March 31, 2012

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory (sequential games)

This is the thirteenth part in a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes looks at sequential games by way of moral hazard, incentives and hungry lions.

March 30, 2012

Good Friday Reads

Some good reading/viewing today:

We the people has a chilling video on Muslim intolerance of British people, in Britain.

Left Coast Rebel notes a lot of the same points in response to Krugman's foolishness as I did.

Right Wing News has a piece on the left's continued use of the Alinsky tactic of dehumanization.

Pundit and Pundette wonder whether Ryan on a Romney ticket takes the edge off.

Rational Nation USA notes the Ryan endorsement of Romney is about pragmatism at the expense of principle.

Angry White Dude has a photo essay on the double standards of racism.

Chicks on the Right on the extent of the cancer of the entitlement mentality.

Common Cents happily note that since the 'scandal' Rush Limbaugh's ratings are up 10% to 60%.

Proof Positive - Skittles at a gun fight.

King Shamus thinks that it doesn't matter what the Supreme Court decides on Obamacare - liberals won't care.

Krugman - still in a tinfoil hat

Photo via Death by 1000 Papercuts.
Whenever I get bored by the political landscape - we're in a gap between GOP primaries right now - there are a few places I can go to get inspired to write something.  I've been busy of late and I haven't been doing that, but today I have some bandwidth and I went back to one I haven't in quite a while: Paul Krugman.  For a Nobel Prize winner, he rarely fails to bring a tinfoil hat perspective to the table.  With the Supreme Court taking a look at the Constitutionality of Obamacare, Krugman has decided that he needed to scold the Supreme Court on their lack of understanding of how health care is different from broccoli.

March 29, 2012

I'm Busy, I'm Stressed, I'm Blogging

If blogging fails, there's still coffee.
My day job is giving me an ulcer.  Well, not quite, but it is certainly stressful right now.  Luckily I've got a really good team I'm working with and they are certainly making a lot of progress.  My fiancee's unemployment has just outlived it's benefits period and we've been struggling for cash quite a bit the last month or so.  She's been looking for work but, times aren't as good as the government would have you believe.  I've got a lot of other hassles I'm dealing with as well.  I shouldn't be spending time blogging, yet here I am.  Why?  Shouldn't I be picking up a second job and working evenings or something?

Maybe.  But as the adage goes, do what you love and the money will follow.  Unlike my day job, which I must admit I do a pretty good job at, I love blogging, particularly about American politics, conservatism, and the economy.  I'm still waiting for 'the money will follow' part.  But I'm sure it will come at some level at some point.  That's not my biggest motivation anyway.  Blogging is quite often my golf.  It's my escape into a world where I have some more insights than the average person because I have a more acute interest than the average person.  It started with reading, listening and learning and it got to the point where I started questioning a lot of what I heard and read.

In any case, that's not my point.  My point is that I'm motivated to share my opinions and get people to think about how they look at the world and to try to look at it through their own eyes, not through the eyes of some media personality or journalist.  That's why I'm blogging.  I'm pretty sure that I'm not making much of a difference (yet).  But I'm motivated to make a difference and having written a few paragraphs, I typically find I'm pretty relieved from the stress of the day - at least for a little while.  As a crutch for dealing with stress, I can think of a lot worse means.  And who knows, every once in a while I might write something that actually catches some peoples' interest.  That's pretty cool.

FOOTNOTE:  My blogging has slowed a bit over the last two weeks, but I still am trying to post every day.

March 28, 2012

I've Got A Feeling

I've got a feeling that there is going to be a double dip portion of Obama's recession this year.  I'm not saying that because of the price of oil, or the European debt crisis or the bursting of a bubble in China.  Nor is it because of a problem in the domestic housing market, or the national debt or the potential of inflationary pressure because of the actions of the Federal Reserve.

It's entirely anecdotal.  But today a company that I used to work for went through another round of layoffs - something they've done annually for the last three years - except that they did it every year in the October window.  They just finished a bonus round of layoffs in the spring - today.  And they're not the only one I have insight into personally.  In Canada and the United States I've heard a lot of tales of layoffs over the last three months and in a few different industries - finance, aviation and telecommunication.

It's hard and typically not wise to take anecdotal evidence and assume that it represents a broader picture.  It's a recipe for misreading the bigger picture.  Nevertheless, my anecdotal evidence covers two countries and and three industries and quite a few people.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I've got a feeling that a we are headed into another recessionary period.  That's very bad news, but the silver lining is that it may mean no more Obama after the election.

March 27, 2012

Bill Whittle, Paul Ryan, Tim Geithner and Martin Short

The debt party can't last.  Bill Whittle explains. Watch for cameos by Paul Ryan, Tim Geithner and Martin Short.  Yes, Martin Short.

For context on the Martin Short appearance:

Obama sells America down the Volga

You may have already seen this but if you haven't, it should send chills down your spine that the president is willing to sell out national defense considerations (missile defense specifically) with the Russians in exchange for Putin backing off on America so that Obama can win re-election.

