July 2017 Archives


Robert Maranto describes a scenario wherein a grad school applicant is mocked for her Christian beliefs and observes that such mockery would be unacceptable if targeted at a racial or religious minority.

Compared to racial and gender discrimination, this kind of religious discrimination gets little attention from researchers. Professors do not find the topic interesting, which itself is telling. Yet the extant research findings are concerning.

Back in the 1980s, J.D. Gartner found Christianity reduced the chances of admission to psychology doctoral programs. Using 1999 data, "The Still Divided Academy" by Stanley Rothman, April Kelly-Woessner, and Matthew Woessner offered strong statistical evidence that (typically religious) socially conservative professors must publish more to get the same academic posts.

More recently, George Yancey's "Compromising Scholarship" showed that in many academic fields, significant numbers of professors, more than enough to blackball hiring decisions, express reluctance to hire evangelical and fundamentalist Christians.

None of this makes secular professors bad people. As psychologists William O'Donohue and Richard E. Redding argue, people generally express willingness to discriminate against those of other political or religious ideals. The danger comes when individual institutions lack ideological diversity, enabling an arrogant tendency to dismiss dissenters as unacceptable people with unacceptable opinions.

It's easy to lose sight of the fact that, other than Jews, Christians have been the most persecuted people on the planet for 2,000 years.


I gotta say, I not only love all these examples of retro 90s-style web design, but many of them are easier to navigate than modern "optimized" sites. Click all the links.

To navigate the website for Arcade Fire's coming album, "Everything Now," users need to click through a cluttered cascade of Windows 98-style pop-ups.

Balenciaga's new website looks as stripped down as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with plain black boxes and no-frills Arial font.

And the D.I.Y.-looking home page for Solange resembles the desktop of a candy-colored iMac, complete with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders. ...

One way is to create a website the old-fashioned way: by enlisting a friend who knows basic HTML. That is what Billy Silverman, 40, a restaurateur, did in the harried final days before opening Salazar, his acclaimed Sonoran barbecue restaurant in Los Angeles.

He tapped his buddy Zack McTee, who runs a small production company in New York, to slap together something quick. The two decided that, if they didn't have the time or money to make the website good, they would at least make it fun.


My opinion on the Trump Jr.-Russia thing is that everyone does it, but the Trump campaign wasn't shrewd enough to keep it at arms length. I don't think this is good or right, but I also don't believe the shocked, shocked responses I'm reading in the media.

Regarding the use of opposition research obtained in distasteful ways:

For his part, Carney, writing via email, offered ways a campaign might have handled such a situation, had it arisen. "If the emails did show up, most serious campaigns would not touch them directly -- legalities and all. But friends of the campaign would strongly encourage the turncoat to dump them to reporters. Easier not to have fingerprints on questionable documents."

"Foreign governments would always use high-level U.S. third parties, not any direct campaign contacts, and most likely they would end up in the media," Carney continued. "So YES -- campaigns would seek the emails, but not directly if they were not legally available or the sources were questionable."

Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was unseemly, but does it better serve America for campaigns to perform such distasteful activities through deniable intermediaries?

This discussion of the ethics of opposition research is very high-minded, but I believe the crux is here:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, but even if -- Christina, even if the campaign says, we're not going to do this, there are other tabloids and others out there who may be engaging in this kind of research.

CHRISTINA REYNOLDS: Sure.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting," says Jeff Berkowitz, a veteran Republican opposition researcher, but:

the task instead should have fallen to a lower-level campaign researcher or paid consultant, rather than the candidate's son. Berkowitz, a former White House official who worked as research director for the Republican National Committee and Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, said the revelations about the younger Trump's meeting with the Russian also serve to underscore the bare-bones nature of his father's unorthodox political operation.

The senior Trump, a novice to politics, defied convention by running his 2016 presidential campaign aided by a core group of family members and a few dozen staffers and consultants, compared to the hundreds on Clinton's campaign workforce.

"You didn't have gatekeepers to handle these things and decide whether it was something useful," Berkowitz said of advance vetting of the Veselnitskaya meeting.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting. This is the nature of politics," he said. But, he added: "It just should have been someone other than Donald Jr."

It seems to me that Trump Jr.'s primary offense was failing to sufficiently distance himself and his candidate from the Russian source.


Says Senator Pat Toomy by way of explaining why Congressional Republicans are floundering.

No kidding. I too can report that, from June 16, 2015, to November 8, 2016, the feeling among the elected officials, party functionaries, consultants, strategists, and journalists in our nation's capital was that Donald J. Trump stood no chance of becoming president of the United States. And because the political elite held this view with such self-assurance, with all the egotism and snobbery and moral puffery and snarkiness that distinguishes itself as a class, it did not spend more than a second, if that, thinking through the possible consequences of a Trump victory.

Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they've made to voters over the last eight years.

Congress needs to get its act together fast or people will rightly conclude that Republicans aren't capable of governing.


In a bizarre turn of events, CNN has threatened to dox an anonymous internet GIF artist who made fun of the network.

CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski opted not to identify the user "because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again."

But Kaczynski then added that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," seemingly indicating that CNN would identify the user if he repeats his "ugly behavior" on social media. That sentence was widely interpreted as a threat.

CNN's meltdown continues.

Update:

Now CNN is claiming that their victim has assured them that he doesn't feel threatened. Do they not see how bad this looks? What else would the victim say, with CNN holding him hostage?

Kaczynski also said the Reddit user had been made aware of the ongoing Internet kerfuffle and had gotten in touch with him again.

"FYI 'HanA**holeSolo' just called me. 'I am in total agreement with your statement. I was not threatened in any way,'" Kaczynski wrote.

Kaczynski initially said the user "posted his apology before we *ever* spoke" to him, calling KFile afterwards to apologize again. But after further questions, Kaczynski said the initial apology didn't come until CNN had contacted the user and asked to talk to him.

And of course, now there are a million more GIFs mocking CNN.

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