Well, the horror nightmare that is Dish network is still ongoing. Ugh…this hell, will it ever stop?
On with the show…
This is an open thread.
Good Morning from One excited Hillary Clinton Fan!!
I’ve got my Saturday all planned around the Senator Mary Landrieu event! I’m canvassing in my neighborhood in the morning, then headed out for Moms Grams for Mary which includes new Grandmother Hillary Clinton as the special guest and featured speaker.
The Landrieu campaign said Clinton will speak about women in the workforce, particularly how to get more women into science, technology and mathematics fields. Clinton is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race.
I’m going to follow up some of BB’s comments yesterday with some news on the ground. I spent most of the evening phone banking for Mary and talking to some really enthusiastic women of color and men that are all for her re-election. I think that the the turn out of minorities may actually be pretty good this year because the obvious, ugly racism is igniting some really huge fires. The ugly, misogyny is also heating some fires under women. I’m just hoping the Latino vote has the same degree of fire! Still, many polls show a Republican take over. Do polls undercount Dem supporters?
A couple of elections in which polls tilt slightly Republican aren’t enough to prove anything. The polls have erred before, only to prove fine over the longer term.
But the reasons to think that today’s polls underestimate Democrats are not based on just the last few years of results. They are also based on a fairly diverse set of methodological arguments, supported by extensive research, suggesting that many of today’s polls struggle to reach Democratic-leaning groups.
Supporters of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada shortly before the 2010 election, which he won by six points despite a series of polls showing him behind. Nevada is a particularly difficult place for pollsters. Credit Isaac Brekken for The New York Times
“The problems that we’re having with getting representative samples tend to lead us toward people who tend not to be Democrats,” said Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. The most highly regarded pollsters, like those at Pew, have made many adjustments to compensate. But other polls, including many of those informing polling averages and Senate forecasting models, are not nearly as high in quality. Another highly regarded pollster, who requested anonymity, put it more bluntly, calling the new challenges “scary.” Many pollsters are reluctant to say things on the record that might undermine confidence in their own polling; others are unwilling to say anything at all, even to offer basic methodological information.
There are reasons to question whether the problems will be as acute this year, because many of the young and nonwhite voters who pose the biggest challenges to pollsters will most likely stay home in a midterm election. Even if the polls are again biased toward Republicans this year, there are reasons to doubt whether Democrats will retain control of the Senate. The Republicans might have a large enough advantage to withstand another round of modest polling errors.
But the larger concerns will remain, and they might be more significant in 2016 — when younger and nonwhite people are expected to vote in larger numbers.
No race illustrates the issue better than the Nevada Senate race in 2010. Senator Harry Reid easily won re-election, by 6 points, after trailing in every nonpartisan poll conducted over the final few weeks of the race. It was one of the biggest general-election upsets in recent memory, but it is perhaps less surprising when viewed in light of polling’s challenges today.
Nevada can be a nightmare for pollsters. It has the country’s third-most urbanized population; the fastest rate of population growth between 2000 and 2010; and the second-fastest growth in the nonwhite share of eligible voters. Hispanics represent 17 percent of eligible voters — the sixth-largest share in the country. All of these circumstances present problems for pollsters.
Perhaps as a result, the polls have underestimated Democrats in every competitive statewide contest since 2004. It is a microcosm of the polling challenges across the country.
Many of the difficulties stem from the declining response rate to telephone surveys. The share of households responding to telephone surveys plummeted to 9 percent in 2012, from 36 percent in 1997, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Young, nonwhite and urban voters can be hardest for pollsters to reach.
In a different era, the varying response rates among these demographic groups would not have mattered so much. In the past, the young did not vote so very differently from the old, nor the rural from the urban; divisions were more likely to be along religious or regional lines. Nonwhite voters were a sliver of the electorate.
But today, Democrats predominate in large metropolitan areas and among younger people; Republicans dominate the countryside and the older. Nonwhite voters represent a far larger share of the electorate, and the Democratic coalition, than even a decade ago.
To compensate, most polls sponsored by the news media weight their sample to match the demographic composition of the adult population. Specifically, some pollsters weight their samples to a long list of census targets, like race, age, gender, education, region, household size, telephone use and population density.
But many of the less rigorous polls do not weight to all of these targets, and not correcting for one can potentially bias a survey.
Most of this year’s state polls, for instance, do not weight their sample by population density. Some weight their sample to make sure that voters from broad geographic regions are properly represented, but even within those regions, respondents might be less likely to be urban. In Nevada, some pollsters use “Clark County” as a region, which includes the city of Las Vegas, its surrounding suburbs and thousands of square miles of desert occasionally punctuated by a small town. Population density, Mr. Keeter said, could be a “killer” to any poll that doesn’t compensate for it.
Even when pollsters do try to use the right weights, it may not be enough.
One problem is that the targets for weighting lag behind demographic change. Most polls sponsored by the news media weight their samples using products from the Census Bureau, like the decennial census or the American Community Survey. The catch is that many of these are a few years out of date. As a result, polls are typically weighted to reflect the slightly whiter America of a few years ago, rather than the America of today.
Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu said Thursday that the issue of race is a major reason that President Barack Obama has struggled politically in Southern states.
“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu told NBC News in an interview. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
Noting that the South is “more of a conservative place,” she added that women have also faced challenges in “presenting ourselves.”
The comment prompted a fiery response from Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called it “remarkably divisive.”
“She appears to be living in a different century,” he said in a statement. “Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity. That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it.”
Really. Does Bobby Jindal really think that the reason he feels the need to lighten his skin in portraits, changes his given name and his religion to something more “American” sounding, just something he felt like doing? Louisiana Bloogger Lamar White reminds our Governor of some few facts:
Mary Landrieu says, “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” and the rightwing goes apoplectic. Bobby Jindal accuses her of being “remarkably divisive.”
