Liberal fans haven't been able to persuade Sen. Elizabeth Warren to make a run for president, but she'll appear at Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate on Fox Business Network—during a commercial break. As Politico's Burgess Everett reports, the conservative American Action Network will run an ad opposing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog agency that Warren created following the financial crash. Per Everett, the group is spending half a million dollars to run the ad during the debate and later this week.
The commercial paints the CFPB as a Kremlin-like bureaucratic nightmare, with Warren as the Stalinesque figure barring regular Americans from collecting loans. Warren's face is plastered on a giant red banner in the background, alongside that of CFPB director Richard Cordray. The Soviet imagery is not subtle.
"They call it CFPB," the ad's narrator ominously intones. "Washington’s latest regulatory agency, designed to interfere with your personal financial decisions: that car loan you needed, your mortgage, that personal loan. With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, those who need help the most are denied."
The CFPB has been a frequent target of attacks from conservative organizations. But while those groups like to paint Warren's brainchild as a scourge of consumers, the CFPB has fined banks for deceiving customers, fought predatory for-profit colleges, and simplified the mortgage application process.
From Ted Cruz, explaining his own personal religious test for political candidates:
Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander in chief of this nation.
Atheists are taking offense at this, but as I understand it, Jews don't kneel when they pray. So....I guess Cruz doesn't think Jews are fit to be president either.
That's ridiculous, of course. Cruz was just using a metaphor for praying, so Jews are OK as long as they pray every day. It's only nonbelievers who are unfit for public office.
And that's no metaphor at all. So here's my question: the press threw a fit when Ben Carson suggested that Muslims weren't fit to be president. Will they throw a similar fit now that Cruz has suggested atheists are unfit to be president? This is, of course, a rhetorical question, so there's no need to answer. I think we all know this will be treated as a meaningless pander because, you know, atheists. Who cares about them?
Workers stand in at the candidates' podiums in preparation for Tuesday's Republican debate in Milwaukee.
If you were hoping for a reasonable discussion about science during Tuesday night's Republican presidential debates, you're probably going to be sorely disappointed. That's because the only two candidates with serious positions climate change have been excluded from the event.
Last month, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki made news when they called out their own party for rejecting the science behind climate change. "I've talked to the climatologists of the world, and 90 percent of them are telling me the greenhouse gas effect is real, that we're heating up the planet," said Graham during CNBC's Republican "undercard" debate—the early-evening consolation prize for candidates who aren't polling high enough to land a spot in prime time. "It's…not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn't make the Earth warmer," added Pataki. "It does. It's uncontroverted."
Out of all the candidates in the crowded GOP field, Graham and Pataki also have the strongest track records when it comes to actually fighting climate change. In the Senate, Graham once sponsored a cap-and-trade bill intended to reign-in greenhouse gas emissions. As governor, Pataki helped create a regional cap-and-trade program in the Northeast. So I was excited to hear what they would have say on the issue during the debates that will air Tuesday on the Fox Business Network. Like its sister network Fox News, Fox Business is a major epicenter of climate science denial.
Unfortunately for science, Graham and Pataki won't be on stage Tuesday. Neither of them are averaging anywhere close to 2.5 percent in the polls—the threshold Fox established for the main debate. They aren't even managing the 1 percent required to participate in the undercard debate.
Instead, viewers will hear from an array of global warming deniers. Ted Cruz believes that climate change is a "pseudoscientific theory"; Donald Trump calls it a "hoax"; and Ben Carson insists there's "no overwhelming science" that it's caused by humans. Viewers will also hear from candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who was recently demoted to the undercard stage). Christie acknowledges that climate change is real but seems to oppose any realistic plan to deal with it.
Then there are the folks who will be asking the questions. Last year, Fox Business managing editor Neil Cavuto—one of the moderators for Tuesday's main debate—explained how he first became a climate change "doubter":
Here's what Trish Regan, one of the moderators for Tuesday's undercard matchup, had to say when Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) called climate change the country's top national security threat during a Democratic debate earlier this year:
One of the charming things about Public Policy Polling is that they have a habit of asking weird questions that no one else will. Today's example: What do you think the pyramids were built for? This is for South Carolina only, and sadly, they only asked Republicans. Still, the breakdown by candidate gives us a peek at which of them has the weirdest supporters. Results are on the right.
