Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes

Note: Will is out on assignment. This week’s Linky Friday is being put together by Tod, who may or may not be posting some links Will has posted in the past. If this is the case, apologies in advance.

Politics

Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes[P1] Sometimes political ads really do work on me —but in the opposite way the candidate intended.

[P2] Oh for Pet’s sake. Can we at least wait until 1920 for this?!

[P3] In fairness, you’re probably always going to look really, really smart when you’re standing next to this guy.

[P4] That one thing liberals point to as proof that governments work is becoming a sign that they are failing.

[P5} This CNN interview might well be the purist form of Trumpism I have ever seen, but for me its biggest takeaway is that Roy Moore’s official spokesperson has never, ever applied for a library card.

[P6] In a different timeline, bungling something this badly would make you a laughingstock among your peers — especially if were the rule and not the exception. In this timeline, however, you receive awards and accolades from the families of Supreme Court Justices for your bungling.

Men Vs. Women

[MW1] This piece by Claire Dederer should be required reading for men, even as those who read through to the end will be surprised at the places she goes.

[MW2] More proof that the internet is not for the weak of heart.

[MW3] There are monsters, and then there are monsters with legal teams.

Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes

[MW4] Say what you want about the British, but at least they s**tcan their predators once they’re publicly outed.

[MW5] It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that, what with today’s #metoo movement, society allowing women to be victims to powerful predators is this totally brand-new thing. But actually it’s pretty old. No, older than that, I mean.  No, I’m saying you need to go back really, really far in our history.

[MW6] Franken, Shmanken. Both parties have always been more than happy to quietly allow sexual harassment and assault to fester at their pleasure. But are we now seeing the emergence of an overtly pro-sexual harassment and assault party?

[MW7] Slate’s executive editor talks about being the object of her boss’s desire — and everything working out quite nicely, thank you very much. And speaking of publications I rarely say nice things about, good for Time magazine.

“The Best People”

[BP1] Not just the best in 2017. The best in history.

[BP2] Sobering news for the #nevertrump set: there may well be ways to clean up the White House, but it does not look as if the Logan Act is one of them.

Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes[BP3] Mooch!

[BP4] I have always assumed that if there was any weakness in the Trump camp for Mueller to uncover that might potentially take them down, it wasn’t going to be proof of collusion — it was going to be proof of laundering. We shall see, I guess.

[BP5] This just seems like a bad Ocean’s 11 sequel waiting to happen.

[BP6] Hey man, whatever two consenting adults do in private is no business of mine.

Life On the Fringes

[LF1] I mean, it’s not like there were any signs that could have tipped them off at the outset.

[LF2] People are giving this New York Times piece a bad time for not being sufficiently anti-Nazi, but for me the problem with the article was that the reporter didn’t seem to care enough about it to report out the story. The Atlantic, on the other hand, gets its business done.

[LF3] This was probably inevitable.

Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes[LF4] If your boss passed you up once again up for that big promotion, you might consider the possibility that your problem is an infestation of demons.

[LF5] Speaking of me, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little giddy that my next commission is to go out and cover the fine people at Nxivm.

[LF6] “You don’t make deals with God. If it was Jamie’s time, there was nothing I coulda done. He was gonna go anyway.

[LF7] Here’s a story about online bullying leading to suicide that should be receiving a lot more attention than it is. (Indeed, someone should write a piece about all the reasons no one does seem to care about this story.)

Potpourri 

[P1] It turns out it’s a mixed blessing that we don’t get to really be there for our own birth.

[P2] Hey, they don’t call it the Sweet Science for nothing.

[P3] Sometimes you have to root for both sides to lose.

Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes[P4] People back east are always asking me if Portlanders prefer to call Lyft or Uber when they don’t have a car and need to get somewhere, and I am forced to admit that, as always with PDX, it’s a little more complicated.

[P5] This piece on a lake in Africa and its role in an unspeakably terrible humanitarian disaster is really quite long, and very much worth your time.

[P8] It was always just a matter of time before some hipster argued that choosing to access almost any indie band you wanted  rather than what some radio station force fed you made you a sell-out.

[P9] There are unintended negative consequences to everything we do — including prison reform.

[P7] “I don’t know if you know this, but hamsters be fucking.”


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Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular contributor for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter. ...more →

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90 thoughts on “Linky Friday: To Hell In a Handbasket, But With Snakes

  1. Thank for offering us the choicest links to comment on Mr. Kelly,

    P1-Tip to politicians, if your going to imitate a classic movie make sure you do it really well. Especially in this day and age. People love mocking you if you get one thing wrong. At least he didn’t use Living on a Prayer.

    P2- We have a surfeit of scandals thanks to the Internet making every crooked incident in even the remotest corner of the world available to us. We need to start winnowing them down now and constantly to get to the real political scandal gold.

    P4-The actual liberal argument is that Americans expect Swedish level services from the government but don’t want to pay Swedish level taxes for them.

