SNAPSHOTS OF A CULTURE: Zingers, small samples, subjective appraisals!


Our culture works like this:
Frankly, we were surprised.

More specifically, we were surprised when we scanned page A3 in today's New York Times.

How strange! According to the daily feature, The Conversation, "Wednesday's most-read article" was this appraisal of Tuesday night's debate. The most-read article was written by Shane Goldmacher and Reid Epstein, a pair of Times reporters.

Why were we surprised to see that this piece was yesterday's most-read article from across the entire sweep of We were surprised because the appraisal of Tuesday night's debate hadn't appeared in our hard-copy Washington Edition of the Times—not in yesterday morning's edition, but also not in today's.

It never appeared in our hard-copy Times! And not only that:

Skillfully taking our business on-line, we scanned the listings for the past two days at the Times' "Today's Paper" site. Wednesday's most-read article isn't listed for yesterday, and it isn't listed today!

How strange! If a Times subscriber works from the on-line Today's Paper site, he or she won't be aware of yesterday's most-read article! In fairness, he or she might be better off, given the highly subjective nature of the highly subjective appraisals offered in that most-read, most-discussed piece.

In fairness, yesterday's most-read article actually does exist. You can peruse it here.

The article features six absurdly subjective "takeaways" offered by the pair of Times reporters. The first four takeaways appear beneath these sub-headlines:
Warren draws fire, for a change
Biden shrinks
Sanders calms concerns post-heart attack
Buttigieg’s biggest night yet
Did Candidate Sanders really "calm concerns" among Democratic voters about his age and his health? Was it really Candidate Buttagieg's "biggest night yet?"

The reporters offered no evidence in support of these claims beyond their own subjective assessments. With respect to Buttagieg, the reporters did offer this:
GOLDMACHER AND EPSTEIN (10/16/19): It was Mr. Buttigieg’s exchange with Ms. Warren over “Medicare for all” that was most memorable, pressing her as she declined to say, yet again, whether her plan would require a middle-class tax increase. (She says her plan would curb middle-class “costs.”)

“A yes-or-no question that did not get a yes-or-no answer,” Mr. Buttigieg said, adding, “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything. Except this.” He rattled off how her plan would “obliterate” the private health insurance of 150 million Americans while pitching his “Medicare for all who want it” alternative.
The reporters made no attempt to elucidate the basic facts involved in this major policy question. To the clownishly limited extent that the Times was prepared to tackle this matter, it was left to a typically hapless, sometimes incoherent "Fact-Checking" piece, which made the feeblest possible attempt to discuss the funding question connected to Warren's proposal.

In this case, the Fact-Checking piece was included in Wednesday's "Today's Paper" listings. That said, it didn't appear in our hard-copy Times, not yesterday and not today. So it goes as the top-ranking paper within mainstream culture attempts to give subscribers the impression that they're being well served.

In fairness, let's say it again—subscribers may be better off if they aren't allowed to see these parodies of journalism. On the other hand, consider what did appear in yesterday's hard-copy "Washington Edition."

Alas! Washingtonians were subjected to this absurdly hackneyed report about the preparation of memorable "zingers" for presidential debates.

Inevitably, it featured President Reagan's 1984 joke about Candidate Mondale's youth and inexperience. Also, Candidate Bentsen's observation that Candidate Quayle was no Jack Kennedy.

Matched with an utterly vacuous quiz about this gruesome campaign to date ("Test Yourself On the Race/How closely have you been paying attention to the campaign so far?"), this utterly vacuous evergreen piece, fluffed out by a trio of cartoon-bubble enhanced photographs, consumed the whole of yesterday's page A14.

In today's Times, a letter writer complains about the vacuous content of this "zinger" feature. Most likely, he doesn't know how lucky he is to have been spared exposure to the paper's Fact-Checking piece.

The IQ of our mainstream political journalism is extremely low. As an example of what we mean, consider the way Monica Hesse opens her column about Tuesday's debate in this morning's Washington Post.

In fairness to Hesse, she's been saddled with the task of being the Post's "first gender columnist." Routinely, this leaves her with nothing to say and a contractual obligation to say it.

