Modern Conservative Culture: dupe the gullible out of their money

The Guardian is having a field day with the new Sarah Palin channel:

Given the content available and the affectedly simple presentation, it’s hard not to see the new Sarah Palin Channel as simply a moneymaking enterprise.

Her competitor Glenn Beck’s vertically integrated TV-website-dogwhistle aggregator, the Blaze, takes in $36m per year before ad revenue. And, as both Rick Perlstein and Alex Pareene have noted, one of the animating principles of the conservative movement over the last 40 years has been soaking every last dollar out of people whose intellectual incuriosity has never been an impediment to further rage and paranoia. It’s why places like WorldNetDaily run obnoxious flash ads in columns that, top to bottom, tell you to buy and hoard gold, to click here to join a paid newsletter that outlines the UN/Agenda 21 plans to annex Joe’s Crab Shack, and how your $25 check to FreedomWorks is the only thing standing between repealing Obamacare or toiling in the lesbian nose-earring mines while wearing Soviet-style tracksuits that give everyone frontbutt.

I wanted to see for myself, but I still can’t even sign in for the free sample of the Sarah Palin Channel. Each attempt ends with a server error and my desultorily trying to glean something from available teaser videos.

The author of this article went on to get a one month subscription (cheaper than the NYT!) and describes what he saw.

I am too cheap to subscribe to a pay service. But I do know that I get “buy gold now” and “your doctor doesn’t want you to read this” advertisements from things like and the like. They are *always* hawking something and they do this in a way that liberal groups do not. Liberal groups also constantly ask for money, but it is always to “fight those evil Republicans”, etc. It is never to buy this or that investment, health secret, blah, blah, blah.

But it isn’t just the lower economic class of conservatives who get conned. Consider this Paul Krugman article about Karl Rove and the ultra-wealthy conservative establishment..and this article was written days PRIOR to the 2012 general election:

The estimable Rick Perlstein has a fascinating essay about the seamless continuum from direct-mail marketing scams to direct-mail right-wing fundraising, and from there to the whole character of modern movement conservatism. Go read. I didn’t know, for example, that heroes of direct-mail fundraising like Richard Viguerie ended up delivering hardly any of the money to political causes; somehow it ended up swallowed by overhead, otherwise known as the fundraisers themselves.

And although Perlstein doesn’t make this point, I suspect that his analysis explains one of the great mysteries of 2012: the failure of the great Rove/Citizens United juggernaut to materialize.

Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message? Well, they certainly raised a lot of money, and ran a lot of ads. But in terms of actual number of ads the battle has been, if anything, an Obama advantage.

Krugman admits that he didn’t know how the election would actually go…not for sure anyway. But he had a great idea. But then:

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

And while Rove the crusader is looking — provisionally, of course, until the votes are in — like a failure, Rove the businessman has just had an amazing, banner year.

And you know something: there is part of me, albeit a small part, that envies the people that con these fearful idiots out of their money. There are times when I wish that I had that skill.🙂

July 31, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Tina Fey’s anticipation of Sarah Palin’s network..

July 28, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, humor, political humor, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Back at it…in Peoria

First my workout: I didn’t dare weigh myself; though I ate 3 meals a day and ate within my foodplan, I didn’t eat the usual fruit and yogurt stuff I usually eat. So I felt as if I gained 30 pounds over the weekend.

2 mile jog outside (neighborhood)
2 miles on the track: 5 x 400 with 200 walk/jog, 200 run
runs: 1:54-1:52-1:54 (9:12)-1:52-1:53-55 (19:13)
rests: 1:43-1:47-1:47-1:47-1:44

quick breakfast, then 6 mile walk in Bradley Park: modified cornstalk 4.2 (lots of cars at the theater), lower 1.2 loop, lower .6 loop, then extra (Past Markin to Bradley Ave.)

total: 4 run 6 walk. I did have two “soft” knee spikes in my left knee (not the one with the 2010 surgery). This is looking as if …oh 3-6 years I’ll probably have to have this knee done as well.

Mano Singham: discusses a different kind of migrant worker. This is the older 60+ person who lives out of a RV and drives to seasonal jobs; they can’t afford to retire. I hope that isn’t me, of course. But if I CAN do this and don’t HAVE to….who knows?

But yeah, I imagine this is no fun for those who are trapped in this manner.

you might be hearing about one really low poll number for President Obama (37 percent). In fact, most of them have him in the low to mid 40’s. Personally, I am glad that we don’t have a President that is rushing to get us into new wars.

Still, the Senate: ugh…we’d be lucky to hold it to 50-50. The 95 percent confidence interval for Republican seats looks like 47-55 with perhaps 51 being the most likely outcome.

