Friday, November 30, 2012

Palestine State

The state of Palestine was created by the United Nations on November 29, 1947. It was a nation stillborn, dismembered by invading Arab nations bent on killing the nation of Israel in its cradle.

Jordan consumed much of the West Bank, including cities like Jericho, Ramallah and Hebron. Egypt took the Gaza Strip. What was leftover was absorbed into Israel.

Muslim residents of what became Israel were urged by Arab leaders to abandon their homes and move to refugee camps rather than live under Jewish rule as they had done peacefully under British rule and Turkish rule in the past. Most of these refugee camps continue to exist generations later.

I mention all this because yesterday on the 65th anniversary of UN vote that created the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine the United Nations voted to declare Palestine an "observer state."

The nine countries voting against included four Pacific island nations that are puppets of the United States. Canada, Panama, and the US had supported the 1947 resolution but opposed this iteration.

There is still no peace between Israel and Palestine but recognizing the state of Palestine is a past due act. While we are at it, let's recognize the independent nations of Scotland and Catalonia.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Goosedrownder Goes West

The Plains states from Fargo to Austin are seeing a drought so severe the mighty Mississippi and Rio Grande are drying up. The Jersey Shore has had her hurricane. It is now the turn for the Leftcoast.
A series of major storms has set up what is being called an "atmospheric river" and is predicted to drop as much as a foot of rain on the Pacific coast from San Francisco to Seattle. Betcha a quarter some nut claims the resultant flooding is because of gay marriage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Excerpts from the Devil's Dictionary

Written in 1881 by Ambrose Bierce. It can be found freely at

CHRISTIAN, n One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
CLERGYMAN, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones.

CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
Bophal, India after Union Carbide was finished. 3000 dead and no executives were punished.
DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.
Student debt exceeds $1 trillion.
FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

IDIOT, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.

PRESIDENT, n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom— and of whom only—it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.

REDSKIN, n. A North American Indian, whose skin is not red—at least not on the outside.
RICHES, n "The savings of many in the hands of one." Eugene Debs

Monday, November 26, 2012

'Impure Thoughts'

Norquist Is a Religion
Grover Norquist, the tax cut psycho, declared today that "We’ve got some people discussing impure thoughts on national television." When I Googled images of "impure thoughts" I got boobs, Madonna, and Madonna's boobs. But Grover wasn't talking about people discussing boobs on television, he was concerned about Republicans reneging on his "no taxes until the end of time" pledge. Grover was saying that a small increase in the taxes the super rich pay is a mortal sin and even thinking about it is the road to Hell.

'Women Aren't Women'
Another Republican, FoxNews columnist Suzanne Venker, today denounced women as unwomanly what with all their unbound boobs and visible limbs and that they are working for a living at jobs outside of sweatshops and brothels. Women have turned men into slackers by refusing to be meek, subservient, china dolls dependent on men for their very existence. Suzanne says women must "surrender to their nature" and only then will men agree to marry them. Suzanne theology is not new.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Modern Gilded Age

Mark Twain coined the phrase for an 1873 novel. Since then it has been used to described a time in American history where individuals with unimaginable wealth coexisted with masses of unimaginable poverty. It was a time when Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were billionaires (when a billion dollars was a lot of money) and a small handful of men held the majority of the nation's wealth. Just like today.

Today the Concentration of Wealth Is Huge
Just 400 Americans are worth more than $1.5 trillion and they are making
nearly $200 billion a year. Just one percent of the country own over 1/3 of the nation's wealth while the bottom half of the nation owns a mere one percent of the wealth. America is one of the least equal countries on earth.

Billionaires Are Not 'Job Creators'
Most of the super wealthy are, like Mitt Romney, idle rich. They do not innovate, they do not use their money to create businesses and jobs. Ninty-seven percent stuff their wealth in the rich guy equivalent of the sock drawer - bonds and property.

Hedge Fund Gamblers
There are a few riverboat gamblers among the very wealthy. But they only play if the game is rigged in their favor. Derivatives markets make $1.2 quadrillion(!) in trades per year, a tax of only 0.1% on these transactions would balance the federal budget. Their profits are taxed as capital gains, at a far lower rate than earned income. There is no practical nor moral reason that unearned income (dividends and capital gains) are not taxed at the same rate as earned income (salaries).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Courtesy of Joss Whedon.
To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice... with pie. ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice... with pie.

