Bachmann on the latest shooting

I’ve got a FB friend who is not the closest follower of politics.  Follows closely enough to know that the following Onion article about Bachmann seems plausible; but not close enough to know that this is actually political satire.  Damn good satire:

Michele Bachmann Thankful No Americans Died In Sikh Shooting

WASHINGTON—In response to the shooting death of six Sikh worshippers at a temple in Oak Creek, WI yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) offered a public expression of her thankfulness that no Americans had been killed in the rampage. “It’s a relief and a blessing that not a single American died in this event,” Bachmann said of the incident that claimed the lives of six Americans who practice the Sikh faith. “All of us can be grateful for that. Had the gunman targeted a church or synagogue, this violent act could have been much, much worse. There’s no telling how many Americans might have died.”

Well, she didn’t say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she were thinking it.


What will Obamacare do to my pizza habit?

I love Papa John’s pizza.  I rarely eat it, though, as my wife finds the sauce to sweet.  On the rare occasions she’s not around for dinner, though, David and I know it’s Papa John’s time.   Alas, maybe I should stop because the CEO and founder is giving lots of money to Mitt Romney.  And it’s fair to say that’s money towards causes I don’t believe in.  Anyway, Papa John himself has let us know that due to the socialistic, totalitarian costs of Obamacare, I may see the cost of a large pizza go up $.14.  The death knell of freedom and capitalism as we know it.  Yglesias:

Stipulating for a moment that this is true, doesn’t it seem like a rather small price to pay? Papa John’s website is currently offering to deliver me a large pepperoni pizza for $14.08 and Schnatter is warning me that the problem with Obamacare is … a one-time price increase of less than 1 percent! That seems eminently reasonable. What’s more, it’s well within the range of the kind of price swings Papa John’s is going to have to expect just based on the vagaries of the weather, which impacts the price of ingredients, and the ups and downs of the oil market. There’s just nothing there. I can believe that the Obamacare provision requiring prominent calorie labeling on menus would hurt Papa John’s by encouraging people to order smaller pizzas or fewer toppings, but the idea that they’re getting hammered by a one-time 14 cent per-pie increase in labor costs is silly. NowSchnatter personally stands to lose money as a result of the progressive tax increases that will help pay for the law. He’s probably mad about that, but he shouldn’t attribute his personal problems to his business.

Yep.  Personally, I think it is plenty worth it to pay $.14 or so a pizza so that millions more Americans get health insurance.  And, yes, I will still keep eating Papa John’s when Kim is not home for dinner.

Video of the day

Heard a very nice appreciation on the BBC World News today for composer Marvin Hamlisch, who just passed away.   Among other things (most notably, “A Chorus Line”) he’s most responsible for my favorite Bond theme, “Nobody does it Better” from “The Spy who Loved Me.”   Really good Bond film and probably Roger Moore’s best:

Obama in NC: it’s the immigrants

No, not like that, it’s simply the non-native North Carolina residents who have moved to the state in recent years that are affording Obama his small lead.  Check out this very interesting graph from the latest PPP poll:


Check out that moved here in last 10 years split– wow!  Alas, this does not apply to me because I moved here 10 years plus 2 weeks ago.  Though, I am very fitting in moving to Cary (Containment Area for Relocated Yankees).  Safe to say much of this immigration is among well-educated white-collar professionals to the Charlotte and Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) areas.

There’s also some more interesting breakdowns.  The gender gap here in NC is particularly large:

There’s an enormous gender gap in North Carolina with Obama leading 57-38 among women, but trailing 56-40 with men. Romney has a 48-44 lead with independents but Democrats can lose by that margin with independents and still win overall in North Carolina as long as they keep their party base in check and for now Obama’s doing that, taking 82% of the Democratic vote. Obama’s up 91-7 with African American voters- any thought that his position on gay marriage would hurt him on that front can be cast aside. And he’s only down 58-38 with white voters- if he can stay in that mid to upper 30s range with white voters it will probably be enough to put him over the top.

