15 October, 2010

Has The Republican Wave Crested Too Soon?

Possibly. And possibly not.

Certainly there is cause for concern. Recent Senate race polls in AK, PA, NV, CT, WV, WA, and CO offer less reason for optimism among Republicans. The Governor polls have also indicated a little slippage, with CA seen moving away, and FL moving back to a toss-up status.

Other news looks a little better. There is still some good news in the Governor’s races. Wisconsin looks better, and now Hawaii (!?) is seen as a toss-up. Republicans continue to improve on the generic ballots. Presidential approval keeps falling. And the outlook for the GOP in the House has certainly not worsened over the last week, and may have even improved. These items, taken together may mean that Democrats are still being over-counted in the polls. Or, it may not. Smile

The thing is that the GOP had about 3 weeks straight of consistently better news in just about every single Senate race. That just doesn’t happen. Now we’re starting to see some variance. We’ll likely see more in the closing days and weeks. The outlook still looks extremely good for the GOP in the House, and while GOP hopes of taking the Senate may have dimmed just a bit, it’s still well within reach.

The flood is still coming. The only question is how high the wave will be. 18 days.

14 October, 2010

Cell Phones Vs. The Space Shuttle

I had this thought a couple days ago, and recent events have cemented it firmly in my mind.

A few years ago, the Motorola RAZR was the “it” cell phone. Everyone had to have one, or have one of the many imitators. Then, just as rapidly, it vanished from the scene. Everyone had to have an iPhone (which is now on its 4th generation). Of course, both of these phones are “3G” phones which apply to a generation of standards adopted in the early 2000’s. Now, we have Android phones taking over the world, and some of these like my own HTC EVO are “4G” phones. And Microsoft just released their “Windows Phone 7” (WP7) series on Monday to much fanfare.

Of course, the iPhone, Android and WP7 phones are all “smartphones” that can be thought of as “pocket computers”. There’s also a seemingly endless variety of non-smartphones (sometimes called “feature phones”. No matter what you want in a cell phone, it’s probably available. And they are relatively cheap! New phones appear on the market nearly every day, and new generations of communication technologies appear every 7-10 years.

Even the service is cheap, compared to what people were paying for their phone service in the 60s and 70s. Think. When was the last time you paid for a long distance call? Or waited until “after 7 pm” to make one?

Take a look around you. I bet that just about everyone you know has a cell phone, and they’re almost all different.

This is free enterprise in action. We have near continuous improvement, lots of choices, and inexpensive products.

Now, let’s look at the Space Shuttle.

I remember visiting Cape Canaveral as a child. The year was 1976, and I remember that because of all of the red white and blue stars that were the logo of the Bicentennial. I first saw a model and a movie on the Space Shuttle during the tour. Work on it had begun in 1968. Operational flight began in 1982 and the Space Shuttle Program will be officially retired in 2011.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Space Shuttle is a technological marvel. But the reason it’s being retired is that it’s too expensive to run (average cost per flight around $1.5 billion) and is seriously showing it’s age. The onboard computers use tape drives. For several years, mission specialists and even the pilots have been bringing laptop computers on board because it’s easier and faster to do all of their computations that way and then just input the results into the Space Shuttle’s computers and navigation systems. Today they could probably accomplish the same things with their smartphones.

In the 30 years since the the first Space Shuttle launch in April, 1981, only small incremental improvements have been made to the overall design. The concept is essentially the same as what was originally drawn up on chalkboards in the 1960s.

This is government enterprise in action. We have nearly no improvement, no choices, and high costs.

Now ask yourself this.

Now that we have ObamaCare, is the future of health care in the United States more likely to be like cell phones? Or the Space Shuttle?

Decide quickly. In 19 days you can make your decision known.

Democrats, Scaring Voters Since 1965

(and probably even longer)

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson (D-USA) signed the Social Security Act of 1965. This act expanded Social Security and created Medicare and Medicaid.

Since that day, just about every Democrat candidate running for national office has warned that his/her Republican opponent “wants to take away your Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid”. This year is no different.

