Defending the indefensible

Prop. 7 looks to change daylight saving time in California (CBS8.com)

I’ve become a convert to the Daylight Saving Time/Standard Time switch. Sure, it’s a problem for a couple of days – but it maximizes daylight for the maximum number of people. Year-round DST means kids going to school in the dark and getting hit by cars.

We should spend more of the year on standard time, though – six months of each, as used to be the case.

We have always been at war with Eastasia

Republicans really want you to think Kavanaugh wasn’t credibly accused of attempted rape. Two believable women accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. A reasonable person might believe that’s not enough to deny him the Supreme Court nomination. But Republicans want you to believe there was never anything to the charges and that’s a damn lie.

Also, don’t ever forget that two dozen believable woman say the President — Kavanaugh’s top cheerleader — sexually assaulted them. (ThinkProgress)

In a new era of politics, looking back at the restraint of George H. W. Bush

In a new era of politics, looking back at the restraint of George H. W. Bush

The Presidential podcast, with Lillian Cunningham:

The more the American political climate today resembles a personality-driven reality show, the more the country’s nostalgia seems to grow for restrained elder statesmen like George H. W. Bush. “There’s clearly a new appreciation of his grace, of his dignity,” biographer Jon Meacham says.

“But we miss the point of Bush if we simply focus on his good manners and neglect the genuine historical legacy that he’s left us,” according to Meacham. “There are sound historical, intellectual, philosophical reasons to appreciate with high regard the presidency of George H. W. Bush.”

In this week’s episode of the Presidential podcast, Meacham and fellow historian Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush’s unique form of political leadership—a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint—and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.

Bush was a man who’d enjoyed great success at the head of American society, and saw at as his duty to protect and extend that society into the future. He didn’t think America was broken and so saw no need to fix it.

Got to cut back on politics every once in a while or it will make you nuts

I’ve been feeling depressed and stressed all weekend. It’s no big deal. I wrestle with moderate depression and this was one of the bad times.

This morning, I went out walking with Minnie first thing to beat the heat. I don’t like exercising first thing in the morning but it’s necessary when it’s hot out, particularly with Minnie. And I do like being done with exercising first thing.

I got back home showered, got my and Minnie’s breakfast together, and hit my desk to read the news. I read a couple of articles about the election and lifted my hands to blog about them–

— and then I said screw it, the world can do without my election insights today.

And suddenly my mood lightened.

Disclosure: I did end up doing one political post today, and a comment on someone else’s political post. But too much thinking about politics just grinds you down. And it alienates you from people you might otherwise like just fine.

P.S. Lately, Minnie is in the habit of picking up trash on the way back and carrying it in her mouth, often the whole way home. Today’s treasure was a transparent Starbucks cold drinks cup. She got it about three houses down from home and then put it down, and couldn’t seem to figure out a good way to pick it up again, even though she’d already done it twice. I picked it up and carried it home and deposited it in our trash. My thumb rule is that if she gets trash back to our street it is my responsibility, but until then if she drops it I just leave it where it is, figuring it was ALREADY litter before she picked it up.

Trump never backs down from a fight. That’s the key to beating him

Axelrod on former Miss Universe dustup: Trump took the bait – Louis Nelson, Politico

When you’re going up against someone who never backs down from a fight, you get to pick the time and place of the conflict. That’s a big advantage for Clinton.

Trump is going after Alicia Machado now. That’s helps Clinton for all kinds of reasons, one of them being that Machado isn’t Trump’s opponent — Clinton is.

Trump is sending a message to women, and it’s the wrong one. Trump is sending the message that Machado is a bad girl, and bad girls deserve to be called fat pigs. And Trump gets to decide who’s a good girl and a bad girl.

Trump’s campaign has decided the most important thing it can be doing a month before the Presidential election is go after a model because she said mean things about him. That’s the kind of priority-setting he will use as President.

Fat-shaming is a really bad idea for anybody looking to win friends in America. Consider the number of Americans who are overweight, worry they’re overweight even if they’re not, were once overweight, or love someone who’s overweight. That’s pretty much the entire country.

Cory Doctorow on why science fiction is crap at predicting the future

Predicting the future isn’t what science fiction is for, says Cory. Science fiction reflects the aspirations and anxieties that people have about technology at the moment it was written.

It’s not just technology. It’s also politics and social change. And it applies to fantasy. H.P. Lovecraft in real life was a full-throated bigot who feared invading hordes of filthy mongrel immigrants; he turned that into some of the most powerful horror and fantasy written (enjoyed by legions, including the descendants of those same filthy mongrel immigrants). Star Trek has always been a reflection of whatever was going on in the news at the time the shows and movies aired.

