Open Thread: Ted Cruz Fancies Himself A Machiavel

Because that corgi is still far more attractive to look at than Ted Cruz.

The man just cannot stop alienating people, even those who should be his allies. From Politico, yesterday, “Hannity blows up at Cruz: ‘I’m getting sick of it'”…

… Hours after New York Rep. Peter King said he hated Cruz and would take cyanide if he ever won the nomination, [Sean] Hannity conducted a 14-minute interview with the Texas senator, almost immediately pressing him on his campaign’s delegate selection operation that has obliterated Donald Trump’s.

“You’re hoping to get to a second ballot. In other words, in a second ballot people that support Donald Trump or John Kasich or Marco Rubio, if those delegates are still relevant, can then switch their votes,” Hannity said. “So you’re in a process of talking to delegates, and it seems to be very extensive. Could you explain to people what’s going on?”

“Sean, with all respect, that’s not what people are concerned about,” Cruz responded… “And the media loves to obsess about process. This process and this whining from the Trump campaign is all silly. It’s very, very simple…,” Cruz continued before Hannity interrupted.

“It’s more than a process question,” Hannity said. “It’s an integrity of the election question, and everybody’s asking me this question so I’m giving you an opportunity to explain it.”

A lightly chuckling Cruz said only hardcore Trump supporters would ask such a question.

“Why do you do this?” Hannity said, raising his voice. “Every single time I — no, you gotta stop. Every time I have you on the air and I ask a legitimate question, you try to throw this in my face. I’m getting sick of it. I’ve had you on more than any other candidate on radio and TV. So if I ask you, senator, a legitimate question to explain to the audience, why don’t you just answer it?”…

And then last night…

Today he finally, more or less, answered the question about his cunning plan to win the convention if he can’t win the primaries, per NBC:

Ted Cruz declared definitively on Wednesday that the fight for the Republican presidential nomination is “definitely headed to Cleveland,” where, he said, “the people are going to prevail.”

“Nobody’s getting 1237 [delegates] – Donald knows that. We’re headed to a contested convention,” Cruz told NBC News while shaking hands after his rally here in a state with 71 delegates up for grabs in next Tuesday’s primary.

“The reason why he has so many of his media surrogates repeating the mantra that the race has got to be over now is because he knows he cannot earn a majority of the delegates in Cleveland,” Cruz continued, calling Trump “a fringe and marginal candidate.”

Cruz exited New York’s primary without winning a single delegate, nearly mathematically vanishing his ability to win the nomination before the convention – a standard he often used last month to indirectly suggest John Kasich and, then, Marco Rubio should leave the race…

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Open Thread: The Party Decides… That Ted Cruz Is A Creep

People just don’t like Ted Cruz! It seems that practically everyone who’s spent so much as a long weekend in his company can’t abide him. Even other Republicans…

Whether they first met him decades ago…

…. worked with him, per the NYTimes, as he first entered the DC establishment

… In Mr. Cruz’s time as a Supreme Court clerk, a coveted step in a legal career that he had meticulously plotted out, he showed his now familiar capacity to infuriate colleagues. He also worked hard to please his boss, delved into the nuances of constitutional law for long, grueling hours and sought to smooth over harsh feelings at clerk happy hours. But when he left, he was most remembered by his fellow clerks for his fervor for capital punishment cases, a cause that would define his legal career and help him break into politics…

During his clerkship, he presented his boss with a caricature of him and other clerks pulling a stagecoach driven by the judge. According to someone who saw the illustration, there was a graveyard behind them with headstones representing the number of people executed in their jurisdiction that year…

… Or have more recently been forced to deal with him…

The NYTimes reports, “Bob Dole Warns of ‘Cataclysmic’ Losses With Ted Cruz“:

“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.”

“I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” he said. “Nobody likes him.”…

(CNN)It was no accident that two Iowa GOP icons — Chuck Grassley and Bob Dole — attacked Ted Cruz the day after Iowa’s Republican governor said a vote for the Texas senator would be bad for the lead-off caucus state.

It is part of a fascinating and once unthinkable calculation by leading establishment figures that Donald Trump is the lesser of two evils at the top of the Republican presidential pack — and defeating Cruz in Iowa is now part of this strategy…

One leading GOP strategist involved in the effort put it this way: “If Trump loses we wash our hands of him. Cruz will think we need to be more crazy and be a long-term nightmare.”…

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Dropping the Seventh Veil: Christianists Embrace Trump

Why should the other bigots have all the fun? In case Sarah “Bible Spice” Palin’s endorsement wasn’t enough to make it official, the Grey Lady lifted her soiled skirts and stepped into the morass, to explain how “Evangelicals See Donald Trump as Man of Conviction, if Not Faith”:

Brash, thrice-married, cosseted in a gilded tower high above Fifth Avenue and fond of swearing from the stage at his rallies, Mr. Trump, who has spent his career in pursuit, and praise, of wealth, would seem an odd fit for voters who place greater value on faith, hope and charity.

