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AvatarComments by pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson*

On “Obama’s Pick Would Help the Court. (Liberal Causes, Not So Much.) – Bloomberg View

It matters whether he's more or less liberal than Breyer or Kagan, but if he's more liberal, it's doesn't really matter whether he's a lot more liberal.

On “It’s Time for Mitt Romney to Save the Day

OK, the way it looks to me, Cruz is a hella longshot even if he does pull out the GOP nomination. He's smart, but beyond that he seems to have essentially zero virtues as a general election candidate. I can't see a quixotic Romney run shifting that enough to really affect his calculus.

On the other hand, I think Kasich has a fair number of virtues as a general election candidate, but is like, I dunno, a better Mitt Romney. "Establishment" and "centrist" cred aside, he's guilty of less serious heresies than Romney was[1], he's a better natural politician than Romney[2], and he's governor of perhaps the most important state in play in the coming election. What constituency is going to prefer Romney to him?

[1] Nothing like Romney's conspicuous flip-floppery on abortion, and "accepting the Medicaid expansion" seems like less of an issue to "implementing the model for Obamacare".

[2] A low bar to clear, sure, but HRC isn't exactly electrifying either.

On “Freddie: C’mon, Guys.

Art Deco: You weren’t being ‘imprecise’. You were lying for effect.

What fucking ever, sparky.

Art Deco:
You put an ordinary person in a chokehold, he’s not going to have a heart attack and die on the way to the hospital.Nor would a late-middle aged coot like me die.Eric Garner did die, because he had a mess of underlying medical problems that only a modest minority of men aged 43 suffer.

Well, that and he was actually placed in a chokehold, which were banned by the NYPD because they are known to sometimes result in death or serious injury. But since a cop did that and he was black guy who was maybe doing something kinda bad, his death is all on him and his bum heart.

Your argument is unassailable. All you had to do was put your goalposts on Ganymede.


There are also reasons that Ferguson in particular was primed for that kind of explosion in response to even a murky, possibly justified shooting. The policing there, Brown's death aside, was a horrible, revenue-generating racket.


Oh, I'm so very, very sorry that I said "strangle" when I meant "choke". It's a truth universally acknowledged that "imprecision" and "l[ying] brazenly" are exactly the same thing.

Of course, it's not like the medical examiner's report supports your claims in the slightest, since it attributes Garner's death to the chokehold he was placed in, not an unrelated medical condition.


In other words, you have no way of distinguishing between a trend that started at the end of Dinkins' term and the beginning of Giuliani, such a trend would have been in keeping with broader national trends, and you've provided no evidence whatsoever that the specific policies in question that de Blasio has ended were responsible for NYC's decline in homicide rates.

Which is about what I expected.


Art Deco:
If black lives actually mattered, these people would be concerned with strategies to reduce the homicide rate in slum neighborhoods.

The most effective of which involve building trust between those police and the communities living in them. Shooting people randomly--for, say, opening the door to let cops into the building when someone else called them for help--tends to conflict with that.

That being said, it's rather bracing to bring up a grievous failure of law enforcement as a defense of law enforcement organizations.

The Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations presided over a 75% reduction in the homicide rate in New York City over a 20 year period; that amounts to 1,200 fewer people a year not dying in bed.The successor administration wants to throw that away because ‘social justice’.Black lives don’t matter to these poseurs.

The argument that changing policies of prior administrations that began after homicide rates in NYC started declining is tantamount to throwing away those gains... isn't terribly persuasive.


Art Deco:
What are the chances, if you’re black, of being killed by a police officer in circumstances you could not avoid and which did not incorporate bad behavior on your part?

Emphasis mine. I can't say I'm terribly surprised to see you suggest that it's no big deal if the cops, say, strangle someone for maybe selling loose cigarettes or carrying a knife that kinda sorta looks like it might be illegal.

On “Trumpism in a Nutshell

Which is why "Piss Christ" was destroyed by vandals

I wouldn’t say “no problem exists”.We do not have effective border control, and it’s not wise to have a generous welfare state and a lack of border control.Pick one.

Expensive non-solutions to real problems are not a notable improvement over expensive non-solutions to non-problems.

On “A Post-Trump Landscape — The Buckley Club

I disagree with Stillwater's assessment of the article[1], but I doubt the issues are ideological. I have no idea if the author is thoughtful when it comes to matters of policy, despite the fact that they're thoughtful about politics[2].

[1] OK, it wasn't perfectly written, but what is in this debased age of blogs and Tweets and hot takes and, um, Ordinary Times comments.

[2] The two kinds of thoughtfulness just aren't remotely the same. One of the most thoughtful folks I've met online, when it came to party politics, was a tedious, partisan dullard on policy, and it seems like there are legions of insightful policy wonks who understand precisely dick-all about party politics.[3]

[3] I, of course, am a shining beacon of brilliance when I discuss politics, policy, or, for that matter, anything else.


This seems a mix of insightful observations and stuff that verges (rather ironically) on conspiracy theory. The latter might be an issue with the writing and presentation, but there seems to be this assumption that members of the Trump coalition want to see Trump fail, and I think that's a bit hard to swallow. I think a lot of people are behind Trump despite knowing that he's completely full of shit because the ways he's full of shit read (to them) like a signal that they can trust him to look out for their interests. I think this is a catastrophically bad way to choose a candidate to support, but, importantly it's not a delusional or insane way to pick a candidate.

