Thank goodness!

I just awoke to hear the good news.  A victory for the poor, the dispossessed, women, gays (same-sex marriage now legal in Maine and Maryland), and anybody who cares about stuff beyond their bank account.

Oh, and Nate Silver, the NY TImes‘s pundit, has been vindicated, as noted by xkcd:

Silver’s pre-election forecast on Nov. 6:

The outcome:

Electoral College vote:

Silver’s prediction: 313 Obama, 225 Mittens

Actual:  303 Obama, 206 Mittens, with some results not in

Popular vote:

Silver’s prediction: Obama 50.8%, Mittens 48.3%

Actual: Obama 50%, Mittens 48%, some results not in.

We can haz four more years!

118 Comments

  1. Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    it is good news for sure

  2. Douglas E
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    I think that Karl Rove still has not given up :-)

  3. Dominic
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Great. All the US needs to do now – collectively – is to start taking climate change seriously & do something about it. Any chance of that?

    • Marta
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Some.

      Obama mentioned climate change in his victory speech. It wasn’t a huge mention, but notable for being included at all. This campaign, ain’t nobody talked about climate change.

    • Gary W
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      If by “do something about it” you mean adopt policies to drastically reduce GHG emissions in the short term, the answer is that the chance is very low. And that’s a good thing.

      • Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Gary, merely a week after the largest storm ever to be recorded in the Atlantic just record damages across a dozen states in the most densely populated part of the most powerful country on the planet really isn’t a very good time to bleat your flat-Earth-style climate change denialism. Trust me, it’s in about the most extremely poor taste there is.

        b&

        • Gary W
          Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          I don’t “deny climate change.” My comment was about the probability, and wisdom, of responding to climate change with policies to drastically reduce GHG emissions in the short term.

          As for Hurricane Sandy, climate scientists have repeatedly stressed that the evidence does not support attributing it to climate change. The relationship between climate change and major weather events is extremely complex and poorly understood.

          • Curt Nelson
            Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            That’s right, probability and wisdom. The evidence indicates that it is extremely complex and so necessarily poorly understood. We know this from the evidence, which supports our position against drastic policies aimed at lessening problems the evidence shows are coming.

            • Curt Nelson
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

              Also, I think issues like this neatly illustrate why the Fermi paradox is not so paradoxical.

            • Gary W
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              The evidence on “coming problems” is unclear. There is no scientific consensus on the rate or magnitude of future climate change, or the costs and benefits of that change. That’s why drastic policies with large immediate costs for highly uncertain future benefits are not justified.

              • Curt Nelson
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

                Not clear but looking bad. When we have the kind of clarity you demand we’ll be in it – too late (and then you’ll say it would have happened anyway). Be honest, you don’t only reject drastic policies with large immediate costs, but any serious steps.

              • Gary W
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

                Not clear but looking bad. When we have the kind of clarity you demand we’ll be in it – too late (and then you’ll say it would have happened anyway).

                I’m saying that any action we take should be able to pass a reasonable cost-benefit test, based on our best understanding of costs, benefits and probabilities. This is a broad socioeconomic question, not just a matter of climate science. I haven’t seen any analysis suggesting that policies to drastically and quickly reduce carbon emissions (e.g. a large and immediate carbon tax, or a drastic cap on emissions) would come close to passing cost-benefit analysis.

                Be honest, you don’t only reject drastic policies with large immediate costs, but any serious steps.

                I favor a technology-focused response, to accelerate the shift to low-carbon energy by making it more competitive in the marketplace. And continued investment in geoengineering as insurance against worst-case projections. The Obama Administration is already pursuing both of these strategies, but I’d like to see them expanded.

                If you don’t think these are “serious steps,” what serious steps do you propose that do not have large immediate costs? And that are politically feasible? Since climate change is a global issue, any serious proposals must be economically and politically feasible at a global level, not just in the United States.

              • Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

                If you don’t think these are “serious steps,” what serious steps do you propose that do not have large immediate costs?

                The universe doesn’t owe us a cheap and easy solution to the mess we’ve made any more than you deserve a new ‘Vette after you wrapped the one your dad bought you around a telephone pole.

                There may be no avoiding widespread death and destruction, period. Even if there is, it will most emphatically involve large immediate costs.

                Your denial of these facts makes you exhibit “A” in today’s Libertarian version of Flat Eartherism.

                And geoengineering? Please. The mess we’re in is because we’ve burned half the planet’s petroleum reserves and vented the smoke into our living room. The laws of thermodynamics make it plain that it’ll take something on the same scale to put the genie back in the bottle, almost certainly substantially more. This notion you have that there’s a cheap and easy fix is as laughably silly as if you were to suggest that all the petroleum we’ve already burned were itself cheap and easy to get to.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

                Your denial of these facts …

                Since I haven’t addressed either of those alleged “facts” at all (which isn’t terribly surprising, since neither of them is relevant to what I actually wrote), your claim that I have denied them is another falsehood, adding to your earlier false claim that I “deny climate change.”

                And geoengineering?

                Yes, geoengineering.

    • raven
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      No.

      It’s too late anyway according to the EPA.

      The lead time for a carbon sequestering coal power plant is 18 years. None are even planned.

      We will though, have to adapt. It is going to take a lot of effort. For one example, look what happened to NYC and NJ.

      1. This flood and storm surge was absolutely predicted. I was reading a government report on it. The date was 2011. I didn’t even realize it was a prediction because virtually everything they said might happen, happened, subways and tunnels flooded, lower Manhatten flooded, etc.

      2. Already NYC is talking about Dutch style infrastructure projects in the $20 billion range. We are going to have to plan for rising sea levels and bigger storm surges one way or another.

      Reality, and climate change is reality, simply doesn’t care what humans think for political and religious reasons.

