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pnwmom's Journal
pnwmom's Journal
January 31, 2016

In 2004, 2008, and 2012, more than half of white men and women voted GOP.

Obama won with a minority of white voters -- male and female -- only because he had such strong support among African American and Hispanic voters.

There is no reason to believe that we can win this time if we can't hold Obama's coalition together, with a candidate who appeals strongly to minority voters.

And by the way, they're more religious and more conservative than average white voters.


You don’t believe me? Here are some figures from this year’s exit poll, which the Edison Research company conducts for a consortium of media companies, and from previous ones. In 2004, Bush got fifty-five per cent of the white female vote, and Kerry got forty-four per cent—a “reverse gender gap” (one working in the G.O.P.’s favor) of eleven points. In 2008, McCain got fifty-three per cent of the white female vote, and Obama got forty-six per cent—a gap of seven points. Compared to four years earlier, the reverse gender gap in this demographic had decreased by four points, indicating that the Democrats were making progress in attracting the votes of white women. But this year, that trend turned around again. Far from narrowing further, the reverse gender gap among white women widened to fourteen points. Romney got fifty-six per cent of the white female vote; Obama got just forty-two per cent.

When I first saw these figures, I was surprised, too. How could Obama have done so poorly among white women and yet carried the overall female vote by eleven points—fifty-five per cent to forty-four per cent? The answer is that white females make up a smaller proportion of the overall electorate than they used to—thirty-eight per cent in 2012 compared to forty-one per cent in 2004—and Obama racked up enormous majorities among non-white women, who are growing in numbers. Ninety-six per cent of black women voted for Obama; seventy-six per cent of Hispanic women voted for him; and so did sixty-six per cent of women of other races, including Asians. Since about one in six voters is now a non-white woman, those votes were enough to cancel out the reverse gender gap among white women and turn the female vote as a whole into one of the key elements of Obama’s victory.

January 31, 2016

If you don't hate caucuses yet, you are likely to before this is over.

Did you know, for example, that in a small Iowa precinct -- one with only 2 delegates -- the candidate with only 25% of the vote would get the same number of delegates as the one with 75% of the vote?

And that precinct delegates are then weighted based on how many people showed up to caucus in the previous Presidential election?

And that in the Democratic caucus there is no such thing as a secret ballot, and the whole process can take hours?

And they don't announce the final vote count -- just the delegate count?

All this is on top of the fact that caucuses are designed to limit voter participation, compared to the number who show up for primaries. If you have a class or a job that conflicts with the caucus time -- tough luck. You don't get a vote.

But we're still stuck with it in backwards states like Iowa -- and my own state, Washington (at least for the Dems. WA Repubs accepted the public preference -- as determined by a referendum -- for primaries for their delegate selection. The Dems hung on to their caucuses.)

This article was written at a time when the writer expected that Hillary would be ahead, but the points remain true no matter who gets the most voters to the caucuses. No matter who wins in actual votes, it is not likely to be reflected well in the delegate count -- unless they are very close to being tied anyway.


The complicated rules of the caucus process are inherently tilted toward equalizing the strength of candidates, especially in a two person race. Only the number of delegates awarded in each precinct will be published on caucus night, which means there will be no official record of the candidate’s share of the voters at the caucuses—a figure that will likely more closely mirror the pre-caucus polls.

As a result, Clinton will be at the mercy of a process little changed over generations, in which candidates can tie the delegate count, even if Clinton has far more support inside the room. If Sanders surprises with an upset, by bringing more caucus goers out, he will face a similar result, which looks more like a draw.

Here’s how it works: Each of 1,681 precincts in the state is assigned a delegate count based on its relative strength of Democratic Party within that part of the state. To earn delegates, candidates are required to meet a threshold—25% in two-delegate precincts to 15% in precincts with four or more delegates—in order to earn any delegates from each precinct. (The vast majority of precincts have four or more delegates, requiring the 15% threshold.)