This is as much of an eye opener as the Joe the Plumber comment by Obama about spreading the wealth.

Last election? Let's make sure it is his last stand politically and an unsuccessful one to be sure.

Commerce Clause Need Not Apply

Justice Scalia lays the smack down on Obamacare and those who would defend it based on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  This is worth a listen more than once (HT Allahpundit at Hot Air).

Cheney finally has a heart

Dick Cheney has got a new heart.  Liberal progressives would uniformly tell you it was his first one ever.  However, due to Cheney's age, the surgery on the former VP's ticker has opened up the debate about whether age should play a factor in determining eligibility to receive a transplant of any kind.  After all, it only makes sense that someone who is 95 years old (not Cheney, he's 71) to not get a new heart if someone who is say 31 is waiting as well.

That is a valid point but there are other considerations, like perhaps wealth.  Or perhaps, importance to the country.  For example, if the choice is between a decorated astronaut receiving a heart and circus clown, my vote is for the astronaut.  The point is when you look at a supply and demand curve and the supply cannot meet the total demand at a given price, there will be a shortage of supply.  That's Economics 101.  When you are in a shortage situation the resolution is that at a given price, demand exceeds supply.  Economists default to thinking about price in terms of money.

March 26, 2012

Warren Buffett, hypocrite

Buffet - the art of deceptive distraction.
Armstrong Williams nails Warren Buffett and his phony love of taxing the rich more:
Wealthy liberals fortifying their positions with their Robin Hood policies are in the news every day. One we’re all sick of hearing about is multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet, who supports raising taxes on capital gains and dividends, despite having made his fortune this way. While I respect Warren Buffett and do not begrudge him his wealth and success, he makes a highly disingenuous case for some very destructive policies.

Not only has Mr. Buffett made the moral argument that it is “fair” and just to impose an alternative minimum tax of 30 percent on millionaires, but he also has misrepresented the salary of his secretary (who has allowed herself to be enlisted for his and the president’s political purposes) and the tax rate he pays. What could explain such bizarre behavior from an octogenarian billionaire? Why would a self-made man want to punish success and reward failure?

The answer is that he is already a billionaire. Were he still climbing the ladder, rather than merely trying to maintain his vast wealth, he might have a different view of “fairness.” Indeed, I would be curious to see what his views were decades ago.

It is simply laughable and deserving of ridicule that fairness requires that we make an already highly progressive tax system even more progressive than it already is, rather than flattening the tax so that all pay the same portion of their wealth. No one even reasonably acquainted with the facts can maintain that our government doesn’t plunder the wealthy enough; it would require an ulterior motive to hold such a ludicrous belief.
I haven't really posted much about Buffett because I've always found his supposed altruism both contrived and disingenuous.  Since Armstrong Williams has nailed it on Buffett, I will simply add, enough said and be done with it. 

March 25, 2012

Santorum Wins Louisiana (By A Lot)

Via Fox:
Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary Saturday, solidifying his support among conservatives in the Deep South as he faces a tough next couple of weeks in state competitions that are predicted to favor frontrunner Mitt Romney. The former Pennsylvania senator won 49 percent of the vote, with Romney coming in second with 27 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in third with 17 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul finishing last with 6 percent.
Good news for the Not Romney camp.  Meanwhile, Santorum contended he's been outspent 60:1 in Wisconsin by Romney.  Ouch.  A healthy win in the deep south again helps Santorum geographically but Wisconsin will be pivotal because it is a state that has both a Midwest feel but also a more liberal base than other Midwest states.  That means either Romney or Santorum has a shot at winning it under the right circumstances.

A win for Santorum there would certainly provide a strong wind of momentum after Louisiana.  Similarly for Romney, a win could be used to portray Santorum as a regional candidate like the perception took hold for Gingrich (in a big way).

Stay tuned.

March 24, 2012

Obamacare, a fond look back...

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of the passage of Obamacare.  Remember when there was no Obamacare?  Man, that was sweet.  Here's some pictures to flood back some memories for you to a time more innocent, less stupid, and when health care was not run contrary to the laws of supply and demand physics:

Good times, good times...


The most undeserved photo op ever:

Remember, you like me.

The president has the gall to stand in front of pipes to announce he's approving the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline (after the horse has left the barn).  He's also fond of taking credit for the largest oil production in U.S. history due entirely to the approvals and actions of his predecessors and not in any way, shape or form to his efforts.

Some people still fall for this trickery.  Of course years in, they were able to find people who hadn't heard about the O.J. Simpson trial too.

The Devil He Has A Plan

Paul Harvey muses as to what he would do if he were the devil, in order to achieve his goals.  This was back in 1965, but it's chilling in its accuracy regarding what has been, and is happening.

It's not fashionable to talk about the devil.  Just ask Rick Santorum.  But believe or not, certainly there is a stunning correlation to events of the day between Paul Harvey's best guess at what the devil would do if he could.  The election may be about fiscal issues primarily, but the moral fabric of the nation is always important.  Without it, a sense of fiscal responsibility is not even possible.

