PA-18, Once Again: Change of Plans!



196 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    This is some happy news for jackals to relax with, late evening.

    Go Conor!

    Retire, Republicans! We’s coming for you.

  2. 2
    Davebo says:

    Can’t help but think we’ve got way to much invested in this election.

    Important for sure. But damn!

  3. 3
    David Fud says:

    Woot! Thank you PA-18! Too soon?

  4. 4
    different-church-lady says:

    Barring a major tabulation error, Conor Lamb (D) has defeated Rick Saccone (R) in #PA18.

    Have the precincts around Moscow reported yet?

  5. 5
    Redshift says:

    @Elizabelle: That Deven Nunes district R+ figure makes me very happy.

  6. 6
    Davebo says:


  7. 7
    guachi says:

    @Davebo: probably true. From a psychic and monetary standpoint. But you know as well as I do that a win, even by one vote, is a far bigger deal than losing by one vote.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @Davebo: Awww, crap. He will be missed.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Stephen Hawking dead at 76.

  10. 10
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Saccone, on phone: Hi, is this Norm Coleman? It was suggested that I ask you for tips on how to be an obnoxious asshole sore loser. Do you have a few minutes?

  11. 11
    joel hanes says:

    we’ve got way to much invested in this election

    When you’ve been down so long, any bit of up looks like heaven.

  12. 12
    MomSense says:


    Oh damn. One of our finest human beings. He will be remembered well.

  13. 13
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @Davebo: It’s too bad, but what a run! If I beat the odds the way he did, I’d live to be 150.

  14. 14
    scott (the other one) says:

    @guachi: Yeah. In terms of strategery, this race means nothing. In terms of psychology, it’s huge: huge boost for Dems, huge loss for GOP. Incumbents will start retiring and it’s possible a few (Trey freakin’ Gowdy?! Who’s not even running again?!) will start tentatively turning on Trump (assuming they’re not too compromised themselves).

    This race is both a lot of sound and fury and legit a big deal.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    RIP, Stephen Hawking. Brilliant guy, and heroic for what he endured.

  16. 16
    joel hanes says:


    Norm Coleman


  17. 17

  18. 18
    randy khan says:

    I have seen the stuff about them deciding where to run before, but in reality they’ve probably both already picked where they’re running and have people getting signatures.

  19. 19
    NotMax says:


    Different district entirely. Moscow is in northeastern PA.


  20. 20
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Davebo: It’s kind of amazing how long he lived. I remember articles from 20, 25 years ago musing on how he might not have much time left.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Davebo: Can’t help but think we’ve got way to much invested in this election.

    I suspect it’s not exactly what you meant, but.. it seems to me the reports I’m haring on spending is that it was the Rs who panicked and flooded the district with cash. Paul Ryan’s PAC sent in paid door knockers. It looks like it’s going to turn out to be a mirror image of GA-6

  22. 22
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @MomSense: To be perfectly fair, with the disease he had, he probably lived at least 30 years longer than he had any right to.

    A lot of healthy people are laid low before their mid-70s due to a sudden illness/unforeseen heart/lung/brain condition. Hawking managed to hang tough with friggin’ ALS since his early adulthood. That’s just insane to me.

    And not only did he just hang around, but he damn near displaced Einstein as the lynch pin to our current understanding of physics.

  23. 23
    Emma says:

    @Davebo: Damn, damn, damn. Although it has to be said, he had a hell of a run for his 76 years. One of the few of us that can close his book with no regrets.

  24. 24
    Another Scott says:

    @Davebo: An amazing mind. He will indeed be missed.


  25. 25
    celticdragonchick says:

    FUCK YEAH!!!!!

  26. 26
    MomSense says:


    We don’t want to just win, though. There is a psychological warfare aspect to 2018 elections. We have to crush the GOP.

  27. 27
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @NotMax: Hmmm. Nothing from the Post, Times or BBC about this.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    What a mixed feeling Tuesday. While waiting for PA news, I see breaking headlines about the death of Stephen Hawking.

    So sad. A brave and brilliant individual.

  29. 29
    PhoenixRising says:

    If Lamb’s pulled this out, I have to send David Anderson’s family out to breakfast. And I will be very, very happy.

  30. 30
    Amir Khalid says:

    He deserves an obituary thread, preferably by our own Tom Levenson.

  31. 31
    randy khan says:

    +579 with the absentee ballots from three counties remaining and all the live votes counted.

  32. 32

    Aw, too bad about Hawking. Brilliant guy, non-sore loser of bets.

  33. 33
    Davebo says:

    @joel hanes: Preach it brother.

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @celticdragonchick: somebody call it?

  35. 35
    Yarrow says:

    @Davebo: RIP. A big loss. Amazing he lived as long as he did given his health challenges.

  36. 36

  37. 37
    Bill E Pilgrim says:


    I was listening to Max Tegmark’s book today describing how he started his Future of Life institute out of concern about lack of planning ahead about how AI is being developed. At the first meeting they decided an op ed would be a good first step, and Tegmark contacted Hawking who immediately agreed to co-author it with him.

    And then nobody would publish it, NYT, New Yorker etc, until the Huffpost did, made it top story, and it got tons of attention.

    So came home reflecting on what a good guy Hawking is, among other things.

