Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Makes You Different ?

Religion And Same-Sex Marriage - Should Officials Follow The Law When It Violates Their Religious Principles?

It's been more than a year now since the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional for states to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. At that time, many religious Americans, especially the born-again evangelicals, were horrified and urged public officials to refuse to perform those marriages -- and in a few states (Kentucky, Texas, etc.) some officials did try to refuse. They were slapped down by the courts, and now same-sex couples are able to get a marriage license all across the country.

With a year behind the Supreme Court decision, the Reuters / Ipsos Poll queried Americans on whether they now thought public officials should issue same-sex licenses when it violated their religious principles. They questioned 7,987 adults between June 30th and September 30th, and the results are shown in the chart above.

They found that overall about 56% of Americans said those officials should obey the law and issue the licenses, while only 31% thought they shouldn't. Most religious groups agreed -- including Methodists (+15), Baptists (+1), Presbyterians (+22), Lutherans (+4), Catholics (+38), Mormons (+2), Jews (+24), other religions (+17), and those with no religion (+60). The only group disagreeing were the "born-again" christians (-17).

It looks like most Americans have gotten used to the new reality, and want their officials to follow the law -- including most religious people.

Circus Train Headed For Disaster

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Media Trust And The 2016 Presidential Election

The Economist / YouGov Poll asked respondents if they trusted the political media. Their survey was done between October 15th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,300 voters, and has a 3.9 point margin of error.

The least trusted media was Breitbart (a right-wing web site), which had a -11 trust rating. Next was Fox News, which had an even split between those trusting and distrusting it. The most trusted were -- Wall Street Journal (+20), New York Times (+13), Washington Post (+12), CNN (+7), Huffington Post (+6), and MSNBC (+2).

But none of those political news entities was trusted by a majority of Americans (50% or more). None was able to get more than 44% of the people's trust.

Making matters worse for the media is the fact that most people thinking they've done a pretty poor job of covering this year's presidential election. About 55% say they've done a worse job than in past elections, while only 11% say they've done a better job. And that attitude crosses party lines -- with a plurality of Democrats (37%), a majority of Independents (57%), and a majority of Republicans (75%) all saying that.

Oddly enough though, while the public doesn't have a lot of trust in the media and think they've done a poor job of covering the election, most believe the media when they fact-check the statements and claims of politicians (55% of public believes this). It is only the Republicans that don't believe the fact-checkers. That's no surprise, since their presidential candidate tells more lies and makes more outrageous claims than any other candidate in the election.

Her Donald

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Electoral College Maps Are Still Favoring Hillary Clinton


 From University of Virginia Center for Politics


They Built It

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Says No To Donald Trump

The parade of conservative newspapers abandoning the Republican presidential candidate continues. This time it's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Their editorial board stops short of endorsing Hillary Clinton, but they do ask their readers to NOT vote for Donald Trump. The editorial board writes:

The dominating image and personality of Republican nominee Donald Trump have defined the 2016 presidential race, and for some of what he has shown us we should be thankful.
The fact that millions of Americans have joined his anti-establishment, anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-free-trade, anti-news media message must open our eyes to how truly unhappy many of our neighbors are.
Many sincerely believe our economy and our leaders have not and will not treat them fairly. They are angry. Our next president, no matter who it is, must change that.
Still, most of what Trump has shown us has been so dark, so negative, so lacking in the knowledge and demeanor essential in our president that we must urge our readers to reject him.
He has said and done so many things during the course of his campaign, from outright bullying his GOP rivals (“little Marco” and “lyin’ Ted”) to fanning the flames of bigotry (“rapist” Mexicans) to truly repugnant comments about women, that we have taken his measure and found it not only lacking in moral standards but profoundly dangerous to our nation and its highest office.
Should his mouth, so unfettered by reason or humility, be loosed on the world with the power of the Oval Office behind it, we could hardly blame friendly nations for withholding trust or unfriendly ones for raising their guard.
We should have known. It’s not like Trump’s TV reality show personality has changed. We just didn’t think it would get this far – and clearly, the Republican Party didn’t either.
Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. Before the year was out he would sayMexican immigrants are criminals, that John McCain is not a war hero because he was captured and that he knows more about ISIS than our generals. He mocked a handicapped reporter, called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and aligned himself with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He was just getting started.
In the next few months he would favor torture, comment on the size of his genitals on national TV, demean the wife of Sen. Ted Cruz, insult the president and people of Mexico by insisting they would pay for a wall between our two countries despite their objection, cast doubt on our NATO commitments, lashed out at the parents of a Muslim U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, hinted that “Second Amendment people” could eliminate Hillary Clinton and, as we all know, was exposed as bragging about assaulting women.
There’s a reason the real issues about running our country have taken a back seat in this election campaign.
It’s Trump’s inability to devote more than brief and shallow attention to those issues before diverting the conversation to absurdity — like saying if he wins Clinton will be jailed or claiming the election is rigged and balking when asked whether he will accept its ultimate result.
Trump may say this election is about “America First,” and we all must learn from that. We must pay attention to the millions of Americans who have rallied to that message.
But we need a president who is more than a slogan. We need a leader.
Many of his followers say they like Trump because he makes no attempt to be “politically correct.” In a troubled world, a troubled economy and a nation that needs sound domestic policy, Trump is not correct for anything.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends rejecting Donald Trump for president.

