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Do you figure Romeo was a big-city liberal Democratic Montague and Juliet a suburban conservative Capulet? FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s sports-politics data crunching combine, teamed with a political data firm, Catalist, to try to figure out just how often Democrats marry Republicans, though it doesn’t actually offer analyses of Shakespearean trysts. (FiveThirtyEight) But to what extent is a James Carville-Mary Matalin pairing an exception to a rule of romance inspired by partisan ideological homogeneity?
For starters, “30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. The others are partisans married to independents.” It doesn’t surprise the Silver clan that “there are twice as many Democratic-Republican pairs in which the male partner, rather than the female partner, is the Republican.” Whatever. Then, we’re told, “55 percent of married couples are Democratic-only or Republican-only, which raises a question: Is that a big number or a small number? In other words, is there more or less partisan intermarriage than we should expect?”
There are several ways they deal with that question. One is to “compare interparty marriages to interracial marriages. Using voter registration data, we can do this in three states, Florida, Louisiana and North Carolina, where public voter files list everyone by their party affiliation and their racial identity. In those states, 11 percent of married couples are in Democratic-Republican households. In comparison, only 6 percent of married couples are in any kind of interracial household. At least in these states, there’s about twice as much interparty marriage as interracial marriage.”
They conclude that while people “sort into relationships with co-partisans,” it doesn’t happen that much. And there’s a great chance of mixed-partisans heading to the altar among younger pairs than older ones. A big reason for the latter is that the younger you are these days, the more likely you’ll register as an independent. And if you figure that a “battleground” region that’s sharply divided between Republicans and Democrats would bring inevitable tensions socially, the reality is different.
“The truth is that in these neighborhoods, half of the married couples living under the same roof are not one-party pairs. In fact, except in overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhoods (which tend to be African-American neighborhoods), close to half of households are not Democratic-only or Republican-only. This is likely to contribute to a more tempered political climate in battleground areas than we might first expect.”
The Istanbul attack
‘IS ISIS BEHIND AIRPORT TERROR ATTACK?” asked the chyron on CNN this morning. There didn’t seem much doubt over at “Fox & Friends” that such was the case, with a rather bellicose Geraldo Rivera even chiming in (for some reason) from Jerusalem. Nobody has claimed responsibility. Graeme Wood of The Atlantic underscored the likely long period of preparation that would have been needed on “Morning Joe.” ISIS doesn’t want to rock a certain political boat, explaining why the terrorist group might hit Turkey but not admit same, said Michael Weiss, a senior editor at The Daily Beast and author of an ISIS book, on CNN’s “New Day.”
They want to create ambiguity “since they operate so close to the Turkish border” and want to destabilize the government but not draw the ire of the to government, he argued. Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent, was among the crowd live at the Istanbul Airport and told his MSNBC colleagues how Turks had “been bracing for this attack,” with reports that ISIS had deployed dozens of its people to cause havoc during Ramadan. “It may just be the start of wave of violence in the final day of this Muslim holiday.” Predictably, everybody recounted yesterday’s responses by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and seamlessly segued to American-centric speculation over its impact on the race.
The humdrum made notable
There are all those famous Vietnam War photos we know due to great photojournalists: The little girl fleeing a napalm bombing and a Saigon police chief shooting to death a Viet Cong prisoner, among others. But if you’re near Neillsville, Wisconsin, starting Aug. 6, there’s a three-month display of 72 images taken by soldiers of ordinary wartime days. “Some photographs are deceptively humdrum, taken long before or after an ominous event,” like a soldier sewing a uniform patch and a Special Forces commando holding up two puppies. (The New York Times)
Their importance? “Our picture of Vietnam is getting more complicated, interesting, frightening,” Mary Panzer, a New York photography expert, curator and historian, tells me. Putting on public display photos originally meant for purely private viewing further erodes the public-private boundary. It’s an interesting exercise akin to the diaries and letters assembled by Ken Burns for his Civil War documentary, some “read against the background of the Civil War photographs by Brady and Gardner.” We’ve got “a lot to learn from the men (few women soldiers in these pix) on the ground. Remember that the Abu Ghraib images also started out as private snaps.”
Brussels sprouts a tussle
Nigel Farage, the best-known spokesman for those who wanted Britain to leave the European Union, was not treated courteously Tuesday at the EU in Brussels, where’s he’s been a representative for 17 years. After that dueling was over, CNN’s rather theatrical Richard Quest called him rude to his face, saying he was starting to sound like Donald Trump. As Farage railed about the awful EU elite, Quest called him a hypocrite since he’s been part of that elite for 17 years. As for the Brexit vote now inspiring two battles for leadership in both major British parties, Quest said it’s all “sending a terrible message” to the world. Farage responded, ‘It’s sending a terrific message.” Two healthy egos then desisted, each unconvinced by the other, and went on with their day.