Paul Harvey was right - the devil he has a plan.

RNC also catches Obama's flip flop

Republican National Committee sees what everybody else sees (including me) in Obama's about face on Solyndra [Note to Romney - if you are the GOP nominee, you can outdo Obama on the flip flop accusations.  Remember that.]:

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory (social convention)

This is the twelfth part of a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes looks at social convention, aggression and cycles in populations as functions of Nash equilibrium.

March 23, 2012

Why I agree with Bill Maher

When blowhards suck.
I never thought I'd see the day I could look at Bill Maher and say "yeah, he got that one right". He called the 9/11 terrorists brave. That's just one of his many outrageous statements. But this time he has happened to reach the right conclusion, albeit by an unlikely path.

Bill Maher is calling on America to stop the phony outrage. Now, it didn't bother him when he was using truly foul language to tar Sarah Palin. He has claimed edgy is his thing, unlike Limbaugh.

But once the left's Alinsky tactics were turned on him byt the right, suddenly it became every man for himself. He couldn't say the right should stop it's phony outrage but it's okay for the left to do so. So Maher threw his lefty pals en masse under the bus to protect his own skin.

Everyone should stop the phony outrage he says. So he can continue to be edgy without consequence. The price - people will have to let people say unpleasant things. That's the price of the valuable First Amendment. I agree.

The Maher conclusion only came after he couldn't have it both ways any longer. So be it and kudos to the right for using a smart tactic - isolate and demonize Maher - to achieve this end.

But let's face it Maher has left himself an out. He said only phony outrage should stop. Who decides what is phony? I suspect Maher will have his own barometer as to what qualifies. In other words, wait a few months and it will be liberal business as usual.

March 22, 2012

Compare & Contrast - Obama, Solyndra

Eruption of falsehood continues unabated.
Compare and contrast these two pieces of information at distinct points in time.

Obama, March 2012 (via Fox News) Emphasis added:
"Obviously we wish Solyndra hadn't gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways Solyndra couldn't compete. But understand, this was not our program per se."
Not our program per se.  That's a laugh.  But the Chinese were unbeatable?  Check out Solyndra's still live website.  From June 2011 (mere months before Solyndra suspended operations, there was this press release about some pretty favorable news (emphasis added);

MUNICH, Germany, June 8, 2011 – Solyndra International AG, a subsidiary of Solyndra LLC, the manufacturer of the fastest, easiest to install cylindrical photovoltaic (PV) systems for commercial rooftops, today announced completion of a 3MW rooftop solar system in Zellik, Belgium. The 3MW rooftop installation covers a Delhaize distribution center in Zellik, a Brussels suburb. The project was completed by solar integrator U|S|E AG, a Solyndra Platinum Solution Provider based in Reutlingen, Germany, with its Belgium subsidiary Enerdeal. Delhaize, an international supermarket chain with over 2,800 stores worldwide, and 805 stores in Belgium and Luxemburg, is a winner of the Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council...

The Zellik installation consists of more than 17,000 Solyndra solar modules covering 34,000 square meters of roof space and generates an annual yield of approximately 2,400 MWh, enough to power more than 700 households.
So the company months before imploding was telling the world it was doing great - had its biggest order yet.    I don't need to spell this out for you, do I?  Okay, quickly: Obama backed a loser and got duped.  Why? He had no clue.

The president pushed hard for Solyndra, even to the point of ignore evidence that it was a bad bet.  He pumped in $535 million of taxpayer Chinese loan money.  Then the company went bankrupt. Now that it's failed spectacularly he's trying to blame the cost conscious Republicans who knew that forcing solar power was a pipe dream.  That is the audacity not of hope but of a pathological sort. 

This information is readily available.  The bald-faced lies might even be worse than the actual stupidity. How about that China play? Lend money to America.  Have it invested in a business that can't beat your own, it goes bankrupt but America still owes you the money.  Is Obama really that dumb?  Apparently, yes.  I hate to using insulting terminology but there are so many things that are so egregious, it's getting harder and harder to hold back.

Obama converting Air Force One to solar power

Did I miss that headline, or does the anti-drilling, anti-oil, anti-working-energy-sources president not care that he is jetting about the country burning immense amount of fuel for personal gain - his re-election?

If the president were serious about his "oceans stop rising" rhetorical pablum, he'd figure out another option like a solar powered Air Force One. Or maybe he just wouldn't jet around the country for personal appearances a l a Al Gore.  But you know he isn't serious. He's just after one more voting block - the cadre of brainwashed environmentalists who think mother earth is on death's door thanks to us humans. 

The thing that really irks me about it is that the president who clearly wants to force green energy on the private sector has a different standard for himself and/or government. For all his rhetoric about class warfare and the 5%, all really wants to do is change who is in that 5% group of privileged (both financially and with unlimited access to fossil fuel) and make sure he's part of it.

Don't believe me environmentalists?  Then ask yourself why is he agreeing to release strategic petroleum reserves to try to manage gas pump prices when there is a reason the are called strategic reserves? It's because he wants pump prices lower, for now - so he can get re-elected.  It's about him, not your precious mother earth.  It never was.

