Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hillary Wins Nevada By 5.5 Points Amid Second Biggest Turnout Ever

As of 9:40 PM (Pacific) Saturday night, The New York Times reports that the Nevada Democratic Caucuses went 52.7% for Hillary and 47.2% for Bernie, with about 5% of precincts left to be accounted for. 

Some sources are still spinning it as “Hillary eked out a win.”  I don’t know about that – in most elections, a 5½  point spread is usually considered a pretty decisive victory.  Sure, Bernie put in a good showing, but Hillary’s victory wasn’t “eked out.” Not by a long shot.Heck, even Fox News handed it to her - and they seem to have a whole separate bureau specifically dedicated to identifying and promoting each and every story's possible anti-Hillary angles.

Screen snip, Twitter 

About 80,000 folks* participated in Nevada's Democratic caucuses this year.  Yes, that’s about a 33% decline from 2008 (which had almost 120,000 turn out.)  But 2008 was a unicorn.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hey, Ted Cruz: An Impotent SCOTUS Makes The Founders Cry

Ted Cruz / Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

That fine defender of the United States Constitution, Senator Ted Cruz, has spoken.  Apparently we owe it to Justice Scalia's memory to ensure that his seat on the Supreme Court remain empty for 11 months or longer. 

Okay.  Let's say we did that.  On close questions, we'd be looking at a lot of 4 to 4 decisions - meaning the Court would be unable to actually issue binding opinions on the most controversial matters that come before it.  In legalese, that scenario would reduce the Supreme Court of the United States to a nullity.  In plain English, the Supreme Court may as well not exist.

I recall Justice Scalia being very, very concerned with The Founders' intent (at least, as he conceived of it.)  Am I the only who thinks, hey, maybe The Founders REALLY liked the ideas of three coequal branches of government, which provide checks & balances against one another's power?  Am I the only one who recalls those concepts being frequent topics of discussion at the time of our founding?

Certainly, a die-hard original intent fan like Senator Cruz recalls these points being repeatedly made within The Federalist Papers.  A 4-4 SCOTUS = one branch down, Senator Cruz.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Citing Satire as "Reporting," Raw Story Implies Iowa Pro-Hillary Shenanigans

Hillary at the 2015 Iowa Fair / Phil Roeder, CC BY 2.0

Raw Story is the Democrats’ answer to Breitbart.  Anything you see from them needs to be scrutinized carefully and fact-checked thoroughly.  Fail to, and you’ll share, repost, or cite at your own risk.

Case in point: THIS Raw Story piece is the WORST.  The author, in building a case that pro-Hillary shenanigans were afoot in the Iowa caucuses, was incredibly sloppy in his sourcing and analysis.  I’m not sure whether this resulted from his desire to prove his thesis, or the perverse incentives of “writing at the speed of the Internet” resulting in haphazard work, or both.  Just in case it’s primarily due to an unusual series of mistakes – and we’ve all made them – I’ll simply refer to him here as RS Travis.

RS Travis cites an Iowa blog for saying the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it says.  He also cites a HuffPo satire piece as “reporting,” and paints a couple of fairly even-handed Iowa newspaper editorials as being much more dramatic and sensational than they really were.   All in all, lovely. ;)

Misciting a one-year old source

RS Travis: 

The blog BleedingHeartland has been raising concerns that McGuire, who has been involved in Iowa politics for more than 20 years, is manipulating the state’s Democratic Party to favor Clinton over her challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

Uh, that’s not what she said.  The Bleeding Heartland post he linked to was from one year ago, when McGuire was first elected Chair - the post and all updates are from January 2015: 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Muslim Student: Obama at Mosque Says I Am Just As American As Any Other

College student Sabah Muktar introduces President Obama in Baltimore. Source: YouTube

THIS - college student Sabah Muktar, introducing President Obama's speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore moments ago:
"And personally, [President Obama speaking at this mosque] reassures me that I, a proud, black, Muslim, African-American, am just as American, and have the obligation to fulfill my loyalty to my country, as any other."

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Sarah Palin and friends don't get to define "Real America." I've lived in Real America in rural Idaho, inner city Seattle, suburban Redlands (CA), a middle class Portland (OR) neighborhood, DC, "Portlandia"- like college towns, and on the Nez Perce Reservation. I've visited Real America in Montana, Tucson, Atlanta, Nashville, NYC, Ithaca, Charleston, San Antonio, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Boise, Pocatello, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Tacoma, Yakima, Walla Walla, Salem (OR), St. Louis, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Kuna, Grangeville, Mukilteo, Everett, Olympia. I haven't had an opportunity to go see Real America in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Miami, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, rural New England, Alaska, or any number of other places on my Bucket List, but I hope to get there someday.

Why Won't Bernie Denounce Super PAC Spending That's Helping HIM?

Bernie on the stump / Phil Roeder, CC-BY 2.0

The New York Times, reporting on Friday, January 29, 2016:
“Bernie Sanders is Democrats' Top Beneficiary of Outside Spending, Like It Or Not”

*This was the original, accurate headline. The NYT later subbed in a misleading, click-bait headline, which I really wish they'd get rid of.* 

I'm waiting to hear Sanders supporters - ANY Sanders supporters - call on Bernie to immediately and publicly repudiate the $5.3 million+ that super PACs have spent so far – much of it in Iowa and New Hampshire – to help Sanders and hurt Hillary.  At the very least, denouncing the $4.3 million in right wing attack ads that have been targeting Hillary would seem to be a gimme.

For the sake of consistency, if Bernie thinks all PACs are bad, he should probably respectfully request that UNNA not spend their super PAC money trying to elect him, either.  Ditto for myriad other Bernie-endorsing organizations, including, which recently endorsed Bernie, and which spent almost a million dollars on campaign ads in the 2014 election season (note: MoveOn Political Action is a federal PAC rather than a super PAC, so they at least disclose their donors.)