Consumer survey explains how pollsters don’t understand why Clinton will win the election

A new question added to the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers could turn out to be more accurate than ordinary opinion polls in predicting the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

In June and July, respondents to the monthly survey were asked who they expected to become the next president — rather than who they intended to vote for. The results belie the horse-race nature of the campaign that’s being implied by most polls of voter intent.

58 percent of the households surveyed by the University of Michigan said they thought Hillary Clinton would emerge victorious, relative to just 37 percent for the real estate and reality TV mogul Trump. That presents a very different picture to aggregations of voter intention; as is shown by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, which has Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency at 53.3 percent versus Donald Trump at 46.7 percent.

A report published by Ludwig Maximilians University Research Fellow Andreas Graefe in 2014 found that asking voters who they think will win has proved a better crystal ball than asking them which candidate they themselves are likely to support.

“Across the last 100 days prior to each of the seven U.S. presidential elections from 1988 to 2012, expectations provided more accurate forecasts of election winners and the final vote shares,” he wrote, relative to benchmark methods like intention polls, prediction markets, expert judgments, and quantitative models. “Gains in accuracy were particularly large compared to intention polls: on average, expectations reduced the error of intentions by more than half.”

Wonder how many professional pollsters will take note of this finding?

IMHO, voting for a scumbag bigot means you’re a scumbag bigot


Ghazala Khan, Khizr KhanSaul Loeb/AFP

The most emotional moment of the Democratic National Convention was the speech by Khizr Khan, the bereaved father of Army Captain Humayun Khan. With his wife Ghazala by his side, Khan recalled his son’s character, his faith, his patriotism — and, ultimately, his courageous death in the service of the country he loved, and the fellow soldiers he was protecting.

And, yes, the Khan family is Muslim. Under Trump’s proposed policies, they would be innately suspect; had he been president when they immigrated to America, they would’ve been barred from entering, and Humayun Khan never would have served.

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan asked Trump. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”…

Trump’s actual response…

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said, on national television. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”…

Let’s be very clear about what Trump is doing here: as ABC wrote, he’s suggesting “Khan’s wife didn’t speak because she was forbidden to as a Muslim.” This is bullshit. It is flatly, verifiably, false. But that’s almost beside the point.

Trump listened to a speech by the bereaved father of a fallen Muslim soldier and used it to slander the fallen soldier’s family. That was his response. That is his character.

…I’ll note James Fallows’s response. He quotes Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954…

“Until this moment,” he said, “I think I never really gauged your cruelty.”

If you would like to see Ghazala Khan speak, you can do so in this interview she gave to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. As Fallows writes, she breaks down sobbing while speaking of her son. It suggests she let her husband give the DNC speech for a simple reason: she remains overwhelmed by grief.

This is the woman Trump decided to slander. This is the gauge of his cruelty.

It would take a substantial amount of self-delusion for someone to truly believe Trump isn’t a bigot, a racist, a scumbag. Yes, many say they believe he isn’t. That’s them trying to justify their commitment to his bigotry – while still pretending not to espouse the same contemptible ideology.

I can’t accept the rationale. If you’re stupid enough to believe Trump’s blather about not being a bigot – then, you’re too stupid to be voting.

In any case, you’re as guilty of bigotry as The Donald.

Ireland jails three senior bankers for their role in the 2008 economic crash


Denis Casey on his way to the JoyClodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country’s economy.

The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 percent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.

Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.

Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.

All three were convicted of conspiring together and with others to mislead investors, depositors and lenders…

None of the defendants reacted visibly to the sentencing before being led away by officers to Mountjoy Prison, the country’s largest…

Overdue. Throw away the key.

Banks in the United States and Britain have paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements connected to wrongdoing over their handling of subprime loans that helped cause the crisis. But no senior industry executives in those countries have been sent to jail.

Water works lawsuit puts Agribusiness on notice for nitrate pollution

Depending on your perspective, the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three agriculture-heavy Iowa counties to hold them accountable for harmful nitrate contamination in the Raccoon River water supply can be a few things: a battle between farmers upstream and urban water users downstream, a common sense plan to get polluters to pay or a costly intrusion into private land use…

For Bill Stowe, general manager of the Des Moines Water Works, the nitrate problem was so acute in 2015 that the decision to sue was necessary…

We have spent several decades trying to work collaboratively with agriculture groups. Realistically that has gotten us nowhere. The curve continues to deteriorate in terms of water quality that we are experiencing here in central Iowa. We think that we are in a water quality crisis…It’s clear that we are facing a far worse condition in 2016 than we did 25 years ago.

The federal lawsuit came in 2015 after the Water Works was forced to operate their nitrate removal system for long stretches when record-high levels of the toxic nitrogen compound were present in the Raccoon River, the water supply for 500,000 people in the Mississippi River basin. Sac County, named in the suit, had testing done on its waterways that empty into the Raccoon and some were found to be five times higher than the standards EPA deems safe, according to the utility. Besides simply recovering the $1.5 million it cost to run the denitrification system in 2015, the utility had higher aims of halting pollution at its source. In this case the utility established that the primary pollution source is runoff from farm fields and animal operations that flow from tile drainage (subsurface drains) and end up in streams, lakes, rivers and, eventually, the mighty Mississippi.

