Category Archives: Politics

More Banal Than Fiction

Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang

Science fiction writer Ted Chiang explains the difference between our current reality and a well-plotted disaster novel,

While there has been plenty of fiction written about pandemics, I think the biggest difference between those scenarios and our reality is how poorly our government has handled it. If your goal is to dramatize the threat posed by an unknown virus, there’s no advantage in depicting the officials responding as incompetent, because that minimizes the threat; it leads the reader to conclude that the virus wouldn’t be dangerous if competent people were on the job. A pandemic story like that would be similar to what’s known as an “idiot plot,” a plot that would be resolved very quickly if your protagonist weren’t an idiot. What we’re living through is only partly a disaster novel; it’s also—and perhaps mostly—a grotesque political satire.

Electric Lit, Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In.

Photo © 2011 Arturo Villarrubia. Licensed under cc-by-sa-2.0.

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Totally Under Control

Video by Priorities USA

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The Failure

Brutal. True.

Produced by the American Bridge Super-PAC.

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Pandumbic (For the Record)

I assume everyone has seen this by now, but if you happen to have missed it, enjoy — to the extent it’s possible to enjoy anything about this administration.

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Something Happened

The other day I wrote, “Barring something strange on or after Super Tuesday, I plan to vote for Warren in the upcoming Florida primary.”

Well, something happened.  Since I haven’t voted yet I get to change my mind.  That puts me ahead of those Florida voters who already voted by absentee: they are stuck with their choices per the Miami Herald,

The candidates have the prerogative to change their minds about running. You the voter, on the other hand, are stuck. Voters in Florida don’t get a do-over in the voting booth or by mail.

“In the State of Florida, you’re only allowed to vote once,” said Suzy Trutie, deputy supervisor of elections for the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

So, Bernie or Biden?  Likely fruitless attempts at change vs likely successful attempts at status quo (with some status quo ante thrown in)?  That shouldn’t take very long to decide.

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Recommended Reading

Dan Froomkin, What should Trump be doing differently about coronavirus? Elizabeth Warren has some ideas is a twofer: it draws attention to an important statement by Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on what we should be doing about the Coronavirus, and it has some savvy things to say about why Warren’s well thought-out ideas weren’t very prominently covered in the news (hint: horse-race).

Barring something strange on or after Super Tuesday, I plan to vote for Warren in the upcoming Florida primary.  In primaries you vote your heart, in the general election you vote you head.  Warren is the candidate whose speeches — and whose policies — inspire. I think she’d be a terrific Chief Executive.  Sanders has virtues, and I’m grateful that he moved the Overton Window.  I’m sure he’d be infinitely better than Trump, but I have some pretty big doubts as to how effective he’d be as an executive.

That said, the only ‘Democrats’ running who would really seriously challenge my ability to fill in the oval are Gabbard and Bloomberg. I’m pretty practiced at holding my nose when I vote in a general election.

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