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What You Should Be Watching: Final Space

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 20:22
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of “What You Should Be Watching”! Today I’ll be telling you about Final Space, a TBS original adult cartoon. It’s a sci-fi that takes place in an Earth where aliens are totally normal, and the Earth has a military-style organization called “Infinity Guard” that has spaceships and lasers and […]

The Big Idea: Jay Schiffman

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:00
What is best in life? If you are, say, Conan the Barbarian, you have one sort of answer. If you are Jay Schiffman, or one of his characters in his novel Game of the Gods, your answer might be very different indeed. JAY SCHIFFMAN: There are two aspects of my life that have significantly shaped […]

My Three Sons, One a Parrot: A Twitter Story

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 08:57
It began innocently enough. Enjoy tonight's sunset. — John Scalzi (@scalzi) July 11, 2018 MAKE ME — Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) July 11, 2018 you tell him, chuck, he can't push us around anymore — Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) July 11, 2018 ACTUALLY THIS CONTRACT HERE SAYS I CAN ENJOY THIS SUNSET BOTH OF YOU OR […]

Liars, cowards and scoundrels

Contrary Brin - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 20:44
== Defectors and clingers….  and a truth teller who can go to hell ==
Top GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, long a vocal critic of Trump, sees his party as cowardly and "irredeemable" for not standing up against the president. There are dozens of such adults who are saying they’ve had enough. Alas, almost none of them are in the right’s political caste.
Mitt Romney – for his own benefit – spent a year trying to get “moderate republicans” like John McCain and Susan Collins and the rest to join in a conference to save their party, the way the Democrats saved theirs in what I call the “Miracle of 1947.”  Alas, Romney failed to find more than three grams of cojones among all of them, and now he has shrunk back from the challenge, too, sucking up to the Trumpists. We’ll get no help from such cowards.
And there’s backpedaling and lying hypocrisy on the rise. Take Ralph Reed who was always among the smartest of the fanatics pushing us hard into a dark age. His recent missive declares that the countless, volcanically-vile personal faults of Donald Trump are irrelevant:
I said the same thing in the 1990s when I argued strongly against attacks on Bill Clinton’s character. In my book “Active Faith,” I wrote: “I have always deliberately confined my criticism of Clinton to public policy issues, not his character or moral shortcomings” and “If Bill Clinton is a sinner, he is no worse or less than you or me.” That was not a popular position at that time in my community, but it is one that I felt very strongly about then, and I feel the same way about President Trump.”
Oh, how charitable and all-forgiving! And spectacularly hypocritical and openly lying, given his earlier words. Here's a quote from Ralph Reed in a 1998 NY Times article''Character matters, and the American people are hungry for that message…. We care about the conduct of our leaders, and we will not rest until we have leaders of good moral character.''
Okay, so now his excuse for the pyrotechnically immoral behavior of almost every to GOP official, from Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert to the present occupant of the White House is: "Yes, our leaders are deeply immoral... but democrats are the same!"
Half a billion dollars of mostly our money was spent — across 25 years — investigating the Clintons, the most thoroughly probed humans in the history of our species. Half of all subpoenas issued by the lazy-ass GOP Congresses were in futile search of some "smoking gun." In 2001, George W. Bush diverted many agents from counter-terror duties to go through Clinton Administration files... in the run-up to 9/11.

 And after all that, what did we wind up with? A husband fibbed about some third base adult-consensual infidelity in a hallway... and the wife was later caught using exactly the same sort of somewhat improper email system as Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mike Pence, George Bush and Jared Kushner.
Meanwhile, the GOP, which used to oppose gambling as a vice, is now dominated by casino moguls and slumlords with mob ties. A movement that despised divorce now shrugs when far more of its politicians are on multiple marriages (or caught in sexual perversion) than democrats. Red-confederate America leads the way in STDs, teen sex and pregnancy, domestic violence, gambling, addiction, murder and opioid addiction… and yet continues chanting about how much more moral they are.
Reed knows the chant is unraveling. “It’s about the policies,” he now maintains.  