March 21, 2012

Obama's Horse Already Out Of The Barn

When you close the barn door after the horse has escaped the barn, you aren't really doing any good. Such is the case for Obama with regards to the Keystone XL pipeline.

The decision to go ahead or not with the Keystone XL pipeline should have been made long ago. After years of obfuscation and delay, it should have been made on the last scheduled timeline and not put off until after the 2012 elections.

March 20, 2012

Afghanistan is lost

When the U.S. 'ally' Hamid Karzai says things like this, regardless if it is for the benefit of local consumption or not, Afghanistan is getting more complex by the hour:
The Americans in Afghanistan are “demons.”

They claim they burned Korans by mistake, but really those were “Satanic acts that will never be forgiven by apologies.”

The massacre of 16 Afghan children, women and men by an American soldier “was not the first incident, indeed it was the 100th, the 200th and 500th incident.”

Such harsh talk may sound as if it comes from the Taliban, but those are all remarks either made personally by the United States’ increasingly hostile ally here, President Hamid Karzai, or issued by his office in recent days and weeks
Afghanistan - the war president Obama claimed was the good war - is lost.  There is only one way left to win and that is to double down and stay for another decade.  Even that does not guarantee a free Afghanistan, it just makes it possible.  The problem is that that option will never happen.  It's far too costly and the payback for America is modest at best.  For a long shot, that's not really a good payout.

THIS is our guy?

Desperate times call for bad decisions?
Mitt Romney gets another key endorsement, proving once again he's er, on the side of the poor?  Really GOP - this is who we want to go with?  This is the guy who will stand up to Obama and the media's withering attacks on his flip flopping and more importantly his disconnect with the common man?
Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, got a boost in February from an industry that is currently under fire by the Obama administration: payday lenders.

At least seven payday lending companies threw their support - and a cumulative $227,500 - toward Mitt Romney's super PAC in February, according to the PAC's latest FEC filings. Meanwhile, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is increasingly targeting those companies, which offer small, short-term loans secured against a customer's next pay-check, often with high interest rates, in its oversight of financial institutions.

Restore Our Future declined to comment to CBS News on whether or not they had made any overtures to the payday lending industry.

Hey Romney - Get the soundbites right!

Foot-in-mouth Mitt Romney's argument - if you want free stuff vote for Obama - ALMOST makes the point.  But not quite.  It's a good soundbite - for Obama.

Now, he's right, but this ranks right up there with "I don't care about the very poor."  The upshot of that was captured on Twitter by Will Antonin (via Legal Insurrection):
Romney: "If you want free stuff, vote for Obama". Obama: "If you want free stuff, vote for me". Sadly, who'll win that one, you think? #tcot
The right soundbite?  I offer as a starter:

There is no such thing as a free lunch.  If you don't have to pay for it, the country does.

Illinois primary will go to Romney

In what I predict will be a depressing development, today's Illinois primary will shake out for Mitt Romney, despite the strength of recent Santorum showings and head-to-head polling versus Obama.  It doesn't matter in the bigger picture.  Yes, there are a lot of potential delegates for Romney to scoop up today, and it will help him progress towards the nomination.  But Illinois will vote for Obama in November anyway.

March 19, 2012

TSA searching wheelchair bound children now

Government gone too far: This is beyond unnecessary, it is stupid.  The TSA should be ashamed.  Can't TSA agents use some common sense or have they lost it entirely in their rush towards job security and big government job welfare?

The weight loss analogy

I've got a personal analogy to share with you that might not seem obvious right away.  By way of background, I've been dieting since December 30th, 2011.  I've dropped from 201 lbs. to 181 lbs. and for the last two weeks I've been stuck there.  I've hit a plateau for the time being.  Heading into my diet during the Christmas season I knew the time was coming that I'd have to change.  I wasn't terribly overweight at 201 lbs.  I'm 5'11" and I didn't look too bad.  I wasn't in heart attack territory or anything like that.  But I felt sluggish, less than energetic and not in certainly not in peak physical condition.  So I knew I had to do something.  I decided to eliminate certain foods from my diet: pasta, potatoes, rice and flour-based foods like breads.  Everything else was/is fair game*.

March 18, 2012

Big Picture: Perception of the GOP nominee

Then what?
Here's a strategic question I promised to talk about a few days back:  How is the GOP going to be perceived coming out of the nomination process?  It depends on a few factors; whether the current battle is hurting the eventual nominee, who the nominee is and even to a certain extent, what ends up happening to Ron Paul.

After the Republican party has it's nominee, that person will have to face president Obama.  The internal nomination process and the dragged out contest this year was actually a result of a design put in place by former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele.  He put in place the proportional delegation assignments for states which has served to draw out the nomination process since the winner-take-all assignment, particularly in the early states, prevent a front-runner from winning too many delegates too quickly and sewing up a nomination before being vetted on a more national basis.  Of course the other factor is that the front runner hasn't really gotten the electorate to rally behind him.

