Monday, October 24, 2016

Election 2016 VIII

It's been 25 days since Election 2016 VIII because I no longer trust the polls or anything else.

I'm watching the country disintegrate in a way I suppose I've always suspected would be coming.

On one hand are the voices of reason and on the other the voices of fear and fear is a powerful emotion.

For too long now Republicans have pounded away with a message intended to instill fear in its base and to blame all of the issues underlying that fear upon people who look different.

Yet nothing ever seemed to change because the message was putting the blame on people who were pretty much innocent of causing the problem. After decades of "those other people are stealing what's rightfully yours" the crows have come home to roost. The end result of that message that is the candidacy of Donald Trump.

I don't believe the polls. I believe my gut and my gut says that Trump has a good chance to pull this one out. Then what?

You can be sure that it will be nothing good and you can be sure that the poor saps that voted for him will be worse off but still being told it's the fault of people who look different.

If you tell a lie often enough and with enough conviction, even fairly intelligent people will start to believe it and Trump and the Republicans have been lying from the beginning and the lies are being believed.

I would like to document one issue and that is the 33,000 emails that were deleted.

No Clinton didn't break the law when she had those 33,000 emails deleted. She had tasked her lawyers to divide the emails on her private server into work related and private. The work related emails were turned over to the Department of State and the server contractor was directed the remaining emails in December of 2014.

The Select Committee on Benghazi did not ask for all emails on the private server to be preserved until March of 2015.

I used to delete emails all the time from my work server. Typically when the numbers got too large I would delete everything but the last three months or so. The important stuff I left tucked away in separate files.

Even the backups were eventually deleted by the IT department. We were under no obligation to save emails just in case someone decided they wanted to see them and neither was Clinton.

Anyway, so much for that lie. I'm going to stay quiet now until November 9th.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Good Grief!

This just keeps getting "better and better"...NOT!

Trump is losing his mind. In last Sunday's debate he threatened to tell the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and put her in jail. Great, nothing like a two bit dictator of a banana republic sort of dance.

Now we're hearing that he felt it was his privilege to waltz into Miss Universe and Miss Teenage USA dressing rooms knowing the ladies were partially dressed. The rumor is he used this tactic to ogle girls as young as 15.

At least one contestant, a former Miss Arizona, says the accusations are true.

Personally I don't know if they're true or not but the problem, given his ego, is this is just the sort of thing you could imagine him doing.

This is utterly nuts. I've never seen anything like this.

In the meantime, on the other side, a number of leaked tapes have a Clinton aid saying some disparaging things about Catholics.

This is definitely becoming a vote for the lesser evil kind of election but Clinton is by far the lesser evil. Trump is clearly self-centered, a bully and a total pig. I wouldn't soil my hands by pulling a lever next to his name.

The polls are all over the place. At this point in time I just don't trust any of the numbers. We just need to get this nonsense over with. This whole thing is becoming a national disgrace.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Second Debate

Given the rapidly unraveling of the Trump campaign all Clinton really needs to do tonight is not lose.

The problem with that idea is that playing it safe can often backfire. Her other option is to go for the kill.

The best way to do that, in my humble opinion, would be to focus on the questions and not spend half the night talking about Trump's expletive laden misogynistic video.

It's a town hall format so the questions are coming directly from the audience and she can expect inconvenient questions about her e-mail server, ties to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation. Just provide honest and sincere answers and ignore the Drumpf.

If she can slide in a few Trump Triggers and bait his ass again, so much the better.

Come on Hillary, we need this one.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Trump's Locker Room Language Video

A video has surfaced in which The Donald expresses opinions rarely heard outside of Middle School locker rooms or good old boy drunken binges.

To say the video is misogynistic and offensive would be giving it more credit than it deserves.

Am I surprised? A little bit. I didn't think Trump had the intellect of a 13 year old. This is a guy wearing a swollen head which leads him to say stupid stuff and not listen to people who know what they're talking about because, in his mind, how could anyone know more than him about anything?

It's beyond belief than he will survive this and still probably amass more than 40% of the vote. Evangelical Christians are still claiming he's the best candidate which, if they ever had it, certainly kicks them off of the moral high ground.

Some Republicans have, again, called upon him to withdraw but Trump has so far refused.

