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    • Happy Thanksgiving
      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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Biden Town Hall Live

So refreshing to hear a rational human being presidential. It’s so calming. I can feel my heart rate slow down, my blood pressure getting lower.

He even understands the science of vaccines in smart, layman’s terms. It’s like he’s interested and paying attention.

I’m getting all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

******************

I didn’t watch the Trump Town Hall but this clip is all over Twitter. In it, Savannah Guthrie gets to the heart of the matter:

This is what we’re all thinking. He’s everybody’s crazy uncle who believes all the nutty stories he emails to you.

And he’s got the nuclear football and some grudges he wants to settle.

PSA2: If you live in western PA, check your ballot – NOW.

If you requested a mail in ballot in Allegheny county and you haven’t mailed it in yet, stop what you’re doing right now and check your ballot carefully. It turns out that approximately 29,000 ballots have the wrong municipality/district/precinct on them. Some guy who lives in North Versailles was just about to send his ballot in when he noticed that the voting location info on his ballot was wrong. They had him down for McKeesport.

The problem appears to be with the vendor who was contracted to print and mail the ballots, Midwest Direct. They’re also responsible for not mailing ballots to a chunk of Westmoreland County as well. (Wait, do really care about them? {{sigh}}. God is testing us.)

The ballots affected in Allegheny county were mailed on 9/28/2020. If that was the date yours was mailed out, the board of elections may discard your ballot and a new ballot will need to be mailed to you again.

I checked my election ballot status at paveoterservices.pa.gov. Sure enough, my ballot was mailed on 9/28/2020. But I also took a photo of my ballot before I stuffed it in the secrecy envelope. (I’m being anal this year). The location info is shown on the bottom of the ballot:

Then I checked that location against the Allegheny county polling places and sample ballots page. (You can also check your location from your Voter Registration Status.) All the info on my ballot for my location is correct, so I shouldn’t have to worry. But of course, I will. I’ll be following up on this to make sure that the ballot they received from me isn’t tossed.

Allegheny county has decided to print and mail the new corrected ballots and to end its contract with Midwest Direct, which has also had some issues with ballots in Ohio.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Allegheny county BOE phone is very busy tomorrow. Fortunately, there are multiple election services sites this weekend that may be able to provide answers. See the table below for a location near you.

There is always the option of voting in person. You can take your ballot to your polling location, have the poll worker destroy it, and then vote by machine. It will count as a regular vote, not a provisional one.

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Everything is going to work out. If Georgians can spend 8 hours in a line in order to vote, we can get this straightened out in time or vote in person.

If we have the truth…

Mormon leader J. Reuben Clark said once:

If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

This is a bit paradoxical coming from the Mormons when so much of their doctrines, writings and church founder history have been found to be false. But I think all religions have a fall back position that if your testimony is true, if you really feel full of the spirit according to church teachings, if you have found your place, then your own truth is greater than the literal truth.

I suspect that persuasion in the age of Trump and Fox works much the same way.

Stephen Colbert called it Truthiness.

The reason I bring it up is because of what James Murdoch said with regard to facts and news. He’s the son of Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News. James recently resigned from the family business over what appears to be ideological differences. James is the black sheep of the family with a more balanced worldview. Must have been uncomfortable to go to work every day, not to mention those awkward holiday dinners, knowing your parent does not approve of anything you are or think.

(Been there.)

As NBC succumbs to pressure from the Trump administration, and it looks like Comcast as well, it’s useful to keep James Murdoch in mind. He recently said:

“A contest of ideas shouldn’t be used to legitimize disinformation. And I think it’s often taken advantage of. And I think at great news organizations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt – not to sow doubt, to obscure fact, if you will.”

In other words, NBC shouldn’t be obligated to allow disinformation to propagate. By allowing Trump to stage his own event, NBC immediately stamps legitimacy on whatever bilge Trump disgorges tonight.

And this time, because it is a one way debate, there will be no investigation of the truth necessitated by the challenges of the other side. It will go out into the universe unchallenged.

This is what Trump wants. This is just as important as the ratings.

Just remember that next time you turn on NBC news.

*************

Trump is setting his audience’s expectations:

Let’s see:

1.) The set up is unfair. But he gets an hour of free airtime. (Whoo-hoo! Free campaign ad. Didn’t cost me a thing. See how I do it?)

2.) It’s not a real town hall because he’s getting Savannah Guthrie instead of Lester Holt. Pleeze, don’t insult him. He deserves the best, not some second class chicky baby lady “journalist”. This town hall doesn’t count.

3.) Biden will get softball questions from George Stephanopolous. Say what you will about George, but I’ve seen him put his “friends” through the ringer. Go back and watch any of his interviews with Hillary in 2016. She was shredded by him. This is not going to be easy for Biden. Plus, Biden’s town hall will be twice as long as Trump’s. So, yeah, YOU try to do that for 2 hours. He’s going to need Valium by the time he’s done. Trump? Ehhh, not so much. Maybe Trump was a little afraid of George and thought he might hold him to presidential standards. Can’t have that. So avoiding that second presidential debate for this three ring circus worked out pretty well for Trump.

4.) Trump’s Town Hall will be seeded with Never Trumpers. Don’t I wish. But this is always Trump’s complaint. They’re all against him. If the questioners pose anything more challenging than “What is your favorite color and why is it gold?” or “Why do you think the ladies find you so hot?”, then they are being nasty to him.

Well, if NBC had any dignity at all, it would pull the plug on Trump’s campaign ad after this little whine fest.

But to be honest, the whining wasn’t for NBC, it was for the Trumper out there who is already outraged at the treatment Trump is going to get, hours before he steps foot on the stage.

