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Jim Lane

Profile Information

Name: Jim Lane
Gender: Male
Hometown: Jersey City
Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 11:22 AM
Number of posts: 8,964

About Me

I spend most of my online time on Wikipedia, where we desperately need more people to help counter right-wing bias. Please PM me whenever you want help with a Wikipedia-related issue. (Remember that Wikipedia material must be neutral, but we can and should include facts that conservatives would prefer to suppress.)

Journal Archives

The hypocrisy of the latest round of Bernie-bashing

In almost all American elections, only two candidates – the Democrat and the Republican – have any realistic chance of winning. A thoughtful citizen will usually have disagreements with each of them on one or more issues. Some people take the pragmatic course of supporting the candidate who’s better overall, even if not perfect. Others say “the lesser evil is still evil”; refusing to vote for a candidate with whom they disagree, they stay home or vote for a no-hoper minor-party candidate.

Bernie Sanders faced this situation. He came down on the side of the pragmatists. He voiced his support for the Democratic nominee because he looked at the Republican and said, “We’ve got to keep that guy out.”

Did he do the right thing?

Well, here’s where the hypocrisy comes in. Some of the loudest pro-Hillary people on this board are now spewing vitriol at Bernie because he’s supporting a Democratic nominee with whom he’s not in complete agreement, while ignoring that he did exactly the same thing by supporting Hillary last fall.

The hypocrisy is compounded with intellectual dishonesty, as they pretend that support for the Democratic nominee means deprecating the issue of reproductive rights. My view, and I think Bernie’s view, is that reproductive rights are important. So are issues of war and peace, international trade, economic inequality, etc. That all these issues are important doesn’t change the problem I described in the first paragraph: Sometimes, the choice is between two candidates, neither of whom is perfect on all important issues, but one of whom is better than the other overall.

People like Bernie and me voted for Hillary despite our major disagreements with her. That doesn’t mean that we suddenly decided those issues were unimportant. It means only that the Democrat was better than the Republican.

Does an alerter see the results of the alert?

I've alerted only a few times, but my recollection is that I was told of the disposition -- at least once it was that someone else had already alerted so my alert was a nullity, and at least once I was sent all the jurors' votes and comments.

I alerted this week but I've heard nothing. Has the procedure of notifying an alerter been changed?

Donald Frederickovich Trump

We have been disrespectful to our esteemed President by not using his correct name. The Russian style is to use, as a man's middle name, the patronymic, referring to his father. Thus, the dictator's father was also named Vladimir, so the dictator's full name is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, while his brother Viktor, who died during the Siege of Leningrad, was Viktor Vladimirovich Putin.

Frederick Trump was the President's biological father and is also the only reason he has any money. (It's widely believed that if Donald had just taken his inheritance, bought some mutual funds, and spent his time golfing and molesting women, he'd be richer than he actually is.)

The correct name of Donald Frederickovich Trump honors both his father and his current allegiance.

Can we get more guidance about the rules applicable to "general election season"?

Some of the Clinton supporters have exhibited what I hope are wildly exaggerated ideas about the "crackdown" they long for. There is of course the mass expulsion of Sanders supporters. I assume you're too smart to cater to that fantasy, and it won't matter because the worst of the Clinton zealots won't be able to do anything about their disappointment except whine in their protected group.

More serious is the restriction on post content. Based on alerts, hides, and complaining posts that I've seen, some of them think that anything remotely negative about Hillary Clinton is utterly unacceptable. If they think it's a restrictive rule, and they're wrong, they'll be firing off bogus alerts left and right, and getting some unjustified hides. If the rest of us think it's a permissive rule, and we're wrong, we might trigger hides or even PPRs.

You gave some helpful indication in this thread with this comment:

Thoughtful discussions of Hillary Clinton's private email server and how it might affect the campaign: Fine.

Using Hillary Clinton's private email server as a club in order to beat her down: Not fine.

"Thoughtful" and "club" are terms that are in the eye of the beholder. A post like "The new revelation about Pagliano's testimony shows that Clinton knew she was acting wrongfully" might come in either category, or for that matter both. Would you elaborate on where you draw the line?