I know several “ostrich” or residually sane Republicans who fall for this mantra. “My side has gone insane and sunk into turpitude,” admitted one of them to me, just days ago. “But if Trump and Fox are monsters, at least they have good effects.”
Alas, when I ask them to cite actual, measurable positive outcomes from the GOP controlling Congress for twenty of the last twenty-three years, they all stammer and then desperately try to change the subject. Because in all metrics and all ways - even things they should care about, like deficits and the health of entrepreneurial enterprise ... and military readiness(!) - the record of outcomes across Democratic administrations is universally and unambiguously better. 
See this proved, in detail: Outcomes Matter more than Rhetoric.
I repeat this too often, I know. But I will keep doing so, until you - yes you - and others start using it as a powerful polemical weapon: Name a fact profession - from science to law to the military - their cult is not attacking.

Name a strength that won us the Cold War - from alliances & science to citizen cohesion and a confident civil/military serving caste - that is not being systematically demolished by the Foxites.
When these purported ‘anti-communists’ are all chummy with Kremlin lords - just because those ex-KGB agents switched from wearing hammer/sickle pins to orthodox crosses, you know hypocrisy has hit new levels.  When their greatest pals are communist tyrants, you realize this was never about the health of market enterprise, but the revival of a confederate plantation caste.
“By his fruits you shall know him.”  And by his every fruit, we know Ralph Reed is what he’s always been. A lying beast, slouching toward Meggido.

== A man who could always see where this must lead ==
Oh, but they fall into a spectrum, a bestiary. Ralph Reed, while feral-clever enough to be evil, shows no sign of what I (or any star visitor) would call “sapience.” But there are some who I know to be easily as smart and perceptive as I am… or more… who have deliberately chosen treason.
Take the man I call "The Worst American".  George F. Will now asserts that only time spent in the wilderness can possibly save a Republican Party that's been hijacked by monsters. Oh, sure, he's very smart. He can tell that his entire conservative movement could wind up going extinct, if it remains under the control of casino moguls and slumlords with mafia ties, foreign despots, fox-traitors and confederate trogs. His point in this essay (Read it! Show it to your uncles): that only a crushing defeat this fall might force the GOP to re-evaluate and replace ol' Two Scoops in 2020.
Only a pyre that burns today's GOP will let a phoenix rebirth from the ashes. And Mr. Will asserts that rebirth could be dazzling.
He has a point. Democrats frittered away the last two times they retook Congress, allowing the Republicans to come roaring back. So, as a purely tactical move, GOP voters might follow Will's advice to rescue their party, ideally restocking their political caste with fresh voices who aren't crazy, or anti-fact - or beholden to Rupert Murdoch.
Only here's the thing. George Will remains unrepentant that he helped architect this present freak show. His brilliant incantations - like those of the protagonist in Vonnegut's MOTHER NIGHT - helped to keep tens of millions of residually sane "ostrich" republicans loyal to the undead elephant for two extra decades after Dennis "friend to boys" Hastert and his crew destroyed politics in America. For 20 years, Mr. Will cast soothing spells, delaying the arrival of this crisis till the very lives of America and the Western Enlightenment Experiment - hang in the balance.
He continues rationalizing... e.g. that Democrats kowtow to their executives -- an imbecilic falsehood belied by history, including California's Brown administration. Will knows this; he's offering his conservative readers a way to save face. 

But there's nothing left to save. Not when your party is now a cult, waging war against every profession that uses things called facts. Not when each and every strength of the American Pax that won the Cold War is being systematically dismantled or torched.
No. This man gets no forgiveness. Sure, we must welcome every American who returns home to the Union side, in this phase of the Civil War. And if some are turned back toward the light by words issued by George F. Will? Let's make them feel welcome under a very broad tent.
But not him. I forbid it. He might earn a prodigal son's forgiveness from Washington and Lincoln, perhaps in the great beyond. But the Worst American gets no pass from me.

