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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OTP - Feb 2014: Politics remains a hurdle for immigration reform

Yet Obama might find his best-chance legislative compromise in an issue that lately has seemed to be on life support: an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

Curiously, immigration was an issue the president barely mentioned in this year’s speech. Maybe he does not want to interfere with those Republicans who actually agree with him on the need to bring the nation’s millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 04:01 PM | 3524 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   501. zonk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4652446)
Actually, it turns out the RNCC is making regular use of the tactic...

It is phishing!

...and if you ever talk to a phisher, this is precisely how they operate -- cast a broad net, knowing you may have to do a lot of catch and release, but you do make a few bucks on the margins from people that either never catch on or just never follow through on getting a refund.

These sorts of things used to just pop to trawl near-domains for charities -- snag yourself a subdomain, just the naked page out on the net, carefully but with clear mimicry intent match the charity you're trying to skim, and voila - you can either load up on credit card numbers (if that's your game) or grab yourself a little trickle of cash if you don't get too greedy.

Some years ago, a rather sleazy sys admin I met at a tech conference over too many drinks once described how he made himself a little handful of pocket change by mimicking popular Kickstarter projects.... He'd basically create the intermediary pages, mimic the fonts, toss in a few sentences here and there to protect himself from outright criminal charges, and toss them up under as subpages under a near domain he'd registered. The idea was just to catch the stray googler getting too deep in the results lists, maybe the fat-finger here and there, or potentially find a way to worm his link onto various blogs, message boards, etc. He wasn't getting rich - and he was quick to reverse charges to try to keep his little traps operating as long as possible (usually until the project itself got wind and either threatened legal action or threatened to make noise). According to him -- he was pulling in a few hundred, sometimes if he aped a particularly good site -- a few thousand dollars a month.
   502. Tilden Katz Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4652448)
YC...is there any GOP position or tactic that you disagree with?
   503. spike Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4652450)
Worth noting that the Sink phishing site was set up by the NRCC - not some "overzealous staffer" for a fringe candidate or blogger.
   504. zonk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4652451)
I find it hard to believe too many people are being fooled by these ads. Before one would donate, it seems pretty clear it is a donation to the Republican Party.


You're missing the point of how good phishing works...

You register the subdomains for donations and make the page look more like the original candidate's domain NOT to get people in the front door... but in through the side door.

If you want to really get clever - at least, this is how the charity scammers do it - you write yourself up some malware to make some very small, innocuous changes on poorly protected site or other processes to do DNS redirects...

The point isn't to intercept someone actively paging through a site -- you insert yourself midstream in clever or even technically illegal ways.

It's basically just like the Albright pictures but using a little mask over the URL...

The nature of phishing isn't to trick everyone.... it's to go after the low hanging fruit... the grandparent who doesn't at all understand what happens when you click a link... the technically illiterate who has no idea what anything about domain registration means.

The big money is phishing for out and out identity theft or CC numbers.... but there's plenty of chum in the water if you're satisfied just nibbling a few bucks here and there by catching the occasional fish that - yes - stupidly swims directly into the net.
   505. zonk Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4652454)
In fact --

A search for "Alex Sink for Congress 2014 contribute" brings up the subpage on the very first results list...

There are plenty of people that do not have the basic understanding of relatively simple things like clicking through a link on a page -- I know older relatives who literally believe that to go to a "new" page, you have to search through Google or something similar.

They're not stupid; they simply don't have the experience using what I'm sure everyone here thinks are relatively simple things like browsers.... and that's exactly why you do the sidedoors the way you do.

The dude I was mentioning in 504 claimed that he did originally create front-end pages where he would write a bit about the project he was trying to steal from... but as he told me, that tended to get the sort of unwanted attention much quicker, so he'd just leave the main domain as the default page and focus on getting his subdomains out live.

Stealing money on the internet is really a pretty easy thing if you don't have any scruples, don't get greedy, and spend your days and nights already buried knee-deep in php, java, html, etc... So much of the law is murky and there are literally millions of people online at this very moment who have credit cards and a complete lack of web sophistication.
   506. tshipman Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4652456)
TYC is pretty clearly not a troll. He's posting relevant information, and providing links and citations to his sources. Posting individual polls does not constitute trolling.

He's also quite correct about the pattern of presidential approval and midterms. I disagree with his premise that the President's numbers will not rebound. I think they are quite likely to pop back towards his average of about -2.

Joe also was not really a troll (although at times he verged into that with the Ta-Nehesi Coates conversation, for example). Sam acts like more of a troll than any other poster in this thread.

   507. Tilden Katz Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:13 AM (#4652460)
TYC is pretty clearly not a troll. He's posting relevant information, and providing links and citations to his sources. Posting individual polls does not constitute trolling.


Agreed. What happened to Joe K, BTW?
   508. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4652464)
TYC is pretty clearly not a troll.


Watch out, next he will randomly attack you :) Seriously though only Gold Star called him that, everyone else just thinks he's boring (which, well, you know).

Anyway ...

What happened to Joe K, BTW?


He said a while back he was going to be gone a few months. It has been longer than I thought though. Most of the conservative crew have wandered off, but some are still here. I am sure the upcoming election and GOP victories will bring at least some of them out to play.
   509. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4652467)
The quote in #504 is not from me, it's Prof. Robert Hansen, a Democratic-leaning election law expert. I don't believe he's confused about anything. The contribution page clearly indicates that it is an anti-Sink effort. Zonk's statement about "small, innocuous text" is just wrong. Furthermore, people who actually contribute to political candidates can read. Nobody's going to be fooled by this or by the Democratic cyber squatting. It's just annoying stuff that campaigns do.

I'm not in favor of special rules for politicians but I'd consider neutral application of anti-cyber squatting laws to political candidates & campaigns, but it is a bit of a slippery slope.
   510. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:07 AM (#4652475)
Not sure it fits in OTP, but it concerns federal employment and may undermine the global warming narrative - Postal Worker Dons Pants For First Time In 10 Years:
A Michigan postal worker said this winter's subzero temperatures led him to don full-length pants for the first time in 10 years. Kenny Martin, 56, of White Lake Township, said he has worn his postal worker shorts year round on his route in Walled Lake for the past 10 years, but this winter saw him finally put on long pants to go to work, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday. Martin said he prefers the comfort of shorts.

"I shovel my walk in 'em. Pants are just an inconvenience. They're for two things. They're for weddings and funerals," he said.

Martin is known as "Smitty" to his friends, undoubtedly.
   511. CrosbyBird Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:42 AM (#4652489)
Zonk's statement about "small, innocuous text" is just wrong. Furthermore, people who actually contribute to political candidates can read. Nobody's going to be fooled by this or by the Democratic cyber squatting. It's just annoying stuff that campaigns do.

I agree that the text isn't small or innocuous, but even the guy you quoted doesn't deny that it's a tactic designed to deceive.