Read more:

To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice... with pie.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Month To the End of the World

We only have one more month before the Mayan calendar and "ancient alien theorists" (History Channel trademark) predict the end of days. It's metaphysics time.

God the Jokester
God has a wicked sense of humor, just ask Harold Camping who convinced millions of people last year to sell all their belongings and prepare for Rapture on God's say so. That was a knee slapper. God's latest prank was whispering to Pat Robertson that Mitt Romney was going to be elected President. Guaranteed! Damn, Jesus is still giggling over that one.

How Did the Universe Begin?
The Jatravartid people, however, believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief" ~ Douglas Adams
At the other end, there is a great debate among Republicans whether the universe was created six or ten thousand years ago. Marco Rubio has tried to straddle that contentious question by stating that science is just a matter of personal opinion.

Sex and the Acolyte
Republican religionists have been obsessing about sex recently. They content that David Petraeus fucked his paramour Paula Broadwell because gays in the military corrupted his morals. There is Lisa Biron who served the Lord fight against homosexuals by transporting an underage girl across the border into Canada to use her in pornography. Of course there were the two Senate candidates that screwed their chances over their bizarre rape opinions. That, at least, was understandable when you remember that Jesus was a rape baby.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Backwards As Fast As They Can

John Metz, the Denny's franchisee who announced he was going to put a surcharge on meals and suggested that customers deduct the surcharge from the tip, got his chain yanked by Denny's CEO. Metz sheepishly announced there is no surcharge. I don't have proof, but I suspect Metz greedy little plan ran afoul of his contract with Denny's. Denny's CEO was outraged because Metz had shit on the entire Denny's image and stores across the country were getting angry phone calls and losing customers because of Metz.

Papa John Schnatter is backpedaling his post-election threats. Now he's claiming he was "misquoted" and that he has no intention of taking out Obama's reelection on his employees. I suspect his stores have been getting more angry phone calls than pizza orders.

Right-wing bloggers are whining that the First Amendment rights of Metz and Schantter are being violated by customers boycotting their businesses. As for Denny's. That company has a long history of racism. Metz fits right in with their continuing corporate culture.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Israel-Gaza War

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. ~ Gilad Sharon
Israel's war against the Gaza Strip has multiple components.
  1. Attack military targets. There are very few of these, weapons caches and rocket launchers. This is a legitimate use of deadly force.
  2. Decapitate Hamas leadership. This is more questionable. Assassination has long been a military strategy. It is pretty much the only strategy the United States uses in the War on Terror. It is also considered a violation of Just War Doctrine, especially if such assassinations also kill innocent non-combatants such a children.
  3. Spread terror. A principle goal of this war is to terrorize the population of Gaza to convince them to stop lobbing rockets into Israel. On the Hamas side, the goal is to use fear of lobbed rockets to convince Israel to lift the economic siege on the Strip. 
  4. Genocide. Some Israeli hawks want to "flatten" Gaza, as Ariel Sharon's son suggests. Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari has said that Gaza and her 1.7 million residents should be "liquidated." The Israeli Interior Minister wants to "send Gaza back to the Middle Ages."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Three Gilded Age Crimes

The Gilded Age, so named by Mark Twain, was a time in the last quarter of the 19th century in America when the economy staggered back and forth between depression and weak recovery. At the same time wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of Robber Barons -- businessman-thieves like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Carnegie who became obscenely wealth exploiting cheap labor and stealing from corrupt governments.

The Murder of Jubilee Jim Fisk
Jim Fisk was a fat, coarse popinjay. As a New York financier he loved to manipulate markets. In 1869 he tried and nearly succeeded in cornering the market of gold at the risk of destroying the nation's economy. In 1872, Fisk's paramour and her lover (Fisk's business partner Edward Stokes) tried to blackmail Fisk. Unfortunately for the blackmailers, Fisk didn't give a rat's ass for his reputation. Frustrated and bankrupt, Stokes shot Fisk on a hotel stairwell. Fisk was so poorly thought of in New York that Stokes got away with serving only four years for manslaughter.

