Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reagan Administration and the First Two Years of the AIDS Epidemic

White House Press Briefing — Oct. 15, 1982

Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement—the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?

Q: Over a third of them have died. It’s known as “gay plague.” (Laughter.) No, it is. I mean it’s a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t have it. Do you? (Laughter.)

Q: No, I don’t.
MR. SPEAKES: You didn’t answer my question.

Q: Well, I just wondered, does the President—
MR. SPEAKES: How do you know? (Laughter.)

Q: In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke?
MR. SPEAKES: No, I don’t know anything about it, Lester.

Q: Does the President, does anybody in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s been any—

Q: Nobody knows?
MR. SPEAKES: There has been no personal experience here, Lester.

Q: No, I mean, I thought you were keeping—
MR. SPEAKES: I checked thoroughly with Dr. Ruge this morning and he’s had no—(laughter)—no patients suffering from AIDS or whatever it is.

Q: The President doesn’t have gay plague, is that what you’re saying or what?
MR. SPEAKES: No, I didn’t say that.

Q: Didn’t say that?
MR. SPEAKES: I thought I heard you on the State Department over there. Why didn’t you stay there? (Laughter.)

Q: Because I love you, Larry, that’s why. (Laughter.)
MR. SPEAKES: Oh, I see. Just don’t put it in those terms, Lester. (Laughter.)

Q: Oh, I retract that.
MR. SPEAKES: I hope so.

Q: It’s too late.

White House Press Briefing — June 13, 1983

Q: Larry, does the President think that it might help if he suggested that the gays cut down on their “cruising”? (Laughter.) What? I didn’t hear your answer, Larry.
MR. SPEAKES: I just was acknowledging your interest—

Q: You were acknowledging but—
MR. SPEAKES: —interest in this subject.

Q: —you don’t think that it would help if the gays cut down on their cruising—it would help AIDS?
MR. SPEAKES: We are researching it. If we come up with any research that sheds some light on whether gays should cruise or not cruise, we’ll make it available to you. (Laughter.)

Q: Back to fairy tales.

White House Press Briefing — Dec. 11, 1984

MR. SPEAKES: Lester’s beginning to circle now. He’s moving in front. (Laughter.) Go ahead.

Q: Since the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta—(laughter)—reports—
MR. SPEAKES: This is going to be an AIDS question.

Q: —that an estimated—
MR. SPEAKES: You were close.

Q: Well, look, could I ask the question, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: You were close.

Q: An estimated 300,000 people have been exposed to AIDS, which can be transmitted through saliva. Will the President, as Commander-in-Chief, take steps to protect Armed Forces food and medical services from AIDS patients or those who run the risk of spreading AIDS in the same manner that they forbid typhoid fever people from being involved in the health or food services?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t know.

Q: Could you—Is the President concerned about this subject, Larry—
MR. SPEAKES: I haven’t heard him express—

Q: —that seems to have evoked so much jocular—
MR. SPEAKES:—concern.

Q: —reaction here? I—you know—
MR. SPEAKES: It isn’t only the jocks, Lester. Has he sworn off water faucets—

Q: No, but, I mean, is he going to do anything, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: Lester, I have not heard him express anything on it. Sorry.

Q: You mean he has no—expressed no opinion about this epidemic?
MR. SPEAKES: No, but I must confess I haven’t asked him about it. (Laughter.)

Q: Would you ask him Larry?

MR. SPEAKES: Have you been checked? (Laughter.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A follow-up on claims of "voter fraud" state by state / by flantabulous

submitted  by flantabulousPolitics 101 Contributorx3

It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim --"TENS OF THOUSANDS MAY BE VOTING ILLEGALLY!"-- but the follow-up, when any exists - is not usually deemed newsworthy.

- From "The Truth About Voter Fraud" by the Brennan Center for Justice

*This is my attempt to compile all 'those non-newsworthy follow-ups'.

was the headline in Michigan's two largest papers. 1 2
  • But, Michigan's GOP Secretary of State, was forced to clarify:
    "clerical error is the culprit behind the voting concerns, not voter fraud"... “in every instance where it appears a deceased person or incarcerated person voted... a clerical error was established as the reason.”
The Claim: 1500.
The actual number of dead people and prisoners voting: 0.
0 out of 8 million total votes.

