Jun. 12th, 2017

drwex: (VNV)
I have to keep doing music as part of my long-term self-care and I would love to share more of it with you. I still don't have a good solution for dealing with the tags/searchability problem, though, so I'm still very limited. Today I've got two long-form sets that ought to keep your ears happy and your butts chair-dancing for a while. (Also you're gonna need it for the political spam that comes next.)

http://www.groovelectric.com/peoplesparty.html
It's been a long time since DJ Steveboy put out a straight-up funk mix. The idea of "new old funk" was what started me listening to Groovelectric years ago and though I enjoy a variety of his sets nothing is as consistently satisfying as the funk. Here we get nearly a full hour of lush horns, rhythms and vocals, plus a cover/remix or two that got my attention (and I promise not to spoil).

https://soundcloud.com/user-457571129/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-138
I have not been happy with most of the last few weeks in Innerstate Radio-land. Frankly too much glitch and wub, I find myself turning it off halfway through. This episode avoids that for the most part. There are also a couple of really nice summery tracks such as Ozcan's own take on "Everything Changes" with Chris Crone. I can't recall any other time I've heard an Ozcan track with simple naked guitar chords. Others, such as "Lady" are more dance-y but still leaning toward the full house sound rather than the edge-y glitch pop.
drwex: (Default)
"If a federal judge allows the case to proceed..." is not a good way to start off and the Washington Post buries it a third of the way down, but remember when I nattered on about 'standing' and the Emoluments Clause? Yeah, we're gonna go there again.

Here's the Post story on a new attempt to sue Trump for violating that clause. The Attorneys General of MD and DC have decided to file suit alleging that 45 has violated the clause.

I think it's quite reasonable to make an argument that such a violation has occurred (many such, really). But remember, the question isn't whether there's a violation - the question is whether there is "an injury-in-fact" that can be directly connected to the alleged conduct "and that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision." I didn't make up that language - that comes from a recent Supreme Court decision just this month.

Take it a step at a time. The Attorneys General are apparently arguing that Trump has violated their citizens' rights "...to have honest government." Raise your hands if you believe the US Government is honest, Trump or no Trump. Yeah, that's what I thought; I don't much think so, either. Nor, if I put on my legal hat, do I think it is easy to trace a line from the alleged conduct (accepting foreign payments) to any particular additional dishonesty in Washington. Even if you accept that some injury-in-fact (as opposed to in theory) has occurred I can't figure out how to connect it to Trump's acceptance of payments - as opposed, say, to Trump being a sock puppet for Putin.

Finally, and here's the really interesting part, there's the question of what redress can be ordered by the Court. Let's assume for the moment that we get all the other ducks lined up. The Court then says "Now what?" Presumably if the challenged actions relate to Trump's refusal to blind his business interests the remedy would have to address that. Since we can't order Trump to have amnesia and forget which countries contain properties with his name blasted all over them a simple blind trust isn't going to work. He'd have to be ordered to divest of those properties, and divest in some way that would mean he isn't just banking the cash until his term in office is over.

To say that would be an extraordinary remedy is a huge understatement. I cannot imagine any Court ordering it or it standing up to scrutiny on review if somehow a court did order such. Because, really, how many people believe that making Trump get rid of his business conflicts is suddenly going to make him a good, or even passable, President so that the citizens alleged to have been harmed will suddenly get good government? Yeah, I didn't think so, and I doubt you can convinced me you did.

I am torn. I firmly believe this is going nowhere but I also respect that serious legal minds think there is some merit to these cases and I'm no lawyer. I have to admit I could be wrong and we'll find ourselves breaking new legal ground. But I doubt it.

What's interesting, though, is that these cases might serve as a foundation for others who want to challenge conduct by officials in the Administration. I'm thinking particularly of cities that lose school funding to DeVos's charter schemes (in which she has real business interests) and others. There are much more solid cases to be made that officials in the Trump administration are not administering their offices in impartial ways and courts may be more ready to provide clear remedies for such conduct, such as denying voucher programs, ordering restoration of funding, and so forth. The Emoluments Clause doesn't apply to such officials, but there are other laws that do.
drwex: (Default)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-sIb-b3yWE&list=TLGGgz7PEDd2hZ4wOTA2MjAxNw&index=2

In this "Big Think" video, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (formerly data scientist at Google) talks about some of the analyses he's done on the mountains of search data. The results are not encouraging.

First, people make what might be termed "racist" searches quite often. That's looking for searches using derogatory terms for racial and ethnic groups, searches for jokes that include racist stereotypes and slurs, and so on.

Second, you can see from the geolocation data on where searches originate you see (he reports) a striking east-west divide. East of the Mississippi you get a lot more of these searches than you do west of it. The areas he lists, though, are what we generally think of as "post-industrial" parts of America, such as western PA, eastern Ohio, which makes me think there are more correlations there to be explored.

Regardless of how you characterize those areas, Stephens-Davidowitz notes that if you go back to Obama's first election and map his vote totals against these racist searches - SURPRISE Obama does worst in districts that have a high number of racist searches reported. He notes that this correlation beats out other possible factors including church attendance, gun ownership, etc.
The main factor that predicts where Obama did worse than other Democrats is how frequently they made racist searches on Google

If that doesn't depress you (as it did me) then I'd love to know why.

Now scroll forward to 2016. I am shocked, shocked I tell you to discover that
...the single highest predictor of where Trump was doing well was the measure of racist searches on Google

This is, just to be clear, not me saying that everyone who voted for Trump is or was a racist. But if you voted that way, that is the majority of your fellow travelers. That is the pack you chose to run with. It's an the unexamined undercurrent in American society. Nothing in Google's data can help us understand why these attitudes exist in the places they do and not elsewhere. That task falls to us.

The data do support the hypothesis that Trump didn't create this racist pack - it was there at least as far back as data analysis has gone. It's also clear that, at least so far, these kinds of analyses are best done post facto. For example, searches for information on how to vote in traditionally black areas were much lower in 2016 than in previous election cycles. Post facto we can see that this has some explanatory power for Trump's victory - Clinton did not motivate black voter turn-out the way Obama did. But there aren't enough examples to know which searches are going to be relevant predictors and which are spurious correlations. At least, not yet.
drwex: (VNV)
I've been reading a lot of reviews and commentary on the film, ranging from the adulatory to completely clueless. There is one I want to bring out because it speaks to something I was unsure about.

In comments to my entry, I said that I was "on the fence" about the Native American character and while I gave the film credit for not whitewashing the role - it's played by one of the best and best-known Native American actors working today - I was uncertain. On the one hand he serves an incredibly important narrative role because he can point to Steve and rightfully accuse him (as a representative White person) of crimes every bit as bad as the WWI Germans. On the other hand, Native stereotyping is a huge thing in Hollywood films, so how do Native people feel about this character who everyone calls 'Chief'?

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/arts-entertainment/film-review-eugene-brave-rock-speaks-blackfoot-wonder-woman-dcs-best-film-ever/

The short piece by Vincent Schilling gives the movie props for Chief speaking Blackfoot to her initially (possibly to test if that's one of her known languages?). It notes that the actor was able to choose his own equipment and gear to maintain authenticity. And Schilling appreciates that the movie portrays Chief as a heroic figure.

I suspect that like any other community, Native American viewers are going to have a variety of opinions about this portrayal, but reading Schilling's comments helps me understand better and like Chief more.

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