Monday, February 29, 2016

Donald Trump and White Supremacists

I'm sure this isn't exactly "news" to anyone reading this post–I mean, hello, "[Mexicans are] rapists?' Or how about the claim that there were Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11? Regardless of if you think these comments were for publicity and are thus harmless or if you think they're deeply, troublingly, problematic no matter their reason, there's no denying that these comments will attract the support of...certain groups. 

Racist groups. White supremacists. The KKK. (In fact, he's been endorsed by a KKK biggie, Mr. David Duke, and another biggie white supremacist, Jared Taylor, who, up to this point, has never supported a presidential candidate.)

Of course, you can't help who you attract...right? But consider this–after David Duke endorsed him, Trump refused to condemn the KKK or David Duke, responding to an interviewer's inquiry of his reaction with a couple of beats around the bush. And, as John Oliver put it, at some point, there's no difference between pretending to be a racist, such as for publicity reasons, and being a racist.

So, assuming that Trump is not as offensive as this author thinks he is, and this whole thing is a publicity stunt...what would the consequences be of him becoming president? How could he change the political landscape–could he cause a realignment, a split of the Republican party? And what does his popularity indicate about Americans and their awareness of or sensitivity to race-related issues?

(Sorry that you have to see this guy's name on a headline for the gajillionth time.)


Cyber Hackers Accessed Over 700,000 Taxpayer Accounts

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) announced on Friday that around 724,000 taxpayers' sensitive personal information was stolen in a cyber hack last year.  This new estimate is more than double the agency's previous estimate.  The IRS hack was first discovered last May and the IRS originally stated that 114,000 people's personal information had been breached in the hack.  However, in August, the IRS raised its count to as many as 334,000 (Fortune).

It is believed that these hackers were able to access people's personal information through a "get transcript" feature on the agency's website that has since been disabled.  Earlier this month, the IRS detected unauthorized efforts to gain access to more than 450,000 Social Security numbers and around 101,000 of those efforts were successful (US).

According to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Operations, "The IRS doesn't have its house in order at any level" (US).

What do you think? What possible measures could be taken against these cyber hackers? Would IRS protection be better if we entrusted it to private businesses?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Generational Divide: Feminism and the Democratic Race

Note: Okay, before anyone gets angry, for the purposes of this post (and really, in real life too, but let's not have that argument here): Feminism, definition (according to the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Discard the "feminazi" or "angry feminist" connotations you may be used to, at least while you're considering the below. Thank you.

Madeline Albright, the first female Secretary of State and the highest-ranking U.S. female government official at the time of her appointment:
"There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." 
Yay, feminism! Equality! ...Right?

But when it was discovered that young (white) women, along with most other younger voters, tend to gravitate to Sanders over Hillary, that quote took on a slightly different meaning. Albright repeated the quote at a Clinton campaign event, evidently insinuating that women who don't support Clinton are horrible people/feminists. Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, also had something to say on the subject:
"...when you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie."
Ah, yes, of course. As the great opponents of women's suffrage thought, women vote for candidates for reasons of attraction and romance. Thank you, Steinem. (She later sort of apologized, saying she'd been misrepresented and hadn't meant to say that young women aren't serious about politics.)

But maybe feminists should be supporting Clinton. Maybe, rather than possibly undermining a serious milestone for women's rights and years upon decades of hard work, young women should throw their weight behind Clinton and make her the Democratic nominee, and maybe even President.

Should feminists be supporting Clinton over Sanders?  Does Albright have a point, or should we be waiting for Ms. Right, not Ms. Right Now? (credit for the cleverness goes to Kathleen Graves, who founded the "Babes for Bernie" Instagram account. No, it's horribly objectifying.)

And, y' Clinton better for feminism?


Homeless Holdouts Remain Despite City Order

Several homeless holdouts continue to defy San Francisco's expired order to move out from under the Central Freeway.  On Tuesday night, the city's health department gave homeless residents living along Division and 13th streets under the freeway a notice of 72 hours to move out after they declared those streets a health hazard and a bane to nearby residents and businesses.  At its height, around 140 tents populated the area (ABC).  Many city outreach workers went from tent to tent to offer their resources and to persuade campers to leave the area (SF).

