Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Palin for President?

I'm off to bed, but it occurred to me as I was washing up that 2008 could turn out historic in an unexpected way. If Obama wins, a faithless elector could make Palin the first woman to receive an electoral college vote for President. There are precedents. Palin will be the third woman to receive electoral vote for VP. The second, of course, was Ferraro. The first was in 1972 when a GOP elector voted for the Libertarian Party ticket, which had a woman, Theodora Nathan, as its VP candidate. (For trivia purposes, that elector was Roger McBride, the 76 Libertarian Party Candidate for president). The precedent I like even more was 1976, when a Republican elector voted for Ronald Reagan. We all know what happened in 1976, and in 1980. If Obama wins, that is a scenario I would like to see.

However since polls, are bullshit, I am refusing to admit that Obama is going to win, so this is all crazy talk.

Why polls are bullshit.

So we have all seen the polls that say Obama is up by X points with a three percent margin of error. What is this margin of error thing?

Iowahawk explains it all.

Basically Margin of error=who the hell knows?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Presidents and War Heros

It's an interesting analysis by Mike. I'm going to push it back to 1948, not because I can remember that far back, but because I think that Mike's is an arbitrary cut point.

1948: Truman was an artillery battery commander during WW I and saw action. Dewey was too young for WWI and was Gov. of New York throughout WW II. War Hero wins.

1952 and 1956: Eisenhower had military experience, but never saw combat. On the other hand he was credited with beating Germany. Stevenson had no military experience. War Hero wins. Twice.

1960 As noted by Mike, JFK had PT-109 and Nixon had non-combat WWII service. Perceived War Hero wins.

The party distribution is interesting to me. Since the 60s, the only combat veterans from the Democratic Party ran as peace candidates and all of the candidates with no military experience whatsoever were also Democrats. Too much could be made of this though. For example the only other Republican candidates with military experience were Ron Paul, and Duncan Hunter, neither of which had a snowball's chance.

So what's going on here? Every postwar election until 1960 is won by a war hero, and the only instance since was father Bush, who, let's be honest, was riding Reagan's coat tails. The 1960s. Vietnam. That's what happened. Being a combat veteran stopped being useful, unless you used it to fortify your anti-war stance.

I think that this might be changing. Starting in a few years, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are going to be entering the field, and given the opinion of much of the electorate of the military, having served will be an enormous plus.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The American Dream

I would love for someone to explain something to me. Why are people like David Letterman, Dan Rather, and Katie Couric, such die-hard liberals who think in order for people to succeed they require major government intervention?

Couric is from Arlington Virginia. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a public relations executive and newspaper editor. Katie attended the University of Virginia and lived on the famed Lawn.

Rather was from a small town west of Houston Texas. Dan often spoke of his father’s blue collar work ethic and about how his mother was a homemaker. Dan went to school at Sam Houston State in Huntsville Texas.

Letterman frequently jokes about his middle class family and lampoons his alma mater of Ball State University in Muncie Indiana.

All of these have humble middle class backgrounds and went to schools far from the Ivy League. There were no big time connections. Father didn’t golf with the president and mother wasn’t a CEO and they didn’t summer in the Hamptons or attend dinner parties on Fifth Avenue where they were introduced to Senators or Congressmen.
Yet all three have succeeded in their professions beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Only in America could a woman most often described as ‘cute” and “perky” rise to the position of the most influential man in journalism. Only in America could a bricklayers son rise to be one of the most influential journalists in the land. Only in America could a weather man with a funny haircut rise to be considered an icon in his business and his name listed among the giants of his profession.

All three of these achieved fame, fortune, influence, and admiration because of hard work, determination, dedication, and risk taking.

Yet all three think everyone else should be cared for by the nanny state. I for one just don’t understand it.

Some random thoughts about past elections

I posted this over on My whining blog as part of my post at least once a day project. I think it needs to be here as well. "Dale" and/or "Scub" Got any comments?

We, as Americans tend to think we elect military men to the presidency. Looking over the elections of my life, this really doesn't seem to be the case.

1964. Barry Goldwater had served as a pilot in Burma, among other places, and remained a member of the Air Force reserve after the war. LBJ served in the navy for a total of 7 months (Dec 10, 1941 to July 16th, 1942) He got the Silver star for being in a plane (as an observer, not the pilot) that had engine trouble and had to turn back when attacked by 8 fighters. Note that the plane was not hit. Also note he was, in addition to being a naval officer, still a member of congress at this time. This may have had something to do with the Silver Star. Any rate, winner of the election, not the real war hero.

1968 Richard Nixon served in the US Navy, as a logistical officer in Ottumwa, Iowa, (Navy. Iowa. Ok, what ever). Then went on to be a logistical officer in the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command, part of the Guadalcanal campaign. He won vs Herbert Humphrey, who never served. While not exactly a war hero, he was the vet.

