Scientists Believe Congressional Republicans Have Developed Herd Mentality

Dozens of Republicans clapping at the State of the Union.
Photograph by Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call / Getty

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Researchers at the University of Minnesota believe that Republican members of Congress have obtained “extremely high” levels of herd mentality, a new study shows.

According to the study, the researchers found that, in obtaining herd mentality, the G.O.P. lawmakers have developed “near-total immunity” to damning books, news reports, and audio tapes.

Herd mentality was observed in congressional Republicans from every region of the country, with the exception of one senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, who was deemed an outlier and therefore statistically insignificant.

Davis Logsdon, the scientist who supervised the study, said that Republicans were exhibiting herd mentality to a degree never before observed in humans.

“Herd mentality at these levels historically has appeared only in other mammal species, like lemmings,” the researcher said.

Two major Antarctic glaciers are tearing loose from their restraints, scientists say ~ The Washington Post

Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers already contribute 5 percent of sea-level rise.

Enormous curved crevasses near the Pine Island Glacier shear margin. (Brooke Medley/NASA)

A former mining camp is converting into a boutique getaway, sparking hope in Montrose County’s West End ~ Colorado Sun

A 15-second exposure captures the Burning Van festival held at Camp V, west of Naturita Colo., Saturday September 5, 2020. The property known as Vancorum was built by the Vanadium corporation in 1942 to store men a materials who worked at a nearby Uranium Mill.

 

With luxury cabins and an emphasis on art, Naturita looks to the past and seeks to rebuild its economy around tourism and outdoor recreation.

New columnist is ready to fight for lo bueno ~ LA Times

Gustavo Arellano on assignment in Catalina in March 2020 on their economy suffering due to the moratorium on cruise ships visiting the island, costing businesses thousands of daily visitors.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO

 

I snaked my Yukon past funerals and tombstones at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar. At its summit was my destination: the Alcove of Time.

There, in a small mausoleum niche on the bottom row of a wall full of them, were the cremains of pioneering Los Angeles Times reporter Ruben Salazar.

On Aug. 29, 1970, he covered the Chicano Moratorium, an anti-Vietnam War rally in East Los Angeles. Lawmen broke up what had been a peaceful afternoon with clubs and bullets; protesters responded with soda bottles and fists.

Salazar ducked into the Silver Dollar Cafe to wait out the chaos with a beer. Instead, a sheriff’s deputy shot a tear-gas canister into the bar that hit the reporter’s head, killing him instantly.

Memorials soon sprung up for Salazar, whose reporting on Southern California’s Mexican American community gave voice to the voiceless and launched a new journalism genre. But there is no hint of this legacy at Salazar’s final resting place.

A cast-iron plaque decorated with an hourglass and olive branches reads “Rubén Salazar Beloved Husband and Father” and lists the date of his birth and death. That’s it. There is no nook to leave flowers or mementos or anything.

So I came with a gift: a bottle of Manzanilla wine.

Salazar was a bon vivant who enjoyed French food and good drinks, a reality far removed from the martyrdom fans have affixed on him. He was a man who defied expectations, even as his heart was always with los olvidados — the forgotten ones — of society.

I came to ask for a blessing. Earlier that day, The Times announced I would be its latest Latino news columnist — the first in nearly eight years, and only the sixth in its 139-year history.

This, in a city where we’re nearly the majority. In a state where we’re already the plurality.

The response was overwhelmingly positive; the expectations, rightfully huge. “Guide me,” I asked Ruben. I offered a toast, poured a splash of the dry Spanish wine on the floor directly in front of his niche, and then took a swig myself.

A sea breeze cut through the muggy morning air as I headed back to my Yukon. Then I remembered my good manners.

I returned to Ruben’s niche, wiped down the puddle of Manzanilla in front of him, and went off to work.

::

So, um, yeah. No pressure.

Hola! I’m your latest Los Angeles Times Latino columnist. For nearly 13 years, I wrote a column called ¡Ask a Mexican!, where I mocked the very idea of a “Latino columnist.” You know: those well-meaning scribes who try to convince white readers that if they just talked to Latinos, everything would be chido(Mexico City slang for “copacetic”).

I felt such pundits were antiquated and too apologetic. Because I never thought of myself as a minority who needed to be understood.

Because I knew who I was.

