New developments…

1. New features on State of the Discussion

I frequently go to State of the Discussion first rather than to the front page, especially when on mobile. To make it more effective as an alternative “site dashboard,” I added a “Posts in Play” legend that also includes, on page 1, any new posts that have not yet received comments.

State of the Discussion with Posts In Play Legend

New “Posts in Play” Legend; also shows (on page 1) not-yet-commented recent posts.

Here’s a complicated image that demonstrates various features that mostly will be obvious anyway:

State of the Discussion with Posts In Play Legend Opened

Stuff you can do with the PIP legend.

Authors are shown by avatar. That means if you’re one of the lazy, uncooperative, or technopeasant-ish authors who has not gotten his or her own gravatar by now, you’ll be represented by the site default “mystery gentleperson,” instead of by the cool personal avatar that shows name and biographical info on hover. Part of making it easier to use SOTD as an alternative dashboard, and on mobile, was promoting it to top level on the site navigation bar. Makes it a tad easier to refresh and for that matter to find in the first place.

2. Enhanced “redaction” options in the editing panel.

For writers when writing a post containing extensive plot spoilation, there’s now a multi-block redaction button added to the editing panel. To help out everyone reading or trying to read through lots of spoiled content, the author can use the third of three new buttons to insert a Reveal All button (so a fourth button or sub-button) into the body of the post itself. Like so: [redact-blocks color=purple] Press it to remove all spoiled content… …even in comments, whether multiblock or… [/redact-blocks] line by line spoiled. [reveal-all-button] As you can see, I also added an option for writers to change the color of their multi-block redactions, just in case they’re not into FOIA-style big black rectangles. More at “Spoiling you some more..,”

3. …which is at the “Developing…” blog

…a proto-sub-blog I’ve created for development discussion that doesn’t need to or shouldn’t enter the main OT circulatory system. I see it also as part of preparatory work for an eventual “return of the sub-blogs.”


You can also find it under “Blogs” in the main navigation bar. Uniquely, it is actually a blogging blog rather than a category/zombie blog – but no reason why it should be alone for very long.

4. Logical categories

I’ve initiated what I anticipate will be a transition to “logical categories” or “departments” for the site, as an alternative way to group content, especially for new users and users focused narrowly on particular topics. It’s all subject to change, and I invite anyone who wants a specific category or alternative arrangement of categories to let me know. More on both logical categories and sub-blogs in this comment from a week-plus ago.

That’s it for now…

I’ve got some other new development developments developed or mostly developed, but not yet implemented, some of which I may introduce at “Developing…,” and may or may not ever bring to the “main site.”

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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. 

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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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