April 30, 2012

Take them at their word

(Or, why I would hold my nose and support Romney)

Politicians: Their guys (and gals) are all liars. Our guys always tell the truth. So we tend to believe our guys. As a result, we detest the opposition and our own standard-bearers are typically a shade less evil or else completely virtuous.

Take Mitt Romney. Having spent the primaries in the Not Romney camp, every previous turn he took claiming he didn't want to be Reagan rang true for me. He's supposed to be in my camp so I took him at his words. He was a progressive. Those words were not good, so I didn't like him.

April 29, 2012

Update - Delays in posting

I've been struggling with two issues of late and have had real difficulty in being able to post here.  Firstly, my internet provider is gone and I'm looking for a new one that I'll be happy with.  However, obviously I am still able to post at least intermittently, or you would not be reading this.

The other issue I've been having is that I'm unbelievably pressed for time in my day job this month and I don't see it letting up for another week or two.  Things will however, return to normal at Nonsensible Shoes as soon as is possible.

Your patience, is appreciated.

April 27, 2012

Outlier fundraising?

A lot of times when talking about polls where a specific poll does not align with the majority of polls out there during the same time frame it is referred to as an outlier. This simply means that the poll may be subject to statistical noise (bad polling, bad weather, other events influencing it than the primary expectation) and is likely not reflective of the true state of the situation with respect to whatever is being polled.  It lies on or beyond the outskirts of the normal range you'd expect to see from poll results. Often outlier polls scream headlines that aren't justified by a critical look at the reality of the situation. An outlier is typically not an indicator of a trend, more often it is in fact, just an outlier.

The same outlier principle can be applied to other situations, at least rhetorically or metaphorically.  A recent article in The Hill may be a good example.  It cites a recent surge in campaign donations for Mitt Romney and extrapolates Romney catching up to Obama in terms of fundraising.  For conservatives willing to pretend believe that Romney is a conservative Republican, that would seem like a dose of good news.  But I think it's an outlier, backed up by some sensationalism.
Mitt Romney's fundraising has skyrocketed since he became the de facto nominee, a top Romney fundraiser told The Hill Wednesday evening.

"People are coming out of the woodwork," said the fundraiser, who requested not to be named. "A number of my friends who didn't want to get involved in the primary are now coming off the sidelines for the general election."

...Romney's schedule is very heavy on fundraising appearances the next month, and if he continues to bring in $1 million or more at most stops he could quickly close the gap with obama in campaign money. Romney finished March with a bit more than $10 million in the bank after having to spend heavily in the primary, while Obama had $104 million cash on hand.

Romney and the RNC have a combined fundraising goal of $800 million, according to a memo obtained by the New York Times. That figure would likely mean Romney outspends Obama — and that doesn't factor in the Republican-aligned outside groups, which are expected to outspend their Democratic counterparts by large margins.
But how much of that sideline money will continue to pour in at the same pace? Given that the floodgates were shut, and they've finally opened you have to expect that there was a temporal displacement effect.   The people who were sitting on the sidelines waiting to hop in finally had their chance.  It's like Cash for Clunkers in reverse*.  That silly program pushed buyers forward in time to buy earlier than they had planned to save money.  In Romney's case, a number of people were clearly waiting to see the final (likely) nominee before sending in money that would get used in the primaries instead of the general election.  That effect will pass and the Romney donations should normalize.

If I were Romney, I would not depend on the predictions like this to materialize, and I would operate as if I were running with a financial disadvantage versus president Obama.  Any change in that likelihood should be regarded as an unexpected bonus, but not yet.  It's far to early for that.  Playing as if you are behind, no matter what the circumstances indicate, is the surest way to keep your eye on the ball and much more likely to result in success.  Stories that the Obama re-election team regard the Romney campaign as a joke may or may not be true, but if it is, it's a sure fire way to be taken by surprise. Several presidents from Reagan, to Clinton and even Obama were regarded by their opponents as easy fodder and turned out to be surprising 'upset' winners.