Below, you see the type of non-analysis analysis her editors were willing to publish today. It appeared beneath this hard-copy headline: Does Mayor Pete sound assertive or...shrill?
HESSE (10/17/19): Apparently Pete Buttigieg had a bang-up debate performance Tuesday, at least according to many political pundits. Meanwhile, as I was skimming a CNN recap that placed the South Bend, Ind., mayor atop a list of “winners,” I was also talking with an old friend who had this to say:

“Ugh. When did Mayor Pete become that dude who throws you under the bus
once you learn only one of you gets the Rotary scholarship?”

Some of his debate performance was inspired,
like his retort to Tulsi Gabbard: “You take away the honor of our soldiers, you might as well go after their body armor next.” That’s a heck of a line. But I’ve always admired Buttigieg’s generally thoughtful, calming manner—and Tuesday wasn’t that. “I don’t need lessons from you on courage,” he scornfully told Beto O’Rourke. His signature move was to sanctimoniously claim he was above all this scrapping, while actively participating in the scrapping.

My sample size is tiny and unscientific, but when I floated this irritation online, the people who agreed were mostly women. Men either hadn’t noticed Buttigieg’s tonal shift or they liked it: His newfound aggressiveness came across to them as smart debate strategy for a guy who needs to make a fast surge in the polls.
Her sample size was tiny. But within that tiny, unscientific sample, the people who agreed with her were "mostly" women!

Stating the obvious, this tiny sample tells us nothing—nothing at all—about the way women in general reacted, or about the extent to which women's reactions compared to those of men.

Did the candidate's approach on Tuesday night "come across to" men "as smart debate strategy?" Did it come across that way to more than a handful of men? To any men at all?

Did it "come across" that way to a smaller percentage of women? Stating the obvious, Monica Hesse's tiny sample can't answer any of these questions. Indeed, as she and her editor hopefully know, her tiny, unscientific sample can't tell us anything at all.

Her sample isn't simply tiny; as described, her "sample" is utterly useless. It isn't really a "sample" at all in any clear sense of the term. But so it goes as our ranking newspapers pretend to talk about politics.

At any rate, so what? Saddled with her ongoing assignment, Hesse flounders forward from there, sampling the standard stereotypical claims which make up a great deal of modern political journalism.

Her analysis isn't any such critter. Like much that has appeared in the Times in the past two days, it's a parody of journalism.

Hesse's utterly useless piece appears on the front page of today's high-profile Style section. It shares the page with a column by Margaret Sullivan in which Warren is praised for failing to answer the obvious question about funding which she was asked, again and again, at Tuesday's debate.

The bulk of the page is consumed by this report about Candidate Booker's movie star apparent girl friend. The movie star in question has long been a bright and impressive person, but the sheer stupidity of all this journalism is its defining characteristic.

Within our tribe's mainstream culture, we've long claimed that we "educated" liberals are the very smart people, as opposed to all the bumpkins found in places like Clinton, Arkansas. Tomorrow, we'll turn to a letter in the New York Times which used that very word.

Concerning the question posed to Warren, we'll recommend Ronald Brownstein's sobering report in The Atlantic. For the record, Brownstein is reporting basic facts. He's only "doing President Trump’s work for him" (Sullivan) or "trafficking in Republican talking points" to the many people within our own tribe who have no apparent idea of the way reality tends to work.

(As a nominee, Warren will be pounded on this question whether it's raised now or not.)

As Micheal Tomasky has now acknowledged, our leading candidates are a scarily underwhelming bunch. Luckily, the nominee will likely be running against Donald J. Trump, who's increasingly visibly crazy.

This means that there remains a chance that our nominee will win. Of course, it also means that the other guy might yet blow up the whole world.

Sullivan praises Warren for refusing to answer the world's most obvious policy question. Yesterday, the New York Time offered an utterly useless "fact-check" of the matter at hand.

Our liberal tribe's culture is very dumb, destructively so, and it has been for a long time. It's a fact we prove, again and again, as we keep complaining about all the self-defeating bumpkins who can be found Over There.

Tomorrow: Four out of five annoyed subscribers simply can't be wrong


  1. "Skillfully taking our business on-line, we scanned the listings for the"

    Someone should remind Somerby that it is important to spell things right when searching.

    1. If you search for "6 takeaways" you get a list of different takeaway article and the one for the October debate appears quite a ways down the list because it is alphabetical (May comes before October, for example).

      So, Somerby is incorrect that the "most read" article is not listed. This "6 takeaways" is apparently a series of ongoing articles and that made finding this particular one difficult.

