Trump Is a LOSER

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Palin’s Trump Endorsement Is Her Ultimate Betrayal of John McCain

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Political news this week has been dominated by Donald Trump’s latest spotlight-grabbing stunt — his endorsement by Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, whose ineptitude and stubborn ignorance were major factors in the GOP’s loss to Barack Obama that year.

“He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”
– Donald Trump, smearing John McCain’s military service in July

In rescuing Palin from well-earned obscurity and thrusting her onto the national stage again, Trump got what he wanted, at least in the short term. Coverage of Palin’s word-salad-y endorsement speech led the nightly news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC Monday night. Both legit cable news networks, MSNBC and CNN covered the event live, as did Fox.

But in her MSNBC show that night Rachel Maddow made a point that everyone else overlooked.

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Sarah Palin: Pre-Primary Endorsing Poetess or Post-Literate Endorseress?

Eric Thayer for The New York Times
Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The New York Times offers a tongue-in-cheek analysis of Sarah Palin’s Donald Trump endorsement speech delivered in her unique oratorical style in Ames, Iowa, yesterday.

In “The Most Mystifying Lines of Sarah Palin’s Endorsement Speech,” reporter Michael Barbaro attempts to parse the 10 most memorable lines from Palin’s address, which, he says, “has been described as performance art, a filibuster, even slam poetry.”

Here’s an example:

“He is from the private sector, not a politician. Can I get a ‘Hallelujah!’ ”

Mrs. Palin goes godly as she enthuses about the business world.

GOP Adulterers Trump and Fiorina Have No Business Attacking Other People’s Marriages

Left:  Donald Trump with third wife, Melania, and their son, Barron; right: Carly Fiorina with second husband, Frank, on the campaign trail
Left: Donald Trump with third wife, Melania, and their son, Barron; right: Carly Fiorina with second husband, Frank, on the campaign trail

Given the Republican Party’s irresistible urge to poke their noses in the Clintons’ private lives — they spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the then-First Couple in the In the 1990s and then spent million more on a failed impeachment over a sex lie Bill told under oath — it is not surprising that the 2016 GOP candidates are raising Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a way to attack his wife.

Republicans also have a tendency to crow about the value of “traditional marriage” while simultaneously cheating on their spouses — we have been cataloging the hypocrisy of these GOP adulterers for the past decade.

Now we’re adding two more to the list.

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Which Candidate Matches You on the Issues?

voting-boothYou can take a quiz to find out which presidential candidate (if any) most closely matches up with your core values. Then you’ll know how to vote!

Almost 25 million of your fellow Americans have employed the quiz to tell them whom to support in the coming election based on their values and stances on a variety of issues. So don’t be a low-information voter anymore, let the Interwebs tell you who you should vote for!

Suggestion: When taking the survey, check the “other stances” selection to give a more nuanced response and don’t forget to click on the slider that indicates how important each issue is to you.

Full disclosure: I sided 92% of the time with Bernie Sanders, 88% with Hillary Clinton and 72% with Martin O’Malley — not surprising. More disturbing, however, were my match-ups with Republicans: 21% with Donald Trump, 20% with Ben Carson and 19% with Ted Cruz.

Obviously, I’ve got some naval-staring to do …

Make Reading the News More Enjoyable

Cartoon website xkcd.com offers the following list of suggested word substitutions to make reading the daily news — especially political reporting — much more entertaining.

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No More Plastic Microbeads. Thanks, Obama!

beadsJust when you think Obama can’t do anything cooler, he does it.

Here’s some news to end 2015 on a high note. Pres. Obama has signed a ban on plastic microbeads. Who cares, you ask? You should. This is huge.

A microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing, according to the bill.

These tiny plastic beads have become ubiquitous in hundreds of products ranging from body scrubs to toothpastes. They provide an exfoliating sensation for users and are designed to wash down drains.

Toothpaste? Who knew? That means most of us have been ingesting plastic microbeads for years. I bet if you took a random poll of any group of people and asked if they prefer to brush their teeth with plastic microbeads or something they recognize on the label like say, baking soda, they’d choose the baking soda.

