November 5, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 6:18 PM


After Big Wins Down Ballot, One-Party Rule To Return To N.H. State House (RICK GANLEY & MARY MCINTYRE, 11/05/20, NHPR)

Rick Ganley: Well, I want to ask you about your first term as governor. You had the GOP controlling the legislature, your second term, Democrats holding majorities. Now, in both cases, it wasn't always smooth sailing. I mean, you are known for a record number of vetoes. What have you learned about working with lawmakers and how have those relationships evolved over time?

Chris Sununu: You know, as many vetoes as we had, and yes there are obviously bumpy times in every State House. But you always find a way to work through it. For the most part, you really do. There's a lot of things I vetoed that I think we could come back to. For example, the dental bill. We want to include dental for Medicaid, for folks that have Medicaid. The price is just way, way too high. I think there's a good middle ground, but let's get back to that. And so there's a lot of those bipartisan initiatives that I think we can.

But everyone has their own working style. And having 400 representatives, it's a lot, right? And so I can't meet with every single one of them. I'll be trying to meet with them in committee form or whatever it might be. But you kind of have to learn people's working styles. And I think that helps you, you know, understand what their priorities are. Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter. Everyone just wants the best for their community. And when you go in with that mindset, that look, you might disagree on process, you might disagree on policy, but everyone is coming from the right place, I think that kind of gives a kind of an empathetic connection across that party line to get stuff done.

Posted by orrinj at 5:50 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:09 PM


Thousands of Omaha-area voters backed Democrat Biden, Republican Bacon (Joseph Morton, Henry Cordes, Nov 5, 2020, Omaha Herald)

Jay C. Jackson describes himself as a pro-life Republican whose Papillion yard sported campaign signs this cycle for Rep. Don Bacon and Sen. Ben Sasse.

Next to that pair of Nebraska Republicans, however, was another sign featuring Abraham Lincoln in Aviator sunglasses and the slogan "Ridin' with Biden."

"My wife and I have always felt there are bigger things than policies that are involved in this election and that President Trump was not somebody that we could vote for," Jackson said.

Jackson was one of many "Biden-Bacon" voters in Nebraska's Omaha-based 2nd District who decided to split their 2020 tickets. That group was key to Bacon defeating his Democratic challenger, Kara Eastman, by several percentage points and securing a third term in Congress even as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won the district and its lone Electoral College vote.

In all, Eastman underperformed Biden's numbers by nearly 20,000 votes. She was able to stick close with the former vice president in heavily Democratic areas such as North Omaha. But she received about 4,000 fewer votes than Biden did in Sarpy County, a Republican-heavy area where voters such as Jackson live, and even in many precincts where both Biden and Eastman prevailed, her vote totals lagged his.

In Douglas County, Biden and Eastman both easily carried a precinct just north of Memorial Park, for example, but Eastman failed to run up the score there as much as Biden did. Instead she fell short of Biden's performance by about 10 percentage points. A precinct that includes much of the Candlewood neighborhood in west Omaha also showed the difference. Trump edged out Biden, who got about 48% of the vote. But Eastman fared much worse, receiving only 38%.

Jackson said he has moderate views on certain issues but generally favors traditional Republican platform positions such as smaller government and religious freedom -- making it easy to back Bacon and Sasse.

The five most popular governors in America are Republicans and Donald got annihilated in four of their states.

Posted by orrinj at 1:36 PM


Posted by orrinj at 1:25 PM


The Xenobot Future Is Coming--Start Planning Now: We're on the cusp of being able to program biological systems like we program computers. That raises some thorny questions. (AMY WEBB, 11.04.2020, wired)

Crispr routinely makes headlines. To the degree that people are even aware that life can be edited, it's this technique they tend to reference. But Crispr, while powerful, is problematic: Scientists can't directly see the changes they're making to a molecule. What if I told you that soon we'll have not only read and edit access to genetic material, but write access too? Meaning that, in the not-too-distant future, we will program living, biological structures as though they are tiny computers.

A new field of science called "synthetic biology" aims to do just this by digitizing genetic manipulation. Sequences are loaded into software tools--like a word processor, but for DNA code--and are eventually printed using something akin to a 3D printer. Rather than editing genetic material in or out of DNA, synthetic biology gives scientists the ability to write entirely new organisms that have never existed. Imagine a synthetic biology app store, where you could download and add new capabilities into any cell, microbe, plant, or animal. If that sounds implausible, consider this: Last year, UK researchers synthesized the world's first living organism--E. coli--that contained DNA created by humans rather than nature. Earlier this year, a group of researchers started with a cluster of stem cells from an African clawed frog as a base, and then used a supercomputer, a virtual environment, and evolutionary algorithms to create 100 generations of prototypes to build. The result: a tiny blob of programmable tissue called a xenobot. These living robots can undulate, swim, and walk. They work collaboratively and can even self-heal. They're tiny enough to be injected into human bodies, travel around, and--maybe someday--deliver targeted medicines.

