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A Photo for Friday: “Another Beach Bird”

“Another Beach Bird” November 4, 2017 Gulf State Park Gulf Shores, AL

On Write-In Votes in Alabama


There has been some press speculation concerning a write-in vote in Alabama Senate special election. Here’s what the Secretary of State’s page says on the subject: When the candidate you would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot, you may vote for that person by writing his or her name in the […]

AL Senate Polls


Via AL.com:  Doug Jones takes lead on Roy Moore in new Senate poll. Louisiana-based JMC Analytics conducted the poll after allegations of sexual misconduct by Moore were reported by The Washington Post. The poll had Jones received 46 percent support in the poll to Moore’s 42 percent. With a margin of error of 4 percent, however, […]

An Analogy on Hierarchy (and the Lack thereof) in Party Behavior

football play

An attempt to explain the consequences of institutional design.

The Roy Moore Case and the Nature of US Political Parties

Roy Moore Gun

The Moore situation illustrates the nonhierarchical nature of US parties. This is nothing new.

A Photo for Friday: “Beach Bird”

“Beach Bird” November 4, 2017 Gulf State Park Gulf Shores, AL

A Photo for Friday: “Old Bridge”

“Old Bridge” June 28, 2016 Near Cleveland, AL

Democracy and Institutional Design I: A Basic Preface on Regime Type


The first in an occasional series.

Moore on the Campaign Trail


Via AL.com:  Roy Moore at campaign rally: ‘We don’t need transgender bathrooms, transgender military’. It took Moore less than 90 seconds of a seven-minute speech to again trumpet on some of the conservative values he holds. “We don’t need transgender bathrooms and we don’t need transgender military and we don’t need a weaker military,” Moore […]

The SSN Problem


Via ArsTechnica:  White House wants to end Social Security numbers as a national ID Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity czar, said on Tuesday that the government should end using the Social Security number as a national identification method. […] “The concept of a Social Security number in this environment being private and secure—I think […]

About the Uranium



A Photo for Friday: “Trailing Light”

“Trailing Light” June 28, 2016 Near Cullman, AL More info and photos by click on the photo.

Trump and the Autonomous Military


Via The Hill:  Trump: ‘My generals’ had decision-making authority on Niger mission. President Trump on Wednesday said he did not personally authorize the mission in Niger in which four U.S. soldiers were killed, saying “my generals and my military” have decision-making authority. Asked if he authorized the mission, Trump responded, “No, I didn’t, not specifically.” “I have […]

Three Quotes to Ponder from this Week


John McCain, George W, Bush, and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders had warning for us this week. We should heed them.

A Photo for Friday (Again, on Saturday): “Fall Yellow”

It is finally beginning to feel a bit like fall around here, so this seemed apropos: “Fall Yellow” November 21, 2012 Birmingham, AL For more about the photo, or to see more of my photography, click through on the image.

Trump isn’t Playing Multidimensional Chess (in Case you were Wondering)


President Trump in an interview with Sean Hannity this week: “The country — we took it over and owed over $20 trillion,” Trump said. “As you know, the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked […]

A Photo for Friday: “One for the Money”

“One for the Money” January 1, 2016 Pike Road, AL For more info on this photo, or to see more of my photography, just click the image.

A Weak Defense of Extreme Gerrymandering


More thoughts related to Gill v. Whitford and the problem of extreme gerrymandering.

Skewed Majorities are Bad for Democracy


And even moreso when they are consciously created by the winner.

More on the Alleged Sonic Attacks in Cuba


Via the NYT:  A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It. According to the State Department, nearly two dozen diplomats at the American Embassy in Havana have been stricken with a variety of mysterious medical symptoms, including hearing loss and cognitive difficulties. […] Experts in acoustics, however, say that’s a theory more appropriate […]

The United Daughters of the Confederacy


Worth a read (via the NYT):  The Confederacy’s ‘Living Monuments’ The Daughters’ ambitious agenda was not solely focused on monuments. They sought to collect and preserve the artifacts of war, as well as archival material, which they believed would help tell a “truthful” history of the Confederacy. Indeed, what they collected often formed the basis of the first […]

A Photo for Friday (on Saturday): Untitled


Yesterday got away from me. “Untitled” October 17, 2015 Pike Road, AL These are in bloom again–some of my favorite wildflowers in this area.

Air Swamp


Via WaPo:  Nearly six dozen flights on charter, military or government-owned planes by Cabinet members, mapped. About a half-dozen members of President Trump’s Cabinet, past and present, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on charter jets, military planes and other government aircraft for travel that often could have been undertaken much less expensively on commercial aircraft. […]

Ceasefire with ELN Starts Sunday


Via Reuters:  Colombia’s ELN rebel commander orders ceasefire beginning Sunday The commander of Colombia’s Marxist ELN rebels on Friday ordered his fighters to begin a ceasefire this weekend as the group struggles through complicated peace talks with the government aimed at ending five decades of war. Nicolas Rodriguez, known by his war alias Gabino, told […]

A Photo for Friday: Untitled

Untitled June 11, 2016 Montgomery, AL

Some Thoughts on Today’s AL Senate Primary Run-Off


Some quick thoughts on Moore v. Strange.