Here’s a quick recap:
1. 250 years of slavery
2. The Civil War
3. White-only primaries
4. Jim Crow laws
6. Anti-miscegenation laws
7. The Ku Klux Klan
8. David Duke
9. Generations of codified employment, educational, and housing discrimination
Louisiana hasn’t elected an African-American to a statewide office since Reconstruction, even though they comprise more than a third of the population.
Louisiana is the prison capital of the world, and the overwhelming majority of our prison population is African-American. There are 5400 inmates in Orleans Parish; 400 of them are white.
It astounds me that a politician can’t even say that “the South hasn’t always been the friendliest place for African-Americans” or make the suggestion that maybe, just maybe this is one of the reasons the nation’s first African-American President has never been popular without Republicans acting as if she’s calling every white person a racist.
We really need to grow up. We need to be honest about our history and honest about the enduring ugliness of racism.
Twenty years ago, the leading Republican candidate for Louisiana Governor was the former Grand Wizard of the KKK. The past is sometimes more present than you think.
“Sometimes I do vote against the president — contrary to what these two say — because I do whatever it takes to deliver for the people of Louisiana,” Landrieu said.
Meanwhile, Cassidy connected nearly every major issue facing the nation to the the president’s Affordable Care Act, trying to sell to voters that Landrieu is as much to blame for the direction of the country as Obama.
He blamed the ACA for killing jobs and hurting the economy. If a government agency is struggling financially, Cassidy said it’s because Obama and Landrieu took money from them to pay for the health care reform.
“Is six more years of the same policy going to bring [people] to a better life? If you think so, vote for Sen. Landrieu. If you want a senator that’s going to stand up to Barack Obama and not vote with him 97 percent of the time…vote Bill Cassidy,” Cassidy said.
Maness also hammered away at Landrieu — and to a much lesser extent Cassidy — as he touted his position as the conservative, anti-Washington insider.
As a retired colonel, he leaned heavily on his military experience in the Air Force while calling for change in Washington, a tighter grip on the treasury’s purse strings and “ripping out Obamacare by the roots.”
“What these two represent is hyper partisanism,” Maness said.
Landrieu argued she was the better choice to represent groups like women, students and the elderly. She criticized Cassidy for not supporting her efforts to reduce student loan debt and for wanting to raise the retirement age to 70.
“You expect them to work their whole life, pay into a system and get nothing back? I will never vote for a raise in the age,” Landrieu said.
Cassidy said his plan wouldn’t have an immediate impact on people approaching retirement while solving a Social Security program headed for bankruptcy.
“The difference between us is her way doesn’t work. The actuaries say it doesn’t work,” Cassidy said.
Maness wouldn’t give a solution. Instead he called for people to work together and search for an acceptable solution that both sides can live with.
Old controversies also surfaced during the debate. For Landrieu, it was her campaign charter flights paid for with Senate funds. For Cassidy, it was his refusal to debate in all of the scheduled debates.
Landrieu said she returned the money to the treasury and took responsibility for her mistake. Cassidy said he didn’t need five debates to remind people Landrieu voted for the ACA.
The candidates also discussed border security. Landrieu talked about her efforts to beef up the number of security officers and provide extra funding for a smart fence and the Coast Guard. Cassidy and Maness said the border might not ever be secured as long as Obama and Democrats controlled the Senate.
Cassidy and Maness also used Ebola as another example of where the president — and in their minds Landrieu — had failed to protect the nation. Landrieu said she supports a 21-day quarantine, which is contrary to the president’s position.
They also discussed the Islamic militant group ISIS. Landrieu said she supports airstrikes and is open to boots on the ground, but is hesitant to use foot soldiers. Cassidy and Maness said the president has failed in handling the situation. Maness criticized both for not returning to Washington to authorize a strategy.
Yes, despite the fact we are a major resource for medical research on tropical and highly communicative diseases, no republican politician is leaving the Ebola panic stone unturned. Bobby Jindal–supposed health policy authority–has joined the hysteria in call for doctors who are experts in the field to ignore the premier infectious, Tropical diseases to not come to their major conference in New Orleans if they’ve been any where near any of the Ebola-infected nations. Is this even legal?
The Jindal administration is telling scientists and medical experts who have recently dealt with the Ebola virus to stay away from a national conference that starts Sunday in New Orleans.
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is staging the conference for more than 3,500 people from nearly 100 countries, is urging compliance by its members but criticizing the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
“While the state of Louisiana’s policies are outside of the scientific understanding of Ebola transmission — and acknowledged by the state health officials’ own admission, we recognize that the state has determined its policy in this matter. ASTMH does not agree with the policy,” the society said. “These heroes are serving the global good by working in West Africa to end this outbreak and prevent additional death and suffering. The society firmly believes that policies that hinder the work of health care workers are ineffective and counterproductive.”
The group’s leadership volunteered to reimburse the registration fees of members who stay away.
State officials sent a letter to members of the society “disinviting” those who have been to the West African countries impacted by the deadly virus in the last three weeks or who have treated any patients on American soil. The state public health advisory bans people who have traveled to one of the Ebola-stricken countries or cared for people with the virus in the past 21 days from using public transportation or joining large groups. “That’s what the Department of Health and Hospitals felt is the best way to protect our citizens,” state Medical Director Dr. Jimmy Guidry said.
The public health advisory is the latest in Jindal administration edicts taken in the wake of the first U.S. death from Ebola — a Liberian national who died at a Dallas hospital.
Guidry said there is no way to know who and how many of the conference registrants fit the banned-from-attendance list. “The organization could not give us that information,” he said.
He said the state is trusting the medical professionals, many of whom specialize in infectious diseases, to do the right thing because “they know the risk.”
