Monday, November 2, 2015
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
In this go-round, 17 percent of the electorate — generally older, whiter, more affluent than the general population — got to change the course of our nation and perhaps our planet, effectively vetoing what a larger, more representative electorate OK’d in 2012. I don’t think anyone should feel good about that.
I think it’s time we try an idea from Down Under: In Australia, if you don’t vote, you get a ticket. Surely voting is as much a civic duty as serving on a jury or paying our taxes. Since we already pay a fine if we shirk jury duty or dodge paying taxes, why shouldn’t we pay a penalty for not voting?
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Sir, you said . . . you are concerned about kids that are growing up in the wrong zip code and like yourself that had a tough start on the way out, but if we look at agencies that are following some of your voting records, [then] they have concern, and the NAACP has given you an "F" on their annual scorecard. They also say you voted against the ACA; you voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress; you oppose the Congressional Black Caucus' budget, delayed funding on a settlement between the U.S. and black farmers who say that they were prejudiced against because of their race. So how do you respond to that, if your true concern is about lower income families and kids?Scott's response is priceless:
Notice also the list of votes Roberts ticked off that evidently earned Scott his failing grade on the NAACP's scorecard. What exactly does voting against Obamacare, voting to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt, opposing the Congressional Black Caucus' budget, or delaying funding on a settlement between the U.S. and black farmers have to do with being concerned about kids who are growing up in the wrong ZIP code and going to underperforming schools? Roberts did not say, and I can't fathom a connection. The Senator appropriately brought up something he had voted on that was related to the issue. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, he pointed out, "has produced [a] higher percentage of kids going to college:" "91% of the kids graduating from high school versus 56% for those who are simply in everyday schools in D.C." (Scott misspoke; he was referring to the graduation rate among students in the program versus public school students in D.C., not what percentage of high school graduates the program has produced, but his numbers check out. 91% of students who used a voucher to attend private school graduated high school, while the DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) graduation rate last year was 56%.) Curiously absent from the votes Roberts listed was the House of Representatives 2011 vote on H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, which restored the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and increased the scholarship amounts for the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to voting for the SOAR Act, Scott was a cosponsor of the legislation. Shortly before the vote, the NAACP stated in an "urgent action alert" that they were "vigorously opposed to this legislation . . . due to the fact that the 5 year pilot program in D.C. was, by all accounts, a failure; neither the majority of D.C. residents nor their democratically elected representatives want the program; and due to our underlying opposition to school vouchers."
Without delving into the obvious biases and inaccuracies in the NAACP's stated reasons for opposing the restoration of a program that an independent, federally-mandated evaluation determined was "a success," I can see why Roberts wouldn't call attention to Scott's support for, or the NAACP's opposition to, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. This brief exchange between the two men provides an example of how loosely tethered some of these "scorecards" for elected officials are to the purported missions of the groups doing the scoring.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Similarly, in Iowa, the Senate race in 2010 wasn't competitive, unlike the one this year. Four years ago, Sen. Charles Grassley (R) was such a heavy favorite to win re-election that there wasn't much polling of the race, at least not by independent (unaffiliated) outfits. A Des Moines Register poll conducted in late October nailed Grassley's margin of victory over former U.S. Attorney Roxanne Conlin (D): 31 percentage points. This year, the Register's latest poll found state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) ahead of Rep. Bruce Braley (D) by just one percentage point, 47% to 46%. That comports with the current RCP Average of polls, which has Ernst leading Braley by 1.7 percentage points.
Same story in Georgia: The Senate race in 2010 wasn't competitive at all; this year it's a nail-biter. However, there was something unique about the Georgia Senate race four years ago. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) handily defeated his Democratic challenger, State Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond, 58% to 39%, but polls overestimated his margin of victory. All the publicly released poll results in late October that year showed Isakson winning by anywhere from 21 to 30 percentage points. This year, the polls are showing a virtual tie between businessman David Perdue (R) and Points of Light CEO Michelle Nunn (D); Perdue's lead over Nunn in the RCP Average today is one-half a percentage point. Because this race will go to a runoff if no candidate wins an outright majority of the vote in the general election, and because all the polls are indicating that is exactly what will happen, further analysis of this race seems premature right now.
