Awkward Uncle Lindsey Graham

Inquiry

Quantitative

Surveys


Fig. 1. Graph showing the deterioration of response rates by the Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, fair use.[19]

There is a new blog post entitled, “Nate Cohn embarrassingly goes for luck rather than rigor.”

Nate Cohn, “Yes, the Polling Warning Signs Are Flashing Again,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/12/upshot/polling-midterms-warning.html


Ukraine


Fig. 2. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[20] fair use.

Somehow I am suddenly not receiving newsletters from Puck News and I’m not sure I’ve got this fixed. Julia Ioffe, who is among the stellar journalists there, finally has a new piece out. There isn’t much about the Ukrainian offensive, but I’ll let her introduce Evgenia Markovna Albats:

Evgenia Markovna Albats, who is always addressed by her stately patronymic, is the doyenne of independent Russian journalism. At 64, she has the stripes to prove it. Back in the 1980s, she was one of the first Soviet journalists to actually report on the K.G.B. (Her story about tracking down the former N.K.V.D. interrogator who sent a legendary Soviet scientist to his death in the Gulag absolutely floored me.) She has also written vividly about being a woman in the late Soviet era, and what it was like to give birth in a perestroika-era hospital plagued by shortages of everything from clean needles to running water.

In the years since, she has covered the wars in Chechnya, gotten a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard, and founded and run an independent Russian news magazine called The New Times (since shuttered by the authorities) that was an absolutely crucial outlet for investigative reporting on the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime.[21]

I’m generally not a fan of interviews, but this one is worthwhile. Albats thinks there may be a junta takeover in the Kremlin by spring. It won’t last long, because it will lack legitimacy,[22] but it would at least get Vladimir Putin out of power and pave the way for something else.

Robyn Dixon, Steve Hendrix and Liz Sly, “Russia confirms big retreat near Kharkiv as Ukraine offensive advances,” Washington Post, September 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/10/ukraine-kharkiv-russia-retreat-izyum/

Thomas Grove and Evan Gershkovich, “In Major Advance, Ukraine Drives Russians Out of Key Front-Line Cities,” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-major-advance-ukraine-drives-russians-out-of-key-eastern-city-11662807160

Steve Hendrix et al., “Russian troops in big retreat as Ukraine offensive advances in Kharkiv,” Washington Post, September 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/10/ukraine-kharkiv-russia-retreat-izyum/

Isobel Koshiw, Lorenzo Tondo, and Artem Mazhulin, “Ukraine’s southern offensive ‘was designed to trick Russia,’” Guardian, September 10, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/10/ukraines-publicised-southern-offensive-was-disinformation-campaign

Allison Quinn, “Moscow Officials Urge Putin to GTFO: ‘Everything Went Wrong,’” Daily Beast, September 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/moscow-officials-urge-vladimir-putin-to-give-up-power

Associated Press, “Ukraine pushes major counteroffensive as war marks 200 days,” September 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-moscow-kharkiv-9e5363cd199fd7f01cba14efa4678e5f

Steve Hendrix, Serhii Korolchuk, and Robyn Dixon, “Amid Ukraine’s startling gains, liberated villages describe Russian troops dropping rifles and fleeing,” Washington Post, September 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/11/kharkiv-liberated-retreat-izyum-russia/

Mike Martin, “Putin is finished. The Ukrainians have him on the ropes with a stunning victory in their sights,” Telegraph, September 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/09/11/putin-finished-ukrainians-have-ropes-stunning-victory-sights/

Hugo Bachega, “Ukraine’s rapid gains stun Russia,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557

Elena Becatoros and Hanna Arhirova, ““Ukraine claims to have reached Russian border as counteroffensive maintains momentum,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraine-claims-to-have-reached-russian-border-as-counteroffensive-maintains-momentum/

Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima, “Intelligence points to potential turning point in Ukraine war,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-retreat-us-intelligence/

Insider, “Municipal deputies in 18 Moscow and St. Petersburg districts demand Putin’s resignation,” September 12, 2022, https://theins.ru/en/news/254943

Isabelle Khurshudyan et al., “Ukraine extends battlefield gains as Kremlin reels from setback,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-war-retreat-kharkiv/

Merlyn Thomas, “Ukraine war: Russians ‘outnumbered 8-1’ in counter-attack,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557

Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 3. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, “Justice Dept. says it would accept Trump’s candidate for special master,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/trump-classified-special-master/

Greg Sargent, “Trump faces a new threat: Scrutiny of ‘stop the steal’ money scam,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/13/trump-doj-subpoenas-jan-6-save-america-pac/

Abortion


Fig. 1. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Buyer’s remorse?

From the halls of Congress to the campaign trail, Republicans attacked [Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks nationwide, except when the life of the woman is at risk or the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest] as a distraction that divides the GOP and reminds voters that most of them see the party as too extreme on abortion.[23]

What’s catching my eye here is that the bulk of the coverage focuses not on the bill itself,[24] but the bipartisan backlash. Republicans generally would prefer to focus on other topics,[25] so think of Lindsey Graham as that awkward uncle, bringing up sensitive subjects that folks were really hoping to avoid at a holiday meal.

