Weekend Links

I’ll start with a couple of pictures that capture aspects of my life here in Dali, Yunnan Province. I’m leaving for good in seven weeks, so I really ought to do more of this. Yesterday evening, there was a bit of rain and then around 6:45 p.m. we were treated to a rainbow stretching across the width of the lake. Some people in my WeChat took pictures from the lakeshore that put mine to shame. But yeah, spectacular scenery is something I’m going to miss.

Also pictured is a bowl of noodles I eat once a week called zhájiàng miàn (炸酱面). When my wife and I lived closer to the restaurant, I was eating it twice or three times a week. It’s wheat noodles bathed in a brown pork sauce, with some sprouts and greens mixed in. Also, there’s a fixings station where I add cilantro, chives, and ground chili pepper. Wow, is it good! If anyone wants to open a Chinese noodle shop that makes a reasonable approximation of this near Duncan Avenue in Jersey City, I’ll single-handedly keep you in business.

Onto some of the articles I read this week:

  • If you read one thing I recommend all year, make it this piece about in-groups and out-groups. It’s very long but entirely worth it. In a general election where many of us are going to wonder how it’s possible that Donald Trump will win at minimum 45% of the popular vote, it’s important both to look in the mirror and to wrestle with the tribal nature of Americans’ voting behavior. I came to this by way of Nate Silver’s attempt to explain the decisive movement in Trump’s direction by the Republican electorate over the last few weeks.
  • In my post about Trump’s emergence as presumptive nominee, I mentioned that the Democratic Party has many advantages in the electoral college. Ed Kilgore explains that if the Democratic nominee carries every state the party has carried since 1992, plus Florida, that’s 271 electoral college votes and it’s all over (270 needed to win). And Florida is looking all kinds of bad for Trump. That’s a Democratic victory WITHOUT Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia, all of which are battleground states President Obama won in at least one of the last two presidential elections.
  • Jonathan Chait wonders how Republicans limit Trump’s damage to their down ballot races and their brand, and comes up empty.
  • There are several reporters and commentators that helped me take Trump seriously earlier than most of American media. Charles Pierce, who writes for Esquire and has been a tireless chronicler of the madness in the Republican Party, is one of those authors and here he is on how Ted Cruz paved the way for his vanquisher.
  • Josh Marshall, another writer I rely on who was in early on Trump being the nominee, has two good ones over at Talking Points Memo about Trump: first, there is no mystery about Trump winning the nomination if you were watching the data this whole time, and second, Trump begins his general election campaign with a blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention economically illiterate, idea about not paying U.S. debts.

Long day of teaching and I still need to make a batch of tomato sauce. We’re having two of our older groups of kids come to the school tomorrow evening for a DIY pizza party. I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

Enjoy the weekend!


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