Once Friday came, many people moved away from under the freeway and moved to less crowded streets, while others moved to the city's new shelter at Pier 80.  However, many campers still remain in the area and resists the city's orders to leave.  San Francisco has had a long standing issue housing its homeless but it seems that tensions have worsened due to the shortages of affordable housing in the midst of a tech-based job boom (ABC).

Police have not been needed to forcibly remove anyone out.  It is unclear what city officials will do with the remaining campers who refuse the order.

What do you think? Could city officials have handled this issue in a better way? What should city officials do with the remaining campers? How should the issue of homelessness in SF be approached?

Alabama Opposes Birmingham’s Raise in Minimum Wage

Earlier this month, Birmingham became the first city southern city to approve a local minimum wage. Their approved local minimum wage is $10.10, more than the national minimum wage of $7.25. However, this decision has caused more tension than excitement.

In response to Birmingham’s minimum wage increase, the Alabama Legislature met to discuss how to oppose this raise. The state is now planning to pass a bill that would prevent cities from setting their own minimum wage.

The intended purpose of Alabama’s bill is to keep the minimum wage consistent throughout the state, but some believe it is because the state doesn’t really care about its citizens.

Birmingham’s predominantly liberal inhabitants are still trying to fight to pass their $10.10 minimum wage, but some feel that the city will ultimately lose and be restricted by the state’s conservative Legislature.

Do you think states have the power to control a city’s minimum wage?
Should the federal government intervene in this dispute?


Obama Calls for More Concern About Mass Shootings

Less than a week after six people were killed in the Kalamazoo shootings, three more people were killed and fourteen injured in Hesston, Kansas.

President Obama addressed the Kansas shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, requesting that the media cover incidents of mass shootings as a means of bringing more awareness to these kinds of issues.  He stated, "Once a week we have these shootings, and it doesn't dominate the news. And that's got to change... We cannot become numb to this. As long as I hold this office I'm going to keep on bringing this up, even if it's not getting the attention that it should" (USA).

Obama plans to speak out on every mass shooting event and pledges to "politicize" the issue until Congress passes gun control legislation (USA).

Within hours of the Kansas shooting, another mass shooting occurred in Mason County, Washington where four people were killed.  In 2016, there have been 50 mass shootings.

With mass shootings occurring almost every week, has the public become indifferent or "numb" to these events? Will more media coverage help shape mass shootings as a priority issue? When will stronger gun regulation be enforced?

Canada considers alternatives to current FPTP voting system

The Democratic Institutions Minister of Canada, Maryan Monsef, recently started the discussion of changing Canada's voting system from first past the post to something different. She specifically said "a mature democracy like Canada can do better" (CBCNews 1).

She stated that the primary goal of the change would be to improve voter turnout in elections.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau originally brought up the idea, saying that he wanted the last election would be the last FPTP vote Canada would have. One of the main concerns about the current system is that the number of seats that a party wins in parliament is not very representative of the population (CBCNews 2).

Of course, the road to determining an effective voting is not very smooth. Like we studied in class, there is no such thing as a perfect voting system, and all have their flaws. However, the Canadian administration is looking into any and all alternative systems.

While no parties support specific voting systems, Conservatives say that this is a move by the Liberal Prime Minister to make sure the Liberals can win the election more often. They argue that a new system like the ranked ballot would appeal to Liberals because the Liberal party is more moderate, and would therefore earn more votes than the Conservative party would (CBCNews 2).

Trudeau chose Monsef to work on finding an ideal voting system because she apparently has no prior opinions on the issue (CBCNews 1).

Sources 3 and 4 are really good for reading about the different types of voting systems that the Parliament is considering.

While it may be difficult for Trudeau to achieve his goal to never have another FPTP election, I think it is definitely a worthwhile thing for Canada to try to do. I want to say that the US should try something similar, but I do not think that we necessarily need a complete change in the system to improve turnout. For Canada, even though  I think that a ranked ballot would be effective in achieving the purpose of improving voter turnout, considering the fact that many people do not vote because they feel like they are being forced to vote between two "electable" party candidates rather than who they really want to vote for.

If you read the articles about the different voting systems, which one do you think would work best in Canada?
Is it time for the US to switch voting systems as well? Why or why not?
Is it necessarily a bad thing if voting systems favor certain parties?