Right now, the polls for us in Georgia and Kentucky are probably fool’s gold.

Note: I was more confident about the 2012 Presidential election because we had a LOT more polls.

Locally: To the surprise of no one, Tea Party IL-17 candidate Bobby Schilling has the support of our “let’s send the police after someone who hasn’t broken the law Mayor Ardis”. I am shocked. I wonder what dirty tricks Mr. Schilling has up his sleeve this time?

July 21, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, 2014 midterm, Aaron Schock, political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Political Polarization again…

If you have family (or, gasp, “friends”) that watch Fox News, this is what they are getting a steady diet of.

President Obama’s administration is rocked by scandal and his presidency is IMPLODING!!!!

Well…it isn’t, but the old dinosaurs think so.

But this does, in part, explain the low approval rations. Right now, we are very politically polarized.

And yes, I feel into the trap at times; I had a tough time giving President Bush credit for things like TARP and his good faith attempts at immigration reform.

And I am part of the social polarization. For example, I won’t patronize stores where gun nuts make their “right to carry protests” and I approve of efforts like this one (in Missouri, no less)

Anyhow, this polarization affects things like Presidential approval ratings. Now-a-days, the Republicans will NEVER approve of President Obama, no matter what he does. So, in this climate, getting to 50 percent will be very difficult.

This may have affected President Bush too:

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 8.29.06 AM

Of course, some of it is the economy as it was during President Bush:


Yes, I know: we still aren’t adding jobs fast enough to keep up with both the population increase and the disaster that President Obama inherited. But going UP is better than going DOWN though acknowledging that might be asking too much of a Fox News watcher.

Still, President Obama’s low numbers don’t spell doom for 2016; we’ll have trouble in 2014 but that is mostly because Republicans and conservatives are grossly overrepresented in Congress.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, 2014 midterm, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

People love democracy until they lose an election

Enjoy the butthurt:

Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 8.22.25 AM

If President Obama really were a tyrant, these idiots would be in jail or dead.

But…to be fair, many called President Bush a tyrant. I didn’t; I was upset at the country for electing him (the second time) but I acknowledged that the country did indeed elect him.

October 28, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, morons, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Krugman: the influence of the VSP on the decline?

Paul Krugman talks about Larry Summers:

Whatever happens with the Fed succession — and boy, did Obama’s inner circle make a gratuitous mess of this one — it’s been one heck of a revealing episode, and not just because of the sexism on display, which started out with thinly-veiled talk of “gravitas” and eventually went into full-blown masculinity panic. […]

Anyway, it’s also clear that Summers made some pretty big mistakes in his campaign. Neil Irwin points to his silence on monetary policy, which was supposed to be cagey but ended up looking slippery; John Cassidy points to his failure to offer any kind of mea culpa for past errors, which arguably was about preserving gravitas but ends up making him seem unreformed.

But why did Summers make these errors? In part because he is a whip-smart academic, the terror of the seminar room, who likes to play political operator — and as a political operator, he’s a great academic. But there is, I’d argue, a larger issue: Summers did not recognize the extent to which the political world has changed. He’s been carefully cultivating an image as a Very Serious Person, in a world where VSPness has gone from a source of cachet to being a liability on both right and left.

Think about it. Carefully cultivating a reputation for Seriousness does you no good on the right in a world where the Republican Party is more or less officially committed to crank economic doctrines, and where the GOP’s universally acknowledged intellectual leader is an obvious flimflam man.

Meanwhile, many if not all Democrats are well aware that the VSPs have been wrong about everything for the past decade or more, from the risks of financial deregulation to the fear of nonexistent bond vigilantes. Coming across as the return of Robert Rubin may have seemed savvy back in, say, 2008; it’s worse than useless now.

As far as the public goes: I’ll make a wild conjecture. Remember the 2012 election? The VSP said that the election was “razor tight”; you heard this from the talking heads at NPR all the way to Fox News.

Those who read the actual polls knew that this was not a close election. It was the nerds vs. the “very serious” and the neards won in spectacular fashion. Bottom line: the polyester pants set have been wrong…on just about everything.

July 31, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

2012 Elections by Congressional District

The data is here

For example, you can see that President Obama won 11 Texas Congressional Districts in 2012. I haven’t ground through the numbers to see how a CD decided election would have gone (Romney, but I don’t know the final score). One note: there were fewer “voted for a Congressional D but voted for President Obama” districts. However my district went for a Democrat (Bustos) by 6-7 points but went for President O by 17.

