North Korea’s words are the same. It’s Trump’s reaction that makes this different. – The Washington Post

If these folks are right, there’s  nothing to worry about re: North Korea–as long as President Hothead makes the sane choice.

“All these provocations are verbal,” Shen said, adding that Pyongyang does not want war.

“North Korea already threatened to attack Guam, but they didn’t. Its artillery can blast Seoul, and any of its nuclear weapons could turn Northeast Asia upside down. But would they start a war first?” he said. “No, their nuclear weapons are for self-defense, and they are aware the United States will wipe them off the Earth if they hit it.”

Source: North Korea’s words are the same. It’s Trump’s reaction that makes this different. – The Washington Post

BBC – Culture – How Americanisms are killing the English language

As an American, I have to say I have very mixed feelings about this. Perhaps not even all that mixed, actually. Half the fun of British English is all the words we don’t share. Okay…pretty much ALL the fun. Two countries separated by a common language, and all that!

So it turns out I can no longer speak English. This was the alarming realisation foisted upon me by Matthew Engel’s witty, cantankerous yet nonetheless persuasive polemic That’s the Way it Crumbles: The American Conquest of English. Because by English, I mean British English.

Source: BBC – Culture – How Americanisms are killing the English language

Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump’s accusation that Facebook has always been ‘anti-Trump’ – The Washington Post

Aaaaand here’s Exhibit A in Tufekci’s argument. Mr Bazillionaire literally has no clue what he’s created and how it can be used for evil as well as good. He’s drunk too much of his own happy little idealistic kool-aid:

Many people raised concerns with Facebook about the impact that its platform played in spreading false information — concerns apparently bolstered by recent revelations that Russian operatives used Facebook advertisements to influence American voters. During and after the election, Zuckerberg downplayed those concerns — even when they came from President Barack Obama.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump’s accusation that Facebook has always been ‘anti-Trump’ – The Washington Post

Facebook was built to enable bad actors like Russia.

I agree wholeheartedly with the quote below. This is where we get in a ton of trouble with Facebook–and where it gets itself into a ton, too.

The one thing I don’t agree with in this interview comes before the quote below, where she says that boycotting Facebook is cutting yourself off from life. Can’t even tell you how much I don’t agree with that. Quite the opposite, in fact. But then, I suppose it depends on how one defines “life.”

…a big fallacy of a lot of smart people is that they think, they genuinely believe that because they’re smart in one domain, they’re also equally smart in every other domain. I think that’s kind of the arrogance, the lack of humility, the lack of acceptance that a lot of things you’re really not good at. Every time a crisis like this happens, Facebook executives and engineers are like, “How could we have foreseen it?”

I can point them to thousands and thousands of academics. I can point them to first-year grad students who could’ve pointed stuff out to them. Some of this isn’t hard. Some of it isn’t a lack of optimism, or pessimism. It is understanding how the world works. It’s understanding how power works. They’re so homogenous. They’re all smart in such a narrow domain. And also so arrogant that their narrow domain intelligence applies to everything equally under the sun. And they just kind of talk themselves into, “Oh, this is unforeseeable.”

And their business model often depends on them not understanding this.

Source: Facebook was built to enable bad actors like Russia.

What Is White Supremacy? – Talking Points Memo

Josh Marshall’s response to the Chait piece I just posted–a good look at where the distinctions in terminology come from and if they remain as clear as Chait makes them out to be (hint: not quite so much). Read the Chait first (also linked within this article).

Accepting or even supporting equal political rights for a small minority of the population – which is frequently referred to precisely by their numerical minority status – is quite different from imagining a world where whites are not a majority at all.

To be clear, the diehard racist whites of 1970 are or would be the diehards of today and the most determined anti-racist whites of 1970 would likely be the same today too. But there’s a vast, fluid and ambiguous middle group. Our definitions of race in America remain fluid. But at least as we define it today, whites will no longer be a majority at all in the relatively near future. Certainly, they won’t be the overwhelming majority able to define and dictate cultural, economic and political power more or less as they choose. That scares a lot of white people. And it can scare people who might have non-white friends and not have any overt antipathy toward non-whites. The changing demography post-1970 has brought the issue of white supremacy far more acutely and unavoidably to the fore than it was in the past. That is a big, big part of what Trumpism is all about.

Source: What Is White Supremacy? – Talking Points Memo

Donald Trump, White Supremacy, and the Discourse of Panic

The whole piece is worth reading, but the quote below in particular gives me a great deal of pause. I wish it would give the same to others.

The method here is to panic liberals into abandoning liberalism. In normal times, liberals accept the right of even the most heinous opponents to engage in peaceful political expression, because giving either the government or violent street fighters the right to silence opponents of the left is a power that could just as easily be turned against the left itself. But if Trump is not merely a potential authoritarian but an actual one, and the appearance of a handful of Nazis (a demonstration in Charlottesville drawing upon supporters across the country mustered only a few hundred) is the onset of Weimar Germany, then liberalism seems like an insufficient response.

Source: Donald Trump, White Supremacy, and the Discourse of Panic

The sad suspicion about Trump’s shameful treatment of Puerto Rico – The Washington Post

Why is this man still permitted to hold office? Why? WHY???

President Trump, so visible when Harvey and Irma hit, all but ignored the devastation that Maria brought to Puerto Rico, devoting more attention to respect for the flag at NFL games. When he did turn his focus to Puerto Rico on Monday, it was to say that the island “was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt” and that its “old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars . . . owed to Wall Street and the banks w

Source: The sad suspicion about Trump’s shameful treatment of Puerto Rico – The Washington Post