Thursday, August 27, 2015

Clinton is clearly winning but if you read the press you wouldn't know it

What Matthew Yglesias says.

The weirdest thing about the way the press treats the Clintons is that it continues to treat the Clintons that way even after people started writing about the "Clinton rules." I would have thought that kind of attention would have altered the coverage somewhat. But it really hasn't. The media story will always be that the Clintons are unpopular or losing popularity or that the public is sick of their scandals, no matter what the polls actually say. That's just the narrative and it isn't going to change no matter what.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"You Stink"

I am trying to figure out the words the Lebanese protesters use for their "you stink" movement. First I assumed it would be something like أنت نتن (I didn't know the verb "to stink" until google translate told me--blame gw!!!). But when I did a google news search with the phrase "أنت نتن" nothing about the protest came up. I was able to find the protesters' hashtag, which is #طلعت_ريحتكم and the movement's facebook page. So it looks like طلعت ريحتكم is what is getting translated as "you stink." Is that a Lebanese colloquialism? I can't figure it out even as I see words like ريح ("wind") and طلع ("inform"? or "ascend"?) in the hashtag. Maybe wind is related to a stinky smell? Can anyone explain what those words mean and how the phrase gets translated as "you stink"?

Yeah, it has been years since I have tried to study Arabic. But every once in a while I see a reference to an Arabic word or phrase in the news and I try to see if I can puzzle it out. I usually can, especially with the help of Hans and google translate. But this one really stumped me.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Against birthright citizenship for pandas

While I am strongly for American birthright citizenship for people, I disagree with Matthew Yglesias about birthright citizenship for pandas. Unlike people, there is only one country in the world where there is a wild breeding population of pandas, and that is in China. While Yglesias is correct that, because of the global exchange of panda semen, it may be possible to have a world-spanning stable breeding population of pandas in captivity, I think it is a bad idea to have no genetic exchange between wild pandas and captive pandas. If we do, we would be creating a permanent underclass of panda in captivity, with no hope that the panda's children will ever live free (not to mention the limiting the genetic diversity of both panda populations).

In that sense, my support of birthright citizenship for people and my opposition to birthright citizenship are both based on the idea that we should not have a permanent underclass that is passed down from generation to generation. Birthright citizenship for people stops that possibility as soon as a new generation is born. Requiring pandas to return to the place where wild pandas still live is the best way to keep a robust exchange between captive pandas and their free cousins. If pandas were like humans and lived outside of zoos all over the world, or if humans were like pandas and only lived free in one place in the world, I would give a different answer to each question. But as it stands, the only anti-permanent underclass position to take is birthright citizenship for people, but not for pandas.


On Biden

Does anyone know what the fuck Joe Biden is doing?

I haven't liked everything that Biden has done, but I like the guy more than I dislike him. I even think he would be an okay president. But what is the logic behind running against Hillary Clinton? If there's one person who agrees with Biden on almost everything it is Clinton. There is no policy differences driving a Biden challenge to Clinton in the primary as there are behind Bernie Sanders.

Maybe the logic is that Clinton comes with all the scandal baggage, and she does. But Biden comes with baggage too. Like the fact that a lot of Americans believe that he is stupid. I don't think he is stupid, just as I don't think a lot of the Clinton "baggage" has much substance behind it. But Biden has such a long history of saying dumb stuff off the cuff, it just has made him a bit of a joke. That is a lot bigger liability than all of the Clinton baggage put together.

And let's face it, Biden would lose to Clinton. Look at how he competed in 2008. He never cracked single digits whereas Clinton was the  one who would have have the nomination but-for Obama. Plus this time Clinton has had more than a year building her campaign organization and nailing down endorsements. If he started a campaign, Biden would have none of that and none of the money that Clinton has.

So Biden would have a really long shot at getting the nomination. Meanwhile, his primary campaign would be really bad for the democrats. I'm normally big on primary challenges and tend to believe (contrary to conventional pundit wisdom) that competitive primaries are good for the party's ability to compete in the general election by keeping the media focused on the party and building enthusiasm for the candidate. But with no real policy differences between Clinton and Biden, their campaigns would just be about personality. A campaign about personality rather than issues will inevitably get nasty. The last thing that Dems need is a nasty primary circus. The party all but has the presidency in the bag, due to the rate that people turn out for presidential races, and the Republican party's fierce determination to destroy its electoral chances with every key demographic group other than older white males.

On top of that, there's age to consider. Biden will turn 73 this fall, Clinton will turn 68. That's only a five year difference, but it is enough to affect whether we would get a potential two term or one term president. I would much rather have a potential two termer. I think most Democrats would.

ADDING: What Andrew Prokop said.

Drinking Liberally: 2015 edition

Hey remember when I used to write a post like this every Tuesday of every fucking week? Me neither, it was a long time ago. These days I go about once a year (my last time was last September). But tonight is the night for 2015.

You can come too! Just remember it moved! Months ago! But it's new to me!

6 pm until later

Doesn't that location look familiar? Yes, it does. It's where Triumph used to be (the DL Philly Location from November 2008 until around the beginning of 2010). Today's one time limited offer:

If Snarki, child of Loki shows up and tells me his (her?) secret identity, I will buy Snarki a drink.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Moderates of Myanmar

Maybe "moderate" just means irony-impaired:

U Thar Pwint, a lawyer in Rakhine State who describes himself as moderate, says Muslim culture is not compatible with Buddhist society. 
“Their culture does not allow living together with other cultures,” he said.

He proposes a radical solution for the Rohingya that is heard often among Buddhists in Myanmar. 
“Even though they are noncitizens, we cannot kill them,” he said. “Our wish is that they be put in another country."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Heads I win, tails we flip again in a few months

I wonder how many times the Greeks will get to vote over the bailouts/austerity conditions?

I expect the answer will be as many times as it takes until the Greeks just shut up and take it.