    P5-Roy Moore is Trump squared when it comes to at least certain things because he brings in religious hypocrisy. It always adds a little extra special flavor to general sleazy and immoral behavior. It also isn’t surprising that his spokeswoman never applied for a library card and that isn’t even because she is a conservative. Lots of people just don’t like to engage in recreational reading. Most of my friends are liberal or moderate and their reading taste tends to be pragmatic and self-help oriented.

    MW2: If we ever figure out how to kill people over the Internet, humanity has about five months top. I really don’t understand that. Assuming the poems were just as bad as criticized, whats the point in engaging in a national mocking campaign of the guy. Its just mean and kind of psychopathic. I also have better things to do with my life.

    MW3: The defense team did what they had to do, zealously advocate for their client and get him the best deal possible even if they had to come up with howler like autistic people not knowing rape is bad. This is the big problem with sexual assault. We are really dealing with two things. The first is sexual assault as dominance mechanism. Its a terrible plight upon society. Then you have sexual assault the crime. We hopefully want the traditional norms of criminal justice to apply like the assumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and right to counsel. However, upholding traditional legal norms for sexual assault the crime while fighting sexual assault the tool of oppression is really difficult.

    MW7- I think Ms. Benedickt gets why for than a few men are bewildered or even cynical about the metoo movement or enthusiastic consent. There are a lot of mixed signals out there and you either have a choice of playing it safe and getting a lot of “I didn’t feel any chemistry” responses or taking a risk and have a chance of it going terribly wrong.

    LF1-This represents a victory for liberalism and feminism in away. It shows that the sort of liberalism that exists in Western media can change expectations in people exposed to it even in explicitly illiberal social groups like the Alt-Right.

    LF3- “A capitalist is somebody who will sell you the rope which you use to hang him.” Lenin. There are people who like to make money and will do anything legal to get it even if it is distasteful or even immoral. Hot sauce, heavily associated with Mexican cuisine, marketed for Mexican hating Alt-Righters is kind of hilarious though.

    LF4- I see exorcism as a growth market in our economy. Its really no more irrational than self-help motivational cult seminars that more secular minded people go to.

    LF7-There is something deeply troubling about a woman being bullied to suicide for not wanting to have sex with a particular man. I guess that nobody wrote about this because the woman is a porn star and people have trouble writing about porn stars like they are normal human beings or treating them sympathetically. The other reason is that there are two conflicting strains working in this story. Liberals are opposed to non-consensual sex but we also don’t like homophobia that much either and the deceased’s reasons for not wanting to have sex were homophobic.

    P1-Its going to be real interesting seeing kids grow up on Facebook, exposed to the world.

    P9- They can actual pay wages rather than rely on prisoners to fight forest fires.

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    • MW7: A lot of this confusion could be mitigated by HR departments doing their jobs and taking complaints seriously. It would also help if those departments were empowered by corporate governance to bring heat on executives who go over the line.

      If the complaint is in the news, it’s a pretty good bet HR either didn’t or couldn’t deal with it.

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      • MW7: In work places big enough to have HR departments sure. This is assuming that being the office judiciary is part of HR’s job. The cynical answer would be that HR’s job is to protect the organization they work for rather than act as a fair-minded judiciary and police force for the organization’s employees. Even if HR does its job, millions of people don’t work for organizations big enough to have an HR department. I never worked for a law firm or any place that employed enough people to justify an HR department in my life. It was the owner that needed to be boss, judge, and police of the office. I’m not alone.

        The issues presented in MW7 also extends way beyond the workplace even though the parable started in the Slate offices. The definition of sexual harassment is an unwanted advance. The standard reply is how do I know an advance is unwanted until I try. Plus as Ms. Benedickt points out in the article, there is a lot of inconsistency about what people want in terms of romantic advances. We talked about this on the Receiving End thread recently. A lot of rejection occurs because the pursuer was not aggressive enough.

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        • On a recent Savage Love episode, Dan Savage answered a question about whether #metoo meant the end of legitimate office romance. He offered a strategy wherein you ask directly, but with a preface that if the answer is no, the answer is no and you’ll accept that and that will be that. Is that perfect? Probably not. But it also seems like a pretty reasonable approach. I’d be curious to hear from women on how they’d feel about that and I’m curious if Dan ran that particular idea by his female producer; he often does but I don’t remember him explicitly saying so in this case.

          And if the colleague of interest is the type that wants an aggressive approach well… tough luck. Don’t be aggressive in the work place. Full stop.

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          • I heard the advice “Never get your honey where you get your money” many years ago. Very sound advice in general. Completely leaving aside sexual harassment love in the workplace has dangers. That doesn’t mean never do it or that it hasn’t worked out for some. It can work. But don’t’ be surprised if it blows up in your face.