The more significant implication of this, of course, is that Republicans realize[26] that the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade[27] is a real problem for them electorally. Some of them are backpedalling,[28] but then there’s that awkward uncle:[29]

There’s a narrative forming in America that the Republican Party and the pro-life movement is on a run. No, no, no, no, no, no. We welcome the debate. We welcome the vote in the United States Senate as to what America should look like in 2022.[30]

There is an odd righteousness here that I think is characteristic of white Christian nationalism. So persuaded are these politicians of their own righteousness that they will risk their party’s electoral prospects, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Nate Cohn, yes, the same Nate Cohn whose analysis I trashed in that new blog post,[31] thinks, fairly obviously, it might cost them,[32] although it may be difficult to distinguish this effect from the impact of the Mar-a-Lago search.[33] I think it’s really these two factors taken together that vastly improve Democrats’ prospects this November.[34]

Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo, and Scott Wong, “‘Bad idea’: Republicans pan Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban,” NBC News, September 13, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-graham-introduces-bill-ban-abortion-nationwide-15-weeks-rcna47530

Christopher Cadelago and Jonathan Lemire, “Lindsey Graham saves Biden’s big day,” Politico, September 13, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/13/lindsey-graham-joe-biden-abortion-00056505

Nate Cohn, “Why Things May Really Be Different for This Midterm Election,” New York Times, September 13, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/13/upshot/midterm-election-trump-dobbs.html

Caroline Kitchener et al., “Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/24/abortion-state-laws-criminalization-roe/

Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/


Banking

So you say you’ve had bad customer service experiences with banks? Have you ever had to rob the bank for your own money?

Yes, I mean, go into the branch with a gun, and demand only the money in your account with that bank?

That’s what they’re having to do in Lebanon.[35]

Timour Azhari and Issam Abdallah, “Woman holds up Lebanese bank for $13,000 of her own money, advocacy group says,” Reuters, September 14, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/woman-holds-up-lebanese-bank-13000-her-own-money-advocacy-group-says-2022-09-14/


Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated


Fig. 1. Screengrab from KDKA (probably the television station) video, via Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 28, 2019,[36] fair use.

The Apple updates to iOS 16 and WatchOS 9 have meant changes, removing at least one of my reasons for thinking I should revert to Google Maps on unfamiliar territory. I think the other problem is solved as well, but somewhat surprisingly, I still haven’t actually confirmed this.


  1. [19]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  2. [20]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  3. [21]Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/
  4. [22]Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/
  5. [23]Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo, and Scott Wong, “‘Bad idea’: Republicans pan Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban,” NBC News, September 13, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-graham-introduces-bill-ban-abortion-nationwide-15-weeks-rcna47530
  6. [24]Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/
  7. [25]Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo, and Scott Wong, “‘Bad idea’: Republicans pan Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban,” NBC News, September 13, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-graham-introduces-bill-ban-abortion-nationwide-15-weeks-rcna47530; Christopher Cadelago and Jonathan Lemire, “Lindsey Graham saves Biden’s big day,” Politico, September 13, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/13/lindsey-graham-joe-biden-abortion-00056505; Caroline Kitchener et al., “Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/24/abortion-state-laws-criminalization-roe/
  8. [26]Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo, and Scott Wong, “‘Bad idea’: Republicans pan Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban,” NBC News, September 13, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-graham-introduces-bill-ban-abortion-nationwide-15-weeks-rcna47530; Christopher Cadelago and Jonathan Lemire, “Lindsey Graham saves Biden’s big day,” Politico, September 13, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/13/lindsey-graham-joe-biden-abortion-00056505; Caroline Kitchener et al., “Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/24/abortion-state-laws-criminalization-roe/; Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/
  9. [27]Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, “Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Eliminates Constitutional Right to Abortion,” Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-overturns-roe-v-wade-eliminates-constitutional-right-to-abortion-11656080124
  10. [28]Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo, and Scott Wong, “‘Bad idea’: Republicans pan Lindsey Graham’s 15-week abortion ban,” NBC News, September 13, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-graham-introduces-bill-ban-abortion-nationwide-15-weeks-rcna47530; Christopher Cadelago and Jonathan Lemire, “Lindsey Graham saves Biden’s big day,” Politico, September 13, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/13/lindsey-graham-joe-biden-abortion-00056505; Caroline Kitchener et al., “Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/24/abortion-state-laws-criminalization-roe/; Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/
  11. [29]Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/
  12. [30]Lindsey Graham, quoted in Amy B. Wang and Caroline Kitchener, “Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks,” Washington Post, September 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/13/abortion-graham-republicans-nationwide-ban/
  13. [31]David Benfell, “Nate Cohn embarrassingly goes for luck rather than rigor,” Not Housebroken, September 13, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/09/13/nate-cohn-embarrassingly-goes-for-luck-rather-than-rigor/
  14. [32]Nate Cohn, “Why Things May Really Be Different for This Midterm Election,” New York Times, September 13, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/13/upshot/midterm-election-trump-dobbs.html
  15. [33]David Benfell, “More questions than answers as Donald Trump flags come down,” Not Housebroken, September 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/28/more-questions-than-answers-as-donald-trump-flags-come-down/
  16. [34]David Benfell, “The really, really, really wild wildcards in the 2022 and 2024 elections,” Not Housebroken, August 17, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/17/the-really-really-really-wild-wildcards-in-the-2022-and-2024-elections/
  17. [35]Timour Azhari and Issam Abdallah, “Woman holds up Lebanese bank for $13,000 of her own money, advocacy group says,” Reuters, September 14, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/woman-holds-up-lebanese-bank-13000-her-own-money-advocacy-group-says-2022-09-14/
  18. [36]David Wenner, “Sinkhole swallows part of bus in downtown Pittsburgh,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 29, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/10/sink-hole-swallows-pittsburgh-bus.html

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