The mistake you're making here is confusing a small percentage of people with an insignificant one. Imagine if one out of every 25,000 people that visit that site are careless or stupid enough to donate an average of $100. Get a million hits and you just diverted $40,000 from your opponent's campaign to yours. That's a nice chunk of change, for something that takes a couple of hours worth of work and $10 or so for the domain name.

I find it almost unbelievable that by today people still are occasionally fooled by spam like the Nigerian bank account email, but it must work at least once in a while or people wouldn't still be doing it. There is practically nothing that there isn't at least a few people stupid enough to fall for.
   512. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:22 AM (#4652494)
The mistake you're making here is confusing a small percentage of people with an insignificant one. Imagine if one out of every 25,000 people that visit that site are careless or stupid enough to donate an average of $100. Get a million hits and you just diverted $40,000 from your opponent's campaign to yours.

There's no way that a donation site for or against an obscure Congressional candidate gets that kind of traffic, although hits may have spiked in the last couple of days since it has become a Democratic talking point, but all those people are fully aware of the controversy.
   513. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4652502)
A guy in MI putting on pants doesn't undermine climate science.

Attempting to reduce climate science to "the global warming narrative" is the equivalent of arguing the earth is only 6000 years old.
   514. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:05 AM (#4652504)
Not sure it fits in OTP, but it concerns federal employment and may undermine the global warming narrative - Postal Worker Dons Pants For First Time In 10 Years:


A guy in MI putting on pants doesn't undermine climate science.

I'm assuming that even YC is capable of tongue-in-cheek humor at least once a month, and I assumed that this filled his monthly quota. Not even Ray** would try to pretend there was any scientific point to that link.

**Well, maybe Ray
   515. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:13 AM (#4652506)
I'm assuming that even YC is capable of tongue-in-cheek humor at least once a month, and I assumed that this filled his monthly quota. Not even Ray** would try to pretend there was any scientific point to that link.


Probably, but he's hiding an agenda in that "humor." Notably, sneaking in the notion that climate change is merely "narrative" there at the end.
   516. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4652509)
Meanwhile in Alaska they are having crazy warm temps this winter, complete with avalanches and roads flooding.
   517. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4652510)
The quote in #504 is not from me, it's Prof. Robert Hansen, a Democratic-leaning election law expert. I don't believe he's confused about anything. The contribution page clearly indicates that it is an anti-Sink effort. Zonk's statement about "small, innocuous text" is just wrong. Furthermore, people who actually contribute to political candidates can read. Nobody's going to be fooled by this or by the Democratic cyber squatting. It's just annoying stuff that campaigns do.


Now you're just being obtuse...

Setting up the contribute.alexsinkforcongress2014 subdomain is extra work. The RNCC already has a contributions page right here. It is LESS work to simply point to the existing contributions page than it is to actually build a NEW contribute. page as they did on the Sink page AND OTHER CANDIDATES. Either the RNCC is horrifically inefficient or they are intentionally trawling for a few extra dollars.

OF COURSE they're not getting millions of hits... but a few hundred here, a few hundred there...

You set up a subdomain like this because it will be indexed -- and accessible -- independently of the RNCC site. There is absolutely zero logical reason to bother with building it, rather than just linking to the existing RNCC contribution page on their main site - other than phishing.

Why bother building a wholly new page, adding to the main alexsinkforcongress2014 (or others -- read the NBC link -- they're doing this in other competitive races, too) index when there is no earthly reason to do so?
   518. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4652522)
I'm assuming that even YC is capable of tongue-in-cheek humor at least once a month, and I assumed that this filled his monthly quota. Not even Ray** would try to pretend there was any scientific point to that link.

Probably, but he's hiding an agenda in that "humor." Notably, sneaking in the notion that climate change is merely "narrative" there at the end.


Maybe we should ask him for a clarification, if it wouldn't inconvenience him too much to reply.
   519. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4652529)
#512, Sink isn't an obscure congressional candidate. She lost the 2010 gubernatorial election by 1% and this special election is fairly significant. It's to fill Bill Young's seat, a purple district (Sink won Pinellas County in the 2010 election) that has been a guaranteed Repiblican hold for a long time because Young was extremely popular around here due to all the federal dollars he brought home.

Edit: The most recent report I can find on Sink's fundraising is an early January report that she had raised $1.1 million from October through December, a massive advantage over her potential opponents.
   520. bunyon Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4652534)
Attempting to reduce climate science to "the global warming narrative" is the equivalent of arguing the earth is only 6000 years old.

This vastly underestimates the amount of evidence that the earth is >6,000 years old. The evidence overwhelmingly leans toward a warming climate. It strongly leans to a human role. It's slam dunk enough to think about policy changes but it isn't close to the kind of centuries worth of data from literally every scientific field that supports our current estimate of the age of the universe. If you transported me 500 years in the future and it turned out we'd missed something relatively simple about how climate works and it turned out our current warming trend was just a normal variation, I would be mildly suprised and confess to my new friends that we did our best. If you did likewise and I found out the earth was 6,000 years old, I'd jump off a bridge.

Like I say, I'm not disagreeing with the basic point about where the data points in climate change. But it isn't nearly as much data as with the age of the universe nor is it as solid. It's still very, very strong and only a fool at this point completely blows it off.
   521. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4652539)
#512, Sink isn't an obscure congressional candidate. She lost the 2010 gubernatorial election by 1% and this special election is fairly significant. It's to fill Bill Young's seat, a purple district (Sink won Pinellas County in the 2010 election) that has been a guaranteed Repiblican hold for a long time because Young was extremely popular around here due to all the federal dollars he brought home.

Edit: The most recent report I can find on Sink's fundraising is an early January report that she had raised $1.1 million from October through December, a massive advantage over her potential opponents.


Right - Sink is up in the polls, outside the MOE - so despite the supposed Obama drag, the Democrats are looking pretty good for a pickup here...

Again, what I find every bit as distasteful as other similar sort of phishing scams is that the RNCC is clearly doing precisely that. They're -- supposedly, I guess -- not being as ruthless and outright illegal about it as your standard Nigerian prince scam... but it's the exact same sort of thing. You create a trap door to 'cull the herd' of people doing all sorts of things on the internet.

Clapper can comfort himself with small numbers, people too stupid to read carefully, or even "it's just political donations, a racket anyway"....

BUT - that's the very definition of a slippery slope... To me - someone who ends up getting their identity stolen on the internet or finds themselves looking at fraudulent charges is pretty stupid, too. I don't find encryption, proxies, DNS redirects, masking, malware, etc all that problematic because I swim in that internet ocean professionally. However, I still find it morally reprehensible for someone to outright steal from folks in such a manner, I still think when such scams are uncovered, the offenders ought to be punished harshly if legally appropriate, shamed and exposed as bad people if the law hasn't quite caught up to technology (and in many places, it hasn't).

It all comes down to intent to deceive... and there is no way anyone with a moderate level of technical insight and web experience would look at the contribute.candidate pages (like I said, they have several, it appears) and come to any other conclusion than that they were specifically architected with no other purpose except to deceive... It does not pass logical muster to pretend otherwise. Should the fact that you need to be either careless or somewhere in the intersection of bottom 10% of internet savy users/politically active matter?
   522. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4652542)
If you did likewise and I found out the earth was 6,000 years old, I'd jump off a bridge.