      • Gary W
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Low-lying coastal cities are vulnerable to periodic flooding regardless of climate change. There has always been a risk of flooding in the New York area. It’s not at all clear whether, or to what extent, climate change has increased that risk or will increase it during the foreseeable future. The Dutch didn’t build their elaborate flood defenses in response to climate change. They built them because, for geographical reasons, they are at particularly high risk of flooding.

        • Ichthyic
          Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          nothing anyone says, no amount of evidence, would ever convince you Gary.

          keep your head in the sand, you’ll do fine.

          • Gary W
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            You’re the one who’s ignoring the evidence.

            From the New York Times:

            Are Humans to Blame? Science Is Out.

            Did the enormous scale and damage from Hurricane Sandy have anything to do with climate change? Hesitantly, climate scientists offered an answer this week that is likely to satisfy no one, themselves included. They simply do not know for sure if the storm was caused or made worse by human-induced global warming.

            • aljones909
              Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

              Gary W. For some reason you missed out the next paragraph of the NYT article. “They do know, however, that the resulting storm surge along the Atlantic coast was almost certainly intensified by decades of sea-level rise linked to human emissions of greenhouse gases. And they emphasized that Hurricane Sandy, whatever its causes, should be seen as a foretaste of trouble to come as the seas rise faster, the risks of climate change accumulate and the political system fails to respond.”

              • Gary W
                Posted November 9, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

                Gary W. For some reason you missed out the next paragraph of the NYT article.

                No, I didn’t miss it. It doesn’t alter the conclusion that “They simply do not know for sure if the storm was caused or made worse by human-induced global warming.”

            • Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              Cary, you’re a fan of Chris Mooney, right?

              He says you’re worng. Period.

              b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

                Ah yes, Chris Mooney, the famous climate scientist. Er, I mean journalist.

  4. JoeBuddha
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Conclusive proof that there IS a God, and his name is Nate Silver!
    Seriously, that prediction was scary accurate…

  5. jamesgart
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Truth and justice has won!

    ________________________________

  6. Gordon Hill
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    It may be time for new glasses. I read 313 Obama, 225 Kittens… either that or I’m spending too much time at WEIT. ;-)

  7. anarlib
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Right! Great news for all the poor slobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan who can’t wait to be blown to smithereens by one of Obama’s drones. Instead of the wanna-be mass murderer Romney winning, the actual mass murderer Obama won. Yippy!

    Elections are much like going to the doctor to find out if you’ve got terminal stomach cancer or terminal colon cancer. When you hear that it’s colon cancer, you can rejoice that you don’t have stomach cancer. Isn’t it great?

    • Occam
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      I sincerely wish you the good luck of being spared from having to learn more about cancer than you seem to understand about democracy.

      Christopher Hitchens wondered, in his NYT review of Terry Teachout’s biography of H.L. Mencken: “How did one of America’s seemingly great rationalists and modernists come to regard Roosevelt as more worthy of condemnation than Hitler?”
      Well, at least your grotesque accusation of President Obama is not counterweighted by any semblance of rational argument in your present post. Nor is the insidious notion of Mitt Romney as a “wanna-be mass murderer” any more tenable. I disagree with every one of Romney’s political positions (and Ceiling Cat wot they have been shifting hither and thither); but such an unsubstantiated accusation is just character assassination.

      Making every allowance for hyperbole, I’m reminded of Orwell’s bitter insight, in his essay on Rudyard Kipling:

      A humanitarian is always a hypocrite, and Kipling’s understanding of this is perhaps the central secret of his power to create telling phrases. It would be difficult to hit off the one-eyed pacifism of the English in fewer words than in the phrase, ‘making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep’.

  8. Donald L. Anderson
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I don’t share your enthusiasm.

    At our Farmers Mkt, I told a farmer she had a choice: A politician who is a war criminal and a liar, or a politician who is a liar and an economic criminal.

    Now, B.O. wants a “grand bargain” that will cut SS, Medicare, Medicaid.

    It is time to cut spending $TRILLIONS on wars that don’t protect us. They only protect the military/industrial/congressional complex profits.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I agree about cutting defense spending, but to characterize Obama as a “mass murderer” is ludicrous. And I don’t want a bunch of posts by the two people above defending that characterization; I’m not interested, nor do I want that argument on this thread again. We’ve had it before, and may again, but NOT ON THIS THREAD.

      And those who say they’re “not enthusiastic” are just ludicrous: Obama will do more for our country, for the poor, for blacks, for the economy, and for gays than Mittens would have. So yes, be enthusiastic.

      Enough about mass murderers today; we’ve heard two overblown characterizations in that respect. I’m serious: enough.

      • Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        Amen, brother. Let’s get behind him & not allow the GOP obstructionists win in the end after all.

      • raven
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Bush started an unnecessary war in Iraq which killed two of my friends and hundreds of thousands of other people.

        Romney is a war monger who would probably start a war with Iran. Iran has almost as many people as the UK. It would make Iraq look like a playground squabble.

        Obama ended the war with Iraq. He is winding down the war in Afghanistan.

        Just who are the mass murderers here, Bush and Romney or Obama?

      • Jeannette
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Dr. Coyne for demanding sanity on this blog. Would be nice if these people would run for office, but complaining about what is wrong is far easier and predictable.

  9. Alektorophile
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to all of you on your side of the pond. Yes, Obama is not perfect, but definitely far, far better than the opposition.

    And I love seeing Silver at the NYT being vindicated yet one more time. He got a lot of flak from conservatives for his putative liberal leanings.

  10. Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Maybe now he can rekindle his connections with Karen Kornbluh and Austan Goolsbee while eschewing his “obligations” to Bob Rubin.

  11. Aj
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Generally very good news, but it does raise some worrying issues for scepticism;

    http://isnatesilverawitch.com/

  12. Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Greetings,

    Very glad and relieved that the president was re-elected.

