Doggone it!


Possible interruption of service: We may need to replace our complex computer apparatus. If we miss a day or two, that's where we will be.

According to legend, it's always something.


Entire staff

UPDATE! Possibly with our last few viable clicks: As we try to squeeze the last few clicks out of our dying computer systems, we offer some thoughts about we in Our Town just aren't hugely well-liked. 

(In our recent victorious election, our margin in the House seems to have shrunk to a mere three seats.)

Why aren't we better-liked? At a time when people are dying all over the world; at a time when people are dying all over the country; at a time when people are facing terrible economic difficulty, with Trump continuing to act our his growing madness:

At a time like that, we think the Sunday Review section in today's New York Times is astoundingly upper-class/bougie. Why are we doing less well with working-class voters, even now in a wider range of demographics? Take a look at the things we care about at the moment of truth!

Also, this:

We recommend the front-page report in the Sunday Times about the Virginia high school senior who lost her spot in college because of something she said, on one occasion, when she was a high school freshman.

It isn't exactly clear what she said, or who she said it to, or whether that person was offended, or why she said whatever it is she said. But good God! Check out the way we in Our Town set about the mission of killing this particular pig! Based on something she said, on one occasion, when she was a freshman in high school!

In this matter, we fell in line behind the views of another high school kid; he cast himself in the role of the Grand Inquisitor. In our view, his judgment was impossibly bad in this circumstance, but who expects a high school kid to exercise perfect judgment?

Why aren't we better-liked in Our Town? All too often, we're silly and stupid and nobody like us! We've been noting this basic fact all year. Donald J. Trump is completely deranged, but the failures aren't all Over There.


  1. "In our view, his judgment was impossibly bad in this circumstance, but who expects a high school kid to exercise perfect judgment?"

    There are limits. Somerby doesn't tell us what was said or what the context was for that Freshman remark, nor does he tell us the circumstances of that student losing his place in college. So this is a game that only he can play today...

    I recall the girl who had killed her mother while a teen, spent several years in a juvenile corrective facility and then applied to Harvard University. They admitted her, then rescinded the admission when her history of murder was revealed. I remember the controversy because there were folks who argued that youthful offenses should be forgiven and forgotten, because kids are unformed beings.

    I disagree with this. I believe that there are many things that most children will not do under any circumstances. We hope murder is one of them, but there are others too. All kids are pressured to try drugs and alcohol, to shoplift, to engage in online bullying, but only some do such things. There is a difference between those who do and those who do not. I believe that difference is a legitimate selection factor for use by colleges, which largely run on an honor system. Colleges act "in loco parentis" and have a duty to ensure the safety of all young adults entrusted to their care. Part of that is not admitting kids with known moral defects, who have committed acts they should not have done, children or not.

    With the exception of white collar criminals, nearly all ex-cons wise up and stop committing crimes by the time they are 40. Do we excuse their youthful excesses on the basis that they will not be behaving the same way by the time they are 60? I sure wouldn't do that -- Somerby might though, since he has previously said he doesn't believe in incarceration.

    Bad behavior has consequences and this person is suffering some of those consequences. It isn't as though he will not go to college at all. Most community colleges will overlook whatever he said or did. Because he is in a position of relative privilege, Somerby thinks his wrong should be overlooked. That's how privilege works in this world. That's what happens when an Olympic hopeful swimmer is permitted to rape a college student without jail time -- why should his life be spoiled? This is more of the same from Somerby.

    Somerby apparently also believes that words don't matter. I think they do. Somerby won't tell us what he said, because his actions will seem more innocent if we don't have all the facts. Apparently Somerby only feels empathy for young men who appear somewhat similar to himself, since these are the young people he excuses. Too bad his imagination doesn't extend to the people wronged by whatever this young man said. But Somerby doesn't trust us to make a decision knowing the facts, so we can only guess.

    1. It is unclear which kid is which because, while Somerby uses pronouns he and she, he doesn't tell us who did what.

      By calling a boy a Grand Inquisitor (I assume from The Mikado), Somerby imputes something bad to a kid, again without telling us anything about the situation. No youthful lenience for the Grand Inquisitor, it seems.

  2. Trump's refusal to sign the covid relief bill is strictly a power play, an attempt to make himself seem consequential while he feels diminished by his election loss. We are perhaps lucky he is doing this and not something more dangerous to feel important.

    1. Digby says:

      "I suspect that Trump thinks he is negotiating with Republicans to vote against the pro-forma certification of the election on January 6th and hand the presidency to him. He has long said that the way he does a deal is to walk into a room and look across the table, say “Fuck You” and walk back out. I doubt he actually did that. But he may think that he can hold the government and the American people hostage with these two vital bills and blackmail the congress into letting him win the presidency

      Obviously, this is delusional. Nearly insane. But that’s where we are."

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  4. What she said was, "I can drive, n*****s!" after getting her learner's permit to drive, and posted her 3-second self-recording to her SnapChat.

  5. “In our recent victorious election, our margin in the House seems to have shrunk to a mere three seats.”

    Is Somerby now saying that this is because “we” aren’t well-liked? Because a month ago he was singing a different tune:

    “the Dems had a larger turnout advantage last time around. We don't know why it should be surprising to see that this year's electorate gave Democrats fewer House seats.”

    (“Why did Dems lose seats in the House?”

  6. “Why are we doing less well with working-class voters”

    Where are the numbers that prove this assertion?

    If he is talking about Biden, it isn’t obviously true.

    Biden outperformed Hillary with voters making under $100,000. Both Hillary and Biden beat Trump with voters making less than $50,000. Hillary lost the 50-100,000 income range; Biden won it substantially.

    Biden equaled Hillary’s performance with voters who didn’t attend college. Trump did better here than in 2016 because in 2020 he picked up the 3% that went to third party candidates in 2016.

    In fact, Trump did slightly better in most of these categories in 2020 than he did in 2016 because between 3-7% of the vote in 2016 went to other candidates. In 2020, there was no significant third party vote. That 3-7% went to Biden and Trump.

    Does the data I quoted define “working class?” I’d say it’s rather unclear. Perhaps Somerby actually means “white working class”, although the data for that is rather sketchy and hard to find. It’s also an odd way of looking at the working class.

    Somerby is just throwing out his claim without defining his terms or verifying it. Kind of like the pseudoliberal mainstream press likes to do. A claim that I am skeptical of.

    (The numbers are from CNN’s exit polls).

  7. It is unclear why Somerby thinks “we” had anything to do with the circumstance the girl found herself in here. We are not the alumni of her university, we are not outraged Black folk, and we are not on the regents of the University of Kentucky. We are highly unlikely to have given a rat’s ass about this skeevy Black kid and his 3 year old grievance towards a 15 year old girl who misappropriated his culture; we certainly would not have written to her university condemning her, so who is the we in we here?

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