The party can't kick him out and besides, voting has already started, absentee ballots have already been mailed and the ballots are already printed so they're sort of stuck with him.

In his "apology" Trump claims that Hillary has "bullied and attacked women" and that "Bill Clinton has done worse" while threatening to expand on these themes in Sunday's debate.

Who cares if Hillary has "bullied and attacked women?" She's a woman so sort of even Steven there and can someone tell Trump that he's not running against Bill?

Going down this rabbit hole would be a huge mistake. His only chance is to stay on message Sunday and NOT allow himself to get baited. I'd say, given his track record and ego, the chances of that are slim and none.

Can he still win? Given the incredible stupidity of a large chunk of the American electorate, yes he can.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Kaepernick's Protest Spills over into College Football

A number of college players and at least one marching band have decided to join in Colin Kaepernick's protest by kneeling during the national anthem. Some of the band members refused to play.

This is causing all sorts of negative reactions.

Protests are meant to make people feel uncomfortable or angry and attempt to open a dialogue. When people feel threatened they will usually look for a way to neutralize the threat. Those solutions can be either positive or negative.

I'm seeing a fair number of negative reactions. Right wing nut jobs calling for the players to be cut from the team and for coaching staffs to be fired.

ESPN in Fayetteville is taking a novel approach and protesting the protest of the East Carolina University marching band by not broadcasting the next ECU game. The band was also reportedly loudly booed at halftime as well.

Freedom of Speech does not guarantee freedom of consequences as long as those consequences are from private individuals and not the state.

The halftime boos are themselves Freedom of Speech.

Firing coaches or cutting players at a public university is probably a violation of the 1st Amendment. At a private university perhaps not so much.

The ESPN Fayetteville decision is an interesting one. They are not only reacting to the protest that occurred but are essentially insuring that a 2nd protest doesn't get a wider audience than the fans at the game.

When college students protest the presentations by alt right commentators guaranteed to deliver offensive racist or misogynistic messages by trying to have their invitations to speak revoked, they are criticized by the right wing. I don't see the ESPN decision to be much different so I'll expect to see howls of indignation about ESPN from the academic freedom crowd any day now (*cough, cough*).

So far I don't see any problem with players or band members making their concerns about the deaths of young black men at the hands of police known. I think it's an issue that needs to be brought out into the open and discussed.

From what I've seen, I think in most cases the police are acting appropriately. In most cases but not all. It will never be perfect because none of us are perfect. The question is can it be made better?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Election 2016 VII

OK, I admit it, I got bored doing these. I started too early and the posts were too complicated. I'll be doing these less frequently until we get closer to the election. I've also switched to the 4-way RCP average including Johnson and Stein.

Here's the bottom line, the election has tightened up to be essentially a dead heat. Clinton is getting a slight bounce from her drubbing of Trump in the first debate but, at least so far, not a lot.
Polls Plus Model - Clinton - 60.1%, Trump - 39.9% - Trump +7.9
Polls Only Model - Clinton - 62.4%, Trump - 37.5% - Trump +6.6
Now-cast Model - Clinton - 70.0%, Trump - 30.0% - Trump +4.7

Real Clear Politics
Popular Vote - Clinton 43.9%, Trump 41.0%, Clinton +2.9 - Clinton +0.2
Electoral Vote - Clinton - 188, Trump - 165. Undecided - 185 - Clinton -41, Trump +31

Predict It Betting Odds
Clinton .68, Trump .32 - Clinton -.04, Trump - +.01

A couple of interesting observations. First, the betting odds haven't changed much and one has to wonder why. Second if the 4-way numbers are even close to accurate, whoever wins this election is going to be under 50% of the vote.

George W. Bush was under 50% at 47.87% in 2000. As a matter of fact Al Gore had more popular votes with 48.38%.

In 2004 George W. Bush got 50.7% of the vote. Barack Obama got 52.9% of the vote in 2008 and 51.1% in 2012.

The lowest popular vote percentages in the post-Roosevelt era are Richard Nixon in 1972 at 43.42% and Bill Clinton in 1992 at 43.01%. The "winner" of this election could come close to those numbers.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Polygamy? Well, Sort of.

