Meet the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Senate just confirmed a top women’s rights attorney to the second highest court.
A new species of cockroach that can withstand freezing temperatures has taken up residence in New York, scientists confirmed. Read more
Just in time for Christmas… creepy!
Hmmm…the Snowden disclosures have now jumped the shark.American and British spies have infiltrated online fantasy games, fearing that militants could use them to communicate, move money or plot attacks, documents show.
Its existence is fairly well known in Washington — there’s even an Amazon show about it — but this week Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Dick Durbin and Rep. George Miller opened up their D.C. frat house to CNN, and things got weird.
via Bootleg Bart, probably my favorite account on Instagram.
Politics is a game, though. It’s a game with very serious consequences, sure. But, as I’ve said before, a rational, logical way of determining how to distribute limited resources (which is what politics is, at its heart) would involve people shooting one another in the street, and so we make up the game of politics to resolve conflicts over who gets what without people shooting one another in the street. Politics has been shockingly successful in this regard, all things considered.
The thing that drives me nuts about the way we cover politics (which Halperin and Heilemann’s books perfectly exemplifies) is that we’re supposed to take the game super seriously. Certainly the players in the game are going to take it seriously. That is what game players do, otherwise they would not win. But we are the audience to electoral politics. We can take the game any way we want. And if we recognize that it’s a game, why not take it playfully? Why not recognize that some of these things are ludicrous and lightly mock them while nevertheless recognizing that they have real consequences for the players?
For instance, Kinsey’s review rightfully indicts Double Down for describing as “verbal seppuku” Rick Perry’s statement in favor of “children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own.” Clearly Perry violated a rule: in the subgame of Republican primaries from 2004 to the present, taking a stance in favor of undocumented immigrants will result in you losing points. But Perry made the choice to do so, and to regard it as obviously wrong-headed is to take the rules far too seriously as an observer. Politics is a game in which the rules are always up for debate, and Perry’s move was, in some way, an argument for changing that rule. As a move in the game, it was an unsuccessful one. But that was not necessarily obvious at the time he made it.
Being playful about the game would admit that possibility, and resist the impulse to read the past in terms of the conventional wisdom of the present—since it would recognize that the conventional wisdom is always going to shift. Actually covering politics as a game would involve not seeing it as a fixed and certain thing, but a realm where our consensus about what’s true shifts nearly daily. And that would throw into dispute the sense that political coverage always seeks to convey: that you really can know what’s going on, that you know what’s true and what’s false, that you know who’s winning and who’s losing. While all of this is true in a broad sense (the Democrats are generally winning right now), it’s almost never true in the moment. If we talked about politics as a game, we might be able to see these moment-to-moment moves as displays of players’ skill without any necessary consequence beyond the mere poetry of it all. And that might mean our sense of what is possible in the future would open up.
In one Tumblr post, Barthel completely changed how I’ll read political reporting.
Enjoy the New York Times and their exploitation of people’s fear of unfortunate events on what turned out to be a slow news day. Explaining the victims’ entire life stories is more of a 9/11 thing to do, isn’t it?
I took that train a bunch of times this year and I’m sure to be taking it again soon. It’s safer, per passenger mile traveled, than any other form of transport I could use to get upstate. (All the more that I want this incident thoroughly investigated and reported, preferably with the reporting to FOLLOW the investigation efforts and not precede them) I want the public’s perspective on this incident to be clear, reasonable, and grounded. This is none of that.
BTW I don’t seem to recall these incidents taking over a proportionally larger amount of screen real estate on the Times’ website when they happened. I know that they didn’t disrupt regional transit when they happened. (Ha, like we’d ever have just ONE lane of road coming from densely-populated outer regions of the metropolitan area) I also know the NTSB doesn’t lift a finger when a rogue driver of a private vehicle causes as much injury and death. But that doesn’t mean those incidents shouldn’t matter as much as (we are told that) this one matters. Don’t you agree?
This post is bullshit. It was the city’s biggest rail disaster in two decades; every news editor in the world would (and should) play the story up if it happened on their watch.