Friday, February 26, 2016

Shooting in Kansas, Possibly Sparked by Protection Order

Regardless of whether you're for or against gun control, whether you believe the Second Amendment is unimpeachable or outdated, please join me in a moment of silence for the victims and wishing the fervent wish that this headline wasn't all-too-familiar.

On the night of February 25, 2016, the day before this posting, another shooting happened in Hesston, Kansas, a tiny town in central Kansas of 37,000 people. According to CNN, the shooter, Cedric Ford, killed three people and injured 14 more, some of them critically. So far, it appears that after Cedric Ford was served a restraining order to stay away from his ex-girlfriend, he proceeded to go on a shooting rampage, killing three people, stealing the last one's car, and then going to a lawn equipment manufacturer's building, where he proceeded to shoot 14 more people.

You guys have all heard the debate on gun control/gun rights before. We've heard about the Second Amendment, the effectiveness of gun control, "common sense" gun laws.

So here's my question: who do you think is responsible for stopping these tragedies before they happen? A common answer is the government (hence gun control). But is it possible that businesses should also take part in finding a way to regulate guns, running private background checks on their buyers? Or is gun control, as a concept, more of a public good, and thus impractical to expect a private enterprise to carry out?  Is it in a gun manufacturer's interest to make sure their guns do not go to people who have a higher likelihood of committing a crime? Move beyond only-profit considerations (although those could be accounted for morally), and also into moral considerations/behavioral economics.


Oil prices "barreling" downwards

The price for a barrel of oil recently reached its lowest point since 2004. The decline started in June 2014, and has led to oil companies yielding significantly lower profits. This caused a notable scaling-down in the oil industry, with hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed and several companies going bankrupt (New York Times).

One explanation for this is that the competition for oil exporters has increased, causing producers to lower prices to stay competitive. Previously, Middle Eastern countries used to dominate the oil industry. However, Canada and Asian countries have started distributing oil, forcing the price down as well. Also, the demand is falling due to the increasing prevalence of electric cars and hybrids (New York Times).

Despite the fact that oil prices have been dropping for so long, some investors are still optimistic that the prices will rise once again when production catches up with the decreased demand. However, this is risky because the countries that are newer to the oil industry are showing few signs of scaling down and reducing production (The Week and New York Times).

I think that it will take quite some time for oil to start increasing in value again. Considering that there has been overproduction since 2014, I do not see it re balancing any time soon. Looking at the supply and demand graphs from the second NYT article, it seems that there has not been a production imbalance that has lasted this long since 2000. The fact that it is taking so long for production to start matching demand could cause bigger issues in the future. However, some people might consider this to be good news since it means that people are becoming less dependent on fossil fuels.

Do you think that oil prices will go back up any time soon? Why or why not?
What do you think would happen if supply continued to increase faster than demand?
In the past, production only exceeded consumption for short periods at a time. How come the industry has stayed like this for so long now?


Thursday, February 25, 2016

U.S. Submits North Korean Sanctions Resolution to the U.N.

Earlier today, the U.S. submitted a resolution designed to tighten existing sanctions on North Korea to the United Nations Security Council.  The 22-page proposal was distributed to all 15 members of the council and is designed to upgrade the current sanctions against North Korea following the country's recent nuclear weapons test on January 6th and rocket launch on 7th.  In the past decade, North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests and launched six long-range missiles, which have all been in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. 

Some of the major points of the resolution included mandatory inspection for all cargo going in and out of the country, financial sanctions on North Korean banks/assets, limitations on exporting certain minerals and metals, and the prohibition of aviation fuel.  The resolution also entails a list of certain North Korean individuals and entities who would be subject to sanctions. 

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., stated, "These sanctions, if adopted, would send an unambiguous and unyielding message to the DPRK regime... There will be consequences for your actions, and we will work relentlessly and collectively to stop your nuclear program."  Power also specified that the resolution is targeted at punishing North Korea's elite rather than the North Korean people as "the North Korean people have suffered so much already under one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known" (USA), 

This resolution, if adopted, could potentially be strongest set of U.N. sanctions imposed in more than two decades (CNN). The vote on the resolution could be decided as soon as this weekend.  

How effective do you think this sanction will be?  Will it deter North Korea from future launches or will North Korea continue to with their antics? Do you think more sanctions will be necessary in the future?

Landmark Case Against a Massachusetts Nursing Home

Scott Barrow, the man suing Brandon Woods nursing home.