“I’m telling them the best thing is to come after 21 days to avoid this many people getting together with folks exposed,” Guidry said.
The incubation period from Ebola infection to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
First symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to the World Health Organization.
The 63rd annual meeting begins Sunday with an opening address by the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, and continues through Thursday. The group’s website describes it as “the premier forum for exchange of scientific advances in tropical medicine and global health.”
An email letter from society leadership to conference registrants notes that the state mandate exceeds recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for “low asymptomatic individuals” who have recently been in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“We regret that some of our attendees may be affected by the state’s travel advisory, and we request your cooperation with the policy,” they wrote, adding that states have legal rights and responsibilities to set their own public health policy “to meet perceived local public health needs and concerns.”
Ebola is considered a tropical disease because it thrives in warm and wet conditions. Some of the conference registrants are Ebola specialists, and two symposiums are scheduled on the subject.
I am so freaking embarrassed to be represented by such morons as a citizen of Louisiana. Elected Republicans are a freaking menace to civilization! This is the man that said they should not be “the party of stupid”? It seems he’s leading the pack of them!
But Jindal, eyeing a 2016 bid for president, has completely abandoned his anti-”stupid party” crusade, desperately doing all he can to burnish his Know-Nothing credentials.
Some of the latest evidence emerged Wednesday, when his administration issued a letter asking Ebola researchers who had recently traveled to afflicted west Africans not to attend an upcoming conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans. Experts have condemned such sweeping bans as not based in science, noting additionally that travel bans and other restrictive measures targeting health workers and researchers may well discourage other professionals from traveling to Ebola-stricken countries. But Republicans, happy to demagogue the Ebola issue ahead of the forthcoming midterms, have little interest in the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and public health advocates. And Jindal is happy to join in.
The same day Jindal’s administration told Ebola researchers to keep away, the governor was in Kentucky, rallying support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The same guy who lamented that his party was “simply being the anti-Obama party” tore into the president with an ad hominem attack, impugning Obama’s intelligence and suggesting that he should recoup his tuition fees from Harvard.
“There’s actually one lawsuit I’m happy to endorse. You see we have gotten so used to saying we have a constitutional scholar in the White House, we’ve gotten so used to saying we have a smart man as president. But I’m beginning to wonder if that’s really true,” Jindal said.
“I’m beginning to wonder what did he really learn in three years at Harvard Law School,” he continued. “The lawsuit I’m willing to endorse? I think he should sue Harvard Law School to get his tuition money back. I don’t think he learned a darned thing while he was there.”
Perhaps Jindal should team up with conservative carnival barker Donald Trump and demand that the president release his academic transcripts.
Jindal’s latest forays into right-wing rhetorical red meat come on the heels of other public statements that put the lie to his self-fancied image as the GOP’s ideas man. He was among the first conservatives to rush to the defense of homophobic “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, alleging Robertson’s critics were engaged in a “war on religion” and suggesting that pushback against anti-gay remarks somehow threatened free speech. Meanwhile, the Brown University biology major and Rhodes Scholar won’t say if he accepts the theory of evolution or climate science, putting him to the right of the pope on those issues.
So Bobby Jindal, recognizing that thought and ideas are anathema to the contemporary GOP base, no longer has any interest in eradicating the stupid from the stupid party. Instead, he’s angling to become its leader — once he’s gained a little more weight.
I will try to get some pictures Saturday and maybe some “live” blog comments of Hilary’s Speech for Mary. Meanwhile GOTV for sanity!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Tomorrow is Halloween, but the real horror will probably come next Tuesday when Republicans are predicted to take control of the Senate.
What will happen after that? Will they actually accomplish something, or will they just keep blocking everything President Obama tries to do? Even more horrifying, we may not know the makeup of the Senate for sure until next year, because two close races–in Georgia and Louisiana–will likely end up in runoffs.
Steven Brill at Reuters: Why Election Day won’t hold the answer to who will control the Senate for the next two years.
I’m not only thinking about the possibility that two close races — in Louisiana and Georgia — could end up requiring runoffs. If candidates do not get more than 50 percent of the vote because fringe opponents siphon off votes from the pair running neck and neck, Louisiana’s runoff would be in December and Georgia’s not until Jan. 6, 2015.
The uncertainty that’s more intriguing is that even after those runoffs, if they happen, there might be three independent senators who could swing the majority to one party or the other.
One, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, is a staunch liberal who will certainly cast his lot with the Democrats, as he has in the past. But Maine independent Angus King has not said for sure that he will continue to caucus with Democrats. And Kansas’s Greg Orman, an independent businessman who is locked in a tight race with incumbent Republican Pat Roberts, has steadfastly refused to say which party he would vote with.
Another longer-shot wild card is former Senator Larry Pressler of South Dakota. He is also running has an independent, but his rise in the polls has subsided recently.
One can only imagine what Orman and King will be promised by both sides if one or both become swing votes. Beyond that, there is a Democratic senator in a red state (John Tester in Montana) and even one or two moderate Republicans in a blue state and a swing state (Mark Kirk in Illinois and Susan Collins in Maine) who might be persuaded to flip.
But most of the so-called experts are predicting we’ll ultimately be stuck with a Republican-controlled Congress. Larry Sabato, Kyle Londik, and Geoffrey Skelley write at Politico: Bet on a GOP Senate.
While many races remain close, it’s just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber.
Generally speaking, candidates who have leads of three points or more in polling averages are in solid shape to win, but in this election five states—Republican-held Georgia and Kansas, and Democratic-held Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina—feature a Senate race where both of the two major polling averages (RealClearPolitics and HuffPost Pollster) show the leading candidate with an edge of smaller than three points.What makes the Democrats’ situation so precarious is that Republicans have polling leads of more than three points in five other states, all of which are currently held by Democrats: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Two others, Democratic-held Alaska and Colorado, show Republicans leading in both averages, but by more than three points in just one. (These averages are as of the afternoon of Oct. 29.)
