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Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 04:17 AM PDT

Stop attacking musicians

by MichaelNY

I'm very angry tonight, because an strain of anti-intellectualism has reared its ugly head on this website, and in the process of doing so, has personally attacked me as a worker in the field of music. But first some background.

A couple of recommended diaries covered the "Requiem for Mike Brown" demonstration yesterday right after the end of the intermission of a performance of Brahms' German Requiem by the St. Louis Symphony, chorus and soloists. Some musicians participating in the discussion criticized the demonstration as taking place in an inappropriate time and place, and I understand their point of view. It was also stated that the views of no-one in the audience would have been changed, and I suppose that's probably true, too, though there's no way to be positive of that.

But my feeling is that a performance of a profound, deeply humanitarian work was a very appropriate place to bring in the here and now, and the juxtaposition of a great work that speaks to the place of human life relative to eternity with a sung demonstration about a recent death and its place in the lives of this country today could have given some people more to reflect on.

Some musicians and others participating in the discussion thread felt that it was disrespectful to the concertgoers for the demonstrators to wait until the conductor was ready to start the second half of the concert to start singing. I definitely understand that point of view; I think they were respectful, but it's OK to disagree about this.

So none of this was a problem for me. If you want to know WMFP was, go past the segno.

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Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:40 PM PDT

Stop comparing everything to Nazism

by MichaelNY

I mostly read Daily Kos Elections diaries and stories, but I'm also interested in diaries and stories on the front page. For various reasons, reading the response threads in such diaries can be an uncomfortable experience for me, as it was in this great diary about the absolute outrage of thousands of destitute Detroiters having their water cut off for an extended period of time and the great advocacy by Maureen Taylor on a show on MSNBC, which I urge you all to read.

This diary is not about the cutoff of water to Detroiters or how outrageous and almost unfathomable it is. Instead, it's about the insensitive and sometimes downright bigoted loose talk on this site, in which some people would rather compare everything to Nazism with dumb slogans like "reich wing" instead of "right wing" than just stick to the facts, and when called on it, refuse to change their ways but may even get angry, blame the messenger, and loudly proclaim their right to be insensitive. I don't think this diary will get through to many of my intended targets for consciousness-raising, but if it gets through to a few of you, it will have been worth it. If you've read this far, you'll probably want to continue reading further below the squiggle.

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM PST

Preliminary US Senate Ratings

by MichaelNY

Hi, everybody. This started as a response to SCDem4's "Complete Analysis of the 2014 Senate Elections" diary, but it got too long, so I started a new diary. All of these are quite preliminary thoughts, for whatever they're worth, and I'll look forward to clarification about whether Republican primaries in South Carolina have runoffs or not. More below the squiggle.

Poll

Who do you think is the most vulnerable incumbent senator?

3%6 votes
58%92 votes
3%6 votes
9%15 votes
4%7 votes
3%6 votes
7%12 votes
5%8 votes
2%4 votes
0%0 votes

| 156 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 04:34 PM PDT

Michael's Senate ratings, 10/31/12

by MichaelNY

Happy Halloween, to those of you outside the Sandy disaster area who are celebrating. I've got nothing but time, seeing how a concert I was scheduled to perform last Friday was cancelled due to the stoppage of subway service, my neighborhood is without power until further notice, subways still aren't running, and I am out of work at least until Monday.

So all that said (and I'm very happy things weren't worse for me, shocked and saddened by the extent of the devastation in the area, compassionate toward everyone victimized by this storm from the Caribbean to the Northeast, and glad that I can stay with my girlfriend, who has power), here are what may be my final Senate ratings. All changes from my 10/23/2012 ratings are indicated in parentheses.

Poll

Which of these races is most likely to end in an upset?