Democrats say that every election, despite 45 years of evidence to the contrary because they know that it motivates people to vote. In a down year for Democrats, when they have nothing else to run on, you knew that they would once again bring out this canard. And several of them have.

But Vice President Joe Biden (D-USA) has sunk to a new low. On Monday he tried to convince voters that Republicans would like to challenge Social Security in court. He mentioned that since several state AG’s have taken ObamaCare to court, that Social Security might be next.

There are three significant problems with that argument. I’m going to look at the first two in brief, and then spend a bit more time with the third. The first two?

  1. No Republican has yet suggested such a thing (of course, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from scaring voters for the last 45 years, so that’s nothing new)
  2. The AG’s argument against ObamaCare would not apply to Social Security. The AG’s are arguing against the individual mandate, the first in history congressional requirement to buy something (in this case insurance) in order to live in the United States. Biden claims that Social Security has a mandate, but it doesn’t. It’s a tax. Having your money taken away from you by the government is quite a different thing than the government telling you that you have to buy something and what you have to buy.

But the third problem for Biden is the most serious in my mind. Let’s say the first two problems didn’t exist. In fact, let’s say that Republicans are in fact likely to challenge Social Security in court (they aren’t—I can’t repeat that too often).

If so, what would Biden’s scare tactic represent? The only reason to fear the Republicans taking Social Security to court is to fear that they might win. In effect, what Biden is saying is “we have to stop the Republicans from doing this because Social Security just might be unlawful.” In other words, Biden’s ok with keeping something that’s potentially unlawful on the books as long as that helps Democrats and hurts Republicans.

Now, I don’t think you can make a court case against Social Security. And I don’t think that Republicans are going to try to take it away by that means or any other. But I do think that Democrats tactics on this are shameless and irresponsible. Get ready, though. In the 2012 campaign it’s going to get even worse and nastier: “Those evil Republicans don’t just want to take away your Social Security, now they’re going after your healthcare!”

13 October, 2010

How Do Americans Feel About Our Government?

Gallup has a nice cloud on the subject:

It’d take a flood of biblical proportions to fix something this awful. 20 days and counting.

12 October, 2010

Remember The Cole

Ten years ago today.

Never forget. Never surrender.

Chamber of Evil

That’s what the White House would have you think of the Chamber of Commerce.

President Barack Obama (D-USA), top political advisor David Axelrod, and Vice President Joe Biden (D-USA) have been calling out the Chamber of Commerce in recent days. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has called for investigations.

The crime? Using foreign money to push domestic political activism.

See, the Chamber of Commerce is a vocal critic of the Obama administration, and has recently been putting it’s money where it’s mouth is by creating some ads showing just how anti-business the Obama administration is.

The DNC is running an ad telling you how evil these people are:

But there are two problems with the accusation. We’ll address the hypocrisy one first.

If true, the Chamber of Commerce would hardly be the first organization to receive foreign funds and push domestic political causes. the AFL-CIO comes to mind immediately.

In fact, Mr. Obama himself is in deep trouble here, as during his 2008 campaign, he was widely criticized for not checking addresses of donors if they donated less than $100 (this is perfectly legal), to the tune of several hundred million dollars.

What’s that aphorism about glass houses and throwing rocks? Or was it about being sinless and throwing stones? I can never remember. But neither work out well for Mr. Obama.

However, hypocrisy is rampant in Washington, and the Democrats definitely do not have a monopoly on it.

The same is true of baseless accusations, as even the New York Times manages to figure out.

White House officials acknowledged Friday that they had no specific evidence to indicate that the chamber had used money from foreign entities to finance political attack ads.

“The president was not suggesting any illegality,” Bob Bauer, the White House counsel, said. Instead, he said Mr. Obama’s reference to the chamber was meant to draw attention to the inadequacies of campaign disclosure laws in allowing groups to spend large amounts of money on politics without disclosing their donors.

White House officials called on the chamber to go beyond current disclosure laws and establish that no foreign money has been used in its political campaigns. “They can put this to rest,” said Joshua Earnest, a White House spokesman. “They have the keys to the file cabinet.