Read it and weep folks. On the other hand, Tarini Parti, also at Politico, points out that this is “[t]he most wide-open Senate election in a decade.”
It’s the largest and most wide-open Senate battlefield in more than a decade: ten races, all neck-and-neck affairs headed into the final days of the campaign.
And it’s not only that there are more competitive races this time around; it’s how close they are that has made the 2014 midterms different from previous cycles. The 10 close contests this year are all separated by 5 points or less, according to RealClearPolitics polling averages as of Tuesday….
Republicans have an edge in more than half of the competitive races, based on RCP averages, and are favored to gain control of the Senate. But many races across the country remain too close — with more contests coming down to the wire than in recent election cycles.
Based on interviews with a dozen operatives on both sides of the state of play, some of these tight races do lean toward one party or the other. Republicans — who need a net gain of six seats to win control of the chamber — are perhaps most confident about their chances in Arkansas, largely dismiss any trouble in Kentucky and remain somewhat nervous about Kansas. After a brief moment of panic in South Dakota, the state, along with West Virginia and Montana, is back to being considered safe for the GOP, as Virginia, Oregon and Michigan are thought to be solid for the Democrats.
At the outset of the cycle, Democrats saw Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina as their firewall against a GOP takeover. Today, those races are neck and neck — and Republicans are even bullish about their chances in New Hampshire. There remains some uncertainty among Republicans about Alaska, despite Republican Dan Sullivan’s edge in polls, because of a superior Democratic ground game and the difficulty of polling the state.
It all adds up to an unusually jumbled puzzle less than a week before Election Day. In 2010, Republicans won just three of the eight tight races — despite their national wave. But in 2006, Democrats won all five of the closest races.
It’s really going to come down to turnout, and Democrats are traditionally better at that. So there’s always a chance. Let’s face it, Republicans have done very well at blocking Obama’s initiatives and appointments throughout his presidency. No matter what happens on Tuesday, we have to elect a Democrat to the White House in 2016.
Finally, Reid Wilson at The Washington Post writes that this “[e]lection could tip historic number of legislatures into Republican hands.”
Again, what will a Republican Senate accomplish? The consensus of the pundits seems to be that they’ll do very little. A few predictions:
Danny Vinik at The New Republic: Republicans Have Big Plans for a GOP Senate. Here’s What Will Come of Them: Nothing.
Paul Waldman at the WaPo: Republicans will probably take the Senate. Here’s why it will be a nightmare for them.
Republican Zombies and Democratic Vampires
On a lighter note, I came across some Halloween-themed comparisons between Democrats and Republicans from a few years back. From a blog called Entertained Organizer, Movie Monsters and Political Parties: A Spotters Guide to America’s Psyche.
A good friend and colleague of mine recently sent me a link to the Cracked.com article “6 Mind-Blowing Ways Zombies and Vampires Explain America.” Basically, the article looks at the bizarre fact that Zombie movies are more likely to be made under Republican Presidents and Vampire movies are more likely to be made under Democratic Presidents, and argues rather persuasively it’s that each monster represents the cultures fears of the Party in power. Here’s a chart from the original article at Cracked.com.
The Cracked.com articles argument for why Zombies embody the country’s worst fears of Republicans is pretty simple. They’re mindless killing machines (see President George W. Bush). They have a rabid pack mentality leading them to consume (see anyone who seems to believe “The Free Market” and “God” are synonyms). And they’re bent on destroying minorities (the living). Now of course I have absolutely no idea where any of those ideas about Republicans came from, and am frankly shocked that anyone might think those things about our Conservative Opponents.
Cracked.com’s argument for why Vampires pique conservatives fears of Democrats is even simpler. Vampires are murderous immigrants from foreign sounding places like Transylvania (or Mexico). Once they arrive, vampires start seducing everyone pretty much indiscriminately as symbols of carnal lust (you think they tried to impeach Clinton over an affair? Nope, Vampire). And of course, more than anything, Vampires are leeches. Sure Dracula is after your blood and Democrats are after your tax dollars but in the Howard Jarvis Republican Party, I’m pretty sure taxes are scarier than bleeding out.
The author then goes on to identify other parties by the movie monsters they represent: Green Party = Werewolves; The American Independent/Constitution Party = Pod People; Lyndon LaRouche Supporters = The Creature from the Black Lagoon; Libertarians = Mummies.
And did you know that horror writer HP Lovecraft had some choice words for the Republican zombies? From Before It’s News:
“As for the Republicans—–how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”
Street Harassment Follow-Up
A couple of days ago a video of a woman being harassed on the streets of New York City went viral. Dakinikat posted it in a comment on Tuesday, and JJ put it in her post yesterday. I found some interesting follow-up articles about the video that I want to share.
Here’s the video again:
At Slate, Hanna Rosin called attention to something I wondered about while I was watching the video. Where were the white men?
On Tuesday, Slate and everyone else posted a video of a woman who is harassed more than 100 times by men as she walks around New York City for ten hours. More specifically, it’s a video of a young white woman who is harassed by mostly black and Latino men as she walks around New York City for ten hours. The one dude who turns around and says, “Nice,” is white, but the guys who do the most egregious things—like the one who harangues her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” or the one who follows her down the street too closely for five whole minutes—are not.
This doesn’t mean that the video doesn’t still effectively make its point, that a woman can’t walk down the street lost in her own thoughts, that men feel totally free to demand her attention and get annoyed when she doesn’t respond, that women can’t be at ease in a public space in the same way men can. But the video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, “The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?”
