Races Called When

Silver calculates them:

Our model estimates that while Republicans have a 64 percent chance of winning the Senate eventually, there’s only a 27 percent chance they’ll be able to claim their victory within the first 24 hours or so after polls close on Nov 4. Democrats are even less likely to win a quick victory — they have just a 12 percent chance. The other 60 percent of the time, it will take days or weeks to sort everything out. The chart [above] lists the states that are the biggest part of the problem.

Catching Catcalls On Camera, Ctd

Oct 30 2014 @ 11:11am

Many readers are scratching their heads over this video:

Oh c’mon – street harassment? I watched the video, read the posts, and I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Yes, it is cringe-worthy, especially where the guy walks along beside her for too long, but she is on the crowded streets of NYC. I never felt any kind of actual fear for her, mainly because none of the comments were really all that threatening. They appreciated her young beauty, and expressed it, so what’s the big deal? OK, gee, she felt “uncomfortable”, but so what? We have all kinds of things to feel uncomfortable about – that’s life in the 21st century. Deal with it.

Now I’m of a certain age where I can say that I was in the more or less in the first wave of feminism. I was young, blond and attractive, and all kinds of comments were made to me at school, at work, and while traveling. They never really bothered me, and I’m certainly not psychologically scarred by it. As women, being told one is pretty is the least of our problems. Yes, I know, it “objectifies” us, but oh, gee, so do lots of things.

I’m not going to contribute to Hollaback, no thank you. My feminist dollars are better spent at Planned Parenthood, or any of the host of other worthy organizations that support women’s health and well-being.

Another:

I’d love to see the full 10 hours of footage. If all they could get is a boiled down two minutes of mostly guys saying hello, good morning, god bless, it seems like the world is not quite as hostile as they hoped it would be. I wonder how many thousands of men she walked by in that 10 hours that said nothing, didn’t notice her at all.

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As the above chart illustrates, the epidemic remains a serious public health crisis in parts of West Africa. Nonetheless, Helen Epstein sees signs that the tide may be turning in Liberia, where “the number of new cases each week … is falling, not rising”:

In August, the streets of Monrovia were strewn with bodies and emergency Ebola clinics were turning away patients. Today, nearly half of the beds in those treatment units are empty. I’ve been here a week and have yet to see a single body in the street. Funeral directors say business is off by half. Of course, the situation remains very serious. More than two thousand have succumbed to the disease here since the outbreak began—along with thousands more in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the CDC—and Liberia faces looming economic and political crises. This fragile country urgently needs help—both for the well being of its own people, and for the safety of the rest of this interconnected world. But the epidemic is far from the cataclysmic disaster currently on display on American TV screens.

How did things get so bad in Liberia in the first place? Shikha Dalmia blames “a hopelessly dependent political class that stays in business by ignoring good governance and appealing to its Western benefactors”:

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A “Great” Debate

Oct 30 2014 @ 10:16am

Aaron David Miller’s latest book, The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President, makes the case that Washington, Lincoln, and FDR were America’s only truly “great” presidents, and as the title implies, we’re not about to get another. In an article adapted from the book, Miller lays out the rudiments of his argument:

Like the ghosts in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, great presidents continue to hover, to teach, and to inspire. And we have much to learn from their successes and failures. But there is a risk in thinking, let alone succumbing to the illusion, that we will see their likes again, even in an altered contemporary guise. The world and country have changed and so have we. And besides, we should not want to see them again. Greatness in the presidency is too rare to be relevant in our modern times and — driven as it is in our political system by big crisis — too risky and dangerous to be desirable. Our continued search for idealized presidents raises our expectations and theirs, skews presidential performance, and leads to an impossible standard that can only frustrate and disappoint. To sum up: We can no longer have a truly great president, we seldom need one, and, as irrational as it sounds, we may not want one, either.

In response, Julia Azari points out that assessments of “greatness” often rely on historical distance, which can make leaders look more independent and decisive than they really were:

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A Rocket Launch Gone Wrong

Oct 30 2014 @ 9:39am

On Tuesday, the unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after launching:

Ioffe highlights Russia’s reaction:

Russia Today reported that the Antares rocket was “American-Ukrainian,” and other outlets ran with it. The spectacular failure, wroteone Russian tabloid, “is the work of Ukrainian and American specialists.” The rocket, based loosely on the Soviet Zenit rocket, was designed by the originally Soviet, now Ukrainian, Yuzhnoe Design Bureau, according to various Russian news sites. … It would be perfectif only the Russians were right about the Antares’ origins. But it turns out that the rocket’s engine, like the engines of other privately-made American rockets, was made in … Russia.

Justin Bachman provides more background on the rocket design:

The Soviet-era AJ-26 engine was designed in the 1960s as part of Russia’s space race with the U.S., originally envisioned as a way to propel cosmonauts to the moon. The engines are “refurbished and Americanized,” Frank Culbertson, the Orbital Sciences executive in charge of the NASA program, said Tuesday night in a news conference, defending the AJ-26 as “very robust and rugged” and with a successful track record.

At least one person in the industry disagrees.

