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Monday, October 24, 2016

Stuff I read today: October 24, 2016


Today is the first day of Halloween Week. The other freak show still has fifteen days to run.

- Mr Trump was in Florida yesterday, grabbing for votes: “I’ll tell you what, we’re doing well in the polls, but you know, I really think those polls are very inaccurate,” Trump said, flanked by women waving pink “Women for Trump” signs. “When it comes to women, I think we’re doing better with women than with men. So we’re setting records with men. But I want to set records with women. I hate to tell the men this, but if I could swap, I’d swap you out so fast, you have no idea how fast.”

- Like many prodigies, California activist Tom Hayden was a slow learner because he already knew everything. An elitist scold, he stumbled onto the political scene just as TV news was finding its footing, he was burned into the retinas of two generations of Americans. It took him 25 years to express regret for some of his more outre’ judgments on the Americas who fought in Vietnam and their families; by then he had married the first of two actress wives, settled into a comfy life as a state legislator and author, and he dined out on his past for well over half a century. He accomplished much, though his life’s second and third acts will always be overshadowed by his youth, the time of which he said, "I miss the '60s and I always will." He was 76 when he died yesterday, but, to the extent people thought of him any more, seemed even older.

- Another Christian lard-slatherer has been brought low by the worldwide gay cake conspiracy.

- Jan Brewer, the wingiest of the decades-long run of wingnut governors of Arizona, says Donald Trump is being metaphorically waterboarded, which is so sad, because Donald Trump says we need more of just that in the fight against his worldwide enemies list.

- Seth Godin explains Calvinist charity’s blind spot:

[A]awareness of the certainty of lung cancer forty years later doesn't do much to keep teens from smoking. The long-term consequences didn't matter—it was a tax on cigarettes that made the biggest difference.

And telling a mentally ill homeless person that he 'deserves' to live on the street because of bad choices along the way isn't doing anything for him, or to those that might be forced into his situation down the road.

Waiting for an employee to screw up so we can fire her seems a convoluted way to set a standard for the rest of the team.

Too often, we get confused about what people deserve vs. what they get. We use our instinctual, Calvinist understanding of moral hazard as an excuse to teach people a lesson, to callously embrace an efficient market. But of course, the market isn't efficient at all. It unevenly distributes rewards to people based on luck, and allows those with an early head start to amplify that lead with less and less effort.

It turns out that building homes for homeless people is a great way to cut homelessness overall. Poverty doesn't usually respond to moral hazard approaches.

- NC GOP chairman Robin Hayes is a 71-year-old Cannon Mills textile heir and former congresscritter whose idea of populism is to wear a baseball cap with his tailored suit. He also has a taste for the apocalyptic:

The next president of the United States will nominate the replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, and likely with more to come. In some respects, your vote for president is an indirect vote for the next 100 years of legal decisions to come out of the highest court in the land. In other words – your children and your children’s children will either suffer or thrive depending on which circle you fill on your ballot.

For those who find themselves still unsure of the Republican nominee Donald Trump, I hope the next 100 years of Supreme Court decisions will weigh soberly on your conscience. If Trump is not elected, Hillary Clinton will repeal the Hyde Amendment allowing abortions on demand (including late-term and partial-birth), Clinton will appoint justices who will use their extremist agenda to legislate from the bench and Clinton will ensure our constitutionally granted first liberty to live and work in accordance to our peacefully held beliefs will continue its dangerous trajectory toward death.

In no uncertain terms, our beautiful republic, which seeks to preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is precariously in the balance of the Nov. 8 election.

How many Supreme Court justices can you name from the 1916 court term? Under how many of its decisions to we chafe even today, a century later? Why are just county prisoners doing road work when Justice McReynolds wrote for the court that year,

In view of ancient usage and the unanimity of judicial opinion, it must be taken as settled that, unless restrained by some constitutional limitation, a state has inherent power to require every able-bodied man within its jurisdiction to labor for a reasonable time on public roads near his residence without direct compensation. This is a part of the duty which he owes to the public.

- In their endless crusade to defend democracy from marauding, fraudulent ballot-casting hordes of Negro voters and college students, North Carolina Republicans are overlooking a more insidious threat: The Yellow Peril.

- Mark Shiver writes of Franklin Graham’s recent Jesus is a Republican rally in Raleigh,

[Instead of loud, rambunctious singing intended to disrupt proceedings, their songs were directed in praise to the God whom they had come to acknowledge. Rather than hoping to have their hands cuffed and make a show of being arrested for violating the law, these were ordinary people ready to join hands with one another in prayer.

I was standing outside the Capitol at the post-Carolina Values Summit Franklin Graham rally Thursday morning, attempting to interview Christian conservatives about their political views, when a seventy-year-old man in a cowboy hat called me a "fucking sodomite" after I asked why he was shouting about HB 2 being "essential." A few moments later, a forty-six-year-old heard me interviewing his mother and said to her, "Look at his nose. He's a fucking Jew-boy." Another attendee opined that the INDY was "fag propaganda." Yet another told me that the freedom this group was demanding didn't apply to people like me (whatever that means).

- Carter Wrenn, who spent his most of his career mudslinging for Jesse Helms, is mellowing in his old age:

Once I worked in a U.S. Senate election in North Carolina where the Republican candidate won by just 6,000 votes. Were we worried about voter fraud? You bet. Did voter fraud change the outcome of the election? No. 
If a major election’s close it’s a safe bet an army of lawyers and researchers will descend on Boards of Elections, pouring through voting lists looking for people voted improperly, and if they find enough fraud to change the outcome of the election it’s a safe bet they’ll head to court. 
One other relevant fact (for Mr. Trump) in North Carolina: Every Elections Board is now controlled by Republicans – all 101 Republican controlled boards would have to sit idly by twiddling their thumbs for Democrats to steal an election. 
Donald Trump’s said flat-out it’s no longer true the candidate who receives the most votes will win – that this election’s rigged. The next question to ask him is the same one that judge asked years ago: Alright. Make your case. Show us your proof. We’re listening.

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