Another category that occurs to me is polling. To some Clinton supporters, it's "Trump-humping" to post anything that's discouraging to Clinton or encouraging to Trump. It might help if you make clear that this isn't the case. If XYZ Polling's early-September poll result is that Clinton's unfavorability has gone from 47% to 55%, I think we should be able to post that and discuss it. If it's not OK, well, it's your site and I'll abide by your rules, as long as I know in advance what they are.

I know there are few bright-line tests in this area, but thanks for any guidance you can give.

David Brooks discovers that columnists live in a bubble.

OK, to most of us this is not exactly a startling revelation, but it's always easier to see other people's biases. I give Brooks some credit for coming to a bit of self-awareness.

The context, in his April 29 column titled "If Not Trump, What?", is that Brooks is bemoaning the looming nomination of Trump. He rejects the course of going along with Trump. (He doesn't come right out and say he wouldn't vote for Trump, but he implies it.) He continues:

The better course for all of us — Republican, Democrat and independent — is to step back and take the long view, and to begin building for that. This election — not only the Trump phenomenon but the rise of Bernie Sanders, also — has reminded us how much pain there is in this country. According to a Pew Research poll, 75 percent of Trump voters say that life has gotten worse for people like them over the last half century.

{snip some other statistics about the increasing suicide rate, people believing the American dream is out of reach, and low levels of social trust among millennials}

Trump’s success grew out of that pain, but he is not the right response to it. The job for the rest of us is to figure out the right response.

That means first it’s necessary to go out into the pain. I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years. We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country. {emphasis added}

It's easy to make fun of Brooks, but perhaps he actually has learned something and will take it to heart in his future writing. We'll see how often he goes where he's uncomfortable.

Knitters, can you advise me about caring for an item?

Years ago my mother was an avid knitter. In cleaning out the house after her death, I found a large afghan that she had made. Unfortunately, she didn't append a little tag with the care instructions that I always look for on clothes I buy.

Based on some quick online research, it appears that proper care depends in part on exactly what the material is. I think of it as "yarn" and my knowledge ends there.

It seems that I couldn't go wrong with washing it by hand in the bathtub with cold water. "Lay flat to dry" seems to be a common instruction but that's a lot easier to do with a sweater than with something this size. Can this safely be put in a drier? My laundromat's drying options are Delicate, Permanent Press, and High. If I can use a drier at all, I'd like to use the highest setting that won't damage the afghan.

Thanks for any help you can give!

Sanders is the underdog, but here's Nate Silver's site on small chance versus no chance

In an NCAA basketball tournament game on Sunday night, Texas A&M was trailing Northern Iowa by 12 points with only 35 seconds left to play, and came back to win it. Silver got his start analyzing sports rather than politics. On his site, Neil Paine, who's a senior sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight, wrote:

In cases like this, it’s difficult to estimate the exact probability of a comeback, just because the model is verging on the realm of hypothetical possibilities instead of observed realities. (It also can’t account for specific, meaningful factors such as the Panthers’ top inbounder, Matt Bohannon, leaving the game with an injury right before his team’s meltdown began.) But based on all of the things our model does take into account, we assigned Texas A&M a 1-in-3,333 chance of winning when its deficit was 12 with 35 seconds left.

(from "Texas A&M Pulled Off A 1-in-3,000 Comeback")

He also mentions some similarly unlikely sports comebacks (or collapses) that have occurred.

It's a good thing those Texas A&M players were too busy with the tournament to be reading Clinton supporters' posts on DU, or they would have just gone to the locker room instead of finishing the game.

How Clinton supporters can help elect Bernie

I begin with a couple of safe predictions:
* Clinton will do well on Super Tuesday, winning most of the states and a big majority of the pledged delegates that are at stake.
* Clinton supporters on DU will post numerous threads celebrating the victory, many of which will also opine that the race is now over (or maybe even DONE).

