Monday, March 31, 2014

California GOP: Ending The Suicide Pact

Interesting news out of California. The nearly-existinct Republican Party has decide to abandon its suicide pact. This is yet more proof that the fringe is being pushed aside. Indeed, California’s GOP invented the fringe and have clung to it for 20 plus years now. So this is rather big news.

For those who don’t know, the California GOP is as close to extinction as any major political party has been in our lifetimes. They score only 29% of registered voters and they aren’t competitive in any populated part of California. In fact, things have gotten so bad that the Democrats were able to change the law to let them run two Democrats against each other in some races because there is no viable Republican.

How did things get this way? Well, that’s pretty obvious unless you’re a reel ’merikan.™ What happened is that starting in the 1990s, the GOP went hard core on abortion, gays, the environment, and hating moderates. Sadly for the GOP, Californians pretty much support all those things. That cost them women, suburbanites and the young, leaving only an ever-shrinking number of conservative ghettos... kind of like the way the GOP slowly vanished from the Northeast, and then the North, and then the Midwest and now the West.

More importantly though, the California GOP really dove hardcore into race and immigration. Indeed, California became the center for things like the English only movement, the “deport them all” movement, and the center for grousing about the browning of America. The timing couldn’t have been worse because California’s demographics changed dramatically, from 78% non-Hispanic whites in the 1970’s to 43% today, with Mexicans being the single largest ethnicity at 25% of the population. You can do the math on what that means. And no amount of “we just need to get out the vote” crap is going to disguise this failure.

Anyway, in a special election last year, 48 year-old cherry farmer Andy Vidak did the impossible: he won as a Republican in an agricultural district south of Sacramento. He won despite the presence of a great many Mexicans in his district. How did he do it? Well, he ran on a platform that (1) avoided taking positions on social issues, (2) supported a path to citizenship for some undocumented aliens, and (3) supported granting drivers licenses to illegals. He also took more standard Republican positions like promising to address the lack of jobs and water, and he opposed the high-speed train from San Francisco to Sacramento.

Well, now state party Chairman Jim Brulte has decided that it’s time to save the party and he’s using Vidak’s victory as a template. He wants GOP candidates to reflect the views of their districts rather than follow the party’s ideological platform. And what he’s done is he’s allowing Republican candidates to tailor their campaigns to address local issues:
“The candidate that most looks like and sounds like and has the most shared values and shared experience of the majority of voters wins.”
Gee, ya think? Seriously, how twisted have things become that someone espousing “reflect the values of your district” would be considered a radical thinker and controversial. That really tells you how wrong the mindset has gotten and why the GOP is all but extinct in blue states and increasingly more red/purple states.

Anyways, this is a real surprise because the California GOP has been one of the most rigidly fringe for nearly 20 years now. They were happy to die rather than be the least bit palatable to the public. So it’s encouraging that a party chairman would have the nerve to allow this change – predictably, the response has been brutal about the betrayal and (ironically) the end of the GOP... uh, you were dead already folks. Anyway, this change is truly significant and represents a total repudiation of the talk radio strategy, and hopefully the national GOP will grasp what this means and will begin to follow this model in other lost states. Letting candidates reflect the values of the voters in their districts is the only way to be a national party and we are always better off getting 80% of what we agree upon than 0% of what we want.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Film Friday: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

I am generally a fan of remakes of The Wizard of Oz. There is something universal and compelling about that film which almost invites people to remake it in different contexts or settings. That said, few (read: none) of the remakes have been very good. So I was intrigued to hear they planned to do the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. This sounded like it could hook into the desire to see a good remake while avoiding the pitfalls of actually remaking a great film. Unfortunately, Oz The Great and Powerful was doomed by a series of bad choices which just made it excessively dull.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Caption This and other stuff...

Okay, it's been a while since we've had a laugh, but this week I think I need one. I mean, President Obama expressed to the world that his biggest worry is a possible nuclear holocaust in New York City. I mean, it is something we all think about, but did he really have to issue a challenge? Greeeaaat. Thanks. Oh, well...

Anyway, I'm not going down without a good laugh, so who better to make that happen than Nancy Pelosi!

Or if Nancy is just too easy, then did you hear the one about how there just would not be anymore Obamacare deadline delays? Yep, they couldn't/shouldn't/just wouldn't extend the March 31st deadline to sign up, but...

Oh, well, yeah, they did. Of course, it would have surprised me more is if they didn't delay. Oh, Harry Reid says it's because “people are not educated about how to use the internet” and it's the Koch brother's fault. [Okay, he didn't blame the Kochs, but he will, just wait!] I wish they had thought about that whole internet issue before they spent hundreds of billions of tax dollars developing those websites, but hey, who could have predicted, right?

So do your stuff.

Oh, and these might interest you:

1. Another New York legislator was arrested in a big multi-state corruption sting that included the new Mayor of Charlotte and a California state legislator...all Democrats.California state Sen. Leland Yee (D) and Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon (D), and raided the offices of New York state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D) in connection with unrelated corruption investigations. I have to give credit to HuffingtonPost. They actually revealed the party of each in the first paragraph. That's progress, right?

2. It has now been two weeks since I queried all of my elected officials if they had signed up for insurance through any of the Obamacare exchanges. No responses yet.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Noah... This Is God. Riiiiight.

That's a Bill Cosby reference for those who don't know. Anyways, it looks like Hollywood has done it again. After Mel Gibson showed them that there are billions of dollars waiting for anyone willing to make religious films, Hollywood set out to exploit this market. But their efforts haven’t been well received. Why? Because they keep messing with the message.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Horrible Article On Obamacare

I need to stop reading other articles because they make my head explode. Today’s article comes from Meghan Foley of the Wall Street Cheat Sheet. Foley is generally quite a talented writer on the subject of Obamacare, but not this time.

The article is called “Obamacare Paradox: Unsubsidized by Satisfied Insurance Customers,” and it suggests that people who got their insurance away from the Obamacare exchanges are surprisingly satisified with Obamacare – hence the paradox, i.e. why should someone who doesn’t benefit from the law like the law. The article goes like this:
1. More than 80% of the people who have gotten insurance in the exchanges are getting subsidies. That’s more than 4 million out of the 5 million who have signed up. They seem happy.

2. Critics complain that the subsidies are an attempt to hook people on subsidies, but even though only 20% of people signing up are not get subsidies, that doesn’t mean that those who aren’t getting subsidies are unhappy with Obamacare or that they staying away in protest.

3. Critics say that the $1 trillion in tax increases in the bill will depress economic activity, and will cost 2.5 million jobs, which are valid concerns, but the subsidies make the law work and people like the subsidies.

4. Even people who don’t purchase through the exchanges like the law.
Ok, let’s take this apart. First, she provides no evidence of happiness. In fact, I would counter that people are not happy or else more than 5 million people (of the 49 million uninsured) would have signed up and polls wouldn’t continue to show a majority favoring repeal.

Secondly, as for asserting that the people who got subsidies are happy, well yeah, people who get subsidies will not complain because they’re getting something for a lot cheaper than they otherwise would.

More interesting though is her assertion that the unsubsidized are happy. To make this argument, she relies on interviews with people. She admits that ancedotal evidence doesn’t prove anything, but then she goes ahead and relies on a couple interviews. She even says that perhaps with many more interviews, the anecdotal evidence will be persuasive, but that’s totally flawed logic. Anecdotal evidence is meaningless because it cannot be extrapolated to a larger population.

