Thursday, May 26, 2016

Short Takes

Next: Taliban appoints new leader.

Eleven states make a federal case out of peeing in private.

The T.S.A. says long lines at airports are here for a while.

The housing market recorded their best gains in 24 years in April.

The Tigers lost 8-5 to the Phillies.

Tropical Update: Invest 91L gets an early start on the season.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Short Takes

The U.S. will seek the death penalty in the case of the Charleston shooter.

President Obama chided Vietnam on human rights.

Federal judge rules against Ohio’s limits on early voting.

Cuba will legalize small and medium-sized private business.

U.S.-allied forces launched an offensive against ISIS in Syria.

The Tigers beat the Phillies 3-1.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Short Takes

Austria: The racist xenophobic right-wing candidate narrowly lost the presidential election.

Baltimore: One of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted in a bench trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the conviction of a black man found guilty by an all-white juror based on overwhelming evidence of racism.

That’s Hot: Temperatures in India hit 123.8 F.

Tropical Update: It’s a little early, but there’s something brewing in the ocean.

The Tigers beat the Phillies 5-4.

Monday, May 23, 2016

It’s (Not) Only May

The Detroit Tigers are not quite in the cellar in the American League Central Division — thank you, Minnesota Twins — but today they have a .488 record and they’re 4.5 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox.

But hey, it’s only May and a lot of things can happen between now and the end of the season.  A lot of teams have come from behind to win and even go on and win the World Series.  The Tigers have good hitters, they’ve got a few good pitchers, and they could pull it off with some teamwork and good offense.  But right now they don’t look so hot.

The same can be said for the Democrats.  Compared to the GOP, they should be running the bases at a trot, and either one of their candidates should be leading the presumptuous Republican nominee by double digits purely based on qualifications and demeanor.  But right now they have problems.

As Josh Marshall points out, the Democrats are still battling it out over their nominee while the Republicans have already sealed their fate.  It’s normal for there to be tough numbers for the candidate who has yet to secure the nomination.

The first is that there’s a very real chance that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States, a prospect which should genuinely scare people in a way that a conventional, even very conservative, Republican would not. The second is that Trump’s move into what is for now something like a dead heat is largely or perhaps entirely do to the fact that Republicans are consolidating around their nominee in advance of Democrats doing the same, something that seemed wildly improbable in March or even April.

Another way to look at this is that these results is that they should be deeply worrisome to you if you’re expecting that Hillary Clinton is going to win in a blow out in November. On the other hand, these numbers should be mildly encouraging if you recognize the powerful draw of partisan alignment (the fact that partisans of both parties, but especially Republicans, will fall in line behind almost anyone from their party) and the difficulties of either party winning a third presidential term in office.

The key is that even with what should be a momentary advantage (having Republicans unify while Democrats are still battling it out) Trump is still at best even and probably a couple points back. As long as Democrats can unify in the relatively near future, Hillary Clinton should get her own nudge forward in the polls, enough to give her a meaningful though not large advantage. As Philip Bump notes here, a whole party is currently running against Hillary Clinton. No one is yet running a campaign against Donald Trump.


One of the revealing nuggets of information from the recent NYT/CBS poll was that 72% of Bernie supporters say they plan to vote for Clinton against Trump. That compares to 60% of Hillary supporters who said the same thing about Obama in the same poll eight years ago. As we know, virtually all of Hillary’s supporters went on to vote for Obama. (People are often not the best predictors of their own actions.) We should expect pretty much the same this year. Indeed, this poll says they’re already substantially further along in that direction. But of course the difference between 90% and 95% and 99% of Sanders supporters voting for Clinton makes all the difference in the world. And whether Sanders lines up unambiguously and strongly behind Clinton will be key for that pretty small – but still critical – number who could go either way.

The difference between the Democrats and the Detroit Tigers — other than that fact that I’m pretty sure Bernie Sanders can’t hit a sinker — is that the fans really can’t do much to get their team to win other than cheer them on from the bleachers.  They can’t go out in the field and back up the outfield or pinch hit when Miggy has a slump.