Here’s the supposed explanation:
The video is a collaboration between Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, and the marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative. At the end they claim the woman experienced 100 plus incidents of harassment “involving people of all backgrounds.” Since that obviously doesn’t show up in the video, Bliss addressed it in a post. He wrote, “we got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” That may be true but if you find yourself editing out all the catcalling white guys, maybe you should try another take.
But Rosin notes that Bliss has had similar issues in the past.
This is not the first time Bliss has been called out for race blindness. In a video to promote Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was criticized for making a city that’s a third minority and a quarter poor look like it was filled with people who have “been reincarnated from those peppy family-style 1970s musical acts from Disney World or Knott’s Berry Farm,” as a local blogger wrote.
Activism is never perfectly executed. We can just conclude that they caught a small slice of catcallers and lots of other men do it too. But if the point of this video is to teach men about the day-to-day reality of women, then this video doesn’t hit its target.
Rosin recommends a video from Jessica Williams of The Daily Show. I watched it, and it’s terrific–plus it’s funny. Check it out.
On a more serious note, CNN reports that the woman in the viral video has been getting rape and death threats.
What started as an expose of the harassment women face in public has turned into fodder for death- and rape threats against the woman in the viral video….
“My nonverbal cues were saying, ‘Don’t talk to me.’ No eye contact. No friendly demeanor,” she said. “But they were ignoring my nonverbal cues.”
Roberts said the video is an accurate depiction of what she faces daily. For instance, there was a time when her grandfather died “and someone told me that they liked the way I looked.”
“It is all day long. It is every day,” she said. “That’s a typical day… It doesn’t matter what you wear.”
The 10 hours of footage was edited down to a 1:56 public service announcement for the anti-street harassment group Hollaback! It was shot by filmmaker Rob Bliss, who was wearing a hidden camera in his backpack.
“I have multiple experiences of sexual assault, which is why I wanted to be involved in this project,” Roberts said in a separate interview with HLN.
Also at CNN, Todd Leopold sort of misses the point, and wonders how men should approach women on the street. He quotes a 2010 piece by a woman named Katie Baker:
“There’s a huge difference between harassing a woman and trying to start a conversation,” she wrote. “Here are some tips: talk to her, not at her. Treat her with respect: be aware of her personal space, ask her how she’s doing or what she’s reading instead of commenting on her body parts, look at her face instead of her chest. If she ignores you, drops eye contact, or walks away, back off.
“It wasn’t rude of you to approach her, but she’s not being rude if she doesn’t want to keep talking to you, especially if you initiated conversation while she was running an errand, waiting for the bus, or on her computer at a coffee shop.”
But why do men feel they need to approach strange women at all? What if women did that to men?
Leopold also calls attention to a different kind of street harassment.
On the Reddit thread, which has drawn more than 6,500 comments, one man observed that lack of respect knows no gender.
“As a fat guy who once walked around NYC for a day sightseeing I got so many comments,” he wrote. “‘Lose weight, ass***e!’ ‘Hey fatty want me to buy you a hot dog?’ ‘Hey kill yourself you fat f***’ I would have been happy with just a ‘good morning.’ “
Personally, as I love to say “hello” to strangers out in public. I’m a Midwesterner by birth, and that’s just how we are–friendly and open. Usually they seem to like it, but if people ignore me, I don’t take offense.
So . . . what stories are you following today? Please share your links in the comment thread, and have a nice Thursday and a great Halloween!
Sorry this is so late, I just could not get it together this morning. Let’s continue to blame it on the DISH blackout of my favorite and sanity saving Turner Broadcasting channel: TCM.
Starting off this post with a contradiction…at least I think it is.
Compared to 15 of the world’s largest capital cities, New York City has the safest public transportation system for women and Bogotá has the most dangerous, according to a survey published Tuesday by Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 women in the 15 most populous world capitals and New York City to gauge women’s experiences with harassment and violence while riding public transportation. Survey questions focused on how safe women felt taking public transportation after dark, perceived risk and experience with verbal and physical harassment, the likelihood of bystander assistance and trust in authorities handling reported cases.
Cities were then scored and ranked in order of how safe their public transport systems are for women.
I always felt safe in the NYC subway system myself. But then that was back in 2000…while in DC a few years ago, that subway scared the crap outta me.
New York City led the pack with Tokyo and Beijing coming in second and third. Latin American cities ranked the lowest, with Bogotá being the worst, and Mexico City and Lima not too far ahead.
“Public transport is a nightmare,” explained Beatriz Rodriguez, 26, a domestic worker and resident of Bogotá. “Mobile phones are frequently stolen, and you can be a victim of harassment as I’ve been.”
“At first I thought what I felt against my back was a bag, but when I turned around, I realized it was a man rubbing up against me, exposing himself,” she lamented. “It’s disgusting to have to face this on your way to work.”
The survey’s findings reveal far-reaching consequences for women, especially those who live in low- or middle-income areas where they “tend to be more reliant on public transport and on non-motorized means,” said Mary Crass, head of policy at the International Transport Forum, an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) think-tank.
“When there is not frequent, reliable, accessible transport, this can affect women and anyone’s ability to access opportunity and notably employment in urban areas, which can make a big difference for women in particular,” she added.
In the United States, a record 40 percent of all households with children under 18 include mothers who are the sole or primary source of income for the family. Single mothers, with a median annual income of $23,000, are more likely to be dependent on public transportation to commute to their jobs, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In New York City 30 percent of women surveyed reported having experienced verbal or physical abuse while riding the city’s public transportation system, while in Mexico City more than 60 percent reported such violence.
Now I am glad that AJam mentioned the NYC verbal abuse because this is the subject of my next link:
What is the scariest part of this video…is the dude who follows her around for a while and does not let up.
Ten hours of walking around New York City, 100 catcalls and one huge problem.
Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Creative makes viral videos for a living and decided to use his craft to shine a light on street harassment, a pervasive issue affecting females around the world. Partnering with actress Shoshana B. Roberts and Hollaback, a nonprofit movement launched by activists to end street harassment, Bliss packaged his production as a PSA and offers viewers a different perspective on the problem.
“I felt like no one had ever really shown what it’s like to experience street harassment, more or less,” Bliss told The Huffington Post. “No one has — from a third-party perspective, on the outside looking in — been able to step back and look at it and watch it happen in front of them.”His intent, he said, was to offer an “unbiased” look at what many women experience on a daily basis. “No messaging. No judgement. Let people view it as it is and talk about,” he added.
During filming, Bliss attached a GoPro camera to his back with a chest strap; he wore a yellow backpack, sunglasses and earbuds to look unassuming while walking five to 10 feet ahead of Roberts, who held two microphones in her hands. The actress wore simple clothes for the shoot: jeans and a black, crew-neck T-shirt.
“It was completely intentional that she wore what she wore,” Bliss said. “I wanted to fight back against the ‘Oh, she’s wearing blah blah blah.’ I didn’t want to give ammunition to anyone who may detract from this video. If she wanted to wear something that showed more skin, I definitely think that guys would have been louder and more vocal about this.”
Well, this is where you get down to it…
In 10 hours of walking, Roberts faced more than 100 instances of street harassment. Responses ranged from catcalls — “beautiful,” “sexy,” “God bless you” — to angry remarks.
“Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more,” one man said.
“You don’t wanna talk? Because I’m ugly? We can’t be friends, nothing? You don’t speak?” another persisted.
Multiple men walked with Roberts for extended periods of time. One remained silently at her side for five minutes.
“I was going in blind without expectations, especially as a guy,” Bliss told HuffPost. “I was very surprised that we had so much interaction, some of it being as aggressive as it was, [like] the stalking that was involved repeatedly from different groups. That blew my mind. It made me sick to my stomach. I felt something I had never really felt before, almost feeling as if I were in her shoes. I didn’t experience it personally, but I was in such close proximity to it.”
Roberts was not immediately available for comment when contacted by HuffPost, but she told Hollaback, “I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t. I’m harassed by white men, black men, Latino men. Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”
Read more about the group called HollaBack:
Hollaback! You have the power to end street harassment A non-profit and movement to end street harassment powered by local activists in 79 cities and 26 countries
Since this post is so damn late, I will give you a quick trip through the rest of today’s links.
Bill Cosby has another actress giving details of abuse: Actress Details Years of Alleged Rape and Manipulation by Bill Cosby
How I wish Obama had never opened the Birth Control religious conscience can of worms…New birth-control rules found too demanding : SCOTUSblog
There is a shit can of worms that should be opened here in Georgia. I am talking about a whole mess of voters that seem to be totally fucked over: BREAKING: Court Refuses To Intervene In Case of 40,000 Missing Voters In Georgia | ThinkProgress
When I saw this next headline, I immediately thought of Brawndo…it’s got electrolytes. But seriously: BBC News – UN urges salt-damage solution to reduce threat to crops
About 2,000 hectares of fertile land are lost each day due to damage caused by salt, according to a UN analysis.
The total area now affected is equivalent to the size of France – 62 million hectares – which has increased from 45 million 20 years ago.
In other “science” news: Vaccine ‘success’ raises hopes of saving koalas from chlamydia Now that is something hopefully one day we will have a vaccine for humans.
Sticking with science stuff: Pope reminds Catholics: evolution, Big Bang are true | Ars Technica
Pope Francis took a stroll yesterday from the Vatican guest house apartment where he lives over to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to unveil a bust of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The bust itself is rather Teutonically foreboding, but the most interesting bit of the unveiling came when Francis made a short speech to assembled members of the Academy. Though only a few paragraphs long (and currently available only in Italian; the translation below is unofficial), Francis’s remarks focused largely on evolution—still a controversial doctrine in parts of the worldwide Christian church.
“When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we are in danger of imagining that God was a magician, complete with a magic wand capable of doing anything,” Francis said. “But he was not. He created beings and let them develop in accordance with the internal laws that He has given to each one.”
Tell it to the right-wing bible thumping nuts who think the world is only 6,000 years old.
More at the link.
And hey…since we’ve got articles on birth control in humans…chlamydia in koalas…how about A battle for ant sperm?
And a little something on: Spiders and transgenic goats lead to new silk road | Al Jazeera America
For scientists around the world, a multibillion dollar prize has been hiding from them in cobwebs floating just above their office desks.
It’s the hunt for spider silk — and an efficient way to make a lot of it — that has evaded researchers for the last two decades. But why are they after spider silk?
As Professor Randy Lewis of Utah State University puts it, it’s the “ancient biomaterial of the future.” Spiders have made their silk for 400 million years, and we’re just now beginning to realize just how strong, absorbent and useful it is.
The other story about the goats: From spiders to goats in search of silk | Al Jazeera America
There is a new app that looks like it will be beneficial: UK charity launches app to scan for suicidal tweets
And if you don’t feel suicidal now…take a look at this funny thread from TBogg: It’s a Very Duggar Wedding Registry: What would Jesus buy?
The reality that these Duggar people are out there, and they have a following…and that following votes, should be enough to get you tweeting things that could trigger that new Twitter app.
Finally, from Medievalist.net: The Re-medievalization of Halloween
From punkin chunkin to the newfound popularity of witches, the festival of Halloween is reaching back to the Middle Ages for its traditions. Is this a good thing for medievalists?
This is the question raised by M.J. Toswell in her paper, “The Dangers of the Search for Authencity? The Ethics of Hallowe’en”, which appears in the latest issue of Studies in Medievalism. The Western University professor examines how the popular North American holiday is in recent years seeking to give “a veritably medieval experience.”