Moreover, the anecdotal example she uses is horrible. First, the claim she makes is that people who do not use the exchange are happy with Obamacare. But the woman she talks about actually did use the exchange. What she did was shop through the exchange to find a policy and then she called the insurance company directly to get that particular policy. Yet, Foley presents this woman as someone who bought insurance completely outside of the exchange system.

Further, the reason the woman is happy is because she has a pre-existing condition which kept her from getting insurance in the past. So she’s one of the 5 million people the law was specifically intended to help. Of course she’s happy with the changes! But don’t pretend that this woman is somehow representative of the public at large.

Interestingly, Foley tries to make her seem representative by quoting an HHS figure, which claims that between 19% and 50% of people have pre-existing conditions according to insurers. AND, the collateral effect of that affects those people’s families. Really? There are 2.7 people per family in the US on average. So if the collateral effects are true then between 51.3% and 135% of Americans are affected by this issue. Does that make sense to you?

Even taking just the 19% figure is obviously false. How do we know? Because the uninsurance rate is ony 15% total. Moreover, we’ve been told that there are only 5 million to 9 million people who are denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. That’s a maximum of 2.9% of the population. So what is happening here is that someone who is in the 2.9% of the population for whom the law was specifically written went through the Exchange except for the final step of ordering the policy, and they are being sold as somehow representative of half the population and as someone who had no interaction with the Exchange.

Like I said, Foley has generally been very good at diagnosing the problems with Obamacare honestly and logically. She does research and reads the law. She doesn’t fall for public relations lies. Indeed, she hasn’t been alarmist or an apologist, but this article struck me as really stunning.

In fact, when you think about reality as compared to the spin here, what you see is that Obamacare is doing what conservatives said: it’s caught on only with people who are getting subsidies or those who are uninsured. Beyond that, it’s got pathetic market penetration. And with the economic damage being done with the tax hikes and the job losses, this is a law will never gain popularity.

Finally, as for the idea that the subsidies are good because they make the law work, maybe that fact alone is proof that the law shouldn't work. Keep in mind that the Inquisition didn't work without torture, but that doesn't make torture a good thing nor does it mean the Inquisition should have worked.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Evil Toddlers

There was an interesting article the other day at Politico, which got me thinking. They missed the real story of their piece. But then, they would, because it doesn’t paint the left in a good light. The story involves race and education.

For a couple years now, Obama’s Office for Civil Rights has been collecting data on schools. They made some interesting discoveries. Here they are without comment:
● Black four-year olds make up 18% of students, but they account for 50% of those being suspended.

● Just 75% of high schools nationwide offer all the required math courses.

● Just 63% of high schools nationwide offer physics.
So what interested me about this? Well, the world of education is almost exclusively liberal. They have run it through the unions and control over the colleges of education since the 1940s. Conservatives need not apply and are typically driven out. In fact, I can count the number of conservative teachers I had growing up on one finger. Yet, these numbers suggest that these good liberal teachers are clearly engaging in massive, systematic discrimination against black kids... toddlers even. Just think about this. Black kids make up only 18% of 4 year old students, yet they account for nearly 50% of those suspended. That’s not a slight variance within the margin of error, that’s a 300% over-representation. That’s unmistakable that black kids are being singled out.

So how can this be? Well, no doubt, teachers want to blame black parents, but that would be racist. Not to mention, I doubt they would allow conservatives to make such an argument if this were the case at conservative charter schools. So I see no reason to overlook this for them. Indeed, the answer seems to be that liberals are inherently racist.

Next thought: the Politico article asked why anyone would suspend a four-year old because four-year olds are too young to understand such a lesson. This strikes me as again too simplistic. Suspending the kid isn’t necessary meant as a lesson for the student so much as a shot across the bow of the parents, who must now get involved. Moreover, it could also be that the school is simply looking to protect the other students.

Of course, there’s also the problem that a lot of suspensions these days are occurring under these asinine zero tolerance policies where action figures with guns or knives or aspirin become causes for bringing the sledge hammer of justice crashing down on unsuspecting children. Welcome to the world of liberalism.

On the point about calculus, this highlights one of the dangers of government data: it’s only as good as the moron who designed the survey. The idea that between 25% and 37% of high schools nationwide fail to offer core math and science classes like Calculus and Physics is pretty shocking. But is it true? Well, it turns out that there is a serious problem with this data. Consider the responses of Alaska and Georgia. Alaska noted that many of its high schools are tiny, rural schools with only 1-2 teachers handling all K-12 functions. Counting a lack of calculus in those schools against the system is rather misleading. Georgia then pointed out that it requires all high schools to offer these classes, but calls the classes “Math 1, Math 2, Math 3 and Math 4.” So when schools reported that they didn’t have "calculus," they were more likely responding to the labeling because 100% of the schools offer these classes... not 56% as the survey found.

I’m finding more and more that all these statistics about how horrible things are in schools are entirely misleading. Most fall within the margin of errors. A sizable proportion involve data collection errors or the lumping of irrelevant factors with relevant factors to lead to desired results... "Have you ever been the victim of murder, violent crime or received an overly-strong handshake?"

As for the black toddlers, by the way, the sample size was 8,000 suspended toddlers of the roughly 4 million school kids in that age range... 0.2% of the population, with no attempt being made to determine if this group is representative. So I wouldn't put much faith in the number either.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Dogs Need Rule of Law

Just an interesting thought tonight related to my dogs and the need for rule of law.

When one of my dogs gets a bone, they effectively become property owners. In our world, that’s a good thing. But in a world without rule of law, i.e. in their world, this is a bad thing. The problem is that without legal rights to back up their claim to their property, the other can come along and steal the bone and the dog has no recourse except trying to steal it back.

This leads to behavior that would be considered paranoid in a human. Such as hovering over the bone to fend off any attempt to steal the property, growling to warn away anyone who approaches, and trying to hide the property so it cannot be found. All of this is unproductive, wasteful, and brings about great unhappiness.

Do you see the point? Without rule of law, this flips property from being an asset meant to give you more freedom into being a burden which weighs you down and makes you arrange your life around the property. This is what rule of law gives us... piece of mind, an ability to enjoy what we have earned, and an ordered society that doesn’t require us to prepare for the worst at all times. And every time we weaken the rule of law, whether through power grabs, executive orders, over-reaching petitions, ambiguous laws, judicial activism, or mob rule, we take a step away from the good and toward a more paranoid and less secure world.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

And That's "Ms. Bossy"!

Bossy - adj 1. to be boss-like; 2. willing to take charge and given to ordering people about; 3. the little girl on the playground who makes all her friends play her game her way; 4. name usually associated with the cutest and most productive cow in the milk shed...

Continuing on with the theme from yesterday, let's discuss another word we are not supposed to use anymore. Henceforth you shall never use the word "bossy" when referring to girls who assert themselves. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg along with First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce, and other high profile celebrity women have launched a new public service campaign called Ban Bossy because using that word is the root of all of women's problems like pay disparity, glass ceilings, and [fill-in-the-blank]. If only...

Okay, the definition above is mine and I will add that it can also mean one who is assertive and willing to take charge. I do not see what is wrong with that. Frankly, I can think of so many other words that are used on a regular basis to describe women that I would like banned, [I won't list them here, but you know the ones I mean.], but "bossy" is not one of them. I kind of like the word "bossy". My mother is "bossy" and my grandmothers were "bossy". My aunt who owned her own business was certainly "bossy". I guess I can say I come from a long line of "bossy" women, so I am proud of my "bossy" lineage. But now, I am supposed to feel ashamed of that I embrace my lineage.