Rigging Expert

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Choose Hope Over Fear

President Obama's Job Approval Is 52% And Growing

The charts above were made from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between July 20th and October 19th of a random national sample of 44,728 adults, with a 1 point margin of error. It shows that President Obama has a job approval rating of 52% ( more than half of the population) and it has been climbing for at least the last four quarters.

Obama's job approval rating compares very favorably to that of several past president's -- Eisenhower (61.3%), Reagan (53.5%), and Clinton (59.1%).

This does not guarantee the election of Hillary Clinton, but it certainly doesn't hurt her chances either. Trump has been campaigning on the idea that a Clinton presidency would be a continuation of Obama's presidency. It looks like that is not an idea that upsets a majority of voters.

The fact is that the public is a lot happier with President Obama than they are with the Republican Congress (whose job approval remains below 20%).


Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Latest Poll Averages In Battleground States Favor Clinton

The chart shows the average of the latest polls in 13 battleground states from RealClearPolitics. Ten of those states were expected to be close, but another three has been added to the list (Arizona, Georgia, Texas) because they are no longer a sure thing for the Republican nominee.

For Donald Trump to have much chance to win the White House, he needs to carry most (if not all) of these states, but that isn't happening. Currently, Clinton leads in 9 of the thirteen states, while Trump leads in the other four. Trump has a lot of ground to make up in the next 17 days.

Scorched Earth Policy

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Electoral Map (If Only Certain Groups Voted)


Mopping The Floor

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dan Rather's Commentary On The Final Presidential Debate

The photo (of Dan Rather with Willie Nelson) and the following commentary about the last presidential debate are from the Facebook page of Mr. Rather. He writes:

I suspect the headline out of tonight may very well be Donald Trump’s refusal to guarantee that he will accept the decision of the voters on November 8. It is a horrifying and destabilizing betrayal of the norms of American politics. But it was just one part of the final debate in a campaign that seems to be firmly in the Twilight Zone. This is not what our democracy should be, but it is where we are today. I wonder if many minds were changed. I doubt it. 
Hillary Clinton has been judged the winner of the first two debates. Tonight, many felt Trump needed a knockout to get back in the race. But I think this was Clinton’s best performance - perhaps by far. I think she wanted this to be a preview of her presidency. Her tone was the most straightforward and direct I have yet seen. She didn’t try to run away from her policy expertise. She embraced it. It was as if she was saying, “I am here. I am smart. I am qualified. I will not be intimidated or silenced. And I am ready to be president.” 
The format of tonight’s debate favored depth over breadth on the number of topics. This meant that a lot of important issues (climate change?) were left unquestioned, but the benefit was that the able moderator Chris Wallace could drill down to real policy with the most important quality of an interviewer - the follow up question. And he used it to good effect. 
There has been a silly trope floating around the coverage of the Clinton campaign about "likeability". Many critics have claimed that the very notion is sexist. I agree. Yet tonight, Clinton seemed to throw those worries aside. There were fewer anecdotal flights of storytelling about her interactions with "average families" that you often hear about on the stump. Clinton was steely, determined, forceful. I think this will be the tone of her presidential face, and I think it is one she wears well and naturally. 
Clinton hit Trump hard on issue after issue with knowledge and facts - on Russia, the Supreme Court, nuclear weapons, immigration, and the list goes on. You could disagree with her on policy, but you can’t question whether she knows what she’s talking about. One big line that I think will play on was in the dust up over Russia. Who would have thought that years after the end of the Cold War the specter of Russia would loom over an American presidential campaign? But there you have it. When the discussion turned to Wikileaks and who was responsible for the hack, Trump, disagreeing with the assessment of the U.S. intelligence agencies, said we don’t know who is behind it. Clinton fired back - He would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military professionals and intelligence officials. It’s a line you could expect from Ronald Reagan. 
By contrast, Trump has been skating through the campaign on buzzwords and applause lines that fire up his base. Tonight the format asked for more substance and he struggled. He often left topics dangling, meandered through head-scratching sentences, and fumbled with thoughts that went nowhere - all lines of thoughts wavering in the wind. Often his most cogent statements were cheap shots. When he would stop talking, I sometimes had to ask myself what was he talking about?
Trump’s millions of eager followers will continue to cheer as the majority of Americans seem to be turning the page on this ugly campaign. They have seen all they need from Trump and they have had enough. There were many lines from this debate that could make for powerful Clinton campaign ads. But I am not sure she will need them. 
Trump may not agree to abide by the results of the election. But hopefully the rest of the country can act with a bit more maturity and decency.