1972 Nixon vs McGovern. McGovern, of course was a real war hero, being a bomber pilot. The war hero lost. Granted he was running as as the peace candidate.

1976 Gerald Ford vs Jimmy Carter. Both served (well, Carter was in the USNA during the war, which means he gets a * by his name for war time service) Gerald Ford served on the carrier USS Monterey which one of the ships hit by the Typhoon Cobra. His action in leading fire fighting teams was credited was the saving of the USS Monterey. So, he war hero lost again.

1980 Reagan vs Carter. Wash. Both were "under arms" in WWII, but Carter was a cadet at USNA and Reagan was making movies for the Army. First post war election where neither could be called a war hero, by any terms. For what it's worth, Reagan was not medically fit for combat duty, Carter was. If the war had gone on for another year, it's a near sure thing Carter, as submarine officer, would have seen combat. Reagan, not so much.

1984 Reagan vs Mondale. Mondale served in the US army during the Korean war, to earn GI Bill money to go to law school. He spent his tour of duty in Fort Knox. His claim to fame, so to speak is that he was the first post war candidate that was not an officer. He made E-4 in two years. Just for what it's worth I made E-4 in 18 months and E-5 in two years. Just saying. Another wash on the war hero thing. At least the both did serve, and Mondale did serve during the time of shooting war. Not his fault he was sent to Ft. Knox

1988 GHW Bush vs Dukakis. Dukakis spent 2 years drafted in the Army, after the end of the Korean war. He did spend 16 months on the DMZ. Bush, of course, was a real war hero, being the youngest naval pilot at one point. In this case, yeah, the war hero won.

1992. Let's not even start about Bill Clinton and the military. Let's just say he didn't not serve and beat the war hero, GHW Bush. Of course if the Texas Gnome has stayed out, he would not have, but that's neither here nor there.

1996 Robert Dole vs Bill Clinton. Rear honest by God wounded in action infantry platoon leader and decorated war hero vs a draft dodger. Dodger wins.

2000 GW Bush vs Gore. Gore was a SP/4 news reporter for the The Castle Courier (the news paper of the 20th Engineer Brigade) in Viet Nam. Members of his paper staff were in fact killed in action. Personal side note. One of my sections chiefs in my first tour in German was in the 20th Brigade during the same time frame as Gore. (SSG later SFC Panfile. aka the Skinny Ginny He was the highest decorated member of the battery when I was here, having a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars a 3 awards of the Purple Heart. He also had 4 Arcoms. Some of the Arcoms were post his moving to ADA I'll grant ) GW Bush was a F-106 Delta Dart driver. I'll let my Nike back ground show here, but the Delta Dart isn't a fighter, it's a missile that in theory lands after it's mission. It was steered by controllers on the ground using the SAGE system, which, BTW is exactly what the Nike Herc did as well, with out risking a pilot. Bad system, inflicted on the US by Robert McNamara and the Wiz Kids, but I digress. Again, the one that came closest to seeing the elephant lost.

2004 Say what you will about Kerry, he was over there. Bush was not. Of course Kerry's actions after he returned and the fact that his awards were of the classic Viet Nam Cracker Jack box type awards doesn't help, but again, Bush's MOS, with out even raising the issue of him actually doing it, could have been done by roughly 15 vacuum tubes and large oil filled resister element. Let's just say the one closer to hero status lost.

That brings us to Obama vs McCain. War hero vs some one that hasn't served. Doesn't look good. Only time the Vet won was Nixon and Bush 41, and Dukakis at least served on the Korean DMZ, back when that was 100 percent safe. 11 election. One war hero wining and one vet vs non vet winning, but when the supply officer went up against a bomber pilot, the REMF won. Aside from GHW Bush, we haven't elected a warrior since I have be aware of the concept of the presidency.

My brother, Random Dafyyd, will point out that that I'm not mentioning JFK vs Nixon. Why? while I was alive in 1960, I was less than a year old. Doesn't register on me at all. Even including that we have two serving officers, and the winner's claim to fame was he got his PT 109 boat run over by a IJN destroyer. His action after being t-boned might have been heroic, but it was his bad seamanship that got him there to start with.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vice Presidential Debate

Questions and Comments for each candidate after theVEEP debate:

