Check This Out (Post-2015)

I’m having a hard time loading the current CTO thread, so, if it’s OK, I’m starting a new one.

124 Responses to “Check This Out (Post-2015)”

  1. Reid

    I just read Trump, the University of Chicago and the Collapse of Public Language? from the New Yorker. The point of interest is the last bit–the collapse of public language. I think the author, Nathan Heller, is on to something. I need to think about it more, but I wanted to recommend the article.

    I’ve also wanted to recommend an article on Elon Musk by Tim Urban at his website, Waitbutwhy. It’s a really long article, broken up into four parts. I’m pretty sure Mitchell will like this, and I think Don would, too (if he was motivated to read this). Part one reminds me of the movie about Preston Tucker, the guy who wanted to design, build and sell cars. If you like this movie, and people like Steve Jobs, I think you’ll like this article. Urban is also good at explaining complex ideas in a clear and entertaining fashion.

    (I hope to write about both articles soon.)

  2. Reid

    I want to recommend Vox , which is a news site. I especially like the design of the site, and the emphasis on explaining complex news to readers.

    There are also sister sites like which SB Nation, which has specific fan pages for all the teams of the major sports, and Eater, a site focusing on restaurants in major American cities.

    For SBnation, I’m not sure if the Cowboys page is any good, but the Seahawk page is terrific. There are good articles, which will sometimes including video gifs and the regulars who participate in the comments section are really good. (Mitchell, it’s too bad you don’t like the Seahawks because I think you would love their writing and interacting with the regulars there. They’re some of the most intelligent and nerdy fans I’ve interacted with–and that’s a good thing. They love puns over there, too, and will often talk about sci-fi, science, and a bunch of other things. It’s a really terrific site. By the way, the previous editor, Danny Kelly, now writes at for the Ringer. Sadly, the Raiders site isn’t as good.)

  3. Reid

    Trump, the University of Chicago and the Collapse of Public Language. I thought this article contained some interesting insights.

  4. Reid

    From Jay Rosen’s blog, Pressthing.orgAsymmetry Between the Major Parties Fries the Circuits of the Mainstream Press.

    I plan on writing about this later, but I wanted to get the word out here–especially to Mitchell. This is kind of a “meta”/wonkish post about the press and presidential campaign coverage, which I assume Mitchell would be interesting in.

  5. Mitchell

    I am interested in that topic, but I’ve been reading (and listening to) so much about it lately that I’m not inclined to read much more. I’ll bookmark it and maybe get to it when I’m feeling less down about things.

  6. Reid

    For what it’s worth, I think the article covers issues that go beyond the election, touching on broader principles about our democracy and the role of the press. The topic isn’t really dependent on this specific campaign–I think it’ll be relevant and important after the election as well.

  7. Mitchell

    Yes, I assumed that for some reason, and my saturation is with the broader topic as well. I think you and I run in different online circles; mine is kind of rife with media insiders — I’m not sure how that happened, but there it is. I think we both consume large amounts of media about the media, though, so maybe your just have a higher saturation point than I have.

  8. Reid

    Well, if you’re already familiar with the what Rosen talks about, I’d definitely be interested in hearing your opinion about it (if you’re up to it).

  9. Reid

    I’m not into graphs and charts, but I found this one interesting:

    (Note: In a later tweet, the author notes–“The overall price level would be a flat line at 100.”)

  10. don

    Pretty cool article, thanks.

  11. don

    I think Reid might like this article. Or maybe not.

  12. Reid

    Yeah, that was pretty interesting. Thanks.

  13. Mitchell

    I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon this. Totally forgot this existed, but as soon as it began playing, it all came back to me. Ken Stabler and Dan Fouts.

  14. Reid

    From what I recall, the Raiders could have drafted Fouts. John Robinson urged John Madden to take Fouts, but Madden declined. He would have been a good Raiders QB.

  15. Mitchell

    That was the 1973 draft, where Fouts was taken in the 3rd round (64th overall). Oakland took Ray Guy in round 1, so as weird as it is to say, I doubt they have regrets over getting the Hall-of-Fame punter instead of the Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Oakland’s 2nd round pick was a linebacker named Monte Johnson, who played 8 years in the league, all with the Raiders. That might have been a good place to take him.

    Besides Guy and Fouts, two other Hall-of-Famers were taken in that draft: John Hannah and a Bills guard named Joe DeLamielleure. All but Fouts were first-rounders.

    Actually, a fourth Hall-of-Famer was selected in that draft, in the final (17th) round: Dave Winfield was taken by the Vikings as a tight end, despite never having played college football. Winfield was drafted 4th overall by the Padres after being named the College World Series MVP—as a pitcher. Winfield was also drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Stars (ABA).

    Also in that 1973 draft were some very memorable players from days of our youth: John Matuszak (first overall by the Oilers), Bert Jones, Dave Butz, Otis Armstrong, Sam Cunningham, Chuck Foreman, Billie Joe DuPree, Ron Jaworski, Golden Richards, Harvey Martin, and Terry Metcalfe in the first three rounds.

  16. Reid

    I didn’t realize Fouts came in that early. When did he retire? ’84? ’85? I also didn’t realize Butz came in that early, too. I only remember him in the 80s, although I don’t remember too many Redskins’ player prior to the 80s for some reason.

    By the way, do you remember Bert Jones being really good? I actually remember watching him a few times, but I don’t remember him as being good. And I don’t think it was just because he played on a bad team. I remember Archie Manning, and the Saints might have been worse than the Colts in the mid to late 70s. Then again, I don’t know if Manning was great–I might have just liked him because he could (would) scramble.