Given the implications, that doesn't seem like a wise choice.
   523. Greg K Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4652547)
If you did likewise and I found out the earth was 6,000 years old, I'd jump off a bridge.


Given the implications, that doesn't seem like a wise choice.

Agreed. In that scenario you'd then use your transporter to go 7,000 years into the past and see what happens.

EDIT: Also, time travelling and jumping off bridges is so Kate and Leopold. As charming as that movie is, you wouldn't want to be unoriginal.
   524. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4652549)
Attempting to reduce climate science to "the global warming narrative" is the equivalent of arguing the earth is only 6000 years old.


Ok, this is patently untrue and reflects someone with a poor science education. The evidence we have that the Earth is, at minimum, millions years old, is essentially ironclad. We have the evidence from radioactive clocks (which I'm happy to explain if folks are curious) that the earth is over 4 billion years old. We have tons of evidence from sedimentary petrology of an age thats, at minimum, hundreds of millions of years. We have evidence from basic tectonics - we know the current rate at which plates move, we know where they must've moved from, ergo we know (roughly) how long it took. We can estimate ages from the number of meteorite craters exposed on the Earth's surface; we know how rare the strikes are and we know that there are a lot out there. We know from extrapolating the rate of erosion; we know that mountains have eroded because we can look at the Rockies and compare them to the Appalachians, and we know how fast the mountains currently erode, and that tells you roughly that you need millions of years to round off a mountain range.

The only way to get at an age under 10,000 years is to assume that God put it there or the devil put it there to fool you into thinking that God didn't.

In contrast, with warming, its possible we could be wrong. There is no ironclad evidence for current warming that's obviously separable from natural cycles. We are highly confident warming will occur because the math underlying CO2 as a greenhouse gas is fairly insistent. But still, don't forget that current science cannot tell you how glacial and interglacial cycles happen. (We know what CAUSES them - Milankovich cycles, but dammned if we can figure out exactly how the orbtially-driven changes in the seasonal distribution of insolation can turn the current world we live on into one where I'm typing this from under a mile of glacial ice. We have some pretty good ideas, but it certainly hasn't been solved.)

If you told me that CO2 wasn't a greenhouse gas - yeah, that's as crazy as the Earth being 6,000 years old. But if you told me that due to some unforseen complexity in the way the climate worked, the system was more resilliant than we thought it was - that CO2-driven warming somehow lead to a negative feedback that drew down CO2 rapidly so that temps tended to stay stable, or if it turned out that somehow, CO2 driven warming was concentrated over the oceans and the climate as experienced by you and I remained unchanged, &c &c - all that stuff is on the table because the climate system is far too complex (and GCMs far too primitive) to make it as ironclad as the age of the Earth.
   525. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4652567)
Can't link to it through my phone, but Pat Robertson basically begged Ken Ham to STFU on the 700 Club yesterday, saying things like "to say that [the earth] came about in 6000 years is just nonsense" and that making that assertion "doesn't comport with anything that's found in science."
   526. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4652568)
The evidence we have that the Earth is, at minimum, millions years old, is essentially ironclad.


Yes. The Earth is millions of years old

In contrast, with warming, its possible we could be wrong.


No. The climate is warming and it is anthropogenic.

If you want to debate proper responses and policies for climate change, fine. But we're not debating the simple facts of the world, any more than we're debating the age of the Earth.
   527. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4652570)
Can't link to it through my phone, but Pat Robertson basically begged Ken Ham to STFU on the 700 Club yesterday, saying things like "to say that [the earth] came about in 6000 years is just nonsense" and that making that assertion "doesn't comport with anything that's found in science."


Robertson's commentary. The headline from "Right Wing Watch" is gratuitous, misleading and false. Robertson takes Ham to task for being an idiot and takes apart YEC'ism. He does not deny creationism in the least. He explicitly endorses creationism.
   528. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4652574)
But not young earth creationism. I'd say that's a significant deviation from Ham's position.

//Saying that creation itself has a divine author, but that the scientific record accurately reflects what has happened since that time is a quite a mainstream position
   529. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4652577)
But not young earth creationism. I'd say that's a significant deviation from Ham's position.


Yes. The entire point of Robertson's commentary was to counter Ham's embarrassing YEC blather. Robertson has been vocal on this subject before as well. But the RWW group is blaring a false headline to their own ends as well. Pat Robertson did not deny creationism. He denied Young Earth no-nothingism.
   530. BrianBrianson Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4652579)
But we're not debating the simple facts of the world, any more than we're debating the age of the Earth.


C'mon, ~0.1% of scientific papers reject anthropic global warming See? That's only ten times less than the number of dentists who recommend brushing with a chainsaw.
   531. Morty Causa Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4652585)
When Pat Robertson is the voice of sanity (partial sanity, anyway), a person should really take seriously the idea of mentally regrouping.

But what does it matter?
   532. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4652586)
   533. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4652600)
Somebody found the Stonecutter's roll call sheet....


I don't see Steve Gutenberg.
   534. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4652602)
He's in the No Homers now.
   535. Morty Causa Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4652607)
   536. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4652618)
No. The climate is warming and it is anthropogenic.


No. I'm surprised at you, Sam. You're generally above the "Sciecematicians say so, so it must be true!"

The vast majority of scientists believe that the Earth will warm as a result of pumping GG into the atmosphere. The vast majority of scientists believe that a significant fraction - but certainly not all - of the warming in the second half of the twentieth century was a result of increased GG concentration.

But nobody - literally nobody - KNOWS this. Climate system is way to complicated. Too many of the senior guys were around in the late 70's to be cocky about it. Are most folks 95% certain the Earth will warm over a long enough timescale? Yes, sure. But that 5% chance that we are wrong is real and people are mindful of it. Doesn't change the policy equation that much, doesn't really change the messaging to the world, but there's a chance everyone is wrong. That can happen in science, albeit rarely - to wit, everyone believed in the geosyncline hypothesis until the 1960's when it became apparent that everyone was wrong.

This sort of thing drives me nuts, because ascribing false certainty to climate science undercuts the credibility of their predictions. It reminds me of that horribly misleadintg XKCD comic from the other week about this cold winter that everyone was posting to facebook, which was hugely misleading - frankly wrong - and was obviously so if you spent five minutes looking at the underlying data. His point was valid, but by lying in the presentation, who cares if he's right or wrong.
   537. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4652627)
Saying that creation itself has a divine author, but that the scientific record accurately reflects what has happened since that time is a quite a mainstream position

Amazing that Inherit the Wind came out 60 years ago and we're still talking about this.
   538. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4652631)
I'm not ascribing certainty to predictions. I'm ascribing certainty to the fact of warming - the climate is warming - and to the man made causes of that warming. I am not predicting future events at all.
   539. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4652635)
I'm ascribing certainty to the fact of warming - the climate is warming - and to the man made causes of that warming.