Crédit Mobilier Scandal
The federal government was committed to building a transcontinental railroad connecting the wealth of California with the rest of the nation. Actually, the Union Pacific Railroad bribed Congress into voting massive appropriations for constructing the rail line. Thomas Durant formed a phony company, Credit Mobilier, with himself, his friends, and corrupt politicians as stockholders. The federal government funneled hundreds of millions of dollars (back in the time that was a lot of money) in to the project, most of it went to Durant and his buddies. The scam was discovered in 1872 and while there was a huge hubbub Durant was so politically protected (he owned President James Garfield) he never saw the inside of a jail.

Boss Tweed
William Tweed was the most thoroughly corrupt politician in American history, and that's saying something given the competition. For almost 20 years Tweed ruled New York City through Tammany Hall as a kleptocracy where even criminal gangs would pay tribute to him to allow free range for their activities. Listing all of Tweed's crimes would be impossible, there is not enough bandwidth on the internet. I shall pick just one, the construction of the New York County Courthouse.

Designed to cost $350,000 the actual cost ended up over $13 million (a quarter of a billion dollars in today's money). Most of the money ended up kicked back to Tweed and his compatriots. Examples of the cost overruns -- $200,000 for two tables and a couple dozen chairs, A carpenter charged $400,000 for woodworking that was never done. That one courthouse ended up costing twice as much as all of Alaska. After the scandal broke, Tweed had himself paid by the city to publish a report clearing him.

All totaled, Tweed stole some $200 million ($3.5 billion in 2012 dollars) from New York City.  Tweed ended up in chains because he managed to piss off Irish Catholics. That was followed by NYC approaching bankruptcy causing the monied elite who had all profited from Tweed reign to turn on the Boss. Tweed was arrested, tried, tried again, convicted, escaped, captured in Spain, deported, and jailed again. He died in the prison, living in the warden's parlor for $75 a week.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Republicans Conspiracy Theories: Historical Perspective

Republicans have settled on the meme that the riotous attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya was the greatest act of treason since Benedict Arnold tried to surrender West Point to the British. I'm wondering how modern Republicans would have reacted to other events in American history.

Aug. 24, 1814 - British Burn Down the White House
President James Madison, who may secretly have been an Anglican, helped British soldiers set fire to his home and then burned the rest of DC to cover up his looting of the capital.

Aug 21, 1863 - Lawrence Massacre
President Lincoln knew in advance that Quantrill's Raiders were going to attack the pro-Northern Kansas town. He didn't warn the people or take any action to help them during the attack because Lincoln secretly favored slavery.

June 27, 1876 - Custer's Last Stand
The American economy was in shambles and President Grant deliberately ignored warnings from the Pinkerton Detective Agency that Sitting Bull was planning a major terrorist attack. When news of the attack on the Seventh Calvary reached Washington, Grant failed to authorize a military response in time to save Custer.

Mar. 9, 1916 - Pancho Villa Raid
President Woodrow Wilson should have anticipated Pancho Villa's cross border raid timed symbolically for two days after the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo. Wilson refused to send the military after Villa until after it was too late to save the town of Columbus, New Mexico.

Dec. 7, 1941 - Pearl Harbor
President Franklin Roosevelt personally order the US Pacific fleet to anchorage in Hawaii because he knew in advance that Japan was planning a sneak attack on the base. The Japanese naval codes had been broken and the attack plan was well know in advance but the scores of people in the chain of command between the code breakers and the President kept absolutely quiet both before and after the attack. Roosevelt had his Pacific fleet sunk as an excuse to enter the war against Germany. (Note: This silly conspiracy theory actually exists and ignores the simple fact that there were a lot of line officers and enlisted men in the Navy who would have had to be involved in the conspiracy.)

Oct. 23, 1983 - Beirut Barracks Bombing
St. Ronald Reagan, according to Republicans, was the most brilliant man to ever hold the presidency. He certainly knew that Lebanon was a dangerous place. He certainly knew that Islamic Jihad was funded by Iranian mullahs and armed by the Syrian dictator. It didn't take a military genius, and St. Ronald was a military genius, to realize that clustering over 300 marines in a single building would make an irresistible target. That Reagan wanted the attack to happen is proven by the fact that there was no retaliatory response. The motive is clouded by the complex intelligence of St. Ronald. One theory is that St. Ronald wanted a public enraged by 300 dead marines seeking vengeance so it would accept his planned invasion of Grenada on Oct. 25.