  17. Mitchell

    Fouts retired after the 1987 season. In 2009, fans voted him the “greatest Charger of all time,” which I suppose is a predictable outcome. Who else would be serious contenders? Tomlinson and Gates? They were both better at their position than Fouts was at his. Seau?

    No, I don’t remember Bert Jones as being a very good QB. But the Colts seemed to be on TV a lot, and he’s the only guy on that team I remember. He’s the Lynn Dickey of Baltimore.

  18. Reid

    I think I would have Fouts, Seau, Tomlinson over Gates. I might have Kellen Winslow over Gates as well. There’s also Lance Allworth. Phillip Rivers should be considered as well, but he probably shouldn’t beat out the first three I mentioned.

    As for Bert Jones, I recall a few people saying he was really good. But I don’t remember him that way. Dickey, I remember, but he had some good WRs (James Loften and I John Jefferson played on the Packers for bit), but I don’t remember any of the Colts receivers. (Same with the Saints receivers when Manning was there.)

  19. Reid

    Effective ad; effective filmmaking.

  20. Reid

    WSJ‘s The Last Diplomat reads like a John Le Carre novel (or what I imagine it would be like)–low-heat drama, sans explosions, assassinations, car chases, etc. It’s long, but I thought it was good.

  21. Mitchell

    This interview with David Letterman is terrific. He talks a lot about how he would react to the presidency if he still had a show, and you can see the flashes of comedic brilliance.

    For the past several years, I have considered two shows must-see television: The Late Show with David Letterman and SNL. It makes me sad that one of them has been off the air for two years now.

    My favorite bit of the interview is when Letterman shares how he still has dinner with Paul Shaffer about once a month, and they’re still so into each other’s lives that they never talk about the show. They talk about now. I love this image.

    I’m not super familiar with Vulture’s website, but the way it glosses items in the interview, so that you can float your pointer over the footnoted items and see what the note is right there without flipping to the end, is terrific. More websites should do this.

  22. Reid

    I read this. It was pretty good.

  23. Reid

  24. Reid

    Paris Review interview of John McPhee. I love reading interviews; it might be my favorite form. If I were a writer (especially a non-fiction writer), the interview would encourage and inspire me. Indeed, while reading this, I began to feel wish I could do similar type of writing–specifically, where McPhee chooses a topic that interests him, and has the green light to learn and write about that topic. McPhee is a good writer, too, as the interview shows. (Mitchell, I think you will like this, if you haven’t read it; but warning: it is quite long.)

    Excerpts I Liked

    INTERVIEWER: What have been some of the negative influences?

    MCPHEE: They’re too small and too numerous. It’s when you read something that makes your lips curl, something that’s hokey, something that’s too much of an O. Henry ending. Hot-dog stuff, you know. Where you can watch the writer painting his own makeup on as he writes.

    On a book he wrote for college:

    It had a really good structure and was technically fine. But it had no life in it at all. One person wrote a note on it that said, You demonstrated you know how to saddle a horse. Now go find the horse.

    Describing his process after doing the reporting and how this differs from writing fiction

    First thing I do is transcribe my notes. This is not an altogether mindless process. You’re copying your notes, and you get ideas. You get ideas for structure. You get ideas for wording, phraseologies. As I’m typing, if something crosses my mind I flip it in there. When I’m done, certain ideas have accrued and have been added to it, like iron filings drawn to a magnet.
    And so now you’ve got piles of stuff on the table, unlike a fiction writer. A fiction writer doesn’t have this at all. A fiction writer is feeling her way, feeling her way—it’s much more of a trial-and-error, exploratory thing. With nonfiction, you’ve got your material, and what you’re trying to do is tell it as a story in a way that doesn’t violate fact, but at the same time is structured and presented in a way that makes it interesting to read.
    I always say to my classes that it’s analogous to cooking a dinner. You go to the store and you buy a lot of things. You bring them home and you put them on the kitchen counter, and that’s what you’re going to make your dinner out of. If you’ve got a red pepper over here—it’s not a tomato. You’ve got to deal with what you’ve got. You don’t have an ideal collection of material every time out.

    (INTERVIEWER asks, “What happens next?”)

    You write a lead. You sit down and think, Where do I want this piece to begin? What makes sense? It can’t be meretricious. It’s got to deliver on what you promise. It should shine like a flashlight down through the piece. So you write a beginning. Then you go back to your notes and start looking for an overall structure. It’s three times as easy if you’ve got that lead.
    Once I’ve written the lead, I read the notes and then I read them again. I read them until they’re coming out my ears. Ideas occur, but what I’m doing, basically, is looking for logical ways in which to subdivide the material. I’m looking for things that fit together, things that relate. For each of these components, I create a code—it’s like an airport code. If a topic is upstate New York, I’ll write UNY or something in the margin. When I get done, the mass of notes has some tiny code beside each note. And I write each code on an index card.

    There are good anecdotes and good insights into writing. It’s a really good interview if you’re interested in writing.

  25. Reid

    From Honolulu Magazine: The Last Days of Club Hubba Hubba

    People like Mitchell and I will remember the club during our days of catching the bus home on Hotel Street. Of course, during those days, I never went in the place, nor would I want to. What exactly was the place like? The article above gives a pretty good description for those interested in the answer.