Previously denied the right to take his case against a nursing home to court, Scott Barrow has been given his right to sue and his case will be heard in court next month.

Barrow wanted to sue the nursing home for not preventing his mother's death, despite staff having observed alarming hostility and warning signs from his mother's mentally ill roommate. The contract he signed contained an arbitration clause, so instead of taking his case to court, Barrow had to have it settled by a private arbitrator. In 2010, Barrow lost the case after the arbitrator ruled in favor of the nursing home.
By signing contracts with an arbitration clause, people surrender the right to bring a case to court (CANHR). Legal disputes between individuals and businesses must instead be settled in private with an arbitrator. Neither side is allowed to present evidence to the arbitrator.

     But in 2014 with the help of lawyers, a judge ruled in favor of Barrow and agreed with his lawyers that although he signed the contract for his mother, he did not have the authority to bind his mother to the contract. Meaning, Barrow's mother was not bound to the contract or it's arbitration clause.

Seven years after his mother's death, Barrow’s case against Brandon Woods will be heard in a Massachusetts state court. While the outcome of this case is yet to be determined, I would consider this a landmark case because Barrow was able to overcome the arbitration clause; prior to this case, judges often upheld the arbitration clause.

Should Barrow have read the fine print of the contract better or is he truly the one at fault for his mother’s demise? Why or why not?
With the expanding use of the arbitration clause by different businesses, should the federal government outlaw arbitration in contracts?
Lastly, do you think businesses have the right to use arbitration, or does the clause infringe on people's rights to sue?


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Comcast and AT&T Respond to the Dawning of Fast Internet (It's Still Not from Them)

No matter which of the huge Internet Service Provider (ISP) giants you give money to every month in order to be able to access the world's biggest database of cute animal photos, you've probably had problems with them. Speeds don't improve, and, worst of all, customer service sucks. 

However, a (relatively) brand new yet familiar player is coming on the scene: Google Fiber. Google Fiber uses fiber optics, or glass/plastic threads, to transmit data, as opposed to the metal wires that are used by most of the United States. The project boasts up to 1 gigabyte/second download speeds. For context, the national average is estimated by Google as being at around 10 megabytes/second. That's 1000 times slower.

What's really interesting about this topic, though, is the reactions of Comcast and AT&T, neatly summarized in the picture below:

A letter from Comcast to citizens in Atlanta, Georgia,
where Google Fiber is being implemented. (source)
Also, in Huntsville, Alabama, where Google Fiber is also on its way to implementation, AT&T and Comcast have both promised (eventual) 1 GB/s speeds.

This seems like a classic case of the market correcting itself–these companies had a powerful hold over the industry that was leaving consumers frustrated with the product and the accompanying services, but a new, entrepreneur company has paved the way for better service everywhere, and now the big companies are trying to keep up.

But is it?

Keep in mind that not only have these companies have had their unspeakable power for a (relatively) painfully long while, the "entrepreneur"company is a well-established Silicon Valley giant.

So does this example serve the idea that the market corrects itself by way of the invisible hand, or does it decry a completely free market that allows such dominance of the few? What role should the government be taking? Also, what are the possible benefits and detriments of having a service like Google Fiber in your city? (It should be noted that Google Fiber is on its way to San Francisco).

Extra credit (not really): Propaganda–what do you think of its use here, not just by Google Fiber's opponents, but by Google Fiber itself?


Disparity between the Wealthy and the Poor Continues to Grow

While the growing gap between high and low-income Americans is not new news, I would like to write about how Social Security plays into this gap.

New life-saving vaccinations and other medical advances in the past few decades have improved the health of many individuals. Obama’s health care plan has also helped improve public health by reducing the amount of Americans without health insurance. However, Americans are not benefiting from these advances equally. Those with higher incomes reap today’s benefits because they have the money to be able to access and afford it.

Aside from differences in health, income, and life expectancies, differing Social Security benefits are also contributing to this widening gap between the rich and the poor. Those with low-income jobs tend to retire earlier than the full retirement age (66 years old in 2015) while those with high-income jobs tend to retire at or later than the full retirement age (Brookings). A person’s Social Security benefits increase as they work for more years. Consequently, Americans who earn a high income tend to receive higher Social Security benefits than Americans with lower incomes. Unequal Social Security benefits maintain the disparity between high and low income workers.