But Democrats can do something.  They can go out and work the field by contacting their local party office and seeing what they can do to get the vote out, support local candidates, and if there’s a good Democrat running against an entrenched Republican member of Congress, at least stir up the dust.  If you can’t contribute monetarily, sign up to walk the precincts, get a yard sign, speak up to your friends and co-workers, write letters to editors, get involved.  Don’t expect the other person to do all the work because that’s what they’re thinking: someone else will do it.

Yeah, it’s only May.  But time flies, and in elections you can’t say, “Wait ’til next year.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Short Takes

Possible terror link to Egyptair crash.

Oklahoma passes bill making abortion a felony.

House GOP reverses course on LGBT amendment; tempers flare.

GOP senator apologized to Muslims on his deathbed.

Clinton leads Sanders and Trump in NY Times/CBS poll.

The Tigers had the night off.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Short Takes

Egyptair flight from Paris to Cairo disappears from radar over Mediterranean.

One of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram escaped after two years of captivity.

The Labor Department announced new rules that will allow millions of workers to collect overtime.

Mudslides in Sri Lanka displaced thousands of people.

A federal judge in Kansas ruled against the state’s strict voter registration rules.

Donald Trump listed the eleven people who will never serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Tigers completed the sweep of the Twins 6-3.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Takes

Senate confirms Eric Fanning, first openly gay Secretary of the Army.

TSA apologizes, promises hundreds of new staffers at O’Hare.

Senate passes bill to allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.

Human error, high speed blamed for deadly train wreck in Philadelphia last year.

Better late than never: Court orders Mississippi school district to desegregate.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau introduces bill to protect transgender rights.

The Tigers beat the Twins 7-2.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Short Takes

The president of Brazil awaits impeachment vote.

Colorado Springs shooting suspect declared incompetent to stand trial.

Two earthquakes hit off coast of Taiwan.

Debris pieces “almost certainly” from missing plane MH370.

No love lost between Harry Reid and Alan Grayson.

Former Tiger Max Scherzer ties MLB record with 20 strikeouts against his old team.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Short Takes

President Obama will visit Hiroshima.

Bangladesh executes leader of Islamist party.

Kentucky hit by tornadoes.

Bernie Sanders wins the West Virginia primary.

Hillary Clinton advocates greater access to Medicare.

Ted Cruz threatens to re-enter the race.

The Tigers finally won 5-4 against the Nationals, ending their 7-game losing streak.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Short Takes

Negotiations are going on to try to keep the Syrian ceasefire going.

Two suicide bombs in Iraq killed over thirty people.

Feds foil plot to bomb synagogue in Aventura, a suburb of Miami.

U.S. cruise ship arrives in Havana for the first time in more than fifty years.

Telescope spots three Earth-sized planets orbiting ultracool dwarf star.

The Tigers had the night off.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Short Takes

Bernie Sanders cuts back on staff as chances for nomination dwindle.

Donald Trump outlines a bombastic, isolationist, incoherent foreign policy.

U.N. envoy says Syrian cease fire still in place “but barely.”

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert gets 15 months in prison.

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez arrested for domestic violence.

The Tigers beat the A’s 9-4.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Short Takes

Ecuador earthquake toll passes 240.

Brazilian congress votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

OPEC fails to reach agreement on freezing oil production.

Airline pilot reports drone strike near London airport.

Rough weather in the Rockies and Midwest.

The Tigers won two of three from the Astros over the weekend.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Short Takes

Nine dead from 6.4 earthquake in Japan.

Canada proposes a physician-assisted suicide law.

Microsoft sues U.S. over gag orders on search warrants.

Coal in the red: Peabody Energy files for Chapter 11.

R.I.P. Anne Jackson, legendary actor on stage and screen.

The Tigers beat the Pirates 7-4.