Misleading political color maps

When media color code the map of the US by which party wins a state or congressional district with red being for Republicans and blue for Democrats, they tend to do it by state (for statewide results as in the electoral college) or by district (for congressional seats). The resulting map tends to be largely blue on the east and west coasts with vast swathes of red in the middle, giving the impression that the country is dominated by Republicans. Conservatives like to use such maps to bolster their claim that the US is largely a right-wing conservative country.
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This would not have been puzzling for Jonathan Swift

Stan Collender is puzzled by something.

This story from today’s The Washington Post about President Trump’s complete lack of understanding about the federal budget is both fascinating and very scary.

It shows that, two years in to his presidency, Trump still doesn’t understand enough about the federal budget to make informed choices about what it will take to reduce the deficit as he said before the election he wants to do.

It also demonstrates a complete failure by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the rest of the Trump administration’s economic team. How is it possible that they have had so little influence with and impact on the president that, almost two years after he took the oath of office, he is so clueless?

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The ‘good guy with a gun’ had better be white

People who are against any form of gun control are fond of putting out the argument that when a gunman opens fire on random people, as is sadly all too common in the US, by the time police arrive it is too late and that in such situations an armed citizenry is better able to take on the shooter. The slogan ‘to stop a bad guy with a gun, you need a good guy with a gun’ is trotted out. Donald trump is a big fan of this doctrine and after every shooting, school, synagogue, church, whatever, he calls for more armed people to be present.
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The GOP line on current poisonous climate: “Not my fault!”

The Republican party is entirely responsible for giving us Donald Trump. They may worry about what he is doing to their party but he used the nasty racist and xenophobic and misogynistic climate they created to ride to power. Now some of them are trying to dodge the blame. One of them is Republican pollster Frank Luntz who has been the person they went to to craft all their divisive messaging for the past two decades.
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Meanwhile in the chess world …

The championship match between Magnus Carlsen and challenger Fabiano Caruana has so for resulted in eleven straight draws, breaking the earlier record of eight straight draws before one person won. The 12th and last regular game will be played on Monday. If that game also ends in a draw, then the match will be decided on Wednesday in a series of increasingly rapid-fire games in the following order.
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The ongoing persecution of Aasia Bibi by Pakistani religious zealots

Pakistan is bracing for its full supreme court to issue its final verdict in the case of the blasphemy charges brought against the woman known Aasia Bibi after a three judge panel ruled that the charges against her had not been proven and that she should be released. The right-wing Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party has been leading the protests. Meanwhile, Bibi’s lawyer has had to flee the country out of fear of being killed.
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