America - The Official Thread

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From what I remember it's like you're looking at everything through lightly tinted sunglasses. I don't remember any kind of disruptions around here during the last ones. Certainly nothing worthy of a state of emergency declaration.

Yeah, as I recall the greatest amount of totality in Alabama back in 2017 was something like 90-95%, which is effectively unnoticeable without eclipse glasses or 1000ND filtering.

I was in San Antonio that day, on the other side of the eclipse's path, but you'd never know the difference unless you had eclipse glasses on to see that something was different in the sky...



I'm headed to predicted grayer skies just out of the path again, but west of Worcester*, Massachusetts. Definitely not enough time to travel out to the path and get to work. Maybe I'll get a shot from the parking lot, maybe not.

* /wuh-stuh/ (?)
 
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Isn't a SoE for... like... emergencies? Like disasters and mass casualty events (or potential mass casualty events), in order to keep public order and allow emergency services the ability to access the site/s by force if necessary...

... rather than there being a few cars out on the road to see the thing so there might be more crashes? She's basically called an SoE for the Superbowl.
But for a lot of places, the traffic will be a genuine disaster. Put 10 superbowls in Skegness and let me know how the traffic is when they all let out at the same time.
 
Ya I can fault governors for a ton of things but calling for a SoE for the eclipse due to the sheer number of people kind of makes sense. Many of these areas aren't equipped to deal with any large number of people and traffic is going to be nuts for infrastructure not designed to handle it. Arkansas doesn't remind of a place that's equipped for a huge influx of people either.
 
Arkansas doesn't remind of a place that's equipped for a huge influx of people either.
I drove through Arkansas a few years ago to see my mom before she died. I was on a highway and had to stop for a train for 30 minutes.

Things will absolutely get messy.
 
TB
I drove through Arkansas a few years ago to see my mom before she died. I was on a highway and had to stop for a train for 30 minutes.

Things will absolutely get messy.
I mean, you could have aimed to shoot the gap if there were flatbed cars.
 
Will give y’all the update on a major city going through it. I want to leave work early to bypass traffic but we will have highway entrance ramp closures all around downtown around the Eclipse times.
 
Google Maps may be helpful, turn the Live Traffic on...

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In 1979 I was in high school when there was a total solar eclipse over Washington State. We weren’t allowed to leave class, but I could see out the window how everything turned to night and then back again. I vowed to make sure I didn’t miss the next eclipse in 2017. 38 years later I took the day off work and went to a local park so I’d have plenty of room to watch it. I placed a strip of 35mm film over the lens of my iPhone and took several pictures. Even though it was a partial eclipse, it was worth the wait.

36580180901_b40e0e6565_o.jpeg
 
In 1979 I was in high school when there was a total solar eclipse over Washington State. We weren’t allowed to leave class, but I could see out the window how everything turned to night and then back again. I vowed to make sure I didn’t miss the next eclipse in 2017. 38 years later I took the day off work and went to a local park so I’d have plenty of room to watch it. I placed a strip of 35mm film over the lens of my iPhone and took several pictures. Even though it was a partial eclipse, it was worth the wait.
Sounds like typical high school ********. :lol:
 
I was in an advanced maths class in a school near Heathrow Airport in 1976 and one day the teacher let us go outside to watch the first commercial flight of Concorde flying overhead. Sometimes the chance to observe history is more important than rote learning.
 
Sounds like typical high school ********. :lol:
I was in an advanced maths class in a school near Heathrow Airport in 1976 and one day the teacher let us go outside to watch the first commercial flight of Concorde flying overhead. Sometimes the chance to observe history is more important than rote learning.
I was in a typing class. Because we weren't born with a cell phone in our hands back then. I remember thinking "There will never be another total eclipse here in my lifetime, but I'm practicing my finger placement on the home row. This school has it's priorities straight."
 
I was in an advanced maths class in a school near Heathrow Airport in 1976 and one day the teacher let us go outside to watch the first commercial flight of Concorde flying overhead. Sometimes the chance to observe history is more important than rote learning.
Important question: Do you still have your hearing?
 
I'm so glad my son's school let everyone out early, handed out glasses, and encouraged parents to come and watch the eclipse with their kids. They even had cookies and music so it was kind of like a party.
Oreos?
 
I was in an advanced maths class in a school near Heathrow Airport in 1976 and one day the teacher let us go outside to watch the first commercial flight of Concorde flying overhead. Sometimes the chance to observe history is more important than rote learning.
That is a great lesson! If I may also reminisce...

In 1957, my physics teacher, Mr. Steanes, at boarding school, introduced us to the equations of motion governing orbiting bodies. He predicted that one day, we would witness a man-made satellite. It would happen sooner than he expected.

That October, he found a dark space between buildings from which we could see Sputnik 1 transit overhead. We stood in the dark while he counted down and this tiny bright dot arrived on cue, at the predicted moment. The thrill of that experience has never left me.
 