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            • My current girlfriend is someone who I worked with previously. We were colleagues and friendly but not really friends. As both of our relationships deteriorated, we found solace in one another through the shared experience. Realizing the many overlapping issues of that dynamic, we stepped away from one another and only reunited after we both left the job.

              Not dating at work is a very advisable rule of thumb. Dating at work smartly, carefully, and with an intense deference for “happy work place” over “happy dating life” is a must if choosing not to abide the rule of thumb.

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      • “A lot of this confusion could be mitigated by HR departments doing their jobs and taking complaints seriously.”

        A few weeks ago I got the chance to interview Megan Twohey (one of the two the NYT reporters who broke the Weinstein story), and she make the comment that HR departments are past of the systemic problems that allow this problem to foster.

        HR’s job, she rightly points out, isn’t actually to protect employees but the company, and so internal systems have evolved (such as $ for silence from victim but no punitive actions for perpetrator) that actually foster predatory behavior as opposed to curbing it.

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        • I wouldn’t say they’ve evolved, but rather they’ve been crafted.

          If the purpose is to protect the company, then allowing predators to remain while paying off victims hurts the company through loss of capital, turn over (victims, whether they report or not, will find other work as quick as they can), loss of reputation (word of mouth still gets around), etc. However, if the system is crafted to protect predators, because they are in positions to craft it as such, then the behavior of the system makes sense.

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    • What’s the point of the #metoo movement? To gain power?

      If the point of it is to gain power, I’m thinking that you have a time horizon problem that will result in bigger problems both long and short term.

      If the point of it is to change the culture, then that’s something that will take time but you should be comforted by how the arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

      But if you were hoping to embrace #metoo in order to stomp out Moore and Trump, you were embracing #metoo for bad reasons. Worse than that, if the zeitgeist decides to abandon #metoo because it keeps hitting the wrong people, that’ll backfire even worse in the long term.

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      • Since the metoo movement consists of multiple people and is meme based rather than organization based, I’m assuming multiple purposes. The biggest ones are both cultural, stopping the sexual assault and harassment of women, and political, taking down powerful men that assault and harass women.

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        • I guess the question then becomes “is it worth taking down Weinstein and Rattner and Spacey if it also takes down Franken but not Moore or Trump?”

          As someone with vulgar utilitarian sympathies, I completely understand making a calculus like this one but I also know that it’s a bad idea to make it out in public where people with deontological sympathies (or, Atheist God help us, virtue ethics sympathies) can see.

          They have no stomach for looking at the big picture.

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            • No, not at all.

              I am suggesting that arguing that #metoo has problems because it only “works” against the shameable (and, thus, does not work against Wall Street, corporate America, or the Republican Party) is looking at things from a vulgar utilitarian perspective and vulgar utilitarianism looks like an ugly perspective to those who do not share it.

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              • I guess it depends on exactly how those problems are being argued.

                Saying, “#MeToo worked in all these cases but not those cases. So we need #MeToo *and* something(s) else that will work in the other cases,” seems appropriate and not at all vulgar or utilitarian.

                Saying, “#MeToo worked on my people and not their people and therefore should be abandoned,” does feel… off in a way.

                Where the argument falls between those two goes a long way towards determining how good an argument it is. I won’t comment on where I think Lee’s fall. Me? I’m definitely in the former camp.

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                • How are we defining “working”?

                  “A bad actor was fired”?
                  “A person finally found reason to generate the required amount of hope to step forward and say that this happened to them”?

                  If the former is our definition of “working”, I could easily see how we’d think that #metoo wasn’t working as well as we’d hoped it would.

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                  • Hmmm… I probably leave that up to the folks who are #metoo-ing. Do they feel their individual efforts were worth it? I don’t think I can answer for them.

                    I also imagine there is an interplay between the two definitions you’ve offered. I’d guess that, for at least some, stepping forward only to be demonized by a powerful person and all his followers who avoids any consequences beyond bad publicity might leave them in a worse place than before they said anything.

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                    • Did you read the link I posted about the origins of the movement?

                      I recommend doing so before reading the rest of my comment.

                      If you see this as “people getting fired” you’re well off what people were looking to have happen. (I mean, I don’t know what Roger Stone was looking to have happen – but the VAST MAJORITY of people involved were looking to have happen.)

                      You might see Jaybird’s comments in the light of someone whose wife has been speaking out about her sexual abuse for several years, not in the light of someone who is trying to make a political argument.

                      You might consider that part of the problem with the NYT article is that MANY of us have no expectation that our abusers can be shamed, and we’re speaking out for each other, and to educate bystanders, not for political effect or retaliation against the abusers.

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                      • As I said, I don’t feel I am the person best — or even close to the ballpark in terms of positioning — positioned to determine if the movement was successful, for individuals or the collective. I was theorizing on the possibility that for some — namely those who spoke up and out about public figures who responded by attacking them viciously in public from a position of high power — it might have left them feeling like it did not achieve what they wanted or needed from it. If that possibility does not exist, obviously, I will not insist that it does.