Okayyyyy, so you make an accusation with no evidence whatsoever, and when called on it, your response is “make them prove we’re wrong”.

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun was capable of figuring this one out

The Democratic National Commitee [sic] is using the same sort of tactic and logic that Sen. Joe McCarthy used in the 1950s: Level a headline-grabbing and unsubstantiated charge, like the State Department is filled with communists, and then say it is up to the State Department and the employees so charged to prove it is not true.

So much for hope and change; this is the politics of fear, slander and divisiveness on the eve of an election that looks as if it could deliver a damning verdict on the first two years of the Obama administration.

I may have trouble with my aphorisms on rocks and stones, but this one I remember.

“Mr. President, have you stopped beating your wife?”

“Mr. President, accusations have surfaced that your home was at one time a public sex den and that your daughters are actually someone else’s. Some blood tests would clear this up quickly. You can put this to rest. You have the keys to the cabinet.

Ok, that was perhaps over the top. But you get the point. Making a serious accusation like this with no evidence, and then adopting a “guilty until proven innocent” stance is not acceptable behavior in America, especially from the President of the United States.

The problem our socialist/Marxist President has with the Chamber of Commerce isn’t that they receive foreign money, it’s that they’re capitalists and they’re exercising their right to freedom of speech, a right he personally deplores.

The Democrats Game Plan

The Democrats have a game plan for the next 21 days for responding to criticism about the economy, growth of government, etc.

Oh crap! They’ve run out of people to attack.

21 days.

11 October, 2010

More On Liberals And Their Views On Government and Economics

Liberals are up in arms about the latest employment numbers.

Good. It’s about time. They’ve been atrocious for quite some time. And the White House keeps saying that “we’ve turned the corner” and “we’re headed in the right direction”. Well, we’ve turned so many corners now that we’re obviously completely lost, and have no clue what the right direction is anymore. That’s the only conclusion I can gather from the unending bad news about the economy.

There’s very little good news in any of the reports from the last six months. We’re hovering at or around 9.6% unemployment, and the only reason it’s that low is that people keep giving up and leaving the work force. We continue to hover around 450,000 people making new jobless claims each week, and there are over 5 million people receiving unemployment insurance.

So, the liberals are up in arms. They were, of course, up in arms in 2004 when unemployment was around 4.8%. Now that it’s double that, and has been for 14 straight months why wouldn’t they be up in arms?

Well, let’s take a look at what they’re upset about, shall we?

Ezra Klein is always good for getting the heartbeat of the typical liberal. So, what does he have to say?

The government is now impeding an economic recovery. But it's not for the reasons you often hear. It's not because of debt or because of taxes. Nor has it scared the private sector into timidity. It's because, at the state and local level, it's firing people. There are more than 14 million Americans looking for work right now -- to say nothing of the 9.5 million who have been forced into part-time jobs when they want, and need, full-time work -- and the government just added 159,000 more to the pool. Consider this: If we only counted private-sector jobs, we'd have had positive jobs reports for the last nine months. As it is, public-sector losses have wiped out private-sector gains for the past four months.

So, Ezra Klein is upset that state and local governments are cutting jobs. Don’t get me wrong. I feel bad for the 159,000 public service workers who lost their jobs last month. But…

Ezra’s solution to unemployment is for the government to hire everyone.

But wait, don’t we keep hearing about cities and states that are going bankrupt? Isn’t the US government coming closer to default with each passing day?

How’s Ezra going to pay for this?

He can’t. As Margaret Thatcher said [paraphrased], the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

I for one, am thrilled that state and local governments are cutting their budgets. They need to cut much deeper, as does the federal government. Unfortunately, this will likely keep the unemployment rate up for a while. But making government cost less helps us all in the long run, and even in the short run.

Liberals can’t see that. They think bigger government is the answer to every problem: unemployment, health care, global warming, home mortgages, and the list goes on and on.

If you think that we can borrow our way out of a recession that was caused by too much borrowing, then you’re in total agreement with Mr. Klein and Mr. Krugman.

If, however, you have some semblance of sanity, then do something about it. Vote the libs out of office. November 2.

