Wednesday News

news montage

Good Morning!!

I’m still excited by the demise of Eric Cantor’s last night. Suddenly it feels as if there’s hope the GOP will finally give up the ghost and either return to something approaching the political center or else go the way of the dodo bird. I’m going to get you started with some headlines, because I haven’t heard anything from JJ. I hope all is well in Banjoville.

Here are a few headlines on the Eric Cantor loss–many writers are referring to it in earthquake terms.

From CNN: Cantor ‘earthquake’ rattles Capitol Hill

In a year when mainstream Republicans have mostly bested tea party-backed challengers, a little-known and little-funded tea party challenger in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District pulled the upset of the year, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by 10 percentage points.

The victory by economics professor Dave Brat gives the tea party an instant jolt of energy, sends shock waves through Capitol Hill, shakes up the GOP House hierarchy — as Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker — and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform passing through the House any time soon.

“I think this is a scale eight earthquake. I think it will shock the Washington establishment; it will shock the House Republicans,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

In a year when mainstream Republicans have mostly bested tea party-backed challengers, a little-known and little-funded tea party challenger in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District pulled the upset of the year, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by 10 percentage points.

The victory by economics professor Dave Brat gives the tea party an instant jolt of energy, sends shock waves through Capitol Hill, shakes up the GOP House hierarchy — as Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker — and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform passing through the House any time soon.

“I think this is a scale eight earthquake. I think it will shock the Washington establishment; it will shock the House Republicans,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

Chris Cillizza: The seismic political consequences of Eric Cantor’s stunning loss.

The defeat of the second-ranking Republican in the House by an ill-funded, little-known tea party-backed candidate ranks as the biggest congressional upset in modern memory and will immediately generate a series of political and policy-related shock waves in Washington and the Richmond-area 7th District.

“People don’t know how to respond because it’s never been contemplated,” said one Virginia Republican strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly about Cantor’s loss. (Worth noting: Cantor didn’t just lose. He got walloped; David Brat, his challenger, won 56 percent to 44 percent.)

In conversations with a handful of GOP operatives in the aftermath of Cantor’s loss —  a loss blamed largely on an inept campaign consulting team that misread the level of vitriol directed at the candidate due to his place in Republican leadership and the perception he supported so-called “amnesty” for illegal immigrants — there were several common threads about what it means for politics inside and outside the House.

Read Cillizza’s take on the reasons at the link.

Ben Jacobs at The Daily Beast: How Eric Cantor Sabotaged Himself.

The shock defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by college professor Dave Brat is the type of upset that audiences wouldn’t believe in a Disney movie. Perhaps the most cinematic twist is that, at least in part, Cantor did this to himself. A toxic mix of ignoring grassroots Republicans in his district and becoming a lightning rod on the controversial issue of immigration reform meant that a future Speaker of the House became a former congressman Tuesday night.

Cantor, the second most senior Republican in the House of Representatives, lost his primary Tuesday night to the largely unknown Tea Party candidate, who ran on an anti-immigration platform by a margin of 56-44.

Despite Cantor’s reputation as a strident partisan conservative nationally, his support for some form of immigration reform and ties to his party’s pro-business wing made him persona non grata among Tea Partiers and immigration hawks. Yet, his race never made it on the radar for most groups. While talk show host Laura Ingraham vocally condemned Cantor and Daily Caller writer Mickey Kaus beat the drum for Brat, few others on the right viewed the race as even potentially winnable.

The Boston Globe called attention to a map of the 74 (that’s right, 74!) school shootings that have taken place since Newtown. The map was designed by Gongloff.


Map shootings

That comes to 1.37 school shootings per school week! And that’s not counting the many other mass shootings that we’ve had and who knows how many accidental shootings of children. Isn’t it high time we did something about this bloodbath? More from the Globe:

Your gut feeling is right: School shootings have skyrocketed in recent years. In January 2013, the Ploychart blog tracked the number of American school shootings since 1979, using data from Jessie Klein’s book “The Bully Society.” Starting with three confirmed shootings in 1979, the number of shootings per year slowly swell, jumping to the upper single-digits in the late 80s and through the 90s.

The shootings actually dipped at the start of the new millennium, but skyrocketed in 2006. What was once the high-water mark for shootings in a year–nine–became the floor. In 2009, there were 18 school shootings. There were 16 in 2010 and eight in 2011.

Stein’s data ends in 2011. Everytown tracked 37 for 2013 and 37 so far in 2014. The Everytrown and Stein data sets don’t follow the same methodology, so they should not be viewed as one piece (meaning don’t just add the Everytown data to the end of the Stein data). Still, the trend is undeniably going in the wrong direction.

The way humans act sometimes, it kind of makes you wonder if we are really the smartest animals on Earth. Now check this out from C/NET: Chimps outsmart humans at simple strategy game.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found that chimpanzees at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute are consistently better at humans when playing simple competitive games.

