…experimenting with a new format… got furtherer to go (additional formatting, automation), but this’ll [have to] do for now…

…just want a more informal mode of blog-expression… think I’ll try one “notes” post a day, update it or not as the hours goes by, main intention is freedom to scrawl and stray… scrapbooking and annotating quotes, links, tweets, images, whatever, easier to link or to find later than Wall notes… feel free to add your own in the comments… for the eternal or close enough archives…

…if I end up wasting energy and disfiguring ideas instead of developing arguments carefully in the more formal style I prefer on principle, then… well, who cares anyway?

…meanwhile today am restraining myself from swatting at a certain kind of thing in the kind of way that would tend further to convince anyone who’s been paying attention but not close attention that the only people in the world whose side I’m willing to take are people who don’t deserve to have anyone taking their side… and the only people I’m willing to criticize are people I probably just envy…


Cool – just wanted to be sure I could insert current time (my time – tho I’ll have to look into the time formatting since I think we could do without the seconds).

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

8 comments on “2014.02.16

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  1. Geometry was really a HS favorite for me. We also didn’t use graph paper – I mean straight edge and compass right? The teacher, first day of class, said he would give an A for the course to anyone who could trisect an angle using straight edge and compass. I tried all year.

    But I digress…

    Format direction is fine with me…maybe you’ll trisect the angle of opinion.

    • Don’t know if it was a Los Angeles Unified School District thing, or a California thing, or a teacher thing, or is a shaky memory thing. I believe my time in that class may have been interrupted by a relatively severe illness – so some of it’s even blurrier than usual – and it was Junior High School – 8th Grade – but anyway we didn’t use straight edges or compasses much either. The focus instead was on proving theorems and putting together a geometry notebook to hand in at the end of the semester. I wish I’d kept mine, since I spent a lot of time on format and on proving every theorem ever in every best possible way, making up for missed school days and excused for handing it in late…

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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