These little blobs are an example of write-access to life--a relatively new field of science. This umbrella term refers to the many different areas of research, tools, and systems aiming to remix, redesign, and optimize the living world. And the types of conversations we're having today about artificial intelligence--misplaced fear and optimism, irrational excitement about market potential, statements of willful ignorance made by our elected officials--will mirror the conversations we will soon be having about synthetic biology.

"synthetic biology" is redundant.

Posted by orrinj at 1:12 PM


The stock market's best returns have occurred under Democratic presidents with a split Congress (Yun Li, Nov. 5th, 2020, CNBC)

Vote counting continued Thursday in the tight presidential race, but odds of a Joe Biden win and a split Congress have increased. If that's the final outcome, history shows that this type of gridlock in Washington has been quite market-friendly for stocks.

The stock market has enjoyed the best returns under a Democratic presidency and a split Congress, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, who analyzed data going back to the end of 1944. The S&P 500 has rallied 13.6% on average during a calendar year with such a political makeup, the data showed.

Posted by orrinj at 1:04 PM


Win or lose, results suggest Trump was a liability for Republicans (Haviv Rettig Gur, 11/05/20, Times of Israel)

The US presidential race isn't over. It seems to be leaning heavily toward Democratic former vice president Joe Biden. But even if Donald Trump defies the odds and manages to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, mounting evidence from Tuesday's results suggests he may have hurt the GOP's prospects at the ballot box. [...]

[T]rump did worse than Republican House and Senate candidates in the key battleground states, caused measurable disquiet among voters who lined up to vote for him, and was named by almost half of Biden's voters as a key reason they had come out to vote.

It isn't just that a July Pew study found one-quarter of Trump voters were uncomfortable with his "temperament." On Tuesday, Republican House candidates generally did better than their party leader, while a Washington Post examination of Senate races in nine battleground states found that in seven of them Trump did worse than the Republican Senate candidate.

In Maine, for example, Biden won the state, while Republican incumbent Senator Susan Collins defied months of bad poll numbers to emerge the winner. It's a similar story in Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina.

While both sides saw a run on the polls this time around, Republicans have only won the popular vote once in the past 28 years (George W. Bush's second-term win in 2004). This time was no different; and, indeed, and under Trump's leadership, the popular vote gap has only grown. According to the Federal Elections Commission's final tally of the 2016 popular vote, Clinton led Trump by 2.87 million votes. As of Thursday afternoon, with hundreds of thousands of votes still unannounced, Biden leads by a larger 3.7 million margin, a lead expected to grow as more mail-in ballots are counted.

The popular vote doesn't decide an American election, of course, but it's a bellwether that over the long term Republicans can't afford to ignore.

Trump also slipped among many vital constituencies. According to an ABC News analysis of exit polls collected by national media outlets, Biden won suburban voters by three points; Trump had won them by four points in 2016. Trump's lead shrank among longstanding Republican-leaning constituencies, including white voters, Evangelicals, and military voters (where a 24-point lead dropped to seven). Biden won independents by 14 points, a 20-point swing from Trump's six-point lead in 2016. First-time voters favored Biden by a 34-point margin, up from Hillary Clinton's 20-point lead in 2016.

Again, none of these details in and of themselves define the race. But taken together, it's fair to suggest that even at a time of soaring turnout -- the highest since 1900 -- Republicans fell further behind this year even among their core voters.

He's not a Republican.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Anthony Scaramucci says markets like the idea that there may not be a 'blue wave' (Abigail Ng, 11/05/20, CNBC)

Investors appear happy that there may not be a "blue wave" outcome in the U.S. elections, as seen in the rally in world markets, said Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund investor and former White House communications director.

U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday following a positive session on Wednesday. Asian markets rallied in Thursday trade, while European markets also climbed higher.

"I think the markets do like the notion that there wasn't a 'blue wave,'" Scaramucci, founder and co-managing partner of Skybridge Capital, told CNBC's Hadley Gamble and Matthew Taylor on Thursday.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Higher Arab American turnout in 2020 could have helped Biden win Michigan, while Black voters and other young voters of color led the way in the battleground state (Azmi Haroun, 11/05/20, Business Insider)

Initial reports point to Arab American and Black voters as crucial to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's win in the battleground state of Michigan. 

