Joe With The Technical Knockout

When told The Former Guy was infected with the ‘rona during one of their debates, President Biden said the one thing a narcissist NEVER wants to hear, “I don’t think about the former president.”

Given his daily “To Do” list, I believe Joe. Everyone else, the January 6th commission and professional historians aside, take note.

Help Me Understand

Why do people engage in political debate on Facebook and other social media? Has anyone ever changed their party affiliation or political thinking more generally because someone on social media convinced them to?

It seems utterly ill-suited for meaningful political discussion. Bumper stickers probably are a more effectual means of political persuasion.

Paragraphs To Ponder

“One day in August 2021, Zhao Wei disappeared. For one of China’s best-known actresses to physically vanish from public view would have been enough to cause a stir on its own. But Zhao’s disappearing act was far more thorough: overnight, she was erased from the internet. Her Weibo social media page, with its 86 million followers, went offline, as did fan sites dedicated to her. Searches for her many films and television shows returned no results on streaming sites. Zhao’s name was scrubbed from the credits of projects she had appeared in or directed, replaced with a blank space. Online discussions uttering her name were censored. Suddenly, little trace remained that the 45-year-old celebrity had ever existed.

She wasn’t alone. Other Chinese entertainers also began to vanish as Chinese government regulators announced a ‘heightened crackdown’ intended to dispense with ‘vulgar internet celebrities’ promoting lascivious lifestyles and to ‘resolve the problem of chaos’ created by online fandom culture. Those imitating the effeminate or androgynous aesthetics of Korean boyband stars—colorfully referred to as ‘xiao xian rou,’ or ‘little fresh meat’—were next to go, with the government vowing to ‘resolutely put an end to sissy men’ appearing on the screens of China’s impressionable youth.”

Meanwhile, U.S. anti-maskers and vaxers have lost their freedom. Cry me a river.

From The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning.

Do We Have Three Parties Already?

I think so. At least that’s my conclusion after reading Slate’s “Progressives May Be Making a Huge Error in Trying to Save Their Agenda”. Republicans, moderate Demos, and progressive Demos.

The conclusion:

“The GOP is full of loons and nihilists these days, and planning a legislative strategy partly around the hope that they’ll come to a responsible bargain in a few years’ time seems a little Pollyannaish.

In the end, I’m guessing Democrats will settle on a combination of . . . approaches. They may make a paid leave program permanent, but only temporarily extend Biden’s child tax credit, as is currently the plan, anyway. But personally, as a somewhat risk-averse human being, my impulse is to do fewer programs and pay for them to be permanent, so Americans can actually begin planning around them with at least a tiny bit of confidence. LBJ didn’t set Medicare on an egg timer, after all. Imagine how much frailer our safety net might be if he had.”  

Paragraph To Ponder

From Slate.

“Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was first elected to political office in 1958, midway through the second term of President Dwight Eisenhower. I learned this fact earlier this year and have thought about it every day since. At 88, he is the oldest Republican senator, and second-oldest overall by a few months (to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein), in the oldest Senate in American history. He will turn 89 shortly before the 2022 midterms, in which, as he announced on Friday morning, he will seek reelection yet again. If he wins, which he probably will, his six-year term will end when he is 95.”

Who will be the first centenarian member of Congress?