Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ideology Triumphs over Science in New York

Eli,

The New York Times    |    BREAKING NEWS ALERT   
BREAKING NEWS    Wednesday, December 17, 2014 12:48 PM EST
Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks

Alternative headline: "Cuomo to Poor: Let them burn wood."

Bill

Friday, December 5, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Democrats Lock in the Youth Vote

Eli,

The inevitable domination of the Democratic party is based on demographics. Fewer old white men voting Republican, more of everyone else voting Democratic. Losing the House, Senate, the vast majority of statehouses and state legislatures is merely a bump in the road.

Not content with the inevitability of demography, some have tried to tilt the balance even further. The Washington Post reports on their success in locking in the soon-to-be Democrats:

School kids are blaming Michelle Obama for their “gross” school lunches
School kids around the country are tweeting rather unfortunate pictures of the meals they're being served at lunchtime, and thanking first lady and healthy school food advocate Michelle Obama for their bowls of mush and mystery proteins. 

Many tweets to choose from. This one was representative enough.


The thrill (up Chris Matthew's leg) is gone.

Bill

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama Takes Executive Action on Immigration. America Yawns.

Eli,

From The Hill:
Officials with ABC, CBS and Fox confirmed to The Hill that Obama's 8 p.m. speech from the White House will not be carried on their networks. CNN reported that NBC would not be carrying the address either...

A source at one of the major networks told The Hill that the White House did not officially request prime-time coverage on the networks Thursday, a big night for ratings given popular shows on several networks, including ABC’s “Shondaland” schedule of shows created by producer Shonda Rhimes.
I would guess my interaction with illegal and legal immigration is about the same as most in the suburbs of New York, which is probably a lot less than those living in San Diego, Phoenix, Houston and Santa Fe. That said, I really don't see why this issue has sucked so much of our time and attention. Where's the crisis (beef)?

A CEO I was speaking with yesterday pretty much summed it up for me. H was decrying the lack of  immigration "reform" and his sole example of the crisis lack of immigration action has had on the US is a paucity of long-haul truck drivers. I tried not to laugh.

Personally, I'm a big fan of immigration. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. Amnesty for those who are here illegally? Absolutely. Sure, why not. Ironically, this puts me in opposition to the comprehensive immigration reform touted by Obama et al. That reform puts rather strict limits on immigration with quotas controlled by an (unholy) alliance of the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. Yuck.

But in any case, a crisis? We have to act now? We can't wait any longer? I don't see it. Bring on Shondaland please.

Bill

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Net Neutrality?

Eli,

How can anyone be against net neutrality? It sounds so right. As President Obama indicated last night the way to net neutrality is via Title II.

I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act
That's Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (not a misprint, 1934.) That title deals with regulation of Common Carriers, and it was modeled after regulation of trains (I kid you not).

Here's the first part of Title II:


It shall be the duty of every common carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio to furnish such communication service upon reasonable request therefor; and, in accordance with the orders of the Commission, in cases where the Commission, after opportunity for hearing, finds such action necessary or desirable in the public interest, to establish physical connections with other carriers, to establish through routes and charges applicable thereto and the divisions of such charges, and to establish and provide facilities and regulations for operating such through routes.
This will place the FCC squarely into the planning and approval of expansion of the internet's pipes.


(b) All charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is hereby declared to be unlawful:.....

The Commissioner may prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary in the public interest to carry out the provisions of this Act.
 New services will be approved by the FCC. Prices will be approved by the FCC.

Supports of Peace, love and net neutrality say the FCC will simply forebear this type of regulation. I think they are naive. Regulators use the power they are given. Regulatory agencies are also often driven by their political masters. For instance, the IRS investigates conservative non-profit groups at the very public behest of Democratic Senators. How long will it take a Republican Administration to ask the FCC to stop internet services favoring Democrats? How long will it take a Democrats Administration to ask the FCC to stop internet services favoring Republicans. 

Title II regulation of the Internet is a frightening prospect.

