Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hillary Wins Washington State Primary




I don't have much to add here, other than noting that defenders of Bernie Sanders were quick to point out that his caucus win in Washington State meant that he got 610,000 "votes" because of that win. Through the magic of questionable math, they asserted that, because he received the support of about 170,000 caucus goers, it meant his vote total would have been much higher.

Well, bullshit. Hillary won the Washington State primary.

That sound you here is the disappearance of any sort of reason why people should think that Sanders can win this or claim he's been robbed. Clearly, the people who support him have a loud voice but do not have the numbers to back it up.












Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Math With Bernie Bots




You may see this kind of nonsense cropping up in your day to day activities:

Hillary does NOT have three million more votes than Bernie. Her count does not give ANY credit of votes to those 10 states Bernie won by caucus. Take, for example, Washington, with an active voter registration of 3,973,623. 56% voted Democratic in the last election. That's 2,225,229 Democrats. Assuming what would have been a 38% turnout for the primary, that's 845,587 voters. Sanders won 72,2% in Washington, giving an equivalent vote count of 610,514 votes for Bernie and 235,073 for Clinton. Counting all the caucus wins for Bernie that gives him a vote count equal to or greater than Clinton's.

This is demonstrably false when you look at what actually happened:

"Despite predictions that the caucus turnout would rival that of the record-breaking 2008 election, Washington's numbers were exactly what people were expecting. Officials were expecting over 200,000 votes, and Washington Democrats communications director Jamal Raad tells Bustle that he estimates more than 230,000 Democrats turned out to caucus, "nearly matching the record of 246,000 set in 2008."

So, here you have a Sanders supporter correctly pointing out that Sanders won in Washington State. Hooray for him. But notice how they shift the methodology to make up for the three million votes cast in Hillary's favor over Bernie. They take population, then they take ALL Democrats registered, and choose a number--in this case, 38%. That means, in Bernie Bot Math, 230,000 Democrats showed up to caucus, about 70% expressed a preference for Bernie, and that means he got 610,000 "votes."

In other words, the roughly 170,000 people who showed up or "voted" for Sanders in the context of the caucus equals a "vote" total of 610,000. By this methodology, every single registered Democrat in every single state can be apportioned thusly for each of the candidates. I'm not even going to bother pointing out that if we used this methodology in New York State, Hillary would have tens of millions of more votes than Bernie.

I mean, how do you even argue with these people anymore?












Friday, May 20, 2016

Todd Starnes is a Lying Turd




I mean, not that you didn't already know it, but Todd Starnes lies like a rug:

Jerry Boykin is the kind of man you’d want teaching your sons – a good and decent man, an honorable man – a Christian man.

For the past nine years the retired lieutenant general has taught leadership and ethics at Hampden-Sydney College, a highly regarded, all-male school based in Virginia. By many accounts – he is beloved and deeply respected by students.

But Gen. Boykin will not be returning to the classroom this fall. That’s because he tells me he's been fired.

The man who was one of the original members of Delta Force and once commanded all of the U.S. Army’s Green Berets – the man who served his nation with honor and distinction for more than 36 years – was ousted because of political correctness.

Nope. Not even close:

In 2003, President Bush publicly distanced himself from Boykin when it was revealed that he had made anti-Islamic statements and cast the “War on Terror” as a religious conflict while giving speeches at churches in full dress uniform, a violation of regulations. Since his retirement from the military in 2007, Boykin has involved himself fully as a Christian far-right activist and anti-Muslim propagandist. He is currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And, just so you know where he stands on the issues:

“One of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the right, and they equate that to Hitler when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”
–April 2011 video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative

“The continent of Europe is dark, it is hopelessly lost and it’s going to get worse. Every expert will tell you that by the middle of this century the continent of Europe will be an Islamic continent, and they can’t reverse it, they can’t stop it. It is because they took Jesus out of their societies and it’s been replaced by darkness.”
–Address to Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, May 2012

“So we love the Muslim people but we have to be very careful to understand that Islam — in a pure sense and an authoritative sense — Islam is evil. Islam is an evil concept because it does call for innocent blood. It calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality, it’s evil.”
–Speaking with Rick Joyner and self-proclaimed ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem, Feb. 27, 2012

“We are at war. And I think that until Americans are willing to find out what Islam is and to find out the truth about what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing in our country, we’re going to continue to live in darkness.”
– 2011, speaking to James Dobson on his radio program

“There is a cabal, a group of very nefarious people, who very much want to create a global government. In order to create a global government, you essentially have to make everybody the same, so there’s not a superpower. Inside America, the foundations of that are the billions of dollars of a guy named George Soros, who has been, really for the last four or five decades, working very hard to bring us to a point where he can make us — lead us into a Marxist government. But there is an entity within the Council of Foreign Relations that is very much focused on global governments — one world government.”
—Answering questions at the Oak Initiative Summit, 2011

“[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”
—Video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative, 2010

Sweet guy. The very idea that he's being denied something because of political correctness is a false narrative. The guy is being kicked to the curb because he is an unrepentant bigot.