In one game, called the Inspection Game, chimps and humans played a variation on hide-and-seek. In pairs of their own species (humans and chimps did not directly compete with each other for the study), the players sit back-to-back, each with a computer screen in front of them. After pushing a circle on the screen, they have to choose one of two boxes, right or left. They are then shown their opponent’s selection.

Each player has a different role. The “mismatchers” have to choose the opposite of their opponent’s selection, while the “matchers” have to choose the same as their opponent’s selection. Each game lasted 200 rounds, and players that “won” a round were given a reward. In order to consistently win, players had to be able to anticipate their opponent’s choices.

In game theory, there is a concept known as the Nash equilibrium. This means the balance that can be achieved when each player knows their opponent’s strategies, but has nothing to gain by changing their own strategy. The 16 Japanese students participating in the study performed as expected: slow to learn their opponents’ strategies, and not reaching the Nash equilibrium.

The six chimpanzees, however, learned the game and their opponents’ moves rapidly, very nearly reaching the Nash equilibrium, even when the researchers swapped the chimps’ roles and introduced higher rewards for specific choices. As the game changed, the chimps changed their strategies accordingly.

We’ve had an epidemic of school bus accidents lately, and there was a terrible on in Connecticut yesterday. From The Boston Globe: Crash of 2 School Buses Sends 20 Kids to Hospital.

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) — More than two dozen people were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries after a five-vehicle chain-reaction crash in Torrington involving two school buses and three other vehicles.

Police said a woman in one of the cars was flown to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries. Her condition wasn’t immediately released.

Police said a pickup truck ran into the back of the woman’s Jeep SUV at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, pushing it into the rear of a small school bus. The smaller bus then rear-ended the larger bus, and a third car also was struck.

Tim Lebouthiller, a spokesman for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, said the 20 children on the buses were treated and released. He said seven adults were brought to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and most had been evaluated and released by mid-evening Tuesday.

What else is happening? I look forward to reading your thoughts and clicking on your links in the comment thread.

43 Comments on “Wednesday News”

  1. Fannie says:

    Good morning, off to the garden, and will be back for further reading. Hope to get my copy of Hard Choices today.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Let us know about the book!

      • Fannie says:

        It came rather late. I always write notes in my books, and add stick ’ems so I can go back and re-read.

        Anyone else reading it?

        • Beata says:

          I am on the book’s waitlist at the library. They have multiple copies but there are over 50 people ahead of me. I hope they are quick readers!

  2. Sorry, I just got up now. Thank you BB for putting this up. I appreciate it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      No problem. I was just worried about you. How are things going with Denny, etc.?

      • It has been a crazy summer so far. Today is just nuts. I will get an evening post up…after dinner sometime. I got my Hard Choices in the mail yesterday…btw…

        • bostonboomer says:

          I was going to buy the Kindle version, but it’s pretty expensive.

          • I wanted the book so I could write in it…and stuff. The pictures are in color and that alone is worth it.

            One thing I noticed though. There are two pages of pictures related to Stephens…His swearing in…and such. I wonder if these would have been there if the GOP would not be on there Benghazi witchhunt. I don’t know, it just felt…like there was a overwhelming need to address this thing yet again…over do it though. I know I am not making much sense with my words today. Sorry. Anyone else get what I am trying to say?

        • Fannie says:

          Alright, maybe we can share our thoughts.

  3. janicen says:

    I’ve read some comments that people (including Cantor’s staff) are speculating that it was Democrat crossovers who voted in the Republican primary who cost Cantor his primary. That’s nonsense. There is no push to crossover in the Democratic camp. In fact, it’s frowned upon at least in the circles I frequent and I’m about as grassroots as it gets around here. Cantor’s loss was simply a case of complacency on the part of his campaign staff and the voters. Nobody thought this could happen. Cantor spent a boatload on TV ads, but there was no ground game. No canvassers, very few yard signs, very few personal appearances by the candidate, and just two pre-recorded phone messages. If Terry McAuliffe proved one thing he proved that the ground game wins elections in Virginia.

    • Beata says:

      Let’s face it. Cantor just isn’t likable enough!

      I really hope Jack Trammell, the Democrat in the race, has a chance in November. I love the fact that he is an expert on disability issues. We need someone like him in Congress.

      • janicen says:

        That would be nice but this district has been gerrymandered to protect the Republican from defeat. It bit them in the butt because they thought they were protecting their guy from an attack from the left and they did such a thorough job of gerrymandering that they got beaten from the right. We will certainly give it all we’ve got, but it’s highly unlikely.