Depending on how you're defining warming - specifically relative to when - then you should realize there is not scientific consensus for that. Even more so, there's no consensus that the late 20th C warming, even if anthropogenic, is caused by GGs. Could also be a reduction / increase in the production of aerosols, changes in land use, among other things.

It is important to remember that climate changes rapidly, hugely, with no help from us. Ask the Pueblo peoples about that. Because natural climate variance is so large, and the factors driving it so complex, its nearly impossible to draw out a warming signal from, say, the last 70 years and say "this, we can ascribe to GGs".

On the other hand, it is reasonable to say that it is very likely that some portion of the warming observed since 1950 was caused by increased concentration of GGs.
   540. bunyon Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4652636)
But nobody - literally nobody - KNOWS this. Climate system is way to complicated. Too many of the senior guys were around in the late 70's to be cocky about it. Are most folks 95% certain the Earth will warm over a long enough timescale? Yes, sure. But that 5% chance that we are wrong is real and people are mindful of it. Doesn't change the policy equation that much, doesn't really change the messaging to the world, but there's a chance everyone is wrong. That can happen in science, albeit rarely - to wit, everyone believed in the geosyncline hypothesis until the 1960's when it became apparent that everyone was wrong.

Also, I'd put the odds that "we" (humanity) are badly wrong about something in our currently best climate models at closer to 95% than 5%. That might - probably - not change the overall forecast but it's a very complicated science and still quite young.

It is nothing like the age of the universe and earth for which multiple fields and scads of well understood data supply the estimate. Even there, if we learn that it isn't 13.8 billion years for the universe but, rather, 14.9, well, that wouldn't be too suprising, either.


I see Sam has a new post (538). Yes to it being certain that the earth is warming. Yes to greenhouse gases warming the climate. No to what we have so far observed being certain that it is man-made. That certainly is the way to bet and we're probably as certain as we're likely to be for a good long while. We just don't know enough and our models just aren't good enough for the same level of certainty in climate as in the age of the earth.
   541. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4652642)
Jobs report and ObamaCare.

So the author of that CBO report says that its findings were distorted by the media? Gee, big surprise.

The next time I hear conservatives whining about the "left wing media", I'm going to be thinking of the way that practically the entire MSM parroted the Republican "job killer" spin in their initial stories on the CBO report.

In fact, the CBO report explicitly states that the estimated reduction in labor “stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor” and that “there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of ACA.” Those notions are further supported by economic data on full- and part-time employment trends over the last several years. Simply put, the report finds that Obamacare will reduce the number of people who are forced to work a job merely for the sake of health insurance.


Of course one of the goals of the ACA was precisely that: To detach health insurance from employment, thereby increasing incentives for people to move to better jobs that might not offer health insurance as a benefit. Leave it to the Republicans to call that a bad thing.

   542. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4652652)
I stay out of the whole climate change thing because frankly, I have a really hard time mentally squaring myself to why we need to have this argument.

Maybe it's because I sit on the left and it just all feels like a lot of "I hate Al Gore!"... I mean, I get certain industry objections -- and hey, maybe it's an interesting discussion if you're really into the science (I'm simply not.. at least, not so much that I really care enough to try to aggregate a lot of scientific thought that's beyond me anyway).

It just seems to me that most of the 'solutions' -- reduction of carbon emissions, etc -- are inherently good things anyway. I completely understand the costs factor... but we have all sorts of cost factors. When we decided it might be a good idea to limit the amount of vermin feces we allowed into our food chain, build an infrastructure to ensure that limit, and then saw the costs of compliance be born by the food packaging industry, should I really care that The Jungle wasn't a documentary?

The various proposals to address "climate change" -- cap and trade, increased fuel economy, institution of more efficient lightbulbs, you name it -- these hardly seem like the opening shot of a coming eco-totalitarianism. In fact, when you look at lifetime costs regarding things like lightbulbs and increased fuel economies - it makes sense for everyone except perhaps the producers that technologically backwards/unable to comply and compete.

I look at places like China - which is obviously experiencing significant pollution issues that are so severe, 'climate change' doesn't matter. I think I saw an estimate of something like 300K Chinese expected to die early, annually due to carcinogens in many large urban atmospheres.

Now, of course - then you get the response about 'AMerican competitiveness!!!!' -- but I presume no one is actually suggesting lowering our environmental standards so that we can live in the same sort of polluted bogs and experience the same issues...

BUt - even as the Chinese are still dealing with this enormous challenge, it really ought to be noted that the ruling party in China isn't exactly a bunch of a homicidal madmen... and China's got a pretty long history of the rulers understanding you can only push the peasantry so far before revolt. China ALSO has the luxury of basically taking a problem like this and making a de facto solution to just flat out address it.... and that's what ought to get our attention -- they ARE. The Chinese government is dumping tons of money and resources into cleaning up from its own industrial revolution, just as America and western nations found themselves having to do earlier. However, they're doing it faster. There are significant success stories out of China in terms of clean energy development, environmental cleanup, and the sorts of policies that make one side of the aisle here go crazy with the "AL GORE IS FAT!" stuff.

The corollary with the creationism debate to me isn't the degree of scientific certainty - it's the impact on policy.

The system works if you have one-side urging ever-larger reductions in something like carbon emissions - just tossing numbers, let's say 10%.... while the OTHER side in support of calcified industrial interests (who, yes, also provide lots of jobs) saying "No - we cannot afford that... how about 2%". However, that's not how it works -- the noise from the global warming is a myth side gets so rancorous and loud that it becomes impossible to arrive at a proper median. Instead, ANY attempt - no matter how small - becomes a huge battleground where one side basically advocates nothing, if not outright rollback and the other side has to increasingly slide back to virtually no advance.

You have to be a pretty hardcore objectivist to take the position that NONE of that matters... even setting aside 'climate change' - that you don't care about the fact that it's an inherently good thing to get more and more little microscopic particulants out of our air and water, you just don't want to buy different light bulbs.
   543. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4652653)
Leave it to the Republicans to call that a bad thing.


The main part that leaves me put off by the current iteration of the GOP is not the fact that I disagree with them on a policy level - I have disagreed there since I could vote. It is not that they engage in dirty tricks and hypocrisy, to one degree or another all political parties do this, and I don't appreciate when it happens.

No what annoys me is the GOP has seemingly given up on governing. Elections matter to them. Policy goals which appease their base seem to matter to them. Actual government with ideas, policies, an affirmative goal seems to have been lost in the relentless march of seeking every last pander, scam, and distortion.