Senator Biden:
  • Wow! Joe, you came out against rape and genocide. Even to the point of crossing the aisle and working with those repulsive Republicans. Careful there Joe…don’t want to get too close to the radical fringe. Reminds me of an episode of the great show “Cheers” in which Sam Malone after being interviewed for a magazine says they wanted to know his ideas on politics. Diane asked “What ideas are those?” to which Sam replied “I said I thought nuclear war would be bad news.” Diane responded with “Ooh, I think you opened up a hornet’s nest there” to which Sam says “I could always say I was misquoted.”
  • Joe, that $300 billion in taxes you and Barak are going to get from companies: Where do the companies get the money to pay you? You see Joe; the question is extremely relevant because most of these companies provide goods and services to the middle class. When you raise their taxes, they raise prices that the middle class has to pay. To be Vice President you really should know this
  • Joe - so confiscating money from one person to give to another is called fair where you come from. Where I come from it is called robbery and or extortion.
  • Joe, could you please define “Affordable?”
  • Joe, if we began drilling today, how will it take 10 years for a “single drop of oil” to reach the market? This statement alone should be considered justifiable cause to prevent your election
  • Joe, as for Barak’s time line to pull out of Iraq: What happens if the enemy doesn’t agree to the time-line?
  • Joe, you made the point, not once but twice that “Ahmadinejad doesn’t run the security in Iran; the theocracy runs the security in Iran”. Well, that makes me feel better. A group of people who make Ahmadinejad look like the sane voice of reason, run the security in Iran. That said I guess we don’t need to worry about a nuclear Iran then, do we?
  • Joe, stating you led the fight against Judge Bork is not a plus, especially after your lame attempt to defend how you cross party lines (see the first Biden item). That was the beginning of the rank partisanship so pervasive these days. Saying this coupled with your ‘crossing party lines response’ is tantamount to saying “I’m all for world travel and routinely visit other countries and cultures” then, later, proudly saying “I was the first German into Poland on September 1, 1939.”

Governor Palin:

  • Sarah, about those “greedy lenders” who “talked” people into buying a $300,000 house when they only had funds for a $100,000…whatever happened personal responsibility? Whenever the mortgage company told me I could borrow up the six years salary I said no. I knew I couldn’t afford it. You see Sarah; every business I pass as I drive down the street is convinced I NEED their product. It is MY responsibility to contain my own spending. I am in charge of my budget. Blaming the business or advertising for my out-of-control spending is not only counterproductive, it is just plain wrong. Not only does it lead to solutions that have nothing to do with the problem, it lends credence to the stupidity spouted by the Democrats that this meltdown is primarily the fault of the loan companies.
  • Sarah, you are supporting taxing carbon emissions? That is either pandering or stupidity. Either way you don’t deserve to be called a conservative with that position and, just like Joe; this statement alone should be considered justifiable cause to prevent your election. Republicans need to bring a calm sanity and reflective judgment to the debate about carbon emission and any possible effect to the environment. Republicans do not need to bring more pandering and hysteria, the left has that all sew up. By making statements like this, you legitimize the hysteria and add more nails in the coffin of middle (working?) class Americans who are truly the big losers in the Global Warming hysteria

I'm sure there was much more, but I can only write so fast and who would want o sit through that twice?

Bailout and the Fourth Estate

Quick, what is the most feared line ever uttered? Answer: “I’m from the government, I’m here to help.”

My local newspaper had the headline this morning “Markets unravel at home, abroad”. (DMN October 7). Yesterday on various news shows, both radio and TV, local and national, the reporters expressed the same shock and disbelief that the announcement of the Bailout Bill didn’t stop the market slide.

Knowing the left leanings of the press it should no longer amaze me they did not understand the market’s failure to jump for joy at the news that Congress was here to help The press is gleeful of government intervention and can’t fathom why the public reacts with trepidation. The fact is Congressional intervention means new laws, more paperwork, new and greater oversight, along with ‘diversity goals’ (quotas). Almost always the cost of government help is never worth the benefits.
Please remember, billions of government dollars were spent on Katrina yet New Orleans is still a mess. While somehow Iowa bounced back after the Mississippi flooded farther north.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bailout Part F

Again I must belabor the point of disagreeing with the Scrub and the assumption that “the Feds made this mess, they might as well clean it up.” I know it is long, I hope you find it worthy.

I have several scenarios that lead to my conclusion but will start with an example.

Example: Having Congress bailout the financial meltdown is tantamount to having a 3-year-old cleanup the bathroom, unsupervised, after clogging the toilet while attempting to flush the grape juice stained blanket and complicating matters by then using the commode for its intended purpose . Yes, like Congress, the child’s intentions were good, afterall, they were just trying to solve a problem, and really, the mess was the fault of the person who purchased the juice in the first place. And just like Congress, the 3-year old will have a self congratulatory grin as (s)he drags the soiled blanket across the new white Berber carpet while taking it outside. And Congress will continue to resemble the tot who, after digging up the prize flower bed in a vain attempt to bury the blanket, tells the neighbors about how dedicatedly they rose up in sacrifice to adhere to the call-to-duty to clean up a mess they could not control. And finally, with a flooded bathroom, ruined carpet, destroyed flower bed, and half buried blanket; the toddler, looking more like Congress than ever, will demand a reward for successfully solving the problem left by some evil, mean spirited, person for someone else to clean up.