  • An independent audit of tens of thousands of votes found 10. Since these were instances of ex-felons, using their own identity to vote before their rights had been restored, voter ID would have had no effect.
    NONE were prosecuted as intentional fraud.
    (Fox has yet to correct or retract their story).
The Claim: Hundreds.
Actual number of ex-felons improperly voting: 10.
10 out of 2.8 MILLION votes -- or 0.00003% of the vote.

  • From 2008-2012, an Election Fraud Task Force operated with the District Attorneys of the 11 counties republicans most suspected of fraudulent voting. In the end,they found 20 cases, 6 were registrations, not voting. 14 were ex-felons voting before their rights had been restored.
  • In Wisconsin's voter ID trial, a federal judge asked the state to provide evidence of 'voter impersonation' - the only type of fraud that voter ID can stop. The state could not produce a single known case in Wisconsin history.
The Claim: Up to 43,000.
Number of actual cases found: 14 (all ex-felons, voting before their rights were restored)
14 out of 10.5 MILLION votes, or 0.0001% of the vote.

Earlier this year these headlines echoed through the conservative media.
The Claim: 36,000
The actual number of multi-state voters: 0
0 out of 4.5 million votes in NC.

The Claim: 200,000
The actual number from 2000 to 2011: 11
11 out of approximately 45 MILLION votes - or 0.00002% of the vote.

The Claim: 900
The actual number of dead people voting: 0
0 out of 1.3 MILLION votes.

0 out of 5.9 MILLION votes.

The Maine GOP gave the Attorney General a list of the names 206 college students they believed voted illegally in the state. The AG expanded the investigation to include all types of "voter fraud".All the students were cleared, 1 case of a non-resident was discovered.
The Claim: 206
The actual number of students "illegally" voting out of state: 1
1 out of 717,000 total votes, or 0.0001% of the vote.

The Claim: 3,582 non-citizens may have voted.
Actual number of illegal votes: 6
6 out of 2.5 MILLION total votes or 0.0002% of the vote.

26 out of approximately 35 MILLION votes over a decade, or 0.00005%.

  • According to Fox: "Husted also found that 274 non-citizens remain on the voting rolls. President Obama beat Mitt Romney in Ohio by just 2 percentage points in November 2012".
    Implying one had anything to do with the other.
    (BTW 2% of the Ohio vote = 109,780 not 274)
  • 274 was whittled down to 135, that were recommended to local prosecutors.
  • In a great story that really goes right to the heart of what typically happens in all these cases of large numbers of voter fraud claims - a newspaper consortium followed up every one of those cases in a piece entitled: Potential voter fraud cases from 2012 election often dropped as simple mistakes, elderly confusion.
  • Eventually 17 cases did bring charges, from an old man who thought it was "alright" to vote on 'just the local issues' at one house and the president in another state, to two people who voted absentee for the spouses or friends who died just before the election. One was a nun who voted for another nun who died. There was also one woman who apparently really did commit purposeful voter fraud by voting 5 times. She was given 5 years in prison.
The Claim 274 non eligible voters.
Actual number of voter fraud cases: 17.
17 out of almost 5.5 million votes or 0.0003% of the vote.

"...how many non-citizens were on the rolls...there's a minimum of 489...but we have this pot of 20,000 that could include non-citizens Said Scott Gessler, another voter ID advocating/voter fraud-sniffing GOP Secretary of State.
The Claim: 489, up to 20,000 non citizens voting.
The actual number of non citizens voting: 0
0 out of approximately 3 million votes.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GOP Crazy and Media Practices