See how that works, MAGA heads? You’re already livid with the injustice of it all.

So predictable.

Debate Cluster{}#^

Once again, Trump gets special treatment that other candidates don’t get. You could argue that it’s because he’s the president and that is special. Or you could argue that he’s running for re-election and his re-election is by no means guaranteed so he should be treated no differently than any other candidate.

Or you could be like NBC and let the baby have his way with an uninterrupted town hall of his very own where he won’t have to compete with Biden who will be a better town hall participant, probably because he understands issues and has actual policies.

In other words, NBC has just given Trump the ability to talk over Biden because he didn’t want to play by the rules. In order for Trump to do this successfully, Savannah Guthrie has to moderate a room of “undecided” voters (I don’t know where they find these people but there is something seriously wrong with them in the head if they haven’t made up their minds by now.). These “undecided” voters will not have the opportunity to ask questions of the other candidate. Well, a similar thing will be happening with Biden’s town hall on ABC but as far as I can tell, Biden didn’t ask for any special treatment other than the safety of not having a potentially deadly virus spewed at him.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, if you’re a die hard Trump fan or you just enjoy the entertainment of a train wreck, you’ll probably watch Trump on NBC. Nothing about Trump’s town hall is likely to change your mind.

If you want to know what the future holds, you’re better off watching Biden on ABC. It’s a shame they won’t both be responding to the same questions for comparison but there you go. This is the game Trump is playing. It’s not going to resolve any issues for the “undecided” voters.

There was a report yesterday that Trump is planning on dominating the ratings. By doing this, he thinks he can humiliate Biden. I don’t think that’s what motivates Biden. That’s kind of immature for a candidate with presidential aspirations.

But if that’s what Trump is aiming for, I’m not sure we need to reward it. He’s gotten out of being beaten by a much better person and politician. Do we really need to watch him flinging poo at the rest of us on NBC? If not, here’s a suggestion from Amy Siskind:

Live by the ratings, die by the ratings.

By the way, NBC, this is the dumbest thing any media outlet has ever done. The only thing I’ll be watching later are the highlights of Trump blathering incoherently on youtube.

You’re welcome.

PS. Someone should fire Chuck Todd over this stunt.

*********************

Carl Bernstein (yes that Carl Bernstein) weighs in with a thread about the NBC Trump Town Hall (that does not serve the voters but merely accommodates Trump’s insatiable need for attention:

Click the tweet to be redirected to the thread. It’s short but gets right to the point.

PSA: PA mail in ballots

I’ve been reading online that some Pennsylvanians haven’t received their mail in ballots therefore the system is corrupt or someone is going to steal ballots and fill them out.

That should be interesting if they get mailed back to the BOE without ever getting to the intended recipient in the first place. You’d have to really work hard to get around the system in PA.

Here are the rules for voting by mail here and some observations:

1.) It takes awhile for the ballot to get to the recipient. I got notified that my mail in ballot would be arriving and if I didn’t receive it in 10-14 days, I would need to call the Board of Elections. From notice to arrival, it took 9 days. There are a couple things about this that are noteworthy. Allegheny mailed ballots in large batches. The first batch was 70000 ballots. Mine was not among them. Mine was in a subsequent batch. There were 314000 mail in ballot requests in Allegheny county alone. So, you know, it takes time.

2.) The mailmen are trustworthy. I truly believe they adhere to the highest professional standards. If they were like me, they had to undergo rigorous background checks to get their jobs. It’s not the mailmen I’m worried about. It’s the guy at the top at the Postal Service. But if you’re really worried, don’t put a yard sign out until you receive your ballot in the mail.

3.) If you don’t receive your ballot after you’ve waited 10-14 days of your notification emails, call your board of elections. Follow the instructions and let them know it’s missing.

4.) If your ballot hasn’t arrived by Election Day, you can still vote in PA. Go to your regular polling place and request a provisional ballot. If your mail in ballot eventually shows up at the BOE, the provisional ballot is discarded. If the mail in ballot does not show up at the BOE, the provisional ballot is the one that counts. Everything has a bar code on it. So, depending on which ballot arrives when will determine whether your vote counts. You can only use one ballot to vote. Pick one.

In other words, if the people I’m seeing on Twitter really haven’t received their ballots, there is a remedy. But if they received their ballots, filled them out, sent them back and think they can get away with voting again at their polling place after reporting their mail in ballot missing (“someone stole my ballot!), then they’re pretty much SOL. Not only that but they might be opening themselves up for investigation. So, if you want to report a ballot missing, do it in the 10-14 day time period. The BOE can’t help you unless they know you never received it.

5.) Ballot harvesting in PA is not allowed. Well, not if you deliver your ballot in person. You have to attest that the ballot is your own, you are not delivering a ballot for someone else and that the signature on the outside envelope is yours. Oh, I suppose that ballot harvesting could happen and someone could deliver 200 ballots to the post office. Something tells me that kind of thing will be caught on video. There are cameras everywhere these days. And the ballots have a bar code for tracking so we’re going to know exactly whose ballots were dumped at the post office. I’m thinking that it’s going to be pretty difficult to collect ballots either voluntarily or involuntarily and mail them en masse without leaving breadcrumbs. But that will be interesting to look out for since the only people I’ve heard who are actually proposing to do it are Republicans who were dumb enough to admit to the scheme on camera.

In summary, it’s going to look pretty hinky to try to cheat with a mail in ballot in PA. There may be ways to do it but we’re not all toothless bigots in this state. The vast majority of Democrats and Republicans in this state will have no trouble voting once and only once for the candidate of their choice.