What are we teaching our young women these days? The messages are so mixed that it's hard to tell what we are supposed to be. But banning words we don't like because it might hurt our feelings, especially a word like "bossy" is just weak and whiny. Michelle Malkin wrote a wonderful response to this campaign Ban Bossy? No - Be Bossy! and I must say it is spot on. Like Ms. Malkin, I was a very shy and compliant child afraid of my own opinion and not fitting in. And like her, I grew frustrated with, as Malkin puts it, "...liberal white women...pretending to speak for me". [Yeh, Gloria Steinem, I talking to you!] And, like Malkin, I began to realize that "...I wasn’t held back by how others perceived me. I was held back by how I perceived myself." And in that moment of clarity, I embraced my "inner bossy" and took responsibility with who I am and what I think. I took ownership of me.

In the famous Helen Reddy feminist anthem of 1975, the lyric is "I am Woman, Hear me Roar", not "I am woman, hear me whine about how I can't achieve anything because someone may call me "bossy"...
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Banning The N-Word

While we’re talking about race and liberals, I wanted to talk about something that recently happened vis-à-vis the NFL and how it really exposes the problem with liberal thinking. The issue involves the NFL’s proposal to ban the “N-word.”

What brought this issue to a head was the supposed bullying of Jonathan Martin. When the NFL investigated that incident, the outside investigator turned up a massive number of uses of the N-word by and between players and even involving some coaches and trainers. The NFL immediately recognized that this created a hostile work environment and a bevy of liberal journalists proposed banning the N-word by making it a personal foul (15 yard penalty for its use on the field).

Thus, begins our tale.

Right out of the gates, every single liberal sportswriter jumped on the bandwagon of this proposal and agreed that it was time to ban the dreaded N-word. This was the perfect solution to a problem that had lingered too long: closet racists using the N-word during games. Yep, despite 0 reported instances of that, these journalists just knew this was a problem. And even if it wasn’t, it’s the right thing to do to ban this word. Indeed, only a racist could oppose this idea!

Naturally, the NFL’s designated race hustler, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, jumped on board too. The Fritz Pollard Alliance is an organization dedicated to complaining that “minorities” (read: blacks) aren’t getting a fair shake in any aspect of football.

Soon, articles were being written asking why those rich, white, conservative, racist men who own the teams (like Obama supporter Dan Rooney) wouldn’t order this ban immediately. What could they possibly be waiting for, those dirty racists?

Then things went wrong.

A few days after this golden alliance of liberals declared the perfect solution of banning this outrageous word, a black football player named Richard Sherman threw a hissy fit. He called the idea racist that a bunch of old white men would tell him and his fellow black teammates what words they could or could not say on the field.

Uh oh. That does sound racist.

Now we had a dilemma. It was racist to allow the word to be used, but it was racist to try to stop players from using it. Curses!

By this point, most liberal sportswriters were running away from this story because there was no solution they could push. Of course, that didn’t stop them from demanding that “The NFL must do something!” even though their own logic made it impossible to fix this problem.

Then, the Fritz Pollard Alliance cranks got all pissed off at the young thugs (oops, that’s now a “racist” term according to Sherman) would use a word that the old pros “had fought their whole lives to stop.” You might not remember that, but run with it. The youths responded by claiming that “nigga” is a term of endearment and, thus, the NFL had no right to trample on their First Amendment rights.

This brought a round of articles from the liberals who started this craziness about how the players' First Amendment rights are sacrosanct and the dirty, racist white-conservative-owned NFL better not trample those. Oh, and the NFL still needed to fix this N-word problem.

In the end, the issue fell apart because it was unworkable from the get go.

What this was, was an attempt by liberal journalists to try to insert themselves into history by manufacturing a new civil rights issue. Basically, they hoped to bandwagon an easy victory and then declare themselves the equal of people like Martin Luther King for their bravery in stopping the outrageous use of this word. But it didn’t work. It didn’t work because the black players they claimed to be speaking for crapped all over their idea. Liberals always seem to think of the people they help as children who need their guidance, but in this case, those children easily exposed the liberals as confused fools who never bothered to understand the issue or think through their solution. These are hard times to be paternalistic.

In fact, let’s examine some of the failings of our liberal friends on this issue:
● Notice first, that liberals love speech codes. They believe that society should ban words they don’t like and that you should be punished for using those.

● Notice next that the liberals didn’t care about First Amendment rights when they liked the end result. This is typical of liberals to assume that all good people will agree with them, to assume that no rational or decent person could be on the other side, and thus to not care about the rights being trampled because those rights belong to bad people. Liberals only want to protect things they agree with. For the record, those aren’t rights, those are indulgences.

● Notice also, that they don’t understand what the First Amendment is. The First Amendment protects your right to speak from the Government, not from the NFL.

● Notice further how this issue fell apart once it became racist to be on either side. It’s funny how often and how easily liberal ideas end up in this kind of Mexican standoff. This really highlights that the complaints aren't legitimate in the first place if the same argument can make you racist for either supporting or opposing the same thing. This really points at the rotten logic of the victim movement.

● Finally, note that we again see the same pattern you always see with liberals. First, they see a problem and they immediately demand the most obvious and overbearing solution: somebody powerful ban the word! They never stop to ask if this would work before patting themselves on the back for their great solution either.

Secondly, once the original plan proves unworkable, they fall apart because they have no actual solution other than the big, obnoxious one they originally offered. Thus, their answer becomes “somebody do something!”

Third, like everything else liberals do, their solutions quickly devolve into competing interest groups, with each side trying to claim victim status. The result is a bitter debate that gets settled on the basis of who you like rather than principle.
What’s interesting to me is how consistently the things above play out when it comes to liberals. They always propose the most overbearing solution possible; they love trampling on people’s rights and doing so hypocritically. It never works and they never care if they are causing more problems than they are solving. In trying to fix something racist/sexist/etc., they always discover the children they want to help quickly see their solutions as equally racist/sexist/etc. Everything always falls apart. And yet, they smugly claim moral superiority every single time. That’s the story of liberalism time and again. This is why they judge their own actions on intentions rather than results, because their results suck.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Obamacare Fails At Its Mission

Obamacare is a total failure in all aspects. It doesn't do the things it was supposed to do, people aren't responding, and it's hurting way more people than it helps. But there's even a more damning criticism, which is that it's not insuring the people it was intended to help. The left has been trying to preempt this charge with propaganda headlines like this one: "Obamacare has brought the insurance rate to a recent-history low!" But don't believe. In fact, check out this chart.

As you can see, Obamacare has brought the uninsured rate all the way back down to where it was during Obama's first year. That's it. He has yet to get anywhere near the level of insurance during the Bush years. That's called an Epic Fail. So don't even start to believe this garbage about the uninsured rate being at a "recent history low." Bullsh*p.

Moreover, there's a lot of speculation that this rate is basically tied to the employment rate, which is a way of saying that it's not Obamacare's fault that the uninsurance rate soared under his time in office. But if that's the case, then it's ridiculous to let them claim credit for reducing this rate again, especially as there's no evidence that Obamacare mattered.

So how much has Obamacare actually helped? Team Obama has carefully avoided collecting any data on how many of the people buying insurance were previously uninsured, but private research suggests that only around 20% of those who bought policies were previously uninsured. If that's true, then we're looking at Obamacare adding 800,000 new people to the ranks of the insured... plus another 1.8 million if you count Medicaid.

Assuming these numbers are legitimate (and they aren't), that means Obama added 2.6 million people to the ranks of the insured. That works out to 0.8% of the public. Pathetic. Moreover, compared to the 11 million who slipped into the ranks of "uninsured" under Obama, that's not a great answer - and that doesn't even count all the job damage Obama has done. Our local liberal college, for example, just announced they are cutting back hours of part timers to avoid Obamacare.

