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US Politics: A Feast for Crows

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8 hours ago, Ormond said:

Where did you find the idea that the earthquake near Anchorage had anything to do with fracking? The Anchorage area is not near any oil fields as far as I know and isn't even near the route of the Alaska pipeline. It seems highly unlikely this particular earthquake had anything to do with fracking to me.

You have already been answered by people who r not moi.  Just like fracking has been causing earthquakes everywhere from Madagascar to southeast Asia to everywhere it is being done.  It's changing the balance of so many geo-thermal forces deep underground as well as right on the ground.

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Yep, this was a successsful wealth transfer. Which is why the plutocrats have been crying so much about how this will harm workers. Because they care so much about workers. This is the same plutocrats trying to make it impossible for low-level workers to sue for sexual harassment.

For Low-Wage Workers, the Fight For 15 Movement Has Been a Boon

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/fight-for-15-movement-boon-for-low-wage-workers.html

The Fight for 15 movement to raise minimum wages directly led to a collective $68 billion raise for 22 million low-wage workers in both the public and private sectors. That’s the conclusion of new analysis published by the National Employment Law Center, which backs a higher minimum wage. “Of the $68 billion in additional income, the overwhelming share (70 percent, or $47 billion) is the result of $15 minimum wage laws that the Fight for $15 won in California, New York, Massachusetts, Flagstaff, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, the Twin Cities, Seattle, and SeaTac over the past few years,” NELP researchers reported. NELP further found that the $68 billion figure is “more than 14 times larger than the total raise under the last federal minimum wage increase, approved in 2007.”

Edited by Martell Spy

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Experts warn the meeting will likely prove fruitless, however. “I expect both leaders to say some nice words about the importance of bilateral ties, but not solve anything,” Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, said.

Both Trump and Xi may then leave the summit with their countries still locked in a tense standoff that some say has led to the worst US-China relationship in decades. The problem is at this point only those two leaders have the power to improve ties.

If Trump and Xi can’t put their countries on a friendlier path, then the world’s most important economic relationship will only get worse.

 

The US and China relationship is in shambles. It could get worse at the G20.
Trump and Xi Jinping could fix parts of the US-China relationship in Argentina. They won’t.

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/11/29/18114600/trump-xi-jinping-china-g20-trade-war

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The ‘Good Guy With the Gun’ Is Never Black
The deaths of Emantic Bradford and Jemel Roberson remind us who the Second Amendment protects

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/good-guy-with-gun-760557/

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Now, a president who only understands masculinity and power as violence and aggression is happy to endorse the notion that a shooting can only be ended by more shooting. That theory has many fatal flaws, but its central one is that the color of our skin appears to disqualify us for the role of a Good Guy With a Gun.

Bradford’s death is hardly the only evidence of this. Two days after Bradford was killed, Jemel Roberson’s family buried him.

 

 

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celebs duped into alt-right stealth propaganda?  Not sure what to make of this...

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/brett-favre-duped-by-white-supremacists-into-making-anti-semitic-conspiracy-video/ar-BBQkwid?li=BBnbcA1&ocid=msnclassic

 

A new video service called Cameo was launched in April 2018 with the intent of allowing celebrities to record short, personalized videos for fans. The service includes a stable of athletes with a wide range of varying relevance, all of whom you can hear say your name in exchange for a quick payment.

Those videos could be something like a personal greeting, a birthday shout-out or a holiday celebration. Apparently, they could also be a assortment of coded, anti-semitic language meant to validate white supremacists.

A report from Buzzfeed on Friday revealed that a group of white supremacist YouTubers have been using Cameo to dupe celebrities into endorsing racial messages and conspiracy theories. That group of celebrities reportedly includes comedian Andy Dick, rapper Soulja Boy and, most notably, Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre.

Brett Favre accidentally records video rife with anti-semitic language

For a fee of $500, Favre’s going rate on Cameo, two alt-right trolls reportedly submitted instructions for a video that were approved by Favre. The Hall of Fame quarterback then recorded himself saying the following:

“Brett Favre here with a shoutout to the Handsome Truth and the GDL boys,” Favre said in the shaky video. “You guys are patriots in my eyes. So keep waking them up and don’t let the small get you down. Keep fighting too and don’t ever forget the USS Liberty and the men and women who died on that day. God bless and take care.”

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1 hour ago, ThinkerX said:

Just more evidence shoveled atop the pile demonstrating how dumb a large amount of the population is.

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5 hours ago, Zorral said:

You have already been answered by people who r not moi.  Just like fracking has been causing earthquakes everywhere from Madagascar to southeast Asia to everywhere it is being done.  It's changing the balance of so many geo-thermal forces deep underground as well as right on the ground.

Wait a minute here.  You have made an unverifiable claim.  Fracking has been shown to cause earthquakes, yes.  Generally minor ones.  This is bad.  But let’s not run around claiming that things are caused by x, y, or z because that conveniently slides into a given narrative.  