As the US continues to experience more advances in technology and medicine, more and more low-income Americans are being left behind while high-income Americans enjoy longer lives and improved living conditions. For people born in 1960 or later, the retirement age will be pushed up to 67 years old for workers to earn the full benefits (National Academy...). Meaning this trend of low income, low benefits and high income, high benefits is likely to continue.

Do you think the government should be doing more to provide welfare for those who need it? Why or why not?
Are there any other disparities between the wealthy and the poor?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Apple Resists Court Order from Justice Department

Apple is currently resisting a court order filed by the Justice Department last Friday to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the two gunmen involved in the San Bernardino shooting last December.  The FBI is asking Apple to disable an iPhone security feature that erases an iPhone’s data once a password is entered incorrectly ten times.  Once that function is disabled, the government can crack the password without the risk of data being deleted.  Data encrypted on the device would most likely include evidence that could provide key clues as to why the shooters targeted certain victims, if the shooters were planning other attacks and if they received direction from overseas (Washington Post). 

Justice Department lawyers question Apple’s steadfast refusal to cooperate, wondering whether the tech giant is prioritizing their “marketing strategy” over a terrorist investigation. ”Apple’s current refusal to comply with the Court’s Order…appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in the court filing.

According to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, “The U.S. government has asked us for…something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone” (Washington Post).  Creating this “master key” to disable security on Farook’s phone would provide the FBI with important information related to the case; however, it could also jeopardize the security on every iPhone and risk the safety/privacy of citizens if the bypass is found in the wrong hands.  Apple believes that the court order is a direct “overreach by the U.S. government” and that it would set a dangerous precedent for the future in which other software companies could be forced to hack into its customers’ devices (CNN).

A federal court hearing in Riverside, California has been scheduled for March 22nd to resolve the dispute.  It is expected that many privacy advocates and civil liberties groups will file various amicus briefs (USA Today).

What do you think? Is Apple justified in their resistance to cooperate in creating a “backdoor”? Is the information found in this phone worth potentially jeopardizing the security/privacy of millions of iPhone users? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Is Cruz playing "dirty" in the GOP race?

Senator Ted Cruz at a campaign event in Henderson, Nev., on Sunday.

Today Ted Cruz asked one of his top aides, Rick Tyler, to hand in his resignation for posting a misleading  and 'inaccurate' video (CNN). The controversial video showcased subtitles which implied that the GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio had said that "there were 'not many answers' in the Bible" (NYT). 

This video was in some sorts a tipping point in the Cruz campaign for a couple reasons. First off, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Rubio have accused Cruz of playing "dirty" tricks throughout the campaign. These accusations highlight the irony of Cruz's campaign, especially because one of his slogan reads "TrusTed." Secondly, Cruz and Rubio are bitterly fighting over the support from evangelicals in order to have a chance to beat the current front runner, Trump. By throwing low blows at Rubio over the Bible, Cruz may have just put a nail in his own coffin as his unfavorable ratings have been increasing over the past few months. According to a Monmouth University poll, in November, Cruz had a unfavorable rating of 21%, and now he has an unfavorable rating of 39% (NYT).

What do you think about Trump and Rubio's comments? Do you think Cruz is going too far over the gray line of mudslinging? To what extent should candidates be allowed to publicize negative ads and posts (on social media especially)? Do you think that the recent actions committed by the Cruz campaign will have a large impact on the upcoming Nevada caucus? How about the long run?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What About the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus has been gaining attention rather recently. There have been two cases reported in the U.S., but this disease is far more common in South America. As of now, there are an estimated one or two cases per 100,000 people (Washington Post).

The two cases brought into the U.S. were of 80 passengers returning from another country. There has also been a case reported in Puerto Rico (Washington Post).

The Zika virus causes microcephaly, "unusually small heads and damaged brains," in infants. There were a surge of these cases in Brazil, when doctors began to notice a trend. Zika combined with other viruses can lead to this effect; Zika is the main cause, however (NYT).

Symptoms include rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes (NYT). What's even more alarming, though, is Zika has now been found to lead to paralysis as well as the previously mentioned effects. In Colombia, one of five (severe) cases in the past 6-weeks is that of a 10 year old girl who has lost function in her legs (Washington Post).