  38. 38
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @BlueDWarrior: Well… I’d say his most important work (black hole evaporation, and the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems) was done in the 1970s, when he was relatively young. (Those alone establish him as a giant.) His approaches to quantum gravity were interesting, but it’s not yet clear how important they will turn out to be in the grand scheme of things. He was an enthusiastic science popularizer, though.

  39. 39
    Mary G says:

    Republicans will drag this out until September with lawsuits,recounts, and my Uncle Harvey saw a bus with out of state license plates pull up and disgorge a bunch of black and brown immigrants who voted illegally.

  40. 40
    Davebo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah, I didn’t mean money wise but emotion wise.

    Still, it’s pretty incredible and really a great sign for the future.

    Hopefully it motivates everyone to realize that every vote counts and really pushes GOTV efforts.

    Social media works both ways! I plan to use it as we move toward November.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    patroclus says:

    Margin down to 579. 100% of primary day vote in. Only absentees/provisional/military remain.

  43. 43
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Brachiator: I hate the fact that we’ve lost someone who cruicial to the understanding of our natural world. At the same time, I don’t want to be selfish and hook someone up to a machine (or stick their brain in a jar) to keep them around when their body says “Yep, about time to check out of here”.

    I’m always torn when it comes to just how much effort to put into keeping someone grievously ill and elderly alive. And I don’t think there is a clear-cut answer to every case. And that’s why it is so important to write out your End of Life directive while you are still of sound mind, because you do not want to put the rest of your family through the decision of when to pull the proverbial plug.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: No, she had a thing about Hawking. Weird that way…

  45. 45
    JaneSays says:

    It’s over. Lamb is going to win.

    He’s got a 579 vote lead with only 1400 absentee ballots remaining to be counted. There’s no chance in hell Saccone can make up that big of a gap.

  46. 46
    Yarrow says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I always enjoyed his appearances on “The Big Bang Theory.” He was funny.

  47. 47
    Aleta says:

    @NotMax: I heard him speak at my college. Our cosmology lecturer for the semester knew him and brought him.

  48. 48
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    So basically Steve Kornacki’s entire career is based on the fact that we can’t wait a few hours to just know the results.

    Not complaining, I watch it too. Just kind of funny how frantic it is, when I mentally step back now and then and think that virtually all of this frenetic arm-waving effort is to guess what will happen in the last tiny percentage of time in a long election process, instead of just waiting.

  49. 49
    JaneSays says:

    @patroclus: Only 1400 absentee ballots left. Saccone would need to win the remaining votes by a FIFTY POINT margin (75-25) to catch Lamb.

    Not gonna happen.

    Lamb is going to win this thing.

  50. 50
    randy khan says:


    Not disagreeing, but I haven’t seen that absentee ballot number – last I heard was that only Allegheny’s absentee ballots were in. Where did you see this?

    ETA: Never mind, I just saw it on Daily Kos. This is excellent news for John McCain!

  51. 51
    clay says:

    @NotMax: Who? Oh right, that guy who did backing vocals on a couple of Pink Floyd songs!

  52. 52
    Punchy says:

    I have no faith that this absentee counting will be fair to the Dem. GOP has absolutely no scruples and nothing to lose by mismanaging these ballots and/or any recounts. Watch the Repub “win” this by 6 votes, and then all votimg machines are mysteriously wiped clean…..

  53. 53
    patroclus says:

    @JaneSays: I’m gonna wait until Conor announces the win and absentees from Washington/Greene are in but confidence is high!

  54. 54
    Davebo says:


  55. 55
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Matt McIrvin: And you know what, speaking in those terms, I can accept that argument.

    I guess we should do a better job of distinguishing between people who are writing new theory, and people who are translating that theory into a form that read-up and laymen can understand, or at least try to.

    Though I wonder if that makes Neil deGrasse-Tyson the new “Popular Physicists trying to explain stuff to the hoi poli”…

  56. 56
    JaneSays says:

    @randy khan: Westmoreland County’s absentee ballots (1800) are in as well according to Kornacki.

  57. 57
    Highway Rob says:

    @Davebo: CURSE! DO BOTH!

  58. 58
    MomSense says:


    I know a young man who uses a computer system similar to the one Hawking used in order to communicate. They open sourced the computer system which has made it possible for so many people to be able to communicate who otherwise couldn’t. The young man I know controls it with his mouth somehow.

  59. 59
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That was hilarious. All is forgiven.

  60. 60
    patroclus says:

    @randy khan: CNN just said that Westmoreland County’s absentees are in and were reported in their totals. Only Washington (1700ish) and Greene (200ish) are out and are being counted right now.

  61. 61
    randy khan says:


    I just saw that. (Doing a little happy dance.)

  62. 62
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @BlueDWarrior: Hawking was doing both, right up to the end. But he was working in a field so out on the edge that good solid data to confirm theories may not appear for centuries, if ever.

  63. 63
    MomSense says:



  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    The Guardian has a good article on Stephen Hawking. Who did not believe in God or an afterlife.

    Stephen Hawking, modern cosmology’s brightest star, dies aged 76

    Interview from 2011: Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’

  65. 65
    JaneSays says:

    @Punchy: Most of the absentee ballots have already been counted, including all of the ballots from heavily-Republican Westmoreland County. There are only about 1400 ballots remaining, and Lamb is ahead by 579 votes. That is pretty much an insurmountable lead.