Claiming any given earthquake is because of fracking without evidence is not science and I won’t go along with that until there is peer reviewed evidence that it is the case.

 If we are going to be the party of science, then we need to be the party of evidence.  I do not doubt that fracking has caused earthquakes in general.  I have seen evidence of that.  It is something that’s being studied closely all over the place (and particularly in Texas in my experience)  and rightfully so.  I am not really a fan of fracking and the practices that surround it, but without a direct scientific link to the most recent Anchorage earthquake, the claim that this particular earthquake is because  of fracking really feels really dishonest.  

Unless you are a geologist, geophysicist, siesmologist who has vetted the data and gotten it through peer review, just claiming that it’s because of fracking is the same kind of bullshit obfuscating of science that Republicans are so fond of.  

Lets not follow them down that path.  

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1 hour ago, S John said:

Wait a minute here.  You have made an unverifiable claim.  Fracking has been shown to cause earthquakes, yes.  Generally minor ones.  This is bad.  But let’s not run around claiming that things are caused by x, y, or z because that conveniently slides into a given narrative.  

Claiming any given earthquake is because of fracking without evidence is not science and I won’t go along with that until there is peer reviewed evidence that it is the case.

 If we are going to be the party of science, then we need to be the party of evidence.  I do not doubt that fracking has caused earthquakes in general.  I have seen evidence of that.  It is something that’s being studied closely all over the place (and particularly in Texas in my experience)  and rightfully so.  I am not really a fan of fracking and the practices that surround it, but without a direct scientific link to the most recent Anchorage earthquake, the claim that this particular earthquake is because  of fracking really feels really dishonest.  

Unless you are a geologist, geophysicist, siesmologist who has vetted the data and gotten it through peer review, just claiming that it’s because of fracking is the same kind of bullshit obfuscating of science that Republicans are so fond of.  

Lets not follow them down that path.  

Again, with regards to the Anchorage area -  oil has been big hereabouts for a long while.  Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence, as major fault lines run through the area.  This is the third quake of 7.0 or greater in the last few years here.  NONE of these have epicenters anywhere near drilling operations.  Many of the pipelines here are old, ill-maintained, and prone to leaks.  That is a legit concern. 

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Good article on Quillette about the new evolution deniers.

Quote

The group that most fervently opposed, and still opposes, evolutionary explanations for behavioral sex differences in humans were/are social justice activists. Evolutionary explanations for human behavior challenge their a priori commitment to “Blank Slate” psychology—the belief that male and female brains in humans start out identical and that all behavior, sex-linked or otherwise, is entirely the result of differences in socialization.

 

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12 hours ago, Zorral said:

You have already been answered by people who r not moi.  Just like fracking has been causing earthquakes everywhere from Madagascar to southeast Asia to everywhere it is being done.  It's changing the balance of so many geo-thermal forces deep underground as well as right on the ground.

And this has already been answered by S John.

Sorry, "Changing the balance of many geo-thermal forces" sounds more like New Agey claptrap than actual science to me. And there is no fracking going on around Anchorage, and the earthquakes there are nowhere near drilling operations, according to ThinkerX who lives in the area.

Edited by Ormond

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17 minutes ago, Ormond said:

And this has already been answered by S John.

Sorry, "Changing the balance of many geo-thermal forces" sounds more like New Agey claptrap than actual science to me. And there is no fracking going on around Anchorage, and the earthquakes there are nowhere near drilling operations, according to ThinkerX who lives in the area.

Agreed.  To be clear no on is saying fracking is not something to be concerned about.  We are asking where, in more specific terms, the data exists that demonstrates the recent rictor 7 earthquake near Anchorage was caused by fracking?

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1 hour ago, Ormond said:

Sorry, "Changing the balance of many geo-thermal forces" sounds more like New Agey claptrap than actual science to me.

New Agey claptrap is immediately my favorite term of the week.

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6 hours ago, SweetPea said:

You probably didn't read that article very well:

Quote

But experts also universally reject that this view demands we embrace biological essentialism, because the environment does play a role, and observed sex differences are simply averages and overlap tremendously between the sexes. Sex no more determines one’s personality than it determines one’s height. Sex certainly influences these traits, but it does not determine them. For instance, most of us know females who are taller than most males, and males who are shorter than most females, though we are all aware that males are, on average, taller than females. In humans, the same is true for behavioral traits.

So in a nutshell, while "Blank Slate psychology" is an extreme, should be viewed as such, and rejected, it's nonetheless much closer to the mark than biological essentialism.

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13 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

You probably didn't read that article very well:

What made you draw that conclusion when my only comment about the article was the single word "good"? 

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15 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

What made you draw that conclusion when my only comment about the article was the single word "good"? 

Likely your choice of quotation along with your characterization of those not advocating biological essentialism as 'evolution deniers'.  

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N

2 hours ago, SweetPea said:

What made you draw that conclusion when my only comment about the article was the single word "good"? 