1. Zika is relatively new. Is it like the Ebola epidemic, in that the "scare will blow over," so to speak?
2. If so, why? If not, how is Zika different?


Kalamazoo Shooter was Driving for Uber Between Shootings

On Saturday, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, three shootings occurred within seven hours of one another. Authorities believe that all three of these shootings were committed by the same person, Jason Dalton, an Uber driver. Authorities now have reason to believe that Dalton was even driving Uber customers in between the shootings. A source suspects that he was even looking for more fares after the last shooting, which killed four people and put a fourteen-year-old girl in critical condition. Dalton was arrested at 12:04 a.m. on Sunday morning. Authorities found a handgun in the back of his car at the time of his arrest.

One of the more peculiar parts of this case, however, was that Dalton's neighbors, the Pardos, described him as part of a 'typical American family' (CNN). Besides from spontaneously shooting in his backyard or into the sky, another longtime neighbor, James Block, said Dalton was a "'well-mannered' and pleasant" man (NYT).

The motive of these shootings is still unknown as Dalton is predicted to be formerly charged with "six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, [and] six counts of felony firearm" on Monday (CNN).

Kalamazoo is another city to add to the long list of cities that have experienced mass shootings within the past year or so. Why do you think there have been so many mass shootings recently? Is it because of lenient gun control laws? People's need to make a political statement? What do you think the federal, state and/or local governments should do to prevent these shootings? 

Concrete evidence for black holes published

A little more than a week ago, a group of scientists and researchers known as the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration published evidence that heavily suggested the existence of black holes in the universe (BBC).

Last September, gravitational waves were perceived by the two LIGO antennas in Washington and Louisiana for the first time in history. Between the two antennas, the waves that were picked up were nearly identical to each other, further enhancing the reliability of the discovery. The waves are believed to have been caused by two black holes merging (New York Times).

The evidence confirms what Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity from 1916. He asserted that gravitational waves existed, but with little evidence to prove it. This is due to the fact that there was not technology that could actually sense the waves at the time. The significance of the waves is that they serve as the first pieces of evidence that support the existence of black holes, as there really is nothing else in the universe (to our knowledge) that could create such waves (NPR).

Why does all of this matter?

For one thing, this discovery means that we have ways to examine objects that do not emit light. Until now, we have depended on the fact that an entity in the universe emits light in order for us to observe it. The existence of gravitational waves breaks that barrier, and will likely lead to further heavenly discoveries (TechInsider and Vox).

I think it is important to note that there is a slight possibility that the gravitational waves can be from something other than a black hole. The LIGOs were upgraded very shortly before they detected the gravitational waves. Since the waves reported are the first perceived gravitational waves in history, there is no benchmark for them. It is not completely certain that black holes are the only phenomena that can create gravitational waves. I think that this is really good evidence for black holes, and would be surprised if it turned out that they do not actually exist. However, I think that there should be a little more data gathered with the new LIGO technology to determine whether or not the detected waves were actually from black holes.

Do you think that the gravitational waves can prove with complete certainty that black holes exist? 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Scoop on South Carolina

February 20, 2016 marked the South Carolinian caucus for this election season. And, with results in, it is clear that Donald Trump is the winner.

By a 33% victory, Trump took South Carolina. The battle for second place raged on between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. As of now, it appears that Rubio has won by a .2% margin, coming in at 22.5% against Cruz's 22.3% (Fox).

Bush halted his campaign after a crushing defeat in a distant fourth place with 8%. Now, according to Rubio, this is a "three candidate race," of which he is sure he will secure the nomination. He welcomed Governor Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, and Sen. Tim Scott, an African-American, on stage with him as he pledged to run as the face of a new generation of Republicans. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio underscored his policies with an emphasis on "generational change" (New York Times).

South Carolina is a winner-take-all system, which means Trump has gained 29 delegates from winning South Carolina. Further, per congressional district won, he gains three additional delegates. This means Trump has, in total, gained 44 delegates (so far). Currently, this is more than all of his competitors' delegates combined (Washington Post).

1. Keeping in mind the statistics regarding Trump's delegates, as of now, do you believe the South Carolinian win will almost assuredly predict Trump securing the GOP nomination?
2. How do you believe Trump would fair against Clinton? Sanders?
3. Is Rubio's platform regarding generational change viable? In other words, will the face of Republicanism as we see it today embrace his vision?