Cheeto Bandito

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

On The Bright Side

Friday, October 21, 2016

Maya Angelou

Second Poll Shows Clinton Thrashed Trump In 3rd Debate

Yesterday, showed you the CNN/ORC Poll showing Hillary Clinton won the final presidential debate by a 13 point margin (52% to 39%). Now another poll is showing a similar result. The YouGov Poll -- done immediately after the debate of a random national sample of 1,503 debate watchers, with a 3.6 point margin of error -- has Clinton winning by a 10 point margin (49% to 39%).

And it's not just the overall impression that favored Clinton. The poll also questioned respondents about the candidates debate performance in four areas. While Trump bested Clinton by 4 points in showing passion and conviction, Clinton easily topped Trump in the other three areas -- She had a 29 point better margin in policy knowledge, a 14 point margin in giving clear answers, and a 19 point margin in acting presidential.

In short, Clinton took Trump behind the woodshed Wednesday night, and gave him the thrashing of his life. She calmly and efficiently laid trap after trap for Trump, and he fell into every one of them. The narcissistic GOP candidate is incapable of controlling himself.


Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News-Journal.

Texas Sets A New Record In Registered Voters

Some political pundits are telling us that the voters are turned off by this election, and the presidential candidates each party has chosen. The chart above shows that is simply not true.

The state of Texas has set a new record in the number of registered voters. The current tally is 15,100,824. That's a jump in registration of 1,454,598 (about 11%). And that's not a normal increase in registered voters. The number in 2012 was only 71,164 over 2008 (a rise of only 0.005%).

Whatever voters may think of the candidates, they are paying extraordinary attention to this election, and I believe there will be a huge turnout this year -- probably a record turnout.

Rigged ?

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Fact-Checking Donald Trump's Third Debate Statements

(This caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

NBC News fact-checked many of Donald Trump's statements and accusations in the final presidential debate. Here is what they found:

Trump said the election is "rigged." It's not.

Trump said Justice Ginsburg insulted his supporters. She didn't.

Trump said Ginsburg apologized. She didn't, she said her comments were "ill advised."

Trump said that Clinton supports all kinds of abortion, including ripping "the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth." That's mostly false.

Trump said Clinton wants open borders. She doesn't.

Trump said ICE endorsed him. They didn't, a union of some employees did.

Trump said he could bring GDP higher than 4 percent. Experts disagree.

Trump said the U.S. needs to focus on getting the "bad hombres" out. That's current U.S. policy.

Trump said Putin is not his best friend. In 2013, he wondered if Putin might become his best friend though.
Trump said he doesn't know Putin. He repeatedly said he did.
Trump said "Hillary, you have no idea" that Russia is behind her campaign manager's hack. U.S. intelligence says it is.
Trump said it's a lie to say he's advocated for more countries to get nuclear arms (he has) and that he's asked why the U.S. can't use its nuclear arms (he reportedly has.)
Trump said he didn't say his accuser's looks undermined her sexual misconduct claim against him. Here's a video of him doing that.
Trump said the Mosul invasion was launched to make her look good. It wasn't.

Trump said he didn't know any of his accusers. He did.

Trump said his accusers claims have been debunked. They haven't.

Trump said he didn't mock a disabled reporter. Here's a video.

Trump said he opposed the war in Iraq. He didn't.

Trump said Clinton will raise your taxes. Only if you're really rich.

Trump said Clinton's tax plan will double your taxes. Nope.

Trump said Chicago proves that gun laws don't work. That's not how this works.

Trump claimed illegal immigrants are treated better than veterans. They're not.

Trump said Clinton failed to keep U.S. troops in Iraq. That's mostly false.

