Author Archives: Paul Tenny

I'm not a journalist but I do it anyway. I cover elections and have interviewed television writers and producers.

Iowa Republicans censor reporter because of her political views

Republicans/conservatives regularly complain that Twitter and Facebook censor them because of their political views (they don’t), but out here in the real world, there are actual unconstitutional acts of censorship happening, where people are being discriminated against because of their political views.

It’s not liberals or technology companies behind it, it’s Republican elected public servants, people who lied when they swore and oath to protect, uphold, and defend the Constitution:

The Republican-controlled Iowa House defended its decision Friday to deny press credentials to an influential liberal blogger who has covered the Legislature for years, a position that could invite legal action.

Laura Belin, who operates the Bleeding Heartland blog, said the House chief clerk hasn’t cited any valid reason for the denial, which she suspects is tied to her critical coverage of Republican leaders and policies. Belin, who has reported on the Legislature since 2007, has appealed the decision and is considering legal action.

Supposed “constitutional conservatives” will no doubt remain completely silent.

Don’t be so thin-skinned

Most of this advice from Nate Silver this afternoon of things for journalists to do, rather than quitting Twitter completely, is decent enough:

—Stick to topics you know well, or random ephemera. Avoid the middle ground.
—Turn off notifications from people you don’t follow.
—Don’t give too much of a fuck about the idiots. And you usually shouldn’t read the replies.
—If you feel like being combative, punch up & not down.

The advice in bold is pathetic, it reminds me of media companies removing comment sections from their websites. The latter was supposed to improve the experience for readers who didn’t want to see low quality commentary, trolling, and outright garbage feedback. It also threw out the baby with the bathwater, removing quality commentary, citizen fact checking, citizen editing (which is so badly needed when nearly every article and op-ed today is riddled with spelling errors, duplicate words, grammar errors, improper capitalization, double words, etc), valid and insightful counterarguments, and other forms of criticism.

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538: Dems have 75% chance to win House majority

Nate Silver has his model up for projecting control of the House of Representatives after the mid-term election: Democrats have a 75% chance to win a majority of seats. Those are odds you’d rather have than not, but not as strong as you’d instinctively feel.

Republicans retaining control at a 25% chance would not even be an upset — run the mid-term elections, hit the reset switch, and re-run them again three more times and Democrats come out on top 3-of-4 times, Republicans 1-in-4. If I’m not mistaken, Hillary Clinton had something like a 75% chance to win in 2016 and look how that turned out.

This stuff isn’t nearly as simplistic as averaging public polls, these models are very complex that adhere to strict scientific methodology. If you like that sort of thing, go check out the details of the model.

Trump’s vote fraud commission found nothing

ProPublica with the dirt:

In January, when Trump abruptly dissolved the commission, he claimed that it had “substantial evidence of voter fraud” and that the commission’s “initial findings” would be turned over to the Department of Homeland Security. But the documents released today show there was nothing to support these claims. [..] The draft report included a prewritten section called “Evidence of Election Integrity and Voter Fraud Issues.” The section, with few exceptions, wound up almost entirely blank.

The Bush administration ran on the supposed existence of systemic vote fraud, and once in power, thoroughly investigated the issue for nearly half a decade only to come up as blank as the Trump commission report did:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

In other completely unrelated news, Republicans recently voted down legislation in the Senate that would have increased spending on election security by $250 million for the 2018 mid-term election. Nothing to see here. Move along.

QAnon: The deepest, darkest psychotics around

I needed something new to do on my breaks at work after using up all my phone’s data not even two weeks into the month of July, so I loaded my tablet with books and saved articles that I’m finally reading after saving them and then ignoring them for months, if not longer. (Google Books and Amazon’s Kindle app for Android gear are great, as is Pocket for saved stories).

It took a few half-hour breaks to get through it, but Joseph Bernstein’s story about Lane Davis was a compelling, though quite tragic, read that was one of the first things I ventured through after getting myself somewhat disconnected from the online world for 30 minutes of my day.

Lane was my introduction to the far right’s latest psychotic obsession, that all liberals are secret pedophiles who are working together to normalize child abuse. No, really: All of them.

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Hillary Clinton will win tonight, here’s why

2016 US Presidential Election predictionIf you just want my prediction, here it is:

Hillary Clinton: 322 electoral votes
Donald Trump: 216 electoral votes

If you’d like to know why, then there’s four things you need to know about polling right now:

1. National polls don’t matter. They’ve never mattered and the media should stop using them. US Presidential elections are decided by state votes, whoever wins the most electoral votes – each state has at least 1 and the number is based roughly on population – wins the Presidency.

Hillary Clinton will easily win California and its 55 electoral votes. That number – 55– comes from the total number of Representatives and Senators the state has, with the former being based on population determined by the most recent census. California has the most EVs because it has the largest population, while North Dakota has 3 EVs because hardly anybody (by comparison) lives there.

It takes 270 EVs to win the election.

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Thoughts on the VP debate

Profile pictures of Time Kaine and Mike Pence, October 2016.

My hot take on who won the Pence vs. Kaine debate is that Tim Kaine won simply because he did his job being a proxy debater for Hillary Clinton. Mike Pence lost because he pretty successfully pitched the 2016 Republican Party agenda — a good bit of which his running mate doesn’t support — instead of being a proxy for Donald Trump.

Pence did exactly what he knows how to do: argue for himself.

Had this been Pence vs Kaine for a Senate seat, Pence wins because of that. But it’s not. Pence did zero damage to Hillary Clinton and Kaine, by repeating a lot of the unpopular and contradictory things Trump has said, reminded people they aren’t voting for Mike Pence, they’re voting for Trump. And Pence just didn’t want to do that.

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Scalia’s death puts the GOP in a real bind

Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia had no business being a judge in any level of court, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go speaking ill of someone who just passed away. I believe that all life is precious (Scalia did not) so I’m sad that he’s dead.

With that out of the way, this really puts Republicans in a tough spot. You can safely ignore whatever the GOP Presidential candidates say about whether or not he he should be replaced after the 2016 election — they have no say in the matter. Only Rand Paul gets to vote on the next nominee and he has no more power over the process than that. Read More →

Keeping your mouth shut as a virtue

I haven’t written about politics for a few years now but I remember how viciously stupid it all was, and so I shouldn’t be surprised that little has changed since then. I suppose when I left that scene and dedicated a seriously large (too large) chunk of my life just trying to have fun with good people that I forgot how rude and dumb a lot of people are, especially online. And this particular example hit me in a sensitive spot: judging others.

There’s a link in my Fecesbook timeline this afternoon to this piece, which defends super delegates as a firewall against outside extremists taking control of a political party. What they really are, are a firewall against political candidates that are popular with voters from gaining control of political parties run by people that voters dislike, and often despise, for ignoring what voters want in favor of what the ruling political and corporate class want. Read More →

This Minnesota Republican thinks AIDS in men is caused by sperm itself

Meet Bob Frey, a Republican candidate for the Minnesota House has some thoughts he’d like to share with you about the origin of AIDS:

When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg. If the sperm is deposited anally, it’s the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail. That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

I don’t care if people instinctually believe the worst about people in the opposition party, and knock Democratic policies that you oppose with all you want, but you just don’t find this level of ignorance stupidity on the left in viable candidates and elected politicians. Whether it be denying climate science or evolution (both of which are denying science itself), or insane crap like this, this isn’t a bipartisan problem where “both parties have their idiots”. They do, but this isn’t about being an idiot. It’s about being only a few steps about the dreaded R-word.

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