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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: 10,317

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

Opinions sought: Is this transphobic?

Someone wishing to disparage Chelsea Manning wrote, "As a woman* she* is still a treasonous weasel."

People can call Chelsea Manning a treasonous weasel without being transphobic. (I myself don't like what I know about Caitlyn Jenner's politics. Being trans is no guarantee of virtue.) In this instance, though, I thought that the inclusion of the asterisks could have no import other than a sneering implication that there was something phony, or maybe downright evil, about Manning's gender identity. I concluded that this particular attack on her embodied transphobia.

As a straight cisgender man, I admit my lack of personal expertise on the subject. I'd be grateful to hear the reactions of people who are closer to the front lines of these battles. Was I overreacting?

Bernie Sanders supported the ACA. His support was crucial.

Bernie has long supported single payer. When the ACA was being debated in Congress, many single-payer supporters urged that it be voted down. Their argument (which has some merit to it) was that enactment of the ACA would further entrench the role of the big for-profit private insurance companies, and make getting to single payer that much harder.

If Bernie had agreed with them, he could easily have said, "I want single payer, I won't settle for anything less, and on that basis I'm voting Nay on invoking cloture to end the GOP filibuster of President Obama's bill."

On December 23, 2009, the vote on cloture was 60-39. Cloture requires a minimum of 60 affirmative votes. The bill just barely scraped by. If Bernie had voted Nay he would have strangled the ACA in its cradle.

This has been a message from the Department of Looking at the Actual Goddamn Record. We now return you to your regularly scheduled flame war.

Question about the 2020 race

My question is about rules and procedures, not a specific candidate, although it’s triggered by some DUers’ animosity toward Bernie Sanders.

A frequently recurring view on DU is that the DNC shouldn’t have let Bernie run in 2016, because he’s not a Democrat, and should bar him in 2020. This seems to assume that there was a DNC vote to allow him, but I never read about anything like that.

It’s my impression that primaries are governed by the states. Each state with a primary has its own laws about ballot access (filing fee, petition signatures, whatever). The DNC doesn’t control those laws.

The DNC could conceivably decide to play hardball: “We demand that every state adopt legislation to exclude from its primary ballot anyone who’s not a registered Democrat. If any state fails to comply, we won’t seat delegates from that state at the 2020 convention.” That would be seen by many as excessive. Furthermore, in Republican-controlled states like Texas or Ohio, the GOP would be delighted to defy this rule. Then, in races up and down the ballot, the Republican candidates would be saying, “The Democratic Party wouldn’t even admit our state’s representatives at their convention.” That would hurt a lot of downticket Democrats.

There’s also a real question about whether, if push came to shove, the DNC would be willing to punish an entire state. Note that, in 2008, Florida and Michigan violated DNC rules about the scheduling of the primary. The DNC ruled that their delegates would not be seated, then it sort of relented and seated them with half a vote each, then it ultimately caved completely and imposed no penalty.

There are some technical questions about how a no-non-Democrats policy could be enforced. What about candidates from states (like, ahem, Vermont) that don’t have partisan registration? What if a group of registered Democrats want to run for delegate slots as “Unpledged” while letting it be known that they like Bernie or some other candidate whom the DNC regards as unclean? How would caucuses, as opposed to primaries, be affected?

The important issue, though, is whether the DNC could actually do what some DUers keep calling for. Frankly, it seems to me that people are vindictively lashing out at Bernie without thinking through what they propose. Am I missing something? I’d be glad to be enlightened about the mechanics of this idea.

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!
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