  26. Reid

    I didn’t realize Arjay and Tara’s son, Kainoa was a talented artist. (I really like his art.)

  27. Reid

    This twitter handle is pretty funny.

    (The person apparently running it actually does regularly tweet. An automated feature would to do this would be cool, but I think someone is manually tweeting. Pretty funny.)

  28. Reid

    So You Want to Reform Democracy is an interesting article by Josh Tauberer (never heard of him; got a link to the article from someone I follow on twitter). I may write something about it later. I’m not sure if you guys would be interested, although maybe Mitchell might have a better chance, since the article touches on using technology to help improve democracy.

  29. Reid

    From The Atlantic: What in the World is Causing the Global Retail Meltdown of 2017 by Derek Thompson.

    There are some obvious causes (e.g., online shopping), but there are some interesting insights into this. For example, spending on restaurants and traveling seem strong. Social media might be a factor:

    There is a social element to this, too. Many young people are driven by the experiences that will make the best social media content—whether it’s a conventional beach pic or a well-lit plate of glistening avocado toast. Laugh if you want, but these sorts of questions—“what experience will reliably deliver the most popular Instagram post?”—really drive the behavior of people ages 13 and up. This is a big deal for malls, says Barbara Byrne Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a real-estate analytics firm. Department stores have failed as anchors, but better food, entertainment, and even fitness options might bring teens and families back to struggling malls, where they might wander into brick-and-mortar stores that are currently at risk of closing.

    Also, Thompson cautions that what we see now may not be the end. To think about this, he makes cites a way automated vehicles may change retail in the future:

    Once autonomous vehicles are cheap, safe, and plentiful, retail and logistics companies could buy up millions, seeing that cars can be stores and streets are the ultimate real estate. In fact, self-driving cars could make shopping space nearly obsolete in some areas. CVS could have hundreds of self-driving minivans stocked with merchandise roving the suburbs all day and night, ready to be summoned to somebody’s home by smartphone. A new luxury-watch brand in 2025 might not spring for an Upper East Side storefront, but maybe its autonomous showroom vehicle could circle the neighborhood, waiting to be summoned to the doorstep of a tony apartment building. Autonomous retail will create new conveniences and traffic headaches, require new regulations, and inspire new business strategies that could take even more businesses out of commercial real estate.

  30. Reid

    Tips on Reading Stories About Drugs and Drug Addiction

  31. Reid

    The Atlantic had a good review of cookbooks. I really liked what the author was looking for:

    Short of enrolling in a cooking school, is there not a more direct, less haphazard way to arrive at a fuller idea of the theory behind good cooking? One gets the sense that chefs and cookbook authors are in possession of some magnificent guidebook full of culinary insights, consulting it to construct their dishes and revealing its secrets to everyday cooks only in fragments. No book could live up to that hyperbolic image, but I was still surprised, after roughly a year of searching, to find that there are very few books that concisely articulate the concepts that underlie good cooking, in a way that neither patronizes nor overwhelms. One might call what I was looking for “a metacookbook”—a book not about a certain cuisine or style of cooking, but about cooking itself—and I found good ones to be surprisingly rare.

    I’m not sure he finds this books, but he does find one he really liked.

  32. Reid

    Interesting Graph

    I assume this graph reflects national averages–housing costs have actually decreased, which surprised me.

  33. don

    Actually the graph says, “Changes in prices relative to a 23% increase in prices for all items”, so the prices of housing may have gone up, but just not up 23% right? Or am I reading this incorrectly?

  34. Reid

    I wasn’t entirely sure that that meant. My understanding is that the black horizontal line is “0”–anything above that means the costs increases, while anything below represents a decrease in costs. An item staying near the black line means the costs haven’t increased or decreased. If that’s not the case, then I’m not sure how to read the graph.

  35. Mitchell

    I’m pretty sure Don’s right. Anything on the black line has gone up 23%, the inflation rate. So if housing is on the black line, it’s actually gone up 23%.

  36. Reid

    So the housing costs actually increased at a lower rate than inflation? If so, wouldn’t that be surprising?

  37. Mitchell

    I don’t know. How much does housing usually go up compared to inflation? Remember (as you have sometimes reminded me): numbers without context have little meaning. If a bag of M&Ms goes up 23% in price, it’s just an extra quarter. If a house goes up 23% in price, it’s tens of thousands of dollars.

  38. Reid

    I don’t recall if information about housing costs account for inflation. I saw one graph recently that showed housing costs in relation to medium wages, and I’m assuming it didn’t account for inflation.

    If a bag of M&Ms goes up 23% in price, it’s just an extra quarter. If a house goes up 23% in price, it’s tens of thousands of dollars.

    Good point, but I’m a little confused about the graph. My assumption is that graphs visually illustrate relationships. In the graph above, it certainly shows, in dramatic fashion, how much college tuition has gone up, especially relative to TVs. But the graph seems visually misleading for housing costs, as it seems housing costs have remained flat.

    But if you guys are correct, costs of housing has actually increased…Actually, I’m a little confused. What is the relationship between the rate of inflation and costs of goods and services? If the cost of items go up, but less than the rate of inflation, then wouldn’t we have to also look a graph on wages? If one’s wages goes up, staying even with inflation, then the black line is essentially 0, right? And if one’s wages doesn’t keep up with inflation that the cost of items hovering at the inflation rate will actually be tantamount to an increase in costs….Am I on the right track or am I totally messing this up?