    No offence to Governor Romney or Congressman Ryan but I think it was a case of “the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – and by that I mean that Romney’s position(s) on everything was unknown/unpredictable and their budget plan was unclear/obscured in the key areas as to how/where cuts were going to be made.

    No-one can vote for you if they don’t know who you really are and what you’re really going to do AFTER you’re voted into power.

    Congress now needs to sort out the “fiscal cliff”, starting with doing away with the Bush tax cuts.

    Kindest regards,

    James

    • Marella
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I think the proverb you are looking for is

      “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.

      Romney hardly qualifies as “two birds in the bush” he is not clearly better than Obama in any way.

  13. jeffery
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I see that Faux News is still pumping out its “Anti-Obama” spew: “Five Ways the Mainstream Media Tipped the Scales in Obama’s Favor”. Interesting that they don’t seem to consider themselves part of that “mainstream media” when they are consistently the most-watched network; typical “make it up as you go along” tactics.

  14. Dermot C
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    That’s really impressive predicting. Did he call Hawaii blue? If so, does Silver only need to be right on Florida to get a full house? (Florida still undecided, as I write).

    What is it with Florida? Do the laws of mathematics stop short at its borders? Can’t they count as quickly as the rest of the Union?

    • Bill the Cat
      Posted November 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Transplanted Minnesotan here in the great state of ignorance – I mean, Florida. It seems that they did not expect the voter turnout, and due to the wonderful schools here, they are busily looking for more fingers & toes.

  15. Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Things do look better than they did this time yesterday. I think the message is clear, people do want Congress work. With very few exceptions, the Tea Party nonsense has become passe. To borrow a phrase from Andy Borowitz, “Barack and Michelle return to the White House, Ann and Mitt return to 1954″. The 1950’s were not at a great time in this country, unless you were white and middle to upper middle class. The privilege of the few led to the anger of the many.

    Some believe that now Obama’s “inner liberal” will come out. I don’t believe he has an “inner” liberal but, I do believe he said what he means, and will do his best to follow through.

    Congratulations to everyone that voted, it was a victory for the rights of voters.

  16. Hempenstein
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    A medical question related to this – has anyone seen anything on Romney’s wife’s ability to keep going during the campaign? She has multiple sclerosis. Assuming she was with him during the campaign, that must have been exhausting, and I believe that exacerbates the occurrence of episodes. Are there any better therapies available to those with bottomless buckets of money?

  17. ForCarl
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Since I live in KY I am enjoying the looks of frustration on the faces of 60-some percent of the voters here.

    I guess Mitch McConnell will have to change his purpose in the Senate (to prevent a second term for Obama) to something new. No doubt it will be equally unhelpful to the people he is supposed to represent.

  18. eric
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Re: the 313 projected vs. 303 actual; what did Silver get wrong? I can’t see a difference between the two maps Jerry posted, though that may just be my eyes.

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I can’t seem to make the math work out, either. I wonder if there is a state-by-state breakdown on the fivethirtyeight site for how they came up with 313.

      • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        313 + 225 = 538

        303 + 206 = 509

        538 – 509 = 29

        Florida has 29 electoral votes.

        Either the final tally will be 313 v 225, as was Silver’s primary prediction, or it’ll be 303 v 235, as was his secondary prediction.

        Florida is leaning Blue, if I’m to trust the coloring on Google’s elections map. But it’s Florida. Who knows what the fuck is going on down happen there?

        b&

        • Douglas E
          Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          332 to 206; other aggregating sites had it 303 to 235, with Florida flipped.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Silver got nothing wrong. 313 was the average Obama electoral vote total obtained in a large number of election simulations. (You can see the distribution Nate obtains if you scroll down a bit on his site.) In fact, 332 EVs was the mode he obtained from his many simulations – that is, more simulations gave 332 EVs than any other particular result. If you take away Florida, you get 303 EVs – that the the second-most common result!

  19. Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I’m still too Bain drammaged from a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong day yesterday to feel like looking…but has Romney actually made his concession speech yet? Cuz that’s when the results are actually official.

    b&

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      He made the speech fairly early last night, so you can rest assured.

      • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Thanks. Now I can devote the entirety of what’s left of my drammaged Bain to fiddling with asterisks on the Daily Sales report….

        b&

  20. Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    A friend posted this on facebook: “One of the big winners of this election is the 538 model. Intelligent use of a large amount of data is an amazing thing.”

  21. darrelle
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I was really taken by surprise by the strength of my emotional reaction when, this morning, I learned that Obama had won and Romney had conceded. It looked good for Obama when I went to bed, but . . .

    I was so relieved, for a moment I couldn’t speak. I am encouraged enough by the elections as a whole that I am hopeful that the US may be able to avoid banana republicism.

    I guess I can hold off on my plans to relocate to New Zealand or Scandinavia. For a while there I was wondering if I should try begging Torbjörn Larsson to take me in.

    • Marella
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      When the shit hits the fan you’d be better off to relocate to Australia, the climate is better. You really wouldn’t like Scandinavia much, and New Zealand is full of sheep.

      • darrelle
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I like snow. But Australia would be good too.

      • Marta
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        I’m Swedish, but I have to agree wit you about the food, Marcus Samuelson not withstanding. I would so love to go to Iceland, but it’s lutefisk, lutefisk, lutefisk all the damn day, with intermittent beer at $12 a glass. I’d starve.

