September 20, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 5:14 PM


Texas Sheriff Getting Threats After Saying He'd Investigate DeSantis for Migrant Plane Stunt (Paul Blest, September 20, 2022, Vice News)

On Tuesday, a spokesperson from the Bexar County Sheriff's office told VICE News in an email that "there have been numerous threats, an influx of calls to our dispatch and administrative offices, along with hateful emails received" since the investigation was announced.

They certainly aren't bashful about showing us who they are.

Posted by orrinj at 4:08 PM


'As Far as I'm Concerned, That's the End of It': Skeptical Special Master Presses Trump's Lawyers on Declassification Evasions at Hearing (ADAM KLASFELDSep 20th, 2022, Law & Crime)

After the FBI found highly classified documents inside his Mar-a-Lago home, former President Donald Trump sought review of the materials by a special master. Now that his choice for that position has been appointed, Trump's attorneys struggled in their efforts to have the review process play out in the way they prefer.

On Tuesday, a skeptical Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie pressed Trump's lawyers repeatedly on their refusal to disclose whether he declassified any of the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago -- and if so, which ones.

"The government gives me prima facie evidence that these are classified documents," Dearie said, referring to the plain markings on the records. "As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it."

Posted by orrinj at 3:24 PM


Poll: Jewish voters are highly motivated and concerned about American democracy (Yonat Shimron, 9/15/22, RNS) 

In keeping with decades-long patterns, the poll, based on online interviews with 800 Jewish registered voters conducted Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 by GBAO Strategies, shows that Jewish voters lean overwhelmingly toward the Democratic Party. The poll found 70% of Jewish voters said they planned to vote for Democratic candidates and 24% plan to vote for Republican candidates. (Five percent were undecided.) [...]

[W]hile abortion is a driving issue, especially among younger Jews, the threat to democracy appeared to be an even larger impetus to vote. The poll found 74% of Jewish voters watched the Jan. 6 committee hearings on TV, with 39% saying they watched them "very closely." The hearings motivated 57% of them to vote, the poll said.

The threat to democracy was not as big an issue among voters of all faiths and none, according to an NBC News poll from August, which showed only 29% of registered voters calling threats to democracy the most important issue facing the nation.

"The Jan. 6 issue is driving Jewish voters much more so than the general population," Gerstein agreed.

Posted by orrinj at 2:57 PM


Plummeting renewable energy costs open a new way to bridge the political divide (Sarah DeWeerdt, September 20, 2022, anthropocene)

Cost savings is the most persuasive argument to change the opinions of both Democrats and Republicans about renewable energy, according to a new study. Messages about the benefits for a household's bottom line have both the largest and the most durable effect, with little difference across the political spectrum--suggesting that emphasizing cost savings could have bipartisan appeal, a rare opportunity overcome political polarization on energy and climate in the United States.

Past studies have shown that support for renewable energy depends on which benefits are emphasized: some arguments in favor of a switch to renewables hold more sway than others. Past research also suggests that cost is a major driver of people's support for energy policy.

But so far, studies have mostly included messages pointing out that renewable energy could increase household energy costs. The research hasn't kept up with the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy, which has now rendered renewable electricity cheaper than coal in many areas.

In the new study, researchers set out to update the picture, as well as test two other aspects of communication about renewables that haven't been well covered in the past: how long the effects on people's beliefs last, and whether Democrats and Republicans respond differently to messages about the benefits of renewables.

"There are many different benefits of renewable energy that could be emphasized when trying to change opinions and build support for it," says study team member Abel Gustafson, a climate communication researcher at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. "The findings of our study suggest that--for both Democrats and Republicans--it may be more persuasive to emphasize renewable energy's cost savings than to emphasize its ability to reduce global warming or to create jobs and boost the economy."

Of course, the Right will still oppose it because everyone else supports it.

Posted by orrinj at 2:51 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


What did the public really think about lockdown law?We spent the pandemic studying the public's response to Covid regulations. Five lessons stand out (Joe Tomlinson, September 20, 2022, Prospect)

[O]n 2020, we set out to engage with the public. We completed three representative national surveys, collected more than 100,000 words of focus group contributions, and undertook 50 hours of detailed interviews. Here are our five most important findings.

First, most of the public were generally willing to comply strictly with the lockdown restrictions. Parts of the population "bent" rules on occasion and rates of compliance also diminished over time. But, if assessed in terms of its ability to secure public compliance, lockdown was a policy that was strikingly successful.

Second, while the public started with a high level of understanding of lockdown restrictions, confusion grew as rules became more complex. Perhaps most importantly, there was extensive confusion relating to the legal status of specific rules--was something law or just guidance? This confusion had real implications for how people behaved: people were more likely to comply with a lockdown rule if they thought it had the status of law and was not just guidance.

Third, there were three key drivers of compliance with lockdown law: an anticipation that rule-breaking would be met with disapproval from one's peers; the conviction that breaking lockdown rules was morally wrong; and a general commitment to being law-abiding. People's sense of the effectiveness of the rules in preventing virus transmission was linked to these basic drivers, as was their sense of obligation to others, and their predictions of how seriously Covid-19 would affect their health if they were infected. A small minority had a conviction that restrictions unacceptably infringed their basic rights, and this group were notably less concerned with the morality of breaking lockdown laws.

A succinct description of what they are.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Refugees from Afghanistan building a new life in southeastern Vermont (TIFFANY TAN, 9/19/22, VTDigger)

In a one-story house a few blocks from downtown Bennington, Mary Jan spends several hours a week fashioning brightly colored yarn into winter scarves or bath mitts. Her hand-knit creations are sold at a couple of stores in the county.

Two days a week, she also works at a local food manufacturer, helping make packaged snacks.

Mary Jan, 35, is still getting used to earning an income. Until August 2021, when her family fled Afghanistan, she'd been a stay-at-home wife and mother of three. Now, her part-time jobs fill some of her free time, but most importantly, they augment her husband's salary as the family builds a new life in America.

When the Mother Judd moved to assisted living, a lovely Afghan refugee family moved into her apartment.