UPDATE: Despite years and years of making bigoted statements in public, Boykin has been rehired.








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wal-Mart Needs to Pay




This is the kind of reporting that gets to the heart of what it costs a community to support the Wal-Mart chain:

Law enforcement logged nearly 16,800 calls in one year to Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to a Tampa Bay Timesanalysis. That’s two calls an hour, every hour, every day.

Local Walmarts, on average, generated four times as many calls as nearby Targets, the Times found. Many individual supercenters attracted more calls than the much larger WestShore Plaza mall.

When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes.

“They’re a huge problem in terms of the amount of time that’s spent there,” said Tampa police Officer James Smith, who specializes in retail crime. “We are, as a department, at the mercy of what they want to do.”

The Times reviewed thousands of records and interviewed dozens of officers and experts to provide an unprecedented look at the impact 53 Walmarts had on local policing.

Among the findings:



Sheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties were called to individual Walmart stores more than to any other location — by far. The same went for police in Largo, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs, Dade City, Plant City, Brooksville and Port Richey. For authorities in Pinellas and St. Petersburg, Walmarts were the second busiest locations.

Officers logged fewer than 500 calls for violence, drugs or weapons. They took roughly another 7,000 calls for potential thefts. An even bigger category was general disorder, everything from suspected trespassing to parking violations, lost property and people sleeping outside stores. Those roughly 9,000 calls consumed hundreds of hours of officers’ time, but resulted in just a few hundred arrests.

Many businesses paid a lot more in property taxes than the local Walmart but were much less of a burden on police. The Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, for instance, paid nearly four times as much in taxes as three nearby supercenters combined. Still, the mall attracted fewer police calls.

Officers know Walmart is such a regular trouble spot that they routinely show up without being called.They simply hover around stores and parking lots to avert further issues, providing even more taxpayer-funded crime prevention. The Times found 6,200 of these unsolicited visits on top of the 16,800 other calls.



Walmart stores, with heavy foot traffic and cavernous layouts, are natural targets for shoplifters, panhandlers and other opportunists. Many are located in disadvantaged areas prone to more trouble. The retailer knows all of that, experts said, but doesn’t do enough to address the problems, despite ample resources. Walmart, they said, lays out its stores in a way that invites trouble and often doesn’t have enough uniformed employees to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Wal-Mart has a business model that expects the government to subsidize their part-time employees for health care costs and for basic needs. They do this by paying people low wages (food stamps, welfare benefits) and by denying them health care benefits. And now we know that store security, which should be paid for by the company itself, is completely outsourced to local law enforcement.

Private security guards could pick up the slack and give cops a break. Think they'll agree to do that? Well, unless there's some sort of legislation, or unless there's a per-visit charge from the police after a certain threshold is reached, I highly doubt it.








Monday, May 9, 2016

Fort McMurray

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="940.0"]   Scott Olson/Getty Images   Scott Olson/Getty Images [/caption]


If this is any indication of how devastating it is going to be for people in Fort McMurray, Alberta to return to their homes, I can only imagine how hard life is going to be in the months ahead. 

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warns "dramatic images" emerging from Fort McMurray, Alta., may upset evacuees as she and Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake get their first look at wildfire damage during their tour today.

Fire Chief Darby Allen, as well as a limited number of media personnel, will accompany Notley and Blake on the tour.

The group will be escorted by RCMP and emergency vehicles. A news conference at the regional operations centre will come afterwards.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley became emotional Sunday when talking about the two young people who were killed in a vehicle crash while trying to leave Fort McMurray. (CBC )

Notley warned the stories that result from that tour could upset some evacuees.

"There will be some dramatic images coming from media over the next couple of days," Notley said at a news conference Sunday. "I want to reiterate mental health supports are available for anyone who needs help."

Trigger warnng!

The offer of providing mental health professionals sounds uniquely Canadian to me, and makes total sense. Here in America, we give you a blanket, a cup of water, maybe a trailer, and we move on. How many people were offered mental health counseling after Hurricane Sandy or whichever disaster? I don't remember reading about that, but here is an academic paper about the aftermath:

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate mental health outcomes among New Jersey shore residents with health impairments and disabilities after Hurricane Sandy.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Six months following Hurricane Sandy, a cross-sectional survey of 200 adults residing in beach communities directly exposed to the storm located in Monmouth County, NJ, was conducted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mental health service use, and medication use.