What's more, these numbers are fake. The 9 million Medicaid number is all people who have signed up since the law went into effect. It does not in any way break out people who are new to the system. Attempts to figure out this number have found that less than 5% of these people are new. Suddenly, Obama's 0.8% falls to 0.5%.

The 800,000 number isn't what it seems either. Some part of those people lost their insurance because of Obama's economy in the past 5 years. If you exclude those people, then it's possible that none of the people who signed up were actually "uninsured" in 2008 or before.

So think about that. For something that has attracted far less than 0.5% of the public - when it was supposed to help 15%, the Democrats have jacked up the rates of 263 million people, driven doctors out of business, nearly broken hospitals, killed the job market at the low end, all but ended overtime and decent hours, and forced around 12 million off insurance... not to mention those who couldn't keep the insurance they liked or the doctor they liked. What a bargain.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Ryan's "Highly Offensive" Remarks

I want to talk about Paul Ryan’s “highly offensive” gaffe. There are several angles that make this an interesting issue worth discussing. Let us begin.

It Was Stupid To Say: For those who don’t know, Paul Ryan went on the Bill Bennett show and said something that has been deemed “highly offensive.” What he said was that there is
“a tailspin of culture, in our innercities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”
This is pretty much true. But in phrasing it this way, Ryan allowed the Professional Race-baiting Community (PRiCs) to start screaming about Ryan using “code” and saying something “highly offensive” about blacks. Ryan himself has called his own statement “inarticulate.”

So how can this be offensive if it’s true? Well, the answer is that he’s needlessly singled out black males for his criticism. Indeed, let me assure you that the exact same cultural problem exists (probably in even great numbers) among Appalachian males and females (or white trash generally wherever they nest), and among black women. By focusing on “inner-city men,” Ryan has injected race into an issue that is not race specific. The result is screaming PRiCs.

Had he said instead, “There is a tailspin of culture in the poorer parts of our country of people not working and just generations of families not even thinking about working or learning the value of work,” then his point would have been solid and non-controversial. Ergo, it was stupid to say this, because he needlessly caused controversy which deflected the point he wanted to make and which played into the image of the GOP as sneaky racists. A man who has spent his entire life in politics, where you must weigh your words carefully, should have known never to needlessly dance along a racial line.

Wrong Answer: Making things worse, Ryan responded. First, he called his comment inarticulate, which is fine. But then he kept talking. What he said in a statement was this:
“I was not implicating the culture of one community, but of society as a whole.”
Let’s stop there. This is wrong. Society as a whole is not to blame. It is not the fault of hardworking average Americans that there are lazy, drug addicted sh*tbirds hidden in the bad parts of town. So don’t blame the country for these people. Moreover, stop talking about blacks as having a separate culture or being a separate community. Stop playing into this idea that they are different.

He continues:
“We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities. The predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity.”
Wrong! Society has not isolated or quarantined these people. That again implies that we are to blame for their sh*tiness. They have caused their own problems. They are not the victims here. In fact, the real victims are the taxpayers who pay to support their lazy lifestyles and the working poor who live nearby and find themselves robbed and assaulted by these sh*ts.

Moreover, the answer is not “to integrate” these people, unless you are talking about taking all their kids and giving them to responsible parents. Integrating these people only spreads them out and exposes more people to their criminal behavior. The answer is to force these people to start behaving responsibly.

In an effort to sound nice, Ryan has painted the criminals as the victims and the victims as the oppressors. Again, Ryan should know better.

Don’t Acknowledge The PRiCs: The worst thing you can do with lunatics and fringers is to acknowledge them. Unfortunately, after the criticism hit and the PRiCs demanded a meeting with Ryan, Ryan agreed to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus. This was stupid. First, it lends the grievance credence. Secondly, it lends the CBC legitimacy as the judges of all things black-racism. If there was a need for an apology, Ryan should have issued it without ever mentioned the CBC or any other PRiCs and then moved on... leave them talking to themselves. By kowtowing to them, even slightly, he has simply perpetuated their self-anointed role as the arbiters of black-white relations.

Fortunately, Ain’t Nobody Listening: Finally, I would like to repeat a point I’ve made several times now because it’s important. Americans have moved beyond race, and this is more proof. Had Ryan said this in the 1990s, every news channel and every newspaper would be awash in analysis of this issue. Jesse Jackoff and Al Sharpton and the other PRiCs would be holding rallies and there would be 10,000 calls already for Ryan to resign.

Instead, this is a non-issue. Outside of wonks, no one is talking about this issue. There are no rallies, no public hearings, and zero public outrage. Almost no one even knows about it. In fact, the only people who care about this issue are the ideological race baiters, left and right, who try to keep their own audiences clinging to them by screaming about race.

America just doesn’t care anymore about the grievance lobby. And that’s a good thing. Now let's hope Mr. Ryan wises up a bit.
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Thoughts

Today is just a simple post, just a few end of the week thoughts. Nothing to see here... have an orange.

Citrus Omen: The special election in Florida has scared the crap out of the Democrats. They ran a top tier candidate against a middling Republican in a seat that Obama carried by 8% in 2012. The Republican was dogged by a Libertarian, who would walk away with 4%. And yet the Democrat lost. They lost because the locals were really, really, really upset about the state of Medicare as a result of all that money drifting over to Obamacare. MSNBC tried to claim this election was not a bellwether, but the amount of panic put out by the Democrats suggests that they sure think it is. And even MSNBC couldn't keep up the facade for long, not once Chris Matthews declared through his tears that the Republicans were going to win the Senate. Waaaaaah!

Now They're Getting It: In the past few days, I have seen Republicans everywhere say, "We need a positive agenda." Then they typically mention things like energy policy, jobs and healthcare. Clearly, this idea has finally taken hold beyond the early adapters. That's a great sign. Let's hope this continues.

Fringe Thinking: If you want to understand the problem with the fringe mindset, here is a comment made in response to the idea that the GOP could win the senate. This fringer said, "What's the point in winning the Senate if McConnell is still the leader?" That sums up the problem right there. This type of all or nothing thinking inevitably leads to nothing. It also shows a total lack of perspective that this dipstick would rather let the Democrats control the Senate than Republicans with whom he disagrees on very little. With friends like these, who needs enemies. Slow children playing indeed.

China: Oh oh. A lot of the economic data out of China suggests that China's growth rate is even lower than people think. I'm not surprised. China's economy depends on the American consumer, and the American consumer is not spending. I see this at Amazon where my US sales have been sliding even as my sales in the UK, Canada and Europe have remained perfectly steady. I see it in stores that are closing. I hear it when companies who never advertised before are advertising or even going door to door to drum up business. I see it in the falling home prices and lack of sales. I see it in the total lack of construction and grand openings. We have a sitzkrieg economy right now, where everyone pretends there's economic activity, but nothing new is actually happening.

Obamacare: Obamacare just keeps getting worse. Ha ha. Try as they might, they simply haven't been able to win over the young. Indeed, all the data suggests that only 27% of policies issued are for the young, even as they estimated they needed 40% to stay afloat. Moreover, it now appears that very few of the uninsured are actually signing up. It turns out that around 80% of the people signing up are people who had insurance last year, but lost it because of Obama. So basically, the program has failed to do the one thing it was supposed to do -- cover the uninsured. And now the insurers are starting to panic. They agreed to some very stupid things on the basis that Uncle Sam would force 40 million more people to buy their tainted products. If the 20% number is correct, they've managed only to get 800,000 new customers, and most of them will cost more than expected. "Waaaaaah! Our attempt to bully consumers blew up on us!"