                        I’ll note that in my initial comment, the “good” argument I highlighted was not focused on the ouster of bad actors, but simply noting that the approach might “work” for some and not for others, for whatever definition of work those who employed it want to employ.

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            • I think the opposite. I think he’s poking at people who want the #metoo movement to bring down their political rivals, but get upset (and dismissive) when the #metoo movement produces accusations of people on one’s own political team.

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              • If meeto is only effective against some people but not another group of powerful bad actors that is a fair criticism and good point. That doesn’t mean it should be seen as a way to get the other team. But it is a good question to ask whether a lot of bad actors are untouched . It is a limited movement and tactic. Pointing that out is a good thing.

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                    • It’s a tactic to deal, even more specifically, with the problem of the blanket of *silence*, the pressure to shut the hell up on victims, and obliviousness on the part of those who’ve never suffered it, surrounding sexual assault and sexual harassment. That goal was more than met. Though it also surfaced the (no, duh) racial disparities in who felt safe enough to speak up with a movement behind them, and who still wasn’t safe enough to speak.

                      Ironic considering the hashtags origins:
                      http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/17/us/me-too-tarana-burke-origin-trnd/index.html

                      Still, I think it did SOMETHING.

                      But what do I know, I’m just someone who participated in it…

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                      • Well yeah it was a tactic. No disagreement or disparagement involved in calling it a tactic. I’m all for it but , like pretty much everything, it has limits. The obvious limits are seen in that some victims get heard and action and some get attacked and ignored. It’s an improvement, that’s good.

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                        • @kazzy

                          I’m just annoyed to see jousting over “did it take down these guys?” “did it take down those guys?” “does it unfairly and disproportionately attack people who are actually willing to learn / be shamed?”

                          Like, no, that wasn’t the point. Like any tactic, it’s subject to hijack – but the point wasn’t *which guys get taken down*. The point was to surface it as a problem that isn’t rare or implausible. The point was the experiences of the people who’ve experienced such things, not the people who perpetrate them.

                          Considering that people are still discussing it…. I think that worked. Considering that more and more the focus has returned to famous men who are accused of being abusers and assaulters, men’s fears of false accusation, men’s political perspectives, and not on the women (esp women of color) and men (esp men of color) and non-binary folks (esp non-binary folks of color) who have experienced these things… I don’t know that it’s entirely continuing to work.

                          And I get a bit frustrated at the shift.

                          But then I see stuff like the TIME feature and I think, ok, maybe it’s just *here* that the focus has already shifted back to perpetrators, accused perpetrators, people who fear being accused of perpetrating, etc.

                          Or not just here, but maybe here is not terribly representative of where the country as a whole is on the subject.

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                          • Those frustrations sounds completely reasonable. I hope the experience of victims keeps coming out and is easier to bring to the surface. I don’t’ really see this as shifting the focus to the perpetrators. It’s more pointing out the limits of this tactic. I’m hoping that over time that changes.

                            We are too short term focused and certainly in the short term it’s clear some class of people are mostly untouched by allegations against them. Wanting appropriate consequences for perpetrators should be part of the deal. Having perpetrators be untouchable does not likely lead to victims feeling free to open up about their experiences. We want victims to speak publicly, then that is going to need to lead to something.

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                            • ” Having perpetrators be untouchable does not likely lead to victims feeling free to open up about their experiences. ”

                              Most victims (except actual children) have zero expectation their perpetrators are touchable, and have moved far away from them if they can. Most victims need to feel less vulnerable and less under threat themselves, and have found that the people who speak up in response to their stories – or even, which is the power of the hashtag, the hashtag *without needing to attach their story* – and offer their support FAR outweigh any sense of futility about the responses.

                              Seeing the focus shift to the limits of the tactic, the social effect or non-effect on alleged *perpetrators* of the tactic, etc., is far more disheartening than seeing perpetrators not go to jail, in my experience and that of a lot of women I’ve talked to.

                              Because we never expected perpetrators to go to jail / lose their jobs / whatever.

                              But we are hoping that they stop having the world revolve around them.

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                              • I guess i wonder why a victim would go public with an accusation if they aren’t looking for some public result. Lot’s of victims talk to their therapists or friends or support groups without going public. Opening up publicly about a public figure obviously has risks. It seems like the victims wanted more than just their inner circle/support people to know about what happened.

                                There may not have been an expectation the perpetrators would get punished but that is what has happened in some cases. And that is a good thing. Also for all the problems with getting justice for victims and all the cases where perpetrators get away with things, there are plenty of perpetrators who do get punished. I couldn’t begin to count the number of DV perps or child abusers i’ve seen suffer serious consequences for their actions.

