Cue Republican heads exploding on 3…2…1…


I love it!

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political humor, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Horsey Cartoon cuts to the chase…


April 7, 2014 Posted by | political humor, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Olbermann’s “get off of my lawn” post….and money in politics

We’ve had strong thunderstorms last night and they are still going on. So, I am about to head the gym and use the indoor track/treadmill again.

Keith Olbermann:

Yes, that sign that he ridiculed was a big FAIL. But alas: it is nothing new; witness the signs written in teabonics. And yes, in my day, if you wanted to see poorly written signs, you went to an anti-reproductive rights protest.

Or I’ll put it another way: to see bad writing, one could merely look at the “please excuse my child from X at school” notes that parents sent their kids to school with.

What has changed (IMHO): we now have the internet and FAILS are spread around for all of us to enjoy. Yes….I enjoy them…

Money in politics
Our campaign finance laws limit how much any individual can give to a single candidate. Of course, one could give to PACs and one could give to “interest groups” that were not allowed to coordinate with official campaigns. And there was a limit to how much one could give total (all official political contributions combined).

Now the total limit one can give to official campaigns has been lifted: see a video here and the story here.

So: while in the past, if you wanted to give a lot of money to help a candidate out, one could give it to one of the “soft money” organizations that weren’t allowed to coordinate with official campaigns. Now, one can give money to, say, another PAC, which can then funnel the money to the candidate of interest.

Of course, that hardly affects me and people of my income level.

But it does mean that candidates have to suck up for those big checks…once again.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Nate Silver’s new website: growing pains….

Nate Silver’s new website has come under fire a bit.

First, let me tell you what I think the site does well: it made an early midterm election prediction which is grim for the Democrats. I am sad to say that I think it is an accurate prediction (well thought out, well analyzed). I have heard that there has been some criticism, but this sounds suspiciously like the type of “wishful thinking” we saw from Republicans in 2012. It honestly looks grim for us.

Where the criticism is

538 has a stated goal of doing “data driven journalism”. There are some problems inherent in this task.

1. Data takes a long time to gather and to properly analyze.
2. When one is talking about a highly technical area such as economics or science, having expertise in such fields is ESSENTIAL (non-negotiable) to using such data properly.
3. When you have claimed to make a data driven argument in a technical area, those who know what they are talking about will fact check you and find every possible hole in your argument.
4. If your goal is to provide a simplified presentation to the reader who doesn’t regularly read the specialized economics and science journals, you’ll end up making some simplifications and omissions and you’ll likely be taken to task for that.

However, I think that there is a place for what 538 is trying to do: it isn’t to compete with the experts (it can’t do that) or even with the science/technical magazines (it can’t do that either). But what it can do is to make the public aware of the general issues that the professionals ARE dealing with along with the data and perhaps whet the appetite for more. But it can’t compete with, say, Scientific American or the economics magazines.

For now, 538 is facing growing pains. Here is one response to the first attempts: it is brutal but raises fair points.

Here is a 538 article on the question: “has climate change contributed to the increased cost of the recent natural disasters”. I thought that the article was fine, as “food for thought.” But as to a definitive conclusion: no.l

Basically, the 538 article said that the growing expense of damage from things like hurricanes came mainly from the fact that there is now more to damage…at least for right now. And yes, as of this moment, via the NOAA:

It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet properly modeled (e.g., aerosol effects).

I think that the 538 article was trying to make that point. But 538 is listening to the criticism.

Personally: I find the idea interesting and I’ll continue to read the site regularly. However I am not looking to the site for answers but rather to see what is being talked about and what metrics are being discussed.

March 28, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, economics, media, politics, science | , | Leave a comment

Good old fashioned COMMON SENSE!

I suppose that Republicans just eat this stuff up:

Convinced? :-)

To say that we speak different languages is…well…an understatement.

March 27, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | | Leave a comment

Political quips

These two races (Nebraska, Kentucky): we don’t have a great chance. Ok, we have an oh-so-slim chance in Kentucky and none at all in Nebraska. But I’ll comment anyway because, well, I like politics.

Who knew that Duke basketball was popular in Kentucky?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presumably meant to feature a clip of the University of Kentucky’s basketball team in a new campaign spot released Tuesday, but the ad’s release was instead ridiculed on Twitter for a brief shot of the Duke Blue Devils celebrating their 2010 NCAA Championship victory.

The ad, titled “Rebuild,” comes as McConnell faces a primary challenge from tea party-backed businessman Matt Bevin.

“If I’m given the opportunity to lead the U.S. Senate next year, I won’t let you down,” McConnell says, as the ad pans across the senator giving speeches and talking with supporters.

The shot of Duke players Jon Scheyer and Lance Thomas jumping in celebration comes at 1:09 of the video.


McConnell’s campaign spokeswoman, Allison Moore, said the error was made by a vendor and not the campaign itself.