Lethargic Legacy: Finally, Obama just signed an order "raising the minimum wage." Well, no. What he did was sign an order stating that Federal government contractors who provide services to Club Fed need to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. It is estimated that this will affect less than half a million workers and even that is a generous estimate... I've frankly never seen anyone paid that little on a Federal contract.

Obama's attempt to expand overtime looks to be equally futile. What he's doing is changing the level at which exempt employees who work more than 40 hours a week are required to be paid overtime. Said differently, when you are salaried (exempt from overtime), but you earn less than a certain amount ($455 per week), your employer needs to pay overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week. Obama is going to raise that $255 dollar amount. We don't know how high yet, but California's level is set to go up to $800 this year. And whatever it is, odds are it won't affect hardly anyone... and it can easily be avoided.

Wow, this Obama guy is really powerful. //sarc off

Thoughts? How's that orange treatin' you?
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stupid Liberal Tricks That Are Stupid...Really, Stupid.

So things just get weirder and weirder in New York. Frankly, my forehead is getting a permanent dent from beating my head against the nearest hard surface. So, here are just two examples of the strange and fascinating world of liberal stupidity from this week...

Number 1 - Let's call it "The Perfidy of the Koch brothers" - Their crime - donating too much money to the worthy cause of medical treatment for the poor...damn them! Who the hell do they think they are with all their money and voluntary donations of huge chunks of it for worthy causes! Damn, I say...where can I get some. I mean, they haven't reimbursed me one red cent all my political activities. And the liberals promised...PROMISED me that they did and would!

Okay, let me stop being snarky and explain. David Koch, cancer survivor and serial giver who is known to give freely of his own vast fortune to worthy causes like cancer research, New York State Theatre in Lincoln Center, museums, and many other worthy causes, had the unmitigated gall to donate $100 million (that is not a typo) to New York-Presbyterian Hospital to open a ambulatory care unit. This is the largest donation to this hospital in its history.

From the reaction from the anti-Koch groups in New York, one would think that they took money from the hospital to open their own private hospital for themselves or that Mr. Koch demanded to be PAID $100 million and that the hospital's entire staff be fired just for his evil pleasure. Joining in the protest were the New York State Nurses’ Association, the NAACP New York State Conference and SEIU Local 1199. They are outraged that the hospital would accept such a gift from such a person who is known for his personal "War On Women"! So outraged that they spent the weekend protesting in front of the hospital and Mr. Koch's residence to show their outrage. As one person commented on The Blaze - "They don’t want them to give it to us of their own free will, they want to take it from them." That seems about right.

Now, I realize the government is supposed to be supplying our ambulatory care now, but this is...well, I don't know what this is.

Number 2 - "The War On the Carriage Trade" - So, Mayor de Blasio who is fast becoming the most hated man in New York City, has set his sights on the quaint tourist attraction in Central Park. If you've ever been to New York, you may have seen the horse-drawn carriages lined up along Central Park South near the famous Plaza Hotel. They have romanced New York City lovers and tourist for over 150 years. Well, de Blasio made a campaign promise (to PETA) to shut the carriages down and replace them with electric cars. The reasoning is that live horses have no business on the busy streets of New York with all the cars and people and noise and the horses are being mistreated and some other stuff. And dang it, de Blasio has mandate from the election in which he won 75% of the vote and the people have spoken.

Who would imagine that the carriage-drivers, stable hands, and other related trades could get a bit out of sorts that someone wants to put them and their horses out of business. Some of the carriage owners/drivers and their families have been doing this for generations. But mostly they are outraged that they are being falsely accused of mistreating their animals. Fortunately, Liam Neeson, star of stage and screen, has taken up their cause. Many of the carriage owners/drivers are his personal friends. I know, can you imagine that someone of Neeson's stature has regular friend who do regular stuff? He is personally outraged that the city wants to shut down a long standing piece of living history for no rational reason.

This week Mr. Neeson invited the Mayor and City Counsel members to come to the stables to see for themselves how the horses are treated. The Mayor and most of the City Counsel members regretfully declined citing "their minds are made up" mean, scheduling issues. Now, I do not know much about the horses (I know I'm from Texas), but from what I have read and personally seen, they are treated much better than most humans who work in New York City. Heck, these horses do not have to work in inclement weather or snow and get an 8-week vacation every year to frolic on an upstate farm. This is a highly regulated industry and there have been a steady stream of testimonials from veterinarians, equestrians, and pretty much anyone who knows horses, that they are healthy and happy. If only the people who live in public housing were treated as well!

Oh, the Mayor said that he will be happy to meet with the carriage people to discuss what they could do after he shuts them down and they are forced to sell their horses to the knackers...abattoir...glue factory...slaughter house whatever. Oh, did PETA not know that was a possibility? Oops...

Bonus Number 3 - Remember my rant last week about the charter schools? Well, first of all, the School Chancellor Carmen Farina, who last week told the very successful Harlem Success Charter school that they were losing their space and that they were on their own, has done a one-eighty. Realizing that she might just be an idiot and a tool, relented and said she would of course help the school find an alternate space. Oh, but as a consolation prize, Eva Moskowitz, founder of the charter school will have to submit to a grilling by the City Counsel and New York State Comptroller Tom Di Napoli informed her of his intention to audit its financial records. Nah, that's not political at all.

Oh, and one more thing. De Blasio blathers on about how he won by a huge majority and "the people have spoken". The reality is that only 24% of the registered voters actually voted in the last election which means by my math-challenged brain, that comes out to only 19% of the available votes. Which also means that there are another 81% of us who did not vote for him. That is hardly a "mandate". That should explain why de Blasio has been in office for 10 weeks and has an approval rating of 39% with 59% giving him a "poor" rating. That has got to be a some kind of record...
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The End of the Military? Hardly

No doubt, you’ve all heard about the end of American dominance because of the upcoming military spending cuts. Forget it. That’s bull. Yes, the defense cuts will certainly mean some loss of capabilities, but that’s a meaningless point. What matters is whether or not we still have enough men and material to maintain our dominance over other countries and our superiority on the battlefield. And that we do.

Top of the World Ma!: First, let’s debunk this idea that somehow our budget is being gutted. Even after the cuts being proposed right now, the US will spend more on its military than all of the top militaries in the world combined. Notice the chart below, which is accurate.
But the raw numbers only tell part of the story. Running a military is expensive and you can’t do it in parts. For example, you can’t put to sea with only 10% of an aircraft carrier and buying one plane is not as effective as buying ten. In fact, the military needs to work as a single, complete machine to achieve its full capability. The less of that machine you own, the less capability you get, and it’s not a straight line drop-off.

Said differently, not every dollar spent projects the same value. Ergo, if a nation spends 10% of our budget, that doesn’t mean they get 10% of our capability. It more likely means they get 1% of our capability. So even if all the foreign military budgets combined equal ours, their capabilities don’t.

To give you a concrete example, consider this: the United States is the only country in the world that is capable of projecting force beyond its immediate neighbors. In other words, we are the only country that can transport troops overseas, send hardware, and reach anywhere in the world with our bombers and missiles. Even our big threats Russia and China are incapable of going anywhere their troops can’t drive to or walk to. In fact, even if you took the transport capabilities of every other country and combined them, you still couldn't do what we do. Ditto on navies and air forces and ground troops. Hence, even if everyone else in the world ganged up on us, their total military capabilities simply don’t compete with ours, even if their overall budgets combine to be about the same.