Admittedly, the dynamics of an open race are so different from a race with an incumbent in it that trying to use one to predict what will happen in the other may not be empirically sound. So, what races can we look to for an apples-to-apples comparison? Try Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) was probably the most vulnerable incumbent in the U.S. Senate in 2010, and she lost in a landslide to then-Congressman John Boozman (R), who won Lincoln's seat with 58% of the vote. (Lincoln received 37%, almost exactly her poll position in the RCP Average--37.8%--on October 26, 2010.) Late deciders must have broken for Boozman, who stood at 54.5% in the RCP average one week out. If history repeats itself this year, then the lone remaining Democrat in Arkansas's congressional delegation, Sen. Mark Pryor (D), will soon be replaced by Rep. Tom Cotton (R), who today leads Prior by five percentage points in the RCP Average, 46.8% to 41.8%.
Colorado was one state where the pollsters really missed the mark in 2010. A week before Election Day that year, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) led Sen. Michael Bennet (D), who had been appointed to the seat in 2009, by one percentage point in the RCP Average. By Election Day, however, that lead had grown to three percentage points. Buck appeared to have the momentum going into the election, but Bennett managed to pull out one of the tightest victories that year, winning election to a full term by less than 2% of the vote. (Buck received 46.4% of the vote, significantly less than his 49.3% standing in the RCP average on Election Day, while Bennett took 48.08%, slightly more than the 46.3% the RCP average of polls had him winning. What probably happened is that a lot of voters who were going to vote for Buck ended up voting for one of the third-party or "Independent" candidates on the ballot, or maybe they just didn't vote.) This year, Rep. Cory Gardner (R) has a slightly larger lead over incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D), 3.3 percentage points in the RCP Average, and he hasn't made a lot - or really any - of the stupid mistakes Buck made four years ago. Republicans are also determined this year not to get caught off guard again by the Democrats' ground game. Suppose for a minute, though, that this race plays out from here just like the 2010 contest did. That would mean Gardner would continue to gain in the polls and head into Election Day with a lead of between five and six percentage points in the RCP average. If the actual election results then showed a four-point swing towards Udall, then Gardner would still win. It's also worth noting that Udall is polling much lower than Bennett was four years ago. However, there are also more "undecided" voters than there were at this point in the 2010 race, so while Udall has more ground to make up than Bennett did in the last week of the campaign, there are also more potential late deciders who could swing this race.
What about the "generic ballot"? Republicans have a six-point advantage among likely voters in the Washington Post/ABC News poll out this week. That's even better than they were doing four years ago, writes FOX News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt:
Double, double, toil and trouble - Struggling with female voters and young voters, Democrats fare worse in the latest WaPo/ABC poll than they did at the same point ahead of the disastrous 2010 election and at the same level as the punishing 1994 midterm elections that cost them both houses of Congress. Without any significant increase in Democratic intensity since the previous polling cycle, the auguries are getting dire for the president’s party.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
"They're still Baylor," said John Harris, who leads Texas with 336 receiving yards. "Just because they started playing better, that's good for them. We're still Texas."
Those remarks came about six months after Longhorns linebacker Steve Edmond was reprimanded by the Big 12 for his disrespectful comments toward the Bears after spring practice.
"I really don't like Baylor. I still feel they're trash," Edmond said. "Y'all think it's funny, but I'm dead serious. They've had some good players. But I don't understand how we lost to Baylor."
“The bottom line,” Patterson said, “is he’s picking on the wrong guy.”It was one of a steamy series of Patterson-issued “bottom lines” Saturday. His voice shook with anger, even though Patterson claimed he wasn’t mad.He professed, more than once, that he had “respect for him” and “respect for his program,” even as he questioned the Bears’ class.At the root of it, Patterson tried to explain, was Baylor senior safety Ahmad Dixon’s targeting penalty on Frogs receiver Trevone Boykin and what Briles did or didn’t do in the wake of it.“Here’s the bottom line to it,” Patterson said, “No. 6 [Dixon] beats a guy up at the beginning of the season and he didn’t get suspended. He takes a shot today, and I want him kicked out.And the head coach comes across the field at me.”Patterson contended that while officials were discussing the penalty, Briles came onto the field and yelled something at him.Their postgame handshake later, Patterson reported, was brief, but went right to the sore spot at hand.“I didn’t say anything,” the TCU coach said. “He said, ‘Leave it on the field.’I said not. You come across the field at me and later you want me to leave it on the field? No.”Dixon was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge in a September incident. He was not suspended from the team, leading Patterson to say Saturday, “They didn’t correct the problem a long time ago.”Instead of Briles admonishing Dixon for Saturday’s illegal third-quarter hit, Patterson became further agitated that TV cameras spotted the ejected player still sitting on the Baylor bench.“I’ve got coaches up in the box saying he’s laughing on TV underneath his towel,” Patterson said. “Well, I didn’t think it was that funny.”Patterson continued, “The bottom line is, we’re not going to do that. Gary Patterson lives in Fort Worth. If he’s got a problem with me, here’s where I live.”