== Speaking of whom… ==
The Nazis, according to this new book - The Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic - were above all “a nationalist protest movement against globalization.” Even before the Great Depression brought huge unemployment to Germany, the caprice of the global economy offered an opportunity to politicians who had simple answers. In their 1920 program, the Nazis proclaimed that “members of foreign nations (noncitizens) are to be expelled from Germany.” 

Next would come autarky: Germans would conquer the territory they needed to be self-sufficient, and then create their own economy in isolation from that of the rest of the world. As Goebbels put it, “We want to build a wall, a protective wall.” Hitler maintained that the vicissitudes of globalization were not the result of economic forces but of a Jewish international conspiracy.
And then… more surprises?
This actually appeared on Fox News?  What’s their game? NASA's chilling 30-year-old warning: “We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told the US Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived.  The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.” "Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous. Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme. Polar regions have lost billions of tons of ice; sea levels have been raised by trillions of gallons of water. Far more wildfires rage. Over 30 years — the time period climate scientists often use in their studies in order to minimize natural weather variations — the world’s annual temperature has warmed 0.54 degrees Celsius, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the temperature in the United States has gone up even more — nearly 0.85 degrees.”  

Are the Kochs and their pals backing off?  Or preparing their case against the inevitable lawsuits?

Nope. As I'll tell in a coming missive, they are preparing freehold redoubts in Patagonia... where they will die at the hands of the very guards they have hired to protect them.  The ones left? Surviving "fact people" will know how to find them and have the ability and means to dig them out, or bury them with their useless gold...

...before we resume upward progress, and mine gold from asteroids.. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and (site feed URL:

The Big Idea: Ruthanna Emrys

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 09:42
Community matters, even when or if your community is something… eldritch. As Ruthanna Emrys explains in her Big Idea for her newest novel, Deep Roots. RUTHANNA EMRYS: I’ve never lived among my own people. This was obvious to me, growing up, and I came to the logical conclusion that I must be an alien. Maybe […]

What Does Death Look Like?

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 21:58
Hey, everyone! I’m writing a story that has Death as a main character, and it’s been really fun coming up with what I think Death looks like, what Death wears and sounds like, and basically Death’s personality overall. In my head, Death is a guy with pale skin who wears pretty much all black, but […]

Private Lives in a Public Era

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:41
Writer Ella Dawson posted a piece on her blog (subsequently posted to Vox) entitled “We Are All Public Figures Now,” in which she tackles what she sees as the erosion of personal privacy due to social media and other factors, and what she thinks it all means. It’s an interesting read and I recommend it, […]

John and Athena Talk About Stuff, Episode Three: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 20:30
Athena and I are back at it again with another dive into the cinema’s sequel-mad summer, this time visiting Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to see what we think about dinosaurs this time around. We talk about the movie, the differences between the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films, and whether we’d ever go pay to […]

And Now, For Your Summer Monday Viewing Pleasure, My Backyard Maple

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 09:33
It’s very green. And yes, maples are generally best photographed in the fall, when they’re all blazed up in yellows and oranges, but I think there’s something to be said for the moment when they’re in the height of their green as well. It’s been a beautiful summer around here so far. Hope yours has […]

Alternate Visions of the Future

Contrary Brin - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 19:35
Some bold proposals. But first... Those looking for a "best-of" Brin blog could try subscribing to my monthly column at Phil's Stock World. This was their pick from May, and I've had a lot of mail from those glad to have the most crucial of all economic indicators - "money velocity" - explained clearly. No indicator shows more explicitly what's been done to us... and how it could be fixed.

== Peering ahead ==

Whose depictions of the future should we heed? I've long held that we need both dark warnings and visions of hope. Hollywood's emphasis is generally on the former -- simplistic mistakes that lead to jeopardy and danger for a clearly-identifiable protagonist -- because that's what drives a box-office-winning plot. 

Only seldom does a director have the guts and creativity to mix innovative plot-driving with both some credible warning and a general sense of a promising tomorrow. That's certainly what I try to do, in my fiction. But it's harder. 