1%2 votes
25%33 votes
61%78 votes
8%11 votes
1%2 votes

| 127 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 07:06 PM PDT

Michael's Senate ratings, 10/23/2012

by MichaelNY

Like everyone else, I find the polling picture very confused and confusing (and that's caused me to hesitate in composing a new Senate race ratings diary), but I still would like to make new predictions, for whatever they're worth. In making these predictions, I am considering poll results, dreaminonempty's post on Senate polling error patterns, and ultimately, a bit of guesswork. I will reference previous ratings in my 8/19/2012 diary where they are different, as well as giving new ones.

Poll

Which of the Tossup races do you think is least likely to go Democratic?

31%76 votes
16%39 votes
7%19 votes
21%52 votes
12%30 votes
9%22 votes

| 239 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 04:05 AM PDT

Michael's Senate ratings, 8/19/2012

by MichaelNY

After posting about the risks of partisan bias unduly influencing election ratings and forecasts, I thought it would be fair for me to put my money where my mouth is. I claim no expertise in prognostication, but I will try as hard as possible to avoid any wishful thinking in my ratings. You'll note that I rate some races Safe that others would rate as Likely, because I don't believe in fooling around when I really don't see a path to victory. Have a look at the ratings after the fold, and please discuss and argue with them as you see fit. All states are listed in alphabetical order, with a summary below, grouping states by rating and discussing different scenarios for greater or lesser Republican and Democratic gains.

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On Daily Kos, we talk a great deal about what the politicians should do and how much they are falling short, or sometimes doing right. What I haven't seen a lot of discussion on is this: What are the basic responsibilities we all have as citizens? I would like to open this up for discussion and will offer my opinions below the fold.

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I tread into the lion's den of Israel/Palestine diaries with a bit of reluctance, given the amount of invective these topics tend to occasion, but I do so in order to focus on a larger question, which is how Israel's government is being incompetent and self-destructive. Join me after the fold to see what three well-known columnists in the Israeli newspaper, Ha'Aretz, have to say about this.

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Many of us are old enough to remember when red-baiter and former CIA Chief, George HW Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in part by saying in spooky tones that Dukakis was a "card-carrying member of the ACLU," as if that made him a Communist agent of the USSR or something.

Quite the contrary, it is no accident that the first word in the name of the organization is "American." The ACLU is a fundamentally American organization that fights to protect basic rights enunciated in the Bill of Rights and the post-Civil War amendments and sustained and expanded in landmark Supreme Court decisions. (Click here to read about the ACLU in their own words, and here to read about the "Key Issues" they are working on.) Join me after the fold for some highlights from their latest report, which shows just how wide a variety of issues they pursue, without any thought of any political compromises, and regardless of who is in office - and how they frame them.

If you are not a card-carrying member of the ACLU yet, please consider joining or signing up for their emails at www.aclu.org.

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I have long felt that the biggest problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a lack of human respect and decency too many people give to each other. When Palestinians' experience with Israelis is in the form of callous border guards and armed extremist settlers who abuse them, and Israelis' first association with the word "Palestinian" is "terrorist," it's easy to understand why the conflict perpetuates itself.

Some of you know that I read Ha'Aretz Online almost daily. They publish many interesting stories that I consider making a diary about, but many of the stories are depressing. Here is one that shows what sincerity and human sympathy can do to calm anger and engender respect.

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Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 07:55 PM PDT

Sotomayor on corporate personhood

by MichaelNY

Even those of us who have some doubt that Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be as liberal as some hope and others fear overwhelmingly supported her confirmation because of her extremely impressive qualifications for the position. But one always has to be a bit cautious about conflating an Appellate Judge's more limited jurisprudence with what they would do once on the Supreme Court. So court observers should find her questions during oral arguments on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission very interesting and significant.

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Here in New York City, we're being deluged with direct mail, not only for Mayor (why doesn't Bloomberg just save his money, since we all know him, and he's gonna win, anyway?) but for lower offices, such as Comptroller and DA.

This diary will be about the candidates for DA. It's an interesting campaign. Please join me after the fold for my comments about the candidates and their campaign strategies.

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