March 17, 2012

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory (evolutionary stability)

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes looks at the evolutionary stability.

March 16, 2012

Lotteries and Government Larceny

Not happening, but not the point.

Full disclosure:  I play the lottery from time to time - probably a couple of times per month.  Even though I have a pretty decent income, I'm in the same boat as a very significant portion of the population in that I'm living paycheck to paycheck.  While I am not in an overly expensive house or living beyond my means, I don't have a lot of room for unexpected events and I have not nearly enough retirement savings.  The lottery is a pleasant diversion into hope for a better future, and a way to look beyond my economic circumstances.  I know the reality of a lottery win of any substantial amount is a ridiculously low probability.  Yet I still play because of that glimmer of hope.

But there's a couple of differences between the lottery I play and the lottery you are likely to play, and it boils down to the type of government larceny that you face is different than the government larceny I face.

March 15, 2012

Big picture stuff

Stepping out of the day-to-day primary campaigns that get bogged down in tactical considerations and arguments, it’s good once in a while to step back and look at the bigger picture.  There are a number of important strategic considerations for the GOP and for conservatives to consider going into the general election.  

I’d like to offer my perspective on them over the next few days.  Keep an eye out for posts. On the topics below.

March 14, 2012

5 lessons from the Alabama & Mississippi primaries

Five lessons from the Alabama and Mississippi primary results:

1. Mitt Romney's biggest ally is the multitude of his enemies:  Alabama and Mississippi prove that the not Romney votes can continue to be split while Santorum and Gingrich remain in the race. What matters more is that Romney's delegate advantage is maintained by those votes being split between Gingrich and Santorum.

2. Santorum and Gingrich are not coordinating states among themselves and they probably should be doing so. The most effective use of the combined resources of Gingrich and Santorum in fighting Romney, in isolation from each other, rather than fighting each other as well.  That keeps that vote splitting to a minimum - split up states among each candidate and focus your limited resources in smaller, focused, controlled bursts.  In essence they can make Romney fight a two front war rather than benefiting from a free-for-all.

3. Mitt Romney's strategy of picking off easy delegates is slowly working - Hawaii, Samoa, Guam add to his total.  His third place delegates in Alabama and Mississippi aren't inconsequential either.  They aren't high profile, but the numbers still count, and they are counting in his favor.

4. Gingrich is a regional candidate. Paul is a nomad candidate.  Santorum and Romney can both claim with some validity that they have won in a broad spectrum of regions.  Gingrich cannot claim the same.  His success has been all deep south success, and even there, it's limited. Paul is becoming a non-factor and he will not have enough momentum to get a prime time slot at the GOP convention.  He may end up being given one in an attempt to buy his allegiance, but he will not have proportionally earned it.  He's fading to the status of footnote or afterthought.

5.  The night was more of a loss for Romney than anything else.  Yes Santorum gets momentum and in the long run that may be the big story.  But Mitt Romney did not close off the race and wins in those southern states would have been bold victories that could have given him the air of inevitability and sealed the nomination for him.  Instead, by playing the long game, he allowed both Santorum and Gingrich to survive.  It was a timid play.  He could have tried to end it in those southern states but he didn't.  What is striking to me is that his timidity doesn't speak favorably about how he would do as president.  No bold solutions, he would just tinker around the edges. That's not exactly what the country needs, nor what he has promised.

And after all of that, I'm still re-thinking things. 

Santorum wins Alabama and Mississippi

Santorum now the guy?
Hmm. This requires a real re-think.  Either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich could probably tackle Mitt Romney in a one on one contest in a good number of states.  

If one of them was out of the race then Mitt Romney, would not be the inevitable GOP nominee. In fact, Romney could very well be the underdog in that scenario.  Of course that would depend on the timing of a head to head Romney versus the lone Not Romney being the remainder of the race.  If it happened now it would lend more credence to a Romney defeat.  In two months, not so much.

Based on four factors, a re-think of how to view the race is necessary.  At least, for me it's necessary.

March 13, 2012

Breaking: CNN Exit polls - Gingrich 0 for 2

I don't trust the exit polls, I never have.  Nevertheless, they show Alabama going to Santorum and Mississippi going to Romney.

It's early though.


Here's the links:  Mississippi.  Alabama.

Southern Tuesday Primary Results

In a short time, Alabama and Mississippi primary results will start being reported.  My prediction is that both states will be wins for Gingrich and both states will be close.  Mississippi should be an easier win for Gingrich, he should take the state by a couple of percent.  That's close, but Alabama is likely to be as close as a few hundred votes.  Romney could even surprise for first place.

Then again, that very threat could sway a few Santorum supporters to vote for Gingrich instead to prevent a momentum builder for Romney in a southern state.  If Gingrich doesn't win in both states he's done, despite his intention to stay in.  Tonight should be interesting.

March 12, 2012

Obama - Wall Street Stooge

Choke on this, Occupy Movement, your guy is a Goldman Sachs stooge.

Some things seem to never change

I've posted this before, but it's always good for a revisit.  This 1964 speech is as true today as it was in it's day. Reagan was truly visionary. It is once again a time for choosing today.

