MLK: A weekend of insult and tragedy

This morning, (January 14, 2017) the Islamic Center of Eastside in Bellevue, Washington was burned to the ground by vandals.There's a fundraising campaign at to help raise funds to rebuild. Please keep the community in Bellevue in your prayers this weekend.It's no coincidence that this tragedy happened on MLK weekend.How did our president-elect choose to behave on this weekend? Donald J. Trump engaged in a petty and laughably uninformed smear against civil … [Read more...]


The real-world consequences of a president-elect exacerbating via Twitter a diplomatic crisis with China that he initiated by ignoring decades of bipartisan policy with respect to Taiwan aside, this is pretty funny.We would do well not to misunderestimate the damage Trump can do with Twitter. … [Read more...]

elections have consequences

I had predicted a 300 EV win for Hillary Clinton. The final results are not yet in as of 2:00 AM EST, but I'm going to bed as Podesta suggested, and projecting a 290-248 victory for Trump, unless I wake up in the morning to find Clinton somehow swept MI, WI, and PA, all three of which she needs to win as things stand. My final map:Why was I so confident of a Clinton victory? Simply, because I thought fear would be a better motivator than hope. And in hindsight, it's obvious how wrong … [Read more...]

Democracy Savings Time

It is early November, and that means we need to choose. Do we set our clocks forward (Hillary), or backwards (Trump)?The debate over Daylight Savings Time is simple: everyone hates it, but we do it anyway. Honestly, I hate it as much as anyone else, but I still grudgingly accept the necessity now, because there are two alternatives, both of which are worse:1. We abolish DST entirely. This means that in summer, when the kids are off school, it gets dark way too early to fully capitalize … [Read more...]

preview of the 2016 Vice Presidential debates (Pence/Kaine)

Disappointing choice. I had hoped for Cory Booker, personally, even though I strongly disagree with Booker about schools and vouchers. Kaine was the "safe" choice in the sense he won't be very interesting, but the safe choice is also risky, because this election more than any previous one is about the immigrant and diverse identity of America. Further, at least as far as Democrats go, Biden is the first VP in 50 years or more who hasn't gone on to be the Presidential nominee; Kaine is … [Read more...]

The Sparkling Twilight of the GOP

In Macbeth, the tragic hero cynically muses about the meaninglessness of life, the universe and everything:Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.Certainly, politics is a better fit for this sentiment than life. The Republican Convention is the ultimate stage full of fretting and strutting fools, and we watch … [Read more...]

Brexit: Neither an Apocalypse nor an Emancipation

This is a guest post by Conrad Barwa.As a long-time UK resident it is with some concern and disappointment that I watched the news of the Leave campaign having won the Brexit referendum. More alarming has been the hyperbolic statements and reactions by both sides, especially Bremain being the losing one to the result of the vote; in this it reflected the tenor of the campaign which was characterised by a lot of heated propaganda and falsehoods along with fear-mongering and appeals to emotion … [Read more...]

Brexit: Don’t Panic

Are you anxious about Brexit, the World, and Everything? I'll have a guest post up here soon from an actual UK resident that will hopefully assuage your fears. In the meantime, some relevant reading: Referendum on Membership of the European Union: Questions & Answers from Belgium, man, Belgium!Britain's EU Exit: What Comes Next? Don't PanicBoris Johnson: ‘No need for haste’ on pulling UK out of EU Article 50 pr … [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton will escalate in Syria

Russian forces recently bombed our proxy forces - US-supported rebels fighting against Assad - in Syria. Then they denied it. That's the context for this totally unsurprising news:The woman expected to run the Pentagon under Hillary Clinton said she would direct U.S. troops to push President Bashar al-Assad’s forces out of southern Syria and would send more American boots to fight the Islamic State in the region.Michele Flournoy, formerly the third-ranking civilian in the Pentagon u … [Read more...]

Muslims and guns

In the wake of Orlando, let's talk about guns, rights, and social policy.Rights are not given or guaranteed by the Constitution.We like to pretend that they are, or that rights exist and must be protected and asserted to stop others from taking them away. But rights don't exist - they are given, by society. Society decides if you have rights or do not. Alternatively, rights only exist when they are imposed with the power of the State - for example, civil rights were only finally … [Read more...]