The Morning Grumpy – 11/12/12

12 Nov

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. It’s nice to get some hometown media love for the Cash Mob effort. Many thanks to Steve Watson for his profile of the Cash Mob movement in yesterday’s Buffalo News and  for featuring Santiago Masferrer of El Buen Amigo (a real community hero) in the article and photos. I’ll be announcing another cash mob that will happen this Friday, so stay tuned here or follow Buffalo Cash Mob on Facebook for updates.

2. After each Presidential election, Dr. Mark Newman of the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Complex Systems puts together fascinating maps of the results.  Here are the 2012 presidential election results on a cartogram (a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population):

One way to improve the map and reveal more nuance in the vote is to use not just two colors, red and blue, but to use red, blue, and shades of purple in between to indicate percentages of votes. Here is what the cartogram looks like if you do this.

“Center-right nation”, my ass.

3. Last week, former George W. Bush speechwriter, David Frum (the guy responsible for the “axis of evil” line), appeared on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC to discuss the outcome of the Presidential election. What he had to say was fascinating.

“I believe the Republican Party is a party of followership. The problem with the Republican leaders is that they’re cowards….The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past four years. And that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won’t soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of a major conservative institution when he told me that our donors think the apocalypse has arrived. Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex….Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces the nature–I mean, it’s just a simple question. I went to Tea Party rallies and I would ask this question: “have taxes gone up or down in the past four years?” They could not answer that question correctly. Now it’s true that taxes will go up if the President is re-elected. That’s why we’re Republicans. But you have to know that taxes have not gone up in the past. And “do we spend a trillion dollars on welfare?” Is that true or false? It is false. But it is almost universally believed. That means that the leaders have no space to operate.”

Yet another voice of the Republican establishment pleading with the leaders of the party to get out of the self-contained nonsense bubble they operate in and to start functioning in the real world.

4. The Nation magazine breaks down Obama’s election mandate, by the numbers, which amounts to a progressive surge.

1. Barack Obama has won an overwhelming majority in the Electoral College, a daunting majority of the popular vote and a majority of the nation’s states—including most of the country’s largest states and states in every major region of the republic: New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, the South, the Southwest, the Mountain West and the West.

2. Barack Obama has won more popular votes than any Democratic candidate for president in history—except Barack Obama in 2008.

3. Barack Obama is the first Democratic president to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote in a re-election run since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.

4. Barack Obama is the only Democratic candidate for president since FDR to twice win more than 50 percent of the national vote.

5. Barack Obama has, in both of his presidential runs, won a higher percentage of the national vote than any Democratic nominee since Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 landslide victory.

6. Democrats won the most votes cast in contested House races. It can well be argued that only redistricting abuses and Karl Rove’s money prevented Democrats from retaking the US House. An analysis compiled the day after the election found that 53,952,240 votes were cast for Democrats seeking House seats, while just 53,402,643 votes were cast for Republicans. That 500,000-plus advantage for the Democrats has been steadily increasing as votes from Democratic states such as Washington and Oregon continue to be counted, along with provisional ballots. FairVote’s Rob Richie explains that because of the structural advantages created by Republicans through their control of state-based redistricting processes, the Democrats did not just need to win a majority of the votes—as they did. “Democrats would have needed to win 55% of the national vote to earn a House majority.”

It is an emerging and durable political coalition that is built upon massive changes in voter demographics. In 2004, Rove and Bush thought they were building a durable coalition, but it was based upon ideological and religious issues that was not sustainable as the demographics changed over time. In fact, evangelical voters voted in higher numbers than in 2004 and still couldn’t keep pace with the larger changes in the electorate.

5. A photographer named James Balog has spent years taking pictures of melting glaciers to provide undeniable evidence of climate change. The photos are fascinating and frightening.

Fact Of The Day: The longest Wikipedia article is the list of advanced 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons monsters.

Quote Of The Day: “The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Springsteen Of The Day: Prove it all Night (with ’78 intro) – Citizens Bank Park – Sept 3, 2012

Song Of The Day: “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes

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3 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – 11/12/12”

  1. Jesse Griffis November 12, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    ““Center-right nation”, my ass.”

    Given that Obama is a center-right politician, and that true left-wing politicians in America are as rare as successful Libertarian party candidates, yeah, I’d say we’re a center-right nation.

    When you guys start fighting for anti-war policies and a devolution of the power of the Executive branch, let me know.

    • Jim_Holstun November 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Yeah, “center-right” pretty much captures it–that’s better than “hard right,” but nobody seems to care that Obama still has his kill list (“Barack Obama: He Put the ‘Execute’ Back into the Executive Branch!”), and he continues to coddle the Wall Street Gang.

      But there may be some reasons for hope (“lead from below”-style) in the recent election:

  2. Tom Beecher November 12, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    David Frum is legit. I could listen to him for hours. The current Republican party should model themselves after him. 

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