Aaaaand boom goes the dynamite.
@Joey D called it.
What's weird is that as soon as the police showed up, the shooter, a 15-year-old male, surrendered and then immediately asked for a lawyer. His parents seemed to have one at the ready to hire too. There's got to me more to this than a kid wanting to terrorize his classmates. With that said, I hope they can pin first-degree murder on him.
 
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My 2024 Eclipse Experience

We just got back from our roadtrip to arkansas to see the eclipse. Our plan was to rent an RV in oklahoma and drive to wherever the weather cooperated, and the plan was a good one because if we had bought flights to somewhere in the path, it probably would have been san antonio where the weather didn’t cooperate.

We ended up in northern arkansas where the weather was clear. We pulled up the day before and amazingly found available RV hookups at reasonable rates right in totality in the best weather forecast in the country. I’m still not sure how that happened. The RV park was full of eclipse chasers and some people who seemed to live there.

The night before the eclipse we camped in totality with beds, showers, a kitchen, tons of food, wine, games, 3 TVs, internet. It was 1000% better than what we did in 2017, and honestly I’d have taken our setup over a hotel easily.

For the eclipse itself we found a spot up the road where we could see far to the horizon in both directions so that we could see the shadow coming and going. The weather was perfect and we got a clear view of the eclipse including Jupiter and Venus, and all of the contextual events like shadow bands, 360 degree sunset, and stillness.

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The eclipse featured a large prominence at the bottom of the moon (see image above). Which was interesting to see this time around. We saw totality in Wyoming in 2017, and I don’t remember such a bright prominence for that event. The corona display was magnificent. Our plan worked out perfectly.

Having seen the eclipse we took our time breaking camp and meandered through traffic back to oklahoma to drop off our RV, which we had become quite fond of. Traffic was bad, but in RV the kids were very comfortable and well entertained. We made dinner at a random rest stop.

Fantastic family road trip, and an outstanding eclipse. 4 minutes of totality went by super fast, but I can still see it in detail if I close my eyes and visualize it.

For the actual event we ended up at a nearly empty church parking lot where we could see far to the horizon. About 3 minutes into totality, with ourselves and another family watching by the side of the road, and other people out in front of their houses, a random truck drove by pulling a trailer with his lights on just going about his business. It’s hard to believe that someone can just be going about their day with that display right over their head.

The image above is the actual event from not far from where we were. In reality, it looked more like this to the naked eye. That is to say, the corona is far more visible and beautiful in person than the dark blackness indicates in that photo.

Diamond-ring-sequence-cropped-Espenak.jpg
 
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For the actual event we ended up at a nearly empty church parking lot where we could see far to the horizon. About 3 minutes into totality, with ourselves and another family watching by the side of the road, and other people out in front of their houses, a random truck drove by pulling a trailer with his lights on just going about his business. It’s hard to believe that someone can just be going about their day with that display right over their head.
<hank hill>
What in the tarnation?
</hank hill>
 
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<hank hill>
What in the tarnation?
</hank hill>
I was kinda stunned. One of the most amazing displays you can see is happening in clear view over your head for only a few minutes, won't come back to this state for another 21 years (I'm surprised it's that soon), and you're just driving your trailer down a dirt road... pull over and enjoy your life for a second.
 
Olson is so good here. I'm transcribing the [short] piece in full, but maybe give it a click anyway--it's a Substack newsletter and so you won't be inundated with ads or other garbage.
If you believe Elon Musk, “Democrats” are permitting large numbers of immigrants into the country on purpose in order to win elections. By “ushering in vast numbers of illegals,” he wrote on X March 5, “they are importing voters.” Even if Democrats do deport many unlawfully present persons, they can’t be wholehearted in that effort because “every deportation is a lost vote.” Musk’s co-thinker on this topic, former president Donald Trump, said in January in Iowa: “That’s why they are allowing these people to come in—people that don’t speak our language—they are signing them up to vote.” And a television ad from Ohio Republican Sen. J. D. Vance claims that current border policies mean “more Democrat voters pouring into this country.” “Treason indeed!” exclaims Musk.

All these men know—although they often fail to concede in their commentaries—that it’s already entirely illegal for anyone who isn’t a citizen to vote in a federal election. (A few municipalities let non-citizens vote in local races like those for city council and school board.) I suppose their unstated premise could be that some future blanket amnesty would combine with a decree of mass naturalization to eventually enable these millions to vote lawfully. That would require an act of Congress that would go vastly beyond Reagan’s amnesty or any other step in memory and would assuredly not be thinkable in current politics.

In reality, they are promoting the claim, a longstanding one with Trump, that noncitizens already do vote in massive numbers because mere illegality won’t stop them from voting—they already broke the law to get here, didn’t they? (As of 2019, three-quarters of the foreign-born population was in fact in the country lawfully, but let’s not get all technical.)