For the large number of precincts with an even number of delegates, however, Clinton would have to win by large majorities in order to net more total delegates than Sanders. In odd-numbered-delegate precincts, barring a blowout, Sanders would still pick up several delegates.


Brandon Holdgrafer, a 20-year-old physiology major, is a good example of Sanders’ challenge.

In between sips of coffee at a Starbucks in Ames, Iowa, Holdgrafer said he feels “really strongly” that Sanders is what the country needs and that he “cares about people.”

Even so, he will not caucus for Sanders. “I’d love to be supportive of him,” said Holdgrafer. “I can’t, I have class,” he said. The same was true for Cesar Victor, a 22-year-old industrial design major, who also has a “time issue.”

January 31, 2016

Hillary's right. Bernie's specific version of Medicare for All has no chance of passing.

It's an extremely complicated plan with sketchy numbers. However, that doesn't mean another single-payer plan could never pass.

For example, instead of making massive changes to Medicare, and pretending it's the same program, we could simply lower the age for the existing Medicare program, step by step. And retain Medicaid for the people who need it.

Another possibility would be to amend the ACA to include a Public Option, as one of the choices on the exchanges. As more and more people opted for it, we could eventually reach the tipping point, where the country would decide that the public option should become the country's universal healthcare plan. Just as we finally reached the tipping point on gay marriage, we could achieve single-payer healthcare by starting one state at a time.

Neither of these plans would be done and finished in a year or two. They would take time. But they could both be achievable, unlike Bernie's pie in the sky plan. And they would build on what we have now, not replace it.

The ACA was a huge achievement for President Obama, after decades of failing to pass any kind of universal health insurance plan. We shouldn't be joining the voices claiming that it's a failure and calling for its repeal -- we should be talking about steady, incremental changes that can make it even better. This is why I support Hillary's healthcare policy. If we convince the voters that the Democrat's ACA was a failure, why would they ever trust us to develop another healthcare plan?

January 31, 2016

The NRA says Hillary and Martin are "enemies of freedom." But not Bernie.

The NRA prefers his gun positions.


Five Biggest Enemies of Freedom

1. Barack Obama

While the President has just a year-and-a-half left to his presidency there is plenty of damage the President can still inflict on gun owners despite the stalemate with a pro-gun Congress. He tried to ban common rifle ammo with the stroke of a pen. He’s fighting to ban 4.2 million seniors on social security from owning guns. And he’s promised to fight for gun control during his last year in office

2. Hillary Clinton

The anti-gun media has all but declared that Hillary Clinton will win the White House in 2016. And if she does, gun owners watch out. Hillary Clinton promised to crack down on gun owners and pass tough new gun laws. Check out what she said about taking on the NRA: “We cannot let a minority of people, and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people, hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”

3. Martin O’Malley

Should Clinton’s campaign crash, the candidate in second place is even worse: gun-grabber-in-chief, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. O’Malley called for a ban on assault weapons and other gun control measures in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. As governor, O’Malley ushered in sweeping anti-gun legislation that bans 45 specific types of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and requires future purchasers of handguns in Maryland to obtain a license to do so.

4.Michael Bloomberg

5. Charles Schumer

And they're also very upset about Hillary's idea that Barack Obama would make a fine Supreme Court Justice -- that's reason enough, they say, to vote for someone else.


Here’s perhaps the most compelling argument we’ve heard against Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.

Continuing her streak of adopting terrible (and perhaps planted) suggestions raised at campaign stops, Clinton on Tuesday called the appointment of Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court “a great idea,” according to an article in the Washington Examiner. . .

As a Supreme Court justice, he would have the power he has always craved as president to “fundamentally transform” America by issuing proclamations about the meaning and scope of the Constitution, all without pesky voters or members of Congress interfering with his plans.

Hillary Clinton has already stated that she believes the Supreme Court was “wrong” to declare that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. There is little doubt that Obama would pass Clinton’s Second Amendment litmus test if she is elected and has the chance to appoint individuals to the Supreme Court.