Yet polls increasingly show Mr. Trump well in front of the crowded Republican field among white evangelical voters, despite competition including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, whose father is an evangelical pastor; Mr. Huckabee, the 2008 Iowa caucus winner; former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Roman Catholic whose story of raising a daughter with a disability struck a chord with voters and helped push him to victory in the 2012 Iowa caucuses; and Ben Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist who brought prayer into the operating room as a neurosurgeon and has spoken frequently about his Christian beliefs as a candidate.

A New York Times/CBS News poll last week showed Mr. Trump, a Presbyterian, dominating the field with 42 percent of evangelical voters; Mr. Cruz was second with 25 percent.

In dozens of interviews with evangelical voters in 16 states, from every region of the country outside the Northeast, those supporting Mr. Trump sounded a familiar refrain: that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure, that he alone was capable of delivering to a troubled country salvation in the here and now

And on Monday, Mr. Trump spoke at Liberty University, the Lynchburg, Va., institution founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Mr. Trump has been wooing Jerry Falwell Jr., and Mr. Falwell lavished praise on him, comparing Mr. Trump to Jesus and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for voicing unpopular thoughts…

Rev. Hucksterbee and Rick Sanctorum — let’s face it! — are luzers, and nobody likes that guy Cruz. Their god is a strong god, a winning god, one never hesitant to rain down destruction or crush another horde of unbelievers. Their god is YOOOOOGE.

And the Trumpenfuhrer is ready to lead them to glory, per NYMag:

“Christianity, it’s under siege,” the GOP front-runner said at the Evangelical college’s morning convocation. “We don’t band together. Other religions, frankly, they’re banding together … we have to unify. We have to band together, we have to do really, in a really large version, what they’ve done at Liberty.”…

The mogul further argued that “the Bible is the best,” though he had some difficulty in trying to quote it.

“Two Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,’” Trump said, inspiring chuckles from an audience that knows that chapter of Scripture by its god-given name of “Second Corinthians.”…

“In my opinion, Mr. Trump lives a life of loving and helping others … as Jesus taught in the New Testament,” Falwell said on Monday…

Second-gen religious hustler knows: Hustler Trump got serious game.

Our own Siubhan Duinne linked to Daniel Danger‘s amazing Storify post, “I went to a Donald Trump rally and saw a man wearing a plastic bag as a shirt”:

… I picked seats on the floor, partially to commit to simply being a bit more “in the shit”. I chose an aisle seat that had a clear open line of sight to the podium, and also offered a moderate amount of “phone privacy” by having an empty space to my right. Which turned out to be useful because the people behind me were actively trying to read my phone all night…

I missed who the speaker was, but he went on a whole bit about how there were Democrats hiding in the audience, and they probably wouldn’t/shouldn’t identify themselves due to “past incidents”, and because they were basically outnumbered in the room. And this was said in a joking manner to get a laugh from the room. Perhaps “past incidents” referred to Trump supporters beating and kicking a Latino man at a rally in Miami, The Black Lives Matter protester kicked and beaten at a Trump rally in Alabama, or the Trump supporters beating and peeing on a homeless Latino man because “Donald Trump was right.”… Read more



I Sing The Body Electric: Program Notes — this afternoon at 5 EST 2 PST

It is once more that time of the month:  I’ll be doing another of my interviews on Virtually Speaking Science, live from the Exploratorium’s hall in Second Life!

My guest this month is Cynthia Graber.  Cynthia is a double-threat science journalist, working in both print and radio; she’s currently at MIT, as it happens, as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow.

Most recently, Cynthia’s been blazing trail in what is rapidly becoming a new genre for nonfiction — what I’ve been calling in my head the non-fiction novella, stories that explode the seams of even length-happy magazines like The New Yorker or The Atlantic, but that do not require a full book’s level of engagement.  These e-book shorts appear now as Kindle Singles, TED books, Byliner projects and more. Perhaps the most discussed in the community I hang with has been the approach pioneered by The Atavist, which adds a fair amount of computing to the text in books sold both as e-texts and as apps.  The other eye-catcher in this domain recently has been the Matter project — a Kickstarter-funded start-up dedicated to original reported and investigative stories centered on science.

Cynthia wrote what became Matter’s second publication, Electric Shock: How Electricity Could Be The Key To Human RegenerationIt’s a story of a Tufts University researcher named Michael Levin, who believes he is on track to work out pathways through which humans could emulate the salamander and regenerate damaged or lost body parts0.