So when they spin random report to favor their goals, well that is expected from all parties everywhere. But they don't have much in the way of actual policy, much vision to replace all the things they are against and want to repeal, remove or lower. The Democrats went through a somewhat similar period in the 70s, but maybe it is partisan bias, but I don't remember it being this bad. Oh well.
   544. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4652655)
you just don't want to buy different light bulbs


I agree with most everything in #542, but as a side note, the newer LED lightbulbs are really great. If you assume they are terrible and will never replace the 1900 era filament bulbs you need to try those bad boys out. They are pricey still, but the light quality and everything else is really good.
   545. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4652657)
Pretty big decision regarding defamation and a Yelp review -- the case seemed to kind of work out perfectly on an individual level... the yelper - who sounds a bit unhinged - was found guilty of defamation and then the original plaintiff was ALSO found guilty of defamation in a cross-suit (he apparently authored some sort of web post about the women named in the original complaint).

I did find this interesting regarding a judicial opinion in a separate Yelp suit:

"If the reviewer was never a customer of the business, then the review is not an opinion; instead, the review is based on a false statement of fact ... And 'there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact.'
   546. Tilden Katz Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4652662)
'there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact.'


From what I remember from law school, this is not quite what the Supreme Court has said. False statements of fact can have value especially as a comparison with truthful statements.
   547. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4652663)
The Chinese government is dumping tons of money and resources into cleaning up from its own industrial revolution, just as America and western nations found themselves having to do earlier. However, they're doing it faster.


1: They had other examples which preceded them to look at.
2: Our industrial revolution screwed up the environment more gradually than theirs did- the faster you screw up the environment the quicker people take notice and start squawking.
   548. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4652674)
1: They had other examples which preceded them to look at.
2: Our industrial revolution screwed up the environment more gradually than theirs did- the faster you screw up the environment the quicker people take notice and start squawking.


And as a follow on to #1, the technology is already mostly in place, or at a minimum in early stages. During the 19th century, not so much.
   549. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4652678)
Yeah, I don't get the praise for China. They have horrific environmental issues -- far worse than the US for the most part. They have to act quickly.
   550. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4652684)
I see Zonk has doubled down on his claim that the Republicans are stealing the Democrats money. He's simply wrong. To begin with, what he claimed was "small, innocuous text" is in fact LARGE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED TEXT, soliciting contributions to "Help Defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her". Here, take a look, judge for yourself who is more accurately describing the page in question. Equally important, Zonk is seriously exaggerating the likelihood of anyone landing on the site and confusing it with Sink's official website. When you Google "Sink for Congress", "Alex Sink for Congress", or "Alex Sink 2014", the first links are her official candidate website & Wikipedia entry. Despite some media coverage, the anti-Sink Website doesn't show up on the first page of a Google search, although some news articles about the controversy do. This is much ado about nothing and not unlike the cyber-squatting Democrats have done in various campaigns. IMHO, it's more annoying than effective, but campaigns of both parties do stuff like this.

The more interesting question is who will win the seat. Democrats have some advantages. Obama carried the District by more than 8% in 2008 & almost 6% in 2012, and the Democratic candidate, Ms. Sink, is an experienced politician, having run for Governor in 2010, although she didn't live in the district before she announced her candidacy. While the District has been in GOP hands for a long time, that may be attributable to the personal popularity of Bill Young, who built up support over decades in office. The GOP candidate, David Jolly, had to use up funds in a contested primary while Sink did not, giving her an edge at the start of the race. Seems like Florida political observers are anticipating a close race, but if a first-time Republican candidate can win a District Obama carried by almost 6% in 2012, it would certainly suggest that Republicans were well-positioned for 2014. A Sink win would undermine that a bit, but not necessarily that much given the leanings of the District.
   551. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4652685)
China is terrible. China being terrible is no good reason for the US to not address pressing environmental issues.
   552. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4652687)
BTW has anyone seen any posts from Nieporent anywhere lately? I've seen some at LGM but unless he's suffered some form of organic brain injury don't think it's him, just some troll parodying him [badly].
   553. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4652689)
I see Zonk has doubled down on his claim that the Republicans are stealing the Democrats money. He's simply wrong.


And you claim to be something other than a blind partisan? You're defending a phishing site.
   554. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4652690)
I see Zonk has doubled down on his claim that the Republicans are stealing the Democrats money. He's simply wrong. To begin with, what he claimed was "small, innocuous text" is in fact LARGE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED TEXT, soliciting contributions to "Help Defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her".


Not as large as and not highlighted like the words:
Alex Sink
Congress

up above, plus the URL says contribute.sinkforcongress2014

I think it's pretty clearly intended to fool some people, but putting in enough to maintain some plausible deniability, obviously if it didn't recite somewhere that it was really an anti-Sink site they'd get into real trouble.

Edit: I mean it's pretty clearly not set up to catch the eye of people who oppose Sink, so the question is whose eye (and wallets) is it trying to reach?
   555. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4652692)
A guy in MI putting on pants doesn't undermine climate science.

Not just "a guy", a Postal Worker who endured 10 years in shorts. In Michigan. In Winter. Talk about ignoring empirical evidence. Next you'll suggest that our pal Smitty going over to pants wouldn't be a major scientific development, if not a sign of the Apocalypse.
   556. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4652694)
Not just "a guy", a Postal Worker who endured 10 years in shorts. In Michigan. In Winter. Talk about ignoring empirical evidence.


A single person in one state, reacting to weather. It's a meaningless anecdote. Absolutely meaningless. Rafeal Belliard once hit a homerun.
   557. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4652696)
Oh for ####'s sake.

"Martin said he was able to wear shorts through previous cold winters, but his tolerance for cold has gone down with age."

   558. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4652698)
It's a meaningless anecdote. Absolutely meaningless


It's a joke, even TYC is allowed to tell a joke.
   559. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4652699)
I see Sam has doubled down on missing the point, even after St. Nick put him on notice.
   560. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4652701)
BTW has anyone seen any posts from Nieporent anywhere lately? I've seen some at LGM but unless he's suffered some form of organic brain injury don't think it's him, just some troll parodying him [badly].

What do you mean? I don't see any reason to think that's not him. He's been saying the same crazy stuff for years.
   561. The Good Face Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4652705)
BTW has anyone seen any posts from Nieporent anywhere lately? I've seen some at LGM but unless he's suffered some form of organic brain injury don't think it's him, just some troll parodying him [badly].


I can't be arsed to go look at LGM... what's the (supposedly) ersatz Nieporent saying that makes you think it's not him?
   562. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4652707)
I see that you're trolling, Clappy.
   563. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4652709)
It's a joke, even TYC is allowed to tell a joke.

I bet it would sound like this.
   564. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4652714)
I see Zonk has doubled down on his claim that the Republicans are stealing the Democrats money. He's simply wrong. To begin with, what he claimed was "small, innocuous text" is in fact LARGE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED TEXT, soliciting contributions to "Help Defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her". Here, take a look, judge for yourself who is more accurately describing the page in question. Equally important, Zonk is seriously exaggerating the likelihood of anyone landing on the site and confusing it with Sink's official website. When you Google "Sink for Congress", "Alex Sink for Congress", or "Alex Sink 2014", the first links are her official candidate website & Wikipedia entry. Despite some media coverage, the anti-Sink Website doesn't show up on the first page of a Google search, although some news articles about the controversy do. This is much ado about nothing and not unlike the cyber-squatting Democrats have done in various campaigns. IMHO, it's more annoying than effective, but campaigns of both parties do stuff like this.