      But if Somerby has the least smarts, he should have found it. But I suspect he is more concerned with zingers against the NY Times, than with substantive criticism these days. And this is a pretty stupid criticism, in my opinion.

    2. ' if Somerby has the least smarts'

      Did you use Somerby and smart in the same sentence ?

    3. This is a funny line, actually, speaking of zingers:

      “Ugh. When did Mayor Pete become that dude who throws you under the bus once you learn only one of you gets the Rotary scholarship?”

      I had the same reaction to him. Mr. Organization Man.

  2. "Of course, it also means that the other guy might yet blow up the whole world."

    Yeah, right. The guy who ends wars is gonna blow up the whole world. And your war-mongering liberal zombie cult that can't stop squealing every time a military confrontation is avoided is going to save the whole world.

    Talk about "visibly crazy", dear Bob. Were you typing this drivel while looking in the mirror?

  3. Here is another example of Somerby's hostility toward women and women's issues:

    "In fairness to Hesse, she's been saddled with the task of being the Post's "first gender columnist." Routinely, this leaves her with nothing to say and a contractual obligation to say it."

    Substitute the words "civil rights" for "gender" and see how this sounds.

    1. Ooh! Can I play? -- substitute the words "murder advocating" for gender and see how this sounds.

      This is fun!

    2. Typically literal. The point is that women's issues are civil rights issues, not that you can substitute any phrase you want.

      If you doubt that women's issues are civil rights issues, say so and argue that point. Otherwise you are just being an obtuse jerk.

    3. Jerk, sure. It's a fair cop.

      There's no doubt that many women's issues are civil rights issues and no doubt that a journalist can do valuable work reporting on issues of civil rights that affect women -- reproductive rights, pervasive harassment in employment, etc.

      Substitute "columnist" for reporter and "gender" for "civil rights" and you get the kind of grievance maundering that TDH quotes.

      My point is that content beats "how it sounds," and I expect you knew that but decided to miss it anyway.

      Also you got to call me a name. Which is OK by me.

    4. Like the pay gap, the notion that women are subjected to pervasive harassment at work is a pleasing tribal myth that We Liberals tell ourselves.

    5. Better trolling please.

    6. Hardly the same thing, that substitution.

  4. "Her sample size was tiny. But within that tiny, unscientific sample, the people who agreed with her were "mostly" women!

    Stating the obvious, this tiny sample tells us nothing—nothing at all—about the way women in general reacted, or about the extent to which women's reactions compared to those of men."

    Sample sizes for surveys and polls in the social sciences run in the thousands. "Tiny" in this case is a pretty meaningless term and could range from 5 to 100, but if it were the latter then Somerby's complaint would be pretty silly.

    Is Hesse supposed to rush out and sample 1000 people overnight so that she can avoid saying that her sample was unscientific? She includes the needed caveats about her speculation, but Somerby STILL has to castigate her for it. That's because he has a hard-on (and not the good kind) for female journalists. If 75 out of a 100 complaints about Buttigieg were from women, it would still be a tiny sample and it would still be unscientific, but wouldn't it be worth pointing out as support for HER OWN OPINION, clearly stated as an opinion?

    Somerby is just being an ass today.

    1. She says she floated the idea online. She could have sent it to hundreds that way. If the ones who emailed back were largely female, that does say something because there is a selection bias, especially if there were more men than women on her distribution list.

      As she says, this is unscientific, but not an unsound way to take a quicky poll of people and test the waters.

      Why is her opinion, as someone sensitive to gender issues, invalid unless it is supported by the unwashed public?

      This is more of the death of expertise encouraged by Republicans. It is also an example of the invalidation of women's opinions that is routine in all fields. She is automatically wrong unless some large number of others agree with her.

    2. 'Somerby is just being an ass today.'

      not just today, but everyday.

    3. As she says, this is unscientific, but not an unsound way....


      Oh, wait. You're serious. Never mind.

    4. deadrat, you are obviously untrained in scientific methods because if you were trained you would understand that there are a variety of ways of doing research, each with different purposes and capable of yielding different types of information. None of them provides certainty and the best that research hopes for is converging evidence and reliability of findings. So when you (and Somerby) pretend that unless someone has done a large-scale survey, they can know nothing, you reveal your ignorance and your motive to discredit something you disagree with or find uncomfortable to acknowledge as a possibility.

