House of Cards in NC

I don’t think I can embed this video attacking my friends Sarah and Dan Crawford, but it really has to be seen to be believed.  And House of Cards fans should love it.

Just follow the link and watch.

Some commentary from NC political strategist Gary Pearce:

Chad Barefoot must have asked his team: “What can we do that will so anger and offend women that they’ll vote AGAINST me?”
They came up with an ad that has backfire potential approaching the “child molester” ad against Justice Robin Hudson. It portrays Sarah Crawford’s husband as a cigar-smoking lobbyist laughing about how his little woman will vote the way he tells her to in the Senate.
Kimberly Reynolds of the Senate Democratic caucus pounced: “Evidently in Senator Barefoot’s world, corporate lobbyists rule and women are expected to simply follow their husbands’ orders.”
The ad could be a caricature of the Negative Ad. It’s not only sexist and over-the-top, it’s hypocritical: Yes, Sarah’s husband is a lobbyist – for the League of Conservation Voters. And, I’m told, Chad Barefoot’s mother-in-law also is a lobbyist – for the outfit that passed Amendment One.
In a district where women already are motivated – and make up a high number of swing voters – Chad & Co. may have pulled off one of the biggest bonehead plays of this election year.
Honestly, I don’t think it will actually change many votes either way, but the implicit sexism is indeed pretty powerful.  It’s hard to imagine the same ad arguing that the lobbyist wife would be telling the husband how to vote.
It’s also amusing to keep painting an environmental lobbyist as a shady dealer.  “Vote for clean air and clean water, Sarah!”  Otherwise, I’m sure she never would.

Endorsement of the day

Despite the awfulness of NC legislature, I’m privileged to be represented by two great guys– Duane Hall in NC House 11 and Josh Stein in the State Senate.  Since Stein, of course due to gerrymandering, has a very safe district the Republicans could run a nutjob against him without fear of losing a winnable district.  Anyway, love the summary from the Indy Weekly (a great local alternative paper) in their endorsement of Stein:

Molotov Mitchell is an idiosyncratic, ultraconservative gun-obsessed fundamentalist Christian who owns a Krav Maga studio here in the Triangle. He has the word “Zealot” tattooed on him and has habitually gone after Islam as “violently intolerant.” He’s a scary, eloquent, violently anti-abortion, marriage-is-one-man-and-one-woman deep Internet Glenn Beck who has amazingly gained some traction with the North Carolina Republican Party, to their own detriment.

I’d be curious to see what would happen if this guy was in an actually competitive district.

Quick hits (part II)

1) I told myself if I found time yesterday, this would get it’s own post.  It didn’t.  So make sure you read it.  Great Garret Epps post on John Roberts and race.

2) Really enjoyed this New Yorker article on the director of the Susan B. Anthony list (a pro-life PAC).

3) Not surprisingly, “ancient grains” are for suckers.  I’m sure the people who buy this are plenty scared of GMO’s.

4) Paul Farmer says that with first-world health care 90% of Ebola victims should actually survive.  We’re doing pretty well in the US so far.

5) I must admit to always being a little more fascinated by Mormon sacred undergarments than I should be.  Now the church is coming clean on the topic.

6) A nice PS study that shows how the Tea Party has moved the Republican party to the right.

7) Emily Bazelon on the complications of yes means yes on college campuses.

8) Vox summarizes a Pew study demonstrating that there are basically no swing voters in this year’s election.

9) FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub came to my class a couple weeks ago.  That was pretty cool.  Here’s a nice piece about her and her visit to NC.

10) NYT with one of the better pieces I’ve read on the UNC athletics scandal.  I went to Duke and teach at NCSU, but UNC is a flagship for our whole state and this is so unfortunate for the whole state.  And as an academic, I hate to see academic integrity so undermined.

11) When is a debate not a debate?  How about when one candidate never  agrees to it but one organization basically pretends otherwise.

12) Peter Beinart putting Voter ID into the long American tradition of trying to keep poor people from voting.

13) Two nice takes on Iowa Senatorial candidate Jodi Ernst and welfare.  The idea that private charity can make up for government is not just wishful thinking, but simply preposterous and ahistorical.

14) You can never have too much fun with Kansas‘ supply side experiment gone awry.  Seriously, it’s not like anybody who’s not a complete drunk-the-kool-aid ideologue didn’t see this coming.

15) Republicans would really just prefer college students don’t vote at all.  There’s been all sorts of news about the on-campus voting at Appalachian State, but meanwhile nobody has talked at all about the large inconvenience for NCSU losing it’s polling location.

16) While helping Evan practice piano, I haven’t been able to get this tune out of my head for a couple of days.  Took me forever to figure it out because I was thinking it was Beethoven. Than I realized it must be some Chopin.  This is one of many Chopin pieces I loved to play back in the day.

Candy corn versus a US Senate race

I was on an election panel the other day and after always seeing these factoids comparing the cost of campaign spending to the much greater cost of other things, I just threw out that the $100 million on the NC Senate race was less than spending on candy corn for Halloween (mostly because I’ve been eating way too much candy corn lately due to early Halloween activities).