You're either missing the point because you don't understand some pretty basic web development concepts or you're being willfully obtuse.

A "website" is not a single, contiguous page or file. It may be a series of pages or files, or, it may be a front end UI hooked up to some sort of database to allow dynamic generation of pages (as BBTF is). There's a basic index to all of this.

The fact that the RNCC went through the trouble of creating the subdomain 'contribute.alexsinkforcongress2014' and actually building this page. Note they likewise use a markedly different picture of Alex Sink (and the other candidates to which they're doing this) than they do with the alexsinkforcongress2014.com front page (nominally, the 'landing page').

The RNCC already HAS a fully functional contributor page. There is nothing at all that architecturally prevents the 'contribute' link on the main landing from going to the RNCC contribution page -- especially when you consider that the RNCC built and owns both sites! It's extra work. Anyone doing this would KNOW it's extra work. It's inefficient -- and in fact, if you want to actually drive traffic/increase your search score FOR the main contribution page, it also makes no sense to create a bunch of disparate pages... unless you want to be deceitful.

The only purpose to create the page and actually create in your index a contribute.falsecandiate page is if you're looking to deceive.

The costs aren't enormous, of course... but hey -- per the original link, they apparently got at least ONE $250 phished donation... and until the paper ran with the story, they did exactly what such phishers do: tell the party take it up with your bank.

No one is going to the Democrat's "JollyforCongress" site and erroneously donating -- in fact, there's not even a donate link on it (to the official DCCC site or otherwise).

If you want to take the opinion that anyone stupid enough to donate money to the RNCC through this page when they legitimately thought they were donating to Alex Sink, for whatever reason (lack of web savy, carelessness, whatever).... The fact remains -- there's no other purpose, indeed, it took extra effort TO create solely for purposes of stealing money the donator did not intend or wish to send to them. It's that simple.

If you can find me a similar instance -- where a Democratic fundraising effort, internet or otherwise, basically tries to convince a Republican, even the world's stupidest Republican, to give money to the DNC, DCCC, etc -- I will absolutely dump the same scorn on such an effort, and in fact, would probably express my displeasure directly to the organization speaking as a Democrat.

You're defending deceit... it's as simple as that.
   565. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4652719)

A single person in one state, reacting to weather. It's a meaningless anecdote. Absolutely meaningless. Rafeal Belliard once hit a homerun.


While wearing pants, yet.
   566. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4652729)
the newer LED lightbulbs are really great


I have been an early adopter of LED bulbs for various lights in my house and outside. I probably have them in 1/2 of my light fixtures. They are getting better each year and less expensive, but do have a few drawbacks such as incompatibility with dimmers and some of the light quality is still inferior to the old fashioned kind. Some are also encased in part by what appears to be unnecessary outer housing, which makes it difficult to fit into some existing lamp fixtures. They are outstanding for very high ceiling locations, and especially outdoor porch, patio lighting. I first put two LED floods in on my front porch in early 2009, still going strong.
   567. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4652735)
Over the last couple or three years I've had to replace 2 LED bulbs in the 3-light ceiling fixture in my living room, or rather I've had 2 go out & haven't yet got around to replacing the 2nd one. That's sort of annoying. I can't recall if the same outlet is involved; if so, I guess the fault could be with the fixture rather than bulbs.
   568. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4652738)
You're either missing the point because you don't understand some pretty basic web development concepts or you're being willfully obtuse.

This isn't about web page design. The anti-Sink information that you said was "small innocuous text" is in fact large prominently displayed text. No one is being fooled here, which is exactly what the Democratic election law expert said.
   569. CrosbyBird Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4652750)
There's no way that a donation site for or against an obscure Congressional candidate gets that kind of traffic, although hits may have spiked in the last couple of days since it has become a Democratic talking point, but all those people are fully aware of the controversy.

I don't think it's a very big deal, but I wouldn't say that Sink is obscure. I also think you're overestimating the most careless/stupid people and how easily they are duped.

There's enough there to trick people, especially with the way they separated that second sentence (at least on my screen). If I look at that website, I see this:

ALEX SINK
CONGRESS
Make a Contribution Today to Help
Defeat Alex Sink and Candidates Like Her

Most people have already assumed they're in the right place from the URL; they're not even aware that people cybersquat and use deceptive web addresses, and they don't read carefully. It's not hard to imagine a person that sees the address and then sees "Make a Contribution to Help" failing to read any further.

I don't think it's going to fool a lot of people, but I do think that this is a type of fraudulent representation that we should be at least criticizing. That it will only work for a small (but most certainly non-zero) number of careless or stupid people means it's highly unlikely to make or break the election, but that doesn't mean it's not sleazy.
   570. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4652754)
Apparently, there is an effort to oust that jailed Massachusetts Democrat from the State Legislature:
Jailed state Rep. Carlos Henriquez pleaded to keep his job during a historic hearing in the State House today, taking to the podium to appeal to his colleagues to let him remain in office. . . . Henriquez has continued to insist he is innocent of charges he held down and punched a then-girlfriend after she wouldn’t have sex with him.

Most would resign after being convicted by a jury. As the article indicates, some prefer censure to expulsion, and the NAACP has also come out against kicking him out. However, I'd be surprised if Henriquez's colleagues would take such an anti-women stance to protect him, even in a virtually one-party state.
   571. CrosbyBird Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4652757)
I don't find encryption, proxies, DNS redirects, masking, malware, etc all that problematic because I swim in that internet ocean professionally. However, I still find it morally reprehensible for someone to outright steal from folks in such a manner, I still think when such scams are uncovered, the offenders ought to be punished harshly if legally appropriate, shamed and exposed as bad people if the law hasn't quite caught up to technology (and in many places, it hasn't).

Have you seen the recent "your friend's funeral service" email spam? I'd like to find the guy that put that out there and tear out his intestines through his nose. I think it looks very believable (especially with the copyright notice on the bottom) and I'm sure it fooled a lot of people.

Eubanks Funeral Home scam.
   572. Jack Keefe Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4652760)
Hey so this postile worker put on pants Al what of it. It is so cold in Terre Haute this week that my gf Tawny has taken to wearing a Lance of Salisbury nightie instead of sleeping in the All Together. I am going to sue the Weather Channel for Loss of Consolatium.
   573. Tilden Katz Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4652761)
Most would resign after being convicted by a jury. As the article indicates, some prefer censure to expulsion, and the NAACP has also come out against kicking him out. However, I'd be surprised if Henriquez's colleagues would take such an anti-women stance to protect him, even in a virtually one-party state.


