Archive of Articles for October, 2014

Friday Talking Points [324] -- Don't Panic

[ Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014 – 17:42 UTC ]

That headline, of course, quotes the cover to the fictional Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy: "Don't Panic." This week, it seems like timely advice, as the news media and American politicians go into full-blown panic mode over one death and two illnesses within the United States.

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[ Posted Thursday, October 16th, 2014 – 17:15 UTC ]

Ebola is in the news these days.

This is what is known as a satirical understatement, which I use mainly because these days, it seems, Ebola is the news -- all the news, pretty much all the time. It has not only been the lead story on the nightly news for the past three weeks or so, the story has grown to overwhelming proportions on the airwaves. And that's not even counting what's going on over on cable news, where they have a full 24 hours to fill each day rather than just 30 minutes each night. Fear of the unknown, of course, sells a lot of newspapers, attracts a lot of viewers, and draws a lot of eyeballs to websites. This has always been the case, and it obviously hasn't changed (although the metaphors continue to evolve -- once, just "sells a lot of newspapers" would have been enough).

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Senate Still Up For Grabs

[ Posted Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 – 17:06 UTC ]

Welcome back to my intermittent overview of the 2014 midterm Senate races. On that note, I should add that from this point forward I'll be doing these columns on a weekly basis, right up until the Monday before the election when I'll make my final election predictions.

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Voting By Mail

[ Posted Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 – 17:29 UTC ]

The Colorado Senate race this year will be a close contest (no matter who wins), if the polling is correct. Poll after poll shows a very tight race. However, pollsters' predictions of who exactly will "turn out" to vote may be flawed this year, in this particular state. Because Colorado, for the first time, will be joining two other states in the West by conducting their election by mail. Every registered voter gets a real ballot (not just a "sample ballot" or a "practice ballot") in the mail, and will be able to easily return their filled-out ballot by mail. They won't be "turning out," one might say, instead they'll be "turning in."

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Good News From The Vatican

[ Posted Monday, October 13th, 2014 – 17:00 UTC ]

The Catholic Church is contemplating some rather big modernizations, led by the charismatic Pope Francis. How far-reaching such changes wind up being remains to be seen, but so far the indications are that Francis intends to significantly move the Church's direction on a number of subjects. Today's news is a preliminary move toward this new direction (which we'll get to in a minute).

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Friday Talking Points [323] -- Is There Anybody Out There?

[ Posted Friday, October 10th, 2014 – 17:37 UTC ]

I address this desperate attempt at communication to any remaining survivors in America of the apocalyptic scourge that is Ebola. Is there anybody still out there? Because, according to my television for the past few weeks, the death rates have been climbing so high that hundreds of millions of Americans should be pushing up the daisies by now. So, with full sorrow for the uncounted lives lost over the past few weeks, I humbly wonder whether anyone is left on the internet to read this lonely missive.

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D.E.A. Identity Thieves

[ Posted Thursday, October 9th, 2014 – 16:41 UTC ]

One counter to the argument I made in this article (which was basically: "Go Apple! Go Google! Right on!") is to wonder why any upright citizen would object to police searching their photos and data, especially under a court-ordered search. It's not like the cops are going to misuse that data, right?

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Senate Election Overview

[ Posted Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 – 16:48 UTC ]

Welcome back once again to our ongoing pigeonholing exercise for this year's midterm Senate races. The big question, of course, is whether Republicans will pick up the six seats they need to wrest control of the chamber from the dastardly (according to them) Harry Reid and his Democratic minions. The answer to this pressing question is still not clear, and it actually may not be definitively answered until long after election night (for various interesting and wonky reasons).

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A Marriage Equality Victory Lap

[ Posted Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 – 17:28 UTC ]

Today I am taking a victory lap of sorts, because while the term "tipping point" is now in a lot of headlines, I actually predicted this chain of events a year and a half ago, in the column below. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of time, but consider that when I wrote this the following was true:

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Obama Poll Watch -- September, 2014

[ Posted Monday, October 6th, 2014 – 17:00 UTC ]

President Obama announced a new American war this month, but it didn't resonate in his polling much, if at all. Overall, his poll numbers dropped, but the net result was rather flat. But the (so far) very slow nature of this new war may lead to Obama's numbers ticking up in the future. To put this slightly differently, Obama's poll numbers may very well reflect the direction of the war for the next few months (although the midterm election will also have a big influence). But before we look to the future, though, let's start with the new chart showing September's numbers.

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