Not As Deep As You Think: Next, realize that the cuts are not as deep as you are being led to believe.

For example, the Army is going to be reduced to 450,000 soldiers: “That’s the lowest it’s been since before World War II!!” Yes, it is, but we were fighting an aggressive foe of equal size at the time – first the Nazis and then the Soviets. There's nothing like that now. Also, there is an apples and oranges number here. In 1940, the entire military (Army, Navy, Marines) was only 458,000. Today, the Army alone will be 450,000 before you add in the Navy, Marines and Air Force. Indeed, even after the cuts, we’ll still have more active duty personnel than any country except China and India.

FYI, the number of aircraft carriers will remain the same at around 11 (depends on how you count them). Russia and China combine for 2.

To give you a perspective, the Army is being cut about 14%. At its current size, our military has been able to fight a 13 year war in Afghanistan and fight a war in Iraq, while defending Korea and Europe and projecting US power all over the globe. A 14% reduction should not be a problem, given the wind down in Afghanistan.

Further, contrary to popular belief, less than half of the “troops” in the army aren't what you think of as soldiers. Most are clerks or support, and DoD seems intent on reducing their numbers first. In fact, DOD is looking to expand the special forces.

Not The Same Weapons: A lot of the screaming is about scaled back programs. But it's important to realize that we don’t always need new weapons. For example, American aircraft are generations ahead of the competition and no one can compete with us. We dominate the skies and no one has the budget to catch up to us. Thus, there is no significant pressure to keep buying newer and newer planes. Also, there is a massive shift underway from manned aircraft to drones. Drones are much cheaper to build and operate, don’t endanger the lives of pilots, and are proving to have excellent capabilities. The future is drones, missiles and missile defense, not snazzier fighters. So we shouldn’t be rushing out to buy hundreds of billion dollar aircraft until we’re sure they will be the most effective use of those dollars.

Other equipment is similar. The M1-Abrams tank was first put into service in 1980, but it’s still the world class... no one comes close. So why replace it? Instead, you do what we’ve been doing, which is improving the model with each generation. The modern engine, for example, uses 40% fewer parts than the original engine. There are electronic systems on this tank that weren’t even conceived of when it was made. And there have been dozens of other upgrades. Our aircraft are the same – more advanced radar systems, better missiles, better defenses. Our ships are much more capable than they’ve ever been in history. The point is, you don’t always need a new program to stay ahead of the world. So when you hear screaming about cancelled programs or reduced buys, the real question is whether or not we really needed those to stay ahead. Nothing I’ve seen getting cancelled has been needed.

A “Safer” World: Also, keep in mind that there are fewer military threats today, which means we need less to guarantee our security. From the 1960s through the 1980s, we needed to fend off communists in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, defend Europe from a possible Warsaw Pact invasion, defend South Korean from North Korea, contain China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. Today, most of that is gone. Our threats today are Iran, North Korea, China and Russian bullying... if we care. That’s a short list that allows us to reduce our capabilities some because we no longer need to watch everything on the planet. Indeed, the real enemy today is Muslim fundamentalism, and as we’re learning, that can’t be fought militarily.

So what is my point with this article? Well, it’s this: don’t panic.

Everyone wants to scare you with "the end of America!" these days, but these cuts aren’t that. Even after these cuts, we will still have the men and material needed to maintain our dominance over other countries and our superiority on the battlefield. No one compares to us, and no one will because they aren’t trying. And as more of the world integrates economically and moves into the realm of middle class countries, the dangers of the world recede. So while it is true that these cuts will eliminate some capabilities, they won’t ultimately make the nation any less safe or secure. That’s not to say we shouldn’t monitor them carefully to make sure, but let’s not panic and tell the world we’re weak when we aren’t.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Analyzing A Drudge Poll

The Drudge Report is an interesting site. Drudge picks and chooses his headlines carefully to feed an alarmist worldview. He loves to blow up isolated incidents into themes. His headlines are often inaccurate, sometimes to the point of being exactly backwards of reality. And yet, he’s become the trusted source of news for a good many conservatives and fringers. Indeed, he’s pretty much become the sole research tool for most talk radio hosts. Anyway, he just did a poll and it had some interesting results.

The poll in question asked his readers to pick their current Republican candidate for 2016. Here are the results in order:
RAND PAUL ... 30.75% ... (67,958 votes)
TED CRUZ ... 28.52% ... (63,030 votes)
Other ... 6.91% ... (15,271 votes)
JEB BUSH ... 6.3% ... (13,922 votes)
SARAH PALIN ... 5.21% ... (11,507 votes)
CHRIS CHRISTIE ... 4.84% ... (10,706 votes)
RICK PERRY ... 4.4% ... (9,715 votes)
MIKE HUCKABEE ... 3.74% ... (8,254 votes)
PAUL RYAN ... 3.61% ... (7,974 votes)
BOBBY JINDAL ... 2.96% ... (6,538 votes)
DONALD TRUMP ... 1.86% ... (4,106 votes)
RICK SANTORUM ... 0.9% ... (1,995 votes)
There is much to consider here.

First, this poll reminds us that Drudge is about ratings, not serious politics. We can see this in the choices he offers. Notice that he’s excluded Marco Rubio, who keeps coming up as the front-runner in more scientific polls. He’s also excluded Scott Walker, who has a growing network of supporters. What this suggests is that Drudge, like the rest of the fringe, sees Rubio as finished because he offended them with “Amnesty.” The fact that more than 60% of Republicans support it, has never appeared on Drudge’s pages and doesn't seem to enter his thinking. His dismissal of Scott Walker is more curious, but is likely because Walker doesn’t make Drudge headlines. So Drudge excludes two top tier candidates, yet he includes professional clown Donald Trump and Reality TV queen Sarah Palin. What does that say about Drudge’s worldview? That he’s not serious.

Secondly, this tells us that Drudge’s audience is what people suspect – rather far right. Current Tea Party favorites Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin together took 65% of the vote. Establishment candidates Bush and Christie totaled only 12%. By comparison, the Drudge Wing of the party represents less than 20% of the Republican Party in other polls. So Drudge's audience is the inverse of reality.

Third, Rick Santorum is toast. The Republicans have an annoying tradition of handing the nomination to the second place runner in the prior primary season, but clearly that won’t be happening here. Santorum ran second last time, but can’t even get half of Trump’s score and doesn’t even score within the margin of error. In fact, Drudge’s audience is overwhelming made up of the people who voted for Santorum in the 2012 primary and yet they are showing him no love now.

Fourth, Rick Perry’s efforts are not paying off at this time. For many months now, Perry has been doing his best to court conservatives. Yet, he can’t even muster 5% among the very people who would form his base.

Fifth, the bloom is fading on the Cruz rose. I’ve actually seen this coming for a while now. Cruz lost support when he pushed the shutdown and then admitted he had no plan to turn that into a victory. That was when non-fringe conservatives started to abandon him. When they turned on him, he started getting ugly press. Then he made the mistake of hypocritically disavowing the shutdown, of launching random criticism, of engaging in an obsessive war against Mitch McConnell and of flip flopping on John Cornyn. All of this has actually caused some supporters of his that I know to call him “a nut job.” His loss of strength is reflected in this poll as well as he’s down to 29% support among an audience that should be his base. Six months ago, he was closer to 40% support.

