Monday, September 28, 2015

A Counterfactual

In 2000, the "Butterfly" ballot is not printed, but a more clear standard form is used.

Al Gore becomes president.

When warnings of an Al Qaida attack surface, the Gore White House goes on alert, asking for any scrap of intelligence, and reminding all agencies to be on full alert, just as the Clinton White House did in 1999 when the millennium threats arose.

The Al Qaida plot is nipped in the bud.

Gore calls a press conference to announce the thwarting of a plot to hijack four airline planes and crash them into the twin towers, the Pentagon, and the Capitol.

The reaction from the press:
"There goes Gore, exaggerating again."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Press Fail

At Donald Trump's town hall meeting, one person  stood up to say:
"We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one. He's not even an American."

"We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question. When can we get rid of them?"
What he had to say was clearly absurd, but the press reports of what he said are almost as absurd. The questioner is clearly asking when can we get rid of the (in reality non-existent) "training camps".  (It may not be as clear in the transcript, but is certainly clear from intonation and emphasis in the person's speech.) Yet he is reported to have asked when can we get rid of Muslims, which he clearly did not.  (Though he probably would like to get rid of Muslims, given the tenor of his statements.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Another Missed Opportunity

On Stephen Colbert's first Late Show, Jeb Bush said this of the Iran deal:
"I think President Obama's being naive to trust the Ayatollahs."
To which a follow up question could have been:
"But this isn't just an agreement between the United States and Iran. It's an agreement between Iran and the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China. Are you calling the Prime Minister of Britain, the Presidents of France, Germany, Russia and China, are you calling all of these people naive?"
Would Jeb! really want to go on the record as calling them all naive?  But if not, how was he going to justify singling out Obama as naive?   He would clearly be exposed as the hack that he is.

Darn it, Stephen, you missed a great opportunity there!  (I realize you were following a script, but you could have veered from it for a moment to ask this question.)

You may think a member of the main stream press could pick up on Jeb!'s foolish statement and ask the question I'm suggesting?  Hah!  I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scuttling the Iran Deal - No Big Deal?

So the Republicans and those Democrats who owe more fealty to Israel then to their own country want to scuttle the agreement reached between the major powers and Iran to limit Iran's progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The rhetoric I hear from the right is all about "Obama's deal with Iran", with the suggestion that it will fall apart if is not approved by Congress, or is reneged on by a future president.

I'm puzzled by this assurance on the part of the right.  The US is just one of the countries that has been imposing sanctions on Iran, and the agreement between Iran and the US, China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany means that sanctions will be lifted, and trade will resume. So what if the US reneges? The other five major countries will be ending the sanctions as long as Iran keeps to its end of the bargain, allowing continuing inspections of its nuclear sites by the IAEA.  So businesses in those countries can expect to profit from the renewed trade, but US businesses  won't if the US alone insists on keeping up the sanctions.

And once the other countries have resumed normal relations with Iran, leaving the US isolated, what do the renegers propose?  The two options I hear are "Go back for a better deal" (as though the deal was solely a US deal, and was not hammered out through years of negotiations with all parties as the best deal that could be made), or military action.  Can anyone seriously propose unilateral military action once the rest of the international community has accepted the Iran deal?  Well - I suppose the crackpots of the right might continue their warmongering rhetoric, but to put it into practice against the wishes of every other major power?  Could they really be that crazy?

Update 8/14/2015  Fareed Zakariah takes Senator Schumer to task for opposing the deal:
Rejecting this deal would produce an Iran that ramps up its nuclear program, without inspections or constraints, with sanctions unraveling and a United States that is humiliated and isolated in the world.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Picking the Date

I don't think it's a coincidence that the Fox Republican "debate" is being held on Jon Stewart's last night as host of the Daily Show.

You can see Fox's thinking here:  if the event were held before Stewart's departure, Fox and the candidates were certain to be held up to ridicule in the well practiced Daily Show tradition.  Holding it just as Stewart is leaving means that the event will be covered by the Daily Show just as the new host and his team are finding their footing - and perhaps they won't be quite ready for the epic take down the event is certain to deserve.  Holding the forum after the new team was up and running would increase the risk of them doing a fine job of skewering Fox and the Republicans in true Daily Show fashion.
So -  from Fox's point of view, the perfect time to reduce the chance for ridicule is to hold the "debate" tonight. Smart move on Fox's part!

Update 8/11/2015  And I see that Trevor Noah's Daily Show will not begin until September 28, giving Fox and the Republicans more breathing room

Monday, August 3, 2015

Posing the Question

I do wish reporters were able to find the right words for questions to politicians.

For instance, asking "Do you believe in evolution?" carries with it the suggestion that evolution is a subject that can reasonably be doubted.  A more appropriate phrasing would be: "Do you accept the scientific reality of evolution?"