The Midterms Don't Matter

"Policy doesn't swing very wildly when government changes hands." The Economist's Iowa correspondent says midterm elections are more about coalitions than zero-sum games.

"I doubt much hangs on the result of next week's nationwide elections. This is the great unspeakable fact of American politics: it doesn't matter all that much who wins. That's not to say it doesn't matter at all. It does matter. It just matters in ways rather different from the ways we are encouraged to think it matters by politicians and the press. I'm glad my wise co-blogger warned us the other day against neglecting zero-sum thinking in politics. Democratic politics is to a great extent a war of coalitions over what the great political economist James M. Buchanan called 'the fiscal commons'. Think of government as a huge pool of money. Control of government means control over that pool of money. Parties gain control by putting together winning coalitions of interest groups."

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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