Cory covers a lot of ground in this lively interview with Utah Public Radio’s Access Utah:

In a recent column, Doctorow says that “all the data collected in giant databases today will breach someday, and when it does, it will ruin peoples’ lives. They will have their houses stolen from under them by identity thieves who forge their deeds (this is already happening); they will end up with criminal records because identity thieves will use their personal information to commit crimes (this is already happening); … they will have their devices compromised using passwords and personal data that leaked from old accounts, and the hackers will spy on them through their baby monitors, cars, set-top boxes, and medical implants (this is already hap­pening)…” We’ll talk with Cory Doctorow about technology, privacy, and intellectual property.

Cory Doctorow is the co-editor of popular weblog Boing Boing and a contributor to The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. Doctorow is also an award-winning author of numerous novels, including “Little Brother,” “Homeland,” and “In Real Life.”

Nate Silver says Clinton leads “tenuously” going into the debates

FiveThirtyEight – Clinton’s biggest worry is that the electorate views the race as being between two equally unacceptable choices, rather than Trump being uniquely unacceptable, Silver says.

Trump’s biggest worry is no matter how great things go for him and badly for Clinton — and most of September so far has been great for Trump and lousy for Clinton — he can’t seem to pull ahead, Silver says.

Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds briefly suspended from Twitter, claims censorship

Reynolds reacted to reports that protesters in Charlotte are swarming the highways and surrounding cars. “Run them down,” Reynolds said. That was the tweet that got him suspended.

Reynolds explains:

I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years.

But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.

Twitter is quicker on the trigger to censor people on one side of the political chasm than the other, Reynolds says.

Later, he responds to a suggestion that “Keep driving” would have been a better tweet: “It would have been, and in only two words instead of three. But I’ve had over 580,000 tweets, and they can’t all be perfect.”

OPENED UP TWITTER TO SEE THIS: – Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

How America feels to Trump supporters

Ezra Klein talks with anthropologist Arlie Hochschild, who visited Trump country in Louisiana, and talked with many of his supporters to learn how America looks to them.

They see themselves as patiently waiting in line for their due reward, only to find the line isn’t going anywhere. When they look ahead, they see immigrants and other special interest groups cutting ahead, and Barack Obama and the federal government waving the line-cutters in. Trump supporters feel like aliens in their own country.

Much of Trump’s support comes from divisions between social classes — something that Americans still pretend doesn’t exist here. Trump supporters are told they’re privileged because they’re white, but they don’t feel privileged. And they’re right, because they’re white but they’re lower class.

Not discussed much in this podcast: Trump’s supporters aren’t the white poor; they’re more affluent than their neighbors. That doesn’t necessarily contradict the narrative that Trump supporters come from the lower classes; economic class and social class aren’t the same thing (as anybody who watches Downton Abbey knows!).

This is a terrific podcast, with many thought-provoking points.

Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters – The Ezra Klein Show podcast:

I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, gender equity, and work-life balance. But her latest book, “Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” is something new: she spent five years among tea party supporters in Louisiana, trying to bridge the deepest divide in American politics. It was, she says, an effort to scale the “empathy wall,” to create an understanding of how politics feels to people whose experiences felt alien to her. In this conversation, we discuss:-How she approaches immersive sociology-The kinds of questions she asks people in order to get them to open up about their political feelings-What it takes to “turn off your alarm system” when you encounter oppositional ideas-What she describes as the “deep story” that explains how conservative Americans, particularly older white men, feel increasingly looked down on-Why she feels empathy on the part of people who disagree is an important part of creating dialogue-Whether empathy and respect are in tension with each other-Why many white men don’t feel they’re part of a privileged group-What she thought of Clinton’s comments that half of Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables”And much more. This is a time when listening and empathy are in shorter supply than ever, at least in American politics. It’s well worth listening to Hochschild’s advice on how to bring both back.

Trump won tax breaks while donating tens of thousands to corrupt official

Trump gave at least $45,000 to the campaign of Alan Hevisi, a New York state comptroller who later went to prison for bribery. The donations coincided with a $500 million lawsuit Trump filed against the City of New York to reduce property taxes. Soon afterward, the city settled, saving Trump $97 million. (Christina Wilkie, The Huffington Post)

Skittles photographer says he was a refugee, doesn’t approve of Trump Jr.’s message

“I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus,” says the guy who took the photo of the Skittles that Donald Trump Jr. used in his toxic tweet.

Richard Irvine-Brown & Patrick Evans, BBC News:

David Kittos, 48, from Guildford, UK, woke up to find an image he had posted to Flickr in January 2010 had become embroiled in a political controversy.

“This was not done with my permission, I don’t support his politics and I would never take his money to use it,” Mr Kittos told the BBC.

“In 1974, when I was six-years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.”