      Bwahaha is not an actual comment, by the way. It makes you sound like a braying donkey.

    5. I think I figured out my pronouns: I/me/mine

    6. Please, Anonymous @2:25P,

      You know nothing about my training in scientific methods, and you still wouldn’t if I told you on this forum. Suffice it to say that my uncouth outbreak of derisive laughter has nothing to do with the “variety of ways of doing research.” Which phrasing leads me to believe you know less than I do on the topic.

      This isn’t about “certainty” or “reliability” or the convergence thereof, and nobody, least of all me, is pretending that you can’t know anything unless you do “a large-scale survey.”

      The kind of nonsense under discussion should be relegated to the Op-Ed pages to keep company with the rest of the nonsense and right-wing foolishness that the NYT cultivates there. When it comes to polling a population on issues of perception, unscientific is synonymous with unsound. Saying “unscientific yet not unsound” is like saying “definitive yet tentative.”

      Bwahaha is not an actual comment, by the way.

      Really? By the standards of this commentariat?

      It makes you sound like a braying donkey.

      Sorry, I’ll try to do better.

    7. I can tell that you know nothing about scientific method because of the stupid things you say about it.

      There is no such thing as convergence of reliability or certainty (your statement above), for example.

      You are faking it and think that a loud voice is a substitute for actual knowledge. You contribute nothing useful to discussions here.

    8. Sorry, Sparky, but you lost me at "I can tell."

      As for convergence, I was making fun of you.

      I'm not faking anything, because I'm not claiming any particular expertise. You are, and perhaps that's true as unlikely as it seems from your comments here.

      If you don't find my contributions "useful," like say, pointing out the oxymoronic idea of "unscientific yet sound," then don't read my comments. Easy.

    9. Science is a recent invention. Sound knowledge existed before science.

    10. Science is a recent invention.

      What's your time scale? Geologic? Modern science got its start almost 500 years ago.

      Sound knowledge existed before science.

      Like heliocentrism, the universal laws of motion, the germ theory of disease, evolution by natural selection, and plate tectonics? Do tell.

      How about trolling? When did that exist?

    11. The biggest troll on this board goes by the name Bob Somerby.

  5. It does bug me that an article on gender issues during a political debate is relegated to the Style section.

    Yes, that is where women are more likely to see it, but are women the only people concerned about women's issues? If men are unconcerned, how will change occur?

    Somerby is not only unconcerned about differential responses to tone of voice between men and women in debates, but he ridicules the topic. He is derisive.

    Tone is why Hillary was called shrill, no matter how she spoke. Buttigieg behaved more aggressively, so men think he is a better debater, but if women consider him strident, doesn't that matter given that our electorate is 50% female?

    Did any more men consider Hillary a nag, than women consider Buttigieg annoying? Did Somerby call for a bigger sample when the complaints against Hillary were being laughed about and used to mock her? No, every man knew what was being said, because they feel that way about their own wives from time to time, and thus Hillary was being gender stereotyped and the electorate was reminded that she is a girl and girls don't win elections.

    But with Buttigieg, men hear greater manliness in his more aggressive tone while women hear something less positive. But women who point that out are ridiculed by Somerby as manufacturing an issue where there is none, because women's reactions don't count.

    And this is another example of why Somerby has problems with women. At heart, he doesn't care about them or their opinions and certainly not their issues or needs.

    1. If men are unconcerned, how will change occur?

      It won’t. That’s because we still own everything.

      No, every man knew what was being said, because they feel that way about their own wives from time to time,….

      Every man? How about the bachelors?

      But with Buttigieg, men hear greater manliness in his more aggressive tone….

      Even the homophobes? You know Buttigieg is gay, right?

      Did Somerby call for a bigger sample when the complaints against Hillary were being laughed about and used to mock her?

      But he went after Dowd for her gender-based attacks on Clinton, and he excoriated the cowards in the press corp for not standing up to Dowd.

      Somerby has problems with women.

      Could it be that you have problems with men? Or maybe it’s just problems with making sense.

    2. Yes, even the homophobes, which is why he is doing it. He is butching up.

      Dowd didn't make those remarks, men did. It is no surprise when Somerby goes after a female journalist, including Dowd (who deserves it).