Bad case scenario: Year in year out the most fiscally irresponsible single group of people on the planet is the US Congress. Even Republicans who were elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility cannot resist the urge to play Santa Claus. With a “National Economic Crisis” (very sarcastic ‘Oh yeah’ is needed here) at hand, the desire in congress to hide $700 million of pork in a $700 billion bill is tempting beyond their limited ability to cope. When that much money is at stake they just can’t resist the opportunity to try to buy votes back at home. I would expect more ethical responsibility from the Cartagena Cartel then Congress when that much money is at stake.

Worse case scenario: Let’s do a little speculating on some of the possible aspects of what the bailout bill will entail.

  • We’ll need a new “Office of Housing and Banking” regulatory agency. This will begin with a budget of $20 million. At 5% growth per year in 2020 the budget will be closing in on $34 million and the director will be railing against budget cuts when it is suggested he suffice with a 3% growth. This will be despite the fact that after the first six months there will be nothing for an agent to do except sign a note stating that (s)he has read the auditors statement for the mortgage companies under their domain. Since the agents will be lawyers and not accountants it will be found in court that they cannot be held liable for any discrepancies. Of course the court in question will be a division of the agency. This agency will be with us forever
  • We’ll need a government “Office of Loan Application and Oversight” whose sole responsibility will be to approve all mortgage applications. You think the process was arduous before? Go fill out a passport application then multiply it by one hundred. It will take one year from offer and acceptance to closing. Oh, this mortgage oversight will be a separate government agency from the regulatory branch. No conflict of interest. While less prestigious it will still keep young law school graduates employed and have an initial budge of $75 million. By 2020, due to work load demands and the standard 5% growth, the budget will have ballooned to well in excess of $300 million. The agents will be overworked and do most application checking while on overtime. But fear not, the money will not come out of the Federal budget but will be added on to each and every mortgage in the country. The sole goal of each agent is to be transferred to the “Office of Housing and Banking”. The seniority list will be called ‘the death list’ because someone will have to die for a position to open in the “Office of Housing and Banking”. This agency too will be with us forever.
  • Since these agencies are breaking new ground we’ll need experienced personnel to oversee and direct these entities. How about Franklin Raines. He has been CEO of Fannie Mae and assistant director of the US Office of management and Budget. Experience, connections, what more could you want?
  • First order of business will be a complete overhaul of the mortgage business in the US. This won’t take the originally estimated six months. Scholars will cite standard project management methodology that a 300 percent error is within tolerances when estimating time of large unknown projects and state that getting this report done in 15 months is remarkable. Yes, they will lament that no home sales requiring mortgages occurred in those 15 months but will cite the near 100% apartment occupancy as being “good for the economy:” When asked about the lack of home sales the safety of the economy and ensuring the greedy are held in check will quiet the naysayer.
  • Both the “Office of Housing and Banking” and “Office of Loan Application and Oversight” will have diversity departments. This will be to ensure there is no discrimination based on race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, or credit history. Mortgage companies who turn down loans based on an applicants ability to pay will be declared, by each agency, guilty of discrimination and fined millions of dollars.

Worst Case Scenario: If the bailout goes through there will be a mountain of new federal regulation. Within this regulation will be a continuance of the bill to get low income people into homes. Therefore mortgage companies will be required to make a certain scalable percentage of the loans to low income high risk sector. When the company issues its X loan number each year, the percentage of low income loans will increase. This means companies will artificially cap the number of mortgages it makes. What results when an artificial limit is placed on a commodity? Well, according to Econ 101 (which apparently, no member of Congress can pass) the result is shortages. What happens when a shortage occurs? The price goes up. What is the price of money for loans? Well, the interest rate. So a couple that has saved diligently (while paying taxes on the interest) to get the 20% down and found a home that costs two years salary will be buried in paper work and wait a year before any hope of seeing their dream come to fruition. Should our heroes get the proper lottery number to actually obtain a mortgage they will have to agree to a 20% interest rate. Think interest rates can’t go that high? Does the name Jimmy Carter ring a bell?

The author wishes apologize to Dr. Tom Coburn Senator from Oklahoma for making him guilty by association, but would like to point out that Senator Coburn purposely, ran for the House and Senate.

The author further wishes to apologize to all of the world’s 3-year-olds. It will be years before any of them do anything heinous enough to be compared to Congress.