  66. 66
    Davebo says:

    @MomSense: It’s looking more and more like that is quite possible.

    A 100 seat swing in the House could very well happen.

  67. 67
    Yarrow says:

    The takeaway tonight is simple:

    Trump hurts candidates. He doesn't help them.

    — David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) March 14, 2018

  68. 68
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @MomSense: Well in that case, we are taking someone who still has more or less sound mind and allowing them to bypass their failing communication mechanisms. I think I was drifting off more into people stuck in intensive life support mechanisms, and how long to leave someone in, especially given the general actuarial odds of survival.

  69. 69


    Though I wonder if that makes Neil deGrasse-Tyson the new “Popular Physicists trying to explain stuff to the hoi poli”…

    I feel like he’s been the new Carl Sagan for a while. The Hawking torch doesn’t pass straight to him too.

    @Elizabelle: As Vonnegut would say, he’s up in heaven now.

  70. 70
    JaneSays says:

    @patroclus: Washington County has only about 1200 absentee ballots according to Kornacki. Greene has 200.

  71. 71
    marcopolo says:

    @JaneSays: What, you don’t think Saconne can win 70% of the remaining ballots….yeah, no.

    Anyone who has been waiting to celebrate–go effing celebrate already!

    Also too, best $50 I’ve spent on a campaign in 2018. Gonna have my Lamb postcard framed for posterity.

  72. 72
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: From what I read, PA-18 had something like 13.5 million in outside cash spent on it recently. And 11 million of that was pro-republican.

    They definitely spent a LOT more time and effort here, including bringing in Trump. Looks like despite a 4-1 spending advantage and having huge amounts of party investment and attention, the most they could do was to limit Lamb to a close win… in a district Trump won by 20 pts.

    That’s REAL bad for republican fortunes in November. Republicans can’t maintain that kind of spending and effort advantage in every district that’s R+11 or less.

  73. 73
    Aleta says:

    Damn. Well done Lamb.
    Especially for a ‘basically a Republican.’ : )
    Also, it’s very noble for an Actually-mostly-a-Republican to remove Trump’s favorite Sir “more Trump than Trump” and waste some donor money.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:


    I realize it’s a little morbid, but I wonder if he gave permission for them to do an autopsy and figure out if he actually had ALS or another condition. If he had ALS, it would be helpful to try and figure out what made him different from other ALS patients.

  75. 75
    Fizzle says:

    This is awesome. Put yourself in a generic Republican rep’s shoes in any less than R+15 district. Now imagine you can’t count on pals outspending the Democrat – what was it – 4 to 1. Now start wondering what’s going to happen with Trump between now and the elections.

    Start running, piggies.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I don’t really care about this race. I care about the shift that this race shows.

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:


    I hate the fact that we’ve lost someone who cruicial to the understanding of our natural world.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. Fortunately, he was able to teach and inspire others. So, unless our leaders do something stupid and destroy the world or build towers of ignorance (*Trump*), we will be able to add to Hawking’s achievements. And it is amazing how much he was able to contribute, even as he endured so much for so long.

  78. 78
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Elizabelle: Hawking, when he spoke on philosophy, always struck me as a positive nihilist, the kind of person who didn’t think value or worth was issued from on high (because he doesn’t believe in an entity to issue it), so whatever you saw you had to impart your own value into, and then guard it as you saw fit.

    To be honest, I kinda feel the same way. I think we’re all in this life as a happy accident, and if you want it to have meaning and value, you are going to have to put the work in to create it and share it with the rest of us other happy accidents.

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    Bernie would’ve won in a landslide.


  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I doubt it made any real difference, but I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when Saccone’s team heard DJTJ was coming to town to wear a hairnet and eat ice cream

  81. 81
    Elizabelle says:

    @Davebo: I think so too.

    And gun control and even healthcare and the middle class are going to be great organizing issues for Democrats. People are woke.

    The media is going to be the last to report this, and they’re obtuse anyway. Fucking Dana Bash: “Republicans need to run good campaigns.” Yeah. Like they have good issues, beyond IGMFY.

  82. 82
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Conor Lamb should give a victory speech. See how the fucking Republicans like that.

  83. 83
    randy khan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t really care about this race. I care about the shift that this race shows.

    This. A whole lot of Republicans are looking at this race and wondering if they can survive.

  84. 84
    frosty says:

    RIP Steve Hawking. He was one of my favorite guests on Big Bang Theory. IIRC the showrunners were amazed they got him to do it and considered it a real highlight. He was funny, too.

  85. 85
    Jay says:

    It was PI Day in Britain when he passed.

    ““It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”

  86. 86
    CaseyL says:

    RIP Stephen Hawking. Well, hell.

    Obviously, he lived much, much longer than anyone else with ALS ever has, so his death shouldn’t be a shock.

    But something about him – maybe it was the extraordinary medical interventions and support system he lived with every day – in the back of my mind I think I assumed he’d live forever, half human and half machine.

  87. 87
    JaneSays says:

    @Davebo: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    There’s virtually no chance in hell of a 100 seat swing. It’s only happened once in American history (1894). There have only been 3 elections in our nation’s history with a swing of 80 or more seats. It’s not going to happen with a map this gerrymandered. Our first goal is just winning the House. If we can pull it off by flipping 40-60 seats, that’s huge. Start talking about flipping 100 seats and suddenly that 40 seat pickup seems paltry.

