Angus Johnston Profile picture
Historian of, and advocate for, American student activism. CUNY prof.
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16 Oct
Yesterday evening, I decided to trick my body into thinking it had three different diseases.

My body today:
(Flu shot, shingles shot, covid booster. I may be some time.)
And honestly, I'm mostly just wore out and low-grade achey, with intermittent mild chills. As symptoms go, they're all manageable. Just gonna be a slow, lazy day while I'm waiting for my new superpowers to kick in.
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct
Or just...

Gallon/4=Quart
Quart/2=Pint
Pint/2=Cup
Cup/4=Quarter Cup
Quarter Cup/4=Tablespoon
Tablespoon/3=Teaspoon
Lots of people responding with "just use metric," but cooking is, like carpentry, a discipline in which using fractional rather than decimal measures actually makes sense.
A sixteenth of a liter is 62.5 milliliters. A sixteenth of a quart is a quarter cup. Fractions scale better than decimals.
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
This is such an interesting clip. He's clearly really nervous about saying the wrong thing, using the wrong phrasing, but at the same time he's got something he actually wants to SAY, and so he winds up going for it.
My gloss on his meaning, by the way, is basically "people from marginalized communities don't trust white guys like me, with good reason, and this shit is a big part of why, and it's my job to try to overcome that." Which is exactly what a white coach should be saying about this.
(If I’d had a few more characters I’d have gone with “often don’t trust” and “this kind of shit.”)
Read 7 tweets
13 Oct
It’s a shame we don’t learn more of this history. It’s essential stuff.
Twelve-year-old kid is so traumatized by slavery that she burns her enslaver's house down, killing a baby. Two years later, she poisons the enslaver's sons.
And then she's hanged by the government. At fourteen.
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
Wow. No more late fees at the New York Public Library. At all. Ever. Period. Forever.
If you're wondering how it works, basically replacement fees are still a thing. When a book is 30 days overdue, they bill you for that, but if you return it, the bill goes away.
And if you lose a book, pay the replacement fee, and then find the book later, they'll refund the fee.
Read 4 tweets
4 Oct
Feels like "Why are young people in despair?" and "Why are activists adopting such polarizing tactics?" takes are both on the upswing at the moment.

Feels like the folks behind the first take and the folks behind the second take should have a chat.
When politics appears to you to be fundamentally broken and the crises facing society appear to you to be overwhelming, despair and radical action are the only two courses of action left to you.
And "politics is fundamentally broken" and "the crises facing society are overwhelming" strike me as eminently reasonable positions to hold right now.
Read 4 tweets
2 Oct
This is such an odd, and oddly persistent, urban legend. (Hitler didn't design the Beetle.)
The earliest designs for what would become the Beetle date from before the Nazi rise to power, and were dusted off and —by actual car designers—when Hitler was like "I'd like to get a cheap car with certain broad specs into production."
But then the war happened, and as a result the Beetle didn't go into mass production until the late 1940s. There weren't a zillion of them zipping around Berlin during the Nazi era—more like a hundred, tops.
Read 4 tweets
1 Oct
Thursday night: Biden, congressional leadership, and progressive Dems stand unified against Manchin and Sinema, raising hopes for joint passage of reconciliation and infrastructure bills.

New York Times front page, Friday morning:
I'm reading the first article now. It's even worse and stupider than the headline.

"Short of support amid a liberal revolt." "A humiliating blow to Mr. Biden and Democrats."
How do you characterize a situation where the president, the leaders of the House and Senate, the squad, and 95+% of House and Senate Dems are all in lockstep against two Senators?