“No, I just told him his kids did a great job and good luck during the rest of the year and then in recruiting,” Briles said.But Patterson took the brief interchange more personally.“He comes across the field at me?” Patterson said. “Nuh-uh.“I didn’t build this program to back down to anybody, and I’m not going to do it to him. Not in recruiting or in anything we do.”
“No, I just told him his kids did a great job and good luck during the rest of the year and then in recruiting,” Briles said.But Patterson took the brief interchange more personally.“He comes across the field at me?” Patterson said. “Nuh-uh.I didn’t build this program to back down to anybody, and I’m not going to do it to him. Not in recruiting or in anything we do.”
What the heck happened to Gary in Fort Worth?Just one year ago, after taking a backup quarterback into Austin on Thanksgiving night and beating Texas, there were columns being written on why Gary Patterson should NOT be the leading candidate to replace Mack Brown.Those columns were in response to Austin stories that the UT money boys wanted to hire GP, hire him like right now. But with all the outside crap involved with that particular job, a dug-in Patterson didn’t seem to be a guy who would tolerate the program’s built-in distractions.Even in a somewhat disappointing first season (2012) in the Big 12, Patterson’s reputation didn’t lose luster. In August, in a conference poll of players, the question was what coach would you like to play for other than your own?Patterson was the players’ choice.But at the moment, with TCU struggling, GP has dropped off the hot list of college coaches. He’s not even lukewarm.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
History also is replete with examples of how Virginans (like so many others) have seen their liberty eroded when the wrong people have been put in charge. Even after the Civil War, Democrats enacted and implemented segregation and other Jim Crow laws that deprived Negroes of their rights and made it clear to all other Virginians that they weren't living in a free society but rather a society in which the government decided which rights people ought to have. (Sound familiar?)
In recent years, the voting patterns of Virginians have made it difficult to figure out where the voters' sympathies lie. Since the turn of the last century, changing demographics and the growth of the federal government have fueled a Democratic shift at the state, and then the federal, level, particularly in northern Virginia, where a lot of residents are either on the federal payroll or work in industries that depend on government largesse to stay alive. Virginians elected Democratic governors in 2001 and 2005 and traded Republican Sen. George Allen for Democrat Jim Webb in 2006; Democrats won control of the State Senate in 2007; and, in 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential election since 1964. (He won the state again, albeit by a narrower margin, in 2012.) Between Obama's election and re-election, however, Virginians appeared to be turning back toward the GOP. Republicans won all three statewide races--for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general--in 2009, ousted three Democratic incumbents in the U.S. House in 2010, and flipped two State Senate seats in 2011 to regain control of that chamber.
Since then, however, it's been mostly bad news for Virginians who favor liberty over big government. In 2012, 51% of voters in Old Dominion supported Obama's re-election, and 53% voted for Democrat Tim Kaine in the U.S. Senate race. Popular Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is dragging his feet on entering the race for U.S. Senate next year, when Sen. Mark Warner (D), elected in the Democratic wave of 2008, will be up for re-election. As previously mentioned, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is trailing Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor.
Whatever the overall mood of the Virginia electorate is at the moment, the fact that the pro-freedom candidates are registering more support in the polls than the anti-freedom candidate suggests that a majority, or at least a plurality, of Virginia voters value liberty more than whatever redeeming qualities big-government hucksters like Terry McAuliffe have to offer, which only worsens the prospective travesty of McAuliffe being elected governor because of his opposition splitting the vote.