Throughout my 20-year journalism career, I’ve navigated a gantlet of editors and readers who tried to pigeonhole and tokenize me as they had too many Latino reporters past and present.

Instead, I tokenized myself.

I wrote about Latinos, yes, but in a way that centered us as the norm instead of some exotic interloper in the Southern California story.

And I also wrote about other things.

Because that’s who I am.

I’m the Southern California-born son of immigrants from the state of Zacatecas, the Iowa of Mexico. One picked garlic in Gilroy as a 9-year-old; the other came to this country in the trunk of a Chevy.

They raised a nerdy son who spoke Spanish when he entered kindergarten and is now the black sheep in a family of public-sector siblings — because I decided to become a writer.

But I’m also the schmear of Yiddish in my daily speech, a fan of Middle Eastern food and Cambodian acid rock, and all the other parts of Southern Californian culture that make our collective identity as deliciously jumbled as the chili cheese fries at Tommy’s.

That’s what I plan to bring to this column.

I want to show who we were, are, and becoming, as Californians. And I’m the right person in this moment to tell these tales as a columnist.

Precisely because I happen to be Latino.

Trouble paying rent? Keeping your hard-fought gains? With a fear that the good times can quickly end that now sways over your days like palm trees?

Welcome to the life that Latinos have been living in California since 1848.

But the flip side of that fatalism is resilience. Pluck. Mañana as a promise, not an excuse.

And a willingness to fight for lo bueno — the good.

It’s a battle plan that has guided and sustained Latinos in California for over 170 years.

So it’s about high time everyone else listens to us.

But not me.

You shouldn’t care about what I’ll tell you; you should care about what I’ll show ustedes (that’s “y’all” in Spanish).

So instead of pontificating from behind a desk, I’ll be where the action is. At strawberry fields and downtown protests, classrooms and tejuino stands. In East Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County and beyond. I’ll talk to people whom I want to champion, people with whom I’ll agree to disagree, and people who deserve an FBI investigation. I want to do a bit of everything in this column, which will appear about once a week — sometimes more, sometimes less. Expect triumphs and tragedies. Long pieces. Profiles. Investigations. History. Politics. The economy. Even the occasional food review.

And I’ll write with expectations.

But only mine.

To try and write as the voice for a particular group of people is a guaranteed failure and presumptuous. The world doesn’t need another self-appointed savior.

To write as a voice gives you a shot to help those you truly care for.

So I write as myself.

A zacatecano.

A nerd.

A columnist. A reporter, always.

A Southern Californian, reporting for duty.

Think of me as a Mexican Tom Joad: Wherever there’s a fight for our future, I’ll be there — wearing a mask and socially distant for a while, of course. ~

 

How Lauren Boebert rose from unknown to a candidate for Congress to someone in Donald Trump’s orbit ~ The Colorado Sun


Lauren Boebert, the Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, addresses a crowd of about 100 people on Aug. 1, 2020, at the Orvis Ranch. Boebert spoke for about 15 minutes at the meet-and-greet, saying she will work to protect citizens’ freedoms. (Erin McIntyre, Ouray County Plaindealer)

How Far Will Donald Trump Go to Win? ~ RollingStone

The president has bent the Republican Party to his will, and is trying to do the same with democracy and reality itself. Can the Biden-Harris ticket stop him?

how far will trump go to beat biden

Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone

 

Last October, standing on the front porch of a small two-story house that had seen better days, I witnessed one of the more unsettling conversations of my adult life.

I had embedded with a team of community organizers in Alamance County, North Carolina, an hour’s drive west of Raleigh. This was Trump country. The president had won here in 2016 by 13 points. The sheriff was on the record as having accused “criminal illegal immigrants” of “raping our citizens in many, many ways,” and the county had inked a $2.3 million contract with ICE to detain migrants who’d crossed the border and were living in the state. The local neo-Confederate group had seen a remarkable resurgence in the wake of Trump’s election, motivated by the fight over Confederate statues.

The organizer I was tagging along with that day was Sugelema Lynch, a soft-spoken former schoolteacher whose parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and moved around the West Coast as farmworkers. As an organizer, she engaged local citizens on the issues of undocumented immigration and Medicare for All as part of a larger experiment into whether compassionate face-to-face conversations could break down prejudice.

