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First time we’ve had a post from Nate Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight. That’s the number of votes in the electoral college. Silver posts on the gaffe in the Iowa senate race.
We recently published a forecast that described the GOP as more likely than not to win the U.S. Senate in November. But our analysis was less bullish on Republicans’ prospects of flipping the seat in Iowa currently held by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring. There, Democrats appeared to have a strong candidate in Rep. Bruce Braley, who has cleared his primary field. Republicans, meanwhile, face a contentious primary with a number of candidates who have never won races for statewide or federal office.
After we published our forecast, the Republican PAC America Rising released a video of Braley, who represents the 1st Congressional District, referring to Iowa’s other senator, Chuck Grassley, as a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” The comment might seem ill-considered in a state that generates the fourth-highest income per capita from crop production. It has sparked plenty of attention in the local news media; the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s newspaper of record, has published at least 14 pieces on Braley’s comment.
Is Braley’s remark another thing for Democrats to worry about — or is it the latest example of a purported “game changer” that will prove to have little effect?
Gaffes often resonate more with the news media than with voters. A reasonably large body of political science research has found their impact is usually overstated by those who cover campaigns. Take the examples of two other incidents that Braley’s comment has been compared to. …
… One problem for the GOP is that the Republican field in Iowa remains divided, with at least four plausible nominees. Joni Ernst, a state senator who has recently been endorsed by Romney and Sarah Palin, has so far done the most to play up her farming heritage and pivot off of Braley’s remark. But she was polling at just 13 percent before Braley’s comment. (There have been no polls of the primary since then.)
Furthermore, the decisions about which races deserve party resources involve trade-offs. Had Democrats lost Virginia by 9,000 votes in 2006, rather than winning it by that margin, their attention to the state might have seemed imprudent in retrospect.
But Iowais a more plausible option for Republicans than it was a week ago. Braley has made their path to a Senate majority a little more robust.
Peter Beinart says David Brock is wrong and that the media should be rough on Hillary.
The media loves conversion stories. So when David Brock, who once rummaged through Little Rock in pursuit of Bill Clinton’s dirty laundry, returned to the city yesterday to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, both The New York Times and Politico took notice. Brock, Politico reported, came to Little Rock to “explain his transformation” from Clinton-hater to Clinton-defender. But his speech inadvertently did something else. It showed that in his approach to politics, David Brock hasn’t changed much at all.
Brock’s core argument was that as we approach 2016, mainstream journalists must stay far away from the anti-Clinton attack journalism peddled by the partisan right. In explaining why, Brock cited his own work in the early 1990s for the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded “Arkansas Project,” in which he dug up “a kitchen-sink-full of preposterous allegations,” many of which entered mainstream publications, but “almost none” of which “turned out to be true.”
Really? Many of the Arkansas Project allegations—that the Clintons oversaw a cocaine-smuggling ring, that they ordered the murder of Vince Foster—were of course preposterous. But Brock also uncovered a woman named “Paula,” who later alleged that while working as an Arkansas state employee, she was escorted by Governor Clinton’s bodyguard to his hotel room. There, she claims, Clinton exposed himself and demanded sex. When Paula Jones leveled her allegations, mainstream reporters like The Washington Post’s Michael Isikoff and The American Lawyer’s Stuart Taylor did exactly what Brock now says the media should not: They looked into it. And they concluded that—although Jones was clearly being used by Clinton’s political enemies—her story had merit. (If you doubt that, read Taylor’s summary in Slate of his much-longer American Lawyer investigation into what likely transpired between Clinton and Jones on May 8, 1991. It’s horrifying). …
Der Spiegel interviews airline pilot and author about the fate of MH370.
SPIEGEL: Captain Palmer, was MH370 downed by terrorists?
Palmer: There’s no evidence at all for terrorism. All the information that has been disclosed publicly so far is consistent with a purely mechanical cause.
SPIEGEL: Are those pilots in your view heroes or failures?
Palmer: I believe they had a major malfunction and tried to deal with it. And they were unable to. …
John Fund spots a greenie who’s come to his senses.
Environmentalist and scientist James Lovelock has some cautionary words about the dire predictions in the new United Nations report on climate change. He tellsBritain’s leftist newspaper the Guardian that environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough heed to facts.
Lovelock himself became something of a guru to environmentalists in the 1960s when his Gaia hypothesis postulated that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that has a regulatory effect on the Earth’s environment that acts to sustain life.
Now Lovelock says of his warnings of catastrophe in his 2006 book, Revenge of Gaia: “It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.”
“It [the impact from climate change] could be terrible within a few years, though that’s very unlikely, or it could be hundreds of years before the climate becomes unbearable,” he said.
That’s not the end of the 94-year-old Lovelock’s heresies. As the Guardian reports:
Lovelock reiterated his support for fracking for shale gas, which has been strongly backed by David Cameron and the government but vigorously opposed by anti-fracking activists and local people at sites from Salford to Balcombe in West Sussex.
“The government is too frightened to use nuclear, renewables won’t work — because we don’t have enough sun — and we can’t go on burning coal because it produces so much CO2, so that leaves fracking. It produces only a fraction of the amount of CO2 that coal does, and will make Britain secure in energy for quite a few years. We don’t have much choice,” he said.
Want to know what it was like when people prayed for global warming? The NY Times, of all places
CLIMATOLOGISTS call it the Little Ice Age; historians, the General Crisis.
During the 17th century, longer winters and cooler summers disrupted growing seasons and destroyed harvests across Europe. It was the coldest century in a period of glacial expansion that lasted from the early 14th century until the mid-19th century. The summer of 1641 was the third-coldest recorded over the past six centuries in Europe; the winter of 1641-42 was the coldest ever recorded in Scandinavia. The unusual cold that lasted from the 1620s until the 1690s included ice on both the Bosporus and the Baltic so thick that people could walk from one side to the other.
The deep cold in Europe and extreme weather events elsewhere resulted in a series of droughts, floods and harvest failures that led to forced migrations, wars and revolutions. The fatal synergy between human and natural disasters eradicated perhaps one-third of the human population.
There are two ways to consider the impact of climate change. We can predict the future based on current trends or we can study a well-documented episode of the past. …