  22. Heber
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I posted this on my Facebook:

    “Why I think Romney lost:

    I am actually quite ambivalent when it comes to the economy. Romney may have had a strong economic plan and perhaps Obama’s leftist semi-socialism isn’t perfect, so had my vote hinged on this issue alone I actually don’t know which box I would have checked on the ballot. In fact, given Obama’s economically timid role during the last 4 years and his unimpressive work on unemployment rates, Romney could have easily won the election. But because moral issues carry so much weight, and because a yawning chasm still exists between not only libertarians and socialists, but liberals and conservatives, the state and future of the economy simply became incidental. Now, as we know the moral zeitgeist is constantly shifting, but since the Middle Ages it has only shifted in one direction: toward liberalism. As advances in technology and scientific insights about human nature flood public conscience, people’s minds become more open to evidence and more accepting of new ideas. Hence, the religious conservatism/puritanism of the golden agers becomes less and less influential. This is why for example in Minnesota, conservative propositions to amend marriage and voting rights won great support in rural counties but were easily defeated in the metro area and richer suburbs. Again, we live in a country that is increasingly becoming more diverse, better educated and less religious and more liberal. The fastest growing group in the US are agnostics and nonbelievers.. This is only going to get worse for right wing conservatives. So insofar as republicans maintain their reputed political curmudgeonry and anti-science stance on public policy, they won’t be able to hold a half-lit candle to even the most centrist of democrats.”

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Obama isn’t even vaguely Socialistic, and he’s certainly not even remotely leftist. He’s a hard-right corporatist.

      You might be thinking of Obamacare, which is a near-exact implementation of an ultraconservative health insurance “reform” package put forth by the Heritage Foundation, which is somewhat to the right of Mussolini. It requires all citizens to purchase private health insurance, and guarantees that 20% of premiums go towards profit for those companies.

      Obama and Bush are neck-and-neck as the weakest American presidents in history to win reelection. And, really, Obama didn’t win; Romney lost.

      And Romney lost because he’s shaking the Etch-a-Sketch so much that the only thing everybody can agree on about who he is and what he stands for is that he’s a Mr. Gumby who stands for whatever the person in front of him this moment stands for. In trying to be all things to all people, Romney became nothing to everybody.

      b&

      • Philip.Elliott
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Actually, it requires that 80% go to paying claims. The remaining 20% is for admin costs, salaries, and yes, profits.

        • Posted November 7, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Administration costs and executive salaries are merely additional profits for selected privileged shareholders.

          Do you think the CEO really cares whether he pays for his third yacht from his dividend or his salary or by having the company pay for his vacation in the Bahamas by declaring it an administrative cost associated with market research?

          I stand by my assessment: 20% of insurance premiums are guaranteed profits, regardless of the accounting term used to swindle them.

          b&

          • Philip.Elliott
            Posted November 7, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            Employee salaries are part of the 20%. Those are not profit. I’m not saying the boss ain’t making a buttload, just that that 20 is not pure profit, by any reasonable definition of profit.

            • Posted November 7, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

              Considering that the insurance companies provide absolutely no useful function whatsoever, those employee salaries are unjustifiable profit, as well.

              b&

              • Philip.Elliott
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

                As an analogy, I don’t think “Jersey Shore” provides any useful function whatsoever, but that doesn’t make the salaries of the audio, camera, and lighting crews unjustifiable profit for the network.

              • Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

                Enlighten me, Philip.

                What benefit do American health insurance companies to society?

                The rest of the developed world has better health care and they don’t have insurance companies. They have lower total health care costs whilst simultaneously spending more on actual health care. Indeed, as I understand it, even 5% overhead would be an unprecedented sign of rampant corruption in any other system but the American one — yet here we have 20% overhead mandated by Obamacare.

                b&

              • Philip.Elliott
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

                Honestly, Ben, I never said that. My comment was not in regards to the value insurance companies provide to society, but to the characterization of anything above the mandated 80% claim payout as “profit”. If you’d care to criticize something I actually said, I’d be glad to respond.

              • Gary W
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

                What benefit do American health insurance companies to society?

                They provide health insurance to people. Insurance is form of protection against large unexpected costs.

                The rest of the developed world has better health care and they don’t have insurance companies.

                Yes they do. Lots of developed countries have private health insurers. Even so-called “single-payer” countries like Britain. Wealthier Britons buy private insurance (or get it from their employer as part of their compensation package) so they can “jump the queue” and get faster treatment at better facilities.

                They have lower total health care costs whilst simultaneously spending more on actual health care.

                They don’t spend more on “actual health care.”

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

                They provide health insurance to people. Insurance is form of protection against large unexpected costs.

                …and that, right there, is exactly what the problem is.

                You have property insurance to cover the unexpected costs of replacing your belongings after a fire, but you don’t have insurance to pay the fire department. The fire department puts out all fires for free.

                You also don’t pay for police protection, or for the armed forces to keep out invading armies.

                Except, of course, that you do pay for all of that — through your taxes.

                Our roads and air traffic control and food and drug oversight are all socialized too.

                Of everything in our society that can be socialized, health care, by all rights, damned well should be at the top of the list. A healthy population is a productive one. You no more can contribute to society when you’re sick from disease than when you’re wounded from an enemy’s weapons, and our biggest threats come from bugs, not bombs.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

                The fire department puts out all fires for free. You also don’t pay for police protection, or for the armed forces to keep out invading armies.

                National defense, police protection, and the fire service are all examples of public goods. That’s why we fund them through taxes. Housing, food, clothes and health care not public goods. They are private goods. That’s why, in general, we fund and provide them through private markets.

                Of everything in our society that can be socialized, health care, by all rights, damned well should be at the top of the list. A healthy population is a productive one.

                Another argument that makes no sense. To be productive, the population also needs to be housed, fed and clothed. Those goods are even more basic to human welfare than health care. But we don’t “socialize” housing, food or clothes. In general, we provide those goods through private markets, just as we do health care.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                Gary, Gary, Gary…how could you possibly be so out of touch with our society?

                Have you never heard of food stamps, Section Eight, and WIC?

                I’m sorry. Whatever world you live in, it’s not a reality-based one. There’s simply no getting through to you until you at least get yourself the equivalent of a high school education.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

                Have you never heard of food stamps, Section Eight, and WIC?

