Weekend Links

Halloween selfie!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween. We arranged a trick-or-treating experience for the kids in our school with the help of 20+ friendly businesses here in Dali, Yunnan Province in China. It was a lot of fun. As my wife noted, it was interesting to see how quickly Chinese kids – who had never been trick-or-treating before – picked up the familiar rhythms of Halloween: say “trick or treat,” get candy, say thank you, walk as quickly as possible to the next place for more candy, repeat. Our horde of 60+ costumed kids (and even some of our adult students joined in costume) moving through town was quite the spectacle. It looked like we made a lot of people’s nights, and had a great time ourselves.

Here I am with one of my classes. I’m supposed to be a pirate.

Some links for the weekend:

  • Here’s a more respectful piece on John Boehner’s tenure as congressman and Speaker of the House than the one I wrote just after he announced his decision to leave.
  • Among Charlie Pierce’s many good reads this week is this one on the “Palinization” of the Republican candidates. Apparently any question that asks a Republican candidate to explain himself or herself, or his or her policies, is evidence of liberal bias. I look forward to debates run by candidate-approved moderators, such as Sean Hannity, that include hard-hitting questions like “Why does Hillary Clinton love terrorists so much?” and “Assuming Zombie Reagan doesn’t enter the race and we can’t vote for him, please tell us how much you love Reagan, and why are you the next best choice?”
  • Martin Longman on the problem “sane” Republican candidates are having calling out the insane ones. The word “sane” in quotes gives it away, but that problem would be the fact that they are just as full of it as the insane ones.
  • David Brooks, a writer I dislike, annoys Paul Krugman so much this time that Krugman calls his New York Times colleague out by name. Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns, and Money reminds us that Brooks-style commentary on the more nebulous aspects of candidates, such as their “signals” or tone, is one of the reasons we ended up with eight years of George W. Bush.
  • Scott Lemieux on the death of ESPN’s sports and pop culture website Grantland. Nothing to add really; as Lemieux notes, hopefully its writers will find work somewhere, because they are some of the best.
  • Two months have passed since I wrote this about the Republican primaries and quite a bit has changed, though the basic dilemma facing the Republican establishment has not. I’d like to update my analysis of the polls next week, but in the meantime here are some quick takeaways:
    • Scott Walker, one of the candidates I listed as an establishment favorite, is toast.
    • Establishment candidates are doing even worse taken together than they were two months ago.
    • Support for Ben Carson has surged and it’s now less likely that he will drop out before the primaries begin.
    • Carson challenging Trump for king-of-the-polls status really complicates Trump’s core message that he’s a winner so vote for him because winners win and voters who vote for winners win, or something.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


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