Most would also resign after being convicted of a felony, or they would face expulsion. John Boehner did not think it was appropriate to pass judgment on Trey Radel.
   574. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4652770)
A little more context on the 2014 Senate - An Unlucky Year For Democrats:
Compared to the national two-party presidential vote margin in 2012, class 2 states [those up in 2014] are 10 percentage points more Republican on average.  Of the three classes, this is the largest skew toward the Republicans.  The average margin in class 3 states is 6.1 points more Republican than the national presidential margin; and, the average margin in class 1 states is just 1.3 points more Republican. . . . Moreover, the partisan balance across the states holding special elections in 2014 also tilts Republican.  One of the three is in Hawaii – a strongly Democratic state.  But, the other two are in states that are safely Republican – South Carolina and Oklahoma.

There are 7 Democratic Senate seats up for election in states Romney carried in 2012; the GOP needs to gain 6 seats for control.
   575. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4652778)
There are 7 Democratic Senate seats up for election in states Romney carried in 2012; the GOP needs to gain 6 seats for control.


<clap, clap, clapclapclap>
   576. Tilden Katz Posted: February 06, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4652785)
There are 7 Democratic Senate seats up for election in states Romney carried in 2012; the GOP needs to gain 6 seats for control.


The board is terrible for Democrats this year. WV and SD are lost causes, with AR starting to look that way (none of them have the minority or well-educated populations that are the heart of the Democratic party). The other four seats are, at best, toss ups for the Dems (though I think Hagan might be saved by an Akin-type candidate in NC). Luckily (for the Democrats) recruitment problems in Colorado and Iowa will cut down on the number of seats they'll have to defend. Even in a worst case scenario, MI is the only blue state they have much of a chance of losing.

Overall, if the election were being held tomorrow I'd probably say 50-50 or 49-51 in favor of the GOP.
   577. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4652803)
2014 is a terrible year for Dems in the Senate. In 2016 though, the GOP has to defend seats in states Obama won in :

FL (Rubio can't run for re-election if he runs for President)
IL (Kirk)
IA (Grassley)
NH (Ayotte)
OH (Portman)
PA (Toomey)
WI (Johnson)

Also Murkowski in AK and McCain in AZ could face conservative primary challengers that, if they lost or chose not to run, could put those states in play. And the GOP is defending seats in IN (Coats) and NC (Burr) which went for Obama in '08, but not '12. I would also put MO in play if popular governor Jay Nixon challenges Roy Blunt.

The Dems won't have ANY states to defend that didn't go to Obama in 2012. So any switch in power will likely be short lived.
   578. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4652804)
GA and KY are in play for the Democrats as well at the moment.
   579. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4652808)
GA and KY are in play for the Democrats as well at the moment.


Not in Clapper-land. In Clapper-land, all Dem in-play seats will fall and all GOP in-play seats will be held.
   580. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4652812)
So any switch in power will likely be short lived.

And unable to override a Presidential veto, so no chance of any major legislative victories.
   581. Tilden Katz Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4652817)
FL (Rubio can't run for re-election if he runs for President)
IL (Kirk)
IA (Grassley)
NH (Ayotte)
OH (Portman)
PA (Toomey)
WI (Johnson)

Also Murkowski in AK and McCain in AZ could face conservative primary challengers that, if they lost or chose not to run, could put those states in play. And the GOP is defending seats in IN (Coats) and NC (Burr) which went for Obama in '08, but not '12. I would also put MO in play if popular governor Jay Nixon challenges Roy Blunt.


I don't think Rubio is going to run, but I believe he can jump back in the Senate race if he withdraws from the Presidential race by May 1st. Rand is the one who has to worry as Kentucky's filing deadline is in January. I also believe McCain has strongly hinted at retirement, though the Democrats really don't have much of a bench there anyway.
   582. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4652819)
AR starting to look that way (none of them have the minority or well-educated populations that are the heart of the Democratic party).


That seemed wrong to me, but damn if Wikipedia doesn't show 77 percent white. Having spent only a few days in my life up there, I've never really grasped just how skin-crawlingly whitebread the northern part of the state (I'm from the extreme south) is.
   583. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4652824)
Grassley has been pretty adamant he will NOT retire, but he will be 82 for his re-election campaign. Whoever doesn't win Harkin's seat will probably go for Grassley's if he bows out.
   584. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4652838)
There's no doubt it's an extremely tough map for the Democrats in 2014... Doesn't matter what the president's popularity is. The other thing that really hurt the Dems is that virtually ALL of their tough red state draw incumbents decided to retire... Rockefeller especially hurts because he was a WV shoe-in who actually wasn't a Manchin-type DINO.

That said, Begich actually looks pretty strong in Alaska - and looks like he'll be drawing crazy Joe Miller. I wouldn't count Pryor out just yet - he's a ton better politician than whats-her-name. I was mildly hopeful early for Landrieu, but she increasingly looks dead in the water (the Katrina displacement of a lot of coastal poor has really turned Louisiana a dark shade of red). I think the Democrats will be competitive in Montana -- damn Schweitzer for sitting it out, but Walsh isn't a bad candidate.

SD is gone, I concur -- I think team blue legitimately had a shot with Herseth, but I wouldn't have run against Rounds either. Another weird thing is that two deep red states actually have both seats on the ballot (due to midterm retirements -- OK and SC)... and with potentially weak appointed incumbents, well, yaneverknow.

Despite the turf, the Republicans actually didn't have a particularly strong recruiting cycle... their big gets were in places they didn't need big gets (like SD) to win. Meanwhile, some of the favored party candidates are sweating really tough crazy guy challenges.

If I had to place a bet, I say that the Democrats hold the Senate by the very skin of their teeth... either a straight-up 50/50+Biden or 51/49.

They'll lose all the open seats, Pryor and Hagan go down -- but Begich hangs onto Alaska, and Walsh keeps Baucus' seat in MT... and just for fun, the chinless wonder from Kentucky goes down. That would be my early wager.
   585. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4652850)
Pretty much agree with #584. I think Begich is the only Dem that wins a tough seat, not sure about Walsh's chances yet.

What happened to the NC Dems? They were making some real inroads, then got slaughtered in 2010. Seems like a state that should be a step behind Virginia in trending purple.
   586. bunyon Posted: February 06, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4652859)

What happened to the NC Dems? They were making some real inroads, then got slaughtered in 2010. Seems like a state that should be a step behind Virginia in trending purple.


John Edwards, Mike Easley, Bev Perdue. Amongst others. Basically, it turned out, the NC Democrats were led by crooks and charlatans and pretty much everyone was happy McCrory was elected. Of course, that was when we thought he had balls and wouldn't completely fall over at the feet of the Tea Partiers in the state.
   587. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4652864)
Luckily (for the Democrats) recruitment problems in Colorado and Iowa will cut down on the number of seats they'll have to defend. Even in a worst case scenario, MI is the only blue state they have much of a chance of losing.

It might be a bit dicier than that. Looking at the the RCP Senate Polling list, Udall is only up 2 or 3 points in Colorado on some potential GOP challengers, and the open seat Iowa race has a similar Democratic margin against one potential GOP candidate in an older poll. The other factor is that if Obama's job approval continues to hover around 43% (or lower) the number of seats in play is likely to expand.