The diversity in this country is unreal. This is what frightens many conservatives. This is what frightens Trump supporters. It's not the only reason Trumpettes support the Drumpf but it's one of them.

There is a court case brought by the family in the TV show "Sister Wives" that would undo a special provision of the Utah law against polygamy. Kody Brown has one legal wife but three additional "wives" which live with the couple without legal marriage status.

I'm going to skip over the irony of the law being a Utah law as well as the question of why anyone in his right mind would want four wives and get right to my understanding of the issue.

The special provision apparently prohibits co-habitation with other partners even if there is a legal marriage with just one partner. Clearly marriage to two or more partners would be bigamy which is illegal and that's not what the Browns are challenging. They're challenging the provision which prohibits additional co-habitation. Brown claims to be legally married to only one wife but "spiritually married" to the other three.

They originally won in a lower court which ruled the law violated both the right to privacy and religious freedom. An appeal court ruled that the Browns couldn't bring suit because they hadn't actually been charged with violating the law. It never ruled on the Constitutional questions.

The Utah prosecutors say they usually leave polygamists like the Browns alone but need the law in order to pursue other polygamists that engage in underage "spiritual marriage" or sexual assault.

Exactly why the laws associated with statutory rape and sexual assault aren't adequate for this purpose eludes me but I suppose proving co-habitation is easier especially if the "wives" don't want to cooperate.

The 10th Circuit refused to hear the case so the Browns are appealing it to the Supreme Court.

I suspect their chances are between slim and none given that, as the appeal court ruled, they appear to lack standing. You would need a family actually charged under the law and, given the way prosecutors claim to apply it, that might be hard to find.

The 2016 NFL Season has Begun!

Oh yeah, the insanity has started.

I watched three games yesterday or, most accurately one entire game, large parts of two others and the last two minutes or so of a fourth game. Two of the four games ended with a one point margin of victory and the third and fourth came close.

I watched most of the Jets vs. Bengals game and both teams looked pretty good to me. The Bengals managed a one point win 23-22 but both teams look like they're going to be tough.

I watched the entire Giants game and almost had a heart attack at the end. Those guys are going to kill me yet. The biggest news in that game was Dak Prescott, the rookie QB of the Cowboys from Mississippi State.

He was impressive. I'd say the Cowboys no longer need fear the retirement of Tony Romo. On the Giants side Victor Cruz looked healthy and the offensive line wasn't horrendous. We'll see how things go against a tougher defense. The game was a one point affair with the Giants squeaking it out 20-19.

After the Giants game they switched to the last few minutes of the Lions vs. Colts game. The Lions led 34-28 but Andrew Luck was doing his thing and soon the score was 35-34. It could have ended as another one pointer but the Lions drove for a field goal with 4 seconds left and the Colts ended up throwing an illegal forward pass in their own end zone on the kick-off resulting in a final score of 39-35 Lions.

I then watched a fair amount of the Sunday Night Game with the Brady-less Patriots at the Cardinals. I have to tell you that Jimmy Garoppolo looked pretty good at QB for the Pats as they beat the Cardinals 23-21 in what could have also been a one point finish but the Cardinals missed a field goal at the end of the game. Garoppolo may be ready but Brady is never going to retire. He'll still be playing at 65.

The NFL has long been after parity. They want every game to be a toss-up and as close as possible. Given two one pointers in marquee games yesterday and two others that could have been I'd say they're pretty damn close to that. There was also an overtime game in Kansas City and Oakland won with a late TD and two point conversion, again by one point, over New Orleans 35-34.

Clinton has Pneumonia

Yup, that green stuff Hillary has been coughing up is the sign of a severe respiratory infection. Her doctors have decided it's pneumonia and have put her on antibiotics.

I've never had pneumonia but I have had bronchitis and it's no laughing matter. A mate of mine did have pneumonia and it would reappear from time to time, as he described it, by making him wake up and cough his guts up in the middle of the night.

You can die from pneumonia. An ex-secretary of mine did just that and she was still fairly young at the time.

Is this a reason to vote for Trump instead? I don't think anything short of preventing an atomic war or preventing the return of the Black Death would be a reason to vote for Trump so the answer is a resounding NO!

Is this going to hurt her in the election? Probably it will, a lot.