      If you want to claim that I have problems with men, provide some examples, as I have been doing here regularly with regards to Somerby.

      But it is entirely consistent that YOU would want to make this personal instead of joining the discussion.

    3. Sorry, but homophobes don’t see past the gay. Thanks for pointing out that Buttigieg was “butching up.” He could be sincere; he could be playing a political game, but for you, he was trying to cover for being a sissy queer. Nice.

      Dowd’s misogynistic columns are well known. She did make those remarks. And TDH called her out on them, and he included in his condemnation everyone who stayed silent. Including men. But, that’s not good enough for you, ‘cause you know he has a problem with women.

      If you want to claim that I have problems with men, provide some examples, as I have been doing here regularly with regards to Somerby.

      First of all, it’s just a question. I don’t have any information about you, so I can’t make any conclusions about your personal preferences and motivations. But you jumped to the conclusion that I had. And it seems you didn’t like it much. Can you draw the obvious lesson here, or do I have to use crayons?

      The only examples you provide here are examples of your own inability to stop reading other people’s minds. The only “discussion” I want to have is the one where you’re called on to defend your magical powers.

    4. TDH defends men such as Donald Trump and Roy Moore who abuse women. Nuff' said

    5. Bob Woodward originated the shrill voice complaint against Hillary.

      Keith Olbermann said Hillary should be taken into a room and not come out again.

      Neither of those men is Maureen Dowd. Dowd is definitely a misogynist and she called Hillary Shrillary, after Clinton said she "found her voice" in New Hampshire. She also called Clinton Sybil. But so did Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan among others.

      I do recall Somerby attacking Dowd, but I do not remember him calling out the rest of the misogynistic attacks on Clinton, at the time or since. I know that he never spoke out against Jon Favreau, Obama's speech-writer who sexually assaulted a cut out of Clinton and spread the photo all over the internet. I know he never spoke out about the Bernie Bros who attacked Clinton in bizarre and extreme ways during the primaries. So I consider Somerby to be more interested in criticizing Dowd and Gail Collins than in combating sexism against Clinton. No props for going after Dowd. Attacking a woman who hates another woman is not a defense of women in general.

    6. By God, you’re right! TDH should be writing in “defense of women in general” and not what he wants to write about.

      Do you think we can get our money back?

    7. You made a mistake and now YOU resort to sarcasm. Just admit you were wrong and move on.

      TDH will never write anything positive about women because it exists to attack female journalists for the sin of getting an Ivy League education. And when he isn't attacking journalists, he fixates on female professors who committed the sin of being good enough to work in physics or philosophy and write books about those topics. This is all he wants to write about, but you think there is a universe in which he would be regarded as a champion of women?

      This is a complaint about you, not Somerby, since you suggested he was defending women when he attacked Dowd (another woman who has the gall to write a newspaper column for which she won a Pulitzer prize).

      You seize on something trivial, say something ridiculous about it, then pile on vitriol when people try to engage with you. Now you are changing the subject. Don't you have a better hobby than writing this crap and dumping it all over others?

    8. You made a mistake and now YOU resort to sarcasm.

      Half right (the second half). I believe that sarcasm is a useful tool to highlight the blathering of people who won’t make sense. People like you.

      I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong because that’s a common place in the human condition. But my claim is that what you write is uninformed, overblown, foolish, and ignorant. And about that claim, I’m not wrong.

      I’m not even sure what you think I’m mistaken about. Is it that “TDH will never write anything positive about women”? Not my claim. I don’t know whether he will or not. TDH doesn’t write much positive about anyone.

      Is it that TDH was “defending women when he attacked Dowd”? Not my claim. I think that was a defense of one woman, Hillary Clinton.

      If your claims weren’t so absurdly out of line, it wouldn’t be so bad that you’re wrong about the most basic things. For instance

      You complain about Keith Olbermann, but in 2012 TDH was already on the case saying, “Over the first dozen years of its life, MSNBC was, without any question, Misogyny Central in the world of cable ‘news.’” He took both Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews to task.

      [TDH] fixates on female professors who committed the sin of being good enough to work in physics or philosophy and write books about those topics.

      Who are these female physics professors? The last time TDH went on an Einstein-made-easy rant, he criticized Carlo Rovelli and his book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

      Who are these female philosophy professors? The last time TDH went on a philosophy-made-easy rant, it was about Wittgenstein. His target was Anthony Kenny.

