September 30, 2010

No budget? No problem man!

Cool Runnings...Following a 20-month-long Congressional Rastafarian reasoning, Democrats shut down the 111th Congress and eased out of town without passing a budget.  It was probably a good thing for the country, the damage they did was self-contained.  At least for now.  True, they did nothing to stop a tax increase by not considering the extension of the Bush tax cuts.  That is bad, and it is well, cowardly. But think of what else they didn't do.  They didn't go after another trillion dollars.  They didn't take another run at net neutrality and tack on another dozen related taxes and/or penalties.  They didn't do more damage.

September 29, 2010

What is Steele logic?

Michael Steele seems to be suffering from a logic deficit.  Calling off a get out the vote effort (GOTV) in the run-up to a critical election for the GOP seems so self-defeating as to raise a number of serious questions.  First and foremost, why? 

September 28, 2010

Republican Shock Troops

If Democrats were to willingly give up the House now they could probably still get a special on Bill Maher's show. They seem destined to lose the House anyway. But of course we know they won't do that. They are going to go down fighting. As they should. No bowing out for a  fluff piece on a liberal show (or two).  But on the conservative side, there needs to be an understanding of what this election really means. 2010 is not an end-state election.  It's one step in a broader effort, and those candidates on the front lines are not all destined to become political war heroes.  Many of them will amount to Republican shock troops - front line soldiers leading the charge but destined to not survive the battle.

September 27, 2010

Reid moves on immigration - the wrong way.

Cynical ploy
Scripps Howard news service is reporting Reid is fishing for Hispanic votes.  This is a vote buying ploy that I think would do Reid more harm than good.  It's not going to go anywhere in the Senate - other Democrats won't likely entertain the idea, because even those who want amnesty, are in favor of comprehensive reform.

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced plans to have the Senate tackle a measure that would let illegal immigrants who came into the United States as children become citizens -- bucking a long-held tenet of Democratic strategy that immigration reforms should be dealt with as a comprehensive package.

The legislation, known as the DREAM Act, would allow undocumented people enrolled in college or enlisted in the military, and younger than 35, to obtain a green card and ultimately citizenship -- provided they came to the U.S. before age 16, have lived here for more than five years, and have no criminal record.
Internal polling must be telling Harry Reid a different story than all those polls that show the race with Angle as neck-and-neck.

September 26, 2010

Bill Clinton to campaign for Barney Frank

In baseball it's called the designated hitter.  In politics it's called parachuting in a high profile politician or personality to help out a sagging campaign.  Bill Clinton is going to campaign for Barney Frank.  Is Barney Frank really in trouble? A recent poll indicates things are closer than Frank would like.  But Frank should be safe.

What's interesting is that playing defence here for the Democrats means Bill Clinton isn't somewhere else helping out what should be a bubble candidate.  The fact that Frank is being helped really seems like the Democrats are circling the wagons around the core leadership team.  That just means there's more room for Republicans to operate unchallenged in other battleground races.

September 25, 2010

Some thoughts on the mid-terms

I don't be-grudge Stephen Colbert going to a House hearing and testifying about dirt, farm workers and other sundry thing, in character from his Comedy Central show.  From a capitalist perspective, I'm thinking it was a good publicity move.  I'm not all that jazzed about him showing a discernible lack of respect for Congress, but he has every right to do so.  It's not like he wants to build a mosque next to it.  In both cases it's a matter of what's allowable versus what's right.  Colbert's move however, is far less offensive than a Ground Zero mosque.

But I digress.  While I don't be-grudge Colbert, I do have to question the wisdom, yet again, of a Democrat Congress showing such disrespect for itself as an institution. This close to the midterm elections maybe it was some sort of desperate attempt to portray Democrats as just regular people.  The thing is, just regular people don't want their money spent or time wasted on things as farcical as this at a time of national economic crisis.