Note: if you are wondering how Democrats keep getting more votes but Republicans keep getting more House seats: part of that is gerrymandering and part of it is that Democrats tend to run up huge margins in their districts (mostly urban) whereas the Republicans win more districts but by somewhat closer margins. So the Democrats have more people behind them, but we tend to live clumped together.

April 10, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, IL-17, Illinois, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Wyoming State Rep. Hans Hunt has a point….

Via the Huffington Post: a new Wyoming state resident wrote to a junior state lawmaker about a House Bill which would allow for weapons to be carried on schools and college campuses; she mentioned that this bill, should it become law, might make her reconsider staying in the state. The state representative responded:

Mincing no words, Hunt responded thus:

I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. I don’t expect a “mass exodus” from our state just because we’re standing up for our rights.

My guess: while the state paper critiqued the response, I am ok with it. But I’ll add to the bluntness: The United States had an election and the incumbent President won by a large margin (4.9 million votes). If YOU can’t accept that, leave the United States. Note: I am NOT saying “if you don’t like that”; I didn’t like it when President Bush was reelected. But I glumly accepted the verdict.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, politics, politics/social | | 2 Comments

Humor, Snark and Ridicule…


Ok, the above is funny.

Politics and statistical literacy

A facebook friend posted this.


Now someone on her comment thread doubted these statistics because he knew that just walking around was safer than being in a war zone. That is, of course, true. But that doesn’t mean that the above statistics are false. What it means: wars tend to be brief and the armed forces involved are far smaller in number than the population of the United States.

Interestingly someone tried to argue by just posting a link, and I admit (and admitted it there) I misread the number of countries that were being compared (with respect to homicide rates). But the person attempting to argue with me didn’t get that this was a comparison of European countries; after all this study (which was a competent one) talked about the “high homicide rate” of the Netherlands and Sweden. Yes, their homicide rate is about 1.1 out of 100,000 whereas ours is 4.8 out of 100,000. But this person didn’t know that and won’t accept it.

The point: statistical and numerical illiteracy hamstrings a person when it comes to being able to make an intelligent contribution to a discussion on the major issues.


I am happy to let Ted Nugent be the face of the Republican party:

Bill Maher: made a joke that he wanted to see Donald Trump’s birth certificate to ensure that he wasn’t fathered by an orangutan and joked that he’d pay 5 million dollars to charity if one were produced. Mr. Trump produced a birth certificate and is now attempting to sue Mr. Maher for a breach of contract. Just watch the response:


Sorry, my sympathy for “senior citizens” is very limited here. Why? Here is why.
Screen shot 2013-02-09 at 9.38.37 PM

You old people voted for the Republicans. You richly deserve what you get.

I generally like Daily Kos. It is one of the few places you can make a physics joke and someone will get it. There are some smart people there. But if someone from a “community” feels that people from that community has been insulted, a “this prejudice X is the last remaining socially acceptable form of bigotry allowed in America…people from community X are your {insert obligatory list of family, friends and professions here}”, etc. etc. You could write one of these diaries with a computer program.

Well, here is the “fat acceptance” diary (you know, anti obesity programs are just there to enrich the diet/weight loss industry, right?”)🙂

I’d say that this opens our community to ridicule from the red staters, but fortunately the Republicans also have their share of obese people, though I wonder if they are as prone to blaming external forces for their situations as liberals are. Oh wait, of course they are; look at how they whine and complain when they lose an election; much of their strategy is to make the poor social conservatives feel like they are being victimized by “the libs”.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, humor, obesity, political/social, politics, ranting, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Economics of college and the nation…

Workout notes: Weights plus an easy 3.1 mile (5K) walk outside; it was 6 F (-14 C), sunny and breezy.

Weights: a bit different today:
rotator cuff
pull ups: 10 sets of 5, but I did two groups of (5-5-5) with no rest in between; I changed hand position. I then did two groups of (5-5); same deal. I think that I got more “quality” pull ups doing it that way.
bench: 10 x 135, 8 x 170, 4 x 170.
incline: 8 x 135, 7 x 135
pull downs/curls: 3 sets of 10 x 160 pull down; 2 machine sets, 1 set with 25 pound dumbbells (10 reps)
seated military: two sets of 15 x 45 dumbbells, 1 set of 10 x 70 (each arm) machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65 (dumbbell, each arm)
bench (dumbbell): 2 sets of 10 x 65

I really mixed up the pull downs/curs/seated military/rows and dumbbell bench.

College: financial aid I just went through filling out the non-custodial parent forms; interestingly enough they were very nosey about my wife’s earnings, savings, etc. (my daughter is from my first marriage). I know that this doesn’t count with federal stuff, but it does count with some private universities, though my wife’s income is off limits to them (and should be). However, interestingly enough, if you are the custodial parent and you marry, they WILL count not only your income but also your spouses!

