Why Dan Lipinski must be defeated in the next Democratic primary

I have written before about Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski, easily one of the worst Democrats in Congress, who occupies a seat that he ‘inherited’ from his father when the latter stepped aside to make room for him. In the 2018 election, he was challenged in the primary by a much better candidate Marie Newman but the Republican-lite Democratic party leadership threw its weight behind Lipinski even though Lipinski is pretty much opposed to everything that the Democratic party claims to represent.
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The Middle Ages and the periods before and after

We all have in our minds short histories of how knowledge grew and a popular one is that there was a period of scientific and philosophical growth that began more than a couple of millennia ago with the ancient Greek, Arabic, and Chinese civilizations that slowed down sometime during the early second millennium where there were no real advances and indeed a regression with a loss of knowledge. That was then followed by the period we now call the Age of Enlightenment with its associated scientific revolution that began in the 17th century around the time of Galileo. Scholars of the much-maligned middle period that has come to be down as the Middle Ages (or more pejoratively the Dark Ages) take umbrage with characterizations that compare that period unfavorably with what existed before and what came after.
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Public shaming

Piling on someone whom the internet has decided is worthy of public shaming is now a commonplace phenomenon. John Oliver has an excellent segment on when public shaming is justified and when it is horribly wrong.

The second half of this segment features an interview with Monica Lewinsky who was viciously and unjustifiably slut-shamed twenty years ago. She has weathered the storm that surrounded her and which could have easily destroyed her. Remarkably, she seems to have come through that ordeal and the interview reveals her to be a delightful person who deserves an apology from all those who attacked and ridiculed her.

Uh-oh, one Brexit option shut down by speaker

Just yesterday the Guardian published a flow chart about the options available to prime minister Theresa May when, as was expected, she resubmitted the Brexit deal that was defeated by a margin of 149 votes for another parliamentary vote, presumably hoping that a sense of desperation due to the looming deadline of March 29 might persuade enough people to switch their votes in favor of it to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
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The electability question

Bob Moser examines the question that always plagues the Democratic party, whether to go with the candidate who most appeals to you because they agree with your values or to go with the person who is considered the most ‘electable’. This is undoubtedly going to be the issue that Joe Biden will push hard if he chooses to run, since his legislative and policy record is pretty troublesome.

On the surface, this makes a sliver of sense. It is imperative that Trump and Trumpism be fumigated from our political system before the cockroaches are all that’s left. Looking for the safest bet to win a general election sounds like solid, pragmatic thinking. Until you take a look at the track record of “electable” presidential nominees — including Hillary Clinton in 2016, of course, whom George Will so aptly called “the only biped in the country who could have lost an election to Donald J. Trump.” In 1984, Democrats chose deficit hawk Walter Mondale over “risky” Gary Hart; in 1988, it was “practical” Michael Dukakis over Jesse Jackson; in 2000, Al Gore was the overwhelming choice for those who prized winning over all else.

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Racism in Australia

The person who carried out the mass murder in New Zealand two days ago is an Australian who had picked Christchurch because it had plenty of soft targets and the country allowed the easy purchase of semi-automatic weapons. Jason Wilson writes that this episode should make people aware of how Islamophobia has become pretty much enshrined as public policy in Australia. In reading his account of the roots of racist thinking in that country, I was struck by the similarities with US history.
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