Has the GOP stumbled onto a useful tactic with Castle?  When Charlie Crist decided to run as an independent for Senate in Florida it seemed like a blow to GOP candidate Marco Rubio.  But Rubio roared back.  With Barbara Murkowski thinking about a write-in ballot in Alaska, and Castle apparently pondering the same thing in Delaware, could it actually turn to an advantage for the GOP?  In Alaska, no but Delaware.  As far left as Castle is, he might actually hurt Coons by running and thereby aid O'Donnell.  What would be fantastic, is if that tactic were deliberate.

Polling is moving all over the map lately in some races. Of course  more polls mean more variation and possibly more confusion leading up to November.  Is the GOP losing momentum or sustaining it?  Look for apples to apples polls, look for Likely Voter polls instead of Registered Voters.  But more importantly, don't let any poll dissuade you from voting.  Make sure you do, and make sure you do whatever you can to help stoke the fires of a common sense revolution.

The Republican Pledge? Yeah, it's a good start...

September 24, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - The Spoons

The Spoons - Nova Heart

The much harder to find, Arias and Symphonies

September 22, 2010

Chris Coons pretends to run right

The Delaware Senate election isn't just about Cristine O'Donnell.  There's an extremist in the race, and it's not her.  But you wouldn't know it from the campaign sound-bites.  The mainstream media are doing their best to focus on some silly statements from O'Donnell, in order to avoid shining any light on the Democrat in the race.  Delaware Marxist Democrat moderate(?) Chris Coons is doing his bit to misinform as well.  He's running to the right believe it or not. From Fox News;
I'm no one's pet, and I intend to be an independent voice in the U.S. Senate," Delaware's Democratic Senate candidate, Chris Coons, declared emphatically on MSNBC Wednesday, referencing a recent utterance from the gaffe-prone Majority Leader Harry Reid who called the New Castle County executive "my pet." "That was a very unfortunate choice of words by Senator Reid," Coons told "The Daily Rundown's" Chuck Todd.

Coons cited two specific examples where he disagrees with the White House, saying he opposes the president's offshore drilling proposal and added, "I strongly disagree with how the banking bailouts were handled. I think the TARP bill, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was passed in a hurry without any accountability and hasn't been administered properly."

The Democrat also would not rule out bucking his party on whether or not to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, though he clearly prefers a middle-class-only approach favored by the president.
But here's some quotes of Coons from the past;

And more, from;
  • Buildup of carbon dioxide is unsustainable. (Jul 2010)
  • Oil drilling poses an environmental risk. (Jul 2010)
  • Link fair trade with national security. (Jul 2010)*
  • Longstanding need to fix health care system. (Jul 2010)
  • Link security with development and human rights. (Jul 2010)

Interestingly they rate him as a moderate. Gotta love those .org sites.

*Do you know what Fair Trade is? From Wikipedia,
"Fair trade is a financial relationship between producers, sellers, and consumers based on the principle of equity within the exchange of goods. Equity is achieved via creating a platform for trade that is transparent and therefore accountable for the just treatment of all producers. This includes providing market avenues that allow marginalized producers the opportunity to sell, ensuring humane working conditions, and all the while protecting environmental and cultural factors that play into the production process. There are nine main principles by which all fair trade abides: create opportunities for marginalized producers, develop transparent relationships, build capacity, promote fair trade, pay promptly and fairly, support empowering working conditions, ensure children’s rights, cultivate environmental stewardship, and respect cultural identity.
...The Adam Smith Institute sees "fair trade" as a type of subsidy or marketing ploy that impedes growth. "
I'd just add that fair trade certification's emphasis on agricultural cooperatives (co-ops) discriminates against farmers who are understandably skeptical of joining into a co-op. Pushing people into co-ops is something a Marxist might do as an intermediate step.

September 21, 2010

Is Karl Rove using reverse psychology?

Karl Rove, versus Christine O'Donnell.  Is it dumb for Rove to be dissing a Tea Party candidate so close to the general election?  After all isn't it playing into the hands of the far left - the Daily Kos types who will be quoting him six ways to Sunday as if they suddenly have new found respect for his pronouncements?  Maybe not.