                                On a tangent, “centering” is an important issue but can end up in parsing semantics or other peoples ideas in a tricky way. I don’t think noting that #meeto has limits takes away from noting the good things it does and will hopefully keep doing. The limits are a separate conversation that people should be able to have. It doesn’t, or shouldn’t be aimed at, trying to silence the voices of victims.

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                                • I guess i wonder why a victim would go public with an accusation if they aren’t looking for some public result.

                                  Perhaps you should wonder why a survivor might go public with their own story of their own experience. Reframing it in your head that way might help.

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                                  • Perhaps you should assume i have some experience around this so my question doesn’t come out of thin air. ( fwiw the two women in my life i’ve loved have been sexually assaulted so this is not just a professional thing) People have many reasons for doing what they do. I’ve known many victims who wanted to talk about their experiences…no argument there. But they usually want a safe space for that which of course make complete sense. Who would want to open up about a traumatic experience in a space where they might criticized or have insults directed at them. So if someone does something publicly, as is completely their right, the assumption is that they want to the public to know. Does that mean they want consequences for the perpetrator? It does lead in that direction. It pretty strongly indicates that want the public to know what that person did which is a consequence. Does that mean jail or resignation? I suppose that would be different for each person but in some cases that is a yes. And of course opening up in public brings significant risks.

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                                • Did you read the article I linked to about the origins (and continuing framing context) of the #metoo movement? Do you think that it having folded in the context of Weinstein (and gone viral in the aftermath of Weinstein) invalidates the purposes and concerns expressed by the founder of the movement, in that article, such that it’s weird for you to conceive of victims having reasons to be public other than punishment for their accusers?

                                  Also, this is trivial, could you please start spelling it correctly? I know you have typing issues but it’s a bit irritating that you keep spelling it wrong. Mostly because the way you are spelling it makes it look like it matches #cheeto which makes me think of Donald Trump every time, and he already gets way more space in my head than I would like.

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                • There are exceptions to what I am about to say, obviously. But the overwhelming number of people I see in the press, online, and in my social media feeds who cheer #metoo takedowns for opponents while looking to make excuses for those predators on their own team being allowed to stay in power have one thing in common: They are men.

                  I honestly do not think I have seen one woman who has stood up in #metoo say “well for reasons of convenience or political expediency Mr. [Name of Random Predator Here] should probably be allowed to stay in his position of power.”

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                    • As I said, there are exceptions. (And that’s assuming that was absolutely an important preferred outcome to her, and not something she was doing to soften potential counterattacks.)

                      The thing that keeps getting lost (by people who are not women) in these discussions is that these #metoo revelations are really revelations to any of the people in the system. Almost all of them (actually all of them?) were well known and in most cases documents among the people in power who are charged w/ the oversight of the men who engaged in these predatory behaviors.

                      If you don’t want to be the Party that has to deal with your predators when they are unmasked — as opposed to the Party that defends any predatory behavior on your side of the aisle — then the fix isn’t really about how you deal with bad PR when allegations are eventually made in public. It’s how you deal with the women who come come forward internally long before they take to Facebook and #metoo.

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                    • @tod-kelly
                      Here’s what Tweeden said (from Salon, merely b/c they have the most extensive actual quotes from the press conference):

                      Regardless of this difference in their memories, Tweeden said during the press conference that she still accepted his apology. “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology. Sure,” she said. “People make mistakes.”
                      She then added that she is not, unlike many online and some publications, demanding the two-term senator resign. “I’m not calling for him to step down,” she said. “That’s not my place to say that. If there are other people who come out and say he’s done this, I don’t know.”
                      “People make mistakes,” Leeann Tweeden says of Sen. Al Franken. “I’m not calling for him to step down.”
                      Tweeden’s position on a possible Senate investigation is similar. “The ethics investigation — if that’s what Mitch McConnell wants to do — I’m not calling for that . . . I’m not demanding any of that,” Tweeden said.
                      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already called for just such an investigation, a demand accepted by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Franken said he would cooperate with one, in his apology.
                      As to why she stepped forward now, Tweeden said, “I really do think the tide has turned,” adding, “really, I’m doing it now because it’s different.”

                      She wasn’t asking that he NOT step down, she was expressing indifference and staking a claim that she told her story to *tell her story*, not to effect a result on Franken.

                      This is not what Tod was referring to when he said he hadn’t seen a woman say ““well for reasons of convenience or political expediency Mr. [Name of Random Predator Here] should probably be allowed to stay in his position of power.”

                      The fact that these are not revelations inside the system is part of the reason I believe rather strongly that most women involved are not coming forward because they expect something to happen to their accusers. They’re coming forward so they can *say what happened to them* instead of always having to hold back because they don’t expect to be believed – because when they sought help (forget justice) from the system, *they were not treated well*.

