Your election night guide

Sure, things may change before then, but William Galston has a nice piece on what states are most likely to actually make the difference on election night.  Here’s the key summary:

But for simplicity’s sake, assume that each candidate does what he must, with Romney taking Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio while Obama turns back the Republican assault in the upper Midwest. If so, Obama would have 247 electoral votes; Romney, 253. And five states would be left to decide the contest: Virginia (13), New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6), Colorado (9), and Nevada (6). Obama won all five in 2008, four by margins exceeding his national margin, the fifth (Virginia) with slightly less…

This scenario means that we’re likely to know quite a bit about the outcome fairly early on election night. If Romney loses Florida, the contest is over. If Obama loses Virginia, he needs to run the table. And if he goes down to defeat in both Virginia and New Hampshire, he’d be on track to lose the election—unless he could replace their electoral votes by hanging onto North Carolina.  If not, Obama’s reelection would hinge on the most traditional of all pivots—the Buckeye state. This year, we may well know the name of the next president before we cross the Mississippi.

Image of the day

Better late than never.  A visualization of every hurricane in recorded history.  It takes a second to make sense of as they map is a “South Pole stereographic” projection.  Whatever exactly that means.

I’m already a bit of a hurricane junkie.  I pay especially close attention when it threatens to derail the trip I’ve super been looking forward to all year– annual PS conference in New Orleans scheduled to start Thursday.

I’ve raised him right

So, yesterday in Church was the (in)famous reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:21-32):

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.

The first sentence brought me out of daydreaming on how to improve David’s U13 soccer team and I looked over at him and watched him listen in shocked disbelief.  When the reading was over, he looked at me and said, “wow, that’s outdated.”  Such fatherly pride.

After mass he asked me why they don’t change it.  Great question!  Now, the Catholic Church isn’t about to re-write Ephesians, but given that the readings are but a small portion of the New Testament, this one seems ripe for jettisoning.  Seems like they should.  Then again, I have no idea how often, if ever, they revisit this issue.

I should also mention, that during his sermon, the priest, like most decent priests, basically wrote this off as a product of the historical context in which it was written.  “We’re not fundamentalists” he said.  He also happened to be visiting from Grenada where he devotes his life to helping out the desperately poor, rather than worrying about what homosexuals are up to.  It’s priests like him that are the reason I’m still Catholic.

When the liars keep on lying

Another great piece on journalism in the post-truth world from Jay Rosen.  I really need to bookmark this guy.  I found this link from a journalist FB friend who recommended it despite “not always agreeing with Rosen” (I suspect because she is very savvy).

Anyway, Rosen discusses the problem that know that all  the factchecks have called out Romney for flat-out lying about Obama and welfare he is still flat-out lying.  With no shame.  That’ s not how its supposed to work.  After everybody tags you “pants on fire” you’re supposed to dial it back.  But not Romney.  Problem is, journalists don’t know how to handle this.  Rosen:

The lines are usually attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.” #

But suppose there arose on the contemporary political scene a practical caucus for the opposite view. We are entitled to our own facts, and we will show you what we think of your attempt to “check” us. If that happened, would the press know what to do?  …

Alec MacGillis of The New Republic has a simpler answer to, “Entire news media called Romney’s welfare attack a lie. Campaign still pushing it. Now what?”

Using whatever platform you have, speak up about it. If they keep using it, you keep speaking! His plea: “for the political press to do its job when it comes to the basic task of calling out blatant, repeated dishonesty on the campaign trail.”…

So that’s what MacGillis recommends. Journalists should be willing to look squarely into the camera–or the equivalent in textual terms–and declare things “completely false” when their own judgment tells them so. That isn’t a moment you can outsource to fact-checkers. It’s a “which side are you on?” kind of thing. Are you with the people who think “you’re not entitled to your own facts,” or those who say: Wait a minute, maybe you are. #

David Bernstein, that DC bureau chief who wrote to me, Michael Scherer, Alex MacGillis are all realizing that mainstream political journalism offers no clear instructions to its people about what to do in this situation. The only “pack” response available is to do nothing. But nothing isn’t working. So which side are you on? becomes unavoidable for people who thought there would never come a day when they had to choose sides.

So, journalists, which side are you on?  Okay, well, they don’t care about my rhetorical questions.  As consumers of journalism, though, we definitely should be choosing to read journalists and publications who are on the side of truth, not “controversy.”  None are perfect, but some are a lot better than others.  And there’s a reason I never read Politico.

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