How the media has helped normalize GOP crazy

 October 10  Washington Post
The victim of this morning’s pile-on is Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was asked in an editorial board meeting whether she had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Grimes hemmed and hawed a bit, obviously scared to say Yes. That isn’t too surprising — when you run as a Democrat in a red state (just as when you run as a Republican in a blue state), you spend a lot of your time explaining why you aren’t like the national party and its leaders. But some people are outraged, including Chuck Todd, who said on Morning Joe (with a look of profound disgust): “Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything?…I think she disqualified herself. I really do, I think she disqualified herself.”
No question, Grimes botched this badly, and she should be able to answer a question as simple as this one. But this affair gets at the odd set of unspoken rules that dictate what gets designated a “gaffe” or a serious mistake, and what doesn’t.
The problem isn’t that one party gets treated more harshly than the other does. There are plenty of Republican candidates who have gotten pummeled for their “gaffes.” Rather, the problem is the standard that reporters  use, probably unconsciously, to decide which gaffes are worthy of extended discussion and which ones merit only a passing mention, a standard that often lets GOP candidates get away with some appalling stuff.
For instance, when Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst flirted with the “Agenda 21″ conspiracy theory — a favorite of Glenn Beck, in which the U.S. government and the United Nations are supposedly conspiring to force rural people in Iowa and elsewhere to leave their homes and be relocated to urban centers — national pundits didn’t see it as disqualifying. Nor did they when it was revealed that Ernst believes not only that states can “nullify” federal laws they don’t like (they can’t); and, even crazier, that local sheriffs ought to arrest federal officials implementing the Affordable Care Act, which is quite literally a call for insurrection against the federal government. I guess those are just colorful ideas.
National observers also didn’t find it disqualifying when Tom Cotton, who is favored to become the next U.S. senator from Arkansas, expressed his belief that ISIS is now working with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate America over our southern border.
Why do candidates like Cotton and Ernst get away with stuff like that, while Grimes gets raked over the coals for not wanting to reveal her vote and someone like Todd Akin can lose a race over his ruminations on “legitimate rape”? It’s because the standard being employed isn’t “Does this statement reveal something genuinely disturbing about this candidate?” but rather, “Is this going to be politically damaging?” Grimes’ chief area of political vulnerability is that she’s a Democrat in Kentucky, where Barack Obama’s approval ratings are low, so whenever the question of Obama comes up, reporters are watching closely to see how deftly she handles it; if she stumbles, they pounce. Akin got hammered for “legitimate rape” not so much because of how bogus and vile the idea is, but because reporters knew it could have serious consequences among women voters, given both the GOP’s constant struggles with women and the fact that Akin’s opponent was a woman.
Of course, these judgments by reporters end up being self-fulfilling prophecies: if they decide that a “gaffe” is going to have serious political effects, they give it lots of attention, which creates serious political effects.
And in the last few years, there’s a baseline of crazy from the right that the press has simply come to expect and accept, so the latest conspiracy theorizing or far-out idea from a candidate no longer strikes them as exceptional. Sure, there are exceptions: For instance, Republicans Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell both saw their candidacies derailed by their crazy or outsized statements. But their utterances were truly, deeply bizarre or comical, so they broke through.
But during this cycle, Republican crazy just hasn’t broken through at all. It’s almost as if the national press has just come to accept as normal the degree to which the GOP has moved dramatically to the right. At this point so many prominent Republicans have said insane things that after a while they go by with barely a notice. This is an era when a prominent Republican governor who wants to be president can muse about the possibility that his state might secede from the union, when the most popular radio host in the country suggests that liberals like Barack Obama want Ebola to come to America to punish us for slavery, and when the President of the United States had to show his birth certificate to prove that he isn’t a foreigner.
So ideological extremism and insane conspiracy theories from the right have been normalized. Which means that when another Republican candidate says something deranged, as long as it doesn’t offend a key swing constituency, reporters don’t think it’s disqualifying. And so it isn’t.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Harper's Index, Oct. 2014 issue