Farmers and producers offer the usual crap conservative solution: voluntary compliance. Hasn’t worked. Never will.

Frustration and lack of an aggressive water quality plan led Water Works to the courts to pursue a novel legal strategy that asserts that county drainage districts are point-source polluters that are directly identifiable because their infrastructure carries nutrient-rich farm runoff. The districts manage and maintain this infrastructure, so it’s the Water Works claim that the districts, supervised by the counties, are on the hook for the water…

Agribiz has their knickers in a bunch because any reasonable finding of responsibility leaves them open to lawsuits from everyone downstream from their pollution. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for them to free up a little money from their favorite hedge funds and act responsibly.

Cartoon: same difference

While I haven’t an overwhelming feeling of confidence in American voters – after all, they elected both Reagan and Bush the Little twice – I have a lot more hope for good sense in Bernie supporters.

My extended family are Bernie supporters for many different reasons. They all understand we still need a functioning Constitution, at least an opportunity to push the Tea Party fools and populists out of Congress.

If you understand how the Republican wing on Wall Street damned near crushed the world economy with Bush in office, you ain’t seen nothing if Trump and his 19th Century band of brigands gets to be in charge.

Any good reasons why Florida hasn’t allowed in the CDC’s emergency response team to fight Zika?


Reuters/Paulo Whitaker/file photo

The state of Florida, the first to report the arrival of Zika in the continental United States, has yet to invite a dedicated team of the federal government’s disease hunters to assist with the investigation on the ground, health officials told Reuters.

Coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the state reported possible local Zika transmission on July 19 has been conducted largely at a distance, they said. That is surprising to some infectious disease experts, who say a less robust response could lead to a higher number of infections.

While Florida has a strong record of battling limited outbreaks of similar mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue and chikungunya, the risk of birth defects caused by Zika adds greater urgency to containing its spread with every available means, they say. Other states have quickly called in CDC teams to help track high-profile diseases.

You only have a small window. This is the window” to prevent a small-scale outbreak from spreading, said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine…who expressed impatience with the pace of the Florida investigation.

Florida on Friday said that four cases of Zika in the state were likely caused by mosquito, the first sign that the virus is circulating locally, though it has yet to identify mosquitoes carrying the disease.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the state health department was working with the CDC as it continues its Zika investigation…Dr Marc Fischer, a CDC epidemiologist, has gone to Florida at the state’s request.

But the state has not invited in the CDC’s wider emergency response team of experts in epidemiology, risk communication, vector control and logistics…

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency has several teams ready for when states request help with Zika, including Florida…

“Florida does what Florida does,” said one public health expert familiar with the investigation. “If I were health commissioner, I would have asked for their (CDC’s) help immediately.”

Still Floriduh, ain’t it. Even more so with Rick Scott in charge.

When will police departments stop using cheapo drug tests that give false positives?


Mr. Rushing buys a doughnut every other weekOrlando Sentinel

Daniel Rushing probably won’t be eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts in his car any more.

The 64-year-old was arrested on drug charges when Orlando police officers spotted four tiny flakes of glaze on his floorboard and thought they were pieces of crystal methamphetamine…

Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins wrote in an arrest report that during a traffic stop on 11 December she noticed the flakes on the floorboard. Two roadside drug tests were positive for the illegal substance and Rushing was arrested. But a state crime laboratory test cleared him several weeks later.

“It was incredible,” Rushing said. “It feels scary when you haven’t done anything wrong and get arrested … It’s just a terrible feeling.”

It started on a Friday afternoon when Rushing dropped off a neighbor at a hospital for a weekly chemotherapy session. Then, he drove to a convenience store to pick up a friend who needed a ride home.

Riggs-Hopkins said she was staking out the area for drug activity. Rushing told her he had a concealed weapons permit, according to an arrest report. She asked him to step out of his car and noticed a “rock like substance” on the floorboard.

“I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she wrote…

Uh-huh.

Riggs-Hopkins and other officers spotted three other pieces of the substance.

“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut,” Rushing said.

He was charged with possession of methamphetamine with a firearm and spent 10 hours in jail before being released on bond.

The Florida’s law enforcement department told the newspaper that an analyst in its Orlando crime lab did not try to identify what police found in the car, only to determine whether it was an illegal drug. They determined it was not and three days after Rushing’s arrest the state attorney’s office dropped the charges.

Mr. Rushing is going to sue the city. The coppers – of course – say the bust was lawful. Going by the book is sufficient as far as they’re concerned.

I think he should sue them for stupid. And probably for cheap. For using a test that gives false positives for doughnuts.

Thanks, Honeyman