Surprise: Mitt Romney's Against A Brokered Convention

Internal debate is ultimately a healthy thing.  We're not Democrats.
Mitt Romney says a brokered convention would be bad for the Republican party and by Republican party, he means him.

Via Politico;
“Look, if we go all the way to the convention we would be – we would [be] signaling our doom in terms of replacing President Obama,” Romney said on Fox News.

“You’re going to see me getting the delegates I need to become the nominee and we sure as heck are not going to go to a convention. All the way to the end of August to select a nominee, and have campaigns working during the convention?” Romney said. “Why, can you imagine anything that would be a bigger gift to Barack Obama than us not having a nominee until the end of August? That’s just not going to happen.”

March 11, 2012

Unemployment versus America

Unemployment remained unchanged in February at 8.3%.  Where it goes from here is not easy to predict given a lot of unkowns. The known unknowns - gas prices, European financial trouble, a possible China bubble burst could all lead America into another recession. Maybe.  There are other wild cards that could have similar impacts - Israel attacking Iran, Syria becoming a big powder keg? The unknown unknowns are even harder to foresee. There are bound to be new impactful events between now and the fall.  With all that, I have some thoughts about where the unemployment rates - both U6 and U3 - are headed.  But it's not material at this point.

What is important is the current psychology of the high unemployment rates over the last three years.  Politics aside, I wrote a few years ago that the United States is bigger than one man, even if that man is the president and that man is bent on reshaping America into a nanny state.  Four years of president Obama have not been kind to America, but they will not be its undoing.  Eight years may be another matter but I still think that America, while damaged is not broken.

The recession was/is pretty tough.  But America has survived many, including one that degenerated into a Depression.  A lot of Americans may have forgotten that the country is not simply an aggregation of a geographic area.  The United States, uniquely, is a country founded on principles of liberty and opportunity, which go hand in hand.  The government was designed from it's inception not to impede those ideas.  The nation's birth was an attempt to ensure that government did not dictate the lives of the country's citizens.  

Sure, the government has an opportunity to try, and some are trying their darnedest to do just that.  But the country will survive the attempt because enough people get what's going on.  And if the country survives an attempt to socialize it, a little recession (or even a big one), is small potatoes. 

March 10, 2012

Fannie Freddie and liberal secrecy

Something that's faded from a lot of people's consciousness and never even made it to the consciousness of many, is the Democrats' dirty laundry in the monumental failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It, as much as Obamacare should play a major role in the 2012 presidential election.  Thankfully, the Washington Examiner brings us a timely reminder as a result of some more secretive efforts of the Obama administration.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don't originate mortgages, but they end up owning most of them because they buy them and then resell them as securities, which are "guaranteed" by the government.

That guarantee is possible because Fannie and Freddie both began as "government-sponsored enterprises." Both were taken over by the federal government at the height of the Great Recession of 2008 after housing prices fell, millions of mortgages went into foreclosure, and home sales fell into a downward spiral that continues to this day. Since the takeover, taxpayers have shelled out in excess of $152 billion to keep Fannie and Freddie afloat. Just last month, Fannie Mae said it would need another $4.6 billion in federal aid after posting a fourth-quarter 2011 loss of more than $2.4 billion.

With those facts in mind, it is incredible to find the Obama administration claiming in federal court that Fannie and Freddie are exempt from the federal Freedom of Information Act because they aren't government agencies. That claim was made in response to an FOIA request filed last September by Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group, seeking documents from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie.
The secretiveness is the tip of the iceberg.  What the Democrats are being secretive about is the real story.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being tooled as wealth-redistribution tools.  Arguably for the purposes of the poor a la the progressive agenda driven Community Reinvestment Act, but more directly for making administrative bureaucrats rich. 

Who knows what else has been going on at these former GSEs?  It's time to find out more.

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory & Dating & Taxes

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes looks at the impact of mixed strategies on baseball and dating.

March 9, 2012

I'm not Breitbart but I'm trying.

Lest you think my last post was too maudlin and defeatist, I'm just taking a break tonight.  Why?  This:

Breitbart lives.  If you haven't seen the above image before, go here to check out the story behind it.

I've got nothing

Democrats - a show about nothing.
Seriously. I've got absolutely nothing.  It's been a busy, tiring week and I haven't had much of a chance to post anything.  Normally that'd be fertile ground because there would be far too many things to comment on and I'd actually have trouble deciding what to blog about.  Actually that's not really the problem.

There's all sorts of things to write about.  Like this, or this or this or this.  But I've got nothing.  Partly because I'm a bit tired but mainly because these sort of stories just keep coming and people don't seem to catch on to the silliness of these things. It just allows them to continue to happen over and over again. Month after month, stories about ridiculousness appear again and again and far too many people see those stories and either the truth doesn't sink in or else they don't connect the dots.  Most times they don't notice anything about the story because it's not about Lady Gaga or Ashton Kutcher, or tomorrow's weather or the sports score.

