FEC Data: Trump donors

I made a sqlite database (42MB) of 141,000 donors to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign from FEC records, should anybody want it.

Happy new year!

Annual music video:

I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me

2016 was horrid. In many ways it was the final nail in the coffin of the 20th century, much like 1914 finally ended the 19th century. The brief flash of the “information age” has given way to the age of voluntary ignorance; 20th century utopian projects are crumbling (Communism, internationalist capitalism, trans-Europeanism, neoconservatism) as we saw base authoritarianism reassert itself across the world. Oh well.

Interesting time to be alive. Stay frosty.

Thoughts on the California Primary

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Pretty much.

There’s been a lot of ink and many, many pixels spilled over the Democratic presidential primary. I say this by way of introduction in case you’ve had your head stuck under a rock. It’s been reaching its end-game every couple of weeks since March. There was Super Tuesday (which gave Hillary a small structural lead, but Bernie still had a chance!),  then Superer Tuesday (which gave Hillary a huge structural lead, but Bernie still had a chance!), then the Acela Primary (which gave Hillary a nigh-insurmountable structural lead, but Bernie still… ah, fuck it, he’s saying he wants to overturn the will of the voters now), and now we’re coming up on California and New Jersey for the… next primary, which will give Hillary a mathematically insurmountable structural lead.

And, once again, it will be over! And Hillary will have reached the point where she’s unbeatable! Yay, it’s over! Maybe Bernie will concede around then, like Hillary did last time!

2008 was a pretty hot contest too, remember? Remember how we all hated each other? Remember PUMA’s, that year’s Bernie-Or-Bust’ers?

Remember Hillary saying that “having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual” and using “Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June” as an example? That was dumb.

Remember Florida and Michigan losing their delegates because they jumped the gun on the primary schedule? And they were probably very favorable territory for Hillary? That was dumb.

I’m not a professional pundit, so I can’t just make shit up, but I’m also too lazy to look up exact examples for this next one. But I definitely remember people grumbling that Obama’s 2008 victories across the South didn’t matter because those aren’t states that send electoral votes to Democrats in November, and the superdelegates should take note of this. That was stupid when Bill Clinton basically said it in 2008 and it was stupid when a Sanders surrogate said it in 2016.

So hey! Everybody’s terrible, OK? But don’t lose track of the bigger picture. The narcissism of small differences is a hell of a drug:

It is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and that are related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and are ridiculing each other because of sensitiveness to these details of differentiation.

Don’t forget who the real enemy is.

That said, I’m voting for Hillary. Take this primary out of its misery, please. Just drag it behind the shed and shoot it. Even Jerry Brown agrees, and he’s not exactly the Clintons’ biggest fan.

Slate Seems to Have Had a Good Day

Just some random links…

  • A designer made cards she wished people had sent her when she had cancer, cards like “Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.”
  • That stupid thing going around about beards being full of shit is, of course, full of shit.
  • Satanists claim religious liberty exemption to abortion waiting periods
  • Bernie Sanders is a big fan of the NRA. Wait, what’s that? Nobody’s perfect? Bullshit, where’s my pony.

Day of Silence

Looks like I missed the Day of Silence this year, and last year and the year before because I live in San Francisco and the wheels of commerce would come off if all LGBT people were silent for a day. But back in high school and college I participated. It’s quite an interesting exercise.

For those who don’t know, it’s a day when LGBT activists coordinate to not speak. It’s a metaphor about institutional silencing and media nonpresence and all that. Pretty standard activisty stuff. But all I ever seemed to get out of it was a giant flashing neon sign floating over my head saying I’M GAY. (Now that I think about it, that would be a cool piece of clothing to have.) In college the LGBT center would give out little slips of paper explaining to people why you weren’t talking to them, and I think they made shirts one year too. We would all eat lunch together in the main campus plaza, I think Subway catered it.

But it always just felt very self-congratulatory. It’s not like any of the authority figures were homophobic; they were mostly concerned with keeping you from drinking beer while you swam in the fountains. And the teachers, well, I’m quite certain they were aware of the existence of LGBT people. Even the CS teachers!

I know I’m speaking from a position of privilege–tall white male who can pass and comes from a family with means etc.–but it’s always struck me as a little bit of a strange protest action. Everybody in high school knew I was gay, and I don’t know if my professors in college did (except for Rob) but I was pretty active in the queer community so all the students knew. And it was never once an issue. Like, basically not remarked upon even. Moreso remarked upon in high school, but it was really just people like adjusting a bit of metadata on a row in their meat database (you probably call it a brain) than anything else. Oh, OK, he’s gay, record updated. Then they’d ask the usual uncomfortable but well-meaning questions.

The answer to one of them, my stock answer just to move the conversation along, was “Kenneth Branagh.”

There are certainly communities where I can envision a protest of silence doing some good awareness-raising and de-invisibilifying, but I’ve simply never lived in one. Now, I got yelled at in the Tokyo airport trying to use a single check-in form with my husband as “a family”, and there are parts of town we don’t hold hands in, even here, and I remember before the Windsor ruling where filing taxes was a nightmare, and, like most LGBT people, I’ve been gay-bashed at least once, but… What does the Day of Silence do?

I remember things like Day Without an Immigrant, and those definitely turned some heads in college. But there’s just a lot more people you can have do that. LGBT people are (let’s be honest) probably 3% of the population, and for most of us, people sorta know. Not speaking up in class for one day isn’t really going to do anything, right?

I prefer nowadays to focus my energies on organizing and supporting the dominant power structures that support me. That means Democrats, right now. A few hours phone banking can do a lot more good than a day of not talking. Maybe that’s just me, though.

From the Archives: 2008 Stock Market Crash Playlist

I worked for the Obama campaign in Denver in 2008. We made this playlist on September 29, after the House GOP (remember them?) scuttled the bailout. It was a late night.

  1. Ecstasy of Gold (Ennio Morricone)
  2. Five Percent for Nothing (Yes)
  3. Money (Pink Floyd)
  4. Black Friday (Steely Dan)
  5. Tailspin (The Jayhawks)
  6. I Was in the House When the House Burned Down (Warren Zevon)
  7. Everything Must Go (Steely Dan)
  8. Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads)
  9. Scratch (Morphine)
  10. Your Gold Teeth II (Steely Dan)

Yeah, it’s a little Steely Dan-heavy.  Whatever.  I like Steely Dan.