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Trump: The Pro-Torture Candidate


Via the BBC:  US election: ‘I like waterboarding a lot’, says Donald Trump “We have to fight so viciously and violently because we’re dealing with violent people,” Mr Trump said. At one point, he asked the crowd: “What do you think about waterboarding?” They cheered as he gave his answer: “I like it a lot. […]

One Major Step Closer to Peace in Colombia


The final major piece of the negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government appears to be in place.

Info on the Panama Canal Expansion


A nice set of inforgraphics:  Weekly Chart: Panama Canal Trade before and after the Expansion

Scotland and the Aftermath of the Brexit Vote

Scotland and UK flags

Is Scotland next?

What’s Next with the Brexit?

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

A British political scientist lays out some of the political and institutional factors that will be relevant going forward.

When the NRA is Talking More Sense than Trump…


Via the NY Post:  NRA says Trump’s Orlando comments ‘defy common sense’ Donald Trump’s suggestion that armed clubgoers could have prevented the worst mass shooting in modern US history “defies common sense,” according to the National Rifle Association — which is backing the tycoon for president but on Sunday had two of its top officials taking rare […]

Two Stunning Graphs about the State of the 2016 Campaign


Via WaPo: The brutal numbers behind a very bad month for Donald Trump   Could Trump really believe that he can run a national campaign on rallies and free media via the news? And lest anyone think it is working, see the full piece which shows Trump’s current poll status in historical context.  Also note this: The […]

History Has its Eyes on You (Trump Edition)


Timothy Egan in the NYT: A Week for All Time They will remember, a century from now, who stood up to the tyrant Donald Trump and who found it expedient to throw out the most basic American values — the “Vichy Republicans,” as the historian Ken Burns called them in his Stanford commencement speech. The shrug from […]

An Accurate Description of Trump/the State of the GOP


Matthew Continetti on the Trump: It’s a joke. All of it: his candidacy, the apparatus of propaganda and grift surrounding it, the failures of governance and education and culture that have brought us to this place. What disturbs me most is the prospect that Donald Trump is what a very large number of Republican voters want: not a wonk, […]

SBC also Passed Resolution on Refugees


I meant to note this yesterday along with the battle flag resolution via WaPo:  Southern Baptist Convention urges churches to welcome refugees In the midst of a political season in which political leaders have frequently decried refugees as a security threat to the United States, the nation’s second-largest religious group sent a different message about refugees […]

Another GOP Defection


Via Politico:  Exclusive: Armitage to back Clinton over Trump Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under George W. Bush, says he will vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, in one of the most dramatic signs yet that Republican national security elites are rejecting their party’s presumptive nominee. Armitage, a retired Navy officer who […]

Southern Baptists Vote to Condemn Confederate Battle Flag


Via WaPo:  Southern Baptist Convention votes to condemn Confederate battle flag The Southern Baptist Convention, once founded as a pro-slavery denomination that aligned itself with the Confederacy, voted Tuesday to condemn the Civil War battle flag of the South. “It’s not often that I find myself wiping away tears in a denominational meeting, but I just […]

Trump and Utah


Via WaPo:  This new Utah poll is amazingly bad for Donald Trump No state voted more heavily for the GOP presidential nominee in 2012 than Utah. And in 2008, it was the third-most Republican state in the union. A new poll shows that Donald Trump is tied with Hillary Clinton in Utah. We’re not quite saying, of course, […]

Trump the Presumptive Nominee (Some of What I got Wrong)


In case anyone noticed: I got the Trump nomination wrong.

Today in “Unclear on the Concept”


The subject in question is prison with the persons who are unclear being the Bundys (via TPM):  Shocker: Bundy Bros Discover That Jail Inmates Have Fewer Freedoms Ryan Bundy wrote in the document that “my rights are being violated. My right to life is being violated. All of my First Amendment rights are being violated. […]

Plagiarism Plague in Russia


Via Slate:  The Craziest Black Market in Russia.  Apparently, a lot of Russians are paying for dissertations: In the past few years alone, there have been credible allegations of dissertation plagiarism made against Russia’s minister of culture, the governor of St. Petersburg, and the head of the country’s top federal investigating authority. Just in the past […]

The Horror of War and the Challenge of Peace in Colombia


If Colombia makes peace, the post-conflict era will be rife with challenges.