Trump alleged voter fraud citing a Pew report. That report found no evidence of voter fraud.

Trump said Clinton "gave us ISIS." She didn't.

Trump said Clinton's State Department lost $6 billion. It didn't.


Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

No Morals

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Law And Order

Hillary Clinton Makes It Three Debate Wins In A Row

The cartoon at the left (by Daryl Cagle at sums up how I felt the third and final presidential debate went last night. Hillary Clinton did well, but Donald Trump once again damaged his own cause instead of helping it.

I heard many pundits say he did well on the first question about the Supreme Court. I disagree. It was one of the few questions he answered, but his answer will not sit well with a majority of voters. He said he would nominate justices that would overturn Roe vs. Wade. That may be popular with right-wing evangelicals, a group he was already winning, but those people don't make up anywhere near a majority of voters. Poll after poll has shown that a clear and substantial majority of Americans do NOT want Roe vs Wade overturned. This did not help him to reach out to new voters.

After that, his tongue got him into trouble again. He refused to answer many questions -- like how he would fix Social Security and Medicare, would he send ground troops into Iraq, and refused to admit Russia is interfering ing our election. Instead, he just dished out a pretty meaningless word salad interspersed with attacks on Clinton.
That would have been bad enough, but then he created a giant gaffe by refusing to say he would accept the results of the election. That calls into question our whole electoral system, and this will follow him all the way to election day.

I'm not alone in this view either. CNN once again performed a poll right after the debate, and the poll respondents said Clinton beat Trump in this debate (52% to 39%).

I do think Clinton did well in the debate, and was the winner. But I also believe much of the loss for Trump can once again be attributed to self-inflicted wounds. He simply cannot control himself.


Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Average Of Polls Gap Is Growing Wider For Hillary Clinton

The top chart reflects the latest polls taken in the presidential race on a national basis, and the RealClearPolitics average of all those polls. That average, which usually is closer to the actual electoral result, is now showing a 6.2 point lead for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (45.3 to 39.1). The bottom chart shows how this average has been over the length of this presidential campaign. Note that it shows the gap is growing wider between Clinton and Trump.

The Whiner

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Six Out Of Ten Americans Think Marijuana Should Be Legal

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between October 5th and 9th of a random national sample of 1,017 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

It shows the remarkably fast growth in the percentage of Americans who think the recreational possession and use of marijuana should be legal. In 1969, only 12% of the population wanted marijuana to be legal -- now the figure is 60%. Just in the last decade the percentage has nearly doubled -- from 35% to 60%.

In the 2003-05 period, no age or political groups had a majority wanting legal marijuana. But in 2016, 2 out of 3 age groups and 2 out of three political groups have majorities wanting marijuana legalization. Only the Republicans and those over 55 still don't have majorities favoring legalization.

I would expect that of Republicans, since they're good at spending lies and posing false "values". It is a little disappointing that the Baby Boomers aren't on board with legalization though. That's the generation that made marijuana popular.

It looks like the public is starting to shake off the government lies, and beginning to realize that marijuana is not the hardcore drug many want the public to believe (i.e., the liquor industry and those making money off pot being illegal).

Marijuana is not addictive, and a person cannot overdose on it. It can, however, provide a mild high, relieve tension, and has a host of other medical uses (with no side effects). It can also be a big source of new government revenues, and create many new jobs. It is time that marijuana was legalized throughout the nation.

Trump Supporter

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Public Likes Hillary Clinton More Than Donald Trump

These charts were made from a new Gallup Poll -- done between October 11th and 17th of a random national sample of 3,582 adults, with a margin of error of only 2 points.

Hillary Clinton has a current favorable rating of 44% and an unfavorable rating of 56%. That's not great, but it's significantly better than Donald Trump, who has a favorable rating of 31% and unfavorable rating of 68%. That means Clinton's favorable rating is 13 points higher than Trump's -- and Trump's unfavorable rating is 12 points higher than Clinton's.

But the interesting part is how each is viewed by the members of their own parties. Clinton has a 16 point higher favorable rating among Democrats (79%) than Trump does among Republicans (63%) -- and Trump has a 16 point higher unfavorable rating among Republicans (36%) than Clinton does among Democrats (20%).

Voter Suppression

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

70 Nobel Prize Winners Endorse Hillary Clinton For President

The open letter above is from 70 Nobel Prize laureates. They all signed the letter with their name, the field in which they won the prize, and the year. These brilliant people know that this is a very important election, and they say that they "strongly and fully support Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States".

Puppet And Puppeteer

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

No Bottom In Their Barrel