  88. 88
    Amir Khalid says:

    I was at a press conference with Hawking and attended the one public lecture he gave in KL in 1993 — 25 years ago. It was awesome.

  89. 89
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @hellslittlestangel: Even if he is leading by 1 once all the absentee is counted, I would just declare victory and dare the Republican to drag this out and fight it.

    I mean, they outspent Lamb in total by 400%, had a built in advantage of 20 pts (if you go by the last major election there), and still lost to a dude that just got out the Armed Forces and is barely older than I am (I’ll be 33 in Sept.).

  90. 90
    fuckwit says:

    i have a dream that in 2019, with pence and troll impeached or jailed or both, we at last get our first woman president: nancy pelosi.

  91. 91
    NotMax says:

    @randy khan

    Jared will fix it.

    :) :) :) :) :)

  92. 92

    @Amir Khalid: I saw him in Denver some time in the 90’s as well. Was cool.

  93. 93
    smike says:

    @MomSense: Whole-hearted agreement on that one. Too bad it’s not happening in this district, but a D win is still a blow to Rs.

  94. 94
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @JaneSays: Right. The other thing is that is that this was an open seat – incumbents are going to have an easier time in the general than these special elections are.

    The results in the general probably won’t be as stark. Though as I noted somewhere above, in the general the Republicans won’t be able to devote this amount of overwhelming time and money to each seat that they were able to do here.

  95. 95
    patroclus says:

    @JaneSays: It doesn’t need to be 100 votes. We just need 290 to make it veto-proof,:-)

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:


    I don’t have a link handy, but there’s an interesting (and very controversial) article about that in the current New Yorker. Our entire concept of “brain death” may be wrong, and is more equivocal than I realized.

  97. 97
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @fuckwit: I have that dream too. And then she appoints Hillary VP and resigns.

  98. 98
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Who will wingers claim were the “bussed in” voters this time? Union members? Black folks? Immigrants? Antifa? Pussy-hatters?

  99. 99
    Amir Khalid says:

    Shh. Don’t tell Trump.

    On second thought, go right ahead and tell him. It will just make him more determined to prove he is not so a drag on Republican candidates.

  100. 100
    scav says:

    Steven Hawking is also The Guide mk II in the new Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

  101. 101
    Davebo says:

    Be happy tonight but remember, we are probably only hours away from seeing a video of Trump’s junk in action with a porn star.

    Brace yourselves.

  102. 102
    tobie says:

    @BlueDWarrior: You and Goku are probably the youngest members of the BJ community. Thanks for hanging out with us gray warriors!

  103. 103
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @MisterForkbeard: There are all kinds of cross-currents at play right now. And who knows how many incumbents decide it’s suddenly a good time to spend all day with their wives/husbands/paramours/money/etc.

    If Jones winning in Alabama was a broadside against the starboard side, Lamb winning here in PA-18 will be a shot against the port side.

  104. 104
    Gretchen says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s a question. He lived a long time for someone with ALS. My uncle died of it in 1980, and he lived less than a year after first symptoms. I have always thought it would be one of the very worst ways to go, but Hawking lived with it for decades and found a way to do valuable work the whole time.

  105. 105
    frosty says:


    I think we’re all in this life as a happy accident, and if you want it to have meaning and value, you are going to have to put the work in to create it and share it with the rest of us other happy accidents.

    A good way to live your life regardless of your beliefs.

  106. 106
    Davebo says:

    @JaneSays: Dare to believe!

  107. 107
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @JaneSays: I want to see a bunch of state legislatures flip. This situation where they’ve got such nationwide dominance at the state level that they’re dangerously close to being able to ram through Constitutional amendments has to reverse itself.

  108. 108
    Davebo says:

    @scav: Oh god. Didn’t know they were doing a new Hitchhikers.

    This can’t end well.

  109. 109
    GregB says:

    Shitheel Don isn’t going to take it well when candidates start taking a hard pass on his offers to host cross burning rallies in their districts.

  110. 110
    btom89 says:

    @Jay: Einstein’s birthday was on Pi day, too—- March 14, 1879. Now it’ll have another significance in terms of a famous scientific figure’s death.

    Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking.

  111. 111
    Suzanne says:

    Wow. Stephen Hawking. What a loss to us all.

    I remember my former boss quizzing my team in a meeting. He asked, “Who is the famous American scientist with ALS.”, and we were all stumped. When he said, “Its Stephen Hawking,” we pointed out that Hawking was British, not American. My boss said, “Is he really? He doesn’t have a British accent.”

  112. 112
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I have hope that the gun safety movement among young people is catching fire beneath the radar of this Old, and getting those voters, and their parents, and older virtual acquaintances to pay more attention to local politics and their state legislatures.

  113. 113
  114. 114
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @GregB: Oh that’s an interesting angle going forward. And Donny is not the one to take insults like that lightly. I can easily foresee him tweeting against vulnerable Republicans because he feels slighted/insulted by them refusing his ‘help’.

  115. 115
    Elizabelle says:

    @Suzanne: That story would have made Mr. Hawking laugh, I think.