“The ad was intended to highlight Kentucky’s basketball dominance and obviously the web ad vendor has become so accustomed to watching national championship celebrations in the bluegrass state that they made a mistake with one of the images,” Moore wrote in an email Tuesday to The Huffington Post. “Obviously we were horrified by the error and quickly changed it.”

This ad is part of a Republican primary campaign.


Remember when a Navy pilot landed a P-3 aircraft in China?
I remember thinking at the time: “the old breed will be disgusted; no one lands a plane loaded with secret spy gear in a communist country!” Personally: I am a bit of a chicken…who knows what I would have done.

But I didn’t see this as especially “heroic”.

Well, evidently the pilot is running in the Republican primary in Nebraska and trying to pass this off as “heroic”.

Not everyone agrees and so he got someone in the Navy to write a letter for him…but:

Read the memo circulated by Shane Osborn’s U.S. Senate campaign to counter criticism about his decision in April 2001 to land a disabled Navy reconnaissance plane in China.

* * *

Dogged by questions about his 2001 decision to land a crippled Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in China, U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborn has distributed an official-looking Navy memo supporting his account.

The memo, written Aug. 8, 2013, on Navy letterhead, is titled “Disposition of actions by EP-3E flight crew on April 1, 2001.” It explains that Osborn’s plane was authorized to land on China’s Hainan island “due to the extreme circumstances and condition of this aircraft.”

But The World-Herald has learned that the unsigned memo was not authorized by the Navy, or vetted through normal channels, and was written as a favor to Osborn by a Navy buddy working at the Pentagon.

“We cannot confirm the authenticity of this document,” said Lt. Cmdr. Katie Cerezo, a Navy spokeswoman. “We couldn’t discuss a memo that we can’t authenticate.”

Osborn’s campaign sent the memo to a World-Herald reporter Feb. 26. The paper later contacted the Navy’s public affairs office to verify its accuracy and requested an interview with the author, who was not named in the memo. After three days of searching, the Navy said it couldn’t authenticate the memo and declined to discuss it further.

Ultimately, John Comerford, a St. Louis attorney who is a fellow Navy veteran and close friend of Osborn’s, put a World-Herald reporter in touch with the author.

Osborn sought the memo to respond to critics, including some former military reconnaissance pilots, who have said that he should not have landed in China. Analysts have concluded the Chinese were able to recover some documents and equipment from the aircraft despite the crew’s efforts to destroy classified intelligence.

Osborn said the landing was proper and saved the lives of his crew. He dismissed the complaints as politically motivated or as being from Cold War veterans who don’t understand that surveillance rules have changed since they served.[...]


The memo’s author said the contents are accurate. He said his immediate supervisor at the time OK’d it, but he declined to give that officer’s name and said he is currently unavailable because of a deployment.

“This was an effort to put (the orders) into an unclassified format, on a tight timeline,” he said. “It was not something that was intended to go through channels.”

The author asked for anonymity, saying he was concerned his career could be jeopardized if anyone learned he had written the memo.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. But we did it to sort of shortcut the process,” the officer said. “I’m passionate about it. I flew with John and Shane. If they would have ditched that aircraft, none of these guys would be alive.”

A typical Navy vetting process would send a memo slated for public release to relevant military offices for approval to ensure that it is accurate and that classified information isn’t leaked.

Will this make a difference? Time will tell…though if it matters, it will matter only within the Republican primary.

March 25, 2014 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republican senate minority leader, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Early 538 Senate forecast and some dissent on the concept

Sadly, I have to agree with Nate Silver’s Senate election forecast: the Democrats are slight underdogs to keep the Senate at 50-50. We have too many seats in red states up for election.

However, some are taking shots at Mr. Silver’s website (NOT the election forecast):

Timothy Egan joins the chorus of those dismayed by Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight. I sorry, but I have to agree: so far it looks like something between a disappointment and a disaster.

But I’d argue that many of the critics are getting the problem wrong. It’s not the reliance on data; numbers can be good, and can even be revelatory. But data never tell a story on their own. They need to be viewed through the lens of some kind of model, and it’s very important to do your best to get a good model. And that usually means turning to experts in whatever field you’re addressing.

Yes: knowing how to crunch data does NOT replace knowing a field. Of course, this next Krugman comment is epic:

Unfortunately, Silver seems to have taken the wrong lesson from his election-forecasting success. In that case, he pitted his statistical approach against campaign-narrative pundits, who turned out to know approximately nothing. What he seems to have concluded is that there are no experts anywhere, that a smart data analyst can and should ignore all that.

This made me laugh. Sure, I see the pundits as being mostly, well…entertainers. But I am not sure that Mr. Silver is competing with experts but rather trying to trying to introduce some data into journalism.

I don’t think that his target audience is the readers of Scientific American.

March 23, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, politics, politics/social, statistics | , | Leave a comment

Politics for me in 2014 (the races I am most interested in)

At the national level, I am most interested in the US Senate race. We’ll be extremely fortunate to hold to a 50-50 tie. I honestly think that the Republicans will end up with a slight majority.