Anyway, which stories have effectively changed the world most? I talk about the "self preventing prophecies" of Orwell and Huxley and Kubrick, that motivated millions to act, and arguably saved us all.

Dialing in: which visions of augmented reality are shaping folks' expectations? Vernor Vinge (Rainbows End) and I (Existence) struck for that balance of positive and negative. But none of our careful extrapolations got as many "hits" as this online video by Keiichi Matsuda  who, in 2015, depicted the potential world of hyper-reality we may face - a vision of riding a bus while using a smartphone to play a game, getting alerts, being inundated with advertisements and calls.  It's just as scary for its depiction of addicted shallowness as for the disturbing end result.
Another short film, Sight, creates a scenario of an augmented reality contact lens.
== Shell Companies ==
Someone has been listening to me? Seriously, this is what I have been shouting, since writing about the "Helvetian War," in EARTH:

The Guardian reports: "After publishing the Panama Papers, we have heard a lot of promises from politicians around the world. They have talked about the need for transparency, and while the discussion is warm, the details are complicated: a multilateral exchange of information and stronger anti-money laundering regulations are as difficult to implement and control as they sound.

“But why bother? There is a far less bureaucratic and more powerful measure: public beneficial ownership registries. Databases in which citizens can easily access and explore the owners of companies. Not the nominee director, not the fake shareholder – the real owner. The person at the center of the matryoshka-like corporate structures, or, as experts refer to them: the ultimate beneficial owner of a company.
“A database of actual owners would enable companies to check with whom they are actually doing business. It would enable activists, journalists and skeptical citizens to investigate the individuals running dubious companies which earn millions in alleged “consulting contracts”, which are in many cases nothing more than concealed payments of corruption money. It would also give prosecutors the opportunity to follow dark money without having to rely on nerve-racking, time-consuming legal maneuvers with foreign governments." – Frederik Obermaier and Basian Obermayer in The Guardian.
Elsewhere, I've long been pushing the concept of a worldwide treaty for transparency of ownership. Basically, "If I own something, I must state publicly that I own it." 
Oh, sure, It would be a pain to list all you own... and then to look at others' lists to denounce unmerited claims. Computers could zero in on any overlap and yes, lawyers would have a few very good years. But what would be the chief effects?
1. A widening of the tax base, to cover all the cryptic hidden stuff, allowing tax burdens of honest citizens to go down.
2. A flood of abandoned property that will go unclaimed, because it was never acquired legally, in the first place, or gets ditched by drug lords and other kinds of cheaters.  My own instinctive estimate is that it could wipe out half the public debt of the world's nations, removing a desperate Debt Bubble problem that economics mavens like John Mauldin worry about.
3. Chains of accountability and liability will be clarified.  No more sheltering of hidden owners, like that tanker that befouled the beaches of Brittany, and no one could find any owners to nail for damages.  (You Randians, would you really be so hypocritical you'd oppose this? In fact, no measure would be more likely to result in simplification of bureaucracy than this one, the market-stimulating opening of information.)

Those who object to this either are members of the cabal of cheaters... or else have been cozened into thinking that transparency is the same thing as more Big Government. It's not. It's the opposite. And with this knowledge and flood of released capital, voters would then be free to insist that regular, honest folks' taxes go down.
Do I deem it likely anything like such a treaty might ever be passed, while a cryptic world oligarchy is exerting vast power to control or shut down every strength and capability of the Open-Accountable Western Enlightenment?
Well, that depends. Are you made of lesser stuff than your ancestors? When these rich and powerful fools get their wish, crushing the middle class and every single knowledge and fact profession, what do they expect the outcome to be? Seriously, I'd rather not see the Helvetian War, or its equivalent.
But it will happen, if you try to carry through on this program, fellahs. And you really need to know the word: "tumbrels."
== We need a Lincoln ==
Abraham Lincoln speaking in 1858 about the Declaration of Independence: 

They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. The erected a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. 

"Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”
How many ways can you find, in that one paragraph, that today’s Republicans have betrayed both Lincoln and the Founders? Now the party of oligarchy, fighting only for the privileges and property of a kingly-lordly-owner caste? 
Lincoln does speak of “humane and Christian virtues —” as do today’s Red Letter Christians, who emphasize the caring, generous words of Jesus, and not the bilious hate-drenched Book of Revelation, or BoR. 

Notice that Lincoln gets almost science fictional, in speaking of “farthest posterity” — an implicit utter-rejection of the gleeful apocalypse yearning expressed by today’s End Times junkies, like president-in-waiting Mike Pence.
Read this appraisal of Lincoln’s 1858 speech… from The Atlantic.
…though the author seems to be under an impression that the Great Commoner won his senate race against Stephen Douglas. He did not. Indeed, the 1850s were a hellish era, when aristocratic forces seemed hell-bent on ending our revolution. When plantation lords held the federal government for three decades, sending platoons of irregular southern cavalry rampaging across northern states.
Today, in similar dark times, remember that. Gird yourselves, patriots, to defend this great experiment, as our ancestors did at Cowpens and Valley Forge. At Antietam and Gettysburg. At Normandy and Dachau. At Little Rock and Selma.  It will be hard. The Confederacy has powerful foreign backers, this time, and they have taken Washington. But we are made of no lesser stuff than those forebears! And we can still be a light unto the world.
P.S. Get even angrier at the site of today’s Patrick Henry: Jim Wright on Vice, Folly and Madness.

. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and (site feed URL:

Saturday Afternoon Catnapping, Starring Smudge

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 17:34
He’s all kittened out. Hope your Saturday is going well.

Store-Bought VS Food Network Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 21:23
I fucking love soup, man. Soup is the greatest food known to mankind. There’s so many different types, so many different flavors and endless possibilities as to what can be created. Some soups have grains, some have meat, some have cheese, it all depends. Some are chunky, some are creamy, and others broth-y. Honestly, you […]

Keep Scott Pruitt Moist: The Dramatic Reading

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:02
I’ve been a fan of Alexandra Petri for a while now — she’s possibly the funniest person in newspapers today — but I think she went above and beyond with “Keep Scott Pruitt Moist,” a column that went up mere hours before the man resigned his position as head of the EPA, and which I […]

New Books and ARCs, 7/6/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 15:32
I hope you like books, because this week we’ve got a very fine stack of new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound. What here would you be loving to read right now? Tell us all in the comments.

Nanette, Hannah Gadsby and Me

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 10:45
You don’t need me to tell you that Nanette, a new Netflix comedy special by Hannah Gadsby, is an unexpected landmark in stand-up performance, because so many others will tell you that. But I’m going to anyway (before I go on to make a tangential point): For the first fifteen minutes or so, Nanette is […]

The Big Idea: Mary Robinette Kowal

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 09:07
Elsewhere online I’ve been talking about how The Calculating Stars is one of my favorite science fiction novels of the year, and how I expect it’s likely to be remembered when “best of” lists and award nominations crop up. But here, today, author Mary Robinette Kowal is here to tell you about her book, and […]

Smudge & Zeus

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 11:05
This picture pretty much sums up their relationship at this point.  In general the rest of the cats are slowly learning to tolerate Smudge, who to be fair does not make it easy for them by running right up them and getting into their respective furry faces, which they do not like at all. They’ll […]

The Big Idea: T.J. Berry

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 08:42
Forgiveness: A complicated topic in any piece of literature, and one that doesn’t necessarily come up that often in science fiction. But it’s in T.J. Berry’s new novel Space Unicorn Blues, and the author is here today to explain why it’s integral to what goes down in the book. T.J. BERRY: I believe in second […]

What You Should Be Watching: The Hollow

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 15:30
Hey, guys! Welcome to another edition of “What You Should Be Watching”. Today I’m going to be talking about another Netflix original cartoon, The Hollow. This show is so easy to binge, with only ten episodes and each one being twenty-two minutes, I’ll be surprised if you don’t fly through it (I know I sure did). […]

Solutions for those 'left behind' in small town America

Contrary Brin - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 13:53
Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
For Independence Day, I'm about to talk about small town America, the tragic/hurtful fix they are in... and some possible solutions. Though I'll finish with some fierce political commentary on the stated intention of Donald Trump to meet privately with Vladimir Putin, without any U.S. officials or other parties present. 