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Charles Kenny delivers a reality check:

It’s not just that the link between growth and particular policies is weak—so is the link between growth and politicians as a whole, whatever their ideological persuasion. Bill Easterly and Steven Pennings of New York University looked for (PDF) evidence of the impact of national leaders on growth since 1960. Their findings suggest that, if national leaders matter anywhere, it’s in autocracies rather than in democracies like the U.S. and Europe. But even in autocratic regimes it’s hard to pinpoint the influence of individual leaders on economic growth—good or bad. Some leaders were in charge during periods of high growth and some during periods of low growth, but no more often than you would expect if random chance rather than leadership quality was driving the results. Across 50 years and 100 countries, they suggest, 2 percent of the variation in growth rates might be explained by political leaders—with 98 percent accounted for by other factors.

Leather Bound

Oct 30 2014 @ 8:14am

photo-12

Ever heard of a leather postcard?

Leather postcards were first made in 1903. They were a novelty that appealed to tourists. When stitched together, they could be used as a pillow cover or wall hanging. The holes along the edge could also be used to attach fringe. The cards were made of deer hide and the pictures burned in. The U.S. post office banned leather postcards in 1907 because they jammed postage-canceling machines. Leather cards continued to be made as souvenirs until about 1910.

An avid antiquer on Ebay elaborates:

During the Victorian Era, the term pyrography was coined to describe the artistic use of fire to create graphics on numerous materials such as wood and leather.

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John Ahlquist and Scott Gehlbach take down the study that claimed they did, pointing out that its limitations “are, in fact, numerous”:

Their estimates rely on a key question from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study: “Are you registered to vote?” Notably, this is not the same question as “Are you registered to vote in the United States?” In principle, non-citizens could be registered to vote only in their home country and respond affirmatively, and truthfully, to the question on the survey.

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The Best Of The Dish Today

Oct 29 2014 @ 9:15pm

Tough Mudder London South 2014

Another note on the swift descent of ethical journalism. One concern I’ve repeatedly voiced is that at some point, corporations will simply dispense with “sponsored content” on existing publications and create newspapers and magazines for themselves. Since the Fourth Estate has already abandoned any pretense of being independent of advertizers for their content, it’s a small jump. And here comes Verizon with a new website:

The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.

It gets worse, doesn’t it?

Today, we revisited the plight of the Yazidis still facing the terror of ISIS; that “chickenshit” Netanyahu; and the broad definition of “sexual assault” that Ivy League higher-ups have signed onto, even if their students don’t quite agree. Plus: the campaign to shut down and even criminalize “toxic male culture”. I also re-engaged Ross Douthat on the issue of pastoral treatment of divorced and re-married Catholics.

Plus: a gorgeous video celebrating New York City and Paris.

The most popular post of the day was A Declaration Of War Against Francis; followed by Does The Self Exist? Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 24 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. Gift subscriptions are available here. Dish t-shirts are for sale here, including the new “Know Dope” shirts, which are detailed here. Below are images for the general design and the DC-specific one (also available are ones for Oregon and Alaska – the two other states voting on legalization Tuesday):

know-dope-shirts

The final email for the day comes from a veteran programmer. I’m going to give her the last word on the gamergate furore:

This is regarding your post about gamergate. I have been a very loyal reader of your blog for more than 10 years now and have been a subscriber for two. I have always dearly admired and respected you. I know this email is long and harshly worded in places, but please take the time to read it. It would mean a lot to me.

Your readers were right to warn you about not writing about that debate. At the very least, you should have researched the industry you were covering before making comments about it. Perhaps you did by reading some extremely lazy leftist writing on the subject (of which there is unfortunately much) or because you’ve been hanging out with Breitbart, who seems to be your ideological bedfellow in this – I don’t know.

[Ed. note: Professional details written here are being left out "because my identity will be easy to determine and it may put my life and that of my family in danger (this happened to other women for much less).] Whom I know is not especially important – the industry is so small that anyone who has been there for as long as I have knows all these same people. (Gamergate doesn’t quite see things that way and continues to weave conspiracy theories about it.) What I mean to convey is how personal all this is to me.

I don’t actually want to bring up the ludicrous “both sides have been bullied” quote, considering that only “one side” has received credible death threats that are being investigated by the FBI. [Ed. note: that "both sides" line was clarified in a follow-up post the reader may have missed.] I don’t mean to complain, because much like all of the mature nerdy adults I know, I’m over it, but I have to ask: do you honestly believe that only nerdy white males exist, that nerdy girls don’t get bullied? (I know I was!) I also had to then deal with not being taken seriously as a “fellow gamer” by the “gamer culture” whose end you’re lamenting for some reason (worry not, it will continue to thrive as is).

And you compare it to gay culture, as if there has ever been any actual or remotely comparable discrimination of gamers! Recall all the gamers who were murdered when they were caught holding hands in public while arranging for DS Download Play on their DSes!

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malcolm-x-carbine-ebony

Over the weekend, Charles C.W. Cooke urged Second Amendment activists to “consider talking a little less about Valley Forge and a little more about Jim Crow”:

Malcolm X may have a deservedly mixed reputation, but the famous photograph of him standing at the window, rifle in hand, insisting on black liberation “by any means necessary,” is about as American as it gets. It should be celebrated just like the “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flag. By not making that connection, the movement is losing touch with one of its greatest triumphs and forsaking a prime illustration of why its cause is so just and so crucial.

Francis Wilkinson finds Cooke’s argument wanting:

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