Hey, GOP Establishment, there's no 'RINO' in TEAM.

I respect people like Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove. They have brilliant minds and are right about various topics most every time. But as establishment conservatives, they are wrong on O'Donnell to a point of excess. Karl Rove on Sean Hannity's show the other day reiterated that he was for the Republican (hey, how about using her name in that context Mr. Rove?) and then followed it with the biggest BUT in politics.  Krauthammer gave O'Donnell a 1 in 10 chance of winning the Senate seat. If you think that, fine but don't say it in public. You back the Republican and if she loses you have a real weight behind your I-told-you-so. In the meantime you don't run your own play because you don't like the play the coach called on third down. You run the play the coach called. 

September 20, 2010

Predictive Awesomeness

I was reading Larry Sabato's prediction for the GOP House gains in the 2010 midterms.  +47 seats.  He lays out a great case for the likely accuracy of the prediction, based on the validity of Gallup's likely voter model. That is predictive awesome - both in statistical validity (97%) and in outcome (+47 GOP seats).  It's a great read if you like that sort of numbers thing like I do.

But it reminded to take a look at something else.  Back on September 9th, I commented about not believing Gallup's numbers for the generic Congressional ballot for the period Aug 30th to Sept 5th.  My reasoning was that the numbers blew up to GOP +10% in the previous period and quickly reverted to GOP +0%.  I figured that that both numbers were statistical outliers and I expected the following set of numbers to look like this:

GOP 48%
Democrats 43%

For a net difference of GOP +5%.

Lo and behold - the Gallup numbers for Sept 6th to Sept 12th - GOP 48%, Democrats 43% for a net difference of GOP +5%.  More predictive awesomeness.  This time by me.  Normally I don't like to toot my own horn but how often does one get it exactly right?

Jon Stewart's hypocritical 'cause'

I decided a while ago to not spend too much time on entertainers and their myopic views on the politics of the nation.  Mostly, their views are irrelevant and unimportant. Typically, they are not highly informed.  Of course there are exceptions.  One can be highly informed, and still be wrong though. The real problem is, they often are given weight far beyond their true value.  I find myself needing to comment on one Jon Stewart today.  

September 18, 2010

Saturday Learning Series - Austrian Economics

The Austrian Economics model and the business cycle as expounded by Mises:

This is worth watching.

September 16, 2010

Democrat Logo Trilogy

Democrats have a new logo.  Organizing for America (Obama's organization) has a logo.  Democrats had a familiar donkey logo.

This is what happens when you line them up. D'OH!

Kinda like how you feel with Democrat policies...

September 15, 2010

Dela-wow! Now what?

Christine O'Donnell, Tea Party supported candidate, endorsed by Palin and DeMint won the GOP Senate primary in Delaware. Wow! She defeated party-backed 'moderate' Mike Castle who was seen as a better bet to win in November. Now what?

September 14, 2010

Turbo Tax Tim wants all taxes collected

Here's an interesting quote, in a letter to Harry Reid about repealing a portion of the health care law related to business record keeping and taxation designed to pay for the new health care law.

"We are committed to reducing the gap between taxes legally owed and taxes paid..." 

~Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sure Tim. Sure.

September 13, 2010

Delaware Republican Civil War

In Delaware the GOP seems poised to rip itself apart over the Mike Castle versus Christine O'Donnell Republican primary for the Senate. The issue distilled, is that Castle, the GOP establishment preference is a bit too RINO (Republican in name only) for Delaware conservatives. His opponent O'Donnell has been endorsed by a number of Tea Party favorites, including no less than Sarah Palin herself.