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                  • Right. Same for me. I think what you say helps tease out the different vectors the #metoo *movement* is chugging along. One is foundational: women telling their stories of work-place sexual harassment, being heard, and being taken seriously. Another is the correlated punishments which should be applied to the harassers. A third is the resulting political leverage cynical people gain by exploiting these claims for partisan or other ideological reasons. Yet another is the gender-based differences in how each of those things is prioritized. And so on. I’m sure there are more.

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                  • My hope is that in the long run, since we aren’t there now, is that people stop making excuses for abusers on their own team. It seems like this thread is going in a weird place. Are any of us in disagreement that it would better if people on all sides were held to high standard re: sexual abuse/ harassment? I don’t think so. How we get there is a question and meeto is a good start down that road.

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                    • My hope is that in the long run, since we aren’t there now, is that people stop making excuses for abusers on their own team.

                      Me too.

                      Are any of us in disagreement that it would better if people on all sides were held to high standard re: sexual abuse/ harassment?

                      Yes, there is a ton of disagreement on this. Which is partly why it continues to be pervasive on both sides of the aisle.

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                      • If there is disagreement about the second point it’s among the most partisan which isn’t where most of us are here.

                        I don’t think saying “geez it would be nice if the standards were being applied to both sides” is highly partisan. The two sides are dealing with all this differently. Far from perfectly but not the same.

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          • To your point – which is compelling, especially in light of Saul’s initial comment – I thought this was interesting:

            When you take accusations seriously, you incentivize accusers to come forward. When you demonstrate that accusations are pointless and unlikely to result in change, you disincentivize them. Therefore, the party that does the most to address allegations will, ironically, be punished with more scandals.

            Don’t have much to add except that in my view the end result of the #metoo movement, for the reasons you mention, is wide open. We live in crazy times.

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            • Well, while it’s true that the party that does the most to address allegations will be “punished” (?!?) with more scandals, it will also enable more stuff like, oh, the gymnasts coming forward in the wake of the Olympic gymnastics trial to say “you know what, that happened to me too”.

              I suppose we could ask why they would bother. The guy was arrested already. Looks like he’ll spend the rest of his life in jail. No real benefit* to coming out and talking about it.

              If, however, we’re just looking at pure political calculus, we could look at something like the African-American vote and how it evolved from one era to the next to the one after that. If you take a longer view than the next election, you might see reason to have hope for a long-term political benefit.

              Though I can appreciate that it’s hard to look past the next election, what with it being the most important election of our lifetimes and all.

              * to me

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              • It doesn’t seem like anybody saying all this should be put back in bottle and forgotten or telling victims they shoudln’t speak. So maybe we should at least agree on that part.

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                • And yet, you (generic you) don’t have to say things should be put back in a bottle to actively *help put them back in a bottle*.

                  It does *matter* what you choose to talk about, what conversations you pursue. And what commenters here mostly choose to talk about is one vector – the political vector – plus the backlash / dangers of the movement (mostly to men), whether political or not.

                  I mean, just staying political, no one is linking to, for example, Ijeoma Oluo’s powerful piece reflecting on USA Today’s efforts to get her to write a caricature of her position rather than what she actually thinks, or any one of the equally vivid mixtures of first-person experience and political analysis that are out there, new ones springing up every dang day. No one in the comments on this site is really talking about what they are learning from the conversations they’re having with the women in their lives about this topic, in a way that gives credit to those women, although they do make plenty of statements that they’re having those conversations and they know what they’re talking about.

                  Y’all just want to talk about Dems Vs Repubs and/or how much harder it will or won’t be for men now.

                  Seemingly.

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                  • I only have a minute so i’ll respond more to this later. However none of the stuff that has come out from meeto surprises me in the least. Sex abuse/ harassment is depressingly common and almost epidemic (not hyperbole) in some communities. I’ve been aware of that for decades. That doesn’t make me woke or better it’s just a consequence of a lot of the training i’ve had.

                    I havn’t said how hard it will be for men and don’t have sympathy for that argument when it’s been made. I know others have gone there and i agree with your dislike of it.

                    On a personal note both of the women i’ve loved have been sexually assaulted as teens so i have talked to them about that as much as they wanted to share.

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              • If you take a longer view than the next election, you might see reason to have hope for a long-term political benefit.

                Well, sure. But that’s precisely the issue addressed in the quotation I pasted upthread.

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                • Well, I *STILL* have an issue with the use of the word “punished” in that quotation.

                  Imagine, if you will, a fat guy. The fat guy goes to the doctor and the doctor says “yep, you’re fat… you have high blood pressure too.” The doctor then goes on to say something to the effect of “You need to start exercising regularly and, on top of that, you need to change your diet”.

                  Now I want you to imagine the fat guy leaving the doctor’s office and saying “I can’t believe that the doctor wants to punish me like that!”

                  The word “punish” is being used somewhat oddly in both cases. On one level, I can see how it *FEELS* like a punishment…

                  But it’s not a punishment.

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                  • Well, I *STILL* have an issue with the use of the word “punished” in that quotation.