Twitter War between Head of OAS and President of Venezuela


This is amazing, amusing, and very Twenty-First Century, via the BBC:  Venezuela Maduro OAS: Latin American ‘traitor’ row escalates The head of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has accused the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of being “a traitor”. In a series of Twitter posts addressed directly to Mr Maduro, Mr Almagro also […]

Nomination Fight for the Libertarians?


Via WaPo:  Libertarian Party faces a nomination fight in a #NeverTrump world Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president, may have found his moment. The Democratic and Republican parties are set to nominate deeply unpopular candidates. His Libertarian Party has seen enrollment surge all year, with more than […]

From the “You can’t Make this Stuff up” File (Trump’s ex-Butler edition)


Via the BBC:  Donald Trump’s ex-butler calls for Obama to be killed Anthony Senecal wrote in a Facebook post that Mr Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term”. Mr Senecal worked for Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, for nearly 30 […]

Moore Suspended, Faces Removal from Office


Via AL.com: Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces removal over gay marriage stance For the second time in his career, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces charges before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and potential removal from office. Until that court hears and rules on those charges, Moore will be suspended with […]

Same Sex Marriage in Colombia


Via the BBC: Colombia legalises gay marriage Colombia’s top court has legalised same-sex marriage, making the country the fourth in Latin America to do so. Civil unions had previous been legal. The rest of the region:   Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have previously legalised same-sex marriage. […] In Mexico, gay marriage is legal in the capital […]

Boehner on Cruz


Via The Stanford Daily:  John Boehner talks election, time in office When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd. “Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a […]

Money Never Sleeps?


It looks like some of the big GOP bucks may be taking a bit of a snooze, via Politico:  Sheldon Adelson and top GOP donors retreat to the sidelines While some in the room spoke in favor of Cruz, others expressed reservations about his prospects in the general election. Trump, meanwhile, had little support: Not […]

Partisanship and Race


Here is another column (American Anger: It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Other Party) in the long list of trying to figure out what is going on in American politics these days.  The thesis is that the problem is partisan sorting and that that sorting strongly correlates to view on race: The increasing alignment between party […]

Talking Heads, Troy University Style (Elections Edition)


Some election chit-chat from campus television:  

Hamilton on SCOTUS Nominations


Worth a read over at the Monkey Cage:  Here’s what Alexander Hamilton can teach senators about Supreme Court nominations. Take a dive into The Federalist Papers.

Strategy and the Garland Nomination

Merrick Garland Supreme Court Nomination

George Will’s column on the Garland nomination sparks a few thoughts.

Primary Turnout does not Predict November Outcomes

Vote Here Vote Aqui

Primary turnout is not predictive of general election outcomes.

The Depressing Reading List


Some happy articles for your perusal: Via the Guardian:  Trump supporters in St Louis: how ‘midwestern nice’ became a sea of rage Via Salon:  Trump’s not Hitler, he’s Mussolini: How GOP anti-intellectualism created a modern fascist movement in America Via The Atlantic:  Make America White Again? (Donald Trump’s language is eerily similar to the 1920s Ku Klux Klan—hypernationalistic and […]

Explaining the Trump Candidacy?


To me one of the major questions of this campaign season is:  why is Trump running?  It is a question to which I wonder if we will ever have an adequate answer.   On one level, for example, I can’t imagine Trump wanting to actually be the president.  Further, I can’t decipher any policy motive for […]

Trump’s Offensive Defense


Trump is doing the opposite of trying to calm things down.

Least Shocking News of the Day: Hispanics don’t Like Trump


Via Gallup:  Trump Has a Major Image Problem With Hispanics And it goes well beyond party affiliation: Hispanics tilt Democratic, with 50% identifying as Democratic or leaning Democratic in the Jan. 2-March 8 period, contrasted with 23% who identify as Republican or who lean Republican. Trump’s negative image, however, is not merely a result of […]

With Defenses Like These, Who Needs Accusations?