June 25, 1996 - Khobar Towers Bombing
Saudi Arabia is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and the birthplace of al-Qaeda. Also Iran and Hezbollah were seeking vengeance against the United States because of Israel. President Clinton knew all of this and allowed the bombing to occur because it was an election year and some of the victims might have voted for Bob Dole.

Sept. 11, 2001 - Twin Towers
(No picture, we still remember the images)
President Bush knew all about the planned attacks and allowed them to happen to give him the excuse he needed to invade and occupy Iraq. VP Cheney okayed Israeli Mossad agents setting bombs in the Twin Towers and the planes had nothing to do with their collapse. (Note: Some people actually believe this.)

Each and every one of these theories is more believable than the contention that President Obama knew about the Benghazi attack through his Kenyan communist connections. That the Fog of War does not exist and anyone can tell the difference between a murderous mob of rioters and a murderous mob of terrorists. That Obama wanted it to happen because he wanted the ambassador to Libya killed. That he prevented a military defense that would have taken hours to move up the chain of command and had nothing to do with the fact there were no armed warplanes within range and even if there were it would have been impossible to tell friend from foe in the chaos. Then Obama blackmailed CIA Director Petraeus into lying about what happened.

Or, as Freud once put it, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes shit happens that cannot be properly anticipated because perfect precognition is impossible and humans are fallible.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

General Mayhem

Things I've learn from the Petraeus-Broadwell kerfuffle.
  • Every single storyline on every single soap opera is absolutely, 100% true.
  • Every single James Bond film was absolutely accurate.
  • Given Broadwell's threats, I'm glad no one involved owned any bunnies
  • The sexual intrigues at USFOR-A command headquarters makes Peyton Place look like a nunnery.
  • Never write anything in an e-mail you wouldn't want to see posted on the company bulletin board. Ever!
  • US citizens who are "honorary counsel" for South Korea do not have diplomatic immunity. Who knew?
  • Natalie Khawam was not the "crazy" twin.
  • As far as I can make out from reading conservative pundits, Paula Broadwell had sex with David Petraeus so that President Obama could smuggle arms to al-Qaeda, murder an American diplomat in Libya, steal the election, and distract the nation from his efforts to destroy the global economy because the Devil told him to.
  • The story only came out because of an FBI agent who wanted to have sex with the woman who wasn't having sex with Petraeus even though the woman who was having sex with Petraeus thought she was having sex with him although she may have been having sex with another four-star general.
  • Every single spouse in this story, all the husbands and all the wives, were clueless bastards.
In a completely unrelated story yet a third four-star general was demoted for using taxpayer's money to take lavish vacations. At least I hope it's unrelated. The way things are going I wouldn't be surprised if he was fucking the FBI agent's wife in Bermuda.

The Great Disenfranchisement Is Alive

Republicans are beginning to coalesce around the notion that their best chances of victory in the future is to remove the right to vote from as many people as possible.

Romney Wisconsin co-chair Alberta Darling has openly declared that Romney would have won her state if only they had been allowed to implement a law to restrict voting rights.

The (Republican majority) Supreme Court was quick to follow President Obama's reelection with a review (with intent to overturn) the Voting Rights Act so as to allow Southern states to return to modern iterations of Jim Crow laws.

Tea Partiers are arguing to return to the Founder's "original intent" and restrict voting to federal taxpayers or property owners.

Some conservatives are arguing that early voting is unfair and should be ended.

Others see early voting as an opportunity the end the concept of neighborhood voting and require people to travel long distances to "vote centers" if they want to cast a ballot. The logic is if you have fewer voting places there will be fewer lines.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Recovery

"Sea," cried King Canute, "I command you to come no further! Waves, stop your rolling!. Surf, stop your pounding! Do not dare touch my feet!" 

When a storm floods a muskrat's burrow the wise semi-aquatic rodent looks to rebuild his den on drier ground. When a human's home is inundated by a hurricane he look into ways to move the ocean.

Such is the difference between man and the lesser animals. Animals realize they are animals and adapt. Man thinks he is a god and with hubris behaves like a stupid brute.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

...And Take Oklahoma With You

They're at it again. Texas wingnuts are clamoring for secession.
Of course, this is the same Texas that just four months ago was begging for federal bailouts because of drought. In fact, Texans crawls back to Washington every few months seeking federal money for one local fuck up or another. Texas leads the nation in disaster relief requests.