Romney would do himself a service by keeping up his fundraising, GOTV and campaigning efforts as if he were 10 points and tens of millions of dollars behind the president.  Let's hope he can do conservatives a service if he actually wins*.

*NOTE:  Any association between Clunkers and Romney is inferred by the reader and not necessarily implied...

April 23, 2012

Obama Then and Now - Part 236

I'll call you.
Politico points out that the latest Obama talking point is at odds with the Obama of 2007.  Yet another example of how Obama will say one thing, but given the opportunity to actually influence something, he prefers to talk big and act small.
In 2007, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama missed two key votes on the student loan interest bill that he now wants Congress to extend.

Obama twice skipped the Senate vote on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act when the bill came to the Senate floor first in July and again in September of 2007, according to public records.

The bill, introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and signed into law by President George W. Bush, first cleared the Senate in July on a 78 to 18 vote, with Obama as one of only four senators to abstain. Obama did not cast a vote again in September, after the House and Senate had ironed out different versions of the bill. He was on the conference committee assigned to merge the House and Senate versions of the bill.
In other words, student loans are a big priority for the president now that he thinks it can help him win re-election, but when push came to shove back in 2007, he played to form and didn't even vote present - he voted absent. 

How to make America fail

This has shown up all over the right blogosphere but I'm still going to pile on because it needs to be shared, often.

Obama's lobby love

The latest from the RNC, emphasizing president Obama's lobbyist duplicity.

April 21, 2012

In case you've forgotten, your country is insolvent.

Let's talk money and how much the U.S. government ( acting on behalf of the people of the United States) really owes.  You have allowed this to happen by your silence and complacency:

When the president talks about investments, he's really talking about spending, and that means more debt. Remember that.

Saturday Learning Series - More Game Theory

You'd think there was no more to learn about game theory. After more than a dozen lectures on the subject, Yale professor Ben Polak proves that idea wrong. In dealing with backward induction, he deals with chess, strategies, and credible threats.

April 17, 2012

Is the nature of perception anathema to fiscal conservatism?

Wisconsin, where perception matters.
Today in the WSJ, there was an article talking about vindication for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker vis a vis the budget conflict he had had with teachers and their misguided students last year. The WSJ argues that the resulting recall election effort isn't going to work because Walker's budget has led to a decrease in property taxes that will cause voters to appreciate the Walker belt tightening effort in the state. Lower property taxes are indeed a rarity in Wisconsin.
“The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker's reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years.

On Monday Mr. Walker's office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin's municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.”

April 16, 2012

Frank talk on Obamacare

Count Frankula?
Barney Frank has admitted Obamacare was a mistake.  Granted, he sees it as having been a political mistake and not a policy mistake, but even that limited admission is telling.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats' fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform...

The outgoing representative from Massachusetts added that after Republican Scott Brown won former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, breaking Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, Obama should have backed down: “I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care," Frank said.

April 14, 2012

Saturday Learning Series - Game Theory continues

Posting has been sparse the past two weeks for a number of reasons, but hopefully will get back on track again soon.  Last weekend I missed posting more from the Yale lecture series from Ben Polak on game theory.  If you are new to the site, check out this page for a great number of educational pieces from various subject matter experts.

You might think game theory is simply a theoretical scholarly diversion.  But Polak laces his lectures with as number of examples that relate to real-world situations.  This particular lecture continues the series and Polak talks about backward induction - using cases of commitment, spies, and first-mover advantages.

April 12, 2012

Miss me yet?

George Bush was no Barack Obama, but is this untimely or what?  He's right about this but is a reminder of the Bush years going to help the Democrats get out the vote effort?  It certainly might.  If I were conspiracy minded I'd really question the motivation for this.  As it is I'll just question the wisdom of the 'miss me yet?' president's timing.

