Democratic Candidates for President: Round Two, The Bottom Tier

I recently completed a Twitter based poll to rank the 35 or so potential Democratic Party candidates for president. Since who was paired with whom had a lot to do with determining the exact percentages, I chose to divide the results, most of which were triads of candidates in a single poll, into three tiers. The bottom tier includes the candidates who came in third in a given three way comparison. You can vote for them in the latest of my Twitter Polls.

The purposes of this project are two fold. One, to help us all educate ourselves on who these people are. So, along with this and other polls are information about the candidates. Not much information, but a little, and you can expand from there.

The second is to help us, somehow, and I’m not sure how we are going to do this exactly, have conversations about these potential Democratic POTUS candidates in a way that does not make us look like a bunch of simpering six-year-olds with teeth coming in. In other words, respectfully and intelligently. I know, that is asking a lot, but still, let’s try.

Here is a short YouTube clip for each of these candidates. This is your chance to go through them and make the argument that one or more of them should be left in the running. I’ve divided them arbitrarily into three groups, and only one from each group will go forard to Round Three

The three twitter polls are here:

Oprah Winfrey

Michael Bloomberg


John Delaney


Val Demmings

Tulsi Gabbard

Mitch Landrieu


Mark de Blasio


Claire McCaskill


Jeff Merkley

Tim Ryan


Sheryl Sandberg

By the way, in a straw poll reported by NBC News today, this happened:

Someone else/DK/other: 28.8 percent

Beto O’Rourke: 15.6 percent

Joe Biden: 14.9 percent

Bernie Sanders: 13.1 percent

Kamala Harris: 10 percent

Elizabeth Warren: 6.4 percent

Sherrod Brown: 2.9 percent

Amy Klobuchar: 2.8 percent

Michael Bloomberg: 2.7 percent

Cory Booker: 2.6 percent

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Democratic Candidates for President, 2020

I’m starting a list, I’ll check it twice. Or more. The is the list in rough form. Please suggest who should be removed (for reasons of death or clear declaration that they are not running, not because you don’t like them, not just because you don’t like them) and who should be added?

After your comments and more research by me, I’ll clean up and refine the list. Meanwhile, I’m doing an initial informal bracket poll on Twitter. Go ave a look. Continue reading Democratic Candidates for President, 2020

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This year’s biggest ripoff is also this year’s best gift idea

Here’s an idea. You have an old beat up computer running, say, Windows. You want to make it faster, crisper, more secure, and generally, better.

What can you do short of buying a new computer? Well, install Linux. Linux is so much more efficient as an operating system, your computer will simply run better. Guaranteed. Continue reading This year’s biggest ripoff is also this year’s best gift idea

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A really good computer setup

I’ve reached a very nice resting point in the ongoing effort to develop a very useful, powerful, stable, and cool computer setup.

This started a while back when I built a computer. In particular, this computer. There are several advantages to building a computer. You can save money or get more bang for your buck even if you don’t pay less. On the saving money side, maybe you have components on hand that you don’t have to buy. I did, mainly mass storage. The case I had, thinking I’d save money there, ended up not working out. You get more bang for the buck because the parts you buy will be better than the ones in the equivilant off the line but cheaper computer, and you’ll have more control over what happens in future upgrades. Continue reading A really good computer setup

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One Iguana Two Iguanas: Children’s evolutionary biology book, with lizards!

The land and marine iguanas of the Galapagos Islands are famous. Well, the marine iguanas are famous, and the land iguanas, representing the ancestral state for that clade of two species, deserve a lot of credit as well. The story of these iguanas is integral with, and parallel to, the story of the Galapagos Islands, and of course, that story is key in our understanding of and pedagogy of evolutionary biology, and Darwin’s history. Continue reading One Iguana Two Iguanas: Children’s evolutionary biology book, with lizards!

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Can we talk about ladder pulling for a minute?

In light of the Kevin Hart backlash. Or maybe the Joy Reed controversy. I do not refer here to the metaphysical roots of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I refer, rather, to all those Irish white guys in America, whose ancestors were used as target practice by Tammany Hall Toughs in 19th century New York, who are now just fine, and from this position above a repressed and exploited past, say really bone-headed things like “All Lives Matter, #!” They climbed the ladder, and the first thing they did was pull it up so the next group could not. And I refer to all the other ladder pullers out there. You know who you are. Or, maybe, you don’t, and that could be a problem.
Continue reading Can we talk about ladder pulling for a minute?

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Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books

Aaron Sorkin’s first shot at directing was for the movie Molly’s Game, starring Jessica Chastain as athlete and card game runner Molly Bloom. It is an interesting true story line, with many hidden gems. Like, Graham Greene playing the judge, and the fact that the actual real life prosecutor was Preet Bharara. Importantly, Sorkin wrote the screen play (Oscar nominated). The opening sequence in the movie, which addresses the question of what to say when someone claims that coming in fourth in the Olympics is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete. Also, as you probably already understand, Sorkin has a strong interest in sports and poker, so it all makes so much sense…. Continue reading Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)

There was an accusation made in 2014 about an early 1980s rape by Tyson, but that never went anywhere and as far as I know was never proven. When that accusation resurfaced recently, a pysics professor, Katelyn Allers, came forward to relate a 2009 story of unwanted touching ad an AAS meeting. The incident was not viewed as especially traumatic by Professor Allers, but it was seen as inappropriate at the time. Ashley Watson, while working as an assistant to Tyson, relates “red flag” moments, attempts at persuasion to have sex, during her time working for him, and talks about misogynistic comments. Those allegations are all summarized in a report that came out yesterday in Buzzfeed News, but was initially summarized on a blog at not-my-favoriate-blog-site, Patheos.

And now, according to the Buzzfeed report, Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, the producers of the Cosmos reboot hosted by Tyson, are investigating these incidents.

The statement by the producers of Cosmos: Continue reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)

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Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails

You’ve heard about the “scientific method.” If your memory is excellent, and you took a lot of science classes in American schools, you learned two of them, because life science textbooks and physical science textbooks teach somewhat different concepts called “scientific method.” If you study the history of science, even at a superficial level, or do actual science, you will find that the “scientific method” you learned in high school, the very same “scientific method” people who either love or hate science, but are not scientists, and talk a lot about science, incessantly refer to, is not what scientists actually do. Neither the procedures for developing a study nor the inferential process of advancing understanding follow this method, or at least, not very often. Doing science is much more haphazard and opportunistic, nuanced and visceral, much less clean and predictable. Like the famous physicist once said, “The scientific method; that is what I fall back on when I can’t think of anything else do to.”

But there is one thing that is found common to most scientific endeavors, and without this thing science would not progress very quickly or very far: Continue reading Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails

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The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota

I do not know much about what happened in the bathroom at the Osseo Senior High School the other day, but on face value, it looks like adult staff were upset that a transgender female high school student was using, I assume, what they considered to be the wrong bathroom. They used a crow bar to open the stall door, then apparently got out of the way of the girl’s cell phone camera. The video, taken and posted by her, is below.

Like I said, I don’t know that much about this specific event, but Osseo is the neighboring school district to mine, and I can add a certain amount of context. Continue reading The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota

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