                As I said, IN GENERAL we provide food, housing and clothing through private markets. Just as IN GENERAL we provide health care through private markets. The vast majority of our food, for example, is produced by private companies competing in a market of food suppliers, sold in private stores and restaurants competing in a market of food retailers, and purchased with private wealth by food consumers.

                You just argued for “socializing” health care on the grounds that it is essential for a productive population. But housing, food and clothing are also essential for a productive population. Do you therefore favor “socializing” housing, food and clothing too (like they used to do in the Soviet Union)? If not, you’re rejecting the argument you just made for “socializing” health care.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

                A civilized society doesn’t let anybody starve, go homeless, stay ill, be uneducated, get victimized, and the like.

                A civilized society also doesn’t place unreasonable limits on how much more an individual can do.

                In America, in theory (but, to our everlasting shame, not in practice), nobody should ever go hungry. But if you can afford it, you’re more than welcome to eat caviar and fillet three times a day.

                In Britain, in theory and mostly in practice, nobody ever goes without health care. But, if you can afford it, you can have your own private room and get all the cosmetic surgery your wallet and your body can tolerate.

                In America, unless you manage to never get ill or injured, your choices are generally bankruptcy and death — and, all too often, bankruptcy and then death.

                Why the fuck you actually want to live in a society where people who get sick have to choose between getting health care and paying the rent is utterly beyond me.

                Do you have at least tens of millions of dollars in the bank? Or are you so naïve as to think that you could survive a major illness with your finances intact?

                Just as it’s in your own enlightened self-interest to pay the fire department so they put out your neighbor’s house, it’s in your own enlightened self-interest to pay for socialized health care for your neighbor’s heart bypass.

                Only an uncivilized barbarian could possibly think it should be any other way.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

                A civilized society doesn’t let anybody starve, go homeless, stay ill, be uneducated, get victimized, and the like

                Then on your account there are no civilized societies, since all countries have homeless people, all countries impose limits on health care funded by the government, and all countries permit their citizens a degree of freedom that allows them to choose to starve themselves and “get victimized.”

                Still waiting for you to state whether you want to “socialize” food, housing and clothing as well as health care, given that all of those things are essential for a productive population.

                it’s in your own enlightened self-interest to pay for socialized health care for your neighbor’s heart bypass.

                Why? And if that’s true, why don’t you also favor “socializing” housing, food and clothing?

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

                In Britain, in theory and mostly in practice, nobody ever goes without health care.

                Nonsense. Of course people go without health care in Britain. Britain’s per capita health care spending is among the lowest in the developed world. Shortages of resources and long waits for consultations, tests and surgeries are common. Many drugs and procedures that would be beneficial, and perhaps even life-saving, are not available under Britain’s National Health Service because the government there has decided they’re too expensive.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

                Many drugs and procedures that would be beneficial, and perhaps even life-saving, are not available under Britain’s National Health Service because the government there has decided they’re too expensive.

                Please document this claim.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

                See this article on cancer drugs, for example:

                Life-saving cancer drugs still not available on NHS.

                Quote:

                Many cancer medicines which are widely available in Europe, such as the bowel cancer drug, Bevacizumab, and the kidney cancer drug, Sorafenib, are not available in the United Kingdom.

                Of course, these drugs *are* available to wealthy Britons who can afford to pay for them privately.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

                There are times when ad hominem is a perfectly logical argument, such as in the case of the boy who cried, “Wolf!”

                The Torygraph is the propaganda arm of the right-wing ultraconservative faction in Britain, on a par with Fox News. Their reporting has as much bearing on reality as Karl Rove’s insistence Tuesday night that Romney was still going to win the election.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

                You’re hilarious. The information about drug availability reported in the article comes from NICE, the government body responsible for deciding which drugs to approve for use under the NHS.

                Here’s another article, this one from the Guardian on drugs for prostate cancer:

                Cancer drug ‘too expensive for NHS’

                Quote:

                Five new drugs have been shown in phase III testing to significantly extend life for men with advanced prostate cancer, and the ICR helped develop four of these, including abiraterone which was discovered at the ICR. None of these drugs are yet routinely available on the NHS.

                But you’ll probably dismiss that too. It’s obvious that you’re just going to dismiss any evidence that contradicts your preexisting beliefs. The fact that you didn’t even know that numerous countries in addition to the US have private health insurance demonstrates that this is yet another issue on which you are very poorly informed.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

                First, I’ve repeatedly indicated that private insurance is available in Britain and elsewhere.

                But, if you actually read that Guardian article and do the math, you’ll see that Nice’s decision came down to their unwillingness to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to extend the lives of a few thousand old men with incurable prostate cancer by a few months.

                Cry me a fucking river.

                Over here in the United States of Corporate Welfare, we have presidential candidates telling women they can go to the ER to get treated for breast cancer (where they won’t actually be treated for breast cancer) if they can’t afford private insurance — and, you know? That’s exactly the way our system works, by design.

                I’ll terminate this exchange right now, because expressing my fury at your callousness would upset our host.

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

                First, I’ve repeatedly indicated that private insurance is available in Britain and elsewhere.

                Now you’re just flatly contradicting yourself. You wrote: “The rest of the developed world has better health care and they don’t have insurance companies.

                You would have known that claim is false if you had bothered researching the issue for even just a few minutes. You constantly make factual claims that you obviously haven’t checked and that are frequently false. It’s a persistent pattern in your comments, on topic after topic.

              • Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

                Sorry I’m not a perfect editor. But I’m even more sorry for you that you can’t understand context.

                Here, let me help you.

                The rest of the developed world has better health care and they don’t have private insurance companies running their health systems.

                Happy?

                We’ve had lots of discussions about healthcare in the past, including NHS, and you know damned well that I’ve mentioned private insurance in other countries in that context.

                Just try living in the reality-based world, will you?

                b&

              • Gary W
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

                Here, let me help you.