Percentage of U.S. Republicans who say they could not live on the minimum wage : 69
Who support raising it : 37
Minimum number of times since 2011 that members of Congress have accidentally cast the wrong vote : 120
Amount the federal government has budgeted this year for IT maintenance : $58,400,000,000
Percentage of federal agencies whose servers have failed in the past twelve months : 94
Value of a cloud-computing contract awarded by the CIA to Amazon last year : $600,000,000
Estimated number of customers whose data was stolen from Amazon subsidiary Zappos in 2012 : 24,000,000
Number of attempted cyberattacks the average global company experienced in 2013 : 16,856
Amount by which spending on mobile ads is projected to exceed that on newspaper ads this year : $1,000,000,000
Chance that a U.S. newspaper has a statehouse reporter : 1 in 3
Estimated amount of taxes and fees that Colorado has collected from the marijuana industry since legalization : $34,800,000
That Texas collects from undocumented workers each year : $1,608,534,000
Amount Texas has allocated for a three-month deployment of National Guard officers to the border : $38,000,000
Percentage of U.S. counties in which the proportion of racial minorities has grown since 2010 : 94
Percentage change in the proportion of racial minorities in Washington, D.C., since then : –0.8
Percentage of Newark, New Jersey, residents who are black : 54
Of pedestrians stopped by Newark police who are : 81
Portion of Newark police stops that are “legally unjustified” according to a Department of Justice study : 3/4
Percentage by which a black drug-misdemeanor defendant in Manhattan is more likely than a white one to be sent to prison : 15
Factor by which a person in Nevada is more likely than one in Massachusetts to be the target of a federal wiretap : 30
Percentage of Americans who said they were satisfied with their freedom to choose what to do with their lives in 2006 : 91
Percentage who say so today : 79
Number of U.S. states in which workers are not guaranteed paid parental leave : 47
Number of the world’s twenty other wealthiest nations in which they are not : 0
Age at which a female worker in Britain reaches peak earning power : 34
At which a male worker does : 50
Estimated number of women worldwide who were married before the age of 15 : 250,000,000
Number of countries that require their rulers to belong to a particular religion : 30
Percentage by which Americans overreport their religious attendance when asked over telephone rather than online : 13
Portion of Mormon missionaries expected to travel with specially configured iPads by 2015 : 1/3
Minimum number of churches in China demolished or given demolition notices by government order since February : 163
Estimated number of people executed by all countries other than China in 2012 : 682
By China : 3,000
Estimated portion of the past 100 executed U.S. prisoners who suffered from intellectual disabilties : 1/3
Minimum amount paid by the Museum of Death in Hollywood for Jack Kevorkian’s Thanatron suicide device : $25,000
Estimated height in feet of a memorial tree planted for George Harrison that died in July after an attack by beetles : 15
Estimated annual cost of invasive animal, plant, and microbe species to the U.S. economy : $120,000,000,000
Amount Americans spent last year on UNICEF donations to trick-or-treaters : $3,731,057
On Halloween costumes for their pets : $330,000,000
Figures cited are the latest available as of August 2014.
“Harper’s Index” is a registered trademark.

October Index Sources
1,2 Public Policy Polling (Raleigh, N.C.)
3 New York Times/Harper’s research
4 Office of Management and Budget (Washington)
5 MeriTalk (Alexandria, Va.)
6 U.S. Government Accountability Office
7 Zappos.com (Las Vegas)
8 IBM Security Systems Division (Waltham, Mass.)
9 eMarketer Inc. (N.Y.C.)
10 Pew Research Center (Washington)
11 Colorado Department of Revenue (Denver)
12 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (Washington)
13 Texas Comptroller’s Office (Austin)
14,15 Pew Charitable Trusts (Washington)
16–18 U.S. Department of Justice
19 Vera Institute of Justice (N.Y.C.)
20 Harper’s research
21,22 Gallup (Washington)
23 National Conference of State Legislatures (Denver)
24 International Labour Organization (Geneva)
25,26 Office for National Statistics (London)
27 UNICEF (N.Y.C.)
28 Pew Research Center (Washington)
29 Public Religion Research Institute (Washington)
30 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City)
31 China Aid (Midland, Tex.)
32 Amnesty International (London)
33 Dui Hua Foundation (San Francisco)
34 Rob Smith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
35 Gallerie Sparta (West Hollywood, Calif.)
36 Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
37 David Pimentel, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.)
38 UNICEF (N.Y.C.)
39 National Retail Federation (Washington)