How jokes won the election

Emily Nussbaum at The New Yorker takes a deep dive into comedy's outsize role in Trump's victory. It's one of the best long reads about the pop culture that defined this election. To use Emily's comedy metaphor, with notable exceptions like "Delete your account," Hillary and her supporters didn't read the room and were heckled at nearly every turn. Read the rest

Samantha Bee lets Trump enabler Kellyanne Conway have it

Before Trump's omnipresent spokescobra Kellyanne Conway distracted everyone with her inauguration get-up, Samantha Bee delivered a withering assessment of Trump's greatest female enabler of all time (Putin holds the male title). Read the rest

The secret to success in local politics: steal from the people, but not too much

In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who'll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you. Read the rest

The Women's March and the Judean People's Front: After Occupy, after trumpism, a new networked politics

Doubtless you've laughed at the ideological war between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. I laughed along with you: having grown up in politics, I know firsthand about the enmities that fester between groups that should be allies -- groups whose differences can only be parsed after months of study, but who are seemingly more at odds with one another than their obvious political opponents on the "other side" of the debate.

Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker's new Political Objects online anthology with Luc Sante, Lydia Millet, etc.

BB pal Rob Walker says:

My Significant Objects co-conspirator Joshua Glenn and I have started a new adventure: PROJECT:OBJECT will publish four “themed” volumes of stories-about-objects from an all-star cast of writers. Volume 1, POLITICAL OBJECTS launched today, with stories from Luc Sante, Lydia Millet, and Ben Greenman. This series will continue on HiLobrow through Q1 (with a bunch clustered around Inauguration Day.) Then a new volume with a new theme will launch in April, etc.

The POLITICAL OBJECTS stories are here.

And here’s the once-a-week email newsletter we’ll use to distribute links to new stories in the year ahead.

Read the rest

California state employees may no longer use state funds travel to states where LGBTQ discrimination is legal

If you're a California state employee -- including an employee in the UC system -- no longer use California state funds travel to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina or Tennessee, or any state "that has passed a law that (1) authorizes discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, or (2) voids or repeals existing state or local protections against such discrimination." It's hard to imagine any major academic conferences being held in those states anymore. Read the rest

Portraits for the Women's March on Washington, by Clayton Cubitt

My friend Clayton Cubitt has taken a phenomenal series of portraits for the Women's March on Washington.

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EFF's guide to talking to your Congresscritter

EFF Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon has posted an excellent, practical guide to talking to your member of Congress -- how to do it, how to maximize your efficiency, and why you should. Read the rest

In one day, Trump and Republicans shattered the norms of decency, political transparency, and accountability

In a 24-hour period, America experienced: its next president giving a press-conference in which paid shills applauded or booed as suited his needs; its next president wielding a binder of blank pages as a prop, declaring it to be his "conflict of interest plan"; its next president setting out a way to launder bribes through the State Department; its Congress holding a 1AM vote to ban the Budget Office from investigating the real costs of legislation; its Senate voting to strip 22 million people of health-care (including me and my family). That was all in one day. Read the rest

Germany, France and the UK are moving the EU to continuous, unaccountable, warrantless mass surveillance

Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight). Read the rest

Webcomic explains how weakening the Voting Rights Act led to voter suppression in 2016

On The Nib, Andy Warner posts a quick primer on the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the requirement for districts with a history of racist voter suppression to get federal oversight for changes to their voting procedures; of note is the section on Jeff Sessions, whose Attorney General confirmation hearing is underway right now. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

EFF is liveblogging the Jeff Sessions Attorney General confirmation hearing

The man who will decide how law is enforced in America for the next four years was deemed too racist to be a judge, voted to allow American soldiers to torture people, and is a general hot mess on crypto, surveillance, net neutrality and press freedoms: EFF staffers will liveblog his confirmation hearing this morning. (Image: Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Greenpeace takes on the polluted political ecosystem

In addition to a wonderful and timely message, this PSA for Greenpeace is beautifully illustrated and animated by Elliot Lim. Read the rest

Paul Verhoeven on media's normalization of fascism

LJ Frezza takes a loving look back at how Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers are wry commentaries on mass media's normalizing effect on sexism, militarism, climate change, corporatism, and state-sponsored terrorism. Read the rest

Washington Post's symbolic Women's March on Washington error

While it's symbolic that Washington Post Express put the Women's March on Washington on their cover, the cover itself was symbolic for all the wrong reasons. Ouch. Read the rest

Registered Democrats (mostly young and/or racialised) who didn't vote cost Hillary the election

Fivethirtyeight's analysis of a Surveymonkey data-set shows that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if registered Democrats had turned out and voted in larger numbers -- in other words, Hillary's failure to convince registered Democrats to vote, rather than abstain, lost her the election. Read the rest

€9m Russian loan to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is called in

The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest

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