January 30, 2016

Baltimore Ravens John Urschel's starting his math PhD -- at MIT.

As he was recovering from a concussion in August, he worked on math problems . . .


There's obviously no "off" in the offseason for Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel.

After ending the season as the Ravens' starting center, Urschel announced on Twitter he is starting his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is listed as a graduate student for Spectral Graph Theory, Numerical Linear Algebra and Machine Learning.

After reading that, it feels like Urschel is more likely to be a character on "The Big Bang Theory" than a lineman pushing a 340-pound nose tackle off the line of scrimmage.

Urschel is one of the most unique players in the game and is proving that you can be a student-athlete beyond college. The winner of the "academic Heisman" coming out of Penn State, Urschel had his research published in peer-reviewed academic journals in his spare time. His latest one was titled "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians."


January 30, 2016

Black History month: 28 picture books that aren't about boycotts, buses, or basketball


A few years ago I was asked by a local TV station to suggest some books for children in honor of Black History Month. Being a Black librarian I relished the opportunity, but I did point out that my offerings would avoid the typical fare of Black children’s books: boycotts, buses and basketball. We’ve picked up a few other hobbies since the 1960s, and there are hundreds of books to show for it. Here is a humble sampling of some just in time for Black History Month. 28 children’s picture books, most of them featuring Black children doing what all children do: play, make up stories, learn life lessons, and dream.

I picked titles that came out within the last ten years (or so). I also tried to spread out the gender of the protagonists, as well as put some light on some typically ignored aspects of Black life in books (loving and present fathers, non-urban life, and so on). Books list creators as follows:

January 30, 2016

America's secret history of forced sterilization (on mostly minority women)


Writing for the majority in the Supreme Court’s landmark case, Buck v. Bell, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. described Charlottesville native Carrie Buck as the “probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted,” writing that “her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.” In that ruling, the Court found that that the Virginia Sterilization Act, under which Carrie was sterilized, was Constitutional. Citing the best interests of the state, Justice Holmes affirmed that Virginia’s law was valuable, and that laws like it could prevent the country from being “swamped with incompetence.” The Court accepted, without evidence, that Carrie and her mother were promiscuous and that therefore, the three generations of Bucks shared the genetic trait of feeblemindedness. Based on this assessment, the Court found that it was in the state’s best interest to have Carrie Buck sterilized. The ruling was considered a major victory for eugenicists.

In Monday’s PBS documentary premiere, “No Más Bebés,” Maria Hurtado speaks of the moment she realized that she couldn’t have more children, “They must’ve thought, ‘this woman has so many kids, we’ll just sew her up, so she won’t know that we did the operation.’” Mrs. Hurtado is one of ten plaintiffs who filed a civil rights lawsuit against doctors at the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, claiming that they were sterilized without their consent. Another woman, Conseulo Hermosillo, then 23 years old, didn’t realized that she had been sterilized until she asked her doctor for birth control. Maria Figueroa was raising her young children in East Los Angeles when she learned that she’d been sterilized. Dolores Madrigal and her husband were saving up for a house and more children by working factory jobs. When they learned that Dolores had been sterilized, her family broke apart, as she and her husband dealt with the pain and anger of their crushed dreams. In “No Más Bebés,” filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña tells the story of these Mexican immigrant women who sued a powerful hospital, county doctors, the state of California and the U.S. Government after having been sterilized without their consent.

In the early and mid 1970s a young Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld, working in the obstetrics ward of the L.A. County USC Medical Center in the predominantly Latino Boyle Heights neighborhood of East L.A., began to notice that immigrant women, not fluent in English, were being pushed into tubal ligations while they were in the active late stages of labor. Several of the women in the film remember the moment, while being rushed into the operating room for an emergency C-section, that they were given a piece of paper, in English, to sign. Over several years, Dr. Rosenfeld covertly gathered proof of these sterilizations and sought out the help of a young Chicana attorney, Antonia Hernández, to bring a legal challenge. In 1978, after months of tracking down the women who had been sterilized, Hernández and her clients brought a lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, and asserted that their right to bear children had been violated by coercive sterilization. Anchoring the argument to Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut, Hernandez’ legal strategy was to prove that there is an established individual right to procreate. “No Más Bebés” tells the story of their fight to stop the practice of sterilization without consent.


