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Jim Lane

Profile Information

Name: Jim Lane
Gender: Male
Hometown: Jersey City
Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 10:22 AM
Number of posts: 9,863

About Me

I spend most of my online time on Wikipedia, where we desperately need more people to help counter right-wing bias. Please PM me whenever you want help with a Wikipedia-related issue. (Remember that Wikipedia material must be neutral, but we can and should include facts that conservatives would prefer to suppress.)

Journal Archives

What sources do Sanders supporters use?

A post in the Hillary Clinton Group asserted that posts about Sanders "all come from Vermont Newspapers and quite liberal ones" whereas posts about Clinton were to right-wing sources. I hadn't noticed any such thing, and I thought that the writer's opinion reflected confirmation bias, as did the agreement it received in that group.

Lacking the time or energy to do a comprehensive analysis, I went to the Bernie Sanders Group homepage and checked out the first 20 listed posts that had a source. With multiple sources, I used the first, except that I'd never heard of macombpolitics.com and didn't bother to investigate it, so I used the second source from that post.

My breakdown:
* Sanders-ish sources, 5 (pro-Sanders Facebook page, berniepost.com, email from Sanders, pro-Sanders video, Sanders subreddit)
* Other left-wing/progressive, 6 (KPFA {Pacifica radio station}, ActBlue, Young Democrats of Puerto Rico, Rolling Stone, nationofchange.org, The Ed Show)
* MSM/neutral, 8 (San Francisco Chronicle {tweet from reporter}, ontheissues.org, salon.com, New York Times, uspresidentialelectionnews.com, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, MSNBC {Morning Joe}) (MSNBC leans more left than right but Morning Joe is their leading right-wing show so I average it out to neutral for this interview with Sanders conducted by Joe and Mika together)
* Right-wing, 1 (Politico, an article critical of Sanders that was posted for discussion)

In this limited sample, there are no Vermont newspapers. There isn't a blizzard of Clinton attacks from right-wing sources. My own opinion is that such sources shouldn't get either blanket acceptance or blanket dismissal. If an article in the Wall Street Journal presents an analysis of FEC contribution data, it's probably accurate as far as it goes; people on DU are smart enough to note that there may be selection bias in what information was presented. The Wall Street Journal is a far cry from World Net Daily, an outpost of the truly lunatic right.

More generally, it's legitimate for DUers to consider each candidate's general-election prospects. When Clinton supporters bring up "socialism" (as they so often do), I don't think they're red-baiting. Their point is that, if Sanders is the nominee, this will be used to bash him, whether or not we think the attack has merit. Well, what's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. People who oppose Clinton can reasonably report on right-wing attacks that may resonate in November.

Clinton supporters, you're the minority here, so you'll be exposed to more negative stuff than will Sanders supporters. Deal with it. Console yourselves with the thought that Chafee, O'Malley, and Webb would love to be getting as much attention, even negative attention, as Clinton is, on DU and nationwide.

Electoral-vote.com is back

In recent cycles, one of my favorite sites has been http://www.electoral-vote.com. It's notable in the run-up to presidential elections for doing state-by-state poll aggregation, updated for each new poll that comes out. It also provides polling data on downticket races. It goes beyond poll numbers with commentary and links to interesting MSM stories.

After the December 7, 2014 final recap of the midterms, the site stopped updating. Its proprietor said its future was "up in the air." I've been checking in occasionally to see if he resumed.

This month, he did. Those of you who, like me, have missed the site, will find it available again. (I just finished binge-reading all his August updates.) I thought about posting this news in General Discussion: Primaries but there's quite a bit of material about the Republican primaries so I thought it fit here better.

Skepticism about divestment and McKibben

A veteran environmentalist sent me a link to this article: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street.

The article is long, with detailed denunciation of the idea of a carbon "budget" that would allow some safe burning of fossil fuels. The author's view of divestment is that it is essentially a distraction, functioning to shield from scrutiny the actions of the people who are really the problem -- the global rich (including many of us!) who are generating most of the current emissions.