When it comes to determining financial aid, the Federal government does not consider the income and assets of the non-custodial parent. One the other hand, most private colleges do consider the non-custodial parent’s income and assets. So, the distribution of aid from the college itself will probably be determined using both parent’s income, but Federal and State aid (which would include subsidized Stafford loans)will be based only on the custodial parent’s family income.

If your husband is the custodial parent, you should be aware that your income is considered to be available to meet college needs. This is true even if you were married the week before the FAFSA form was filed and you have four children of your own to support. Most people are surprised to hear this, but it is true. If you haven’t planned appropriately, you could find yourself with a very high expected family contribution (EFC) because of the inclusion of your income. To determine what your EFC might be, check out this calculator.

That doesn’t mean that the non-custodial parent is “off the hook” when it comes to paying for college. Many divorce decrees specify that the non-custodial parent must pay a certain amount of percentage of college costs. Massachusetts is one of the states where payment of college expenese can be ordered by a judge.

Interesting. Now there are other ways SOME people pay for college:

Sugar Daddies have become real popular these days.

Not the the caramel candy on a stick that you may have eaten as a kid.

But, an older gentleman with a wallet and bank account full of dough.

Tallahassee Resident David Riley says, “You gotta do what you gotta do these days. It’s a dog eat dog world. But, a sugar daddy?” defines the modern sugar daddy as “a successful and generous man who is willing to pamper and offer financial help or gifts to a young person in return for friendship and companionship.”

The company says as tuition hikes continue, more college students are turning to Sugar Daddies to get by.

FSU student Kaylee Blanchard says, “There’s many ways that you can do it. You can apply for loans; you can apply for scholarships; get a job. I know that there’s not many jobs out there, but, there’s definitely ways you can make money besides going on this website.”

FSU is number 14 on the top 20 list of the Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools in 2012.


Critics question the legality of what the website calls a “mutually beneficial relationship.” They say having a Sugar Daddy is no different from selling yourself.

One “Sugar Baby” from Florida International University says in return for her tuition payments, cars, trips, and jewelry, she gives, “Sex.”

I don’t recommend this.🙂 Besides, if I were rich enough to be a “sugar daddy”, the last thing in the world I’d want it to hook up with some entitled snowflake. Now if you are talking about funding the research of some hot “young” professor….well…😉

But now that you are in college, how do you do well? One way might be to become part of an intellectual circle of friends:

(—Students who work together and interact online are more likely to be successful in their college classes, according to a study published Jan. 30 in the journal Nature Scientific Reports and co-authored by Manuel Cebrian, a computer scientist at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego. Cebrian and colleagues analyzed 80,000 interactions between 290 students in a collaborative learning environment for college courses.

The major finding was that a higher number of online interactions was usually an indicator of a higher score in the class. High achievers also were more likely to form strong connections with other students and to exchange information in more complex ways. High achievers tended to form cliques, shutting out low-performing students from their interactions. Students who found themselves shut out were not only more likely to have lower grades; they were also more likely to drop out of the class entirely.

Note: there was an interaction graph made of students and those that were “disconnected” did worse; those that were highly interactive did better.

Here is a decent summary of the argument between the economists and the Very Serious People (“respected” pundits).

Paul Krugman is nice about it:

Neil Irwin has a very good piece on economists versus pundits on the deficit, which is however marred by a half-hearted attempt to squeeze the issue into a standard views-differ-on-shape-of-planet framework — neither side understands the other’s concerns, they’re talking past each other, etc..

Actually, I understand perfectly well where the deficit scolds are coming from; I just don’t think it makes any sense, for reasons I’ve explained at length, and which Irwin mostly lays out as well. (Missing from his analysis is the sheer difficulty of telling a story about how we get in trouble even if investors get worried about our debt).

There’s no comparable level of understanding on the other side; indeed, Joe Scarborough and, as far as I can tell, Bowles/Simpson/Peterson etc. are under the delusion that my views are way out of the economics mainstream, …

I’ll put it less politely: the punditry doesn’t know what it is talking about, period. Evidence: who was saying that the 2012 election was “razor tight” and who was saying that it wasn’t close?

It was put this way:

nd sportswriters are marveling at the cluelessness of the political press: “Re: Nate Silver, most amusing thing about this election is watching political pundits make sports fans look like PhD mathematicians,” tweeted ESPN basketball writer John Hollinger.

I suppose that being a pundit is mostly about never learning from your mistakes.🙂

February 1, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, economics, economy, education, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment


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