April 11, 2012

Same old same old

There's not much new under the sun.  Liberals continue to be liberal in the progressive, non-classical sense.  The media continues to shill, and tingle for Doomocrats and president Obama.  The GOP establishment have got their man the nomination.  The national debt continues to grow at a sickening pace.

On the other hand, classical liberalism - now known as conservatism hasn't changed because what makes sense, still makes sense.  And conservative bloggers have hit every important topic from Alinsky, to Mises to the Constitution, to every Obama hypocrisy and scandal already.  It makes it difficult to write about new stuff.

Something game-changing seems due.  I'm not talking about Santorum dropping out of the race.  That wasn't a game changer.  It was to be expected at some point.

I'm not sure what, but something bigger just seems due.

April 10, 2012

Post Santorum Depression

After Santorum, depression set in. Rick Santorum  has suspended his campaign for president. I wasn't a big backer of Santorum, but I'll give him this - he wasn't Mitt Romney.
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Tuesday he is suspending his campaign.

He made the announcement at the Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., talking about his young daughter's illness and reflecting on the campaign.

His 3-year-old daughter Bella was taken to a Virginia hospital Friday with pneumonia. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, left the campaign trail until this afternoon. The child has a life-threatening genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18.
Of course we all wish him and his daughter well. If ever there was a personal reason to suspend a campaign, this would be it.

But he was by most accounts the last line of defense against a Romney nomination.   Mitt Romney now has an easier path to the nomination.  Granted he was an odds-on favorite to win anyway, but for those of us not enamored with his brand of barely-conservative(-this-week), etch-a-sketch, phony conservatism, holding out hope that we still had options was at least lukewarm comfort.

Newt Gingrich has said he will remain in the race.  But his chances of winning are virtually non-existent.  This is no longer Romney's race to lose - it's his.  That's truly unfortunate.  A brokered convention may have been bloody, it may have been expensive and unproductive, but that was not a guarantee.  It may have been healthy. None of these candidates were ideal, but a brokered convention may have caused someone to rise to the occasion.  It might have resulted in some great speeches and it might have ended in a unifying rally cry.  But it's not to be.  

We are now faced with Obama and Obama-lite.  Maybe old Etch-A-Sketch will surprise us and really turn out to be a conservative, but I wouldn't bet on it.  I'm not actually depressed; given the choice between Obama and Romney, I would hold my nose and vote for Romney over Obama.  After all, it would be easier to hold Romney's feet to a Tea Party fire than Obama's.  Obama doesn't care what the Tea Party wants.  Romney on the other hand, with a conservative Congress and Senate, would be at least pliable to the conservative viewpoint.  That's not ideal, but it may be the best we can expect now.

April 9, 2012

Business can have unintended consequences too

Not quite what I had in mind.

Government typically doesn't do too many things right. This we know. From the military overpaying suppliers for hammers, to 46 million people on foods stamps clearly making visible the fact that the welfare state model is worse than broken, the government gets an enormous amount wrong. But they are not alone. Business makes an awful lot of mistakes too. Business decisions from off shoring jobs without a full impact assessment to tightening credit requirements are often made in knee jerk fashion focused on short term thinking. I'll give you a personal example and then explain why it's not sour grapes on my part. The anecdote itself is not the point of my argument in any case.

Internet trouble

I haven't been able to post in a few days and it's been a long time.  It was nice to have the Easter long weekend  'off' from blogging but the truth is I missed it.  I wanted to blog quite a bit this weekend but I had lost my internet connectivity.  It's a long story, better saved for a later post.

In any case I'm back for now and looking forward to posting more shortly.