It's a close call, but Donald Trump's supporters seem to have the best handle on reality. Marco Rubio (!) runs away with the grain crowd, beating out even heavy favorite Ben Carson. And Jeb Bush ekes out a win from the aliens crowd. This is not, perhaps, what you would expect. I wonder why Rubio has so many supporters who believe the grain theory but none who believe the aliens theory? It is a mystery.
Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo believes the Republicans are not helping themselves by whining about the moderators at the primary debates. “President Obama said it, and it was true,” she said during a conversation at the FBN offices in midtown Manhattan a few days before she takes the stage for the channel’s Nov. 10 primary debate in Milwaukee. “If these guys can’t deal with the moderators, how are you going to be able to deal with Russia and China?”
“I guess it’s become cool to slap around the moderator. That’s OK,” said Bartiromo....Her approach will include pressing the candidates for details on their tax and budget proposals. “I’m clear on where the holes may be in their plans so I can try to solicit information and help the viewer,” she said. “As far as worrying ‘what if he says this to me, what if he does that to me’ — I don’t have time for that.”
Amusingly, both of the moderators of tonight's debate used to work for CNBC, which got trashed by Republicans for its performance a couple of weeks ago. So they have an extra special incentive to show that they can do better.
Anyway, I'm eager to hear Bartiromo press the candidates on their phantasmic tax and budget proposals, and I'm especially eager to hear her ferociously attack the holes in their plans. I wonder how that's going to go?
1Of course I'll be liveblogging it. What else would I be doing with my evening? First, though, I need to figure out what channel my cable provider has consigned the Fox Business Network to. For those of you who don't get FBN, they will be livestreaming the debate on FoxBusiness.com. No cable subscription required.
So your morning train was packed with halitosis-breathing psychos. You stepped over (human?) poo on the way to work. The weather is bad: Winter Is Coming. Your boss—a prick at the best of times—is breathing down your neck about this or that and just won't shut up, even though you've already done the task and it's been sitting in his inbox for a week. That Tinder date you worked yourself up about last weekend won't text back. (He said he got a new phone?But it's been days!) And now you're refusing to "take a hint." But what if you run into him at that gig next week? Listen to me. Whatever's going on right now, screw it, because the video that just came up in my Facebook feed will make you laugh and forget all the jerks:
A team of reporters from BuzzFeed has been busy calling everyone they could find who was associated with the Yale Record in 1970, when they hoaxed some students into retaking the final exam in a psychology class. Nobody could remember anything about it except for Curtis Bakal, who confirmed that the hoax had been carried out:
“We did a mock parody of the Yale Daily News during the exam period in January 1970, and in this parody we had a box that said: ‘So-and-so section of the exam has been lost in a fire. Professor so-and-so is going to give a makeup exam.’”
“We got a room to do the test in and one of us from the Record impersonated a proctor to give the test,” he said....Bakal, the Record editorial assistant at the time, remembered other details about the prank that are compatible with Carson’s account, such as the unusual difficulty of the test. “Several students showed up, and the fake exam, a parody of exam — in fact, it had real psych questions, because I had taken the class the year before, but it was a more difficult and probing personal exam,” he said.
....Bakal also backed up Carson’s claim that “at the end what few students remained — it may have just been one or two, I wasn’t there — received a small cash prize.”
Bakal also says he's "99% certain the way Carson remembers it is correct." But that's not so clear. Let's keep all the discrepancies front and center:
Carson says the class was Perceptions 301. It was actually Psychology 10. (Carson now says that his ghostwriter might have made up a course name and number "just to give it more meat.")
Carson says the professor handed out the exam papers and picked them up. Bakal says it was a fake proctor.
