Friday, June 09, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Mostly Not about Comey Edition

It was a beautiful day for a rollerblade today, marred only by the fact that I got to the parking lot by the bay and realized I'd left my socks at home. I went back to get them, and consoled myself with the fact that the extra driving meant I got to listen to more of Pod Save America's reaction to the Comey hearings.

(I like Pod Save America a lot, but I think it is probably only palatable to liberals like myself. However, the companion show Pod Save the World I can recommend to everyone. It is about foreign policy, and while it has a slant towards Democrats both in the host's viewpoint and in who he gets as guests, I think it would be informative to anyone. I would listen to the Republican-leaning equivalent, for instance. This week's episode of Pod Save the World was particularly good: the guest was former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daadler, and he talked a lot about the limits on what we can do in places like Libya and Syria. I recommend it highly.)

OK, back to my regular links post.

First up, the blatant self promotion. My latest book, Hemmed In, came out on Wednesday. You can read about it and find all the purchase links in Wednesday's post. Thank you to everyone who has already bought it.

I'm also giving away two copies of Missed Chances, my first taster flight anthology, over at Tungsten Hippo.

Now, on to the links.

If you read only one link, make it this story about the kids who survived the school shooting in Townville, South Carolina. It will make you cry and want to hug your kids. But I think it is important not to look away from these stories. It is not true that there is nothing we can do about mass shootings, even if we can't find the political will to change our gun laws. Here is an old Mother Jones story that talks about some of things people are doing. Of course, we could also change our gun laws. There is a lot of room between where we are now and infringing on people's second amendment rights. We could explore that space if the NRA and its supporters were willing to discuss it, or the rest of us were willing to out vote them. We can also work to change our culture about guns. In this shooting, a 14 year old was able to access the family's gun and enough ammunition to commit a mass shooting with no impediment. You could change that without affecting the adult gun owner's right to the weapon at all.

OK, moving on.

Here's another story (warning: video) that made me very, very sad. It is the story of a man who was deported from the only country he has ever known because his adoptive parents failed to fill out some paperwork. Watching the story, I just kept thinking about how many times America failed this man. Note that his deportation process started in the Obama era. We need to fix our immigration laws. Another problem that is stuck in political limbo because some people refuse to negotiate at all and the rest of us haven't found the will to out vote them.

Adam Serwer wrote about the myth around Robert E. Lee and why statues honoring him should come down, and then followed up with a piece responding to some of his critics. These two pieces are really worth your time.

Claire McCaskill's questions to Orin Hatch, the chair of the Finance Committee, about the process being used for the current health care bill are really good. We're relying on rumors to figure out what is going to be in the Senate version of the bill, because they won't tell us.

Vox continues its really strong reporting on the health care debate with a visit to talk to some Kentucky voters who are on Obamacare, disappointed in how Trump and the Republicans are changing it... and  many of them planning to continue voting for their Republican representatives, anyway.

I saw a lot of venom aimed at these people on Twitter, and while I understand where that comes from, I think we should all take a step back and ask ourselves how easily we would change our party preferences. Our party allegiance is often integrated into our sense of identity. (Ezra Klein had a good piece exploring this recently.) This has gotten more pronounced in recent years. We can argue about what caused that (I personally think Fox News deserves some of the blame), but we also have to face the reality of it, and recognize that it is going to lead to things like people voting for the representative who voted to take away their health care. We can't change that outcome by ridiculing them. We can either look for ways to change their minds, or we can look for ways to outvote them.

Honestly, I think this politics-as-identity thing is part of why we can't make progress on guns or immigration, too. It is a huge problem right now. I have no idea how to fix it.

If you are interested in thinking about how to change people's minds... here's an essay from someone who changed her mind, and it is worth reading.

If you have any stomach at all for revisiting the reasons for the outcome of the 2016 election... here is a piece about some research into developing questions to assess "modern sexism" and how where someone falls on this scale relates to how they voted.

I have limited patience for revisiting the reasons for the 2016 outcome, but found the research interesting. My Twitter feed occasionally still devolves into a fight between "Bernie would have won" and Hillary supporters and I am so, so tired of it. I hope neither Hillary nor Bernie runs again. I think it is time for new leaders. Hillary seems to be settling into a role in which she reaches out and offers support to prominent women who are getting grief from jerks (e.g., Kim Weaver, the woman who dropped out of the race to replace Iowa Rep. Steve King, citing death threats and other intimidation). That seems like a great role for her. I don't want her to disappear. I think she has valuable experience and can still do a lot of good. But let's get some new people in the race for 2020.

Since I'm on a Vox-linking tear, I'll add Matt Yglesias' explainer of the debt ceiling fight we may be about to have.

I think you can all find coverage of Comey's testimony and the like on your own. But I will share this quote:

And here are some pictures of a cute bunny:

And here are some more bunnies because I think we all need more cute bunnies in our life:

Happy weekend, everyone!

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