                    Sure, I get that. I think in the context of his essay it’s not objectionable since he clearly meant “electorally disadvantaged.” I mean, the guy’s obviously writing from the perspective of vulgar utilitarianism, so his whole argument, including word choice, is … vulgar.

                    And really, I think vulgar utilitarianism perfectly captures the predominant determiner of conservative political choices and reasoning right now, and so on that score I think he’s probably right.

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                    • Out of the fifteen or sixteen problems with utilitarianism, the inability of the model to deal with the whole problem of the fractals of the 3rd order effects and on is one of the top-three-maybe-top-four problems.

                      As such, on a vulgar utilitarian level, if you want to beat vulgar utilitarians, you have to figure out how to fake deontological reasoning (or, Atheist God help us, Virtue Ethics).

                      Those work really well.

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                      • Well, one thing I’d point out is that we’re talking about *really* vulgar utilitarianism here: a purely electorally-motivated political cynicism. Whether it wins in the long run, or how long it lasts if it does, is an open question, seems to me. Trump’s taking the country to some dark places.

                        if you want to beat vulgar utilitarians, you have to figure out how to fake deontological reasoning

                        Exactly.

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                          • I don’t think that’s quite right. Short sighted tribalism could still, at least in principle, be justified by (eg) not letting the perfect be enemy of the good, by the belief there’s a basket of deliverables on the backend which the tribe supports. That’s different than a tribalism where the only deliverable is cynically keeping the opposition out of office come what may.

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  2. [P3] I stopped reading the article when it said Martin O’Malley was a “leading light of the Democratic party”. Yah, NFW. I know that tool and his band sucks too.

    [MW2] Pfft. I liked the poem and frankly, it’s probably 100% true. As for the comments, screw em.

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  3. P5: There was another interview with a Moore spokesperson (not sure if it was this same woman or a different one) where she started off by congratulating her interviewer on being pregnant and went on to talk about how Jones wants to come and abort the baby.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/roy-moore-jane-porter-poppy-harlow-alabama-senate-race-2017-12

    She also said something about all of the people who aren’t accusing Moore being proof that the accusers are lying.

    This is just pure insanity. And yet, it seems likely to win.

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  4. P4: I think if you review the record, the argument was never that government could magically maintain roads without funding.

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      • Same per mile of road? Same per capita? Same per country? Looks like per country to me.

        If you keep building new roads and don’t increase the maintenance budget for the roads you’ve already built, the result is predictable.

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      • I’m sure some of it is wasted, but the bulk of the cost is in the standards. It costs more to build a road or bridge today because we should be building them better. Overpasses and bridges are designed and built to last longer[1] and/or to require less maintenance, as well as resist earthquakes, floods, etc. Roads that were once always asphalt are now being replaced with concrete, and those that remain asphalt are getting asphalt blends that are more expensive and better able to resist the damage of seasons.

        [1] Some are not built to last for a long time, because of expected future expansion. No one wants to spend the money to install a 4 lane bridge that will last 50 years when they expect to be needing a 6 or 8 lane bridge inside of 20 years.

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        • I don’t think the money is being wasted, but I also don’t think that roads are not being funded.

          I agree with a lot of your points about improved standards, but I don’t think those all necessarily cost more, some of the new standards are simply better practices. But labor productivity has increased as well, meaning fewer workers on similar jobs.

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          • There is also environmental impact to consider. One reason old roads like the one mentioned are neglected is because the road bed would have to be completely rebuilt, that means built to modern standards, including drainage, etc. You can’t just come in and repave it, you have to completely rip it out and start over. How many people live on and use that road?

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        • I also imagine more and heavier cars are on the road than ever before.

          ETA:
          190M cars in 1990; 263M in 2015
          2.1T miles driven in 1990; 3.17T in 2016
          Couldn’t find data on weight or even proxies like number of SUVs/trucks.

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          • This Slate article has these figures (I think their source ultimately is this paper (PDF link))

            1987 avg. new vehicle weight 3,221 lb
            2010 avg. new vehicle weight 4,009 lb

            Damage to paved surfaces is estimated to be proportional to the fourth power of axle weight, so the increase in road wear and tear from the average vehicles above would be (2,005 / 1,610) ^ 4 = 2.4 per vehicle mile.

            2.4 * (3.17 / 2.1) = about 3.6 times as much damage to roads from personal vehcles.

            The real damage is probably coming the much heavier stuff – big rigs, farm equipment, garbage trucks, buses.

            I figured out once that, for a heavily used urban bicycle lane that carries thousands of people a day, if someone just once drives a pickup truck down it then that one drive puts more damage on the paving than an entire year’s worth of people riding bikes.

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  5. [P4] If you don’t pay to keep the roads maintained, they go bad. This isn’t rocket science. I don’t know why you’d call it a failure of liberalism. Asphalt has got so much more expensive now because its petroleum content. Meanwhile, farm equipment keeps getting bigger and heavier and pounds the crap out of said roads. Gravel roads can be good or they can be terrible, I’ve driven on both.