September 12, 2010

Obama underwater, Democrats panic, Alinsky appears

Rasmussen reports has President Obama at 42% total approval today among likely voters while,46% strongly disapprove. In the past I've said that the President's true tipping point would be when those who strongly disapprove outnumber voters who strongly approve plus those who somewhat approve.  In the Rasmussen polling he's reached that point a couple of times in the past but this time it's been sustained for a few days now.  Can the President recover? Can Democrats? And why are they reverting to Alinsky tactics in order to do damage control?

September 11, 2010

9/11 memorial

I found this image on Ann Althouse's blog, Althouse. Her reply to a commenter about the memorial was perfect.
I don't think trumped up feeling is necessary, because I remember what the real feeling of that day and the ensuing months was like. It came instantly out of nowhere, and there was no need to summon it up or try to imagine or envision what happened. I remember that feeling and am glad that the even, normal feeling of ordinary life came back. I value that feeling -- normal life -- very much. The terrorists tried to take that away from us, and I'm glad that didn't work.

Saturday Learning Series - The Amen Break Drum Beat

Today's Saturday Learning Series takes an unusual detour into musical history. The Amen Break is a 6 second drum beat you have very likely heard in some song or commercial and not realized it. According to Wikipedia;
The "Amen break" was a brief drum solo performed in 1969 by Gregory Cylvester "G. C." Coleman in the song "Amen, Brother" performed by the 1960s funk and soul outfit The Winstons. It gained fame from the 1980s onwards when four bars (5.2 seconds) sampled from the drum-solo (or imitations thereof) became very widely used as sampled drum loops...The full song is an up-tempo instrumental rendition Jester Hairston's "Amen," which he wrote for the Sydney Poitier film Lilies of the Field (1963).

September 10, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - A Song For Democrats

Mose Allison - Your Mind Is On Vacation...

...and your mouth is working overtime.  Democrats - at least that's how I'd dedicate it.

September 9, 2010

Gallup 'unexpectedly' reverts to no GOP lead?

Wow, a net 10 point swing in one week.  Gallup now has the GOP and the Democrats tied at 46% support after the GOP lead of 51% to 41% previously. What happened? Game over for the GOP? They blew it?


A brief get out the vote note

Are you voting this mid-term?  No matter what happens?  This mid-term is the most important mid-term election in decades.  You vote matters.  Your vote is needed.  But more is needed too.

Do you know someone who might not be voting, and would be a good candidate to have a chat with?  Someone who might be on the fence but could be persuaded to vote against big government?  Have a friendly chat with them.  They need to vote too.

Do you know someone who hasn't been paying attention to politics?  Someone who would be shocked to find out some of the things that conservatives have been pointing out for the last 18 months?  Someone who would be shocked to find out what the mainstream media has ignored or tried to sweep under the carpet?  Have a friendly chat with them.  They need to vote too.

Do you know someone who leans liberal who isn't 100% behind the strong arm political tactics of the current administration on so many issues.  Maybe they need a chat too.  A different kind of chat. One that gets them to question whether they should vote to support what is clearly a political regime rather than a philosophy of hope and change.  I think you can read between those lines.

September 7, 2010

Republicans are holding all the cards now

In the high stakes poker that is political power, the latest hand - the mid-term elections - has dealt the Republicans a golden opportunity.  In fact the Democrats have provided Republicans with a great hand to play in these mid-term elections by dealing them card after card to play. Instead of an ace, the GOP has at least four.  The only way the GOP can blow it is to misplay the great hand they've been dealt.

September 6, 2010

8 Reasons the newest stimulus stinks on ice

President Obama has a new plan to save the economy.  Guess what, it's another spending stimulus. Wait, THIS stimulus will solve the problem? $787 billion was spent last year on a stimulus bill that was supposed to keep the unemployment rate below 8%. Didn't work.  Now the President, just in time for the mid-term election wants to spend another $50 billion to kick start the economy.  How many ways is that wrong?

September 5, 2010

Jobs NOT Saved

Remember President Obama said that we had to pass his stimulus in order to save jobs?  Sure you do.  He promised unemployment would go above 8% unless government acted.  Remember when the unemployment rate went over 10% following the stimulus bill passing?  Oops.  I've got a number for you - the number of jobs the President didn't save.