That it has literally nothing to do with us politics. 

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@Kalbear

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Chances are good they would have, however, if they didn't retire first. Your analysis ignores the record amount of retirees from the house and senate.

Looked into this - in the House - on this lazy Sunday.  First off, there were two GOP members that lost their primaries - Robert Pittinger (NC-9) and Mark Sanford (SC-1).  In Sanford's case, yes, he did "defy" Trump, at least rhetorically, and it's more than fair to say that's a big reason why he lost the primary.  But, Sanford also has a very storied and ..colorful history with the South Carolina electorate, so there's also that to consider.  Also of note, the candidate that defeated Sanford - Katie Arrington - lost in the general election, in a district with a Cook PVI of R +10. 

In Pittinger's case, his opponent largely ran against the GOP Congress.  Both candidates paid homage to Trump.  It appeared the guy who beat him - Mark Harris - won the general, but that's the district where something weird is going on.  Regardless, both Pittinger and Sanford were decidedly conservative in their voting records - Sanford was the 26th most "conservative" member of the 115th Congress based on DW-NOMINATE, while Pittinger was the 85th most conservative.  So neither "defied" Trump in terms of policy, although Sanford clearly did rhetorically.

Overall, 41 members retired (counting Sanford and Pittinger).  13 of those seats were flipped to Democrats (counting Sanford but not counting Pittinger).  Those 13 did have clearly "moderate" voting records - an average NOMINATE score of 0.36 when the mean for the entire Republican caucus is the more conservative 0.49 (median 0.503).  That works out to an average ranking of 182.8 most "conservative" out of 249.  Looking at the partisan lean of those 13 districts, you can see why their members were more moderate - they had an average of a Cook PVI of R + 0.38.  So, basically even. 

Another thing to consider is if the incumbent "retired" to run for a higher office or take another position.  Two of these 13 did so - Martha McSally and Steve Pearce.  If you take those two out the remaining 11 become even more moderate - means of 0.352 score and  184.8 most conservative - plus the partisan lean average is a Cook PVI of D+ 0.18.  The median is a Cook PVI of EVEN.  Not counting Sanford, McSally, or Pearce, of the remaining ten districts only two had a partisan lean more conservative than R+1 - and those two were R+3 and R+4.  These numbers suggest that among the members who retired and their districts flipped, they weren't afraid of Trump as much as they were afraid how moderate their district was in a bad year for Republicans.  Particularly when you compare to the 28 GOP members who retired and their districts remained Republican.

Among those 28 (counting Pittinger), the DW-NOMINATE average was actually higher than the average GOP caucus member at 0.541 for an average of the 102.3 most conservative member.  In these districts, the average Cook PVI was R+14.  However, 12 of these 28 retired to either run for higher office or take another position (e.g. Jim Bridenstine became NASA administrator).  Take those out, and the remaining 16 actually become more conservative, .559 and 96.8 most conservative on average.  This is despite the fact the average Cook PVI lowered to R+12.  Don't have an interpretation for that funky result, but the districts that retained GOP members, unsurprisingly, have a heavy partisan lean.

As an aside, the most conservative member of Congress "retired" while his district remained GOP.  That was Tom Garrett, whose resignation is worth the read.

Overall, these numbers look how they should look.  The retirees in districts that flipped to Dems had moderate voting records because their districts were moderate, while the retirees in districts that remained GOP had conservative voting records because their districts were conservative.  This suggests the record amount of retirees was due to the large number (13) of members that were rightly scared off by the poor environment for Republicans (as well as the large number, 12, of members that pursued other jobs) - an environment Trump's unpopularity is largely responsible for.  There's very little evidence that they were, or should have been, scared off due to "defying" Trump and subsequently fearing a primary.  Could that have been part of it?  Sure, after all, who wants to run a pain in the ass primary when your only consolation is that you're probably gonna lose in the general anyway?  But the results indicate the clear primary explanatory factor was partisan lean of a member's district.  The actual evidence that retirees were worried about defying Trump only reaches the Appalachian Trail that Mark Sanford finally gets to actually visit.

Edited by DMC

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As an addendum, here's the list of the 15 GOP members that "purely" retired and their replacements went on to win the general:

  • ROSS, Dennis
  • ROONEY, Thomas J.
  • JENKINS, Lynn
  • HARPER, Gregg
  • SHUSTER, William (Bill)
  • GOWDY, Trey
  • DUNCAN, John J., Jr.
  • POE, Ted
  • JOHNSON, Sam
  • HENSARLING, Jeb
  • BARTON, Joe Linus
  • SMITH, Lamar Seeligson
  • GARRETT, Thomas Alexander Jr.
  • GOODLATTE, Robert William
  • RYAN, Paul D.

The only two that would have any reason to fear a Trump-backed primary challenge would be Gowdy and Rooney.  Not incidentally, both sit on the Intelligence Committee, so they may very well have resigned in disgust.

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