So let’s take up the challenge. It’s true that some laws do get violated a lot. Is the law against non-citizen voting among them? Does enough such voting go on to sway many electoral outcomes? While it’s impossible to prove a negative, there are ways to assess the probabilities. And as we do, we will find ourselves circling around to another question: If Musk or Trump or Vance have good evidence that this is happening, why haven’t they presented it?

The prohibition might seem hard for a would-be voter to miss. “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?” That’s the very first question on the federally prescribed form states must accept to register voters, and it’s followed by the instruction that if your answer is “no,” you should not fill out the rest of the form. Those who persist anyway will find, alongside the signature line, a warning that the “penalty of perjury” applies to false statements. “If I have provided false information, I may be fined, imprisoned, or (if not a U.S. citizen) deported from or refused entry to the United States,” a voter must sign. That might seem like a pretty strong disincentive for someone who daily fears being separated from family and livelihood by being thrown out of the country (or incarcerated).

If law enforcement can show that a noncitizen has so much as registered, let alone cast an actual vote, they’ve got possible grounds for a prosecution. And if, as Musk’s rants might have it, illegal votes are being mustered in a conspiracy so vast that “every” deportation means a lost vote, that’s a much bigger deal. Organizing the scheme would likely require the participation of many thousands of persons to coordinate the coaching and generation of individualized perjury while trying to make sure no one talks. Were any street-level operatives to be apprehended on such charges, the likeliest way to cop a favorable plea deal would be to offer to inform on higher-ups, and if some of those higher-ups were politically influential people, so much the more explosive. Rolling up a conspiracy of this sort that could be traced to a party leader or elected official would be a prosecutor’s dream, quite possibly career-making.

For four years, the Department of Justice reported to Donald Trump, who had inveighed against voter fraud. So far as I have been able to tell from news reports, its biggest resulting prosecution of noncitizen voting came in 2020 in North Carolina, where a federal grand jury, following a DHS investigation, indicted 19 persons of varying nationalities for voting in the state’s federal election. That’s 19 persons too many to have voted, assuming the charges panned out, but it’s unlikely that it changed any outcomes given that more than 3.6 million persons cast their ballot in North Carolina’s 2018 election.

One might also pause to note that the Trump administration created a commission on voter fraud, which, like every other player that has investigated the issue, was unable to document large-scale lawbreaking. (The Heritage Foundation’s much-cited database of voting irregularities, when recently checked, included about 85 cases involving noncitizens since 2002.)

State-level prosecutions in this area are equally rare. Are states, too, somehow in on the plot? It seems hard to believe all of them could be. To begin with, many states with large noncitizen populations like Texas and Florida have been run by Republicans for decades, as have their attorney generals’ offices. It’s also rash to imagine that Democratic law enforcers, merely because they are Democrats, would overlook misconduct by members of their party. The fact is that Democrats regularly prosecute fellow Democrats for election-related as well as garden-variety misconduct, even as Republicans regularly prosecute fellow Republicans.

(Partisan politics, in general, is overrated as a source of voter fraud. One of the ironies one finds while on the election integrity beat is that many of the genuine instances of organized ballot fraud and sharp practice are found in low-turnout local races, especially primaries and nonpartisan races in places like Philadelphia and Bridgeport, where they have the effect of boosting one candidate against a candidate of the same party.)

Some states report on the number of noncitizen cases they have found. Former Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavsje, a Republican, said a statewide audit turned up three noncitizen voters in 2016, while the GOP-majority North Carolina Board of Elections reported that 41 noncitizens had cast ballots the same year in that much larger state. A dedicated ballot integrity task force appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis does not report having made noncitizen voting a major focus of its investigations. Meanwhile, a 2022 Georgia audit found that 2,258 persons lacking the proper citizenship qualification had attempted to register over a 25-year period, according to database matching, but that the state’s screening methods had prevented them from completing those registrations and so none had voted.

Wait a minute. Database matching? Screening methods? Yes, you might never know it from the memes, but states can and do employ database checks to detect and prevent the addition of noncitizens to voting rolls. Unfortunately none of these checking methods are perfect, and they generate both false positives and false negatives. Aside from larger databases, administrators may (for example) obtain from court authorities a list of persons who ask to be excused from jury duty on the grounds that they are not citizens. Not infrequently these people turn out to have been fibbing to the court clerk to get out of jury service and are in fact native-born citizens—thus generating a false positive. Other false positive matches can arise because someone omits to check the “citizen” box on a driver’s license application even though they are in fact a citizen, or because databases take a while to catch up after someone becomes a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

Even with encouragement—such as states offering ways for poll workers to report concerns of unlawful voting, or setting up hotlines for the public, as Florida has done—these methods turn up very few cases fit for prosecution. Where bad data is not the problem, mistakes can be: in “motor-voter” registration, for example, it can happen that someone mistook the boxes on the DMV form and inadvertently checked the voter registration box while trying to register a vehicle. But someone who didn’t intend to register is not a likely voter.