                You’re not “helping me.” You’re just changing what you wrote. Moving the goalposts. When your errors are pointed out to you, instead of acknowledging them and reevaluating your position in light of that information, you simply ignore them, pretend you said something else, and move on to your next error. Lather, rinse, repeat.

                And I’m *still* waiting for you to address the inconsistency in your position between health care and other essential goods. If you favor “socializing” health care because it is essential for a “productive population,” why don’t you favor socializing housing, food and clothing too?

            • Timothy Hughbanks
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              So, would it be better to call it “graft”, instead of “profit”?

      • Jacob
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        No, what the law does is mandate that citizens carry a form of insurance, not necessarily private insurance. For instance, part of the plan to create near universal health care is effectuated by an expansion of Medicaid.

        Furthermore, I am generally in favor of a single payer system, but a carefully controlled private system, when combined with a public form of insurance to cover the elderly or poor, can work well. It is not necessarily true that other developed countries lack private insurance companies. The Netherlands, I believe, has a system that utilizes private insurance (though unfortunately private insurance does encompass a bigger part of health care expenditure in the US than almost all developed countries, and I think that’s a problem). The key is that the government, by heavily regulating the practices of insurers, sets up a system in which the private market and the general well-being of society can align. There is nothing codified in the health system that dictates businesses and citizens cannot both do well at the same time. Actually, citizens benefit greatly from this law, especially since their care is partly subsidized depending on income level. That 20% figure you cite (which isn’t actually all profits) is not quite optimal but is far better than what we have now, and it is a good thing that will improve the system.

        Lastly, insurers are not the only problem with the system. We also have to look at how care is delivered – something which the ACA also addresses.

        • Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Furthermore, I am generally in favor of a single payer system, but a carefully controlled private system, when combined with a public form of insurance to cover the elderly or poor, can work well.

          Congratulations! You’ve just guaranteed unimaginable profit for the insurance companies and bankrupted the public options. Under this racket, the insurance companies get to take money from people as long as they’re healthy, never pay a dime, and force the most expensive patients off onto Medicaid.

          Thanks for further making my point for me.

          b&

          • Douglas E
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Gotta give been some props on this one because I too have a big problem with the health insurance company scam. Anyone who has worked in the health care system can see the myriad problems caused by the current system. Like many physicians, my orthopedic surgeon cousin is very anti-ObamaCare for many of the reasons that Ben outlines – it does not reign in a major contributor to the cost and problems with US health care – the insurance companies.

          • Gary W
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

            Congratulations! You’ve just guaranteed unimaginable profit for the insurance companies and bankrupted the public options.

            Health insurers obviously don’t make “unimaginable” profits. But this is another argument that doesn’t make any sense. If it’s okay for drug companies, medical equipment suppliers, nursing agencies, physicians practises, hospital construction companies, etc. to make a profit, why isn’t okay for health insurance companies to make a profit? Or do you seek to “socialize” the entire health care industry, and not just the insurance component?

          • Jacob
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            Medicaid (as well as Medicare) has strict eligibility requirements, so no, they can’t force the most expensive patients off onto anything. In fact, they will now be required to pay for more expensive procedures, because they can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions (and won’t simply be able to raise premiums to compensate). In addition, health care plans will now have to meet minimum standards.

            • Gary W
              Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

              In fact, they will now be required to pay for more expensive procedures, because they can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions (and won’t simply be able to raise premiums to compensate). In addition, health care plans will now have to meet minimum standards.

              The insurers won’t be able to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. But they will be able to raise everyone’s premiums. *Someone* will have to pay the cost of covering those pre-existing conditions and meeting those minimum standards.

              It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Lots of young, healthy people may ignore the requirement to purchase insurance. The last time I looked into it, there was no serious enforcement mechanism. If that happens, it will deprive insurers of revenue the law is counting on to subsidize premiums for sick people who consume lots of health care.

              • Jacob
                Posted November 11, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

                They’ll have the ability to raise premiums, but there are limits to their ability to do so. I don’t know the exact details. They just can’t raise them too quickly at any one time.

    • darrelle
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      “Romney may have had a strong economic plan and perhaps Obama’s leftist semi-socialism isn’t perfect, so had my vote hinged on this issue alone I actually don’t know which box I would have checked on the ballot. In fact, given Obama’s economically timid role during the last 4 years and his unimpressive work on unemployment rates, Romney could have easily won the election.”

      I’ll agree that the Obama admin has not been ideal on economic issues, but I think you need to take a good look at data from the last 30 years or so regarding the success of republican economic philosophy. Don’t listen to the talking heads, just look at the actual statistics.

      The deficit has always increased under R rule and decreased under D rule. R’s have always spent significantly more than D’s. Every time R’s implemented their supply side economic philosophies the US economy went down. Every time the D’s got their socialist funk on the economy got stronger. What makes you think that a Mitt admin would have resulted in anything different? How many times do we have to endure that same species of mismanagement (or should that be rape?) before enough people realize it does not work? Didn’t someone once say something like “trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is a mark of insanity?

      You may also want to take a look at what the rest of the world thinks about what the Obama admin has managed to do regarding recovery of the US economy.

      • Gary W
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        The deficit has always increased under R rule and decreased under D rule.

        Federal budgets and economic policy are a joint product of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is rare for one party to control all three of these bodies at the same time. The normal situation is divided government. Moreover, the degree of power exercized by the party in control of each of the two legislative chambers depends on the size of its majority in that chamber, which also varies independently of control of the executive. So it doesn’t make much sense to talk about “D rule” or “R rule.”

        • Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          First a science fail on the environment question, and now a civics fail on the executive role question. Not a good day for you, Gary.

          Budgets only get passed with the President’s signature. Even a divided Congress can pass all the budgets they want, but they’re not going into effect unless the President finds them acceptable.