      • janicen says:

        I’m glad to know about the fact that he is an expert on disability issues. I went to an optometry office a month or two ago and the access for the disabled was terrible! I was having a particularly bad arthritis day so I needed disabled access and I could not believe how bad it was. There was no disabled parking or access at the front entrance. The offices were on the second floor and the only way in was a long flight of concrete stairs. The disabled parking in the back of the building was OUTSIDE of the parking garage so you had to park your car and go across the road entrance in the parking garage in order to get to the elevator. Who got to park right next to the elevator? You guessed it, reserved parking for physicians! Once you rode the elevator up, you were not in the retail part of the building. You had to wind your way through cubicles and narrow pathways and walk all the way to the front of the building where the retail part was. I was shocked and complained to everyone I saw. The standard answer was “I know, it’s really bad” but the corker answer came from some maintenance guy who explained that they couldn’t have the disabled park in the garage because most of them are elderly and they aren’t very good drivers so they might bump into other cars in the garage. But, he said, “You could always have someone drive you and drop you off…” I replied, “That’s not access…” and he snidely responded “Well, good thing this building was built before the ADA act…” I was so angry and in so much pain that I just kept limping away and didn’t respond.

        Now I know that there is at least someone in this state who might give a crap about the issue.

    • Beata says:

      Janice, thank you for your personal knowledge about Cantor and the district. It’s so valuable to have someone like you to report on what is actually happening there.

      • Fannie says:

        Ditto that Janice, appreciate your input, and am sorry you had suffer more than should be at the doctors.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Cantor is stepping down as majority leader. I wonder who will replace him?

    • janicen says:

      That will be interesting to see. Funny story, my daughter is doing a journalism internship with an organization which blogs about and lobbies for legislation to combat global poverty. They had asked her to see if she could get some face time with Cantor since she lives in his district. They emailed her today and said, “Uh, don’t bother…” LOL!

  5. RalphB says:

    For liars, facts can be stubborn things.

    WaPo: Brat didn’t go to Princeton Univ.

    Economics professor and political giant killer David Brat appears to have done a little biographical inflation on his campaign website.

    One of his “About Dave” selling points: “that he tested his rural values against the intellectual elite while at Princeton.”

    But Brat never attended Princeton University, home to just the type of elites – we’re looking at you, Paul Krugman – some conservatives love to bash. “We have no record under that name,” said Princeton University spokesman Martin Mbugua.

    Alas, Brat’s full 17-page CV lays out the facts: His Master of Divinity, Brat writes, came from Princeton Theological Seminary – a well-regarded institution, but far from the hotbed of Krugman-like liberal excess some conservatives may have imagined. …

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I heard today on Progressive Talk radio that Brat is an Ayn Randian and a huge opponent of immigration reform. OMG, not another one of those numbnuts!!!!! No matter how big of a victory the TP’ers consider this, if this trend continues the GOP is doomed. Who thought that these gerrymandered districts in red and purple states would insulate the TeaParty in such a way that they would be able to destroy the GOP from within? If the GOP doesn’t take control of this problem soon it will implode leaving only these “Don’t tread on me” wingnuts.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      He lied on his Bio? Whodathunkit????

    • Beata says:

      Can’t wait to see what other sh*t comes out about Brat. I bet he’s hiding a ton of it.

    • Fannie says:

      Well, well, maybe he visited Princetion University.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    The loss by Cantor gave me great pleasure but I agree with Janicen that Dem crossover had nothing to do with it. Only 12% of registered voters even voted in the race so it seems highly unlikely that crossovers turned the race. It looks to me that Cantor became over confident and spent more time courting the movers and shakers than courting the base. In turn they kicked his ass. It also looks like Brat will be a tough pill to swallow for the more moderate GOP’ers while a Dem challenger isn’t likely to win, they might, at least, make a decent show of if.

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    Brat’s win came from Heaven?

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    And Louie Gohmert, the pride of TX, basically says, you either believe in Jesus or you go to HELL!

    Go to Hell Louie!!!!!!!

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Chait:

    Eric Cantor’s Shocking, Richly Deserved Primary Defeat

  10. RalphB says:

    This is a very good read. For the first time, I feel I may know more about this young man.

    WaPo: Bergdahl’s writings reveal a fragile young man

    • Fannie says:

      I read this, and see the blackness he speaks of……….and sees it over and over, and over in his mind, isn’t that the way of war/blackness/death. He was fearful alright.

      You know Ralph, I am not so sure of her reasons to release it now. She should have waited, until he came back to the states.

    • Fannie says:

      Talk about piss off. They pulled this bullshit with Hillary. Good for Hagel, I stand with him any day of the week.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Oh. My. God.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Because if you oppose NSA, everything else is forgiven, including racism, misogyny, lying on your resume, and extreme stupidity.

      • RalphB says:

        I don’t really see why it’s bad news for the NSA. Seems an open question to me.

  12. RalphB says:

    As usual, TBogg’s take is just precious 🙂

    Raw Story: All things considered, Eric Cantor probably lost because he’s a dick

  13. RalphB says:

    A woman in Florida named Crystal Metheney was arrested and charged with charged with firing a missile into a car.