Sixth, the slight preference for Bush over Christie is interesting. This fits something I’m sensing, but don’t have real evidence for yet. Right now, Christie seems to be the establishment candidate, and by extension, the nominee. But Bush’s name keeps popping up as a better choice for the establishment as a means of maximizing conservative support without choosing a conservative candidate. If I had to put money on it right now, I would bet that our ticket will be Jeb Bush for President and Rand Paul for Vice President... and I will become a terrorist. I guess we’ll see.


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Monday, March 10, 2014

Senate Update: 2014 Election

There’s been a lot of chatter about the Republicans taking the Senate in November. That’s still unlikely, but the odds have been improving lately because the Republicans finally got their fringe under control – the primary challenges are failing and the lack of idiocy has left the focus on Obama’s failings. The Republicans need to pick up six seats to regain control of the Senate. As things stand right now, 13 states are key to whether or not this happens. Let’s examine the key races.

Alaska: Democrat Mark Begich is defending his seat in this conservative state. Begich got into office by defeating a Republican with a history of corruption. He won’t have that luck again. On the negative side, he has generally acted as a moderate, except on social issues -- he did, however, support Obamacare. The leading Republicans have slight leads in the poll over Begich (+1% or +6%). Prediction: Republican gain.

Arkansas: Democrat Mark Pryor is seeking a third term. He is a moderate with a generally so-con voting record. He did vote for Obamacare. The Republican, Congressman Tom Cotton, is a Tea Party type and a so-con, but he’s also a Harvard-educated attorney so he’s not your typical loon. He has a slight lead (+4%). Prediction: Toss up.

Colorado: Democrat Mark Udall is facing a serious challenge from Rep. Cory Gardner. Udall defeated a strong Republican opponent to win the seat, but has since voted for Obamacare, for the Stimulus, for background checks on gun sales, and some things that won’t play well with military voters. Gardner became the candidate when his opponent bowed out to give the party the best chance against Udall. It sounds like Gardner is in favor of immigration reform, which will play well with Hispanics in Colorado. Udall has a small lead in the polls (+4%). The problem here is that the Colorado Republican Party is whacko when it comes to social issues and rip each other apart for entertainment. There’s no way to tell how this will go at this point, but expect Tom Tancredo (Colorado’s version of Pat Buchanan) to probably ruin it for Gardner. Prediction: Democrats probably keep the seat.

Georgia: An open race to replace retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. The Democrats are running the daughter of Sam Nunn, a popular pro-military moderate from the Reagan Era. She should do well. The Republicans are running Huey, Duey and Screwy who are competing to be seen as the most extreme. There is much talk that these fools will hand a safe seat to the Democrats. On the other hand, this will be a low turnout election and the Democrats aren’t going to turn out... of course, neither will our side. Prediction: Toss up.

Iowa: Democrat Tom Harkin is retiring. The Democrat will be Rep. Bruce Braley, who is a populist leftist. He voted for Obamacare, for the stimulus, and has a 100% pro-choice record. Unfortunately, that won’t hurt him in socialist Iowa, and he does lead in the polls (+6%). Also, the Republicans haven’t decided on their candidate yet, but the Iowa party is split between so-cons, Paulbots and everyone else and recent history suggests they don’t support each other. Prediction: Democrats keep the seat.

Kentucky: Our fringe wants to unseat Mitch McConnell, but that’s not happening. Their candidate, Bevins, is down by 42% to McConnell, but that’s not stopping them because they would be happy to have the Democrat take out McConnell so they can whine, “We told you so!” McConnell is tied with Democratic challenger Alison Grimes, but that’s not reliable because of the primary challenge. McConnell also has too much knowledge of Kentucky politics to lose in an off-year election with low Democratic turnout. Prediction: Republicans keep the seat.

Louisiana: Democrat Mary Landrieu is defending the seat here. She comes from a Louisiana dynasty, but the state has been shifting to the right more and more each year. She is also infamous for causing Obamacare by agreeing to the Louisiana Purchase. It’s not clear who the challenger will be yet, but they have all the momentum and they lead her in the polls by +5%. Prediction: Republican gain.

Michigan: Democrat Carl Levin is retiring. Seeking to replace him is Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who supported Obamacare and Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who opposed the auto bailout. The polls are even (+0%). But a clue to this race is that 63% of Michiganites (including Tea Party Governor Rick Snyder) supported the bailouts and Snyder has also embraced the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. Prediction: Democrats keep the seat.

Montana: Democrat John Walsh is the incumbent, having been appointed to replace Max Baucus, who wrote Obamacare. The idea was to remove the Obamacare stain. But polls show Republican Rep. Steve Daines with a big lead (+14%) over Walsh. Prediction: Republican gain.

North Carolina: Democrat Kay Hagan is defending her seat. She voted for Obamacare and that is hurting her. But the Republicans don’t have a candidate yet, so it’s too early to tell what will happen. The lack of a clear front runner is a danger sign for the GOP. Also, North Carolina is trending bluer with each passing election. BUT, Hagan is behind in the polls (-7%). Prediction: Toss up, leans Republican.

South Dakota: Democrat Tim Johnson is retiring. Former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds is favored (+20%) to replace him in this very red state. Prediction: Republican gain.

Virginia: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is a heavy favorite (+27%) in a state that doesn’t often throw out incumbents. Add the fact that Virginia is trending more and more blue and that the state GOP thinks becoming more extreme will help them and this should be a cakewalk for Warner. Prediction: Democrats keep the seat.

West Virginia: Democrat Jay Rockefeller is retiring. The race will be between Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant. Moore is perhaps the one Republican in the state who can win statewide and she leads in the polls (+14%). Moreover, West Virginia is slowly trending away from the Democrats because of their position on coal and their acceptance of gays and blacks. Prediction: Republican gain.

As an aside, the Democrats in these states are doing all kinds of conservative things now. For example, eight of them vote against Obama nominee Debo Adegbile because they knew that voting for a man who defended a cop killer loved by the left would not be good politics right now. They know they’re in trouble.

So what we’re looking at here is the Republicans should gain 5, with two toss ups they still might get. They also may lose one seat. So they do have a shot at getting the six they need. Of course, this all assumes that the Republicans don’t do anything stupid between now and the election, and you have to remember that certain people have a vested interest in Republican failure. Look for Talk Radio to try to suppress Republican turnout, for Ted Cruz to look to inspire Democratic turnout, and our attention-whore brigade (e.g. Palin, Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, Newt, Santorum, etc.) to do their best to remind the public why the GOP scares them. Other than that, things are looking surprising good.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

What I Did With My Vacation

When you take time off, at least in grade school, you’re supposed to give a report on what you did with your time off. I figured I’d give a quick roundup (next week we’re doing Show and Tell). :D

First, I decided to experiment with this new Satan Bug thing going around. It’s essentially a near death experience. When it strikes, you pretty much lie down wherever you are and you stay there for 2-3 days until Stage One passes. During this stage, you can’t get up even if you’re on fire. Nyquil is your friend. In Stage Two, you get to enjoy the “Exhaustion Experience”™, which feels a bit like being a union worker. Essentially, you feel great unless you try to move. If you try to move or do any work, then you will become instantly exhausted and find yourself lying there suffering again. But if you do nothing, then you feel great. That explains why Detroit is such a mess.

When I awoke from my coma, I awoke to discover a strange world. Our whiny peacenik friends on the left seemed to be planning a war with Russia over our historic ally... the Ukraine. Wha?!! Hillary Clinton was comparing Mr. Reset-Button Putin to Hitler. Obama was calling Putin names and wasn’t even on a golf course when he did it. Ted Cruz endorsed John Cornyn. And Harry Reid voted against an Obama appointee to the Justice Department Civil Rights Division just because this decent fellow defended a cop killer. Outrageous! Obama was so enraged by this that he issued a press release which misspelled his own nominee’s name... and threatened greater sanctions against Reid than he promised against Putin.