          That’s why there’re always marathon negotiations between (representatives of) the Speaker, the President, and the Senate Majority Leader during silly season. It’s also why we also frequently have at least the threat of government shutdowns; one or more of the three often winds up thinking that a game of brinksmanship will play out satisfactorily.

          b&

          • Gary W
            Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            You’re the one with the civics fail.

            Budgets only get passed with the President’s signature. Even a divided Congress can pass all the budgets they want, but they’re not going into effect unless the President finds them acceptable.

            Budgets only get passed if they get a majority vote in congress. The House and/or Senate are usually controlled by a different party than the White House. In addition, institutional provisions like the filibuster rule act to magnify the power of the minority party in congress. The courts also act as an independent check on the power of the executive and legislative branches. That’s why, as I said, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about “D rule” or “R rule.” It is rare for one party to “rule” any area of federal policy or lawmaking. The system was designed that way, to foster power-sharing and compromise.

            • darrelle
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

              Your playing games with the definition of my terms “R rule” and “D rule”. And you are not fully explaining how the power balance between congress and the executive branch is supposed to work.

              To get a budget passed it must get a majority in congress and be approved by the president. If the president does not approve it then it goes back to congress and must then get a two thirds majority in both houses in order to override the presidential veto. That is difficult to say the least.

              Both sides are usually very careful about pushing things to that point for fear of setting a precedent that it is possible for the opposition to walk over them whenever they want.

              • Gary W
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

                Your playing games with the definition of my terms “R rule” and “D rule”.

                No, I’m not. I’m explaining to you why it doesn’t make much sense to talk about one party “ruling” economic policy, or any other area of policy or lawmaking. Just because a President is a Republican, for example, doesn’t mean the Republicans “rule” economic policy during his term in office. It would be particularly silly to make that claim if the Democrats controlled both chambers of congress during the same period. When a congress controlled by Democrats passes a budget proposed by a Republican president (or vice versa), then *both* parties deserve blame (or credit) for the effects of that budget.

        • darrelle
          Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          You can play word games if you want, but the statistics aren’t going to change. I thought I made it clear that I was referring to a correlation between policies and economic performance, but I am willing to accept that I could have been more clear. If it helps I’ll rephrase it a bit. Whenever the R’s have been able to enact their economic philosophies the economy has gone down hill.

          Oh, I forgot. I already did sorta expand on what I meant by “D rule” and “R rule” in my first post . . .

          “Every time R’s implemented their supply side economic philosophies the US economy went down. Every time the D’s got their socialist funk on the economy got stronger.

          • Gary W
            Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

            You can play word games if you want, but the statistics aren’t going to change. I thought I made it clear that I was referring to a correlation between policies and economic performance,

            You said “R rule” and “D rule.” “Democrat” and “Republican” are parties, not policies.

            If it helps I’ll rephrase it a bit. Whenever the R’s have been able to enact their economic philosophies the economy has gone down hill.

            I don’t know what “enact their economic philosophies” is supposed to mean. It’s not as if each party has a clear “economic philosophy.” The membership of each party spans a broad and overlapping range of economic views. The economic views they have in common are far more important than their economic differences. Both broadly support a market-based but regulated economy. They both reject the more extreme economic policies favored by, for example, the Green Party on the left and the Libertarian Party on the right. The differences to which you attach so much importance amount to relatively minor disagreements with relatively little effect.

            • darrelle
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

              Well, I can only conclude that you are intentionally being obtuse. I think most people would be able to parse “enact their economic philosophies” as getting legislation derived from their economic philosophies passed.

              You keep talking about politics, I am referring to statistics. The actual real life data indicates very clearly that “The economic views they have in common are far more important than their economic differences,” is at best a non sequitur. That their views have more in common than not has nothing to do with how their differences clearly result in significantly different outcomes. That you, or anyone, thinks that the views they have in common are “far more important” is more akin to an aesthetic opinion than a valid argument against what the statistics clearly show.

              This belief in supply side economics fantasy that so many continue to cling to despite evidence is analogous to religious belief. You’ve got a bunch of politicians and their flunkies preaching and theologizing the one true economic theory that has no evidence to support it, a ton of evidence against it, and they use fear, insecurity, propaganda and lies to keep their flocks in line. And most of those at the top surly know that what they are pushing is bullshit for everyone except the very few at the top.

            • Gary W
              Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              “enact their economic philosophies” as getting legislation derived from their economic philosophies passed.

              And I’m saying there’s no such thing as Republican economic philosophy vs. Democratic economic philosophy. Both parties support the same basic economic system, and within each party there is a diversity of economic views. The main economic differences between the two major parties come down to relatively minor differences about tax policy, public spending priorities, etc. Neither party supports a truly different economic philosophy, like socialism or laissez-faire capitalism.

              • darrelle
                Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                I’ll just say that I’m surprised to hear anyone make that claim and leave it at that.

              • John Scanlon, FCD
                Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

                The political philosophy generalizations are not really the point. The claim under discussion is that deficits go up or down when the pres is R or D respectively.

                There’s a table here, for example, that shows the pattern is pretty much as described from 1969 to the present. The odds of it being a chance relationship don’t look too good to me, so the claim that there’s no difference between the parties seems kinda dubious.

                Not that the deficit is magic, but it’s one of those things that it’s stupid to lie about.

          • Gary W
            Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            The claim under discussion is that deficits go up or down when the pres is R or D respectively.

            No, the claim under discussion is “The deficit has always increased under R rule and decreased under D rule.” A party doesn’t “rule” simply because it holds the White House. Federal law and policy, including the federal budget, is a joint product of the executive and legislative branches. And the party controlling the House and/or Senate is usually different from the party holding the White House. Divided government is the norm.

            There’s a table here, for example, that shows the pattern is pretty much as described from 1969 to the present.