Hans_Canon_Der_Salamander

His approach is out of the mainstream for what begins as a kind of out-there body of research, as he focuses not on genetics or stem cell research, but on the electrical signalling functions of our biology.

It’s a wild subject, meticulously and carefully handled.  We’ll be talking about that — and about the perils of reporting on science when the line between the daring and the too-far-out-there isn’t always that easy to discern. That’ll cover most of the hour, but we will also save some time to talk about this brave new world of forms and genres emerging in the context of the new media ecosystem.  Should be fun; stop by if you have a chance.

Listen here.  The program will be available later as a podcast at that link to Blog Talk Radio and on iTunes — look for us under Virtually Speaking Science.

If you’re a virtual world type, you can join the live Second Life audience here.

Again timing:  5 p.m. today Eastern time; 10 p.m. in London; 2 p.m. in the land of my youth over there on the left coast.

Image: Hans Canon,  The Salamander, 1863.



Open Minds, Closed Hearts

Ahh Kentucky.  And people wonder why the state’s aggregate IQ drops by a measurable amount when I cross the Ohio River to go to work in the mornings.  Stories like this just depress me.

Kentucky’s Senate Republicans pushed successfully in 2009 to tie the state’s testing program to national education standards, but three years later, they’re questioning the results.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution during a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

In an exchange with officials from ACT, the company that prepares Kentucky’s new state testing program, those lawmakers discussed whether evolution was a fact and whether the biblical account of creationism also should be taught in Kentucky classrooms.

“I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution,” Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said Tuesday in an interview.

To recap:  Republicans insisted the state meet new national education testing guidelines to comply with NCLB.  The state hired a company to write the tests specifically to improve education to make the state’s students better educated and more competitive in the global marketplace.  Three years later, Republicans are horrified to find out the tests teach evolution.

The GOP response is pathetic.

Givens said he and other legislators have been contacted by a number of educators with concerns about Kentucky’s proposed new science standards, which are tied to ACT testing and are scheduled to be adopted this fall.

“I think we are very committed to being able to take Kentucky students and put them on a report card beside students across the nation,” Givens said. “We’re simply saying to the ACT people we don’t want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students’ ability to do critical thinking.”

Yes, because if you don’t also teach the “theory” that invisible bearded floaty guy built the Earth on a giant Sims program 6,000 years ago, you’re a close minded bigot.  I demand Catholic schools teach Islam, Daoism, Shintoism, Judaism, Pastafarianism, and Pagan studies in science class or they’re close minded bigots too.  See how this works?

Last time I checked, biology was a science, not a comparative religion course.

Oh, but it gets worse.

Another committee member, Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards.

The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up,” Waide said. “My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.”

You sir are the dumbest mofo on Earth, and I am offended that you are an elected lawmaker in the Commonwealth.  Your ignorance is so astounding that I have to believe you actually don’t exist, because nobody can be this stupid and survive without collapsing under the density of their own idiocy.

Seriously, evolution has “never stood up to scientific scrutiny”?  When you refuse to get involved in elections and local politics and the world around you, these are the people that get elected, Kentucky. My job is to fix that.  I have a lot of work to do, of course.



“Sí Se Puede” On POTUS’s DREAM Deferral

So yes, it turns out that President Obama can do something about deportation, the DREAM act, and undocumented students.

President Obama will announce a new immigration policy this morning that will allow some undocumented students to avoid deportation and receive work authorization.

Under the president’s “deferred action” executive order, students in the U.S. who are already in deportation proceedings or those who qualify for the DREAM Act and have yet to come forward to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the United States.

An estimated 1 million young people could benefit from the deferral. To be eligible, applicants have to be between 15 and 30 years old, live in the U.S. for five years, and maintain continuous U.S. residency. People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply. “Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.

Obama is expected to speak about this new policy later today.

The Associated Press is already using terms like “immunity” and “amnesty”.  Republicans are expected to explode in 5…4…3…

[UPDATE Yep, Malkin and Co. throwing a fit according to Memeorandum.  And yes, the downside of executive branch action?  This program dies screaming the instant Mitt Romney should take office.  Might want to keep this in mind.

[UPDATE 2]  More on the announcement from MSNBC:

The Department of Homeland Security said that, effective immediately, the government would no longer seek the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement Friday.

A senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change. Napolitano said that the shift represented neither immunity nor amnesty — buzzwords for conservatives who oppose illegal immigration — but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government had re-evaluated its priorities in enforcing the law.

Echoing the comments of several in this thread, “Your move, Mittens”.



Quaint Island Customs

I picked up this coaster at a bar last night and I have no idea what the flip side means (click to embiggen).  Can someone more familiar with the Island code clue me in?

Here’s today’s Netroots schedule for those of you playing along at home.  K-thug is on at 9.

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