People aren't paying enough attention, and when they do, they get half the story - usually the half the press wants them to hear.  This is why Democrats can continue to win.  This is why Obama has a shot at re-election, and why sometimes I am just at a loss for words.

March 8, 2012

If a tree falls in space, does anyone hear it scream?

If I were a comedian who thought I knew everything about politics and tried to come across as an expert on that subject, of course I'd be a liberal.  Why?  Because no matter what line I crossed, those I supported would REFUSE to condemn me for my line crossing behavior, and we could all go along happily living our hypocritical lives.

That explains Bill Maher:

Unbelievable bald-faced hypocrisy.  And I've now spent more time on Bill Maher than I ever intended to spend.

As for Rush, what he said, he apologized for it, and his insulting words while vulgar,  were related to the point he was tring to make.  Maher's invectives were designed to be hurtful and related only to liberal rage.  Rush was complaining about a law student demanding her birth control be paid for, Maher just hated Sarah Palin and wanted to spew bile at her - it was not related to her ideas.  It was not even an attack on her ideas.  It was misogynistic hatred and nothing more.  But liberals won't  disavow him because he sent them money. [Warning - foul language]

That is truly sickening.

Q: Does this damage Obama?

Apparently the president's team kept this hidden in 2008 during his election run.  Now they don't care.  Why not?  Is it somehow less damaging than before?

First some context via Sean Hannity on Fox, interviewing the Brietbart team who brought this to light.  Who was this guy Obama was endorsing - what did he stand for and why do they think it might matter:

Is this enough to damage Obama in 2012. Not alone. Ogletree thinks it won't matter now. But Breitbart's comment at CPAC last month was that they had videos, plural. This is merely a tease, as is the Breitbart style with these damaging videos. The method is to release them in drips and allow the defenders time to corner themselves in defense of themselves. Remember the ACORN scandal? I don't see that happening this time. Again, not yet. But it does give people time to investigate Bell whom Obama had clearly embraced. And who knows what else Big Government has to unveil?

But does it matter to voters? In the face of high unemployment and record deficits and the previous radical associations by the president, to those who don't like the president this may just be an "I told you so" moment. But for those who support Obamacare, and green energy it may be a "so what?" Until this gets some legs it won't turn any tide of opinion. It doesn't yet have legs.

How does it start to get legs? People need to ask who this professor Bell was. Did he really believe in an American society of permanent racism?  He said he did.

March 7, 2012

Post Super Tuesday - What's Next? Newt.

To the bitter end.
Newt Gingrich won one state yesterday.  His home state.  True, it's a lot of delegates and a big prize.  But it really does very little to help his case that he's a viable candidate.  Had he won Tennessee or Oklahoma it would have helped but he still could be seen as a regional candidate.  He needed to win Georgia  but that was the lowest possible place to set the bar.  He needed more to energize his campaign properly.  It really would have helped if he'd won a non-regional state - Alaska or Vermont perhaps.  But whether he could have or not, he didn't.  So what's next in the race becomes entirely dependent on Newt.

March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday Results - Was I Right?

Yes, I'm watching the David Hasselhoff made for TV movie, and it's just as uninspiring as I'd imagined.  So far I'm 5 for 5 6 for 6 7 for 7 9 for 10.

UPDATED - 9 pm EST Oklahoma declared. 10 pm EST North Dakota declared.


State: Winner (my prediction)


Georgia: Gingrich (Gingrich)
Virginia: Romney (Romney)
Vermont: Romney (Romney)
Tennessee: Santorum (Santorum)
Massachusetts: Romney (Romney)
Oklahoma: Santorum (Santorum) 

North Dakota: Santorum (Santorum)

Ohio:  Romney (Romney)
Idaho: Romney (Romney)
Alaska: Romney (Gingrich)



Obama really wants to face Romney

I can't imagine why the president wants Romney to face him in November.  Oh wait, yes I can.  So can the president.

March 5, 2012

Super Tuesday Winners Ahead of Time

Not exciting.
I'm not all that excited about Super Tuesday because it could turn out to be the Romney show and guarantee his nomination.  I still believe he is the antithetical candidate for a Republican win against Obama in November.  Rich, out of touch and stiff, he'll be easy fodder for the Democrats to portray as a cardboard candidate without real values and without empathy.  He'll be demonized in the ceter, the same place Obama is trying to shore up his own credibility.  He's very, very vulnerable in November, and a Super Tuesday win for Romney is more likely than Santorum or Gingrich to seal the fate of the GOP chances of losing the presidency in 2012.

That is not an exciting prospect.  Super Tuesday has me as uninspired as a David Hasselhoff made for TV movie. It's not something I want to see, but because of all the hype, it's going to be on a bunch of channels.  Who knows, maybe the Germans will be excited about it.

All that said, here's how I see tomorrow playing out.

March 4, 2012

Joe Biden, racist?

There's a media kerfuffle over Rush Limbaugh using a derogatory comment towards Sandra Fluke in his effort to debunk her silly argument in favor of subsidized birth control. He apologized for his insensitive use of the word which ultimately detracted from his argument. But in an act of political jiu-jitsu I'm going to use Alinsky Rule #4 against the left to make a point here. Make your opponent live up to their own rule book.

