Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekend Reading: Thinking about the Future Edition

Well, it is done, and now we have a new President. May he show the good attributes his supporters see in him and the rest of us do not. And may the people around him and the folks in Congress have the courage to stand up to him when necessary, and hold him to his oath to uphold our Constitution.

If you'd like to, you can sign the petition to have him release his tax returns and sufficient information to show he is not in violation of the emoluments clause (spoiler: experts from both sides of the partisan divide agree he is in violation of the emoluments clause). Theoretically, if the petition gets 100,000 signatures, the White House "has" to respond. I expect either no response or an evasive and untruthful one. But I still signed the thing.

In things more likely to work: the ACLU has filed its first Freedom of Information Act petition on the new presidency, seeking information about conflicts of interest.

And President Obama resumed tweeting at his old Twitter handle (@BarackObama) and launched a new website and foundation that is looking for our ideas.

I stayed true to my plans and ignored the inauguration while it was happening. I checked in at lunch and discovered it was as grim and divisive as I expected. I won't waste my time on Trump's speech, because as Matt Yglesias says, he lies so much and so shamelessly that his words are meaningless, and the only way to judge him is by his actions.

But from what I gathered, his speech was very similar to his convention speech and people like me and especially people like my Muslim friends are not included in the America to which he directed his remarks. As people get angry about protesters saying he is "not my President" I hope they can take a moment to reflect that he himself has made it clear that he does not see all of us as legitimate parts of his version of America. (For the record, I will not be protesting with the slogan "not my President." My slogan, if I have one is "Not one step back," which I take from the North Carolina Moral Mondays.)

Along those lines, I've been thinking about Ezra Klein's piece contrasting Obamaism and Trumpism all day.  I find it profoundly depressing.

On a more positive note, here is Matt Yglesias again, this time writing in support of inclusive politics as the only way to actually have a great country.

And here is Yascha Mounk's opinion on what the best case scenario for the next four years is. I agree that if this period somehow leads the Republican party to jettison the Southern strategy for good, stop with the racist dog whistles, and build a truly inclusive conservative party, that would be a very good thing. I wouldn't agree with them, but at least I could respect them. One of the silver linings in this last year or so has been seeing some strongly anti-racist voices rise on the right. So far, none of them have any real power, but I would welcome it if that changed.

That change, though, is going to have to come from within the party (or within a conservative movement that forms a different party). There is too much tendency to blame the racist strategy of the current Republican party on Democrats, as if we are somehow making them do it by holding on to our own inclusive principles. That is infuriating and wrong, and until the Republicans own their own responsibility for the fact that people of color overwhelmingly do not want to vote for them, they will not change and our entire country will suffer for it. I don't know what I can do to fix that from the outside. My current opinion is that I can try to make them loose more elections, until maybe that forces some honest introspection on race among more of their leaders.

I like Josh Marshall's thoughts on entering the Trump era. I hope I have the courage to act in a way that will make my children proud in future years.

There's a lot of Matt Yglesias in this post, but his comments here about how the US is different from Russia before the rise of Putin are good. (Click through to read the entire thread.)

Here's something else that gives me hope: the police chief in Whitefish, Montana standing up for the Jews in his community.

And I've loved seeing all the posts about people heading to DC for the Women's March tomorrow and being on planes and trains full of women.

Moving on...

The names being floated as possible FDA heads aren't giving me a lot of comfort. At the request of a reader, I have a post about the drug discovery industry coming. But if you want to know why I am against bringing libertarianism to the FDA, my little Twitter rant from last night summarizes it (again, click through to read the whole thread):

If you're a Democrat looking ahead to 2018 and wanting to be strategic about where to send your money, this data set from DailyKos will help you find Clinton-voting districts with Republican reps.

One of those districts is just north of me: CA 49. I've already donated to Doug Applegate, who is running again against Darrell Issa.

Looking even further north, here is a story from San Pedro about a lottery for dockworker jobs. I remember reading about this in 2004, too.

I don't have anything fun to end on, but here's Let American Be America Again, a Langston Hughes poem for today, a sort of answer to Trump's inauguration address if you will. I find the ending stanzas particularly relevant today:

"O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!"

This would be funny if it wasn't so sad:

And here is something happy: a nice new review of Academaze.

And of course, here's a bunny:

Happy weekend, everyone, and safe marching to all those who are heading out to march tomorrow!

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