A Clinton Kind of Strength

One of the things that attracted me to Hillary Clinton is that I was absolutely convinced she would tear down the world rather than lose. As I enjoy our current mediocre political class, I hardly care that this spooks the best and brightest away from politics. But better, I know that if Hillary ever became President, there was no possibility that the Oval Office would be occupied by someone who despised American power.

Considering Obama’s concerns about white folks’ green running a world in need, the Senator from Illinois hasn’t been so re-assuring. But David Books highlights Obama’s will to power, in a way that implies that Obama might just rise to that Clinton kind of standard…

Soob: David Brooks on the Two Obama’s
And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding. Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood.

I have to admit, I’m ambivalent watching all this. On the one hand, Obama did sell out the primary cause of his professional life, all for a tiny political advantage. If he’ll sell that out, what won’t he sell out? On the other hand, global affairs ain’t beanbag. If we’re going to have a president who is going to go toe to toe with the likes of Vladimir Putin, maybe it is better that he should have a ruthlessly opportunist Fast Eddie Obama lurking inside.

Hillary Clinton has long since proven she could be a Daniel Plainview kind of President. And by reassuring us that his power is more important than his vow, Obama is doing the same.

Theft!

Two pairs of my shoes New Balance tennis shoes and a pair of sandals from Payless) were stolen from outside my apartment in near Chaco Hills in Omaha, Nebraska. This actually surprises me, as we previously resided in the college/urban ghetto of Lincoln, Nebraska, where a house once exploded as a meth lab and a panhandler knocked on our door, but where our shoes were unmolested.

Trolls

This blog was not around during the last presidential election, so I do not know if the current (and rising) volume of troll comments is typical or not. Whichever it is, it harms this blog and it has to stop.

I started tdaxp in December ’04 in order to catch errors in my thinking. As part of this, comments have always been prominently featured on the blog’s right-hand column. I first hosted my blog on blogspirit because they had this feature. Ultimately, other blog service providers improved, blogspirit no longer became comment-friendly, and I moved over to a wordpress set-up.

Troll comments work against this philosophy. They lower the standard of communication by setting a bad example for others. They normalize behavior that is already too common at sites like Daily Kos and Michelle Malkin. They don’t help me catch contradictions in my thinking. They waste my time.

Two particularly annoying classes of troll comments are those that celebrate crime and those that engage in monologues. By far, the most common of the criminal trolls are members of the Black Gangster Disciple Network, whose comments are normally some variation of “Hoover is my King!!!” The monologues were rarer because the presidential election started, but seem to be taking the form of raising points and then refusing to answer questions on those points. So, to take a recent example, a troll commentator may assert that a particular form of polling is the best, and then when asked why, refuses to answer.

Obviously, a post explaining why one belongs to a criminal organization would be fascinating. And likewise, it would be rude of me to expect someone to answer a question or listen to a new point if they still have a question outstanding. But someone who wishes to gain credibility with his friends by flaunting his membership in a fraternal organization or belief in a candidate in a way that doesn’t advance dialog is useless to me and harmful to this blog.

So from now on, the following policy: crime-celebrating posts will simply be deleted in moderation. Comment trolls in which someone is engaging in monologue by refusing to support or withdraw some assertion will be notified of this, and if after 24 hours trolling behavior does not stop, and comments from the troll in that thread starting from the trolling behavior will be permanently removed.

As someone who enjoys receiving comments, I have long been puzzled why some bloggers don’t allow comments. Now I see why. Trolls so harm the community that if they are not removed swiftly, they can pervert the purpose of the blog away from intellectual discussion to something much less worthwhile.