            It doesn’t show that at all. The biggest deficits are under a Democratic President (Obama). But for the reasons I explained, a correlation between the deficit and the party of the President is meaningless anyway. The budget is not determined by the President alone, but by the joint actions of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

            • John Scanlon, FCD
              Posted November 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

              “It doesn’t show that at all. The biggest deficits are under a Democratic President (Obama)”

              Did you even look? The biggest deficit was in the first half-year of Obama’s term (parting gift from W), since when it reduced each year. That’s the pattern I was describing.

              As I said, one of those things it’s stupid to lie about.

              • Gary W
                Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:41 am | Permalink

                Did you even look? The biggest deficit was in the first half-year of Obama’s term

                That’s right. Your table shows that the deficit *increased* after Obama took over the Presidency from Bush. And that the deficit in the following two years of Obama’s presidency was higher than during any Republican presidency.

                But that is all irrelevant to darelle’s claim anyway. You still seem to be suffering from the delusion that the federal budget is an executive order issued by the President. It isn’t. It’s a law requiring a majority vote in Congress. So any correlation between the party of the President and the size of the deficit tells us nothing whatsoever about how “D rule” or “R rule” affects the deficit, since it completely ignores the party in control of the Senate and the party in control of the House of Representatives. No matter how many times I explain this, you still don’t seem to be able to grasp it.

              • darrelle
                Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                You seem to think that people don’t see that you continually use deception in an attempt to support your arguments. Just one little example.

                “And that the deficit in the following two years of Obama’s presidency was higher than during any Republican presidency.”

                You portray yourself as being knowledgeable about political issues and government so you must know, and it should be doubly clear from context, that the issue is rate and direction of change of the deficit. For your above argument to carry any weight the deficit would have to not be cumulative, which I am sure you are well aware. Well, so are a lot of other people.

                Your switching things around like that is a pretty low tactic, but I must admit that it seems pretty standard for republican party members and supporters, even when they know better than to believe their own talking points. Now your going to tell me you aren’t a republican. Let me guess, Libertarian, right?

              • Gary W
                Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

                For your above argument to carry any weight the deficit would have to not be cumulative,

                The deficit is NOT “cumulative.” You’re confusing the deficit with the debt. The deficit is the excess of spending over revenues in a single year. The debt is the cumulative total of all the deficits, less the cumulative total of all the surpluses.

                You don’t seem to have even a basic understanding of how the government works. You think a party “rules” as long as it has the presidency, regardless of which party controls the Senate and the House. And you don’t understand the difference between the deficit and the debt.

  23. Howard Neufeld
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    If one ever needed a better justification for increasing STEM teaching (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and the number of teachers in those areas, you couldn’t find better justification than the results of the quantitative pollers like Silver and others. See this post from a T. White: “…because of the meticulous work of Professor Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium (http://election.princeton.edu/); Nate Silver of http://www.fivethirtyeight.com; Drew Linzer of Votamatic (http://votamatic.org/); PollyVote 2012 (http://pollyvote.forecastingprinciples.com/index.php/pollyvote-2012.html ); and the Rand Poll (https://mmicdata.rand.org/alp/?page=election), I was not surprised by the election outcome at all. All the above sites were spot on, and all used math, not biases. I have been addicted to them for a month and watched daily tracking. All of them nailed it.”

    Now that Obama is back for four more years, it’s time for us to get out of our Ivory Towers and to actively promote science and technology to the public, it’s value to them, and to democracy itself. If we don’t do it, we have only ourselves to blame if things don’t go the way we want them to.

    Note that venomous people like Allen West, FL were booted out, although Michelle Bachman made it through, but by only a few thousand votes. Nice to Alan Grayson, FL back too!

    It will be an “interesting” next several years.

  24. Chris (A Different One)
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I’m sad that no one appears to be giving Wasington state any love. While the ballots are still being counted (the downside of only using mail in ballots), it looks like Referendum 74 is going to pass, legalizing gay marriage in WA as well.

  25. Marlene Zuk
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    And here in Minnesota, where I just moved this year, we defeated an amendment that held marriage to one man/one woman, the first time such an amendment has been shot down by voters. That included California, where I came from. Maybe the tide is turning.

  26. Notagod
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Ground control to magical undies mor[m]ons?

    • Darth Dog
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I like that. I live in an ultraconservative, heavily Mormon state, so I am going to use that. Mormon, the “m” is silent.

      • Notagod
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Indeed! I lived near a lot of them for years. Mittens character and antics seem very familiar to me. They have some very corny ideas and Mitten’s habit of telling people what they want to hear while have an untold hidden agenda is very characteristic of the undies species.

  27. Ned
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I think the 313.0 is the mean (i.e. average, i.e. expected) number of electoral votes for Obama under Silver’s model of the voting. The probability distribution of Obama’s electoral totals are in a different graph with the tallest spike at 332, the second tallest at 303. The 313.0 is the mean of that distribution, which means that it doesn’t necessarily correspond to a particular possible outcome.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Correct. I didn’t scroll down far enough to see this and I basically repeated this above.

  28. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Romney: Congrats, Mr. Prez. Seriously. I mean that.

    Obama: Thank-you, Mitt.

    Romney: I suppose Treasury Secretary is out of the question?

    Obama: Yes. No fucking way.

    Romney: Right. Just checking.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Treasury secretary Romney would suck, but let’s not pretend that Rubin/Summers protege Geithner isn’t pretty much cut from the same cloth.

  29. Dawn Oz
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    As an Aussie, I see President Obama as a world president. I was so proud of America of voting for a more liberal set of values. Its also a big message to the religious right that their power isn’t going to work at the ballot box. I’m so relieved. And their was also the states which now have official gay unions and others have legalised cannabis which is superb. Now they can sort it out in the courts with the Feds. Lets lock up the fiscal thieves, not the cannabis users.

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      typos – you know who you are! damn.


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