Also, the nominee could still be Cruz, or it could (somewhat more implausibly) be someone else following a brokered convention. Both, I think, would pose serious problems for the GOP, but they would be different problems.

On “Teachers of the Left and Right Should Support Common Core

Perhaps. What it is more likely to imply is a radical decentralisation of education. Each individual community having full freedom to brainwash its members in whichever way they wish provided that each community allows its members to leave.

That's great if you're talking about adults, but we're talking about kids here, and, almost definitionally, they can't just get up and leave if they're being ill-served by their educations, nor are they really in any position to know when they're being well-served by their educations.

Consider a community where they believe that girls should have a sharply constrained education compared to boys, for reasons which surely make sense to them. Should we accede to their wishes, or are we just negotiating price?

Remember, I’m not arguing that nothing controversial should ever be taught. I’m arguing that we cannot insist that everyone teach controversial things. I also think that a distinction can be made between matters of fact (and science) which can be subject to a consensus based on the public use of reason and fundamental matters of value, which apart from affirming support for basic liberal institutions cannot generate any further consensus.

This strikes me as incoherent. The idea that we can make this distinction between matters of fact and science and fundamental matters of value is, in and of itself, making a determination based on a set of values. Certainly, some people believe that matters of morality are matters of fact, and others believe that, given the choice between believing (say) religious scripture and your own lying eyes, you should choose scripture every time.


This seems like the kind of argument that proves too much--in particular, it seems to suggest that one should teach virtually nothing, as there is virtually nothing that can be taught that members of some communities in a pluralistic culture won't conceivably object to.

On “Robert Kagan: To Republicans afraid to take a stand against Donald Trump: Grow up – The Washington Post

The idea that the utility of a policy perspective in question is independent of whether it's rooted in racism is... sort of fascinating in its wrongness. Indeed, the fact that it's intended to provide alleged benefits for members of some racial groups, at the real expense of members of other racial groups, matters a great deal, as does the fact that the assumptions it implicitly rests on are rooted in discredited theories about human beings.


Yet if they really are motivated by racism[1] then pointing this out isn't "impugning their motives", but is actually discussing the issues at hand. Unless, of course, you think the boundaries of relevance are determined by whatever is most convenient for you and/or Trump.

[1] And I have pretty clear recollections that Richwine did commit to the genetic inferiority of non-whites even if, in some sense, he didn't have to.


It’s not my object to ‘defend’ anyone against charges of ‘racism’ because such charges are, in most circumstances, humbug.

You're the one who insisted it was wrong to impugn the motives of anti-immigration activists on the grounds that they are motivated by racism. Given that Richwine's complaints are rooted in his claims that Latinos are genetically inferior, he seems to be an absolutely perfect example of what Chip Daniels is talking about.


Citing Jason Richwine seems to be a very strange choice if you're interested in defending anti-immigration (or even anti-illegal-immigration) activism from charges of racism.

On “Twitter is a Business, Not the Government

What I'm arguing here is that I, like the court in Masterpiece Cakes, don't think the argument made by by the bakers is correct. Saying that being required to sell a wedding cake to gay people while selling wedding cakes to straight people is "compelled speech" strikes me as pretty bonkers. It makes as much sense to me as saying that it's "compelled speech" to require a newspaper stand to sell newspapers to black people.


How does that not apply to every banning of anyone anywhere?

Sure, maybe the person banned wasn't black, but then you have to prove you didn't do it because they were white, or Asian, or male, or female, or gay, or straight, or....


Your #2 and #3 on the list are the same thing.

Yeah, I meant to have one option be, "Accept liability for what his commenters say."

The link was meant to be this one.

I don't know the precise legislative history, but it would surprise me not at all to learn that the "safe harbor" provision of the CDA was intended, in part, to supersede that ruling.

“Why don’t we not open this can of worms, since the whole thing appears to be a non-solution to a non-problem.”

Is it allowable to delete everything that a black person posts?

As far as I know.


First, your link doesn't go anywhere.

Second, I think that's flatly ridiculous. You're arguing that a Catholic blogger has three options:

1. Not have a comment section.
2. Moderate the comment section in a "viewpoint neutral" way.
3. Allow a Satanist commenter to attempt to convert people to worshiping Beezelbub in his comment section.

This does not strike me as a fair imposition.

The viewpoint neutral thing in and of itself seems like an endless source of problems. Is a prohibition on "racial slurs" viewpoint neutral? What if there's disagreement over whether a given word is a slur or not? Why don't we not open this can of worms, since the whole thing appears to be a non-solution to a non-problem.


So all along Schilling has had an unspoken “except of course for areas of speech regulation that are required to be in compliance with the law” tagged to everything he’s been saying?

What speech regulation? I assume Schilling likely agrees with the opinion of the court in Masterpiece Cakes that was simply about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Perhaps the reaction would be different if RSM had been banned on account of his sexual orientation, race, or gender, but there's absolutely no evidence that this is the case.

I mean, shit, if that’s the case then why can Twitter even exist?Once the first person says something racist or homophobic, shouldn’t the whole works be shut down for publishing illegal speech?

Because racist and homophobic comments aren't "illegal speech"?


CDA Safe Harbor provisions also apply to bloggers hosting comments.[1] Would you be comfortable with the free speech implications of the government requiring bloggers to host comments that they find repellent?

[1] I'll take the EFF's word for it, as IANAL.


That seems like a curious conclusion to draw, since "discrimination based on sexual orientation" isn't the same thing as "discrimination based on viewpoint".

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