  116. 116
    Yarrow says:

    @Suzanne: When Hawking got his voice software it had an American accent, which was all that was available in those early days. He said it sounded weird to him but by the time the British accent became available he said that sounded odd and everyone knew him by his American voice so he kept it.

  117. 117
    Ken says:


    Trump hurts candidates. He doesn’t help them.

    Do you think anyone will try to tell him this? We could start a pool.

    Other pools: Number of Republican incumbents who announce retirement in the next two weeks; number of minutes until Trump insults Saccone in a tweet.

  118. 118
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Suzanne: I always found it funny that people didn’t realize that Hawking was British because he spoke through a neutral ‘American-sounding’ text-to-speech converter.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if further generations of the software starts to nuance the AI voice generator to account for regional and national dialects – but we’re probably still some time from that.

  119. 119
    Mike J says:

    Sahil Kapur @sahilkapur 1h
    #PA18 is a R+11 district

    By contrast…

    Paul Ryan: R+4
    Pete Sessions: R+5
    Devin Nunes: R+8
    Steve King: R+11
    Mark Meadows: R+14

    (They say R+11, Trump won by 20, Mitt by 17. 11 seems very, very low.)

  120. 120
    jl says:

    I like the sound of this:

    March 14, 2018 12:23am EDT
    Can Rick Saccone still win? It’s “mathematically possible but unlikely”
    CNN’s John King has analyzed the numbers and thinks that while it’s possible Republican Rick Saccone could still pull it off in Pennsylvania, he wouldn’t bet on it.

    “Mathematically possible but unlikely,” King told CNN’s Don Lemon. Then he broke it down and found that even if Rick Saccone got 70% of the remaining ballots and absentee ballots — which is unlikely — he’d still come up short by just a handful of votes.

  121. 121
    Suzanne says:

    @Elizabelle: Fortunately, my boss took the busting of chops very well and laughed at his own brain fart.

    @Yarrow: I’ve heard that. I seem to recall Hawking saying that he had come to identify with how it sounded and that he felt like it was his real voice.

  122. 122
    guachi says:

    I bet Trump rationalizes the loss and his role by claiming Saccone did better in day of voting than absentee and that was because of Trump.

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    Noticed that nearly no one refers to ALS as Lou Gehrig’s Disease anymore.

  124. 124
    Yarrow says:

    @Suzanne: Yeah, he said the British voice sounded odd to him after all that time.

  125. 125
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @NotMax: well, it ‘helps’ that a lot of other famous people have come down with the same condition, so everyone eventually learned the standard name for it.

  126. 126
    Mike J says:


    Hawking is very attached to his voice: in 1988, when Speech Plus gave him the new synthesizer, the voice was different so he asked them to replace it with the original. His voice had been created in the early ’80s by MIT engineer Dennis Klatt, a pioneer of text-to-speech algorithms. He invented the DECtalk, one of the first devices to translate text into speech. He initially made three voices, from recordings of his wife, daughter and himself. The female’s voice was called “Beautiful Betty”, the child’s “Kit the Kid”, and the male voice, based on his own, “Perfect Paul.” “Perfect Paul” is Hawking’s voice.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:


    A few months before he died, Roger Ebert had a voice generator that was based on old recordings of himself and was very close to his actual voice. His wife almost cried when she heard it.

  128. 128
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @Suzanne: Hilarious! Thanks, I needed that.

  129. 129
  130. 130
    kattails says:

    @hellslittlestangel: I love you both for thinking that.

  131. 131
  132. 132
    hilts says:


    Speaking of accidents, I recommend this wonderful 1993 documentary series A Glorious Accident featuring conversations with Daniel Dennett, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Jay Gould, Oliver Sacks, Rupert Sheldrake, and Stephen Toulmin.
    Sadly, Hawking wasn’t included, but this series still remains blast after all these years.


  133. 133
    cwmoss says:

    @NotMax: I thought it was in Idaho!

  134. 134
    Redshift says:


    It’s not going to happen with a map this gerrymandered.

    Well, we’ll see. The way gerrymandering works is that you gain more seats by making most of them less safe for your side. A big enough wave can make gerrymandering work against the gerrymanderers.

  135. 135
    Cckids says:


    The takeaway tonight is simple:

    Trump hurts candidates. He doesn’t help them.

    — David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) March 14, 2018

    Hopefully the Republicans won’t figure this out. Or won’t have the guts to decline a Trump visit.

  136. 136
    Peter H Desmond says:


    interesting and quick analysis. thankk you.

  137. 137
    Hkedi [Kang T. Q.] says:

    @BlueDWarrior: HA! I’ve got the video for you, Optomistic nihilism: Click the link here I do love Kurzgesagt. excellent youtube channel

  138. 138
    TS says:

    Lamb has claimed the win

  139. 139
    JaneSays says:

    Lamb just declared victory!

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:


    A big enough wave can make gerrymandering work against the gerrymanderers.

    This. A gerrymander works well in normal elections with average turnout, but can get swamped in a wave.

    We should probably also be careful not to assume that every +R district is gerrymandered that way. Some districts are just naturally strong R or strong D districts without a lot of meddling required.

  141. 141
  142. 142
    Davebo says:

    @Mike J: Congressional elections and Presidential ones are different it seems.