But it all made sense once the haze cleared. Obama has a tiny penis and thus he’s a bully and he doesn’t like people like Putin (or Reid) making him look bad. So his attacks on Putin were his ego lashing out, screaming, “Don’t mock my small d*ck, honkeys!” And true to form, he quickly settled back into an impotent posture. Hillary lashed out because she wants to run for President and boldly attacking Putin was a freebie. Cruz endorsed Cornyn because the Tea Party candidates he endorsed all over Texas got crushed and he doesn’t want anyone to remember that. Reid voted against this cop killer-lover because eight other Democrats needed to vote no because they are in tight races and his vote made that possible. So it all makes sense... blatant image manufacturing all around!

Speaking of image, I almost died of flabbergast when I saw the Buccaneers’ new uniforms:
W... T... F!!! Apparently, the Bucs will be moving to the defunct XFL or the Alarm Clock League. Ugliest uniforms ever.

Next, I found myself hooked on Storage Wars. Storage Wars is a show with no redeeming qualities and you know they’re faking half of it just to be entertaining, but I’ll be damned if it’s not super addictive. I can’t tell you why, but it is.

Finally, there’s this. I was finally back to about 95% earlier this week, but I took a couple extra days for something I had planned in advance. I got engaged. :D Yep. I’m getting married to a wonderful women with two amazing daughters (8 and 10). It’s been a fascinating experience to discover all the kids-friendly stuff all around us that we never notice. Every restaurant, every store, every etc. has a secret underworld of kids menus, cups with hats, and videogame setups hidden in plain sight in the corner. It’s amazing. As an adult, you really can't see any of this. But kids, they see all of it. I think they also get a newsletter, but I'm not sure. The whole thing is a bit like The Matrix. As an aside, at some point, I should explain Chuck-E-Cheese to you. What an amazing setup!

Anyway, hope you all had nice weeks. It’s good to be back.
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rant of the Day - The NY Progressives' "War on Education"

I have to rant here for a minute or two. We have a war waging in NYC. You may remember that we have a new mayor in NY - Bill de Blasio - Marxist Progressive. He made all sorts of promises to make everything better for the poor, downtrodden of NYC. One of his promises was in the field of "public school education". Yes, our children were going to fare better if only he would be elected mayor. And his war will be waged against the scourge of charter schools.

Whatever you may think about charter schools, by all accounts, they are doing an amazing job in NYC. Under Bloomberg (remember him?), charter schools grew by leaps and bounds. The children who have been lucky enough to win a seat by lottery at one of our charter schools in NYC that are co-located within public school facilities, are getting the best public school education that our tax dollars can fund. These charter schools are filled with dedicated non-union affiliated administrators and teachers. The top school in the state right now is Success Academy Charter Schools founded by former City Council member and apparent de Blasio nemesis Eva Moskowitz. The students of the Success Academy, mostly poor minority students, scored the highest in math in the state of New York last year and fifth in language. That is all the schools across the state including the all of the tony, upper class school districts outside of New York City where all the upper crust, ivy leaguers moved to for "better schools" for their children. And inexplicable our new mayor is trying to shut them down. He is demanding that they move out or pay rent or, if possible just go away. It's just not right that they the charter students should be allowed to hog all the empty space and all that oxygen that should otherwise go to union teachers...I mean, regular public school students. It's not fair, it's not right, it's not equitable that any student should be learning when they do not have a union teacher to teach them.

The charter school concept seems pretty simple - set a high standard to achieve and challenge the students to meet that standard - no excuses. Understand that this is a kind of "Stand and Deliver" kind of goal. Remember that movie about Jaime Escalante, the teacher in California who decided to take otherwise underachieving minority students and challenging them to pass the AP Calculus test? All the administrators and teacher thought he was crazy and wasting his time. He and his students proved them all wrong. For almost 20 years, his students aced the AP calculus exam and went on to college when no one expected them to be able to do more that count change at a fast food joint.

This week our dear Mayor de Blasio announced that he was rescinding any further expansion of the otherwise successful charter schools mostly to appease his union buddies in the UFT. Let's just say that the otherwise compliant minority constituency of our Mayor are, as we say in the South, "loaded for bear". A huge rally by the parents and sympathizers of charter schools was held in Albany to object to the Mayor's decree. Governor Cuom, who is at odds with Mayor de Blasio for other reasons attended the rally to show his support. Fifteen thousand angry parents with their children in tow and in the snow and cold, descended on our capital to voice their strong opposition to the wrong-headedness of de Blasio's stubborn adherance to his campaign promises. They are not happy that their kids who are finally getting a real chance to break out of poverty and get the education that they deserve are being thwarted by the very people (and party) that purports to want to "help" them and are doing everything they in their power to halt their childrens' education! It was beautiful thing to behold.

For all the complaints that have been leveled at these overachieving charter school [which, btw, includes better lunch hours, better lunches, better gym hours etc], not once have I heard one union teacher, one union administrator, one union-sympathizing talk show pundit, or even the pro-UFT Mayor (see a pattern here?) ask "What are these charter schools doing so RIGHT that their students are scoring so high?". Call me crazy, but shouldn't that be the ONLY question being asked? Isn't this the point? These kids, mostly minority, who, by all that we are lead to believe, shouldn't be able to learn anything because of whatever aggrieved [fill in the blank] reason the unions can come up with, are surpassing not only their inner city, regular public school, union-teacher educated counterparts but ALL student in the state, and no one is asking "How are they doing this and how can we emulate what they are doing?". It makes me crazy...

Any thoughts?
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Who Needs Jobs Anyway?

Suppose I told you of an economic plan that would add $600 billion every year to the world economy, $200 billion of which would come directly into the US economy. In 10 year speak, that’s more than $2 trillion into the US economy... about 2.5 times the amount of the Obama stimulus, and this money would grow out of the economy rather than being borrowed so it could be pumped in. Sounds like something anyone would jump on, right? Yeah, good luck with that.

The agreement in question is the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” a sort of free trade agreement with Japan which would open up the service sector of both countries to free trade as well as doing some things for agriculture.

The Japanese want it. America wants it. Even Team Obama want it... probably because they need to start producing jobs unless he wants to be known as The Unemployment President. So why isn’t it happening?

Well, Obama has never made trade agreements a priority. In fact, like all the import parts of his job, they bore him. But now he’s working diligently (or at least his people are), and they’ve come up with several deals or potential deals. Several of these are estimated to be at least as valuable as the TTIP.

BUT there is a problem. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi (the new darling of the fringe... think about that for a moment), don’t want any stinkin’ trade agreements. And to keep that from happening, Reid has denied Obama “fast-track” authority to negotiate these deals. The fast-track authority lets the President submit these treaties to the Congress in a yes/no fashion with no amendments. Without that authority, no one will sign on the dotted line with us because they would be making all kinds of politically unpopular compromises only to have us say, “Gee, that’s great, now we need to run this through Congress and see what the retard from Arkansas wants to add.” Only a fool would negotiate with anyone who doesn’t have the authority to stand behind their promises.

So because of Harry Reid, several billion dollars that could be added to the economy are missing. Of course, this is nothing new. The Democrats have always been protectionist because their party is about protecting inefficiency rather than fixing it. Heck, with things like Obamacare they’ve even crossed over into the business of actively promoting inefficiency.
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