Several years ago I wrote a paper (with Laurel Elder and Kyle Saunders)  trying to explain why the gender gap seemed to vary so much across states.  The results weren’t good enough to get published anywhere, but here’s a bit from the abstract:

In this paper, we use state-level data to try and understand the sources of variation in the gender gap in the 2004 election. Regression results suggest that state gender role culture, as measured by percent of women in the legislature, and state religiosity, as measured by percent Christians, both significantly explain the gap while other possible sources such as state political culture and state demographics fail to have a significant explanatory impact.

Photo of the day

I know there’s some serious Olympics detractors out there among you, but what I really love about it (okay, other than amazing, amazing feats of human ability) is the very genuine human drama.  Sure, there’s all sort of artifice in the Olympics, but the human emotions experienced by the competitors are very real.  And make for some amazing photos.  This is a great, great set from Alan Taylor.  Here’s two of my favorites:

Russian gymnasts and team officials react as teammate Kseniia Afanaseva falls while performing on the floor during the Artistic Gymnastics women’s team final, on July 31, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Russia’s Ivan Nifontov celebrates after defeating Japan’s Takahiro Nakai during their men’s -81kg bronze medal A judo match, on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/Darren Staples)



Money matters

Heard on NPR news this morning that in response to Romney/Republicans outraising Obama last month, approximately, $100 million to $75 million, Obama’s campaign is making a “desperate” appeal to supporters.  Of course, taking advantage of this news to open up wallets is nothing less than I would expect, but I daresay this fundraising gap does not make things desperate for Romney.  The money key in any campaign is to have enough to get your message out and to effectively combat your opponent’s ad spending.  Does anybody doubt that Obama has enough for that.  Let’s put it this way, if the average Ohio voter ends up being exposed to 9 Romney commercials a day, but only 6 Obama commercials, do you really think that’s a meaningful advantage for Romney.  Now, if it were 9 to 1, that would be meaningful.

In fact, one of my favorite findings in political science literature is that incumbent congressional candidates who spend the most are more likely to lose.  Why?  Because this means that they are locked in a tight race with a well-financed challenger and have the need to spend a ton.  Of course, more money is always better than less, but when you are looking at two clearly well-financed campaigns, it is not that big an advantage to have more.  John Cassidy also brings this up in a nice post today, appropriately titled, “Romney needs a lot more than money”

In today’s politics, money is a necessary condition for success, but it’s by no means sufficient. From Steve Forbes in 1996 to Meg Whitman in 2010 and Rick Perry last year, the political landscape is littered with the detritus of well-funded campaigns that self-destructed because the candidate wasn’t up to it, the opposition was too strong, or the objective conditions were unfavorable.

He then goes on to make the case that Romney is in real trouble:

Right now, Romney is in grave danger of joining the list of money-rich candidates who ended up as roadkill. Look at the polling data. According to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Obama is up about three and a half per cent in the national race, his biggest lead in quite a while. At the state level, the numbers are even more worrying for the G.O.P. Just last week, Rove himself acknowledged that Ohio and Colorado, two key swing states, had moved from “toss up” to “lean Obama,” and that Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, three states Romney desperately needs, were still too close to call. If the Republican candidate doesn’t win Florida and at least two of three from North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, it is very difficult to see him getting two hundred and seventy votes in the Electoral College.

Cassidy’s prescription for Romney:

In his convention speech and in his other appearances, he has to show the American voters not only that he’s a highly competent businessman with a perfectly honorable record but also that he’s a decent, honest person who understands some of the challenges faced by the less fortunate.

If Cassidy is right about that’s what it will take for Romney, than he really is in trouble.  I honestly don’t think he fundamentally understands the challenges faced by the less fortunate.  Regardless, money is not going to help him with his problems of how Americans perceive him.  Money can’t buy you love or a new personality.

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