From the "Even More Appalling Than I Thought" file: Nathan Robinson at Current Affairs discourse at considerable length about why a Joe Biden nomination would be absolutely disastrous for the Democratic party and for America. Long story short: Mr. Biden has spent almost a half century capitulating to Republicans, and once our President pretends to be a populist again and points out all the times Mr. Biden has disappointed us, then what, exactly, will Mr. Biden do? Also, too, Bernie Sanders is totally electable, for the 219th time. If we all "get behind" Mr. Biden because the alternative is a dramatic bully, what do we get? Another eight or 16 or 24 years of malicious Republicans kicking spineless Democrats in the teeth, and as I've said many times, we need to break that wheel.
Greg Palast at The Guardian notes that California has been making independent voters jump through hoops just to vote for their choice in the Democratic Presidential primary, which could have cost Sen. Sanders over half a million votes (by Mr. Palast's count). Yes, you can vote in a party's primary if you're a California independent, but you actually had to tell them you intended to do so by responding to a postcard that looks pretty much like a piece of junk mail. Ask all those disenfranchised Ohio voters about that! Also, too, two-hour wait times at USC and three-hour wait times at UCLA? If you're wondering why young folks and independents "aren't turning out" for Mr. Sanders, you may want to consider the possibility that governments are preventing them from voting.
New Zealander visits social justice movements in 14 cities and describes "four things that struck me" about them: social welfare programs encourage folks to take risks, racist subjugation in America has virtually obliterated any shared memory of how things used to be different and better for black folks, shutting your mouth to avoid causing harm might seem like a good idea at the time but that's now way to practice really being there for other folks, and you're better off working through your misery when you confront injustice than you are just rolling up your sleeves and pretending you weren't moved. I hope that summary does this article justice; if not, I'll point you to the satirical cartoon shows a left-wing activist cutting down folks and a Nazi wannabe activist actually being more nurturing, and remind you that it ain't good satire if it ain't true.
Ho hum, some Administration officials say Iraq is dangerous for Christians when it suits them politically and then others claim it's not so dangerous when it tries to deport Iraqi Christians, and here we have yet more proof of what I've been saying for years, that different forces within our Administration will appear to be at odds with each other to give the appearance of "vigorous debate," when we know that a) they march together jackboot-lockstep when it matters and b) the "vigorous debate" doesn't even necessarily mean they don't know what they're doing -- when you suck at running things, you create chaos, because chaos creates drama, and drama distracts people. Particularly when the opposition party is doing its damnedest yet-again to present no alternative to the drama.
I'm sure some knucklehead will say that this article explaining how one of the major reasons "Artificial Intelligence is Biased Against Women" is because our whole civilization is biased against women is water-is-wet territory, but the fact is we go to great lengths to hide how sexist (and racist) we are, and then we relentlessly gaslight the folks who figure it out. And when AI workers are overwhelmingly white and male, then the folks who would change things for the better (like Olga Russakovsky's team at Princeton) face an even more uphill battle. Usually I say that while the arc of history bends toward justice, that arc looks awful flat when you're underneath; let me reassure you that there are times that doesn't make me feel better, and this is one of them.
Finally, Masha Gessen at The New Yorker reminds us that the New York Times's reporting about Bernie Sanders's 1988 trip to Russia wrenches that event out of virtually every possible useful context. One could shout ZOMG TEH SOVIETZ TRIEDZ TO PROPAGANDAZ TEH BERNEEZ!!!!! all one wants, but we still wouldn't learn whether that "propaganda" (a word the Soviets used a lot more broadly than we do!) actually worked on Mr. Sanders. Furthermore, President Reagan was encouraging these cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but I guess Mr. Reagan isn't conservative enough for today's world.