Anyway, not long after I came across this article in the Atlantic about how much we spend on Halloween candy:

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts total Halloween spending—including candy, costumes, and decorations—to come in at $7.4 billion this year.

Halloween candy alone has run up a $2 billion tab every Halloween for the past three years, though the candy industry says that bad weather can lower the numbers slightly. “We are predicting a slight bump in Halloween confectionery sales this year (1.9 percent),” said Jenn Ellek of the National Confectioners Association. The NCA is expecting candy sales to reach $2.5 billion. Additionally, the NRF says that retailers could benefit this year from the holiday falling on a Friday, as parents will be more likely to take kids out and revelers more inclined to attend or throw parties, boosting costume sales. And don’t forget the puppies: The NRF estimates that Americans will spend $350 million just on pet Halloween costumes.

For reference, the entire spending on the 2012 election was just under $6 billion (have not been able to find a good estimate for 2014).

Now, I could not find the actual spending for candy corn, but if it manages to top 5% of Halloween candy, then it is more than the (crazy-high) spending on the NC Senate race.

You can actually watch the election panel here, if you are curious:

Will young people vote Libertarian for legal marijuana?

Sure, all sorts of awful things happen in politics, but for me, one of the worst is the fundamental dishonesty of spending money to support a candidate who you actually do not support.  In this case, a Republican SuperPAC is running ads to help the NC Libertarian Senate candidate.  How is that you ask?  They are trying to siphon off pro-Marijuana young voters.  Via the National Journal:

A Republican group connected to the billionaire Koch brothers is making a last-ditch effort to push the GOP Senate candidate in North Carolina across the finish line by urging young voters to get behind the marijuana-supporting libertarian in the race.

The American Future Fund, which is running the online ad campaign, touts third-party contender Sean Haugh as the only one in the Senate contest who supports legalizing marijuana and opposes war…

The move aims to siphon liberal support from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is locked in one of the country’s tightest Senate races again Republican challenger Thom Tillis. (The ads might also persuade conservatives, many of whom generally wouldn’t support the ads’ message, to stop supporting Haugh.)

It appears to have been launched in secret. The group’s website and Twitter feed, which contain news releases about other ad campaigns, does not mention the efforts to help Haugh.

 A spokesman for the group says the digital buy is for $225,000, and the group could increase the buy later. The ad appeared to one reporter while watching Hulu, and the group has built a makeshift website that includes several different online spots.

The content of the ads is likely to get as much attention as the campaign itself: In one, a young woman says Hagan “doesn’t share our values” because she supports war and opposes legalizing marijuana.

“Vote Sean Haugh,” she says. “He supports our progressive values. Pro-legalization, pro-environment. More weed, less war.”…

Haugh, who still works as a pizza deliveryman while running for the Senate seat, has received a lot of coverage for drawing an unusually large amount of support for an underfunded candidacy. Interestingly though, his presence is seen as a bigger problem for the Republican Tillis, who has trailed in most public surveys of the race.

AFF appears to be trying to make Haugh a dilemma for Hagan as well, although it’s unclear how effective a digital ad campaign will be in a race that has already featured more than $100 million in TV ad buys alone.

And here’s the ad:

It’s highly unlikely this ad will persuade a meaningful number of younger voters, but I so hate this type of fundamental dishonesty in a political campaign.

North Carolina students– not smart enough for Common Core?

Yes, according to some.  I don’t doubt that some Common Core standards might be a little too optimistic, especially in lower grades, but I really am concerned by the sound of these complaints (via WUNC):

A state commission in charge of reworking the Common Core academic standards has begun reviewing them…

The 11 members were politically appointed to review and possibly make changes to the academic standards after lawmakers heard complaints from parents and teachers that they do not progress in a natural or developmentally appropriate way.

“Our kids are not common,” said Jeannie Metcalf, co-chair of the commission and long-time Forsyth County school board member. “They are different and they may not be able to achieve some of these higher level expectations.”

Wtf?  That sure sounds a hell of a lot like our kids are just not smart enough.  Wow, is that really the direction we want to go with state-wide standards.  Will you be shocked to learn that Metcalf is from the Tea Party brigade.  Oh, and how is this for classic Orwellian doublespeak:

Metcalf and others explained that some of the standards may need to be rearranged without lowering the bar for students.

“I don’t think any of us want to lower the bar,” said Jeffrey Isenhour, a principal from Catawba County. “There needs to be some alignment, things have to make sense in terms of how students learn.”

Ummm, right.  Standards need to be “aligned” but not “lowered.”  Yeah, and ignorance is strength.  Again, in all fairness some of the standards may need adjusting, but I really don’t trust the people who think the solution is to entirely ditch the higher, better, standards of the Common Core because North Carolina is somehow “unique” or “different.”  At this rate we will be, though– uniquely behind in public education (of course, not really uniquely, we’ll always have Alabama and Mississippi to make us feel good).

Photo of the day

My instagram of the deep-fried everything booth at the NC State fair on Friday.  Personally, you just can’t beat straight-up fried dough covered in butter and cinnamon-sugar, i.e., an elephant ear, so that’s what I went with, as I do every year (had my first ever elephant ear at the 1993 NC State fair).  Funnel cakes are good, but nothing like an elephant ear.

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