Why, "the distance between the party’s left flank and a few centrists," of course.
Read 5 tweets
30 Sep
A woman just won a ruling that British police violated her human rights by allowing a cop to engage in an ongoing sexual relationship with her while working undercover in her activist community. theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/s…
The tribunal found that the officer in question pursued sexual relationships with a long list of women while spying on their activist circles, and that if the Metropolitan Police wasn't aware of it, it was only because they chose not to be.
The ruling came down on the same day that an officer in the same police department was sentenced to life in prison for using his authority and badge to abduct, rape, and murder a woman he took from a London street this spring. washingtonpost.com/world/europe/c…
Read 6 tweets
21 Sep
Teachers are supposed to get federal student loan forgiveness. But they have to apply to get it, and when they do, @usedgov frequently turns them down with no justification. politico.com/news/2021/09/2…
"The disclosure suggests further bureaucratic problems with the management of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has come under fire from Democrats in recent years for rejecting more than 98 percent of all borrowers who applied."
"[The Department of Education has] blocked thousands of people who clearly work in public service—including educators—from pursuing [student debt forgiveness via] PSLF, often due to paperwork hurdles and other trivial administrative errors." protectborrowers.org/pheaa-ecf-deni…
Read 17 tweets
21 Sep
RIP to the thrill and joy of not knowing whether someone believes in reproductive autonomy when you're contemplating having sex with them?
I get feeling like it's unfair to be rejected because you don't check someone's boxes, but nobody has an obligation to like, or to consider liking, anyone for any reason. That's not how liking people works.
And that's before we even get to the straightforwardly practical relationship between having sex with someone and wanting their sexual ethics and values to be compatible with yours.
Read 5 tweets
18 Sep
Overturning Obergefell would allow de-recognition of same-sex marriages. Overturning Lawrence would open the door to the return of sodomy laws.
For a long time I thought some of these victories were pretty much safe, just because their outcomes are now broadly popular. But an antidemocratic political movement doesn't have to care about popularity in the same way that a party that has to win free and fair elections does.
Sodomy laws were almost entirely unenforced for quite a while before the Lawrence decision. But if we've learned one thing from the last five years, it's that norms, precedent, and tradition mean nothing to the modern Republican Party.
Read 11 tweets
15 Sep
I know several people in their twenties and thirties who have decided not to have kids because the future looks so bleak. It breaks my heart.
Since some folks are misinterpreting, I want to be clear: The people I'm talking about aren't making an ethical decision to reduce their impact on the planet through population reduction. They're foregoing having kids because they're scared of what the world is turning into.
We could debate whether population restriction is going to solve the planet's problems (it mostly wouldn't, and would cause all sorts of other trouble, is my answer), but this isn't that.
Read 5 tweets
15 Sep
I'd say tonight's results indicate pretty powerfully that "No On One, Leave Two Blank" was good, simple, effective messaging strategy.
Like Silver, I was made nervous by "No One One, Leave Two Blank." Unlike Silver, (1) I understood the argument in its favor, and (2) nobody's paying me gazillions of dollars a year to be smart about politics and elections.
This is the crux of where Silver (I'd argue) whiffed it on the "Leave 2 Blank" issue—an overconfidence in his own gut instincts, dressed up as spurious statistical precision. (I know, you're shocked.)
Read 17 tweets
14 Sep
I had to read four different articles on the Dems' new voting rights bill to find one that clearly answered the question of whether it imposes a national Voter ID requirement. (It doesn't.) washingtonpost.com/politics/revis…
The Dems' old bill banned state-level Voter ID laws. The new bill dramatically restricts them. That's the difference. Either bill would limit Voter ID laws on the state level, neither would impose new Voter ID requirements.
So if you see people this morning asking why the Democrats are supporting Voter ID, the answer is that they aren't, but that sloppy reporting is leaving the impression that they are.
Read 7 tweets
13 Sep
Minnesota’s two senate seats are held by popular Democratic women in their early sixties.
Having investigated further this morning, I see that Franken's interview was conducted as promotion for a new comedy tour, and feel mildly regretful for assisting with his viral marketing.
And just to close the circle, there really isn't anywhere other than Wisconsin for Franken to run. Schumer is running in 2022, and Franken will be nearly eighty in 2028. As much as I'm sure he'd love to, he's not going to primary Gillibrand.
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
I just hate this rhetoric so much. America won't be worse off if Democrats rack up huge electoral majorities. It won't be worse off if the GOP implodes.
I understand why politicians said this kind of stuff fifty years ago, although it was dopey back then too. But in 2021? It just makes you look weak, and it makes you look weird.
The US is currently facing a grave and imminent threat of descending into one-party rule, but it's not a threat of the GOP collapsing into irrelevance. It's the other thing. Talk about that. Scream about it. Fight it, and tell us you're fighting it every time you open your mouth.
Read 5 tweets
9 Sep
It’s an untrue allegation because what Rowling actually said was “I've ignored porn tweeted at children,” and defamatory because Rowling has deep pockets and British libel law sucks.
Since Rowling stan Twitter has discovered this tweet, a little more: The question at hand isn't whether Juan Mac's tweet was kind, or fair, or nice. It's whether the tweet was defamatory. It wasn't, not under any reasonable definition of that word.
Also, it turns out that Mac didn't even misquote Rowling in the original tweet. Image
Read 18 tweets
8 Sep
Gotta love an unfalsifiable, unrebuttable, undiscussible claim.
This kind of tweet is hermetically sealed—folks who are inclined to agree with it will agree with it, folks who are inclined to think Yglesias is full of shit will think it's full of shit, and nobody, literally nobody, will learn anything or reassess any of their beliefs.
If you value open dialogue and discussion, you should hate Yglesias's tweet, because it's the opposite of that. It sneers at that. It precludes it.
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep
The harness is on. Workers are cutting the fasteners that attach the statue to the pedestal.
They’ve reached the “try whacking it with a hammer” stage of the operation.
Read 12 tweets
5 Sep
This formulation—that "a culture of freewheeling discourse" is central to "truth-seeking," and thus at the core of the university's mission—is a fascinating one.
A freewheeling conversation is one that emphasizes spontaneity, quickness, and rhetorical play, not "truth-seeking and knowledge production."
In an engaged, thoughtful conversation, on the other hand, one is frequently considered, even cautious about what one says, seeking consistency, mutual understanding, and intellectual depth rather than mere improvisational back-and-forth.
Read 4 tweets