An excerpt from her summary:

• {The global Divestment campaign} provides a moral alibi and evokes illusions of white saviour/moral superiority of those that divest/divest-invest while the very people divesting are those that comprise the 1% creating 50% of all global GHG emissions (anyone who can afford to board an airplane). Shuffling their investments does not change this fact or alleviate/absolve one’s role in accelerating climate change and ecological destruction.
• Protesting fossil fuels cannot and will not have any effect on fossil fuel consumption, production or destruction without legitimately and radically addressing Annex I consumption, economic growth under the capitalist system, human population (specifically in Annex I nations), the military industrial complex and industrial factory farming.
• The chosen campaign of divestment rather than the boycott of fossil fuels in combination with proposed sanctions on fossil fuel corporations demonstrates the insincerity of the campaign and its true intentions as sought (and developed) by its funders.


(Incidentally, the "Annex I nations" -- listed here -- are essentially the industrialized countries.)

For my part, I've been skeptical of the common analogy to the anti-apartheid campaign to divest from South Africa. A big multinational corporation might have been getting only a tiny fraction of its profits from its South African operations. If the price of that small profit was constant hassle and boycotting and bad publicity in the United States and other major markets, then it was plausible to hope that the company would decide to get out of South Africa, just on the basis of costs and benefits (i.e., morality aside). By contrast, it is not plausible to hope that BP or its ilk will get out of the fossil fuel business.

I credit the divestment proponents with good intentions, but I fail to see how the movement would have any effect on fossil fuel consumption, other than as an indirect vehicle for publicizing the problem, and in that respect it seems very inefficient.

Question re hearing aid/smartphone/audiobook combo

I'm doing a complete tech overhaul. Right now I have no hearing aid; my cell phone is a $20 flip phone; and, because I have to spend a lot of time on buses and can't read on the bus, I listen to recorded books on CD's on a personal CD player, often unable to hear them well enough because of background noise.

I'm resigned to getting a hearing aid. Despite the hideous expense, I really need it. What I want to do is have a complete package: a hearing aid that communicates directly with a new phone (my understanding is that there are compatible pairings with wireless communication), and also be able to download and listen to recorded books. I don't want to discover that one component doesn't work with another.

Does anyone have experience with this kind of interaction, and can you recommend (or disrecommend) any particular hardware options, for HA or phone? Thanks!

Which Republican would be the toughest opponent in 2016?

This is putting aside the question of who has the best chance to win the nomination, and certainly putting aside any question of who might govern the country slightly less badly than the others. I ask only about his chances in the general election, assuming he gets the nomination.

The DU software can't accommodate the full range of the Republican clown car. I winnowed by using
Chris Cilizza's list in the Washington Post of the ten candidates with the best chance of being the Republican candidate in 2016, except that I had to drop his #10 (Mike Pence) to make room for the "someone else" option.

As a side note, not even making Cilizza's top ten are the retread candidacies of Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, the novelty candidacy of Ben Carson, or the "I hear a call that no one else knows is there" candidacies of Carly Fiorina, Lindsay Graham, and Peter King.

Cilizza put the candidates in order of likelihood of being the nominee but I've alphabetized them.

So, who's their best shot at getting to 270?

Super Bowl betting

During this past week, I read the prediction that, if the two favorites (Seattle and New England) won their conference championships, then the line on the Super Bowl would be Seattle by 2 or 3.

On Sunday, the line did indeed open at Seattle -2.5, but heavy action on the Patriots pushed it to pick 'em. Obviously, bettors were impressed with the way the Patriots demolished the Colts:

“From the beginning of time, people bet what they see last,” said veteran bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich, the William Hill US Director of Trading. “Tonight, that was New England looking really good, and Seattle the luckiest team in the world to be there.”


(from "Early money favors New England over Seattle; line quickly adjusted to pick ’em for Super Bowl 49" in the Las Vegas Sun)

What really surprises me is that the over/under is 48.5. I admit I don't know much about totals betting. Still, the Patriots almost covered that number all by themselves, and the Seahawks demonstrated incredible offensive power in mounting their historic comeback. I thought the over/under would be in the low 50's.
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