Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Plan: Transfer to a different law school

Just pretend you work at or attend a law school, and you've been happy there. Then, for $30M, the board sells the naming rights, and your law school becomes Francisco Franco School of Law, or perhaps Tony Soprano School of Law.

George Mason University just announced that they are renaming their law school for that divisive, arrogant runt Antonin Scalia.

Oooooh, I'd be so fucking angry if I was associated with that law school. But now we know what the Kock-aligned rich do with some of their extra money. It might interesting to see how well ASSL will be doing in a few years. I predict a precipitous drop and then a name change.

"Please don't buy my school."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Interesting factoid: How Trump was shut down in Chicago

What I knew about Trump's rally in Chicago is that he complained about protesters disrupting it. He tried to get mileage out of it, but it wasn't a huge event in a campaign where we have all sorts of Republicans running scared, and you have Donald insulting people left and right. If you can't show pictures of a horribly mangled person or a flag-draped coffin, it's no more than a blip in this campaign.

So it was interesting to learn that the protesters got hold of a lot of bona fide tickets. There were hundreds of them inside the arena and thousands outside. Most of the insiders were playing mum, planning to disrupt the rally while Trump was speaking. However, some protesters (there was more than one organized group plus freelancers) were starting their protests early, and being hustled out. Among the Trump supporters (roughly 6000), there was a lot of suspicion. Perhaps security got wind of what was likely to happen, and cancelled the rally.

There were fist-fights after the announcement (purportedly--no pictures that I saw). If anyone was seriously hurt, it didn't make the news. Trump called the protesters thugs, but they weren't very thug-like if so few engaged in fights. The Trump supporters weren't too thuggish either.

The reason I looked into the details is because Jonathan Chait wrote a scare piece about how leftists who are against free speech squelched the rally. Nothing I read made me worry that the protesters wanted anything but to express their opinions in a very noticeable way. Most were even hoping to avoid battery, so I think Jonathan Chait should calm down.

Trump was probably right to cancel the rally. It would've been a big embarrassment for him, one way or another. Nonetheless, I hope to see more big counter-demonstrations against Trump. Maybe I'll even go to one.


Extras. A couple other reports about the rally. Breitbart is one of many that play up violence that didn't even occur (yet and/or at all). Some violence that did occur.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The unknown territory of a contested convention

Supposedly the last contested convention was the 1976 GOP convention. I don't remember it, That means I have no compass for guessing what will happen at the GOP convention if no candidate collects a clear majority.

So here's the closest thing to signposts that I've found. Bernstein writes that the delegates and the candidates will run the convention. The candidates are pretty well known by now, but what about the delegates? Who are they, who are they loyal (or disloyal) to, and what will their motivations be? Perhaps Cruz has enough on-the-ground infrastructure to ensure that his delegates are loyal, but can Trump? I can't even guess.

Another possibility (likely is my gut feeling) is that Trump and Cruz together will control the convention. Any establishment hopes for avoiding Awful#1 and Awful#2 will be dashed. My guess is that Cruz will be offered and will accept the nomination for vice-president. I didn't think of this myself, but once I read it, it seems absolutely perfect. They've been buddies before. They can go back to being buddies with all smears forgotten in mists of amnesia. They will share their hatred of the RINO, lying, feckless establishment, and their absolute certainty of victory... If I watch, I'll want to puke.

To avoid puking, I'd like to pretend that the GOP establishment and good sense will prevent this. But looking at the disarray in the GOP leadership, I can't imagine it will happen. It's quite hopeless. We'll be looking at a convention and a general campaign without precedent in my lifetime. So hold on tight.


Extra. Read about the 1976 GOP convention, which was contested. Ford was ahead of Reagan, but neither had a lock. Nonetheless, there were clear signals early that Ford would win. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Short: Trump foreign policy isn't terrible

I would have guessed that Trump knows almost zero about foreign policy and wouldn't know where to start. I'd be wrong according to this article. Trump has talked with some major people... whose names aren't Bozo or Charlie McCarthy. A pleasant surprise for a change.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Short:Characteristics of Trump supporters

There are questions flying around about whether the US is on the edge of its own Nazi era, with Trump playing the part of Hitler. I see the similarities. It bears close scrutiny, and action as needed. However, luckily, it doesn't yet look too much like Nazism, so I'd say 'no' for now.

Nonetheless, the sociologists (not socialists, or national socialists) are also out there watching and collecting data. One group, based on 1000 phone interviews, found Trump supporters were more common among those with these traits:

  • Being economically discontent
  • Preferring a populist/outsider
  • Having a preference for authority
  • Wanting pushback against other groups
That last characteristic sounds like it could be code for 'racist.' It certainly sounds like group-based resentment against not just a single group but multiple groups. This sounds pretty ugly to me. I certainly hope that the ugliness is a turn-off to a clear majority of Americans.


Extras. Another analysis of Trump supporters (with nice graphs). Key characteristics: strong identity as traditional GOPer, conservative Christian, and white. A demonstrator who charged at Trump on stage was smeared in a false-flag video as supporting ISIS. Naturally, Trump retweeted the link to the video. Trump is definitely not in the truth or fact-checking business. How Trump saved himself from bankruptcy by conning others--not surprising considering his moral level.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Caring to the bitter end

I just realized something that seems obvious in retrospect.

I already knew that I was more tenacious in arguments than many. I also knew that I more interested in using argument and inquiry to undercover truth. Of course, I also knew that most commenters on the internet have neither the vigor nor the fairness to follow through on the paths their arguments take. Yet knowing all this, for the first time I attacked another commenter for pivoting away from an argument, and called him to come back to it. This is what I wrote (minus the fake expletives):
Why won't you stay on the topic, thrash it out completely, and find out if you're right or wrong. It's so maddening to argue with some people. If you really care about the issue, stay to the end and really go into the argument, don't bail out.
This is what I really think. If you care about an issue, you go as deep as you can. You keep arguing, and keep listening to all the counterarguments, until you figure out what is strong and what is weak, what is right and what is wrong. The real answers are worth doing this for. If you don't want to go this far, and don't want to make the commitment to following where the arguments lead, you shouldn't be arguing at all.

If, on the other hand, you really care, then you do follow the argument to the end. And sometimes the end is painful. I find I've been wrong for years, or that the world can't be the way I wish it could be.

I know that some of this sounds like self-congratulations, but I think it's more than that. It's a commitment to rigorous thinking, rigorous inquiry, honesty, and acceptance of the truth that's discovered. That's a big commitment, but I mean every bit of it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Worth remembering: The GOP machine

I appreciate great writing and dearly wish I could contribute to it. This conclusion in a Jonathan Chait column struck me as such an elegant description of what goes on in the GOP:
The Republican Party is constructed as a machine: Into one end are fed the atavistic fears of the white working class as grist, and out the other end pops The Wall Street Journal editorial-page agenda as the finished product. Trump has shown movement conservatives how terrifyingly rickety that machine is and how easily it can be seized from them by a demagogue and repurposed toward some other goal.