September 4, 2010

Saturday Learning Series - Economics and Moral Hazard

What is moral hazard? It sounds like some esoteric concept that has no bearing in real life, but it played a big part in the economic collapse in 2008 and plays a big part in a lot of Democratic economic policy ideas.  That is to say, big government solutions are often full of moral hazard. 

September 3, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - The Vapors

Turning Japanese by The Vapors, for today's Friday Musical Interlude.

September 2, 2010

Seriously, we need more Beck rallies.

I'm not kidding, more Beck rallies.  If we could get one a week until the election, that would be perfect.  Those rallies should go on tour.  Why?  Because if MSNBC and CBS want to argue about the attendance of those rallies, it keeps them from focusing their attention on getting the Democrats' message out.  Let them say that Glenn Beck only drew 87,00. Better that, even though it's insulting and wrong, than them trying to get out Democrat talking points.  Talking about Beck doesn't help the Democrat chances in November.

Midterms and Murphy's Law

Everyone is familiar with Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. With the GOP riding high in Gallup, and 60 days to the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans shouldn't get too optimistic just yet. There's a lot that can go wrong, and a lot of it is very possible.

September 1, 2010

CBS uses odd source for estimates of Beck Rally attendance

What kind of attendance numbers have you heard about with regards to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor Rally? 1 million? 500,000? 300,000? 100,000? In an insulting race to the bottom CBS is claiming there were 87,000 in attendance.  Proof positive that you shouldn't believe the messenger. Or sometimes any messenger.

87,000 people. I'm sure if they could have somehow claimed 6 people attended they would have done so.  The CBS number is insulting and inaccurate.  Flash back to the 9-12 rally last year.  The numbers were misrepresented back then too.

Interestingly, CBS uses estimates by as it's source for the crowd size estimate.  I went through their website trying to find someplace, any place, where they tout might their expertise in crowd size estimation. Not a thing.  While the company may have given an estimate to CBS, they surely must have qualified it as not being their area of expertise.  

They've got some great reviews and clearly have an experienced team, well suited to disaster scene surveillance, overviews of oil spills, forest fires, crash sites, crowds or disaster sites (day or night), 3D visualizations of proposed buildings, stealth surveillance, as well as time lapse views of ports, dams reservoirs, nuclear power plants and public events.  But that doesn't necessarily give them expertise in estimation of crowd sizes. Nor do they mention it.   

This isn't really about Air Photos live. I'm not saying they may not have some expertise in the area of crowd sizing.  But their credentials would certainly have to come under scrutiny when it comes to putting out stories about attendance at a sizable rally where the numbers could be in dispute. Surely CBS would have asked some questions about the number, and why it was so different from other estimates.  Surely CBS isn't known to put unsubstantiated information into the media as news, are they?

Nonsensible Shoes has emailed a couple of the listed contacts with Air Photos Live to ask about what photographs they might have of the Beck event and how they arrived at their crowd size estimate.  No reply has yet been received.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: No reply to my inquiries on crowd counts from the firm supposedly responsible for the number CBS used. Okay, that's not important or the least bit surprising.  But I thought you might like to know.  Apparently there's an Alinsky tactic we've never heard about - when you're caught with your pants down, HIDE.

2ND UPDATE (Sep. 5):  I did finally receive confirmation that Air Photos Live did take aerial photographs of the rally.  No comment on the number of attendees estimate.  It appears that they did indeed provide CBS with photographs of the rally, but so far that's it.

Game Changer: Democrats to Fear Monger on Social Security

Here's a note to Republicans - get out in front of this before it gets any traction. Momentum is on your side for the time being but this panic play by Democrats is going after the biggest potential demographic that could sway the tide. That is, everybody paying into or collecting Social Security.  Democrats are going to fear monger on social security as a desperate ploy to mitigate the tide in the upcoming midterm elections.
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