  39. Mitchell

    The inflation rate is calculated using an average of costs of certain goods and services, so (probably) the items in this graph contribute to the overall 23% increase for the time period. The individual items are compared to the overall rate. It’s like comparing Tom Brady’s completion percentage to the completion percentage for the whole league. His numbers are in the “whole league” percentage, but the graph will show how he compares to the whole league.

    I don’t think wages have gone up 23% over the past nine years, do you? So if housing has gone up at the same rate as inflation, most of us have probably gotten poorer in terms of buying a house, but way poorer in terms of buying an education. I understand the confusion; it’s a complicated concept for a graph. But yeah, it’s all in relation to the inflation rate. I think an ideal graph would show necessities in right around the black line, right? So that stuff we need goes up in price, but only at the same rate as prices go up in general.

  40. Reid


    I plan on responding to your post. But I wanted to post this before I forget:

  41. Reid

    Racism on the mainland is such a foreign, dark, and depressing thing to me. To think that we still have examples of the type of racism that existed in the Jim Crow South or during slavery is just unimaginable, and, depressing. This tweetstorm made me think about that. (The black-white racism has also been on my mind because of other things I’ve been reading as well.)

  42. Reid

    The City of New Orleans is taking down four Confederate statues. New Orleans Mayor Landrieu gave a I really liked this speech about it. I saw several people recommend this, and I wasn’t really that interested to be honest, but I eventually did read it. I think it’s terrific–something that our country could use now. I’m not sure if you guys would like it, but I did.

  43. Reid

    Interesting excerpt about the background of young (European) men who commit terrorist acts via ISIS influence:

  44. Reid

    Lawfare provides some of the best, most thoughtful analysis of politics (coming from a legal and national security angle) now. Quinta Jurecic’s Your City or Your Soul: Moral Compromise and Government Service is a good example of that, exploring the complex issue of knowing when a moral compromise is justified or when it goes too far.

  45. mitchell

    You’ve probably already seen this story some guy tells about being seven and meeting Roger Moore in an airport. But if you haven’t, you should read it. It’ll just make you feel good.

  46. Reid

    Yeah that was cool. Don, you should read it, if you haven’t already.

  47. Reid

    I consider these two men American heroes

    From Buzzfeed: These are the Victims of the Portland Train Stabbing Attack

    When citizens take personal risk to save someone, while I view this as highly commendable, in some cases, I don’t really think “hero” is the appropriate word for some reason. This case is different. To me, the fact these two men just tried to speak up for the women being insulted earns my respect. Would I have done that? I’m not sure I would. That they died in the process makes it more what they did more poignant and tragic.

    I guess part of my feeling also stems from my concerns about how some Americans feel towards Muslims and Muslim-Americans. How many of my fellow citizens have bigoted views towards Muslims? I worry about that. To see these two white American males stand up for these two Muslim (or women who appear to be Muslim) is the type of story that really encourages me. The fact that we have bigoted or racist individuals wouldn’t bother as me as much if I knew we had much more Americans who oppose and would speak out and act against those things. These two Americans did that. It’s just sad that this had to end tragically.

    Edit: I concur with Dan Rather. (5/28/2017)


    Edit: (5/29/2017)

    Good that Trump tweeted this:

    …although, as someone pointed out, Trump’s other twitter account still hasn’t said anything about this. However, he’s one of the tweets from this other account today:

    …and in contrast to that

    That’s how it’s done. This is not hard.


    Well, I guess not….

    Edit (5/29/2017)

    From Oregonlive; Harrowing eyewitness account of the stabbing.

  48. Reid

  49. Mitchell

    Good thing he wasn’t in the NFL because then it would be bulletin board fodder. 🙂

  50. Reid

    Another nail in the coffin for Trickle Down Economics

    On an national level, a cornerstone of the Republican platform is tax cuts. The primary defense for this approach is that tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, will stimulate the economy, which will lead to revenue for the government.

    Governor Brownback of Kansas tried to implement this policy in his state. The Republicans in the Kansas legislature put an end to that recently.

  51. Mitchell

    I honestly think it’s a lot more complicated than that, and maybe if I have time later, I’ll get into it. But economics is tricky (duh) and if a system is already in place, a radical shift from that system is almost bound to fail in the immediate term. A huge shift to trickle-down practices would have to be accompanied by privatizing a lot of stuff that’s in government control, for one thing (I’m basing this off of a very casual and extremely tiny understanding), and that takes time. And while I’m all about certain kinds of government agencies, I do think a lot of it could be privatized in the right economic environment.

    Add to that a bunch of other stuff, like cleaning up tax credits and other exemptions, and hugely incentivizing personal savings (retirement and otherwise) and healthcare spending. Honestly, we might be at the point now where adjustments like these are impossible, making liberal economics the default winner, even though I have strong feelings that it doesn’t have to be this way, historical record aside. 🙂

  52. Reid

    A huge shift to trickle-down practices would have to be accompanied by privatizing a lot of stuff that’s in government control,…

    As far as I know, this isn’t part of trickle-down economics at all. Here’s my understanding of trickle-down economics (which admittedly could be wrong):

    1. Cut taxes taxes for the wealthy,
    2. This will increase their wealth and spending.
    3. This will help the economy.
    4. The better economy will help middle and lower income groups.
    5. All of this will create government revenue that will mostly make up for the tax expenditures.

    Kansas tried to do this–but government revenue decreased dramatically. By the way, Planet Money did a podcast on this, The Kansas Experiment.

