonel and a general, after all).Report

    • Two things I’d like to know that haven’t been reported:

      What’s the total amount of money owed? One Guard official was charged with $15M is fraud, but it’s not clear if that’s all of it.

      Who, if anyone, has the power to forgive the payments?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I believe this clawbacks are like IRS debt (or IRS mistakes in your favor) I’ve had a bonus overpayment in my time because someone fatfingered something and doubled paid me. It was recouped within the year through taking a little bit out each month. (I also had the bonus double counted in my W-2, which would have screwed up my taxes if I hadn’t caught it before sending everything in)

        I believe that only Congress could retroactively make the paid bonuses OK. Which also makes chumps out of anyone who played by the rules and didn’t get the windfall that some of their colleagues got.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I *would* be not-surprised to learn that the amount of money spent figuring out how much was owed was pretty close to the amount that was actually owed.

        But in Government Land, that’s not a calculation you’re supposed to make. Auditors gonna audit.Report

        • Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I know someone who dropped Gigabytes of data on an IRS Auditor. Months later, he got a refund. Apparently he had been overpaying.
          (There was a scam, of course. It just wasn’t tax evasion).Report

    • If I were a Presidential candidate I’d sound off on this. I’d challenge Congress to take action even before I took office, to demonstrate my leadership potential any more importantly, my great concern for the welfare of the women and men who so bravely volunteer to serve in our armed forces during a time they knew they could wind up in harm’s way to defend our freedoms. These patriots should not be made twice victims, first of fraud and second of bureaucracy. As President I will stand by them, and as a citizen, I say that the time to start doing so is right now.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      What amazes me about this is all the people who agree that yeah, this sucks and is horrible, but gee whiz we don’t have a choice. So many people all down the line agreeing that it’s someone else’s fault and all they can do is do their job.

      This is the society that accountability and objectivity has built. We haven’t lost our appetite for burning people, but we’ve decided that you can’t get fired for following procedure.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

        I hear ya. It doesn’t surprise me that this ball got rolling, because the military is what it is. What surprises me is that there are star level brass who knew about this but somehow couldn’t seem to get the joint chiefs to have a word with the president or congressional leaders before the feces hit the impeller?

        Either the brass had the foresight of 3 year olds regarding the PR nightmare once this made the news, or they did try to talk to the political leadership and they got the brush off.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I’ve never been military, but I’d imagine the bureaucracy is like anything else. It was probably percolating up for months or even years before the top brass really noticed it as anything more than a single status item on a report, and then they figured “We’ll dump it to the media and let Congress/Executive deal with it”.

          It was probably original authorized somewhere around the VP-equivalent level by a guy who barely gave it any thought and who moved to another slot six months later, and the process just ticked on in the background until complaints jumped enough to justify bringing to the top levels.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

            This would largely be the civilian side of the bureaucracy, but ye, the bureaucracy ground forward as it’s wont to do.

            But there is no way brass wasn’t involved in making it happen, especially since people were tried & convicted for fraud. Some general somewhere had an understanding of the scope of the problem, and hopefully an understanding of the PR & morale nightmare of it. If the issue somehow never made it higher than that before Guard commanders started having it land on their desks, then you have a general (or the civilian equivalent) somewhere who is not going to have a good day when it get’s traced back to them.Report

  8. Morat20 says:

    In other news, it appears Trump has settled onto a new “rigged polls” narrative — a Podesta email ordering oversampling of polls.

    In the real world, Podesta was ordering oversampling of internal polls to get a more solid look at what certain demographics were thinking, and any top-level trend lines would be adjusted to fit the proper demographic breakdowns.

    In Trump’s world, Podesta ordered every polling company on earth to oversample Democratic voters so that HRC would look like she’s winning.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Morat20 says:

      Couldn’t possibly be that Trump is simply a wretched candidate with an unpopular message.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


        This election is teaching me that such thinking is really hard. What we are seeing is the GOP in a kind of failure mode. They simply can’t stop themselves from alienating voters. Look at what happened to the Nasty Woman comment. A GOP congress critter just came out and said “Sometimes women need to be told they are nasty.” He did not seem to take a second to think about whether this would help or hurt the GOP among women.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Simple explanations are often the best.

          1. Brian Babin is a fishing idiot.
          2. Brian Babin is a fishing sexist pig.
          3. Brian Babin is a reflexive partisan hack.

          1, 2, and 3 are different from one another, but of course they are not mutually exclusive.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


            The Partisan thing is strong even in myself. Vox had an article about research on partisan identification and how much it forms a core of identity. People are willing to change their views on issues and keep their partisanship identity rather than switch parties it seems. People really do get stuff out of saying “I’m a rock ribbed Republican” or “I’m a Straight Down/Yellow Dog Democrat.”Report

  9. Burt Likko says:

    In other news, I’m particularly happy with this week’s musical selection, available in the mini-youtube window in the sidebar. Both a reach out into the country-western genre a bit, and I challenge myself from time to time to seek out music of types I don’t normally pursue. Also, it’s pretty emblematic of what we all do around here.


  10. Will Truman says:

    Jack Chick died yesterday.

    I always admired his art style. Genuinely. I can at least say that.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

      I handed those out!

      Jack Chick was truly an American icon.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman says:

      Yeah, I agree. He was able to make his message visually and narratively compelling. It’s a shame his narrative was so excerable. Also didn’t stop me from playing Dungeons & Dragons because I knew even then he was full of shit, no matter how good those comics were. And yes, they were good.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

      @will-truman @jaybird @burt-likko

      Maybe it is because I don’t come from a Christian background (evangelical or otherwise) or maybe I was always really a atheist, secular, and not super-spiritual kind of guy but how were those comics good?

      They were nicely drawn but the arguments inside of them were clearly silly and risible because there is no Satan, magic isn’t real, etc. Did I just have abnormally liberal parents who thought AD&D encouraged the imagination and censoring my entertainment choices only made things worse?*

      I don’t see how Chic tracks would be convincing rhetoric unless you were strongly into that worldview already. How can something be good if you know the argumentation is full of shit? Is there any evidence of Chick tracks taking someone away from AD&D and turning them into fundies especially if that person did not have fundie parents?

      *When I was 16, they let me see a David Lynch film festival by myself. I’m guessing this is not common.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        What Will said was that he admired Jack’s art style, not the comics themselves. Jack might have had some problematic views but the man could draw.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        how were those comics good?

        How are we using “good”, here?
        Beneficial to society?
        Sympathetic to an open-minded religious pluralism?

        I don’t know how many people changed their minds based on the stuff I handed out. If any. I’m pretty sure that I planted a non-zero number of seeds, though.Report

      • Pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This seems a bit like asking someone how they could enjoy Plan 9 From Outer Space. What about the plot holes, the ludicrous sets and special effects, the absurd dialog, and execrable acting?

        Chick created art that’s instantly recognizable to millions of people and that will likely be remembered for decades after his death. I don’t think he was as aggressively talentless as Ed Wood, because he actually could draw pretty well and knew how to pace his daft narratives, but his work will endure for the same reason: it’s hilarious, and a lot of the reason it’s hilarious is because of his horrible opinions about pretty much everything he ever expressed an opinion about.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

      Steven Den Beste died too!

      Given that they come in threes, I have no idea who is likely to be next based on this particular pattern establishment.Report