Open Thread (Testing New New Comments New Since Last Visit Reloaded, Reloaded, Augmented)


Part of kind of what you’ll see when you click the Show New Comments Only button

Incorporating feedback and suggestions especially from OGs Vikram and nevermoor, “Comments Since Last Visit, Reloaded” (CSLVR) re-works and builds upon “New New Since Last Visit Comments” (NNSLV), which had replaced the simple New Since Last Visit (NSLV) function introduced here last April. I’m eager to replace the not fully right NNSLV, but I think I need to beta CSLVR a bit – so its functionality will remain confined for the moment to posts (including this one) originating at the Developing… blog. Now, most of what follows is going to be drier than Upland odd-number-address lawns ex Tuesday Saturday nights (drought rules), while the application ought to be intuitive. So I’ll refrain from providing any instructions beyond:

You’ll need to make some comments, and possibly browse away and come back, in order to see how it works (assuming it does work for you!), and it’ll be helpful if in the meantime others are commenting, too.

In other words, you can skip the rest and feel free to dive in – just treating this post as an open thread.1 Also, the first 19 comments are leftovers from a pre-session session (thanks again, OG nevermoor). Now the fine print: CSLVR defines and sets visits for each thread visited. (Previous versions incorporated site-wide definitions for a “last visit”). CSLVR also introduces a set of Javascript/jQuery-enabled functions accessible by button and clickable icon that will enable users to find and scroll through new comments, to display new comments separately and sort them oldest-to-newest or newest-to-oldest, and to mark them all as read (or “old”) at any time. Part of the idea with CSLVR is also to create relatively persistent sessions in which NSLV comments retain their highlighting even after the user has offered replies or browsed to other posts. To achieve these ends CSLVR sets three types of cookie in the user’s browser of which two, the ones that record time(s) of visit(s), may persist for up to 90 days, while one, the “session” cookie, will last for only 15 minutes (according to current default). The total cookie size is capped so that, once a certain level is reached, the function will remove the oldest cookies before adding any new ones. Note that these functions will not carry over across browsers and devices: In addition to being thread-specific, the application is also device-and-browser-specific. If you browse “incognito,” and refuse cookies, perhaps because you like to use the internet to do evil things, then you’ll have to do without these conveniences. . I’ll be continuing to polish the formatting, and will be happy to consider changes based on feedback. I’m also still researching an execution lag problem that should become more apparent on longer threads and more with some browser/device combinations than with others. Because one of the main purposes of the plug-in is to make browsing lo-o-o-ng comment threads easier, I’ll wait to move things over to the main site at least until after further testing.

(post re-published/re-dated 2015-09-08)



  1. Here are some possible topics if you’re feeling blankish:

    Everything you know is wrong, and everything you like is evil and harmful.

    Did you see that thing? What a thing that thing is!

    America is pretty great.

    America is pretty bad.

    [         ] are pathetic and dangerous, but you, well, you’re pretty darn terrific.

    Commenting on blogs is a complete waste of time.

    Everyone should support web developers financially to the very limit of ability to pay.

    RTod was right about something.

    This thing is/isn’t working [on browser/device/firstvisit/secondvisit/etc.].

    Tell me how to do footnotes again?


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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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