January 30, 2016

State dept. spokesman: none of the 37 email pages was classified when sent.

The issue is whether any should be retroactively deemed to contain information that should be classified NOW.


Seven email chains are being withheld in their entirety from a release scheduled later Friday for including "top secret" information.

"The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community, because they contain a category of top secret information," State Department spokesman John Kirby said. He added, though, that the messages had not been designated as top secret when they were sent, though the department "is focusing on whether they need to be classified today."


White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the delay in releasing all of Clinton’s emails on Friday.

“I can tell you with full confidence that there is — has been no political interference in this process,” he said. “I think the extraordinary request that Secretary Clinton put forward to actually release her emails is something that, I'm not sure has a precedent, at least for federal office holders.” . . .

“In the context of a presidential campaign, people are going to have a whole bunch of reasons to criticize any of the candidates,” he said. “So it's not surprising to me that there are certain political opponents of Secretary Clinton that are looking for a way to use this situation to criticize her. That is part of the process. And she and her team, I'm confident, will muster a robust defense.”

January 29, 2016

Who had greater authority than Hillary to classify or declassify State Dept info?

Only the President.


Sec. 1.3. Classification Authority.

(a) The authority to classify information originally may be exercised only by:

(1) the President and, in the performance of executive duties, the Vice President;

(2) agency heads and officials designated by the President in the Federal Register; and

(3) United States Government officials delegated this authority pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

As agency head, she was the person with the ultimate authority to classify or declassify all State info. So her determination was the only thing that mattered -- unless President Obama chose to overrule her.

So what is all the fuss about? The fuss is caused by the fact that different agencies have different standards for review. And that, because of the Rethug inspired investigation, which caused her to request that all her emails be released to the public, non-state people are now reviewing the emails and using a process called "retroactive classification" -- which allows them to decide that, in their opinion, some of the emails should have been classified in the first place.


There is plenty more which fair-minded folks should understand in this intentionally contorted matter. Under longstanding law, it is the President of the United States who has first and final authority as to what should be classified as "sensitive information." Then just below the President the heads of agencies (such as the Department of State or the CIA or the Treasury Department, etc.) have the immediate, day to day authority and responsibility to determine what is to be considered sensitive or classified information, and how it is to be treated and safeguarded within each agency. Therefore, each agency may have different rules as to what is to be classified as "national security sensitive." So one should appreciate that the CIA may have far stricter rules concerning classified information than Hillary had as agency head of the State Department.

Also, an agency head such as Hillary Clinton also had the requisite power and authority in her own right (and upon her own say) to declassify formerly classified information, although there is a procedure that should be followed, if time allows for same.

What should be appreciated is that agency heads (like Hillary was) have plenary power concerning sensitive classified information within their respective federal agencies. For example, it would have been well within Hillary's discretion as to whom within her agency would be given clearance to receive and/or read classified information of whatever type and status - be it top secret or otherwise.

She was also empowered to give people outside her agency special clearance to read classified information if it might help her and her agency to better understand a particular political issue. (Doesn't the name of Bloomberg come into play here?) Well folks, this happens all the time within the various federal agencies (think Henry Kissinger advising Presidents over the years while he was a civilian). Of course the CIA does this and quite often. We probably can't count the number of times that individuals working for Blackwater were read into CIA classified material - even the top secret kind - during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Furthermore, an agency head, and particularly Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State, had plenary authority to determine where and under what circumstances sensitive information might be stored. This determination is done all the time when embassies and CIA fronts, across the world open up, close down, or move. Additionally, there are many, many Department of State offices around the world that are authorized to receive and store sensitive information which are not located in the main Department of State Building located in Washington, D.C..

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