Via Hitfix: Bill Cosby’s TV son charges media with double standard: ‘Roman Polanski is still celebrated’ “You just look at just how the media is playing this whole thing out, and I can’t help but think about Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, [Seventh Heaven star] Stephen Collins, who it’s very clear, you know, the crime they’ve committed,” […]

A Reminder about the US Muslim Population


Via Pew Research: Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015. This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population (about 322 million people in 2015), and we estimate that that share will double by 2050. […] According […]

Placing Trump in Comparative Perspective


I would highly recommend the following from Pippa Norris:  It’s not just Trump. Authoritarian populism is rising across the West. Here’s why.  (Norris is an expert on comparative politics and elections). It is a long piece (for a newspaper column/blog post), but is worth a read.  Not to encourage skipping the essay, I will post […]

A Photo for Friday


After a hiatus, the photo returns:   “Lanterns” February 15, 2016 Pike Road, AL

The New GOP Shuffle? (or, Dancing around Trump and Islam)


So, there is this (via CNN):  Donald Trump: ‘I think Islam hates us’ Donald Trump said Wednesday that he thinks “Islam hates us,” drawing little distinction between the religion and radical Islamic terrorism. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, deploring the “tremendous hatred” that he said partly defined the religion. He […]

Some Thoughts on Grades

College Degree

More accurately, some thoughts on commentary about higher ed.

Yet More Evidence of our Broken Immigration System


Via the LAT:  This judge says toddlers can defend themselves in immigration court On Friday, the ACLU posted a transcript of the deposition in that case in which Weil asserted that toddlers can represent themselves in his court. “Are you aware of any experts in child psychology or comparable experts who agree with the assessment that […]

Internal GOP Politics and the Trump Problem


The NYT has a long, but worthwhile piece on the internal difficulties that the Republican Party is having to face as the Trump nomination comes closer to irrevocable reality:  Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump. I highly recommend it.  As I keep noting to friends, the GOP’s current situation is quite fascinating from […]

Clinton and the African-American Vote


Like I was saying… 84% of black voters went for Clinton and 16% went for Sanders (CNN exit poll). In other words, despite the Cable News Horserace Hoopla,TM the Democratic side of the equation is going as expected, and will be, as I predicted before New Hampshire over this week:  ”I remain convinced that by the […]

Huntsman, Trump, and the Limitations of a Two Party System

Donald Trump Victory Nevada

All of which leads to a discussion of electoral rules.

Trump and the KKK


Via NPR: Trump Won’t Condemn KKK, Says He ‘Knows Nothing About White Supremacists’ The following is from a Trump appearance on CNN: Trump: I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. … If you would send me a list of the groups, I […]

Kasich Staying in


Via The Columbus Dispatch:  Ohio Politics Now: Kasich resists calls to drop out of race, comes in 5th in Nevada Ohio Gov. John Kasich continues to ignore calls to drop out of the presidential race saying in Georgia Tuesday, “I would hope they would be clearing the decks for me. I’ve spent the least amount of […]

More on the Clinton/Sanders and Democratic Demographics


Via NBC News:  Clinton Lead Over Sanders Among Latino Voters Rapidly Narrowing among Hispanic voters, what had been a two-to-one or better Clinton lead for the past six months has narrowed dramatically in the two weeks following the Iowa Caucuses. Where our surveys had shown Clinton leading by 20 percentages points or better during December […]

Hottest January on Record


Via the DMN:  Phil Plait: Last month was the hottest January on record — by a lot. January 2016 was the hottest January globally since records began in 1880. And it didn’t just edge out the previous record holder for January, it destroyed it.

If you Want to Feel Better about our Presidential Candidates…


…read up on Peru’s options:  An Alleged Killer, a Plagiarist, and a Jailed Ex-Leader’s Kid: Meet Peru’s Presidential Field. As I tell my students:  one of the great reasons for studying Latin America is that you really can’t make this stuff up.

A Primer on the Brexit Debate


Via The Economist: A background guide to “Brexit” from the European Union

SC Polls and the Racial Dimensions of the Democratic Contest


To provide some new data in support of my post Clinton v. Sanders: Some Key Numbers, here are some numbers from a new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll from South Carolina: In the current poll, Sanders leads Clinton among white Democrats, 51 percent to 46 percent. But Clinton crushes him among African Americans in the state, 68 percent […]

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