Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Oct. 16, 2018
Nate Silver — the closest thing there is to a celebrity in the arcane field of statistical journalism — is not wildly optimistic about that.
“Media understanding about probability, margin of error and uncertainty is very poor,” Silver said Monday afternoon when I stopped by the Manhattan office of his FiveThirtyEight.com for a pre-election chat.
“I get nervous about how people overstate things” he told me.
So while lots of people think they know exactly what’s going to happen — and are more than willing to hold forth as if they’re infallible — there’s still a lot of uncertainty, given the numbers.
“People should not be that surprised by a Democratic Senate or a Republican House,” Silver told me. “We’re in dangerous territory from a predictive/assumption standpoint.”

From a Facebook comment by Dan Benbow
There is a small but very vocal segment on the left flank who have good values, and generally good brains, who simply don't grasp (or choose to ignore) really important details of any mature political calculus. Hedges is in this camp, as is Thomas Frank, as was Howard Zinn...it's pretty much the Nader 2000 coalition.
For one, they're terrible at math. Hillary consistently won Democrats of color, often by big margins, while Bernie's strength was white liberals, young voters, and indies who voted in open primaries. Anyone who looks at the primary map knows that many primaries are closed, that young people vote in smaller numbers, that no Democrat can win the nomination primarily with white voters. The people who claim the DNC 'rigged' the primary make the classic error of mixing causation and correlation: yes, the DNC supported Hillary, but fact is she won by four million votes; nothing they did had remotely the impact that primary demographics had.
Two, they fail to realize just how conservative big swaths of the country are or how peoples' brains process politics. The Dems do well in urban centers, but land-mass wise, there are enormous stretches of red. Candidates have to win urban liberals, suburban soccer moms, and 35-40% of conservative-leaning blue collar men. Surging to the left galvanizes the base but alienates other parts of the coalition, and thinking that all those lazy-ass people who don't vote could be 'converted' if only the Dems told a better story is the height of naivete: in Bill Clinton and Barack Obama we had two of the best speakers ever, and they both lost Congress and failed to change the national narrative.
Three, they don't understand how legislation works and don't pay close attention to day-to-day policy movement. Think of how many attacks you've seen on Obama for not pushing single payer, yet he only got the ACA by one vote. He couldn't even get a public option while maintaining that 60-vote coalition. For decades, the GOP has played hardball. These leftists acknowledge that, but ignore the fact that THAT is why we've fallen so far behind. Other than during the handful of months between when Franken was seated and when Scott Brown took office, the Dems have not had a filibuster-proof majority (necessary to pass major legislation) in eons.
Four, they blame the player, rather than the game. Due to Citizen's United (which wouldn't have happened were it not for Nader helping elect Bush), campaigns are expensive. Other than Dems in deep blue districts, most candidates have to raise gobs of money to stay in office. It's a fact. Yet a big portion of these clowns calls them 'sellouts' when they make necessary compromises with business interests. The attitude seems to be that Dems should unilaterally disarm and appeal to the common wisdom of everyday people just waiting to be exploited. Only problem with that is that it's complete bullshit. Unilaterally disarming just means that the R pummels you with negative ads, defines you, and wins, guaranteed, unless you're in a deep blue district.
To a one, my belief is fuck these people. Not a one of them has participated in a winning campaign. Politics is the art of the possible. Ideals and values have meaning only in so far as they are applied in the real world, helping real people. All the far left does is divide the left, confuse young people who haven't learned about trade-offs, and help perpetuate the right-wing and the very ideas they claim to despise.
He has an excellent post in his own blog about this, with more data.

Oct. 28, 2018
A month after announcing his departure from the Republican Party, Ohio billionaire and former GOP mega-donor Les Wexner has reportedly started giving money to Democrats.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Wexner has donated at least $20,000 to Ohio Democrats since disclosing last month that he was “no longer a Republican” but an independent. “I won’t support this nonsense in the Republican Party,” he said at a September leadership summit.

Oct. 29, 2018
Raging wildfires have killed seven people including a baby and a pregnant woman in a farming settlement along South Africa's famed Garden Route, disaster management services said Monday.
Firefighters have been battling to quell the blazes that started last week along the southern tourist trail.

Oct. 29, 2019
Trump and His Children Accused of Investment Scams in Lawsuit
In all three alleged schemes, Trump stamped his well-known name on a product he didn’t research or understand, solicited investments from average Americans and then walked away as the products fizzled, all while keeping the cash he got for his pitches, the suit claims. The scam caused "devastating and life-altering" losses, it says.

Oct. 29, 2018
Amid cratering passenger figures, Greyhound will discontinue all service in Canada’s western provinces on 31 October. The cuts will eliminate routes that have existed for nearly a century and sever the only transit link for dozens of towns where the British-owned company has endured even as other businesses have trickled away.
A Seattle-Vancouver route, operated by the company’s American counterpart, will continue as usual, and a new company, Rider Express, is poised to take over some routes from Calgary to Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Oct. 10, 2018
In 1939, the German American Bund organized a rally of 20,000 Nazi supporters at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When Academy Award-nominated documentarian Marshall Curry stumbled upon footage of the event in historical archives, he was flabbergasted. Together with Field of Vision, he decided to present the footage as a cautionary tale to Americans. The short film, A Night at the Garden, premieres on The Atlantic today.

Oct. 29, 2018
Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.
The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe. It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else.

[I hope this is an indication that the supreme court does care about Democracy, and are not just ruling this way to keep from scaring voters away from republicans in the midterm election.]
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case brought by Republican officials in Pennsylvania challenging the state Supreme Court’s ability to redraw their congressional redistricting plan. 
The state court tossed out the 2011 legislatively enacted plan in 2017, finding that it violated the state Constitution by enhancing the Republican Party’s representation in Congress.

Oct. 26, 2018
Super Typhoon Yutu left major damage on the Northern Mariana Islands after a direct hit.
The entire island of Saipan suffered damage and it may take weeks to restore power to everyone.
The governor's office confirmed one death and at least 133 injuries in Saipan.

Oct. 28, 2018
A crowdfunding campaign organized by the Muslim American community has raised more than $150,000 for the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The shooting, which claimed the lives of 11 people Saturday during a morning service, “made me sick to my stomach,” said Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim American speaker and activist who started the fundraising effort as soon as he heard about the attack. In the first six hours, the effort, called Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue, reached its initial goal of $25,000.
On the fundraising page, he wrote: “We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.” He also quotes the Koran as saying, “Repel evil by that which is better.”

Oct. 23, 2018
The Library of Congress has unveiled its new National Screening Room, a free collection of digitized historical films, commercials, newsreels and other clips. According to the library, most of the movies are in the public domain and are available for downloading; others are only available to stream.

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