Friday links! Know your audience edition

Donald Trump begins to bomb at the Al Smith dinner.

Donald Trump begins to bomb at the Al Smith dinner.

Donald Trump got booed at the Waldorf last night, when his remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner went from sharp to blunt. A couple of his early jokes killed, but then he called Hillary Clinton corrupt and opined that she was “pretending not to hate Catholics” by attending the charity event. See, when you tell the crowd the next act hates them, they look on you with suspicion. Today is Friday, and you’ve got to know your audience. Won’t you peek between the curtains with me?

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Ryan Zinke should rescind his endorsement of Donald Trump


In last night’s debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the election. “I will look at it at the time,” he said. “I will keep you in suspense.” Let us take a moment to consider the ego that assumes the whole country would wait, in suspense, for him to ratify the president we voted for. Now that we’re done with that, let’s move on to disgust. It is disgusting for a major-party candidate to tell America, with no evidence, that its election is rigged. Trump is yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, but on a larger and potentially more destructive scale. Republicans who have not done so already should withdraw their endorsements of him.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R–MT) is in a position to do that at very little cost. A recent Lee Newspapers poll finds him 13 points ahead of his opponent, Denise Juneau. It seems unlikely that many of his supporters find him objectionable but are voting for him because he endorsed Trump. Rescinding his endorsement would be an act of conscience in keeping with his stated commitment to defending American democracy and values. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!

Charter to Missoula: Screw you, we have a monopoly

The high-speed internet market (artist's conception)

The market for high-speed internet (artist’s conception)

I work from home, so when the internet stops working, I have a bad time. One such bad time was had throughout Missoula yesterday, when Charter internet service went down for the whole damn town. The Missoulian confirms the outage, but it doesn’t offer much else. Maybe that’s because even reporters can’t communicate with Charter except through their customer service call center, where a representative from the company would not say why the outage happened, when it would be fixed, how many customers were affected or what her own name was. Later in the day, a company spokesman declined to say most of the same things, although at least he offered his name. I hope the negative publicity from this failure doesn’t affect Charter’s busine—oh, right. They have a monopoly.

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Hoax Watch: Drudge, Limbaugh report ironic tweet as election fraud

If you don't answer, "your" a coward.

If you don’t answer, your [sic] a coward.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of weird Twitter. I do read it occasionally, though. Maybe that’s why I chuckled on Sunday afternoon, when I saw the tweet pictured above. It’s clearly not sincere. For one thing, why would an actual postal worker tweet this? Why would he refer to the town where he works by its first and last name, so to speak? And why would a tweet from someone in Columbus be location-tagged in California, along with almost all other tweets from that account? Even if you don’t recognize the currency of topic and vague irony of tone, these clues are easy to catch. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” reporters say, but you don’t have to be an ace to see through this one. It’s not even a hoax; it’s a joke, with the intentional transparency that jokes employ. But yesterday, conservative outlets including Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh snapped it up and reported it as election fraud.

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What if the “rigged” election doesn’t end Trump’s campaign?

Donald Trump discusses his vetting system for female cabinet members.

Donald Trump describes his vetting system for female cabinet members.

I though I’d never say this, back in January, but I have had enough of this election. What started out as the most interesting contest in recent memory retains its powers of fascination, but now it fascinates like the video from your colonoscopy. The end is predictable; we’re just looking closely at the shit. But what if the conclusion, while forgone, is not the conclusion at all? What if losing the general election is just another step in Donald Trump’s march toward Washington? It’s a farfetched idea, but Trump laid the groundwork for it this weekend, when he stepped up his insistence that the election is “rigged.”

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