Weekend Links

Vacuum packed fish tofu snack! This is in my backlog of photos of gifts from students and something about the Republican debate reminded me of it.

I didn’t watch last night’s Republican debate (was teaching when it aired) or read enough about it to do another “The Agony of Debate” post (previous posts here and   here). The Guardian has somewhat evenhanded coverage so if you missed the debate as well, I suggest this link for a good summary of how the candidates interacted and this link goes to the liveblog with good discussion of the substance. I think I’ll stick with my horse race predictions about the Republican race from earlier in the week. Also, I should acknowledge that I made a mistake in that post when I overlooked John Kasich’s standing in the New Hampshire polls that warranted an invitation to the big stage. Oh, and one more debate-related link: it’s always fun to point out that the “great company” Trump loves to boast about building with his inheritance is worth less than the fortune he could have had if he’d just invested the money in an index fund.

More links for the weekend:

  • Tough but good read about assisted suicide by Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones.
  • Matt Taibbi, writing about the militia standoff in Oregon, tries to strike the right balance between outrage and mocking laughter. If this weren’t mainly a story about armed white men flouting federal authority and intimidating local officials and citizens, it would be tempting to focus on the unintentional comedy these domestic terrorists have been producing at an astounding rate.
  • Robert Farley, a writer at one of my favorite blogs called Lawyers, Guns & Money, explains to Zack Beauchamp over at Vox why Iran’s detention of 10 American sailors for entering Iranian territorial waters and subsequent release of the sailors a day later is fairly standard procedure. Farley also explains why the incident is not necessarily a sign of Iran taking advantage of American weakness. In fact, the idea that states can effectively signal strength or weakness in international relations is not credible.
  • Scott Lemieux flags this piece by Michael Grunwald about all of Obama’s achievements. There are a lot of people, some even on the Left, who bemoan Obama’s perceived lack of accomplishments, and they need to face facts. This is what the 2016 election is about. Obama and the Democratic Party did indeed change the status quo for the better. Preserving those changes, strengthening them, and making even more progress all start with electing a Democrat to the White House this year.
  • Bernie Sanders will have to do well or even win in Iowa and win in New Hampshire before we consider Hillary Clinton’s strong leads elsewhere fragile, but I’m starting to feel a little nervous about my Clinton prediction from a few weeks ago. In any case, here’s your semi-regular reminder that in the American political system we should prioritize party over personality. I have no particular dog in the Clinton-Sanders race, but we should all have a real big dog come November.
  • For fun but maybe NSFW, click here to see the right reaction to Ted Cruz’s smear of New Yorkers.

A football fan’s favorite weekend is here. I wish I were home already! Enjoy the games and the weekend!