  143. 143
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Huh, is Lamb giving a victory speech? Good on him!
    ETA: and he leads with Social Security and Medicare. Pay attention, Dems

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    There are a wide range of how long people live with one of the 3 major neurological diseases, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It seems to depend a lot on how old when diagnosed, and how rapid it advances. My dad had Alzheimer’s and lived 20 yrs after the first noticeable signs. I’ve know of other cases where 5 yrs was the limit with that. Parkinson’s has people like Michael J Fox who has lived 27 yrs with it. I’ve seen the average between diagnosis and death between 5-15 yrs.
    IOW these are not straight forward diseases, each person develops from diagnosis to death at far different rates and so much is not yet known about them that one should not be surprised by extreme examples one way or the other.

  145. 145
    dmsilev says:

    @TS: Good. Even if it won’t become official for a few days yet.

    Tomorrow, we’ll get to amuse ourselves by watching the GOP’s synchronized shit-losing.

  146. 146
    TS says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Huh, is Lamb giving a victory speech? Good on him!

    He started with “Well we did it – took a little longer than we thought, but we did it”

  147. 147
    Peale says:

    @Cckids: he’ll force his way out there. On the plus side, if we fill up his schedule with four months of rallies this summer, he’ll be too busy to order the invasion of north iranuzuelastan, or wherever he wants to show his manliness these days.

  148. 148
    Mike J says:


    Congressional elections and Presidential ones are different it seems.

    The last time a Republican had to face a challenger in PA-18 he won by 28. If anything that makes it a bigger swing.

  149. 149
    mike in dc says:

    Night of the election, you might feel a slight sting. That’s Trump fuckin’ with you. Fuck Trump! Trump only hurts, it never helps.

  150. 150
    JaneSays says:

    @patroclus: Making it veto-proof is irrelevant if the Senate isn’t also veto-proof, which is mathematically impossible in this election.

  151. 151
    cwmoss says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Also in Family Guy!

  152. 152
    TS says:

    @dmsilev: There will be recounts, complaints and lots of lies – they do not go easily into the night.

    This was so important to prove that enough people do not believe trump’s lies, enough people no longer believe that republicans have the answers. Every win by dems gets more of them out to vote next time around. How the US went from Obama to trump is beyond understanding but seeing them come back after just a year is heart warming.

  153. 153
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    He’s good, a bit stilted, keeping it local without bashing anybody on his (our) side. Love the nod to his grandfather and FDR

  154. 154
    smike says:

    @hellslittlestangel: Aaaaaand, voila! Your wish is granted. (via MSNBC)

  155. 155
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think due to rules for drawing House districts, on average they do have be drawn that way, trading depth for breadth.

  156. 156
    hellslittlestangel says:

    @smike: I donated twenty bucks to his campaign. Could this be a quid pro quo? Scandal! Alert Fox News!

  157. 157
    NotMax says:

    Will there be any coffee left in NYC? Kornacki now gets to anchor the next hour live.

  158. 158
    rikyrah says:

    Yeah to the good guy that hates God and America😏👍👍

  159. 159
    mskitty says:

    Gave a shout-out to organized labor – GOOD! But – talking about problems, he said “We will work with anyone to fix them”. Anyone? Who anyone? And he’s stated clearly that he won’t follow Pelosi – nobody has pinned him down to ask “follow her EVER?” or particularly VOTE for her as Speaker?
    Yeah, I know, we can’t get a very blue Dem out of Pa-18 — I just want someone leftier than, say, Joe Manchin (yahyah, I know he’s a senator, I just don’t know a blue-doggish rep off the top of my head.)

  160. 160


    I just want someone leftier than, say, Joe Manchin (yahyah, I know he’s a senator, I just don’t know a blue-doggish rep off the top of my head.)

    Tim Ryan

  161. 161
    Fair Economist says:


    To be honest, I kinda feel the same way. I think we’re all in this life as a happy accident, and if you want it to have meaning and value, you are going to have to put the work in to create it and share it with the rest of us other happy accidents.

    Like most good things, purpose and meaning have to be made.

  162. 162
    frosty says:

    Great news! Thanks to the jackals who watched the news so I didn’t have to. And a tip of the glass to my Whiskey Rebellion ancestors in SW PA. Whoo hoo!

  163. 163
    opiejeanne says:

    @Davebo: Someone who’s seen it described it as looking like ALF’s nose.

  164. 164
    JAFD says:

    Greetings from BJ’s New Jersey polling place worker !

    Rule for absentee ballots _here_: If you didn’t mail it in time, bring it to the courthouse or municipal building before the polls close – bringing it to the polling place does no good at all. If you’re marked as ‘Requested Absentee Ballot’ and you come in and say ‘I never received one’, you’ll be votiing with a ‘Provisional Ballot’

    We folk behind the table at the polling place – we started setting up at 5:15 AM and we want to get this done, get the tally printouts signed, pack everything up and get it to the courthouse, limber up the voting machines, take the 31 notices that we taped to the wall down, fold table and chairs, and let the firemen put the engine inside for the night. But we know that Every Vote Counts and We Gotta Get This Correct – or CNN will be breathing down our necks for a month.

    OK, see you on Election Day – we’ll be there !

  165. 165
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Davebo: Well that’s a sad loss.

