“I was going to say ‘hi,'” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room, “but someone might say ‘bye’ and cancel me out.”

He read the mail. (More)

Indeed Ms. Scarlet did say “goodbye,” when she took Professor Plum’s hand and they left to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor was suspicious when Chef opened the pot by only calling his big blind. He looked at his Jack and Ten of Hearts and chose to check, rather than raise and have to fold if Chef reraised. To his delight, the flop brought the Jack of Clubs, Ten of Diamonds, and Six of Hearts. With two pair, he no longer worried that Chef might have a big pair put in a pot-sized bet. Chef paused for a moment and called. The Three of Hearts fell on the turn, leaving the Professor of Astrology Janitor two pair and a Heart flush draw. He bet half the pot. Chef paused and once again called. The river brought the Six of Spades. Having missed his flush, the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked. Chef checked and turned over her two Aces, giving her Aces and Sixes to the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s Jacks and Tens.

“Counterfeited at the river,” she said with a wince.

The Professor of Astrology Janitor nodded and began his plaintive mewling. Chef went to the kitchen to make Instant Mashed Potato Pancakes, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

The U.S. Supreme Court should not have blocked Wisconsin’s new voter ID law. It doesn’t matter if there’s one, 100, or 1,000 illegal votes. Amongst us who would be that one person who would like to have our vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally?

Scott in WI

Dear Scott,

We congratulate you on turning the mathematics of voter suppression upside down, such that a single, hypothetical illegal ballot matters more than the estimated 300,000 legitimate Wisconsin voters who would be denied ballots under the new law. However, we note that your argument makes sense only in the ridiculously unlikely scenario of an election decided by a single vote. In the far more likely scenario of an election decided a few thousand votes, a single, hypothetical illegal ballot is trivial compared to the tens or hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters who were denied a ballot.

We further note that your party’s voter suppression campaign has two objectives. The first is to improve your chance of winning, by denying ballots to people who are likely to vote for Democrats. The second is to delegitimize the election, in the minds of Republicans, if you lose. Harvard University political scientist Pippa Norris noted that perceptions of fraud are strongly shaped by party support, and that partisan voters take their cues about the integrity of an election from the statements of party leaders. A 2000 study by Stephen Craig, Michael Martinez, Jason Gainous, and James Kane found that voters have less trust in government and were less likely to accept winner’s legitimacy if their candidate lost, and a 2002 study by Christopher Anderson and Andrew LoTempio found that is dominated by whether the voter’s top-of-ticket candidate won, with down-ballot races having little effect on the perceived integrity of the election. A 2014 study by Jennifer Wolak found that loser distrust increases in states where a presidential race is not competitive, and by implication in counties where a gubernatorial race is not competitive.

We note that by consistently waving the bloody shirt of decades-old charges of voter fraud – most commonly the 1960 Presidential Election, despite multiple recounts that produced no evidence of fraud – Republicans convince their base that Democrats can only win by stealing elections, and any Republican loss must be due to fraud rather than the failure of the party’s policies. While this strategy works to build and maintain conservatism’s ideological bubble, we conclude that it is politically toxic … and one of the key reasons your party cannot adapt to a changing electorate.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

Aren’t instant mashed potatoes counterfeit? Why should I use them to make potato pancakes?

Suspiciously Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Suspiciously Hungry,

Chef notes that potatoes have been freeze-dried for preservation since at least Incan times, and a very similar process is used to make instant mashed potatoes. While not as tasty as fresh-made mashed potatoes, the instant version works well for potato pancakes. Simply whisk together 1 cup of cold water, 1 beaten egg, and ½ teaspoon of salt until the salt is dissolved, then stir in ¾ cup of instant potato flakes. Once the batter is smooth, stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped chives and season to taste with black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and divide the batter into four pancakes. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is crusty, about 10 minutes. Then flip and brown the other side, about 7 minutes. Chef garnishes hers with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives. Bon appétit!

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Scott in WI; h/t Talking Points Memo; perceptions of fraud are strongly shaped by party support; voters have less trust in government and were less likely to accept winner’s legitimacy if their candidate lost; that is dominated by whether the voter’s top-of-ticket candidate won, with down-ballot races having little effect on the perceived integrity of the election; loser distrust increases in states where a presidential race is not competitive, and by implication the in counties where a gubernatorial race is not competitive; waving the bloody shirt; 1960 Presidential Election; no evidence of fraud; convince their voters that Democrats can only win by stealing elections.

Potatoes have been freeze-dried for preservation since at least Incan times.

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Happy Sunday!