A Photo for Friday: Every other one

“Every other one” February 4, 2016 Pike Road, AL

The Importance of Timing in Politics


Russell Berman makes an interesting point in The Atlantic:  How Democrats Gave the GOP One More Chance to Repeal Obamacare. the agreement that “Chuck and Nancy” reached with Trump may end up backfiring on Democrats in another way: It freed up time for Republicans to take one last stab at dismantling the Affordable Care Act. The […]

More on Trump as Independent

Trump And GOP Elephant

Independents don’t seek to shape party nominations.

A Photo for Friday: Pink Sky

“Pink Sky” July 20, 2017 Pike Road, AL

On Colleges Losing Their Minds (or Other Tales of Small N Inferences)


According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics there were 7,236 Postsecondary Title IV institutions in the US as of 2013 (two- and four-year institutions).  That translates into thousands upon thousands of classes on a given day. Hence, it makes perfect sense to draw grand conclusions about higher education in America from a […]

This White House is Learning


Via NPR:  Trump Dinner Menu: Tax Cuts The guest list for Tuesday’s dinner includes Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. All three are up for re-election next year in states that Trump carried by wide margins. If Trump wants to get a major bill through congress, this is the kind […]

A Simple Explanation for GOP Behavior vis-a-vis Trump

Trump And GOP Elephant

80% of GOP voters approve of Trump. This explains GOP behavior in large measure.

Trump is the Leader of the GOP, not an “Independent”

Trump And GOP Elephant

No, the deal thid week is not Trump becoming an independent.

A Photo for Friday: Cork in the Dark

“Cork in the Dark” August 3, 2016 Pike Road, AL

Trump isn’t Wrong About Congress and DACA

Trump And GOP Elephant

But, the problem is, they seem unlikely to act.



Via the BBC:  ‘Narco-pigeon’ shot by Argentina police Police in Argentina have shot a carrier pigeon that was delivering drugs to a jail, prison authorities say. I have to admit, this is a new one to me.  I am aware of numerous types of narco-subs, human mules, and catapults used to deliver drugs, among other […]

Colombia Signs Cease Fire with ELN


Via WaPo, Colombia signs cease-fire deal with last guerrilla group: The deal struck in Quito, Ecuador, where talks with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, have been taking place since February, goes into effect Oct. 1. It runs through Jan. 12 and can be renewed if both sides agree. Under the cease-fire, the rebels agree to suspend […]

The FARC Makes the Official Transition to Political Party

FARC party logo

A key step in the Colombian peace process.

Sasse Remarks on Trump’s Mercantilism


“His Administration holds 18th-century views of trade as a zero-sum game.”-Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE). For context, see: Trump preparing withdrawal from South Korea trade deal, a move opposed by top aides.

Jennifer Rubin’s Assessment of the GOP


“The party of Lincoln has become the party of Charlottesville, Arpaio, DACA repeal and the Muslim ban.” —Jennifer Rubin. Note:  Rubin is a conservative, indeed Republican (at least in the past) commentator.

Today in Depressing Poll Numbers


Via Newsweek: In a Fox News poll released Wednesday, 69 percent of Republicans said the news media is a bigger danger to society, compared with just 18 percent who responded that white supremacists are more of a problem.

Understanding Where we are in Afghanistan


The following from Foreign Policy is worth a read: There Is No War in Afghanistan. Ever since the Taliban government was toppled in late 2001, the heart of the strategic problem that has confronted the United States and its allies in Afghanistan has been the definition of victory: How does this end? We would all be better […]

The War on Information


Via the Seattle Times comes a piece worth a read:  UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it Starbird argues in a new paper, set to be presented at a computational social-science conference in May, that these “strange clusters” of wild conspiracy talk, when mapped, point to an emerging alternative media ecosystem on the web […]

Trump and Latin America

Puzzle Map Latin America

Trump isn’t going to win any regional popularity awards in LA.

Racism and Nationalism Make you Dumb


Via Politco:  Far-right German candidate promises to get rid of Arabic numerals Otfried Best, who is hoping to become mayor of Völklingen, near the French border, was asked by a member of Die Partei, a satirical party, during a debate earlier this week what he thought of Arabic numerals used in the town, Stern magazine reported.  ”Mr. Best … […]

(Vice) Presidential


Via Politico, Pence shows Trump how to sweat it out with Texas victims: Pence — who is always cautious about upstaging the president — literally followed in Trump’s footsteps, flying with his wife to Corpus Christi, Texas, two days after the president and first lady Melania Trump had flown there and received updates from officials on the […]

More on the new Fiscal Realities in Washington


To go along with my post from yesterday is this piece from the NYT: Hurricane Harvey Shifts Political Winds in Washington. Gone are the confrontational talk of a government shutdown and the brinkmanship over the debt limit. Instead, both Mr. Trump and his putative allies in Congress — many of them professed fiscal hawks — are promising […]

A Photo for Friday: Down by the River

“Down by the River” July 22, 2017 Montgomery, AL

Choices: the Wall or Disaster Relief? (And other Tales of Exec-Leg Interaction)

Trump And GOP Elephant

Winning was easy.  Legislating is hard.

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