== Are small towns the soul of America? Well, then save them… right ==
First a telling statistic: there was a clear overlap between counties that had high opioid use ... and the vote for Donald Trump.  After correcting for demographic variables such as age and race, researchers found that support for Trump in the 2016 election closely – and by very large multipliers - tracked opioid prescriptions.
Now, to be fair, a lot of this correlation could be chalked up to social factors and economic woes. Also, name a metric of moral and healthy living that is not worse in Red America, from teen sex to STD and pregnancy rates to obesity, dropouts, divorce and domestic violence, gambling and so on. Name an exception. 

Sure, it can be hard to tease apart cause and effect. Whether it's the poverty that leads to both pain and political rage … or if the political monsters who voters in these counties keep electing have been instrumental in keeping them in poverty and pain. Though the way local politicians bend over for big Agri-Biz and casino lords says plenty about the voters who elect them.
Given that the rest of the Union has poured hundreds of billions in aid and support into those counties, across the last century and a half – especially since FDR – the political rage that keeps electing lunatics and corrupt SOBs would seem suicidal... yet...

... there's a plausible reason. Deep-down, nothing imaginable could be more rage-inducing.  For 150 years in Red (or gray) America, each June, the good folk of every small town have seen the pride and joy of their community - their best and brightest high school graduates – scamper off to universities and city lights. Effectively to Mordor. To Sodom. Even when they return, they come home changed, with urbane attitudes and sophisticated ideas. 

Across human mythology, there no story more terrifying than aloof, snooty, elfin creatures who steal your children. Or turn them into alien beings, into changelings. From this angle you grasp – at last – a root cause of the pain. Heck, I might pop pills, too.
Is that insight ironic, given their cult’s horrific recent behavior, stealing kids from immigrant parents, at the border? History and anthropology show many tribes did that, when when demographic extinction loomed… stealing the children of others, when your own have been taken from you.

This appraisal is supported by a study of political rage in small town America by Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist at Princeton University, who spent eight years interviewing Americans in small towns across the country.

"They recognize themselves as being left behind because, in fact, they are the ones in their family and in their social networks who did stay where they were. Most of the people I spoke to grew up in the small town they currently live in, or some other small town nearby. Often their children have already left, either to college or in search of a better job somewhere else."
This genuine pain is not culpable, because universities and their youth are made for each other and their kids have a right to grow. The larger beings they become aren’t monsters. Sure, they can be snooty, at that age! But it is a good thing, and don’t apologize. Our colleges and cities aren't Mordor. Mostly.
But at some level, we need to understand… and sympathize. Robert Wuthrow finishes with a caution:

"Point one is that rural America is quite diverse. People live in farm towns or coastal towns or mining communities, or they live in the North or the South or in Republican states or Democratic states. So we have to be careful about lumping people together under one category.

"Point two is that rural America does have real problems — population decline, a brain drain, opioid addiction, etc. We can make of that what we want. But that’s not the whole picture. Not every small town is full of people who are suffering and bitter and angry at Washington."

Yes, sympathize and understand. But I will no longer sigh and accept when I am told the urban and educated are less moral.  That's diametrically opposite to true.

== Solutions for small town America ==
So what can be done to ease this enmity, undeserved as it may be? The demographic problem is very real, as many small towns keep shrinking, feeding into a sense of gloom and doom.
One approach is to keep investing in infrastructure like high speed internet for rural areas (an Obama program), that would let more folks live in healthful rural dispersal while keeping urban jobs. Better transportation systems – e.g. hyperloops, efficient trains and (why not?) flying cars, will likely do the same.  Note that both call for willing transfers of wealth and technology, as Blue America has happily done since FDR’s time.
Some towns have navigated toward the future with a process called ‘shrink smart,’ re-inventing themselves for small scale industry or culture or tourism, providing jobs that their own college grads may want to return to fill.  
Another concept is combine-to-survive.  Three or four villages may have enough industry or farmers and services to support one in vibrant style. States could subsidize in-filling four into one.  