It’s not just us swallowing all this tiny plastic. Would you like the catch of the day fried, blackened or grilled, and with or without plastic microbeads?

In September, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology reported that more than 8 trillion microbeads were entering the country’s aquatic habitats daily. The volume was enough to coat the surface of 300 tennis courts every day…

Not only are they hard to clean up because they are about the size of a pinhead…Some marine life mistake small plastic as food particles. Scientists are researching whether microplastics affect the health of marine life once ingested and if chemicals transfer to humans who eat those species later, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Yes, he turned around the economy, but banning plastic microbeads is one big reason we’re going to miss Pres. Obama, even if the next president is a Democrat.

Why Do So Many People Believe Donald Trump?

BS DetectorGOP primary candidate Carly Fiorina offered the Washington Post the most succinct analysis of Donald Trump’s campaign behavior: “This is the pattern, isn’t it? The pattern is — he says something insulting, offensive and outrageous; the media pays attention; then he claims we all misunderstood him.”

By “we” Fiorina probably meant members of the press and other smart, analytical people who listen closely, pay attention and maintain a healthy skepticism. That is as opposed to less educated, non-analytical, more emotional people who believe in angels and American exceptionalism who don’t misunderstand Trump, but instead take his every outrageous declaration as true, sincerely delivered and above argument.

A recent study titled “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit,” published in Judgment and Decision Making 2015 by Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler, & Jonathan A. Fugelsang, may offer some insight into why people believe what Trump says. The study focused on “pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous.”

Before delving into the study itself and its results, let’s consider what Donald Trump has said during the current campaign. Here’s a sampling:

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Country Scratching Its Head After Planned Parenthood Shooting

Guess We Need More Information Before We Say Republicans Have Blood on Their Hands
It's too early to say the Republicans have blood on their hands
It’s too early to say the Republicans have blood on their hands

No one can figure out the motives yet of the 57-year-old white guy who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. The nightmare happened only two days ago and officials caution it’s way too soon to reach any conclusions about why the man, who lived in a “hermit’s shanty” in the woods, would kill three people and wound nine.

We don’t have enough information yet to say that it’s too easy for a person with this guy’s history who lives in a lean-to in the woods without electricity to arm himself with the very latest technology in automatic weapons

…the suspect accused of carrying out the shooting spree, Robert Lewis Dear, made remarks about “baby parts” to investigators after his surrender, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Dear, 57, told them he has anti-abortion and anti-government views, but that doesn’t mean those opinions were his motive for allegedly shooting up the Colorado Springs clinic on Friday, the official said. It’s too early to tell, as investigators are still processing evidence.

Yes, just because the shooter talked about body parts after he surrendered doesn’t mean the bloodbath had anything to do with the recent video trumped up by an anti-abortion group to smear Planned Parenthood. That video was edited to make it appear that a Planned Parenthood employee talked about preserving fetal tissue for research, but it’s just too soon to know if that’s what moved the suspect.

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This Generic GOP Stump Speech Could Be Used by Any Republican Candidate

Podium

FiveThirtyEight asked former Republican speechwriter Barton Swaim to write a ?totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary GOP presidential candidate. If you’d like to see the version with Swaim’s annotations, go here.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Who’s ready to stand up for America? [applause] Who’s ready to take this country back? [applause] Who’s ready to send a message to the elites in Washington? [slightly waning applause]

You know, the Democrats want to make this election complicated. They want to convince you that taking more money out of the private sector and giving it to bureaucrats in Washington will somehow improve the economy.

How would that work? They’ll tell you, “It’s complicated; just trust us.”

They want to convince you that giving Iran’s extremist thugs whatever they want — and trusting that they won’t build a nuclear weapon — will somehow make the Middle East more stable.

How, exactly? “Well, it’s complicated. Just trust us. Just trust the Obama administration. Just trust the Democratic leadership in Congress, like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.”

They’re going to try to convince you that putting government in charge of your health insurance is somehow going to improve our health care system. You might wonder how putting government in charge of anything makes it more efficient or improves its quality.

It hasn’t exactly worked that way with the Postal Service, but hey — it’s complicated. You’ll just have to trust them.

[pause; wait for a few people to boo]

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