  166. 166
    westyny says:

    @guachi: I hope he does. And goes out to hold more campaign rallies for his cringing team.

  167. 167
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    He sucks. He’s the only line I’ll leave blank this November.

  168. 168
    Mnemosyne says:


    Thank you for your service! 🇺🇸

    (Yes, I’ve decided to use that phrase for poll workers instead of military folks. The poll workers actually keep the system running.)

  169. 169
    mike in dc says:

    Our target should be 52 seats. That’s the combined amount we won in 2006 and 2008. If we win more seats than we did in 2006 and 2008 combined, the message is clear; the country is fed up with Trump and his sycophants and enablers in Congress.

  170. 170
  171. 171
    Redshift says:

    Gooper candidates are in a lovely rock-and-a-hard-place – if Trump campaigns for them, it turns off one set of voters, if he doesn’t, it turns off another (or at least, fails to energize them.) Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch!

  172. 172
    Mart says:

    Probably the Russians make sure we lose the recount, but with 100% reporting Lamb wins!

  173. 173
    Ruckus says:


    To be honest, I kinda feel the same way. I think we’re all in this life as a happy accident, and if you want it to have meaning and value, you are going to have to put the work in to create it and share it with the rest of us other happy accidents.

    Your quoted paragraph above is wonderful. Life is what you make of it, and what it makes of you.
    Life is random. Who you are, what you are capable of, what you aren’t capable of, there is no menu or production line values, we are as we grow. As we grow we can sometimes affect the direction and distance we progress, until we can’t. We can work on being better humans or not, we still breath and all of that, till we don’t. The vast majority of us don’t make large contributions to life, either positive or negative, it’s just not the way large systems work. But there are exceptions, positive and negative. And I’d bet that we can all think of examples of each.

  174. 174
    Tokyokie says:

    @NotMax: But then, the British fellow who lived so long with the disease, famously paid off a bet with a copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia.

  175. 175

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: if it’s at all close, you should vote for him, of course. Hell, IMO you should always vote for the best candidate.

  176. 176
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I think he’ll easily win around here. Democrats dominate the local area. Too bad they tend to be actually corrupt and are Republican-lite (or at least not as progressive as I’d like them to be). They’re still stuck in the 70s when the steel mills closed down. And they always campaign against the Youngstown Community Charter that’s intended to ban fracking in the area. It’s true the state government would likely override it but sometimes symbolic victories are important.

  177. 177
    WaterGirl says:


  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    Hmm. When I google winner PA-18, everything comes up as no winner yet. Did the TV stations and newspapers not call it for Conor Lamb?

  179. 179
    Ruckus says:

    I think it’s possible that we don’t have enough invested. We have to win over the next 8 months. No that’s wrong, we have to crush them. Everywhere. We won’t of course but the closer we come the better it is long term. We have to make the republican brand like finding out one has VD, ALS, pneumonia, leukemia, and a broken leg, all on the same day, which is the day after your insurance expired, which you forgot to renew.

  180. 180
    J R in WV says:


    “@fuckwit: I have that dream too. And then she appoints Hillary VP and resigns.

    I have that dream, too, sometimes.

  181. 181
    TS says:

    @WaterGirl: Conor Lamb called it for himself. The pundits are saying there is no way Conor can lose but they won’t call it.
    Maybe they are wondering if the russians have fixed the absentees in the last two counties. About 1300 absentee votes outstanding & Conor leads by 579.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:


    I didn’t watch his speech — did he say the Pelosi thing during the speech, or were you having a flashback to the campaign?

    I’m actually kind of okay with House Democrats saying they won’t slavishly follow Pelosi’s lead as long as they do it when it counts. She’s always been shrewd enough to let a few of the caucus peel off if she agrees that it’s necessary for their district.

  183. 183
    J R in WV says:


    “I donated twenty bucks to his campaign.”

    Me too, $25 a month for several months.

  184. 184
    Ruckus says:

    I have a friend in Houston with ALS. He is 69 and the last time I saw him in person was about 12 yrs ago and I don’t think he knew he had it then. He is totally incapacitated and has to be cared for 24/7. He communicates via a speech synthesizer which of course I’ve never heard him use but it allows him to communicate on FB. The pictures that his son posts look like a different person, other than his massive mustache.

  185. 185
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: In the clip at the top of the post, he said he was an FDR Democrat. More than good enough for me.

  186. 186
  187. 187
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve had a couple of direct experiences with people at the end of life. The shear number of people who almost demand that the person not be allowed to have any say in any end of life decisions amazes me. I get not wanting to let go, I get not wanting to go, believe me I do, but it really shouldn’t be the decision of anyone but the person at the end. I’ve had to make the decision for someone because I was the designated person and they hadn’t spelled it out fully. But to me it wasn’t all that difficult in this instance, this person had suffered for a very long time with a debilitating disease and had no fight nor no possibility of living left. I’ve known other people who made the decision and were totally unsupported by people who just reacted, rather than looked at the total situation and that the person was in full charge of their facilities, just not of their cancer. I think not letting someone go when it is their time is selfish in the extreme.

  188. 188
    JaneSays says:

    @Mike J: R+11 means the Republican will typically do 11 points better than an even 50-50 district. 50+11=61. A 61-39 victory is a 22 point win.