      But your claims to insight are patently absurd. You can tell that Buttigieg was “butching up” [sic] and why he was doing so. You know what all men feel about their wives. You know what men hear. And, of course, you know all about Somerby’s “problems with women.”

      You seize on something trivial, say something ridiculous about it, then pile on vitriol when people try to engage with you.

      In the context of this trivial blog, my comments about your argumentation are not trivial. And do you even know what the word vitriol means? Nothing I’ve written is in the last disparaging of anything but your argument.

      Don't you have a better hobby…?

      No, and right back atcha, sister.

    9. 'TDH doesn’t write much positive about anyone.'

      He positively defends Donald Trump, Ron Johnson and Roy Moore.

  6. When Trump promised us a perfect health care plan, I don't recall anyone asking him how he would pay for it. He couldn't even tell us what it would be.

    Different standards for Democrats than for Republicans, obviously, and different standards for female than for male candidates. Who was asking Bernie this question in 2008 or 2016?

    1. Actually, I don't recall anyone asking him what the fucking plan was to begin with.

  7. When Biden was attacked for his stance on busing, Somerby argued that this would not likely be an issue during the general election.

    These pie-in-the-sky health care plans are not likely to be enacted in any form like the original plans of any of the liberal candidates. That makes it just as obviously a way to differentiate candidates and not a real issue, as Biden's views on integration were a proxy for his views on civil rights.

    But Somerby thinks this matters when it comes to Warren, while these non-issues don't matter for Biden. Why?

    1. Busing in the 1970s doesn't matter as an issue today.

      Health care is an issue right now.

      Get it?

    2. You asshole, busing is an issue today because segregation is an issue today. Forced busing doesn't seem to be anything anyone has the stomach for, but there is voluntary busing going on all over the country, to achieve greater integration.

      Get it yourself? But the point of asking Biden about his past views is to determine his current views, which are revealed in whatever he says about both his past and current position on busing (as proxy for integration/segregation of schools).

      He is lucky they aren't asking him about Black Lives Matter.

      And here you are, right on cue, arguing that Biden should get a pass because he is so old that his past mistakes shouldn't count.

    3. I may be an asshole, but at least I know what I’m talking about.

      Racial isolation is an issue today. Busing isn’t. That’s because the Supreme Court put an end to the kind of busing that could change patterns of school attendance. There’s simply no way to legally enforce cross-district busing, which history says white parents will go to just about any length to avoid. And that’s in places like Detroit where there are enough white students around but out of reach.

      If someone wants to know Biden’s current position on busing, all they have to do is ask. They’ll find out that he, like everyone he’s debating, is against large-scale busing plans that are doomed to fail in court.

      I don’t think Biden should get a pass because he’s too old. In fact, I think his candidacy should be rejected because he’s too old. If you want to hold Biden’s 1970’s profile in cowardice against him, that’s fine with me. Just don’t pretend it has any relevance to the state of affairs today.

    4. As literal as you tend to be, it would be surprising if you found anything relevant to anything else.

      "No, this penny is not the same as that one. See this one has a smudge and a nick on the edge and that one is nearly new and shiny. They are not the same at all."

    5. No, this penny is not the same as that one.

      So nothing substantive to say in reply, then?

      Imagine my surprise. What's the emoji for contempt?

      Never mind. I'm too old for emojis.

    6. deadrat, I disagree with everything you said. As I said, many school districts are using voluntary busing and incentives such as magnet schools to achieve greater integration, but manifestly, this is a current issue because it is being discussed widely within the education community and outside it (vis the NY Times articles and Diblasio's efforts).

      You don't know what you are talking about so there is no point in trying to discuss anything with you. It is all word games and nonsense.

    7. deadrat, I disagree with everything you said.

      That’s fine. It would be nice, however, if you could back up that disagreement with some argument.

      As I said, many school districts are using voluntary busing

      This assumes facts not in evidence, but suppose you’re right. Voluntary busing is not what Biden’s accusers say he opposed. They take him to task for siding with the segregationists in the Senate in the 1970s when they fought mandatory busing.

      and incentives such as magnet schools to achieve greater integration

      Magnet schools are not busing, and as far as I know nobody, including Joe Biden, opposes magnet schools. This is from Biden’s education policy:

      As President, Biden will reinstate Department of Education guidance that supported schools in legally pursuing desegregation strategies and recognized institutions of higher education’s interests in creating diverse student bodies. And, he will provide grants to school districts to create plans and implement strategies to diversify their schools.