22 days until the flood! (if that picture is starting to look redder, there’s nothing wrong with your monitor)

On a Non-Political Note

Congratulations to Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon and TCU which all became bowl eligible this week. They are the first teams to become bowl eligible this season.

Coincident with their bowl eligibility, my computer generally likes all of them: Auburn #13, LSU #2, Michigan State #16, Ohio State #8, Oregon #9, and TCU #4.

Computer top 5:

  1. Boise State
  2. LSU
  3. Oklahoma
  4. TCU
  5. Missouri

The computer rating is a composite of a “Win”-based rating much like what’s used in the BCS, and a somewhat Margin-Of-Victory (MOV) based rating.

In case you’re interested in the breakdown, here’s Win:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. LSU
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Missouri

MLE (maximum likelihood estimates):

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. TCU
  4. Nebraska
  5. Boise State

My experience is that MLE starts to look “reasonable” about a week or so before Win and Composite. So, if you’re screaming at me because BSU and LSU are #1 and #2, look at MLE and wait until next week.

10 October, 2010

What I’ll Be Doing November 2

I’m sure I blogged about it somewhere, but I can’t find the post or posts regarding my decisions on election day 2008. I was thoroughly disgusted with the Republicans at that point, and had said several times that I might just vote for the top ticket on the ballot (even though I knew by then Senator McCain (R-AZ) wasn’t going to win), and then turn in my ballot.

In the end, I did just that. I didn’t feel that any of the down ballot Republicans deserved my vote. This was probably a disservice to a few of the folks running for local spots, but as I live in the 2nd most conservative district in the entire country, it probably didn’t make any difference.

This year it’s a little easier.

Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) is not up for re-election. Thank God. I’d really hate voting for him.

Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) has retired. Dan Coats (R) is running for his spot, and I’ll be voting for him. Coats would not have been my first choice, and in some ways, I’d rather have Bayh (the old Bayh or the new Bayh, not the one that was trying to get the VP spot in 2008 and shifted dramatically to the left). But Coats is at least someone I can vote for without holding my nose.

Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN-06) is running for re-election. I can’t stand him. I voted against him in the primary. Burton was one of the lucky ones this primary season. He escaped the Tea Party wrath because too many people were out to get him. There were about 7 different people on the ballot and they all got votes. If there’d just been two, no way is Dan Burton on the ballot in November. I’ve been really pushing hard for the Republicans to take back the House, and I’d feel like a hypocrite if I didn’t vote for my own Republican Congressman, so I will do so. I will hold my nose, but I will vote for him. Hopefully we can replace him in 2012.

I’m still mulling over most of the other down ballot races, but I will be doing my part to help the GOP retake the House and the Senate.

In 23 days you can too. Watch out for the flood.

10/10/10 10:10:10

Well, people that get excited about such things are excited about this I guess.

The time is only right in my time zone (EDT). I guess I could have done UDT, but that was almost an hour ago (as I write this), and I didn’t think of it soon enough.


Interesting Article On ABC News

The title of the article is “Year After Obama Won Nobel, World Looks for Signs of Peace”.  There are two interesting things about the article. First, that it’s from ABC and doesn’t contain overwhelming support for President Barack Obama (D-USA). The second is that the title has obviously been watered down. Reading the content of the article, it’s quite evident that the title should have been “Year After Obama Won Nobel, World Looks for Signs He Deserved It”.

Even the first paragraph makes that clear.

One year after the Nobel prize jury made its controversial decision to award President Obama the prize for world peace, a larger jury is still waiting for the president to live up to those lofty expectations.

The truth is, he didn’t deserve it. He hadn’t done anything that would put him in line for such an award, and you don’t give out Nobel Peace prizes based on what you think the person might do sometime in the future. It’s quite evident that’s what the Nobel prize jury did, though. And, after a year, it’s even more apparent that they were foolish to do so.

Don’t believe me?

An untested and untried Obama accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace last year, just months into his presidency. He was selected, prize committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said, not for what he had accomplished but for the promise of what he would accomplish.

Remember that the deadline for nominations for the prize is the 1st of February. Obama had been in office for 11 days.