The husband and wife who lived in the house were our last door for the day. The wife eyed us warily at first, but soon warmed up and came out on the porch. Her husband took notice and joined the conversation. The couple nodded along as Sug (pronounced shug) talked about the greed of big pharmaceutical companies and protecting the vulnerable members of the community, but when it was their turn to talk, their responses sounded as if Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity had been directly piped into their mouths. The “deep state” was thwarting President Trump from fulfilling his agenda. Democrats wanted to give “illegals” free health care while shafting the rest of us. There were a few casual references to liberal billionaire George Soros, the right’s go-to conspiracy-theory punching bag, and a jab at Hillary Clinton. When Sug or I asked where they’d gotten a piece of information or gently offered a counterpoint, they were polite but firm, certain in their position.

For almost an hour the conversation went on in that fashion, as the last bit of sunlight drained from the sky. The couple thanked us for the visit, and the wife even wrapped Sug in a big hug. As we walked back to the minivan, we were in a bit of a daze. “My brain hurts,” Sug told me as we pulled away.

I have replayed that conversation in my mind many times. We weren’t so much speaking past one another as trying to connect across different planes of existence. We’ve all had moments like this in the past few years — the uncle at Thanksgiving who sounds like an online comments section in human form. What I didn’t fully appreciate was how that exchange in Alamance County would encapsulate the central dynamic of the 2020 presidential election.

The contest between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is not a choice between competing policy agendas or rival ideologies. It’s a choice between reality and anti-reality. Fact versus fantasy. Amid a pandemic that has killed more Americans than World War I and Vietnam combined, an economic recession that has rivaled the Great Depression, and a reckoning over racism and police violence, Trump’s plan for winning re-election is to sell the American people not on a vision for the future but an alternate reality of the present.

In that reality, Trump is the law-and-order president even as he foments violence in the streets of Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. — or, in the case of Kenosha, Wisconsin, defends a 17-year-old vigilante (and Trump supporter) who allegedly shot three people, killing two of them. Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is a great “success story,” to quote son-in-law Jared Kushner, no matter that the death toll in the U.S. outpaces most of the developed world. He inherited a “stagnant” economy (he didn’t) and turned it into the “greatest economy in the history of the world” (it wasn’t), only to be sidetracked by a disease he vowed would “disappear one day” (it hasn’t). Most brazen of all, Trump clings to the notion that he’s an outsider who will raze the existing political order, despite having stocked his administration with lobbyists, faithfully done the deregulatory bidding of oil and coal companies, and rained money down on defense contractors and billionaires. His signature accomplishments — like slashing corporate tax rates or appointing more than 200 mostly right-wing federal judges to the bench — were made possible by establishment cronies such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And yet Trump says with a straight face that he has “ended the rule of the failed political class.” In a lifetime filled with lies and fraud, Trump’s 2020 pitch may be his most audacious con yet. Except now, instead of bankrupting his own companies, he could very well bankrupt the country.

The man who stands between us and the triumph of Trump reality is himself a creature of the political class, a six-term senator and three-time presidential contender who has worked in politics his entire adult life. To defeat a sitting president unbound by facts, truth, and reality, Joe Biden is trying to hold together a center that may or may not exist anymore in American political life, and pull the country back from the brink of splitting beyond repair.

Protesters watch a fireworks display above the White House after President Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination during the final night of the Republican National Convention, in Washington, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

Protesters watch a fireworks display above the White House after President Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination during the final night of the Republican National Convention, in Washington, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times/Redux

 

On paper, Biden enters the final leg of this endless campaign in possibly the strongest position of any challenger in modern times. His opponent has never once hit the 50-percent mark in Gallup’s presidential-approval ratings. On Trump’s watch, in a matter of months, Covid-19 vaporized the national GDP by a staggering 33 percent and took 20 million jobs with it, erasing all employment growth going back to the 2008 financial crash. The deep-seated animosity so many people — including some Democrats — felt for Hillary Clinton doesn’t seem to apply to Biden. The energy among Democrats to defeat Trump is so astronomical that Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, the first woman of color on a major-party presidential ticket, raised $364.5 million in the month of August alone, a new record. The demographics of the country should also play into Biden’s hands. The Republican Party has won the popular vote in a presidential election only twice in the past 32 years. Without the Electoral College, the two most destructive presidents in recent history, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, would never have been elected.