    The Cook PVI numbering is confusing, because anything more than +5 means the favored party is likely to win by double digits (ie 55-45).

  189. 189
  190. 190
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:


    Oh, good lord! He’s grotesque.

  191. 191
    msb says:

    @ thanks for that!

    Yay for Lamb! Rs poured out money for nothing. Looking forward to the swelling tide of R retirements.

  192. 192
    Mel says:

    @Ruckus: I agree. There are so many factors that figure into how a health situation plays out. Each person’s disease response and progress is a unique blend of their genetic predispositions, their general health, physical and psychological and environmental stressors, age at onset and at actual diagnosis, access to care, the actual quality of that care, and probably lots of other factors that we haven’t yet identified.

    Hawking had the benefit of a socialized health system, so that his diagnosis was made early in the process of the illness, and he had consistent access to medical care even early on in his life and career. Certainly, having the finances to easily afford the best additional and supplemental care later in his life couldn’t have hurt his odds, either.

    He commented that the fact that he had a career which allowed him to remain active in his field and to feel and be engaged and productive despite the severe physical challenges he faced likely played a large part in his desire to keep forging ahead when things were extremely difficult.

    I can’t help but think that being so visible and having celebrity status within the scientific communitty had to help, as well. What doctor, despite barriers of country or cost, would say no to consulting on Stephen Hawking’s care? What engineer, medical device corporation CEO, biologist, physical therapy pioneer would turn away a request from Hawking’s medical team?

    Then there’s also the fact that his first wife, Jane, was a ferocious advocate for him during their entire marriage and even after her remarriage and his divorce from his second wife. She navigated the system for him, arranged his care, challenged decisions that she or he felt would limit his quality of life, and created and sustained a supportive home environment. Having someone in your corner when the shit hits the proverbial fan and you’re just too tired to fight the fight is something that many people fighting a lifelong illness either never have, or lose along the way as the stresses of fighting the illness take their toll.

  193. 193
    lowtechcyclist says:

    A brief primer on the arithmetic of gerrymandering:

    The goal is to pack your opponents’ voters into a small number of districts that they win overwhelmingly, while you draw the maps to win comfortably in all the other districts.

    Imagine a state with 10 districts that’s split 50-50 R-D, with the GOP in control of redistricting.

    Example 1: they get moderately greedy, shooting for an easy 7-3 split in their favor. They draw the maps for 3 easy D districts with 85-15 D majorities. Then with adroit drawing of district lines, they can create 7 districts that are 65-35 R. The Dems have 3 districts that they win by 70% margins, and the Repubs have 7 districts that they win by 30% margins. The votes are even, the outcome is lopsided, and it’ll take one hell of a wave to reverse it.

    Example 2: the R’s get a bit more greedy, going for an 8-2 split and a bit more adroit in their packing, creating 2 90-10 D majority districts. Then if they can draw well enough, they can create 8 60-40 R districts. In a normal year, the D’s win 2 districts by 80% each, and the R’s win 8 districts by 20% each. And it still takes quite a wave to overcome that, but last night, exactly that sort of district went D. So a wave like this would seriously threaten their hold on things.

    Example 3: the R’s get really really greedy, going for a 9-1 split, and pack even better. They create one 95-5 D district, and 9 55-45 R districts. In a normal year, they win 9 districts by 10% each, and lose 1 district by 90%. But it doesn’t take much of a wave at all to swamp them. In a year like this, they’d be doomed.

    Another thing to consider is that those R districts aren’t all going to have the same split. In the first example, the R districts won’t all be 65-35; they’ll be spread out over a range from maybe 72-28 to 58-42. In the second example, maybe 66-34 to 54-46, and in the third, maybe 58-42 to 52-48. There will always be some that are more or less vulnerable in a bad year for the R’s.

    But in a year like this, in Example 1, because they didn’t get too greedy, they might come out of it with a 6-4 R majority, or at worst, tied at 5-5. In Example 2, they’ll be looking at a D majority, somewhere between 6-4 and 8-2. And in Example 3, they’ll be lucky to hang on to anything.

    So: the greedier the gerrymander, the more you lose in a wave, and the smaller a wave it takes to wash you away.

  194. 194
    Citizen Alan says:


    So: the greedier the gerrymander, the more you lose in a wave, and the smaller a wave it takes to wash you away.

    Or as my old accountant used to say when we were discussing the applicability of certain tax exemptions: “Pigs get fed; hogs get slaughtered.”

  195. 195
    kindness says:

    Yeay for our side. I am a tad discouraged that DKos pointed out the inevitable Guardian article that ‘Now Is A Great Time For Democrats To Ditch Pelosi’.

    Really? REALLY? We don’t deserve the media we have. We really don’t.

  196. 196
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ruckus: Similar thing with dementia – not simple & survival rates vary widely. Mom was 94, still living on her own in the house I grew up in, cooking her own meals, cleaning fanatically, working in the garden, when the first signs appeared. In the ensuing years there were moments that brought everyone who loved her to tears, mostly bitter, occasionally happy (e.g. at her 100th birthday party when she was almost her old self & recognized everyone). I dunno. Best guess is that her case was caused by a series of mini- or microstrokes that took out a few synapses at a time & it was impossible to predict when one of those would take out some function essential to life – which happened a few months past 102.

Comments are closed.