Go already! I promise you there is not a Democrat in either house of Congress that will lift a finger to stop you. The nation as a whole will stand and cheer the day Texas leaves the Union. And, while you are at it, take Oklahoma with you.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Election Postmortem - Parte Dos

- Bill Clinton deserves tons of credit for Barack Obama's reelection. From his kick-ass convention speech to election day, Bubba was far and away the most effective surrogate on the planet.

- Republicans believe God supported Obama. They won't say so explicitly but they do blame Hurricane Isaac for disrupting their convention and Hurricane Sandy for hurting Romney's last week. Two acts of God book-ended the campaign and both helped the President.

- One of the fun parts of Republicans carrying so many guns is when they start a post election circular firing squad they use live ammo.

- Democrats took the total Congressional vote by a whisker but won only 45% of house seats. This means Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts in 2011 was the only thing that kept them in the game.

- I think both Mitt and Ann Romney came to believe Mitt was anointed by God and Mormon prophesy to be President so losing came as a massive shock and has caused a crisis of faith for them.

- I am most proud of the Democratic voters in Florida who stood in line for hours to cast their votes. Rick Scott tried everything he could to prevent minorities from voting. He failed because of the anonymous thousands who refused to be turned away from the polls.
They are heroes, every one.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The SuperPAC Scam

Big congratulations to Karl Rove. He operated the biggest, most successful long con in the history of grifting. He took in over $170 million (some think the total take is $400 million) much of it from clueless billionaires. After skimming millions off the top for himself and his partners in crime, Rove channeled millions more to his buddies in the political consulting, ad production, and polling businesses. The rest of the money was flushed down the toilet lest the billionaire marks ask for some of it back.

It was a brilliantly crafted scam. If Rove was as good a political operative as he is a thief he might actually have influenced the election.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Postmortem

- Last night's election was pretty much the best reasonably possible outcome I could have hoped for.

- I mean, even Allen West lost! Perfect would have been Michelle Bachmann losing too.

- It is truly remarkable how the Republican Party has become exclusively a White Peoples Party. No demographic breakdown is as extreme as race. Romney won by a landslide with white male Protestants, he just lost everybody else. Mitt Romney is President if this was 1856.

- All Republicans have to do to win is repeal the 15th and 19th amendments to the Constitution.

- Voter suppression efforts will accelerate as they try to do just that.

- Nate Silver hit the superfecta, he called every state race correctly (except maybe Florida but that's like trying to wager on a three-legged horse race). He is one hell of a Hoboken bookie.

- The rending of clothes, tearing out of hair, and gnashing of teeth over at conservative blogs is jolly fun reading. According the Republicans, Armageddon can't come a moment too soon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Night Is Movie Night

I've experience enough elections to know that the most times the disappointment of losing is worse than the elation of winning. Nothing happens on election night that I can't find out with yogic calm in the morning.

For what its worth, Intrade this morning has the odds favoring President Obama at its highest level (71.5%) than any time since before the first debate.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Best Day of Any Election Year

My first big mistake was made when, in a moment of weakness, I consented to learn the game. ~ Robert Benchley on bridge, but it applies to politics
The best day of any election is the Monday prior to the final vote. There's not enough time for any last minute smear to stick. All the campaigns, if their consultants budgeted properly, have run out of money and are now wallowing in debt, having spent it all on those same consultants. The pollsters have given up annoying people at dinner to organize their ambush teams for tomorrow's annoying exit polls. Sure, there will be an ungodly rash of robocalls this evening but turning off the phone solves that problem.

Tomorrow comes the patriotic excitement of voting.  Followed later by the banal news coverage as all the networks race to be the first to call the election based on the results from two precincts in Hinckley, Ohio. Wolf Blitzer will punish viewers with some cloyish new graphic display. Chuck Todd will draw all over his video monitor trying to ape the spontaneity of  Tim Russert's eraser boards of 2000.

Wednesday will bring the evidence - some real, some faked - of vote fraud, vote caging, vote suppression, and voter intimidation. Recounts will be demanded. Recounts will be opposed as unnecessary expenses. In the coming days provisional and absentee ballots will be counted and not counted, lost and discovered. Reasonable people will suggest kicking Florida out of the Union.