Early polling and initial exit polling from the Arab American Institute and CAIR suggest that Arab American and Muslim voters voted in higher numbers this year than in 2016, and overwhelmingly for Biden. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said that Michigan had broken its record for turnout in a presidential election.

Late results on Wednesday from several counties in Michigan ended up throwing the race in Biden's favor. Wayne and Oakland Counties, which have high percentages of Black, Latino, Asian, and Arab residents, proved crucial in the final counts.

Wayne County is home to Detroit and Dearborn, where the Arab American Institute estimates that over 200,000 Arab Americans live. According to Muslim advocacy group Emgage, in 2020, over 81,000 Muslims came out to vote in early and absentee voting alone in Michigan.

Early voting lines appear to mirror the full results in Wayne County with Biden winning about 70% of the eligible Arab American vote.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Saint Patrick, Ireland's original Protestant? (Deirdre Nuttall, 11/05/20, Irish Times)

What Irish Protestants of all social backgrounds often share is a sort of ambivalence about their cultural or ethnic identity and the desire to assert themselves as truly Irish while at the same time recognising that history and their cultural experiences are "different" in various ways.

One of the most intriguing cultural manifestations of this ambivalence and assertion of Irishness is found in the view of St Patrick as Ireland's original Protestant. Given that Patrick was engaged in missionary work in Ireland long before the Reformation, it is interesting to explore this point of view, which developed as an important origin story of the Protestants of Ireland, helping them to assert the essential Irishness of their faith while also making a firm statement about identity.

James Ussher 1580-1656, Archbishop of Armagh, originally introduced the idea that the Anglican Church of Ireland is the true Celtic religion of Ireland, founded by St Patrick in the fifth century. Photograph: Universal History Archive/Getty Images
The idea that the Anglican Church of Ireland is the true Celtic religion of Ireland, founded by St Patrick in the fifth century, crystallised in the 18th century (having been originally introduced by Archbishop Ussher in the 17th century) in the context of a surge of intellectual interest in Gaelic culture. Later, during the Gaelic revival and intense interest in Ireland's Celtic past, various Protestant intellectuals and churchmen studied Irish as part of their quest to prove that St Patrick was a Protestant. They maintained Catholicism entered Ireland only in the 12th century, under Henry II, ushering in a dark period that ended when the Protestant faith reintroduced 'true' Christianity to the island.

This belief came to be very important to the self-image of the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian church in particular. In 1885 a group of clergymen anonymously published a Historical Catechism, on the title page of which the words Erin Go Bragh appear, in which they discuss their belief that Patrick introduced Protestantism to Ireland. They also claim numerous other Irish saints for the Church of Ireland, including Columba, Columbanus and Aidan, and claim that the arrival of Catholicism in 1172 forced "a series of calamities hardly to be equalled in the world" on Ireland, from which the Irish could only be saved by a return to the "ancient [Protestant] faith".

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland also claimed St Patrick. A history of Presbyterianism published in 1959 affirms that his teachings "are in harmony with evangelical Christianity", and that Patrick's form of Christianity, interpreted as being close to Presbyterianism, was not subjected to "Roman practice" until after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century.

These ideas - deeply irritating, for obvious reasons, to the Catholic clergy and to many politicians in a new, and deeply religious, Catholic state - persisted.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


NH Republicans regaining control in Concord (TIM CAMERATO, 11/04/20, Valley News)

Former Vice President Joe Biden won 52.73% of the New Hampshire vote Tuesday, leading President Donald Trump by just over seven percentage points. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Papas, all Democrats, won reelection.

"People differentiated between the federal and the state races," said Moore, whose group spent more than $829,612 to aid conservative candidates this year. "It's clear that they measured the federal races via one yardstick and looked at the state races via another."

Dean Spiliotes, a political analyst and professor at Southern New Hampshire University, also said the coattail effect might have played a role in New Hampshire's legislative results.

"Certainly, at some level, Sununu's victory is probably helping him picking up seats in the Legislature and potentially flipping the Executive Council as well," he said.

But, Spiliotes added, it's interesting that Biden's "comfortable" win didn't negate the governor's popularity. It's as though voters have "partitioned" off federal and local concerns, he said.

"They sort of had one set of concerns in thinking about the governor and the functioning of the state Legislature and a separate set of concerns about how things are going congressionally," Spiliotes said.

While Republicans made gains throughout the state, they also picked up seats in the largely left-leaning Upper Valley.