States aren’t the only ones using database matching to try to identify unlawful noncitizen voters. Amateur “Stop the Steal” fraud-chasers do so too. One report, from a group led by a member of Trump’s former election integrity committee, claimed that noncitizens had “succeeded in registering to vote by the thousands” in Virginia. Oops! Four persons born in the United States but identified as otherwise in the report came forward and sued for defamation, saying the report had in effect tagged them as felons based on data or recordkeeping deficiencies. The case eventually settled.

One study that Trump supporters often cite did arrive at an anomalously high estimate that as many as one in six noncitizens vote. There is reason to believe that data quality problems account for that extreme, outlier result, and in fact the lead scholar in the work, after being granted access to Arizona data as part of recent litigation, embraced a drastically reduced estimate of noncitizen voting incidence, saying that it had been too small to affect even the quite close 2020 Arizona presidential.

What do election administrators themselves think? For a 2017 report, the left-of-center Brennan Center interviewed election officials in 42 jurisdictions, many from some of the largest non-citizen populations in the country. Together the officials had collectively overseen the tabulation of 23.5 million votes in the 2016 general election. How many incidents of suspected noncitizens voting did they refer for further investigation or prosecution? Some 30! All but two of the officials reported that their jurisdiction used anti-fraud safeguards. While a few of the officials believed it would be a good idea to tighten precautions further, “no administrator reported that noncitizen voting was common.” In the three states Trump had specifically accused of being tainted by illegal voting, California, Virginia, and New Hampshire, Brennan reports that no official it interviewed “identified an incident of noncitizen voting in 2016.”

A common way of monitoring the integrity of elections is to apply statistical tests, looking for instances in which electoral results differ inexplicably from otherwise logical patterns. In this case, given common knowledge that certain localities have a high share of noncitizen residents, we can ask whether the number of votes cast relates reasonably to the known number of legally eligible voting-age citizens, applying plausible turnout expectations, or whether it comes in unaccountably higher than that, which might suggest seepage from the pool of ineligible persons. Tests of this sort “show nothing like widespread noncitizen voting,” Brian Quinn, a specialist in the evaluation of public sector statistics based in Wisconsin, told me. California is an example: It is a state where certain counties are universally assumed to be home to far more than their share of immigrants, including urban Los Angeles County as well as counties in the agricultural Central and Imperial valleys. “If a material number of those noncitizens were voting, total voters as a share of known eligible voters would be high.” It's actually quite low as a share of legally eligible voters, probably due largely to low median age.

The 22nd California congressional district, for example, represented by Republican David Valadao, consists in substantial part of agricultural areas in the Central Valley with a very high share of noncitizens. It cast only about 100,000 votes in the closely contested 2022 midterms, an election in which many other districts around the state recorded 200,000 or even 300,000 votes. The same pattern, Quinn says, in which participation rates fail to come in suspiciously high when compared with the pool of lawful voters, “is consistent in every state. You can see it in Texas, Arizona, Florida, New York, and so forth.”

The claim that illegal voting is swaying American elections is nothing if not sensational. Those who levy sensational charges should bear the burden of proving them. But they haven’t. It’s just assertion after assertion, with no refutation of the considerable evidence to the contrary.

Over the past four years, through a long succession of court cases, audits, and studies, the props have been kicked out from under #StopTheSteal contention one after another: that voting machine tabulations are being hacked, that hordes of dead or nonexistent persons or ineligible felons vote, and on and on. Now we’re on to a claim of massive noncitizen voting that cleverly dovetails with public anxiety over immigration generally.

Bogus claims of widespread voter fraud, even when they do not stoke hatred and fear of the foreign-born, are grossly irresponsible. They exacerbate polarization and malign honest election administrators. Most of all, they undermine public confidence in our election system. The more people believe elections are rigged, the more they are likely to turn their discontents in a direction other than electoral politics. Some will go the passive route of resignation, withdrawing from civic involvements, making themselves the perfect subjects for strongman rule. Others will turn to militia activity or outright violence.

Either way, the consequences for the American experiment in liberal democratic self-rule will be unfortunate.
 
Gotta watch out for those illegals. They hand out a green card to just about anyone these days.
 
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I can forgive the apartheid born illegal immigrant from South Africa for being ignorant of how things work in America, but it concerns me that people who've had a seventh grade civic class buy into the BS that immigrants can vote. Immigrants, and sometimes illegal immigrants, can vote at the municipal level, but they can't vote in federal elections. And what's even weirder is that it's mostly boomers buying into it too. It's like, you guys were force fed American values your entire life, how they hell don't you know who can and can't vote?
 
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