Carson says there were 150 students in the retest. The writeup of the hoax the next day says "several" students showed up.
Bakal says the remaining students received a "small cash prize" at the end. But ten dollars was a fair sum at the time, about equivalent to $60 today.
Carson says the hoax happened during his junior year (1972). The Record hoax actually took place in 1970.
Carson says a photographer took his picture at the end. Bakal doesn't mention this.
Carson says the professor was a woman. That's unlikely since Yale had very few female instructors at the time, but it's possible. However, Bakal says "one of us" from the Record impersonated a proctor. Yale only began admitting women that year, and it's pretty unlikely that the Record would have sent over a freshman woman to impersonate a proctor.
Finally, and most importantly, Carson says the professor/proctor told him he was the most honest person in the course because he had stuck it out to the end. This is absolutely central to Carson's story. But that never happened. The Record proctor might have told him he was the most gullible person in the course, but that's about it.
The likely response from the Carson camp is that I'm nitpicking. When Carson wrote about this, the hoax was 20 years in the past and he may have gotten a few details wrong. Fair enough for minor stuff. But a hoax like this would have been pretty memorable. He wouldn't misremember a female professor with a starring role. The fact that it took place in his junior year was a key part of the story, but it didn't happen then. The photographer seems entirely made up. And the business about getting an award for honesty, which is also central to his story, didn't happen.
At best, the hoax happened during Carson's freshman year in Psychology 10, and he then embellished it considerably in order to make it a proper testimonial to the power of God. At worst, he simply heard about the hoax and used it as the basis for a completely invented story in his book. I don't know which. But either way, the story in his book is substantially exaggerated in ways that really matter. This is not just nitpicking.
Are you listening, male US Senators? Your colleague, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wants you to stop mansplaining and "just shut the hell up."
In a refreshing video prepared for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday, the first woman elected to the Missouri senate (and consummate badass) explains that while she values the importance of encouraging more women to run for office, it's equally important for men to stop inserting their opinions into every damn issue.
"It's not that women don't value your thoughts—it's just that we don't value all of them," McCaskill said. "The world doesn't need your opinion on everything."
The senator continued by enumerating a list of topics she'd love to see all men stop talking about. These include: what women do with their bodies, pantsuits, Star Wars (repeated twice), Shonda Rhimes, and #GamerGate.
"If you can control yourselves and hold back from further expressing your opinions on any of these topics, we'll let you keep weighing in on marijuana legalization," she said, offering a reward for their good behavior.
But for those of you who just want the tl;dr version, I'm here to help. The chart below shows how all 50 states did. Congratulations, Michigan! You're our most corrupt state, edging out Wyoming by a few tenths of a point. In the "beats expectations" category, I think I'd give the award to Illinois, with New Jersey as runner-up. In the "most disappointing" category, I'd pick Oregon, which really brought down the otherwise impressive performance by the Western states.
I just got back from a visit with the oncologist, and she says all my test results are normal. My IgG levels are normal. My light kappa chains are normal. Hooray!
Except, of course, for the one test that really matters, the M protein marker (a proxy for the level of cancerous cells in my bone marrow). It's now gone down from 0.9 to 0.72 to 0.63 to 0.55. My own amateur analysis suggests that this means it will plateau at around 0.3 or 0.4, which is not great news since we want to get it to zero. My oncologist's professional analysis is that, hey, maybe the cancer is already gone and the protein markers are just hanging around for a while.
Do I sound a little annoyed at my inability to ever get anything but happy talk from these folks? Yeah, I guess so. I understand that there's not much point in getting bent out of shape about these results until I've been on the new meds long enough to get a truly reliable reading. I also understand that oncologists want to keep their patients from getting depressed. Still, I wish I had a little more visibility about what's likely to happen over the next year or so.
Oh well. At least the M protein marker level is going in the right direction. This means I'm basically in good shape for a while. And I feel pretty good, though I think the higher dose of the new med is making me a little bit more tired than usual. Nothing serious, though. For the time being, everything is in pretty good shape.