So I’m going to survey DU and contribute to Bernie on this schedule:
1) For every OP impugning Sanders’s character for not withdrawing (He’s not a real Democrat, he’s out to hurt the party, he’s on an ego trip, whatever), or attacking Sanders supporters on DU in light of Super Tuesday: $10
2) For every OP that doesn’t go quite that far but states or implies that Bernie should drop out: $5.
3) For every OP along the lines of “It’s OVER it’s DONE” but doesn’t get strident about it: zero (I personally think Clinton’s chance of winning the nomination is greater than 50% but still less than 100%, so I disagree with the posts that have proclaimed or will proclaim that she’s inevitable, but just disagreeing with my prognostication isn’t being obnoxious, and this plan is to emphasize “rewarding” the obnoxious).
4) Non-OPs: zero (I don’t want to have to wade through all those threads and besides my means are limited).

If my algorithm yields a contribution of less than $27, I'll round up to $27, so as not to lower Bernie's famous average -- but I strongly suspect that that won't be an issue.

I’ll probably do my census on Thursday, to give all the venom time to come out. I’ll check the Hillary Clinton Group and GD-P, but if anyone spots a qualifying OP elsewhere, please let me know.

So who’s in with me?

WaPo: "It’s time to start speculating about Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick"

In this column, Chris Cillizza offers his thoughts about whom Trump might select as a running mate. Trump doesn't have the nomination locked up yet, but he's clearly the front-runner, so it's a question worth asking.

At one point, I thought a Trump/Cruz ticket was a good chance. Cillizza rules it out on the basis of the strong enmity that's developed between the two. It would certainly be a "team" with some teamwork problems, but picking a rival isn't unheard of. Reagan picked George H.W. Bush after the latter had (correctly) derided his "voodoo economics" proposals. Still, Trump/Cruz is looking unlikely.

The prospects Cillizza mentions ("in no particular order") are: Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, and a businessman to be named later (someone like Carl Icahn or Jack Welch). On that last point, Cillizza comments:

Picking someone who has never been involved in politics before would bolster Trump's basic message that politicians don't know what the hell they are doing. It also might be slightly risky since, well, someone who has never run for or been in office before wouldn't have much of a clue about how the whole system works in the event Trump actually got elected president.

From a conventional point of view, either Kasich or Rubio would address that experience issue, by bringing on board someone who'd served in elective office, and either would also help in a key swing state. Of course, to pick anyone who'd served in elective office might undercut Trump's outsider appeal. One of the commenters suggests that Trump pick a general; that might be a way of adding experience without resorting to a politician. Too bad for Petraeus he couldn't keep his pants zipped.

Another commenter suggests Susana Martinez. IMO that idea makes more sense than Haley -- if you're going to pick a youngish female governor, might as well try to appeal to Latinos rather than Indian-Americans, and might as well go for a swing state.

Here are a couple other ideas, trying to walk the line between adding experience and not looking like a conventional politician:
* Joe Scarborough -- practiced law, then served in Congress but that was a while back, has made a successful third career in media, good name recognition, accustomed to being on camera, Floridian, nobody but a few diehard leftists would worry about the "dead intern" story.
* Gary Johnson -- successful businessman, then won two terms as Governor of New Mexico to give him the experience to complement Trump, but not a conventional Republican politician because he ran as the Libertarian candidate in 2012 and got more than a million votes.

OK, I know no one wants to contemplate the prospect of President Trump, but he could well be the nominee and he'll have to pick someone to run with him. Go ahead and speculate.

How many Jury Blacklist slots for Star members?

The instructions say 15. Someone said it was 20 so I tried adding a couple (I was already at 15) and the software accepted the new additions. So which is true:

A. The limit was increased from 15 to 20 but the instructions weren't updated.
B. The limit is still 15 but the software lets you list as many names as you want but only the first 15 will be given effect.

If the answer is B then I suggest that an attempt to add a 16th name should generate an error message rather than an apparent success. It's a trap for the unwary. I wouldn't call this a high priority, though, because it says right there that you can have only 15.

ETA: After I posted this another question arose. Someone said, "I think that people you've blocked cannot vote on your posts, either." That makes no sense to me -- because use of the Ignore function is, IIRC, unlimited, there would effectively be no limit on the jury blacklist. So I add another "which is true" pair:

C. People you've blocked cannot vote on your posts, either, so they're effectively on your jury blacklist.
D. People you've blocked CAN vote on your posts.

Thanks for clearing up these two points.
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