Sean Connery (1930-2020)

Those of us old enough to have seen the first James Bond film Dr. No when it was released in 1962 tend to view Sean Connery as the best Bond of all, even though good arguments can be made for some of the others who came later. And so the announcement of his death today will bring with it a tinge of sadness as yet another film icon of our era leaves us. I was surprised that he was 90 years old. I guess that is because you tend to think of the actors who dominated in one’s youth as getting older but not becoming that old. Roger Moore, who also acted in numerous Bond films and brought a lighter, more comedic touch to the role, died three years ago, also at the age of 90.
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A reality check before the election

With just a few days to go before Tuesday’s election, this is the time when both sides tend to start panicking about the outcome. While the Biden supporters may take comfort from polls showing that he has a comfortable lead, we all know that there are problems with polls. It is not that the polls were that wildly off in 2016. The national vote at the end was consistent with predictions of Hillary Clinton winning. But the state polls were close enough that relatively small deviations were enough to give Trump the electoral college win. We should always bear in mind that polls are always statistical and there is always a margin of error. Black swan events can occur and grey swan events have even greater chance of occurring. (I don’t know if there are grey swans but you get the idea behind the metaphor.)
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Samantha Bee on the children separated from their parents by the US government

The way that hundred of children were separated from their families for years and whose parents cannot now be located is truly a scandalous indictment on a country that proudly professes to uphold the highest values. But hey, we’re the country that loudly proclaims its belief in God and family, so what we do can’t be wrong, right?

Should I vote for the lesser of two evils?

That question is the dilemma that always confronts voters when you have more than two candidates and there is no ranked choice voting system. You have to choose between voting for the candidate you really like but who likely has no chance of winning versus voting against the candidate you really dislike by voting for the person who is most likely to be able to defeat that candidate. This comes up in almost every major election in the US because the two major parties, beholden as they are to the business-war machine, both put up highly compromised candidates that are far from the ones that one can be enthused about.
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How the AP will call the election

As I have said many times before, in the US the official election results seems to come almost as an afterthought. Well before that final certification, various media outlets ‘call’ the result, in other words say that they know for sure what the outcome is going to be and these verdicts are taken as definitive. Some of them ‘project’ what they think the result will be based on the data they have but this represents a lower level of confidence.

The Associated Press has the reputation of being the most reliable source when it comes to calling the result and is the equivalent of the fat lady singing. They were the first to definitively say that Donald Trump won the 2016 election, making that call at 2:29 am in the early hours of the morning after voting had ended. So what is the AP and how does it do its work? This article provides a pretty good window into its operations on election night.
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Jared Kushner’s gives advice to African Americans on how to succeed

I do not know who I despise more, Donald Trump or the smug Barbie and Ken dolls that are his daughter and son-in-law, all of whom represent in almost caricature form the utter cluelessness of privileged white people with inherited wealth and family connections who think that they got where they are because of their intelligence and hard work.

Analysis of early voting patterns

One big piece of news in this year’s election is the huge number of early voters. As the US Elections Project website reports, as of this morning, over 79 million have voted, already well exceeding the record total of 47 million that voted early in 2016. This number is 58% of the total votes cast in 2016. Analysts were earlier forecasting up to 80 million early votes by the time Monday comes around but it looks like that number will be easily exceeded, likely by later today. [UPDATE: Yep, the number has been exceeded.]

This website looks at early voting patterns since 1992.

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