    Honestly, we might be at the point now where adjustments like these are impossible, making liberal economics the default winner, even though I have strong feelings that it doesn’t have to be this way, historical record aside. 🙂

    I’m not entirely comfortable saying “liberal economics” is the default winner, as this implies, to me at least, a strict dichotomy between liberal and economic policies–although supply-side economics does seem far on the conservative side. However, my point is that, in reality, the actual policies we have are a mixture of liberal and conservative economic principles. In practice, we shift towards one or the other.

    Also, when you say, “It doesn’t have to be this way,” I might agree with this, although I’m not quite sure what you mean. In my view, many policies we have now are less than optimal. My guess is that in many situations we could have a far more optimal policy–that is, there are actually policies that would work much better. The politics just prevent these policies from implementation.

    On the other hand, there are some policies that are politically difficult to implement and would not work well even if they were implemented. I’d put supply-side economics in this category.

  53. Mitchell

    Yes, I’ve been (casually) following the Kansas thing, appalled like the rest of the country. I think your summary of trickle-down is fine, but in states like Hawaii, where the state government is the largest single employer, I suspect that there may be an optimal amount of spending in private business in order for businesses and government to thrive. It makes sense, right? If there were 1,000,000 government jobs and only 10 private ones (to use an exaggerated example) it doesn’t matter what the tax rates are; there’s no way those 10 jobs are going to pay for the 1,000,000 jobs.

    I don’t want to get into a semantic war, since I’m not educated enough in this sphere to argue semantics. But in general, conservative politics says let’s cut down government, while liberal politics says let’s keep control over important stuff we don’t want to leave to private enterprise. Of course there’s no strict dichotomy, and of course we slide back and forth on the pendulum. But as I said, I suspect true trickle-down economics may never work anymore because our concept of what we think are government concerns has settled into areas where we almost can’t imagine government not being involved in them.

    And no; what I meant by “It doesn’t have to be this way” is that the reality of trickledown economics doesn’t match up with what I think ideally should happen. It doesn’t have to be that trickledown doesn’t work: but the reality, based on recent history, is that it doesn’t.

  54. Reid

    If there were 1,000,000 government jobs and only 10 private ones (to use an exaggerated example) it doesn’t matter what the tax rates are; there’s no way those 10 jobs are going to pay for the 1,000,000 jobs.

    My understanding is that, tax cuts, particularly to the wealthy, will lead to spending (e.g., investments, etc.) and that will spur the economy. That is, the ten jobs will bloom into hundreds or even thousands (to use your example). And that will subsequently increase tax revenue. (Another by-product is that government jobs might have to be cut.

    But as I said, I suspect true trickle-down economics may never work anymore because our concept of what we think are government concerns has settled into areas where we almost can’t imagine government not being involved in them.

    Meaning: too many Americans wouldn’t be willing to remove government from providing certain services. Because of that, trickle-down economics wouldn’t work? If so, I’m more sympathetic to this idea–although I don’t get the sense that advocates of trickle-down economics also couple this with radical government spending cuts. In any event, if they do, this would really weaken their position, as it doesn’t seem very practical (which may have been your point?).

    And no; what I meant by “It doesn’t have to be this way” is that the reality of trickledown economics doesn’t match up with what I think ideally should happen. It doesn’t have to be that trickledown doesn’t work: but the reality, based on recent history, is that it doesn’t.

    I’m not really clear what you mean, here. What do you think should happen, ideally? Do you think trickle-down economics can work? ?

  55. Mitchell

    My heart says yes. The evidence says no.

  56. Reid

    I was going to say “B”–50%, but if that’s the right answer, then one would have a 25% chance of choosing this. Uh…OK, all I know is that it can’t be 60%, right?

  57. Reid

  58. Reid

    Cool thread, a short history on memos and how it relates to the Trump presidency. (Grace would have liked this.)

    1. The WSJ reports that the NSA’s deputy director made a memo of a conversation between Mike Rogers and Trump:— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) June 15, 2017

    Applebaum expands this thread into an article. For public administration nerds like me, this is pretty cool.

  59. Mitchell

    Reid, you might find something validating in this Pew report on the implications of the growing Internet of Things. You may also find some encouragement, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Interesting themes and elaboration on what increased connectivity will mean for us.

  60. Reid

    Cool link. Thanks!

    I agree with remark by Bruce Schneier:

    People up to now have been able to code the world as they see fit. That has to change. We have to make moral, ethical and political decisions about how these things should work and then put that into our code. Politicians and technologists still talk past each other. This has to change.”

    (emphasis added)

    Basically, however we proceed with technology, if we can do this thoughtfully–factoring in moral and even spiritual components to the discussion–that would be great. Another way of saying this: the discussion shouldn’t be limited to the physical and material effects of technology, but the social, moral, and spiritual ones as well. What kind of society do we want to live in? In what way will technology impact our relationships with other human beings? How will these technologies impact our politics and ability to collectively solve problems? Those are a few of the questions that I think should be focused on–beyond just security and privacy issues, which are also important.

  61. Mitchell

    That was a standout quote for me, too. Amazing.

  62. Reid

    On a related note, GOP Data Firm Accidently Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters:

    Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.

    The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population. Along with home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity. The data was amassed from a variety of sources—from the banned subreddit r/fatpeoplehate to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by former White House strategist Karl Rove.

  63. Reid

    Five Toughest Players I Ever Faced by DeMarcus Ware.

    Don, you will like this (not to say that Mitchell wouldn’t as well).