    This could be fixed. It takes money. But the very voters it serves tend to send people to the statehouse who don’t want to raise money or spend it. Meanwhile, urban constituencies feel that if the reps of the rural states don’t want to put some skin in the game, why should they?

    We could fix this. I think that probably we have to step back from all-asphalt. But we should probably be more aggressive at fixing potholes and road hazards. I’ve been on some very nice gravel roads, and some terrible ones.

    Frankly, we are terrible at building infrastructure compared to other countries. It’s much more expensive here than even in Canada. We need to figure this out.

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  6. I have to say, as a liberal who is is very much in favor of taxes for public works, I find the repeated response to the statement “government is failing on the subject of infrastructure” with “no government is not failing, it’s just that it takes money and the government won’t send the money that is needed” a very strange counter-argument.

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      • To tack on to this, this comes back to the tension between what the voters want and what politicians want.

        Voters want infrastructure that works.

        Politicians want highly visible and long term legacies.

        Keeping the machinery running doesn’t put your name in stone on the fancy new facility nobody really needed.

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    • Maybe that counter-argument is used in anticipation of the argument “Government is the problem and the free market is the solution for nearly everything” which, as bizarre as it may seem, is an actual argument made by people, some of whom hold elected offices in charge of roads.

      I mean, the decline in public support for road taxes didn’t just happen in a vacuum. It is part of a larger public opinion, shaped and directed by decades of influential think tanks, advocacy groups, politicians and pundits, all pushing the message that government can’t do anything right, and the corollary to this, that we should starve it of funds so as to force it to be more efficient.

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      • It is important to note that the examples in the story are rural roads.

        A few years ago, Colorado rural legislator A made a heated speech from the floor about how the cities and suburbs of the Front Range all had screwed up values. He was followed by calmer rural legislator B who suggested that since the rural caucus was carrying legislation in which they asked the urban/suburban Front Range to increase their subsidization of basic services in rural areas for the third year in a row, perhaps it was better not to say nasty things about those folks.

        Over the last several years, the suburban-dominated Colorado legislature has adjusted several formulas to increase such subsidies for transportation, education, and medical services. Colorado is a high growth state where that’s feasible. Michigan, OTOH, has been in a near-recession for a couple of decades.

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  7. P2 – considering they’re able to create a list just based on politicians with constinuencies in the greater St Louis area, yeah, they need to make a list now before they forget.

    P4 – do liberals actually point at roads as proof that government works? I thought they pointed at Social Security. I don’t think liberals care for roads that much anymore. (It’s trolls on libertarIan sites that go ‘so where u fellas gonna get ur roadz?!’)

    Bp5 – tbh it more seems like Nic Cage National Treasure’s line of work.

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    • A liberal I know just brought up roads as an issue with libertarianism at lunch today, funnily enough. Mind you, she was bringing it up as an example of the stuff her nutball libertarian father (her pejorative, not mine) thinks the government (all levels, even cities) should get out of the business of, like, yesterday and has never done well, and has no right to be in charge of, etc., and how annoying he is with his constant libertarian nutball opinions and how it has soured her on libertarians in general because he’s such a jerk, so I’m not sure where that falls in relation to P4.

      (We also discussed how most of the libertarians I know are *quite different* from her father, fwiw, and have far saner priorities.)

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  8. Jaybird: Well, I *STILL* have an issue with the use of the word “punished” in that quotation.

    Imagine, if you will, a fat guy. The fat guy goes to the doctor and the doctor says “yep, you’re fat… you have high blood pressure too.” The doctor then goes on to say something to the effect of “You need to start exercising regularly and, on top of that, you need to change your diet”.

    Now I want you to imagine the fat guy leaving the doctor’s office and saying “I can’t believe that the doctor wants to punish me like that!”

    The word “punish” is being used somewhat oddly in both cases. On one level, I can see how it *FEELS* like a punishment…

    But it’s not a punishment.

    That rather depends. If the fat guy went in because he’s often short of breath and has other secondary symptoms relating to high blood pressure and obesity, good on ya. If he went in because he has a sinus problem or a suspicious mole, the whole conversation is a bit frustrating. As a fat person with excellent blood pressure and blood sugar and who has passed several cardiac stress tests with flying colors recently I still get discussion of my weight from people as varied as dermatologists, ENTs, and random strangers of course. That does feel like something. I’m not sure punishment is the right word. But it does wear on you, and disincentivizes me to go to any medical professional. Which brings us back to how you are treated leading to differing behavior on the part of the “victim”.

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  9. “They are resisting progress,” Trump later said. “They’re resisting change. Because the only thing they really care about is protecting what they have been able to do, which is really control the country and not to your benefit.””

    We are officially in bizarro world.

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