Bill


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"That Badly Damaged Republican Brand" Wins 57% of the House, at least 52% of the Senate and 62% of the Governors

Eli,

The NY Times reports

It was a dispiriting outcome for Democrats, who just a few months ago were optimistic that a badly damaged Republican brand would help them prevail in a handful of races
According to the AP the Republicans will take somewhere around 248 House seats. I keep reading this is the biggest Republican House since either the 1920's or Harry Truman.  248 is 57% of the House seats. Not bad for a badly damaged brand.

I know what you are thinking: It's all the result of gerrymandering. Then explain this.

The Senate right now has 52 Republicans. Alaska and Louisiana probably go Republican, so the Senate is somewhere around 52-54% Republican. Not bad for the obstructionist party of no that gerrymands its way to victory.

I know what you are thinking: It's just the luck of the 33 Senate seats up for election. Then explain this.

The AP is currently showing Republicans with 31 of the 50 Governors,  62%. The GOP picked up Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts. All without gerrymandering. I haven't been able to find easily tabulated state house results but I believe it is similarly unbalanced towards the Republicans. Not bad for those extremist, racist, homophobic, war-mongering deniers.

I keep asking myself this: If the Republican brand is badly damaged, and they now control 57% of the House, at least 52% of the Senate and 62% of the Governors, what does that say about the Democratic brand? Not to worry though, there is hope (and change). Parties, or brands, respond to competition and will adjust their message and messengers in order to survive. I don't know how the Democrats will change, but they will.

The conventional wisdom seems to be coalescing around the notion that the Republicans must now "get things done." I don't know why. If they were elected to stop the Democrats and Obama, then it seems all they need to do is stop the Democrats and Obama. I don't really believe that's all they were elected to do, but they should be careful of over-interpreting their mandate. The Republicans will at some point over-reach and get slapped hard, just as the Democrats over-reached and got slapped, hard.

I don't buy this notion of an ineluctable trend to the Democrats based on demography and gender and I would discount any thesis (and I've seen a few) of a permanent Republican majority.

Now the chattering class can move on to their next shibboleth. Again from the NY Times:
 Republicans now face a challenge that is the mirror opposite of their counterparts’: how to avoid merely being a powerful congressional party and be competitive again in presidential campaigns, in which Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six elections.
 The last six Presidential election winners (source FEC.gov)

2012        Obama     65.9M     51.1%
2008        Obama     69.5M     52.9%
2004        Bush        62.0M     50.7%
2000        Bush        50.5M      47.9%
1996        Clinton    47.4M      49.2%
1992        Clinton    44.9M      43.0%

The Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six elections, but not a majority of the popular vote in five of the last six. Ross Perot ran in both the 1992 and 1996 elections, winning almost 19% of the vote in 1992 and 8% in 1996. Besides, lets be honest, Clinton became Republican in 1994.

So let's rephrase it a bit. In 4 of the past 9 Presidential elections the Republican candidate for President received a majority of the popular vote, but in only 2 of the past 9 did a Democrat candidate for President receive a majority of the popular vote. In the remaining three elections, no candidate received a majority of the popular vote.

Bill



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best Endorsement Ever: "Very Grimm Choice: One is bad, the other is worse"

Eli,

Read the whole thing, it's priceless. From the New York Daily News:

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and beyond all doubt we are desperate in considering the choice for Congress in the district representing Staten Island and southern Brooklyn.

In Domenic Recchia, the Democrats have fielded a candidate so dumb, ill-informed, evasive and inarticulate that voting for a thuggish Republican who could wind up in a prison jumpsuit starts to make rational sense.

At least Michael Grimm can string three sentences together in arguing that he deserves the presumption of innocence on federal criminal charges stemming from his past operation of a restaurant.

Should he be convicted, Grimm has promised to resign, paving the way for a match between two fresh candidates. All the better.
I had much the same feeling when voting this morning. I certainly wasn't going to vote for someone that voted for Obamacare, but was I really going to pull the lever for the pale imitation running against him? And in the state races I wasn't going to vote for any incumbents, but the ding-dongs running against them were just as horrible to think of in office. Someone called this a "hold your nose election." Precisely the case for me.

Bill