  64. Mitchell

    Man, that piece is excellent. I don’t know if he wrote that himself, but I love how voicy it is. And I like how his ego lets him talk about being beat. And that Walter Jones clip is amazeballs.

  65. Reid

    I agree with all your points. (I’ve never seen that Walter Jones clip, and it is amazing. By the way, I would love to see more O-line highlights.) The Player’s Tribune is a cool website. Other articles I’ve read there have been quite good. (I should actually check out more of their stuff.)

  66. Reid

    I don’t necessarily think others will find the following interesting, but I did. It’s about the way Democrats need to invest in local election infrastructure (e.g., paying skilled people to help local Democratic organizers) if they want to win politically. According to the Tufekci, there is a lot of grassroots enthusiasm on the Democratic side, but they are starved for money.

  67. Mitchell

    Bomani Jones’s last day on Highly Questionable. He and Pablo Torre are getting their own live (!) one-hour spot on ESPN where there used to be a SportsCenter. On the Tony Kornheiser podcast yesterday, Kornheiser said Matt Kelliher (the producer of PTI, Around the Horn, and Highly Questionable) suggests the new program be called Bomani and Pablo Talk Down to You, which cracks me up.

    I like the moves ESPN is making toward increased diversity. Jemelle Hill and Michael Smith get the early-morning SportsCenter spot with the direction that they are to make it their way (read: as black as they wanna be). Pablo may be the first Asian American to host a daily daytime national program on TV anywhere.

  68. Reid

    On a side note, I like Bomani’s style, but I really don’t care for his radio program.

  69. Reid

    From The New Yorker: a critique of the Netflix crime documentary,
    Making of a Murderer

    I agree with the following, which I think is an important point:

    The petition points to another weakness of “Making a Murderer”: it is far more concerned with vindicating wronged individuals than with fixing the system that wronged them. The series presents Avery’s case as a one-off—a preposterous crusade by a grudge-bearing county sheriff’s department to discredit and imprison a nemesis. (Hence the ad-hominem attacks the show has inspired.) But you don’t need to have filed a thirty-six-million-dollar suit against law enforcement to be detained, denied basic rights, and have evidence planted on your person or property. Among other things, simply being black can suffice. While Avery’s story is dramatic, every component of it is sadly common. Seventy-two per cent of wrongful convictions involve a mistaken eyewitness. Twenty-seven per cent involve false confessions. Nearly half involve scientific fraud or junk science. More than a third involve suppression of evidence by police.
    Those statistics reflect systemic problems. Eyewitness testimony is dangerously persuasive to juries, yet it remains admissible in courts almost without caveat. Some interrogation methods are more likely than others to produce false confessions, yet there are no national standards; fewer than half of states require interrogations to be videotaped, and all of them allow interrogators to lie to suspects. With the exception of DNA evidence (which emerged from biology, not criminology), forensic tests are laughably unscientific; no independent entity exists to establish that such tests are reliable before their results are admissible as evidence.

  70. Mitchell

    Yeah, I’ve never been able to figure it out, but I never cared for Bomani’s radio program either. I still have very high hopes for his TV show.

  71. Reid

    The discussions/content just don’t seem that interesting–that would be my knee-jerk response. I also didn’t like Jalen and Jacoby radio show as well, for similar reasons.

  72. Reid

    From Nieman Lab: Real News About Fake News

    The site described the page this way:

    The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

  73. Reid

  74. Reid

    I get the sense that a lot of Seahawks fan hate Bruce Arians. I’m not one of them. In fact, I kind of like him. Here are some anecdotes that come from his new book (a book I should get the next time I fly on a plane).

  75. don

    You like Arians as a coach? I’ve always thought he’s a likeable guy, but I don’t think much of his style of football. I’m not a huge Jason Garrett guy, but I think I would take Garrett over Arians as a coach.

  76. Reid

    I was thinking more of his personality. Actually, I think he’s a pretty good coach, too. However, I do have problems with his Al Davis approach to the offense.

  77. Reid

    My knee-jerk reaction? I mostly agree with this.

  78. Reid

    Don’t know what the Magnitsky Act is, or how it relates to adoption and the recent news about Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russians? Listen to this Planet Money podcast

  79. Mitchell

    More evidence (if you needed it) that progressive rock is a mocked and scorned genre (via NPR). And yes, I ordered the book.

  80. Reid


    Thanks for the link. I continue to find this topic fascinating, and a bit surprising, as it’s so different from the jazz world–at least in some respects. In general, my experience is that jazz that is more complex is seen as something positive. On the other hand, I think there was rather a cool reception to the idea of fusing jazz and classical music, which seems to parallel a similar dynamic in prog rock (although maybe not). Still, I don’t think many jazz fans heaped a lot of scorn on this merger (which was called “Third Stream”). Jazz critics directed their scorn toward the fusion of jazz and rock, which many saw as selling out. That doesn’t seem to be happening with rock critics and prog rock.

    I have mixed feelings about this, although I don’t think I’ve listened to a lot of prog rock.

  81. Mitchell

    I just listened to it (had only read the copy yesterday) and it’s better with the audio. Wish it could have gone a little deeper, but whatever.

  82. Reid

    More prog-rock hate. (I didn’t read it, but it references the book in the NPR article.)

  83. Reid

    Why would engineers want to study fire ants?

  84. Reid

  85. Mitchell

    Everyone 30 and younger is going to be talking about this today, so you might as well see it. I like it! Musically it’s kind of just all right, but the vocals are good and Taylor’s pissed, which is always good. The rappy choruses remind me (in a good way) of Fergie.