Interesting read…give it a look.
All I know is that I am so ready to get medieval on DISH’s ass!
‘Marginalia of the earliest known illustrated example of a witch on a broomstick in the 1451 manuscript, Hexenflug der Vaudoises (Flight of the Witches), authored by Martin Le France (1410-1461).’ (via Letterology: Halloween Heresy)
Whats going on in your neck of the woods?
I thought I’d illustrate today’s post with photos of cute puppies to offset the generally horrible news. The photo above comes from yesterday’s Boston Globe, Puppy in Boston Police Department Bulletproof Vest Melts Internet.
The photo, which was posted to Reddit, is from Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog, a non-profit that helps provide bulletproof vests, essential equipment, training, and purchase of dogs for police and law enforcement K-9 programs throughout the state.
“As K-9s are trained to give up their lives to protect their partners and all of us, we believe it is every bit as important to protect them,” according to www.mavestadog.org which is why they can run freely without pain
The story says the puppy’s name is Tuco, after a character in Breaking Bad.
Did you see today’s Google doodle? It honors what would have been Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday.
In 1954, I was 6 years old and I was among the first wave of kids who got the experimental polio vaccine at my school. We were living in Lawrence, Kansas then, and I attended Cordley Elementary School. I’m not sure if this was when I was in the first or second grade (I started kindergarten at age 4). Another girl in my class had already gotten polio and one of her legs was paralyzed. I don’t know if I was in the experimental or control group, but I do recall getting another shot the following year. Children from 44 states participated in the tests.
A look back at Salk’s work highlights the vast differences between American culture in the mid-1950s and today. Salk never patented the vaccine, because he wanted it to be distributed to as many children as possible; so he never made a cent from his discovery. In some ways the 1950s were the bad old days, but most Americans still believed in pulling together for the public good–maybe it was a hangover from WWII.
From The Washington Post, JONAS SALK: Google says ‘thanks’ to the heroic polio-vaccine developer with birthday Doodle, by Michael Cavna.
As so many tens of thousands of children suffered from polio into midcentury, his vaccine began as the stuff of dreams; by the mid-’50s, it was the substance of a profoundly life-altering reality.
Dr. Salk had begun his journey a coast away; he got his medical degree in 1939, at the New York University School of Medicine, and was working at the city’s Mount Sinai Hospital before a research fellowship at the University of Michigan — with his mentor — beckoned. In 1947, he moved to head up the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Virus Research Laboratory, where he did the real groundbreaking work in his march toward a vaccine for paralytic poliomyelitis, or polio.
The goal, of course, was to trigger the body’s own defenses — so it would build immunity against the disease. Salk believed that antibodies could be produced by injecting not a live virus, but rather a deactivated (non-infectious) one.
At this point, enough necessary tumblers clicked into place. For one, the team of Harvard scientist John Enders solved how to grow the pure polio virus in the test tube — a crucial step that enabled Salk’s effective experimentation with a “killed virus.” And then there were the needed funds — Salk got backing from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation).
In 1954, at least 1-million children — the Polio Pioneers — were tested across the nation (this followed testing that ranged from monkeys to Salk’s own family). The vaccine was announced as safe and largely effective on April 12, 1955.
“In the two years before [the] vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the U.S. was more than 45,000,” according to the Salk Institute. “By 1962, that number had dropped to 910.”
Now we have panic over Ebola, and instead of focusing on developing a vaccine we have politicians cutting funds for medical research and ginning up public panic for their own selfish purposes, academics and corporations more interested in profits than saving lives, and ignorant people refusing to vaccinate their children.
From The Atlantic, The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is Forgetting the Polio Epidemic, by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz.
It started out as a head cold. Then, the day before Halloween, 6-year-old Frankie Flood began gasping for breath. His parents rushed him to City Hospital in Syracuse, New York, where a spinal tap confirmed the diagnosis every parent feared most in 1953: poliomyelitis. He died on his way to the operating room. “Frankie could not swallow—he was literally drowning in his own secretions,”wrote his twin sister, Janice, decades later. “Dad cradled his only son as best he could while hampered by the fact that the only part of Frankie’s body that remained outside the iron lung was his head and neck.”
At a time when a single case of Ebola or enterovirus can start a national panic, it’s hard to remember the sheer scale of the polio epidemic. In the peak year of 1952, there were nearly 60,000 cases throughout America; 3,000 were fatal, and 21,000 left their victims paralyzed. In Frankie Flood’s first-grade classroom in Syracuse, New York, eight children out of 24 were hospitalized for polio over the course of a few days. Three of them died, and others, including Janice, spent years learning to walk again.
Then, in 1955, American children began lining up for Jonas Salk’s new polio vaccine. By the early 1960s, the recurring epidemics were 97 percent gone.
Salk, who died in 1995, would have turned 100 on October 28. He is still remembered as a saintly figure—not only because he banished a terrifying childhood illness, but because he came from humble beginnings yet gave up the chance to become wealthy. (According to Forbes, Salk could have made as much as $7 billion from the vaccine.) When Edward R. Murrow asked him who owned the patent to the vaccine, Salk famously replied, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
Can you imagine that happening today? Read much more about Salk at the Atlantic link.
Today it’s all about corporations making money from people’s misery. From LA CityWatch, How Sick is This Generation’s Pills for Profit Philosophy? by Bob Gelfand.
Here are two seemingly unrelated stories that nevertheless intersect. The first involves a scientific lecture I heard the other day. Without going into details, the story involves the discovery of a naturally occurring small protein that treats some of the symptoms of diabetes when injected into rodents, and also slows the growth of cancer cells grown in culture. It is a marvelous discovery and is supported by numerous control experiments that are very convincing.