April 5, 2012

Belated instruction for Obama on GM

The Canadian government this week made an announcement that might have been much more useful and instructive for the Obama White House had it preceded the GM auto bailout (emphasis added).
The Canadian government won’t step in to block a sale of RIM, if it comes, despite its significance not only to research and development in the area of networking, consumer electronics and the enterprise, but also to the city of Waterloo and its many thousands of resident employees. 
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said that the company “will be the masters of their own destiny,” but that he and his government would prefer them to stay Canadian, and successful. Right now, analysts say, RIM is ripe for a takeover, with a dwindling market share in key markets like North America, and a product line up that does not compete with its rivals in Apple and Google.
Implicit in those words is also the notion that there would be no bailout.  Tough love from the conservative Canadian government  to the effect of 'we will support an environment that supports your success, but you will stand or fall on your own merit'.  That may seem quaint or novel from the perspective of president Obama and his union supporters, but Canada is heading in the right direction and president Obama's United States is clearly not.  How can you tell?  Look at the debt to GDP ratios of the two nations.  Look at the unemployment rates.

The views of the White House occupant will not change, despite evidence of the need to do so.  That means that the occupant of the White House needs to change.  Of course you already knew that.  Unfortunately, in both countries - the United States and Canada, that simple, common sense is not adequately pervasive and that explains how Obama got elected and why there are cries of outrage from the far left (again in either country) every time conservatives attempt to make a difference.  The Saul Alinsky playbook is a reflexive response even for those who on the left who may not even be aware of Alinsky's rules for radicals.  Therein lies the true danger and threat to liberty.

The Joys of Middle Age, America.

Middle Age. A time of onset of countless maladies that can plague the otherwise healthy. Decreasing vision. Increasing lethargy and low energy.  Pains start where none existed before. Things you once enjoyed now cause problems.  Things that were elastic and tight are now loose and unresponsive.

All of that gets coupled with a fondness for times past - glory days - when everything was better. It also comes with a realization that very possibly, the best days have passed by.

Middle age can be a time of increasing wealth but often it is a time of unexpected economic struggle. Often things you could accomplish with ease can be done faster, cheaper, and more efficiently by someone younger, hungrier and with more gusto than you. It makes that economic precipice all the more dangerous.

It would seem by that definition that perhaps the United States of America have reached middle age.  Pretty much all of the above apply to America. Can a country reach middle age? Most countries that have been great powers have reached an apex have then waned. Perhaps it is the nature of nations to rise and fall. Perhaps America is no different.

April 2, 2012

Invitation to Left Coast Rebel

Tim at Left Coast Rebel has invited me to cross-post my posts there.  I'm flattered, and looking forward to the opportunity.  It's especially surprising since I'm not on the Left Coast, and I'm not exactly sure how they are defining Rebel, but I don't consider myself one.  Moreover, I'm not even an American, though I truly wish I were.  I'm stuck in Canada with the 40' snow drifts, seal meat and igloos. Hopefully you don't take that view of Canada seriously.  

In fact right now there are a lot of good things about being in Canada. We have a conservative government.  Our debt to GDP ratio is roughly 35% compared to roughly 100% in the United States.  Our government is trying to cut debt and reduce taxes.  We're interesting in producing domestic oil. As a nation we seem to have, at least temporarily, learned from years of progressive liberalism and borderline socialism and unlike the United States, we're headed in the right direction.

April 1, 2012

Armalite versus Zombie

The real reason for the Second Amendment?  It's actually pretty simple.


defeats this.

The founders knew this, and they perhaps also knew that zombies were inevitable in America.  All you had to do to get a zombie horde was to pass them some free health care.  Of course zombies don't need health care being undead already.

Then again, there's plenty of people alive today getting things from government that they don't need.  But they get it because it's free.

There's a mandate now (for now) to buy health insurance.  There should be a mandate to buy Armalites.  Now that would be interesting!  

By way of non sequitur, today is April Fool's Day. But I digress. 

The real reason for this post is that I wanted to use the word Armalite.  It's a cool-sounding word, and a hip reference.  But it's not as cool the Adam 12 reference posted on The Last Tradition.

безразумной обувь

безразумной обувь 

That's "Nonsensible Shoes" in Russian.  I haven't been hacked. April Fools.

Yeah, my heart wasn't in it this year.  At least not yet.
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