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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 73,474

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Republicans closely resemble autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey - study

(Guardian UK) The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.

In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey.

The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.

By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe. Their principal difference is the approach to the economy. .............(more)


2020 polls: The Trump 'hidden voter' isn't a real threat this election - here's why

(Independent UK) Last week, a theory of the Donald Trump presidential upset in 2016 resurfaced when the pollster who predicted it said a repeat is in store on November 3 for the same reason: Trump voters are too darn shy (i.e. embarrassed) to honestly state their intentions.

Pollster Robert Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group calls it “the social desirability bias theory.” This posits that “when dealing with a live caller, the person being asked the questions will craft their answer in a way that puts them in the best light of the person asking the question.” Since Trump is generally loathed and viewed as a racist by half the public (with another 13 per cent saying they’re “not sure), many presumably would rather not say they’re actually voting for him.

But the evidence that the shy Trump voter exists enough to skew polls is highly debatable. Forget the MAGA hats and rallies, just look at other indicators of partisan support this cycle compared with 2016. Then, the best indicator that Hillary Clinton was actually not a favorite - never mind a prohibitive one - was the movement in House races. And no one suggests this “shyness” extends to them.

The generic polling for these House races, which occur in every district just like the presidential race, showed on the eve of the election that the Democrats held just a 0.6-point lead (Clinton actually won the popular vote by 2.1 points). That had fallen steadily from 4.2 points on average on October 25, according to RealClearPolitics. And it certainly made plausible the electoral college Trump victory that actually occurred.


CNN Politics analyst Harry Enten tweeted that even “the GOP internal polling has Trump getting beat ‘big league.’” And Dave Wasserman, the House editor of the Cook Political Report, wrote, “District-level polls (which showed big problems for Clinton in '16) back up national/state polls.” .............(more)


Obvious trolling is obvious.

I guess we can just accept that reality for the next week or so.

Can Georgia's Jon Ossoff Finish the Job This November?

(The Nation) Georgia Democratic Senate challenger Jon Ossoff raised a whopping $21 million in the third quarter, but arguably two of his biggest in-kind contributions came from his opponent, Senator David Perdue. In late July, Perdue released an ad that enlarged the nose of Ossoff, who is Jewish, and linked him to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and big money, which many people understandably saw as anti-Semitic. (Perdue’s campaign first denied the alteration, then blamed it on a vendor.) Then, last week, he mocked Kamala Harris’s name while introducing Donald Trump at a Macon rally—“KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” he joked, to the crowd’s cheers. The nationwide backlash helped raise Ossoff almost $2 million in two days.

“Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’s name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump’s handbook,” said Georgia Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams. “He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display.” Of course, he did not apologize; staffers insisted he meant nothing by it. As if after almost four years in the Senate together, he couldn’t pronounce her name.

Right now all respected polling aggregators list the race as a toss-up, an astonishing setback for Perdue, who beat Democrat Michelle Nunn 53-45 in 2014 and was leading until recently. But Perdue, the outsourcing business leader who styled himself as an outsider, became a Trump worshipper in 2017—and his fortunes have declined in Georgia with the president’s. Barely a week ago, rallying with Ivanka Trump, he claimed that Trump’s leadership on coronavirus “saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” adding, “Democrats will never give us credit for that.” Meanwhile, his ads declare him to be dedicated to police reform and protecting Georgians with preexisting conditions; with Trump sinking in Georgia, he is clearly playing both sides. It’s not working. ..............(more)


It's been years since investors have been this fearful of a stock market crash, Nobel-winning econom

It’s been years since investors have been this fearful of a stock market crash, Nobel-winning economist warns

(MarketWatch) That’s Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Yale professor, urging a cautious approach to investing in the top-heavy stock market in an op-ed for the New York Times.

“The coronavirus crisis and the November election have driven fears of a major market crash to the highest levels in many years,” Shiller wrote. “At the same time, stocks are trading at very high levels. That volatile combination doesn’t mean that a crash will occur, but it suggests that the risk of one is relatively high. This is a time to be careful.”

He said he reached this conclusion based on what he’s seeing in several stock-market confidence indexes that he began to develop decades ago.

Specifically, his Crash Confidence Index is sounding the alarm bells. Shiller said he asks investors this question: “What do you think is the probability of a catastrophic stock market crash in the U.S., like that of Oct. 28, 1929, or Oct. 19, 1987, in the next six months, including the case that a crash occurred in the other countries and spreads to the U. S.?” He said the bearish answers to that question registered one of the lowest readings in confidence he’s ever seen. .........(more)


How Fast Can a "Shortage" of Office Space Turn into a "Glut?" San Francisco Shows How Fast

How Fast Can a “Shortage” of Office Space Turn into a “Glut?” San Francisco Shows How Fast
by Wolf Richter • Oct 25, 2020 •

Commercial real estate is in turmoil, but San Francisco’s glut is dwarfed by the fiascos in Houston and Calgary.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

During the Good Times, when there was still a “shortage” of office space in hot markets, such as in San Francisco, companies resorted to warehousing of office space. They leased office space they didn’t need, and wouldn’t need for years, because they didn’t want their expected growth, and the expected growth in staffing, to be crimped by the shortage of office space.

