Category Archives: Science

Donald Trump’s twice daily ‘propaganda document’

Any number of commentators have described Donald Trump as exhibiting narcissistic personality disorder. Nigel Barber at Psychology Today explained it this way. Does Trump Suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Professional psychiatrists, and psychotherapists, are loath to go on record saying that Trump has a psychiatric disorder on the premise that one cannot do a diagnosis without an office visit and most narcissists are quite unlikely to recognize that they have a problem and to schedule an appointment.

Fortunately, the DSM is written so clearly, and so simply, that the diagnosis is transparent. Here are the symptoms.

According to DSM-5, individuals with NPD have most (at least five) or all of the symptoms listed below (generally without commensurate qualities or accomplishments).

1 Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment by others.

2 Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.

3 Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions.

4 Needing constant admiration from others.

5 Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others.

6 Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain.

7 Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs.

8 Intensely jealous of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them.

9 Pompous and arrogant demeanor.

Wow, nine for nine! “For those that are clearly relevant, he checks out on all symptoms, it seems. According to DSM criteria, Donald Trump suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.”

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The new Whiny Right (Updated)

I posted about this topic last year, The secret to Trump’s success: the GOP is the party of white identity and white grievances.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow now has a must-read column, America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’:

Donald Trump is the reigning king of American victimhood.

He is unceasingly pained, injured, aggrieved.

The primaries were unfair. The debates were unfair. The general election was unfair.

“No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he laments.

People refuse to reach past his flaws — which are legion! — and pat him on the back. People refuse to praise his minimal effort and minimal efficacy. They refuse to ignore that the legend he created about himself is a lie. People’s insistence on truth and honest appraisal is so annoying. It’s all so terribly unfair.

It is in this near perfect state of perpetual aggrievement that Trump gives voice to a faction of America that also feels aggrieved. Trump won because he whines. He whines in a way that makes the weak feel less vulnerable and more vicious. He makes feeling sorry for himself feel like fighting back.

In this way he was a perfect reflection of the new Whiny Right. Trump is its instrument, articulation, embodiment. He’s not so much representative of it but of an idea — the waning power of whiteness, privilege, patriarchy, access, and the cultural and economic surety that accrues to the possessors of such. Trump represents their emerging status of victims-in-their-own-minds.

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Billy Kovacs Congressional Kickoff Snubs Lifelong Democrats

Billy Kovacs at June 2017 campaign kickoff

Billy Kovacs officially launched his congressional campaign at a bar in Tucson, snubbing lifelong Democrats who were meeting at the exact same time, four miles away.

The kickoff was held in the student drinking district of the city with a crowd of 200 people. It was short on specifics and long on his slogan, “new voice…new direction…new generation of leadership.”

Kovacs repeated the slogan as he addressed attendees for two minutes. He made some kind of comment about Congressional District 2 being “not Democratic, Republican, or a swing district.” The crowd of young, old, men, women, mothers, children and friendly dogs loved it.

On the plus side, Kovacs is tall (6 foot 5), handsome, age 30, skinny and self-effacing. He’s running a youth-oriented campaign targeting Millennials, who sat out the last election. To his credit, he has visited 40 cities in the district and talked to people “who haven’t seen a Democrat in 10 years.”

His approach makes sense. If you’re a Johnny-come-lately, you should listen more than you talk. But it would have been great to hear what he thinks about:

Climate change

Medicare for all

Senior citizens

Repeal and replace Obamacare

the Tucson economy

Funding the A-10

…you know, current events. He’ll have to address these points if he’s going to win against a woman Air Force fighter pilot who’s backed by donations from warmonger John Bolton to car dealer Jim Click.

To support Kovacs:
https://www.kovacsforcongress.com, https://www.facebook.com/kovacsforcongress, Email: info@kovacsforcongress.com.

Meanwhile, Democrats met up the road

Congressional District 2

Because I’m an elected precinct captain, I had to move on to the regular meeting of Democrats in legislative District 9. It was taking place ten minutes away at a local church building.

Candidates make a point of appearing there for the “2-minute talks,” where they can promote their campaigns to lifelong Democrats who actually vote.

Katie Hobbs, candidate for Arizona Secretary of State

State Senator Katie Hobbs

For example, speakers included Katie Hobbs, a candidate for Arizona Secretary of State. She argued persuasively that the Republican incumbent has bungled handling state elections, costing voters confidence in the system. Hobbs is the Arizona Senate minority leader and a former state representative.

That’s when I wondered where Billy Kovacs was. Maybe he’ll come around because it’s early in the campaign.

The meeting attracted 160 people (and only 30 seniors like me). Comfortingly, it began with the Pledge of Allegiance before an American flag.

State Senator Steven Farley

State Senator Steven Farley

One report mentioned state Senator Steve Farley, a familiar face at these meetings, who is running for Governor. He is facing Arizona State University professor David Garcia in the primary. Like Kovacs, Farley intends to meet voters in person.

