Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Debate "Nuance"

One of the great brouhahas post-debate is whether Trump was against the Iraq War or for it. I was amazed to see this headline (and link) on FoxNews.
2003 video shows Trump, not Holt, right on candidate’s Iraq War stance

I watched the video and thought, “I must be missing something.  It hardly confirms Fox News’s claim.” So I thought it was time to dig a little deeper.  I went to Politifact to see what they had.

Trump still wrong on his claim that opposed Iraq War ahead of the invasion

Did they not hear the video on Fox News?  Yep, they did AND they had the transcript of what Trump ACTUALLY said, plus a lot more detail of other statements.  I was not surprised they disagreed with Fox News. 

Holt RIGHT! BUT, who knows, maybe the “microphone” was also faulty back then.

NPR Conducts Live Fact-Checking of the Debate

       Nashville Public Radio's (NPR) politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, provided live annotation of the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

The transcript on the following link updated live as the debate proceeded. NPR promises to work to correct the transcript as it came in, but due to the live nature of the event, there could be some discrepancies.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Grading Political Candidates on Science

      Two weeks ago, Scientific American asked for help in grading the presidential candidates on their answers to 20 questions about various aspects of scientific endeavor. The questions were refined by a group of scientific institutions representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers, with nonprofit organization ScienceDebate.org as the facilitator. 
        Overall, Hillary Clinton scored highest , followed by Jill Stein. Donald Trump came in last on all counts. One Ph.D. biologist wrote, 
"Trump's answers demonstrate an almost complete ignorance of science or the importance of these imposing problems facing us in maintaining a livable world for everyone."
Did the candidates themselves or their campaign committees answer?

Read more at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/grading-the-presidential-candidates-on-science/?WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20160926

Facts about Illegal Immagration

      A key part of Trump's Presidential bid is his boast that he is going to stop illegal immigration by building a Big Wall.  It seems that people who support Trump for this reason are out-of-touch.  Here are some facts from Pew Research Center.

1) Total illegals has declined since peaking in 2009.
2) Mexicans make up 52% of illegals.
3) Illegals from countries other than Mexico has grown.
4) A rising share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade. 
5) 76% American says undocumented immigrants are as honest and hard-working as US citizens.

Illegals pay income and payroll taxes, but do not qualify for public benefits like welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. 

IRS Warns of Fake Tax Notice Scam

The IRS said it has received numerous reports of scammers sending fraudulent CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. It typically is an email with a fake CP2000 attachment.
The CP2000 can be a legitimate notice that the IRS mails to taxpayers through the U.S. Postal Service, but the IRS noted the notice is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. Taxpayers and tax professionals should be suspicious of any notices that are sent electronically. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
Read more at: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/tax-practice/irs-warns-about-fake-tax-notice-scam-79334-1.html?utm_medium=email&ET=webcpa:e7695169:47868a:&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily-sep%2023%202016&st=email&eid=e496b58449f229ec52d005c10e6b4bfd 

Is Donald Trump Qualified to be President?

According to a Politico article of the same title as this post, 
Trump is bad with facts and the truth, and perhaps worse, takes perverse pride in being a D student who doesn’t read books, has the sketchiest sense of history, doesn’t read briefing materials, and, according to aides and ghostwriters, can’t even sit still long enough to be given a thorough verbal briefing.
These are not nasty, biased, liberal opinions – they are facts based on reporting and Trump’s own public performances.
Clinton is already the single most scrutinized, parsed, vetted, investigated, attacked and plaudited non-incumbent to ever seek the presidency. She’s been around forever, making enemies since the internet was dial-up, cell phones were the size of skateboards and Trump was engaged to Marla Maples.
We know of people who really don't care if Trump is qualified as long as a vastly more qualified Clinton isn't President.  It seems that they could care less if their hate damages the country.  We would hope they would be a more responsible voter, but our expectations are "no such luck."  If Trump is competent, then he should be able to address the concerns of the Politico article.

But as we have seen in the past, content in these debate does not matter.  It's all image. According to Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone
we're a nation of idiots who choose our leaders on gut feelings and think elections are a form of reality TV.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Incompetent Statements of Climate Change by Politicians

      Climate change is real and to deny it would be deny overwhelming evidence.  However, it is incompetent statements by some politicians that often cause knee-jerk reactions from the community of scientists who promote reality for responsible policy.  In Tom Harris article Political Elite Out of Touch on Climate Change  http://www.thepostemail.com/2016/09/15/political-elite-out-of-touch-on-climate-change/
he notes
In his September 8th speech announcing California’s new greenhouse gas emission laws, Governor Jerry Brown said, “If we don’t stop climate change, it’s not going to be 110 [degrees] in Imperial County; it’s going to be 130, 135! Not for a few days or a few weeks, but for months on end!”
Brown’s statement is ridiculous, no matter what you believe about the causes of climate change.
      Temperature associated with climate change continues to be exaggerated from reality, starting with forecasts from climate models.
      Temperature data is readily available https://wattsupwiththat.com/global-temperature/ but that seems to be unimportant to politicians.  Those who disagree with the climate warming hysteria are labeled as deniers.  The only thing they deny is the need for this irresponsibility and the establishment of policy and setting of resource utilization priority based on these lies.

Presidential Debate - Their Nature

        The Presidential Debate is projected to have an audience that rivals the Super-bowl.  Each political camp anticipates their candidate to be the winner of the contest.  Each candidate's "base" support will be watching to reinforce their imagined persona for their preference and at the same time confirming the reasons for their dislike of the other candidate.  These debates, however, are not aimed at the “base,” but for those who have not yet made up their minds. So what is going to sway them?  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Upcoming Presidential Debates

      Everyone is wondering what the first debate between Trump and Clinton will be like. If the debate were in front of a college audience Clinton would skewer a significantly incompetent Trump. But it is not.  It is in front on an American audience and the education level to which the candidates must direct their comments is 7’th grade.   That is the grade level at which Trump thinks. He is no more complicated than, “we’re gonna build a big wall.” 
      For the life of her, Clinton won’t stoop to that level and she will get creamed when she tries to impress Americans with her expertise.  The general American public can’t relate to such wonky talk.  Everything she says, no matter how insightful will sail clear over their heads.  Remember this is a woman who could not give straight and simple answers when her candidacy depended on it.  
      She will spout that legalese jargon that will have Trump saying, “There she goes again with the bull shit.” And the American public will understand what he is saying and agree and as a result -- we’ll get skewered.
      For more on debate expectations read.http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/who-will-win/497561/

Educational Malaise

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

      This 2014 article Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America, There is a growing anti-intellectual dumbing down of our culture https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america  
seems to demonstrate this sad state of affairs in the 2016 Presidential election.  We suspect that America’s loss of educational superiority has more to do with the loss of the Middle Class than the influx of cheap labor across its borders.