  86. Reid

    I liked it, both the music and the video. The music isn’t great, as you mention, but it’s solid pop. Why will those younger than 30 be talking about this? Is there some backstory/context that I’m missing?

  87. Mitchell

    Well you already know about how Kanye jumped up on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor was 19, declaring that Beyonce’s video was one of the greatest of all time. They made up.

    Then Kanye last year released a song with the lyrics, “I feel like Taylor and me might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.” The Swifties all got mad at Kanye, but Kanye said he asked Taylor for permission to use that lyric before he ever released the song. Taylor said she never spoke to Kanye about that and certainly didn’t give him her blessing.

    Then Kim Kardashian said she had a recording of the phone conversation in which Taylor said it was okay for Kanye to use that lyric. And all the Kanye and Kim fans bombarded her social media accounts with snake emojis.

    Then last weekend, Taylor deleted everything from all her social media accounts, and a day later posted just a quick video of a snake (something like that).

    Now today, the new song and new video. And an announcement that the new album will be released November 10, which happens to be the anniversary of the death of Kanye’s mom, but I suspect that’s coincidence. He talked about his mom and rapped about her all the time, so that would be pretty uncool.

    There’s more symbolism in the video, but I’m not aware of all of it, but it’s generally acknowledged that this is a diss track aimed at Kanye.

  88. Reid

    OK, thanks for the information.

  89. don

    Yeah thanks for keeping me hip(per).

  90. Reid

  91. Reid

  92. Mitchell

    I finally read that Atlantic piece about prog rock. It was well written. I liked this sentence: “As a breed, the proggers were hook-averse, earworm-allergic; they disdained the tune, which is the infinitely precious sound of the universe rhyming with one’s own brain.”

    Your bafflement with the hate surprises me some. You disdain seriousness in popular music, and prog took itself far too seriously. Although you like “Rites of Spring,” and at least according to this writer that would have a lot in common with some of the ambitions of prog.

    I’m curious about why you didn’t read it.

  93. Reid

    Your bafflement with the hate surprises me some. You disdain seriousness in popular music, and prog took itself far too seriously.

    I’m surprised by the critics’ reaction to prog rock. As I said before, jazz critics seem to favor jazz is complex and serious, while looking down upon, ridiculing jazz that is simpler, lighter, and more accessible. I think that’s what’s throwing me off the most.

    As for the article, I think I did read it.

  94. Reid

    Here's our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: U.S. Storms Edition. Share, and don't fall into reporting traps:— On the Media (@onthemedia) September 1, 2017

  95. Don
  96. Reid

    I read it, and liked it. Whether Mariota becomes a great QB or not, he’s representing Hawai’i really well.

  97. Don


  98. Mitchell

    I wonder if people in Compton are saying Richard Sherman represents them poorly. Or well!

  99. Don

    MLB on player’s weekend, allowed players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys. They would then sell them for charity. Pretty cool idea.

    One that I liked not listed was Eric Thames who played in Korea put Sang Nam Ja, which loosely translates to “badass” in Korean. And in fact another Korean player actually had something written in Korean. I’m guessing it wasn’t derogatory.

  100. Mitchell

    I thought that was cool and fun. Like the XFL jerseys. The NFL should do that for one week, instead of all that gimmicky pink stuff.

  101. Reid

  102. Reid

    Good interview of Zeynep Tufekci on Facebook. One of her main points is that while Russian interference in our election is a big deal, there are serious problems that exist even if they didn’t interfere. She focuses on the structure of Facebook, in terms of the business model and how it works.

    One of my takeaways from reading articles like this is that we need to create offline spaces for information analysis and dialogue, in heterogeneous groups–at least as a temporary measure. We need to create physical spaces that can form communities of people that are somewhat diverse–closer to communities that we’ve had in the past.

    To back up a bit: what’s the problem with Facebook? There are many problems, not just with Facebook, but with social media and the internet in general: namely, an overload of information and that problems that result; it’s hard to know what to believe; it can be hard to know what are mainstream ideas; people can break into factions, undermining social capital and a civic spirit.

    This isn’t an either/or choice, but right now I think our society needs to invest more in traditional spaces and face-to-face interactions.

    Edit (9/28/2017)

    Tukfeci’s Times op-ed about Facebook.

  103. Reid

    If there is a gracious, maybe even elegant, way of expressing intense revulsion, this is it.

    Unrelated, but I thought the following tweet was funny. Context: Tom Price supposedly used about $400,000 taxpayer dollars from private chartered flights. Price says he’ll pay about $50,000 of that.

  104. Reid

    Trump finally allowed a wavier for the Jones Act with regard to Puerto Rico. What’s the Jones Act? Listen to this interesting explanation:

  105. Reid

    Saving the World From Code is a misleading title for an Atlantic article that I found fascinating. Perhaps it’s not misleading so much as fails to point out what I found most interesting about the article.

    I’ll try to quickly summarize the article, focusing on what I took away from it. Basically, the nature of computer code that go into constructing software is so abstract and cumbersome that it causes all sorts of problems. Here are a few:

    1. Without being able to explain fully, the nature of coding is such that many errors occur and can be really hard to detect. As we come to rely on software in our cars, banking, etc. this feature can lead to disaster.

    2. The correlation between the computer programming and the actual software that we use is often not very high. That is, the code itself is very unlike the software, as we use it. For example, when I use a spread sheet, the link between the spreadsheet I see and use is far removed from the computer program behind that spread sheet.