Another report urged Democrats to sign the Save Our Schools petition, which supports our neighborhood schools and will defeat vouchers in Arizona. The group needs to collect 10,000 signatures by July 31. Their next event is on July 9 in Phoenix, a happy hour with LD28 Rep. Kelli Butler, Phoenix City Council candidate Kevin Patterson, and Madison School Board member Scott Holcomb.

Susan Bickel reported that a whopping 600 people have become precinct captains in Pima County — up from 140 in January! She has done a totally awesome job of creating a network that Democratic candidates can rely on. Help her by sending her an email offering to become a precinct captain (PC). If you’re already a PC, offer to be an LD9 territory coordinator.

Rep.-Elect Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

My heroine, state Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, said there was a huge demographic shift in Arizona last month: we are now 50% women and majority Latino. This will make a big difference in the 2018 elections.

Highlighting the change she said, “I hear women with gray hair talking about not getting equal pay for equal work,” she said. “Men are talking about being raised by single moms.”

The closer for the evening was UofA Sr. Associate Research Scientist Jeffrey S. Kargel (who is a new PC in LD11). He reported that Arizona is now the #1 place in the US to experience the pace of global warming. We just went through the longest +115 degree streak in history in Tucson.

“Our high temps are a glimpse into the future,” he said. “The climate here is changing fundamentally. We used to get 5-7 day heat spells. Now we get heat spells for weeks.”

Climate change denier Donald Trump expected to pull U.S. out of Paris climate accord

carbon-emissionsLast week director of the White House National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, said aboard Air Force One: “Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock,” he instead praised natural gas as “such a cleaner fuel” — and one that America has become an “abundant producer of.” Top Trump aide: Coal doesn’t make ‘much sense anymore’.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres had a warning yesterday for nations that choose not to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels: ‘Get on board the climate train or get left behind’.

Our Dear Leader and climate change denier Donald Trump, who abdicated the U.S. role of “leader of the free world” last week in his first foreign trip, apparently has decided that the U.S. should be left behind.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 7.05.26 AM

The New York Times reports, Trump Poised to Pull U.S. From Paris Climate Accord:

President Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, three officials with knowledge of the decision said, making good on a campaign pledge but severely weakening the landmark 2015 climate change accord that committed nearly every nation to take action to curb the warming of the planet.

A senior White House official cautioned that the specific language of the president’s expected announcement was still in flux Wednesday morning. The official said the withdrawal might be accompanied by legal caveats that will shape the impact of Mr. Trump’s decision.

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A preview of the March for Science

Scientists, and those who just love scientific method, will march on Washington, D.C. (and hundreds of satellite marches around the globe) this Saturday in support of scientific research and scientific-based public policy decision making. The March for Science, explained:

Inspired by the success of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science will celebrate the scientific method and advocate for evidence-based decision-making in all levels of government. Though the event’s website doesn’t explicitly mention Trump, it’s a protest of his administration’s policies, including his proposal to cut billions in funding for scientific research.

The march is likely to draw a lively crowd — and the nerdiest protest signs you can imagine. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What will happen at the March for Science?

On April 22, science-friendly individuals will gather on the National Mall, and in dozens of satellite marches across the United States and even around the globe. The Earth Day Network — the nonprofit that organizes Earth Day events every year — has taken the lead on programming for the march.

The main event will be co-hosted by Questlove (of the Roots and The Tonight Show) and Derek Muller (who runs a popular science YouTube channel). Jon Batiste and Stay Human (the band for Stephen Colbert’s Late Show) will serve as the house band.

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(Update) Public policy is failing to address the economic disruption from rapidly advancing technology

Another in a series of posts about the technology tsunami rapidly transforming the labor force.

The Washington Post this week has a couple of interesting reports on jobs affected by the Technology Revolution, and the economic disruption it is having on society.

First, Jef Guo writes at the Wonkblog, We’re so unprepared for the robot apocalypse:

Economists have long argued that automation, not trade, is responsible for the bulk of the six million jobs shed by the manufacturing sector over the last 25 years. Now, they have a put a precise figure on some of the losses.

Industrial robots alone have eliminated up to 670,000 American jobs between 1990 and 2007, according to new research from MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo.

The number is stunning on the face of it, and many have interpreted the study as an indictment of technological change — a sign that “robots are winning the race for American jobs” (Clair Cain Miller, The Upshot at The New York Times). But the bigger takeaway is that the nation has been ill-equipped to deal with the upheaval caused by automation.

The researchers estimate that half of the job losses resulted from robots directly replacing workers. The rest of the jobs disappeared from elsewhere in the local community. It seems that after a factory sheds workers, that economic pain reverberates, triggering further unemployment at, say, the grocery store or the neighborhood car dealership.

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