“Great year” for TV news salaries
The Radio Television Digital News Association says it was “a great year for TV news salaries after two so-so years of very small increases.” (RTDNA) It found “that local television news salaries rose by 4.8% in 2015. That’s more than double last year’s 1.9% increase.” In the largest 25 markets, the average news director pay was $191,000. It was $175,000 for anchors and $122,500 for weathercasters. Average pay for anchors in the smallest markets was $35,000.
All quiet on the pool front
Every day a different member of the White House press corps has so-called pool duty, which means following the president’s public events and writing up ongoing summaries to be used by others who can’t make, or perhaps due to space and time restrictions, aren’t allowed in. There are times it can be exciting and eventful, other times that not a whole lot happens. Yesterday was one of the pedestrian days, prompting Jonathan Salant, Washington correspondent for NJ Advance Media and The Star-Ledger, to report, “To paraphrase Steve McCroskey, I picked the wrong day to draw weekday White House pool duty for the first time. Virtually nothing to report today. There is a travel and photo lid for the rest of the day.”
McCroskey? He was the pilot played by Lloyd Bridges in “Airplane” (1980). His better lines included: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking,” “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking,” “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue” and “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.”
Trump and philanthropy
The Washington Post has been dogged in assessing Trump’s claims of charitable largess, notably with those initial claims of helping veterans. Now comes a closer look. “But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008.” (The Washington Post)
Look what somebody found in the Federal Register
The Federal Register is a gold mine rarely checked by most Washington reporters. It includes all the proposed actions of federal agencies. The BBC found word that “Travellers seeking visa waiver entry to the U.S. may soon be asked to list their social media profiles — if a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal is enacted.” (BBC) It notes how that application forms would ask user to identify what social media networks they use and their “social media identifier,” such as a user name. That would be “optional,” though. The proposal was added to the Federal Register by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the DHS, on Thursday. (Federal Register)
Andrea Mitchell tries but no cigar
Mitchell tried to pin down Bernie Sanders on why he wasn’t endorsing Hillary Clinton, at least not yet. “It’s not a question of my endorsement,” said Sanders, though most of the questions she was asking were clearly about his endorsement. Why, Mitchell asks, was Elizabeth Warren so inclined to embrace Clinton so totally, as opposed to her ideological confrere Sanders? “The best answer to that question is to speak to Elizabeth Warren,” Sanders said. “So it will be a contested convention, as far as you’re concerned?” she asked. There was no real answer. They bid each other farewell and they, too, went on with their day.
Decline of Western civilization (cont.)
“U.S. adults spent 10 hours, 39 minutes a day consuming media in the first quarter of 2016. That’s up a full hour from the first quarter of 2015, and it’s thanks to a substantial increase in smartphone and tablet usage, according to Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report.” (Adweek) It also found that “half of all U.S. TV households now have access to at least one SVOD (subscription video on demand) service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. That’s the same percentage of households with DVRs.”
For whom a bell tolls
“He was once the most gifted — albeit, yes, chemically aided — athlete in the game, but time has already taken his glove, his speed and much of his power. The Yankees have placed his bat on life support.” You don’t have to read beyond the headline on Andrew Marchand’s ESPN analysis: “The beginning of the end for Alex Rodriguez.” (ESPN)
A biological curiosity perhaps solved
Journalist-author Richard Conniff, a specialist in both human and animal behavior, brings attention to this opus in the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “Why fathers don’t pass on mitochondria to offspring.” You missed it? Well, if looking to win a tavern wager, the gist: “Offering insights into a long-standing and mysterious bias in biology, a new study reveals how and why mitochondria are only passed on through a mother’s egg — and not the father’s sperm.” (Science Daily)
Clinton and Benghazi
There was a self-evident clash yesterday in interpretation of the House majority’s report on Benghazi between Clinton’s critics and much of the media. Conservative partisans found it further evidence of what some even suggested was behavior bordering on the criminal. Much of the press went ho-hum and found zilch that was really new, or at least nothing seemingly damaging to Clinton. (Poynter)
Fact-checking’s global spread
What do fact-checkers in a growing number of organizations have in common? A recent international conference in Buenos Aires suggested some common aims and the prospective notion of a set of formal principles. Among the challenges, as one participating speaker noted, is that some fact-checkers “primarily fact-check just one party or side in their political system.” As he underscored, “That’s not fact-checking; that’s advocacy. To be a reputable fact-checker, you must check all the players in your political systems.” (Poynter)
“Great news for women”
A good health and science story yesterday: Pelvic exams for women may not have any real benefit. (STAT) “On Tuesday, a panel made up of medical experts that advise the government said that there’s not enough evidence to support doing them for women who are healthy and not pregnant. The conclusion, issued as a draft recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is a strong endorsement of the recent evidence that has been building against the practice that is performed 63 million times annually and is estimated to cost $2.6 billion.” (The Washington Post)