    3. Because of this, when computer programmers construct software they often have to imagine the effects of what they’re doing while coding. This is different from constructing a house for example. While building a house, the builder can see the effects of their action upon the house itself. In contrast, the computer programmer has to write code, and then later see the effects. (Even if the desired effects appear, there may be problems with the effects or the work to achieve these effects may have affected some other aspect of the software. This is one of the reasons errors occur and programmers may be unaware of them.)

    To me, the main idea in the article is that some computer programmers want to change this. Based on what I understand, there are at least two ideas for doing this:

    1. Allow computer programmers to see the immediate impact to any changes in code. For example, I believe some programming features a split screen, with the code on one side and the actual running software on the other. When programmers made changes to the code, they can see the immediate results.

    2. Create software that will actually translate what computer programmers want into code. In other words, computer programmers wouldn’t have to focus on knowing and writing code so much, and instead they could focus on what they want the software to do. This type of software points to allowing non-programmers to design and build software.

    This is really appealing concept, although it doesn’t really eliminate the abstract nature of building software. (Could we get to the point where the material and process for building software would be more like the materials and process for building a house? I think that objective is fascinating and appealing.)

    (By the way, Mitchell, if you’re reading this, and I got some basic concepts wrong, please let me know.)

  106. Mitchell

    I haven’t looked at the article (yet?) but nothing you’ve got here sounds wrong. Some of it is overly simplistic, but I’ll get to that later. Gotta make my World Series picks.

  107. Reid

    Thanks for the feedback, and I’m interested in hearing any other comments you may have.

  108. Reid

    Not sure if you guys will like this, but it was entertaining and kinda interesting.

  109. Don

    I wasn’t sure if Reid knew about this guy, but if he didn’t I’m guessing he will find this somewhat interesting.

  110. Reid

    I hadn’t heard about him. Thanks for the link. It was interesting. If he really was a pivotal figure in helping Trump win, using Facebook and social media successfully, he’s an improbable wunderkind–and it’s a great story in that respect. (I say improbable based on how he got started, and how he hooked up with the Trump campaign.)

  111. Reid


    I’m not sure if you’ve read Kevin Williamson at National Review, but I think you might like him, just for his writing alone. There is verve and excitement; when I read some of his pieces, if he were a jazz musician, I’d say, “Man, he’s swinging.”

    The White Minstrel Show is a recent piece.

  112. Mitchell

    cool. i’ll check it out. what are you doing reading the national review?

  113. Reid

    I try to read and listen to a broad range of political views.

  114. Reid

    From Harvard University: Four Tips to Spot Fake News

  115. Mitchell

    it honestly baffles me that these need to be articulated.

  116. Reid

    I suspect it’s because you consume news on a regular basis and you are savvy about the internet. I didn’t have the same reaction.

    By the way, do you find reading the “about us” section really helpful? I tend to not think so.

    Also, as far as spelling errors goes, I think spelling and grammatical errors in reputable publications aren’t as rare, relative to ten or twenty years ago.

  117. Mitchell

    The “about” page used to be useful but for credibility, it no longer is.

    You’re wrong about the spelling and grammatical errors. Fake news websites are horribly written; I can spot one almost immediately just from the errors and inept structure. While the quality of incredible sources has gone up (for the most part) and the quality of credible sources can still be bad, you simply do not see the level of badness, ever, that you see from incredible sources.

  118. Reid

    You don’t think spelling/grammatical errors and typos in reputable publications aren’t as rare now versus ten or twenty years ago? That is, you think the frequency and type of errors are basically the same?

    If you’re comparing errors from credible sources versus non-credible sources, that’s another matter. The tip just says that if you see errors that’s a sign that the source isn’t credible. I don’t think that’s completely accurate. To me, I’ll see errors on regular basis, from reputable sources.

  119. Mitchell

    There are still a ton of those kinds of errors in credible online publications mostly because it’s a lot of people working quickly, but nowadays stuff can be edited after the fact. When such an error appears in print, there’s nothing to be done about it. So with really embarrassing spelling (as when the Star-Advertiser had a headline about “Pubic Lands”), that error shows up in print but it’s very quickly corrected online.

  120. Reid

    The errors should be easily corrected online, but I get the sense they are not. Most of the news I read is online, and most of the errors I see are online as well. And I agree that online errors occur from reputable publications because people are working quickly, but that doesn’t change the fact that the specific tip of looking for errors as a way to judge the trustworthiness of a source may not be totally reliable. I think if you qualified the statement by saying that there are far more spelling/grammatical errors in non-reputable sources, that would have been better.

    (Do you agree that there are way more errors now in reputable publications than they were twenty years ago?)

  121. Mitchell

    I didn’t have the eye twenty years ago that I have now, so comparison is difficult. But you’re right about distinguishing the number and type of errors. I just read something from a decent blog that cited a WaPo article, and the stuff that wasn’t directly quoting WaPo was rife with inconsistent style and grammatical error. Super annoying. In a typical WaPo story, if you see two errors it’s kind of a surprise.

  122. Reid

    OK, thanks for the response.

    I don’t think two errors from WaPo is that surprising–or NYT or Atlantic. Also,

  123. Reid

    Not sure if this is true, but interesting if it is.

  124. Reid

    From The Economist: How Luther Went Viral.

    This is an article comparing various communication media in the time of Martin Luther to the social media of today.

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