      Back to @7:31P:

      [T]his is a current issue because it is being discussed widely within the education community and outside it (vis the NY Times articles and Diblasio's efforts).

      If by “this,” you mean the increasing racial isolation in many urban school districts, then that’s true. What’s not true is that busing has much traction as a current issue or that Biden’s stance in the 1970s tells us much about his education policies today.

      You don't know what you are talking about

      Oh, don’t you dare unless you can actually counter what I write with more than your naked disagreement.

      so there is no point in trying to discuss anything with you. It is all word games and nonsense.

      As always, it’s up to you, Brave Sir Robin. But before you go, how about trying to marshal an argument against what I actually write? You could start with Milliken v Bradley, 418US717 (1974). But as I said, it’s up to you.

  8. Is the Sullivan that Somerby refers to Andrew Sullivan or Jake Sullivan. If it is Andrew, why is Somerby quoting Republicans again?

    1. There are too many damn Sullivans in the media.

  9. Yes, Brownstein’s report is “sobering” because it is reporting basic facts.

    And Tomasky has acknowledged that “our leading candidates are a scarily underwhelming bunch.”

    See, those are just the facts, not opinion, or right-wing talking points.

    Don’t you get that, libs?

  10. 'Within our tribe's mainstream culture'

    You mean your tribe of clueless, lying, Trumpanzees ?

  11. Hack alert:


    2. Bruenig says about the Atlantic article: "At no point do the authors of this study claim they are scoring Medicare for All and they explicitly say they are scoring their own single payer plan that differs from Medicare for All. The untrustworthiness of the liberal media yet again on this @RonBrownstein"

  12. “(As a nominee, Warren will be pounded on this question whether it's raised now or not.)”

    Bernie has clearly stated that everyone’s taxes will go up, and that insurance companies will be wiped out. He will get pounded about *that*, as another tax-and-spend liberal, even worse because he is a Democratic Socialist, not a decent mainstream American. And they will deride him for making money off a book while being a socialist.

    Biden will be pounded about his gaffes and the troubling appearance of corruption by himself and his son in Ukraine

    Warren will be pounded as a phony Indian, and as a shrill school marm tax-and-spend liberal, who won’t tell us she’s a tax-and-spend liberal, and whose ideas will be described, not as positive aspirational goals, but leftist fantasies.

    Harris will be pounded for being a former prosecutor, which means she is a traitor to liberal values.

    O’Rourke will be pounded as an unconstitutional gun-grabber.

    Any liberal promoting the Green New Deal or really any plan to fight climate change will be grilled about the funding, and dismissed if the media doesn’t like the numbers.

    And on it goes. It really doesn’t matter who the candidate is. They, meaning the GOP’s enablers in the mainstream media, like Bob’s new favorite Ruth Marcus, (see yesterday’s post), will write op-ed after op-ed telling Democrats how their candidates are failing, and, as with Hillary, so with whomever the nominee is, that nominee will receive the Al Gore treatment. This will especially be the case at the New York Times.

    That Somerby now agrees with the same media know-nothings, the “pseudoliberal careerists” he once railed at, is further evidence of his transformation into a media scold himself.

    1. 'That Somerby now agrees with the same media know-nothings, the “pseudoliberal careerists” he once railed at, is further evidence of his transformation into a media scold himself. '

      Actually, it's evidence of his transformation into a clueless, lying, Trumpanzee

  13. What hardindr pointed out is really important , in two ways.

    First, he points out that Brownstein’s article, that Somerby claims contains “sobering facts”, is actually a bait and switch:

    “The Urban Institute, a center-left think tank highly respected among Democrats, is projecting that a plan similar to what Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are pushing would require $34 trillion in additional federal spending over its first decade in operation.”

    A plan “Similar to” Bernie’s/Warren’s plan? Excuse me?

    Second, it shows that Somerby doesn’t even do basic due diligence as a media critic to view Brownstein’s report with a critical eye. He just buys into it to further the critique of Warren.

  14. Thanks for the links, hardinder. BTW, I count deadrat at 16-0 in the comment section.


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