The scientist, in a later conversation, explained that the patent on this discovery had already been submitted, even though the scientific papers had not all been written and submitted to journals.
In another lecture a few weeks earlier, but at the same institution, we heard from a venture capitalist. He explained that the pharmaceutical companies are only interested in developments that promise to show a billion dollars in sales.
In yet a third talk by an administrator, the resident scientists and physicians were encouraged to work with the institution’s patent office as early as possible on any patentable application.
The subject of this discussion is the monetization of science and its application to pharmaceutical research. It was not always so. In some ways this is a bad thing, and in other ways it is not.
The great counterargument to the direct monetization of scientific discovery is the story of the polio vaccine. Jonas Salk and his financial supporters made no attempt to patent the Salk vaccine. There are competing stories as to the motives and law that led to this decision. One argument is that the research had been paid for by tens of millions of donations through organizations such as the March of Dimes. Another argument is that the lawyers did not believe that a patent application would be upheld. Salk famously stated that the vaccine presumably belonged to the people, perhaps implying that the mass of Americans through their donations had already earned the right to the vaccine.
Here’s latest on the Ebola panic front. Kaci Hickox escaped her imprisonment by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie only to end up under the thumb of another stupid Republican governor Maine’s Paul LePage. Fox News reports, New fight over Ebola quarantine looms as nurse returns to Maine.
Kaci Hickox left a Newark hospital on Monday and was expected to arrive in the northern Maine town of Fort Kent early Tuesday. Maine health officials have already announced that Hickox is expected to comply with a 21-day voluntary in-home quarantine put in place by the state’s governor, Paul LePage.
However, one of Hickox’s lawyers, Steve Hyman, said he expected her to remain in seclusion for only the “next day or so” while he works with Maine health officials. He said he believes the state should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that require only monitoring, not quarantine, for health care workers who show no symptoms after treating Ebola patients.
“She’s a very good person who did very good work and deserves to be honored, not detained, for it,” he said.
LePage defended the quarantine in a news release Monday, saying that state officials must be “vigilant in our duty to protect the health and safety of all Mainers.” Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the governor, told the Portland Press Herald that authorities would take “appropriate action” if Hickox does not comply with the quarantine, though she did not specify what that action might be.
The Portland Press Herald isn’t sure whether Hickox’s Maine quarantine is voluntary or required.
Bennett, when asked whether a 21-day quarantine was mandatory or voluntary for Hickox, at first told the Portland Press Herald early Monday afternoon that it was “voluntary.” Later in the afternoon, she wrote in an email that Hickox was expected to follow the quarantine.
“We fully expect individuals to voluntarily comply with an in-home quarantine. If an individual is not compliant, the state is prepared to take appropriate action,” Bennett wrote. She was asked repeatedly by the Press Herald to clarify what “appropriate action” was, but did not respond.
Whether Hickox, who worked in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, would abide by a quarantine is unknown. Her New York attorney, Steven Hyman, emphasized her civil rights.
“There is no basis (for her) to be kept in quarantine or isolation,” Hyman said. “We are prepared to establish that in a court of law.” [….]
The Maine Attorney General’s Office declined to comment. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, a former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said she does not believe the state could impose a quarantine without a court order.
Meanwhile Chris Christie is still making a fool of himself in public. Politico reports that he’s now claiming he knows better than the CDC.
The Republican governor has faced criticism from the White House and some health experts over his and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy for a 21-day mandatory quarantine for aid workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday, Christie said again that mounting evidence shows that the CDC will eventually come around to his policy.
“[T]he CDC has been behind on this. Folks got infected in Texas because they were behind,” Christie said, in reference to the multiple Ebola cases in Dallas. “And we’re not going to have folks being infected in New Jersey and in other states in this country. Governors ultimately have the responsibility to protect the public health and the public safety of the people within their borders when folks come in with this problem.”
He cited the five other states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York and Georgia — where quarantines are in place, as well as reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the military impose a 21-day quarantine for troops returning from West Africa. A Defense Department spokesman declined to confirm those reports on Monday.
The governor criticized both the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci in particular, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has criticized the quarantine policy. Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Fauci called mandatory quarantine policies not “based on scientific data.”
“I think Dr. Fauci is responding … in a really hyperbolic way because they’ve been wrong before,” Christie said when asked about Fauci’s criticism.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo looks like a fool too. From The Buffalo News:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Ebola quarantine policy met with withering criticism Monday from AIDS experts who said it could be counterproductive as well as the governor’s Republican campaign opponent, who said it didn’t go far enough.
Three days after Cuomo imposed a 21-day quarantine on health workers returning from Ebola-stricken nations and a day after the governor relaxed that policy to allow people to serve their quarantines at home, more than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and doctors wrote a letter to the governor condemning his actions on Ebola.
The governor’s quarantine policy “is not supported by scientific evidence” and “may have consequences that are the antithesis of effective public health policy,” said the letter, which was signed by AIDS activists such as the head of ACT UP NY as well as more than 35 physicians, including medical school professors at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Yale.
Most notably, quarantines “will potentially have a profound effect on efforts to recruit U.S.-based health care professionals who are desperately needed to help combat the burgeoning epidemic in West Africa while increasing stigma toward persons who come from those countries,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, criticized the governor for shifting stances on the quarantine.
“What we’re getting is a governor who’s winging it, changing the policy all the time,” Astorino said while campaigning in New Rochelle. “It’s very confusing, and it could lead to health risks for many people.”
Finally, Dallas nurse Amber Vincent has recovered and will be leaving the hospital soon.
When you want your puppy to be this cute, hire a dog groomer. Your dog will look so fabulous you would it more.
I have a few more articles that I’ll post in the comment thread. What stories are you following today? See you down below, and have a terrific Tuesday!