But won’t that leave several effective ghost towns?Then why not turn lemons to lemonade? Truly, I am appalled that we’ve not seen more attempts to utilize near-abandoned towns for a wide variety of purposes.
- As attractive refuges for the homeless, offering spacious shelter at extremely low – and subsidized – cost of living. Many cities are investing heavily in new homeless housing, but the number of units is shrunk by the sheer price of building in a metropolis, when large homes are going begging, out in farmland. Oh, village life won’t be for everyone! Many displaced persons still want to dwell in urban centers, amid the bustle and job opportunities. But won't it be easier to help many of them if the savings truly went to services for the indigent, while rescuing a declining town from extinction. Should it be tried, in at least a few test cases?
- As communities for the undocumented.  Right now, the confederate right is justifying their insupportably vile and racist oppression of refugees fleeing oppression and death in their homeland with a talking point: that once these folks are registered and get provisionally released, they tend to disappear and never show up for their hearings.  While this is a gross exaggeration, the germ of truth could be eliminated, if refugees were released into a Halfway Village.
Not an internment camp!  But a pleasant place without walls and the potential for some work.  If they leave? Well, that becomes an assertive action and they’ll know that it won’t help their eventual case. I would oppose walls! Anyway, with a little help, who would need walls? (Have a look at what happened with the Hmong refugee community, that innovated exactly this approach successfully, on their own.)
- Okay, maybe you'd need some fences, for this next use #3.  A deceased rural village could make a good and cheap minimum security prison, where honor convicts live and work in a farm-and-town economy, getting practice and putting away savings for the outside world. Farms and businesses that barely failed in the regular economy might work just fine, if slightly subsidized by the State, as a hyper-cheaper means of incarceration. Other than daily roll call and a few extra cameras, what more security would be needed? The savings could go to psychological and transition services.
Can you think of other uses for a rural village or town that’s dying?  Remember that if the state buys up such a village, it raises property values across the county, and surrounding towns will probably benefit in other ways.

== Finding new leaders ==

Okay no reasonable suggestions will move a centimeter, so long as one of our political parties is pure treason, waging war against every single fact-using profession, at the behest of foreign enemies. So, we'll finish with some fierce politics.

Many of you have already seen this video  for another woman veteran of three Afghanistan tours, now running for Congress in Texas. Is this what we need? Hell yeah. Girl gotta go up! And no, that isn't the only mold. I'm fine with Santa Monica electing a Santa Monica liberal and Berkeley electing a lefty nut. I know some residually sane republicans... there are still a few... and I've urged them to run. But the battle, this round, is in the districts that Two Scoops is swinging into battlegrounds.   
These are places where decent folks need to be drawn away from the madness, And hell yeah, these ex-officers are our heroes. They are rising up to defend the nation they swore to serve, in the best possible way. And Rupert Murdoch is going to so regret turning them -- along with every other fact-using profession -- into enemies of his treasonously revived confederacy. 
Oh, the distinguished flying cross is no mere lapel pin. She's gonna use that corrupt, confederate SOB as a mop.
And hell, yeah. Give the folks who made this video a lot more to do.

== Here's why this is war ==

When President Donald Trump takes his first official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, the two will spend a portion of that time alone, CNN reported Monday. The very same Kremlin-Politburu schemers who your uncles deemed satanic, when they wore hammer and sickle lapel pins,. are now okay guys, when they are billionaires wearing Orthodox crosses.

This must be screamed across the roofs of the world. Your mad uncles need to be told this is the final smoking gun... no, flaming gun. And they must choose - now - whether to be complicit in treason.
. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and (site feed URL:
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