The House: forget it: Republicans pick up seats.

BUT, the above is really based on guessing; I haven’t studied the polls and betting lines all that much. I’ll know more this summer.

But as far as Illinois:

1. Senate: Senator Dick Durbin should be able to beat dairy owner Jim Oberweis. I’ll send him some monetary love, but in all honesty this will be because I want to be on the side of a winner.

2. Governor: Gov. Pat Quinn faces “businessman” (think: Donald Trump with a better educational pedigree) Bruce Rauner. Here is a REPUBLICAN attack ad against Rauner (primary race)

The only polls I’ve seen were very old (one favored Quinn, the other favored Rauner); there hasn’t been much polling lately. And in 2010, Quinn was way behind and ended up winning a close race though he was 7 points down. I predict a repeat performance; he is a very good politician.

If I were making a line, I’d call this one a toss-up. Why it is close: Rauner IS a smart man but I wonder if he will listen to reason from his campaign staff. He is also a political neophyte who openly says that his models of success is Wisconsin and Indiana. Hence in the Republican primary, he lost a 10 point lead in the polls and barely held off a dull challenger.

I’ll send Gov. Quinn some love.

3. IL-17. Cheri Bustos is in a rematch with Bobby Schilling. In 2012, she won by 6 points though President Obama carried her district by 17. This should NOT be a close race BUT it will be…if we are lucky. I’ve said this before and will say it again:

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

Her margin was about 18,000 votes.

She won the 3 urban areas by 23,700 votes and her winning margin was 18,000 votes. But evidently this means nothing to her; she has actively moved toward the Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats). Yes, I know, President Obama is only a 43 percent nationally, but he remains popular in the urban areas that she absolutely has to win and get a big turn out.

I’d have to make Schilling a favorite in this race. The only reason that she has a chance (IMHO) is that Gov. Quinn is good at getting good turn-outs and she might, again, might, be able to ride his coattails in these areas.

I sent her campaign a bit of love but I am debating…is this a waste of money?

My summary:

Least likely: getting shut out (all of my candidates losing)
Not likely but possible: a sweep. (if this happens, the bottled water is on me!)
Possible (what I predict): going 2-1.
Probable (not a huge surprise) : going 1-2

March 20, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, Dick Durbin, IL-17, politics, politics/social | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is going to take some getting used to…day 2 as a Republican…

Old habits die hard. When I woke up, it was my instinct to get a bagel, orange juice and a yogurt for breakfast (all paid for by my SNAP card) and then work out. But then I remembered my life change and I decided to skip the workout and have a real American breakfast instead:

American breakfast-1278891

Then I wanted to drive my Prius to the welfare office and get another welfare check and read a Richard Dawkins book while waiting. But I remembered and tuned the radio to Rush Limbaugh and went to WORK!!!! Oh yes, I need to trade in the Prius for some V-8 extended cab pickup truck.

I feel so patriotic already! Kind of like this guy:


I now know what to watch:


But who to vote for?

We have a GREAT candidate in IL-9:

All of the Republican incumbents in Illinois who supported marriage equality won their primaries Tuesday, but one particularly anti-LGBT candidate for Congress did beat her more liberal challenger. Susanne Atanus, who is challenging Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D) seat in Illinois’ 9th District (which includes much of Chicago), won her Republican primary against former Obama-supporter and Navy veteran David Earl Williams III.
Atanus received national attention in January when she told the Daily Herald that God sends devastating weather like tornadoes and diseases like autism as punishment for LGBT equality and abortion rights:

“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as in response to gay rights and legalized abortions.
“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

That’s wonderful! Now who are we running in 2016? Is Mitt Romney making a comeback?

Oh, some of the social stuff will take some getting used to:

Quite the charmer Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has hosting fundraisers for him. Dennis Prager is a talk radio host who thinks that one of the “mutual obligations” of marriage is for women to have sex with their husbands based on the husband’s wishes and not the wife’s “mood.”
Writing on in December of 2008, Prager compares a man’s obligation to go to work, regardless of his “mood,” to a woman’s obligation to have sex with her husband.

“Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?” he writes.

“What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work?”

He goes on to compare a wife’s commitment to meeting the needs of their children or parents or friends even when not in the mood to having sex with her husband, asking that, because the woman is doing what’s “right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates,” “Why not apply this attitude to sex with one’s husband?”

March 19, 2014 Posted by | Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, sarah palin | , | Leave a comment

Move over lowlifes! I am now a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN!!!!

Ok you slackers, moochers, evolutionists, Keynesian economists and other deadbeats: you had better watch out when you come here. I am now a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN!!!!!!

Personal Responsibility! No more welfare! (tax breaks for the filthy rich job creators are ok).

My vote: I voted for Bruce Rauner for governor. Why? Well…..bootstraps, rich people are the smartest people and all of that ….

(my guess: in the general election he won’t listen to anyone else and end up getting beat)

Now to go run…

March 18, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Illinois, political humor, politics | | Leave a comment


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