They grabbed all available office space and leased it long-term, expecting to grow into the space in future years, thereby creating an artificial shortage.

Tech and social media companies and richly funded startups are infamous for that. And since money is no objective for these companies when they’re in rampant growth mode, or when they’re trying to be in rampant growth mode though they might not yet have much in terms of revenues or growth, it’s OK to blow money on vacant office space – until suddenly it isn’t.

As these leased offices sat around vacant, waiting for things to happen, suddenly things happened. The Pandemic put work-from-home on the map, and companies figured out how to manage it, and how at least some of their current and future staff would be working remotely, thereby shifting office expenses, including rent, from the company to households. ..........................(more)


Will Trump supporters accept defeat? If he loses, it could get really ugly

Will Trump supporters accept defeat? If he loses, it could get really ugly
Trump's been telling his fans for weeks that there's no way he can lose. So they're primed for a vicious backlash

OCTOBER 26, 2020 12:35PM

(Salon) One of the more interesting (and somewhat confounding) polling results in this election cycle has been the belief among members of both parties that Donald Trump will win re-election, regardless of who they're actually planning to vote for. His approval rating has been stuck in the low 40s throughout his term, which is unprecedented, and he's been behind in the polls from the beginning of the campaign. Yet most Americans still remain convinced that he is going to win. This is from Gallup in early October:

Regardless of whom they personally support, 56% of Americans expect Trump to prevail over Biden in the November election, while 40% think Biden will win. Republicans are more likely to believe Trump will win (90%) than Democrats are to think Biden will (73%). Fifty-six percent of independents predict that Trump will win.

How can this be? Well, of course it all depends on what the definition of "win" is.

The explanation for the Democrats and many Independents is obvious. With all of Trump's talk about mail-in voter fraud and lawsuits and promises of intimidation at the polls, they believe it's possible that he will pull out all the stops to create or fake a victory regardless of the legitimate electoral outcome. With his statements to the press that he wants the ninth Supreme Court seat filled in order to ensure a victory, it's not being all that paranoid to assume it could happen.


What this adds up to is this: if the polls are right and Biden wins the election by a healthy margin, Trump voters almost certainly won't accept the results. Put yourself in their shoes and it isn't that hard. Four years ago, a lot of Hillary Clinton voters felt as if they'd had the wind knocked out of them by that shocking and unexpected result. That's what these Trump voters are going to feel, except that the dissonance will be a thousand times worse. They are expecting a Trump landslide, and have been told by him that the only way he can possibly lose is through fraud on a massive scale.

The difference between then and now, of course, is that Clinton and Barack Obama and every Democratic official immediately accepted the results and their supporters largely agreed voters that Trump had won, at least under the antediluvian constitutional machinery of the Electoral College. There is every reason to think that Trump will do quite the opposite, and I'm afraid there's no reason to believe we can depend upon Republican officials to step up and do the right thing. ...........(more)


Ann Arbor: 'Magic' mushrooms decriminalized as more studies tout use of psychedelics

(Detroit Free Press) Perhaps there's more to the "magic" of psychedelics than a kaleidoscope of hallucinations and seemingly endless wave of good vibes.

More studies are touting the breakthrough medical benefits of hallucinogens like "magic" mushrooms and peyote are being for anxiety, depression, and a cure for addiction to opioids or alcohol.

That's prompting more communities to decriminalize the use and possession of psychdelics like mushrooms and peyote. Ann Arbor voted to decriminalize use and possession of the psychedelics in September -- the fourth U.S. city to do so in the last year, behind Denver; Oakland, Calif.; and Santa Cruz, Calif. ............(more)


Why the pandemic is inspiring many to give up alcohol

Why the pandemic is inspiring many to give up alcohol
While some saw the pandemic as an excuse to drink more, others are embracing sobriety. Here's why

OCTOBER 25, 2020 11:30PM

(Salon) As states descended into lockdowns, closing bars and restaurants, everyday people stockpiled toilet paper, cleaning supplies—and booze.

Indeed, back at the start of the pandemic, alcohol sales skyrocketed — increasing in the United States by 55 percent the week ending March 21, 2020, compared to the previous year. While some data suggests that people have been drinking more during the pandemic, at least initially, the pandemic has also prompted a life re-evaluation, with many Americans reconsidering the role of alcohol in their lives.

"At first, I was actually drinking more," Mike Miller founder of Wilderness Times, told Salon. "Just being around the house more opened the door for it more often, so I found myself drinking more frequently."

For Miller, this meant two to three drinks over the course of five to six days. According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), heavy drinking for men is when 15 or more drinks per week are consumed.

"A few weeks into the pandemic I calmed down and realized I was definitely over doing it," Miller said. "So, I went cold turkey and completely stopped." ............(more)


Florida Man snatches woman's $5 bill, eats it


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville police arrested a man who stole and ate a woman’s $5 bill.

According to the arrest report, Henry Chambers Jr. snatched a $5 bill from Kadisha Grant’s hand as it was being handed to her.

The 60-year-old walked away, threatening Grant in the street.

Chambers then said Grant would die before he returned the money, and proceeded to put the $5 bill in his mouth, chewed it, and swallowed it. .............
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