Six points explain “How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail” via @SciAm

It seems like, between this arti­cle and another I recall read­ing, ask­ing dis­senters to explain their view­points in as much detail as pos­si­ble usu­ally leads to more mid­dle ground rather than less. Thoughts?

If cor­rec­tive facts only make mat­ters worse, what can we do to con­vince peo­ple of the error of their beliefs? From my expe­ri­ence, 1. keep emo­tions out of the exchange, 2. dis­cuss, don’t attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum), 3. lis­ten care­fully and try to artic­u­late the other posi­tion accu­rately, 4. show respect, 5. acknowl­edge that you under­stand why some­one might hold that opin­ion, and 6. try to show how chang­ing facts does not nec­es­sar­ily mean chang­ing world­views. These strate­gies may not always work

How I’m Voting on LA’s 2016 Ballot Measures (and Links to Voter Guides)

I fig­ured since I spent some time research­ing and switch­ing between var­i­ous browser tabs and devices to under­stand the dif­fer­ent bal­lot mea­sures in this elec­tion, I’d share what I decided. Hope­fully this infor­ma­tion will make it eas­ier for you to fig­ure out how you’d like to vote!

Dis­claimer: I’m unashamed to say that I con­sider myself a social pro­gres­sive voter, so that’s going to be the way I slant with my rec­om­men­da­tions.

First, here are the resources that I used:

  • Courage Cam­paign Voter Guide—This site’s clever inter­face lets you switch between dif­fer­ent groups to see what posi­tions they endorse on dif­fer­ent mea­sures. They also give good sum­maries of each of the California-specific props.
  • A Berner’s Pro­gres­sive Voter Guide—Not the eas­i­est page to view on a phone, but includes endorse­ments from Our Rev­o­lu­tion regard­ing dif­fer­ent offices.
  • LA Times Endorse­mentsLA Times has done some thor­ough cov­er­age of the LA-specific bal­lot mea­sures, as well as writ­ing about the Sen­ate race.

I was able to find posi­tions that agreed with me from all of the above resources. The ones that I got hung up on most were the Los Ange­les County bal­lot mea­sures A, M, CC, HHH, JJJ, RRR, and SSS. The word­ing of these props can be quite tricky!

Mea­sures A, M, and CC — Yes. As much as I don’t want to pay more taxes, these seem like impor­tant city infra­struc­ture and ser­vices to fund.

HHH — Yes. Sup­port seems pretty uni­form around this one.

JJJ — No. In short, it seems like it could make actu­ally build­ing new hous­ing more expen­sive, which would lead to less con­struc­tion in a time dur­ing which we need more afford­able hous­ing built. 

Also, there are “two smarter afford­able hous­ing pro­pos­als cur­rently being stud­ied at City Hall,” accord­ing to the LA Times.

RRR — Yes. Despite the scary mail­ers call­ing it a “DWP power grab”, it seems like a rea­son­able bit of leg­is­la­tion to nudge LADWP in the right direc­tion. Here’s a salient quote (again from LA Times):

Mea­sure RRR is more like a series of tweaks to the man­age­ment and over­sight of the DWP. Some are nec­es­sary and common-sense changes to help the gen­eral man­ager oper­ate the util­ity more effi­ciently, and can be done only by voter approval. Some are incre­men­tal changes that may or may not help stream­line oper­a­tions. And some are win­dow dress­ings that make the mea­sure seem more con­se­quen­tial than it is. On bal­ance, though, Mea­sure RRR has enough help­ful changes to make it worth­while, and vot­ers should pass it.”

SSS — No. TL;DR: “Police pen­sion Mea­sure SSS raises too much doubt to sup­port.

Finan­cial issues aside, of which there are sev­eral cov­ered in the LA Times piece above, the part that really stuck with me is this:

[In] sup­port­ing Mea­sure SSS, vot­ers may be unwit­tingly com­mit­ting the city to a future merger of the air­port police and LAPD with­out a proper pub­lic dis­cus­sion about whether it would be the right deci­sion for the air­port or the city … But the con­se­quences need to be explored fully before the city heads down that road.

Mea­sure SSS is an incre­men­tal move in that direc­tion, which seems pre­ma­ture. That, com­bined with the cost and the lack of sup­port from the affected offi­cers, is rea­son enough to vote no.

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming

Good read, this piece explores why we (Amer­i­cans espe­cially) are likely to blame vic­tims for being vic­tim­ized.

No mat­ter what we want to believe, the world is not a just place. And it takes some dif­fi­cult cog­ni­tive work to accept both that bad things some­times hap­pen to good peo­ple, and that seem­ingly nor­mal peo­ple some­times do bad things.”