Then come the lawyers followed shortly thereafter by the judges. If we are very unlucky, the Supreme Court will ignore the explicit language of the Constitution and choose our next president. Again.
Today is the beautiful calm between the violence of the election season and the chaos of the post-election fight.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney: Extortion Is the Name of the Game

It'd be a shame if something bad were to happen to you. ~ Romney campaign speech, paraphrased
In a not at all veiled threat, Mitt Romney has said in recent speeches that if he is not elected president the Republican Party in Congress will deliberately blow up the economy.

In a related story, business owners across the country have been threatening to fire there employees if President Obama is reelected.

Is it any wonder that the Mormon Church is also knows as the "Utah Mafia?"

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Top Silly Causes of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was spawned over the very hot (over 85 degrees F) waters of the southern Caribbean. It tracked up the warmest parts of the Gulf Stream (still over 80 degrees) until it fell into a loop in the Arctic Jet Stream and a negatively tilted low pressure trough that turned it inland where it made landfall at the astronomical high tide.

Or, you can believe any of these alternative theories.

God's Punishment for Gay Marriage
Christian preachers content that God punished New Yorkers for not stoning gays by sending a storm to kill heterosexual conservatives living on Staten Island.

Allah the Film Critic
An alternative theory of deity as mass murderer says that the Muslim god, Allah, sent Sandy as a divine retribution review of a badly made movie about Mohammad.

Barack and the Hurricane Machine
Some Republicans are contenting that President Obama used a completely unclassified scientific research station in Alaska to manipulate the weather to create and steer a hurricane as the ultimate October Surprise to win reelection.

Iran and the Hurricane Machine
Exact same theory out of Syria, only this time it is Iranian scientists and a top secret weather weapon. Just two months ago Iran's President was accusing the West of using weather weapons to create a drought in Iran.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Tea Leaves and Entrails

I've mentioned before that I think opinion polls can be amusing playthings as long as you don't believe in them too much. Polls are really just attempts at prophecy, which has been a desire of human society for thousands of years. But, the Oracle of Delphi they ain't.

One thing I find funny is the current habit to parse the freaking hell out of them like the pollsters were picking apart goat entrails. Gallup finds 1200 people who don't screen their landline calls. A third of them are "independents." A tenth of those are from "battleground states." Half of them are women. The resulting pool of voters is barely enough to field two competing baseball teams yet that's sufficient for political pundits to draw massive conclusions about what independent women in battleground states think.

Many pundits believe if you bundle all the polls together you somehow increase the accuracy. Scientifically, that is nonsense which is why you never see a margin of error on these "poll of polls." Then you have people like Unskewed Polls who parse polls into tiny pieces, give greater emphasis to some of the pieces and then reinterpret the results into what they want to see. Nate Silver uses the polls to handicap the election like a Hoboken bookie.

The ultimate in parsing a poll was this story that trumpeted a 0.07% shift in polling results. That's one person out of 1293 people in a poll with a margin of error of plus/minus 3%.

The Misquoted Yoda Effect.
For years I thought the line was "always emotion is the future." That makes more sense. In prognosticating there is a tendency to see the future you want to have when a cold, emotionless reading of the tea leaves is needed. Republican pollsters are predicting a Romney victory; Democratic pollsters an Obama win. The reality is in there somewhere.

My Predictions
Since I've already cut open the goat.
An Etruscan chart for reading livers.
The election is too close to call. I think Obama has the edge but that may just be my emotions.

If Barack wins it will have to be without Ohio or Florida. I am convinced that Romney will get those states by hook or by crook; if he doesn't win with the votes cast Romney will win with the votes counted (John Hustad and Rick Scott will see to that.). Expect lots of mischief if the final results in those states are delayed days or weeks.

You can trust my prediction over those of "scientific pollsters." I killed a sacred goat and used skills passed down countless generations. Pollsters merely annoy lots of people and plug the results into a spreadsheet.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Huckabee's Hell

Mike Huckabee has come down from the mountain top and declared that anyone who votes for Barack Obama will burn in Hell. As for me, if Heaven hold the likes of Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell and Mike Huckabee I'd prefer Hell.

Both have their advantages, "heaven for climate, hell for company!" ~ Mark Twain

An intelligent Hell would be better than a stupid paradise. ~ Victor Hugo

Although, I will give Huckabee and the other Radical Republicans this nosh also from Mark Twain.

Satan (impatiently) to New Comer. The trouble with you Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here; whereas you are merely the most numerous.