Joe Biden recently had this to say, in a poorly done Indian accent briefly;

Biden might be easily excused by the press for a slip of the tongue or a poorly considered attempt at humor. That would be were it not for this old piece of video from 2006;

Clearly the vice president has a chip on his shoulder for India and Indian people. 

Dictator Watch - Putin re-election edition

If you look like a movie villain...
Slick Russian strongman is going to sail to a tainted re-election that everyone knew would happen.
(Reuters) - Vladimir Putin won a resounding victory in Russia's presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed, securing a new six-year term in the Kremlin and a mandate to deal with opposition protests after a vote that opponents said was marred by fraud.

Two television exit polls, released after voting ended at 1700 GMT, forecast the former KGB spy would win 59.3 and 58.3 percent of the votes, enough to make a runoff against the second-placed candidate unnecessary.

His nearest rival, communist Gennady Zyuganov, fell short of 20 percent in both polls.
What is not as obvious is what portion of the votes he received actually represent valid vote totals. Specifically he had to make his opponents look bad while winning so that no runoff voting would be required.
Putin's opponents said voting in many parts of the vast country was skewed to help him return to the presidency after four years as prime minister and vowed to step up the biggest protests since he rose to power 12 years ago.

But although they portray him as an authoritarian ruler who is out of touch, his victory had not been in any doubt.

The main challenge for Putin, credited by many Russians credit with rebuilding the country's image and overseeing an economic boom, was to win outright in the first round.
But buried in the Reuters story was this concerning little tidbit that reveals Putin's true designs and opinions on his own leadership of Russia. (emphasis added)
...opposition protests were sparked by the disputed December 4 election, but anger was focused at Putin, who bungled the September 24 announcement of his presidential bid by appearing simply to inform Russians that he would rule for another six years.
Putin's second stint as president should be a major concern for the west, in light of his naked ambition and heavy handed approach to everything from how he deals with his opposition to how he deals with international affairs. Putin is bad news for Russia and bad news for the world at large.

March 3, 2012

Saturday Learning Series Bonus - Liberty & Economics

A bonus Saturday Learning Series post today, on Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973).   
Ludwig von Mises  was a man who never stopped fighting for freedom: not when the Nazis burned his books, not when the Left blackballed him at universities, not when it seemed as if statism had won. With courage and genius, he fought big government until the day he died ... in 25 books, hundreds of articles, and more than 60 years of teaching.
His work is part of a foundational conservative view of economics and freedom.

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory 9 (mixed strategies)

This is a continuation of the Yale lecture series on Game Theory, an economic proposition that has a myriad of other applications to it as well. In this lecture, Ben Polak takes looks at the impact of mixing strategies together.

March 2, 2012

You can't stop the Romney?

Oops moments.
Apollo 440 had a very catchy song called "Can't Stop The Rock". It comes to mind when looking at the  state of the GOP nomination race and wondering whether Mitt Romney has become more inevitably the nominee than before?  Charles Krauthammer seems to think so, and he blames that eventuality (which I believe he actually prefers) squarely on Rick Santorum.  A few weeks ago I argued that by backing out of the additional pre-Super Tuesday debate Rick Santorum had chosen the right tactic (pulling out) for the wrong strategy (consolidating his Not Romney position).  

Putin's Obama gambit

Warning: chess metaphor imminent
A couple of seemingly disparate items caught my attention this morning which lead me to believe that the president is going to take military action against Syria in the coming months. While that may seem counter-intuitive since the president has avoided making moves against both Iran and Syria over the course of the Green Revolution and the rest of the Arab Spring, it makes sense given the fluid nature of geopolitical realities.

President Obama is certainly has a political nature. Despite his resolute political philosophy, he doesn't seem to be above taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to him.  From the Beer Summit to the keeping open of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility after his devout promises to close it as soon as possible,  to the national debt discussions, the president has always sought to take advantage of circumstances in order to aid his political objectives.  The current crisis in Syria is no different.  However, circumstances have changed.  The dynamic has changed, and he will take advantage of it the same way Vladimir Putin is taking advantage of him.

March 1, 2012

Rush Limbaugh bomb threat

On the same day a conservative icon died (Andrew Breitbart) there is a bomb threat at the home of Rush Limbaugh.  Eerie.

Andrew Breitbart - pioneer


If you are a political junkie, particularly a conservative one, you are familiar with the innovative and fearless work of Andrew Breitbart.  At the age of only 43 years old he died today.  It's a loss.  It's a loss for innovation,  a loss for conservatism and a loss for those who believe in his ideals, which he fearlessly defended and pushed forward. He was a pioneer among conservatives.

I'd never met him but I certainly was inspired by him.  There are probably thousands of conservative bloggers today who are offering their thoughts and prayers for him and his family.  Add me to that list.

Andrew Brietbart will be really missed.

I hope the work he started will continue.
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