Friday, September 01, 2017

Weekend Reading: The It Is Too Damn Hot Edition

Southern California is in the midst of a heat wave. It is nowhere near the weather catastrophe as Hurricane Harvey, so it is understandably not getting a lot of news attention. But I can confirm: it is really hot here right now. Mostly, I don't mind the heat too much, particularly since it has been cooling off nicely at night. But it is 86 degrees in my house right now, and I was working from home today.

On top of that, it was the first week of school, and my kids' school isn't done with its renovation project yet. Which means that some of the classrooms still don't have air conditioning. Which means that the district called for two extra "minimal days" this week, due to the heat. Luckily, the YMCA after care extended hours (their room has air conditioning), but that was only available for people who are already signed up for after care, and today, one of Pumpkin's friends didn't have any place to go for the surprise half day. I decided to store up some working parent karma points and offered to have her come here. So I picked Pumpkin and a couple of her friends up at 12:45, when school let out, and they've been here doing homework and playing since. Mostly, this worked fine, but they got a little noisy at one point and I was doing my big quarterly accounting... and ugh, my head hurts now. 

The heat is supposed to break over the weekend and that will be nice. Now, on to the links.

First, the self-promotion (and sorta self-promotion):

I'm running a sale on Academaze, Xykademiqz' collection of essays and cartoons about life in academia. The ebook will be $2.99 through next Saturday. The sale price has already gone into effect at Amazon, and GumRoad, and will go into effect at iBooks and Kobo tomorrow. This is a pretty big discount: the usual price is $8.99. 

Reviewers say things like "an absolute must-read for anyone who is either thinking of a career in research or has already embarked on the path" and "Reading Academaze was like having a long chat with a colleague who’d had experiences similar to mine, but actually processed them instead of simply surviving." I am not even in academia and I found things that were inspiring to me (the essay "Ride It Like You Stole It" is one example). I don't run many sales on this title, so grab your discounted copy now!

I have something for people interested in careers outside of academia, too! I finally decided to go ahead and offer an online version of my most popular in person seminar, which is about preparing for and running a non-academic job search. You can sign up for the early bird price of $25 through Wednesday

And that's all the self-promotion. On to the other links!

This first person story about Joe Arpaio's "tent city" jail makes me ashamed. This should not happen. I was glad when he was finally held responsible for a small fraction of the wrong things he'd done. I am furious that he was pardoned.

The pardon of Arpaio makes me glad to see Mueller working with the NY state attorney general

It was also an example of Trump playing to white racial grievances. German Lopez wrote a good explanation of how white identity politics often gets camouflaged as something else, so that even the people motivated by it don't necessarily realize that this is what is motivating them. There are some people who argued with me on Twitter after the election who I wish would read that link. 

If you, like me, have been watching the news out of Texas more than the Russia investigation, here's a nice overview of what happened in the investigation this week.

I liked Henry Grabar's article about bollards. I'd like to see more use of bollards to reclaim space from cars!

Josh Marshall's post about running a business that depends on Google is really good. If you want to think about how the big tech platforms are amassing and using monopoly power, don't miss that post. I have been thinking a lot about how much power Amazon has over my publishing business. I don't have the sophisticated level of thoughts about this that Marshall has about Google, but maybe some day I will. In the meantime, I'm thinking hard about how to insulate my business a bit more from Amazon's clout.

David Roberts wrote a good summary of what we can say about Harvey and climate change. I particularly liked his section about the difference between adapting to climate change and mitigating it.

The Weeds podcast episode about inequality was really interesting and I learned a lot from it.

This tweet made my jaw literally drop open:

As did this one (click through to see the jaw dropper):

I don't know what to do about such aggressive ignorance.

I love this art:

Snuggly bunnies!

That's all for this week. It is almost time for me to go collect Petunia from after care and start our long weekend. Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. The German Lopez article was confusing to me. I understood the point was that people are often motivated by racial resentment but don't want to admit it to themselves.

    But how do we tell the difference between a person whose voting is motivated by racial resentment without realizing it, and someone who genuinely believes in some conservative ideas e.g cutting welfare spending or lowering tax rates or deregulating some industry or setting the minimum wage.

    It's certainly appealing to call everyone who disagrees with me on any topic to be racist, and I've seen a few articles in the NYT and liked to by Facebook friends that basically do that, but that seems lazy and not right either.

    1. I don't feel the need to tell the difference between those two groups of voters. I disagree with their economic ideas, too, and will argue on those points if appropriate. But many people tried to tell us after the election that economic issues were the primary motivation of a lot of Trump voters, and study after study is contradicting that idea.

      I'd say the voters who genuinely believe in conservative ideas are the ones who need to answer the question of what differentiates them from their fellow party members who are motivated by racial resentment, because that answer will guide them in deciding how to respond to the situation their party is in, and the situation their party has put the country in. I know there are white conservatives who are not any more racist than I am (which is to say: actively trying to counteract our ingrained racial biases). I am friends with some. They feel politically homeless right now, and I have a lot of sympathy for that feeling. But the question is what happens next? Do the conservatives who reject racism try to take their party back? I honestly haven't seen signs of that happening. There have been some op-eds and talk, but is anyone primarying any sitting Republican congresspeople to try to steer the Republican party away from its decades long reliance on racial dog whistles? Iowa Rep. Steve King would be an obvious target of anyone wanting to start kicking white supremacists out of their party. Why don't the not-racist Republicans recruit someone to primary him? I haven't seen any primary threats from the non-racist side, just from the Trump side (e.g., going after Flake). In fact, there was someone here in San Diego who was going to challenge Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in the primary, and the Republican party instead convinced him to run against my representative, who is a Democrat. Even among the "never Trump" commentaries, I haven't seen much reckoning with the decades of dog whistles that made the party vulnerable to the rise of overt racists within their ranks. I haven't seen much reckoning with the fact that so many of the young neo-Nazis are in college Republican groups, for instance. Why do young neo-Nazis think the Republican party is their political home?

      So I guess I'd say: I agree there are people whose vote for Republicans is motivated by economic issues. But their party has become the political home of a large number of people who are motivated by racial resentment. The signs that this was happening were clear even before the 2016 election. The 2016 election made it much harder to ignore, and yet a lot of Republicans continue to try to ignore it. The sooner a group of Republicans decides to confront the problem and fight to build a truly racially diverse conservative party, the better off our country will be. And I say that as a lifelong Democrat.

      But that work has to come from within the conservative movement. I don't think I need to do it for them. I'll spend my energy on trying to elect Democrats, both because those are the candidates whose views I tend to agree with and because I think the best way those of us outside the conservative movement can help speed the reckoning on racism that needs to happen within that movement is to make it clear that they can't keep winning on racial politics.

    2. Let's be completely honest here. Anybody espousing actual conservative economic values would have voted for HRC and Obama. That's what they ran on. Free trade. Economic policies that economists say work, healthcare created by a conservative think tank. Democrats haven't been economically liberal since before Bill Clinton. And republicans right now... they've thrown economic theory completely out the window. They don't care so long as the richest get tax cuts and minorities and women get put in their place. All of my colleagues, even those who used to identify as conservative Republicans are at a loss as to how to explain what is going on. One party wants a bigger pie with the small pieces not being too small, the other wants a small pie with a few people getting enormous pieces and nobody else getting any. That's not how this is supposed to work.


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