One commentator recently suggested that Oregon may be in play:
The incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is as big an Obamacare cheerleader as anyone and Republicans are already bludgeoning him with his own promises about the wonders of Obamacare. A GOP poll, for what its worth, released in December 2013 showed only 33 percent of voters thought he deserved reelection while 43 percent said it was time for someone new. (He won by only 3 points in 2008 while Obama carried the state by 16 points.)

Oregon is D+5 on the Partisan Voter Index, so that assessment struck me as overly optimistic, but then I saw this:
Former Republican state Rep. Patrick Sheehan told the KATU Investigators he has gone to the FBI with allegations that Cover Oregon project managers initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was.

It's a longish article that seems to suggest the allegations are worthy of investigation, and it strikes me as the type of thing that would resonate with voters, if true.
   588. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4652872)
What happened to the NC Dems? They were making some real inroads, then got slaughtered in 2010. Seems like a state that should be a step behind Virginia in trending purple.


I think it was the 2010 massacre... The GOP flipped the statehouse, that led to some really ugly (from the D perspective) redistricting, which in turn hurt the Dem bench (by basically solidifying a lot of Dems who can't win state wide, while making some of the more moderate Dems look weaker and find themselves on the outs/looking like losers). Add to that, I just don't think Hagan is that strong a candidate... I'll admit that maybe I'm a bit sexist in saying this (i.e., NC female senators are all the same), but she's looking exactly like Liddy Dole -- just a 'meh' Senator. I have lots of trouble thinking of a single issue or bill where the name Hagan rings a bell. For better or worse, I can't say that of Mary Landrieu... or even Blanche Lincoln way back when. Perhaps she's a behind-the-scenes sort of Senator, but she just has a strong whiff of vanilla moderate... Party on most things, bucking the party on a few state-specific things (tobacco being a big one).

EDIT: Yeah, I'll also agree with Bunyon... the Dems had some pretty big, high profile statewide flameouts.
   589. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4652885)
What happened to the NC Dems? They were making some real inroads, then got slaughtered in 2010. Seems like a state that should be a step behind Virginia in trending purple.

I think it was the 2010 massacre...

Fascinating, TYC pugs away, plugs away, takes some abuse, and plugs away some more... and

has not only shifted the entire thread away from topics he's bored by, but has the topic he wants front and center- and is getting his preferred narrative validated by others. I think he gets a multi-post Primey for that
   590. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4652900)
Well, I suppose I should be flattered by #589, but what is so unusual about a politics thread (even on a baseball website) discussing the current election?
   591. bunyon Posted: February 06, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4652901)
Hagan is plenty meh. But she is also, for some reason I've not cottoned on to, closely identified in NC with Obamacare. And it's not popular here. So she has that.

I think it very unlikely she holds her seat but youneverknow.

I don't think NC Democratic failure is mirrored nationwide. The state is traditionally Democratic but not of a national, or liberal, Democratic vein. Jesse Helms, after all, held office and was very popular for decades. It's really a Tea Party paradise. At the state level, Democrats have won. But only by being what folks in most other states would call Republicans.
   592. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 06, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4652920)
   593. spike Posted: February 06, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4652927)
It will be beyond hysterical if the success of Kynect hurts him enough to tip the race.
   594. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4652929)
McConnell's net approval is worse than Obama's.
   595. OCF Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4652950)
Of course, some of the dissatisfaction with McConnell is coming from the right, and those people are likely to "come home" in a general election. But we'll see about what spike said in #593.
   596. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4652952)
Is there a recent poll that has any good news for McConnell? I think this is the 3rd one to show him trailing - and they're all inching closer to getting outside the MOE.

Today's UI extension failing in the Senate isn't going to help... Plus - Boehner's most recent limp failure on immigration can now be contrasted with the fact that the Senate DID pass an immigration bill.... and he's still got a primary to win!

Polling 9 months out is still this pretty useless, but what exactly is McConnell going to do to turn his numbers around? There's nothing he can do legislatively to tout. He's already emptying his warchest trying to bury his primary challenger. Grimes is running a very good campaign.

Heh, last week, there was an even a Democratic politico whose name I forget that said publicly, with attribution "beating McConnell will be easier than (whatever his TP opponent's name is)".... and it's hard to be sure if that's the truth or clever positioning.

Oh well, luckily for McConnell he can probably get himself a cushy job in the cosmetic chin replacement industry.
   597. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4652957)
Of course, some of the dissatisfaction with McConnell is coming from the right, and those people are likely to "come home" in a general election. But we'll see about what spike said in #593.


We'll see... but rather than the 'What's the Matter with Kansas' view of the populace, I tend to take more of the Studs Terkel view of the population -- “I've always felt, in all my books, that there's a deep decency in the American people and a native intelligence -- providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.”

The people of Kentucky have the facts - they're seeing 'Obamacare' work right before their eyes.... and then, perhaps they start to wonder what else he's been lying about.
   598. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4652967)
Those looking to book their January, 2017 hotel rooms for Hilary Clinton's Inauguration may want to hold off a bit. In a poll I find a bit surprising, Clinton trails both Paul Ryan & Rand Paul in Colorado 48-43 & 47-43, respectively. Not that you can't win the Presidency without Colorado, but it has been a swing state bellwether of late. Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State and relatively low-key retirement has kept her out of many of the recent political hot-button issues and controversies, so she had a bit of "generic candidate" glow, while also benefiting from a name recognition advantage, although this poll doesn't seem to reflect that.
   599. OCF Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4652971)
... according to such and such a poll ...

Man, waiting for Nate Silver's re-launch seems like it's taking forever. And Sam Wang hasn't posted anything in a long time, either.
   600. zonk Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4652977)
Man, waiting for Nate Silver's re-launch seems like it's taking forever. And Sam Wang hasn't posted anything in a long time, either.


I'm trying to remember... Did Nate even bother cooking this far out? Most of the polls now aren't even matchups - they're still hypotheticals... plenty still have primaries. Polling 9 months out isn't really going to tell us much except which incumbents are really in the crapper... and we didn't really need them to tell us that Landrieu, Pryor, and Hagan would face uphill climbs. The McConnell numbers are really the only eyebrow raiser I see - given the GOP isn't exactly anyone's favorite problem solver, you'd expect the faces of the leadership to suffer, but McConnell seems especially in trouble.

Reid had similar numbers, but he pretty awesomely maneuvered himself into getting a walking disaster of a nutjob to run against. Reid likewise has quite a machine in Nevada... I'm nowhere near versed enough in Kentucky politics to know if McConnell has the machinery in-house to compete when it comes to ground games, though, I imagine the relative hues of the states electorates negate any harm if he doesn't.

Like you said, maybe they just come to the GOP... but will they? I mean, Obama's not on the ballot - McConnell is and Kentucky seems to have had their fill of him. Obama's numbers may or may not rebound based on any number of factors... but what circumstance could conceivably cause McConnell's numbers to rise?
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