Closing Thought–07Sep22

One of the dumbest ideas that comes from the mental midgets on the Right….the banning of books…..and it is reported that it has hit an all-time high…..

As kids, teachers and librarians head back to school this fall, bookshelves around the country are a bit emptier than usual.

According to data collected by PEN America, 1,145 books have been banned by school districts across the United States between July 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.

These numbers are at a historic high, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who has tracked and analyzed book bans across the country during her more than two decades with the American Library Association (ALA).

Caldwell-Stone, currently the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the ALA, said in the past, the norm was for one or two titles to be challenged per year in schools. Today, it’s common for four to six unique books to be challenged each day, she said.

The uptick is part of a culture war taking center stage in political races, on social media and at school board meetings — between those who believe that parents should have a greater say in school curricula; those who think that certain histories and narratives should not be taught in classrooms; and others who resist censorship of any form, encouraging all titles onto shelves.

Caught in the middle of the debate are questions along legal, geographic and economic lines — mainly, how book bans really relate to the First Amendment, their impact in the internet age (more significant than you would guess) and consequences of bans — both intended and unintended.

I do not see where banning books does anything to move a society forward….

Does the banning of books really protect anyone?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


What Do Americans Really Know About Politics?

The elections are less than 2 months away and time for us all to think about politics. So the big question is what do Americans really know about politics?

As statewide primaries continue through the summer, many Americans are beginning to think about which candidates they will support in the 2022 general election.

This decision-making process is fraught with difficulties, especially for inexperienced voters.

Voters must navigate angry, emotion-laden conversations about politics when trying to sort out whom to vote for. Americans are more likely than ever to view politics in moral terms, meaning their political conversations sometimes feel like epic battles between good and evil.

But political conversations are also shaped by, obviously, what Americans know – and, less obviously, what they think they know – about politics.

In recent research, I studied how Americans’ perceptions of their own political knowledge shape their political attitudes. My results show that many Americans think they know much more about politics than they really do.

Knowledge deficit, confidence surplus

Over the past five years, I have studied the phenomenon of what I call “political overconfidence.” My work, in tandem with other researchers’ studies, reveals the ways it thwarts democratic politics.

Political overconfidence can make people more defensive of factually wrong beliefs about politics. It also causes Americans to underestimate the political skill of their peers. And those who believe themselves to be political experts often dismiss the guidance of real experts.

Political overconfidence also interacts with political partisanship, making partisans less willing to listen to peers across the aisle.

The result is a breakdown in the ability to learn from one another about political issues and events.

Try carrying on a political conversation and it will turn into a debate…..we all know we are right and refuse to see anything but what we believe is true.

So the next question is will this election be an asterisk election?

This is an opinion from…..

In 2020, we took pains to emphasize that, although he was a significant underdog in our forecast, then-President Donald Trump could absolutely win reelection. Frankly, I’m not sure we’ve taken the same care this year when it comes to Democrats and the U.S. House. Their chances to hold the House started out in the Trump-in-2020 vicinity when we launched our forecast — 13 percent — and now they’ve risen to 20 percent amidst an improving political environment for Democrats.

It’s still not terribly likely Democrats win control of the House. But it also means that a GOP takeover is far from a foregone conclusion. So, let’s talk about that 20 percent chance.

Democrats started out with 222 House seats following the 2020 election, four more than the number required for a majority. According to our model, there’s a 7 percent chance that Democrats wind up with fewer than 222 seats after November but still enough seats to maintain a narrow majority. Meanwhile, there’s a 13 percent chance that they actually gain seats.1 Those numbers combined give them their 20 percent chances.

Time for a quick historical gut check. In 19 midterm elections since World War II, the president’s party lost fewer than five seats in the House once, in 1962. And they gained seats twice, in 1998 and 2002. That means three out of 19 times the president’s party would have a successful enough midterm to keep the House, or 16 percent of the time. That squares pretty well with our model’s 20 percent estimate. Of course, the closer we get to the election, the more we can rely on data specific to this year — but it’s good that we’re somewhere in the ballpark.

Will This Be An Asterisk* Election?

This upcoming election is not one that is easy to analyze…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”