Thursday, August 26, 2021

Last Call For I Recall Gavin, Con't

With only weeks to go to California's recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, the polls remain distressingly tight.
Earlier this month, results from a SurveyUSA poll showed that 51% of likely voters in California’s upcoming recall election would vote to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. It was the first poll to show a majority favoring his removal and led to a dramatic shift in polling averages.

Before these results, polling averages calculated by the politics and data website FiveThirtyEight showed a seven-point margin favoring keeping Newsom in office. But with SurveyUSA’s data, the margin narrowed to less than one point. As of Aug. 17, the latest date for which FiveThirtyEight has data, the margin inched up to 1.2 points, with 48.8% for keeping Newsom in office and 47.6% for removing him.

FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages are perhaps the most sophisticated data-based method of assessing the state of the recall race. The numbers come from a statistical model that aggregates individual poll results into two averages — one for keeping Newsom in office and another for removing him. The website has been producing these averages since mid-July but incorporates polls that go as far back as January.

FiveThirtyEight also tracks averages for whom Californians would choose as a replacement if Newsom is recalled. In their latest numbers, Larry Elder leads with an average of 19%, followed by Kevin Paffrath at 9% and John Cox at 6%. The other 43 candidates on the ballot have averages below 5%.


In other words, there's a 50/50 shot that odious grifter Larry Elder ends up governor.

Nobody in California seems to think that there's much alacrity needed, either.

It's a disaster in the making.


Af-Gone-Istan, Con't

Tragic violence in Afghanistan today as suicide bombers tried to disrupt the airlift from Kabul, leaving scores of bodies, including a dozen US troops dead.

Suicide bombers struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport with at least two explosions on Thursday, causing a bloodbath among civilians and U.S. troops, and bringing a catastrophic halt to the airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans desperate to flee.

Two U.S. officials put the U.S. death toll at 12 service members killed, making it one of the deadliest incidents for American troops of the entire 20-year war.

There was no complete toll of Afghan civilians but video images uploaded by Afghan journalists showed dozens of bodies of people killed in packed crowds outside the airport.

A watery ditch by the airport fence was filled with bloodsoaked corpses, some being fished out and laid in heaps on the canal side while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.

Several Western countries said the airlift of civilians was now effectively over, with the United States having sealed the gates of the airport leaving no way out for tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the West through two decades of war.

A Taliban official said at least 13 people including children had been killed in the attack and 52 were wounded, though it was clear from video footage that those figures were far from complete. One surgical hospital run by an Italian charity said it alone was treating more than 60 wounded.

The explosions took place amid the crowds outside the airport who have been massing for days in hope of escaping in an airlift which the United States says will end by Tuesday, following the swift capture of the country by the Taliban.
This is horrific.

Twenty years of failure just landed on our doorstep, and I fear this isn't the final butcher's bill, for America or for Afghanistan.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

The best places in America for economic growth are no long Republican states, they're Democratic states with high rates of vaccination, particularly urban counties with mandates.

With Covid-19 cases once again rising across the country, the U.S. is struggling to curb the latest, delta-driven surge, as hospitalizations and deaths have steadily climbed. But at least so far, the economy has proved highly resilient. There are many reasons for this, ranging from generous stimulus checks to the Federal Reserve’s commitment to buying bonds and holding interest rates low.

But some interesting new data on the overlap of electoral politics and economic dynamism suggest another reason: The geography of America’s economic engine is heavily concentrated in counties that Joe Biden won in 2020. These counties are much more heavily vaccinated than the rest of the country and thus better able to withstand the economic effects of Covid’s delta variant.

The shift of U.S. economic production toward blue counties predates the arrival of the coronavirus. After the 2016 election, Mark Muro, the policy director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Project, found that the 472 counties Hillary Clinton won produced 64% of the country’s economic output, while the 2,584 counties Donald Trump won contributed just 36%. That was a significant jump from the 2000 election, when the blue-red county economic split was 54% to 46%. Muro dubbed this divide “high-output America” vs. “low-output America.”

Last year, after Biden defeated Trump, Muro looked again and found that the economic output divide has grown even more pronounced. The 520 counties Biden won account for fully 71% of U.S. gross domestic product, while the 2,564 that Trump carried produced just 29%. In other words, America’s economic engine is bluer than ever.

The partisan lean of these 520 economically vital counties has almost certainly helped to protect U.S. growth because Democrats are much more likely to be vaccinated than Republicans. To pinpoint the difference between high-output and low-output America, I asked Muro to compare county-level vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for blue and red counties. He found that the average share of fully vaccinated people, age 12 and above, in the Biden-voting counties that produce 71% of GDP was 61%, as of Aug. 22, while the share in Trump-voting counties was 46%—a gap that’s grown substantially since April, when vaccination rates in high-output and low-output America were almost the same.

“At this point, reduced vaccination rates align very much with 2020 Trump voting across counties, and that—it turns out—aligns very closely with weaker economic performance,” Muro says. “The irony is that low vaccination rates are likely to slow economic recovery.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the delta wave has hit red America hardest. Nine of the top 10 states with the highest cumulative seven-day case rate per 100,000 residents as of Aug. 22 voted for Trump: Mississippi (840), Louisiana (756), Florida (700), Alabama (525), Tennessee (511), Arkansas (511), Kentucky (511), South Carolina (490), and Alaska (455). Nationally, there were 308 cases per 100,000 people.

The divergence in Covid cases and the effect on economic activity in red and blue counties may be attributable to more than just low vaccination rates. The nature of work in Biden counties vs. Trump counties probably also plays a role. High-tech workers in economic powerhouses such as Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties in California are far better able to shield themselves from infection than, say, meat and poultry processing workers in plants in Iowa or South Dakota.

Still, says Muro, “these gaps likely mean that blue America may be gaining another economic advantage over red America this summer, as blue areas better fend off the delta variant while red ones struggle with it.”
Gosh, vaccinated urban counties where Biden won represent 70% of America's GDP, and they're the places not just surviving, but thriving in the pandemic era?  Vaccinated and ready to go back to work, school, and play actually means something significant?

Who could have known?

Oh wait, everyone except for the GOP and their death cult, that's who.


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