But we do have the Electoral College, and it means that Biden can’t afford a razor-thin margin of victory in the popular vote and a repeat of 2016 or 2000. In practical terms, the challenge that Biden faces is not only galvanizing his party’s most reliable voters in cities like Milwaukee, Detroit, and Philadelphia, but also winning back voters in the suburbs and rural counties where Trump trounced Clinton four years ago.

Biden’s pitch to these voters is more about values and patriotism than any specific policy agenda. From the day he entered the race 18 months ago, he has vowed to “restore the soul of our nation” and bring decency back to the presidency. His campaign has unveiled ambitious proposals on clean energy, green jobs, affordable housing, and closing the racial wealth gap, but he doesn’t often mention these in his speeches. At its core, the animating message of Biden’s candidacy — a return to a kinder, calmer, and more peaceful era — is itself a kind of magical thinking, a nostalgic kumbaya to a bygone era.

In the face of Trump’s strategy of activating his most loyal voters, Biden is appealing to a much larger audience and trying to give the impression of a big-tent Democratic Party that welcomes disillusioned Trump voters and independents into the fold. At the Democratic National Convention, an anti-union, anti-abortion former Republican governor in John Kasich spoke alongside a Democratic socialist and liberal celebrity in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Biden’s standing in Florida, arguably the most important state in the entire race, illustrates both the promise and pitfalls of this approach. Steve Schale, a strategist who works for Democrats in the state (including a pro-Biden super PAC), says Biden is seeing stronger support from college-educated white voters and even non-college-educated women than Clinton did, while his backing among Florida’s Hispanics has lagged. Winning Florida, Schale explains, will come down to places like Pasco County, an exurban swath of land north of Tampa that’s home to more than half a million people and hasn’t gone for a Democratic presidential contender since Al Gore in 2000. Biden almost certainly won’t win Pasco; it’s a matter of narrowing the margin of defeat. Barack Obama lost Pasco by 8,000 votes in 2008 and 14,000 in 2012; Clinton lost by 52,000. “In a place like Pasco, do we get back to what Obama did? No,” Schale says. “But if we get back three or four percentage points, that’s a big deal.”

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

‘Hundreds of thousands, if not millions’: New Mexico sees massive migratory bird deaths ~ Las Cruses SUN NEWS

 

 

LAS CRUCES – Biologists from New Mexico State University and White Sands Missile Range examined nearly 300 dead migratory birds Saturday at Knox Hall on the university’s main campus.

Over the past few weeks, various species of migratory birds are dying in “unprecedented” numbers of unknown causes, reported Martha Desmond, a professor at NMSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology.

“It is terribly frightening,” Desmond said. “We’ve never seen anything like this. … We’re losing probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of migratory birds.”

In August, large numbers of birds were found dead at White Sands Missile Range and at the White Sands National Monument in what was thought to be an isolated incident, Desmond said.

After that, however, came reports of birds behaving strangely and dying in numerous locations in Doña Ana County, Jemez Pueblo, Roswell, Socorro and other locations statewide.

The affected birds have included warblers, sparrows, swallows, blackbirds, flycatchers, and the western wood pewee.

“A number of these species are already in trouble,” Desmond said. “They are already experiencing huge population declines and then to have a traumatic event like this is – it’s devastating.”

On Saturday, Desmond was joined by Trish Cutler, a wildlife biologist at WSMR, and two NMSU students for an initial evaluation of the carcasses.

Desmond said her team also began catching and evaluating living specimens on Friday as residents find birds behaving strangely and gathering in large groups before dying.

A variety of dead migratory birds collected from White Sands Missile Range and sites in Doña Ana County, N.M. were examined by researchers at Knox Hall at New Mexico State University prior to being sent for necropsy on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020.

“People have been reporting that the birds look sleepy … they’re just really lethargic,” Cutler said. “One thing we’re not seeing is our resident birds mixed in with these dead birds. We have resident birds that live here, some of them migrate and some of them don’t, but we’re not getting birds like roadrunners or quail or doves.”

On the other hand, numerous migratory species are dying rapidly and it is not immediately clear why, although the cause appears to be recent. Desmond said the birds had moulted, replacing their feathers in preparation for their flight south, “and you have to be healthy to do that; but somewhere after that, as they initiated their migratory route, they got in trouble.”