RESULTS:

The average age of residents surveyed was 59 years (SD = 13.7) and 52.5 percent (95% CI = 45.5-59.4) reported recent hospitalizations, physical limitations, fair to poor health status, multiple chronic health conditions, or physical disabilities. A total of 14.5 percent (95% CI = 10.2-20.1) of residents screened positive for PTSD and 6.0 percent (95% CI = 3.1-10.2) met criteria for depression 6 months after Sandy. In addition, 20.5 percent (95% CI = 15.4-26.7) sought some type of professional counseling after Sandy and 30.5 percent (95% CI = 24.5-37.3) experienced PTSD symptoms, depression, sought professional mental health support, or used psychotropic medications. In multivariate analyses, the best predictors of mental health and service use were having sleep problems, suicidal thoughts, moderate or severe pain, and having high exposure hurricane-related events. Analyses also suggested that noncollege graduates were more likely to receive mental health services (OR = 3.10, p = 0.009), while women were less likely to have depression (OR = 0.12, p = 0.038).

CONCLUSION:

Having physical impairments and health conditions were not directly related to adverse mental health outcomes following Sandy, but having sleep problems, pain, or suicidal thoughts were. Further research is needed to assess the health status of community residents with serious health impairments over time following disasters.

It should be more prominently featured in the coverage of these disasters that receiving mental health assistance is normal and natural. Not everyone has to project the face of resiliency and act all stoic. Many people need help and there's no shame in asking.








Friday, May 6, 2016

I Cannot Win Friends or Influence People

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="417.0"]  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong?  They seem like such nice chaps and I'm interested in America so what could possibly go wrong? [/caption]


You would think a happy fellow like me could just wander onto some website and start making friends. You would be wrong:

The state of our union can be summed up pretty easily: Democratic policy ideas don’t work, and the Republican Party is melting down. From New York state, where Democratic power brokers are beginning to be herded into prison, where so many of them belong, to Chicago, where a civil war between Democrat-run public unions and the Democratic mayor rages even as the city’s finances fall apart, to the collapsing cities of Detroit and Flint, and on out to the high-speed rail boondoggle in California, the country is covered in the ruins of decades of “progressive” governance. Take Obamacare itself, a “reform” that is already making health care more bureaucratic and less affordable. Even as premiums and deductibles rise and the provider networks shrink, special interests like labor unions, insurance companies and hospital chains seek to rewrite its rules and regulations to achieve windfalls for themselves at the public expense. They will almost certainly succeed, and over time, Obamacare like other programs will become increasingly encrusted by sweetheart deals, carve-outs and other provisions that reduce its positive qualities while making it ever more expensive and bureaucratic.

Inadvertently, I wandered onto a site that would make the John Birch society look like a meeting of the San Francisco Committee on Handing Out Things to the Homeless. Damn, son--why do I keep trying?

"Up until now, at every similar crisis in American history, a wave of religious revival like the colonial-era Great Awakening, the Kentucky Revivals of the early Republic, and a series of successor movements has renewed and refreshed this source of national coherence and strength. Without something like this today, it’s not clear that American culture will continue to support the kind of republic that we’ve come to think of as eternal and unchanging."

So, I said:

This would be the same religious fervor that allowed us to destroy the South and free millions from slavery, right?

Seriously, though--religion is going to cure us of what ails us? Please. What will cure us are more jobs, reducing the deficit, and keeping us out of foreign wars of choice. In other words, another eight years of President Obama. Fools.

And I know I'm not helpful, but you seem like such nice chaps.

All I have to do is shut up and keep moving. And yet, I can't help myself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

MSNBC Sinks to a New Low




MSNBC is no friend to liberals, the liberal agenda, or the American viewing public:

Alex Wagner, the charismatic host of the canceled NOW with Alex Wagner and formerly one of MSNBC’s rising stars, has finally said adieu to the network. It was announced on Tuesday that she had taken a position with The Atlantic. She will now serve as the magazine’s senior editor and will be heavily involved in the company’s video and live events. This will include moderating a panel on Saturday mornings.

This company is actively jettisoning people of color and everyone is mostly okay with that? If ratings counted for anything, Joe Scarborough wouldn't even be on television. Instead, he's the mouthpiece of an organization that might as well continue to have nobody watching. That's a helluva business model. Screw over your employees, screw over the people watching, eliminate diversity, and then wonder where all the money went.