Surely Virginians who are smart enough to know better than to vote for Terry McAuliffe are cognizant of the reality that Sarvis is not going to win, but why then would they vote for him instead of Cuccinelli, thereby handing the election to McAuliffe? It doesn't make sense. Maybe it would if Cuccinelli and Sarvis were worlds apart on major issues, but Cuccinelli's record is more in line with the libertarian-leaning wing of the GOP than the hard-line "conservative" wing; he has worked hard fighting Obamacare in court and enjoyed at least one success when the Supreme Court ruled the Medicaid exapnsion mandated by the law unconstitutionally coercive; he has rolled out a fiscally responsible tax plan that slashes the Commonwealth's income tax rates and a sensible energy plan that calls for removing bureaucratic red tape and burdensome regulations to expand energy exploration and production; and he "wants to outmaneuver [school] voucher opponents by giving tax credits to those who donate money to provide private- and parochial-school tuition to poor, middle-class, and disabled students," thus allowing parents greater choice in education. He has also pledged to protect Virginians' 2nd Amendment rights and has criticized his own party for big-government boondoggles such as Medicare Part D, the No Child Left Behind Act and the Wall Street bailouts. His libertarian bona fides were sufficient to secure the endorsement of former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R) and a host of liberty-focused advocacy groups. Indeed, one wonders what makes Sarvis so much more appealing to voters who supposedly cherish their liberty than Cuccinelli. Whatever it is, it's enough to make them willing to aid and abet the election of a big-government Democrat while wasting their vote on a candidate sure to finish a distant third. Oh, well. Sic semper fatuis.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Should We "Appreciate" This, Mr. President?
Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Obama emulated one of his (presumed) role models by addressing a throng of enthusiastic Germans. In his speech, he declared, "In America, there's afailure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world."
I wasn't--and I'm still not--sure what he was referring to, and he didn't cite any specific examples, but America's latest defeat this weekend at the hands of Europe called to mind the President's words in Strasbourg four summers ago.
Normally I leave it to sportsfan to cover sports news, but the embarrassment of this unprecedented fiasco made my blood boil. It's not just that the best of America lost to the best of Europe; the LPGA has become yet another area in which the U.S. has ceded leadership under President Obama. As the AP’s Doug Ferguson pointed out, "The Americans are without the Solheim Cup, the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup, the four biggest team events between both sides of the Atlantic."
This is also an uncharacteristic reaction to defeat for me. When the Cowboys, the Rangers, the Mavericks or my Baylor Bears lose, I get depressed. I got really depressed after last year's elections. But I reacted to this loss with anger. I'm not sure why, but I know who to be angry at.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Oh, did that sound inappropriate? Sorry; my sense of when it is and isn't appropriate to bring up the race of newsmakers must be out of step with modern social mores. I didn't think there was anything racial about Stacy Lewis winning the Women's British Open, but apparently, I was wrong.
There's been a lot of efforts recently to inject race into matters of national interest that are not inherently racial: e.g., the George Zimmerman/Travon Martin case, the controversy over New York City's "Stop & Frisk" policy and certain states changing their voting laws. The individuals who have perpetrated these efforts probably have varying motives for doing so, but I can't conceive of a good reason for racializing non-racial things. In the case of Stacy Lewis's victory at St. Andrews, it is significant and a propos that this was the first time an American won a major LPGA tournament since 2011, but why not just say that? Why even bring up the race of the other winners?
It's no secret that women from the Far East have come to dominate the LPGA Tour in recent years, so I'm not that surprised that nearly every sportscaster and golf journalist who reported on the 2013 Women's British Open made sure to work this Asian-winning-streak talking point into their coverage. I'm just so sick of people injecting race into things that aren't naturally racial.
When I was a kid, a Japanese friend of mine and his family were sent to an internment camp, like hundreds of thousands of other Japanese-Americans who were guilty of nothing other than sharing a heritage with a nation that had attacked us. It was a sad chapter in American history, and although it didn't seem right to me at the time, I didn't really understand what was going on. Once I was older and understood what was done to my friend and his family and other Japanese families and German-American families and why it was done, I wasn't sure how to feel; I felt angry, confused, furious and saddened. What happened to those Americans was wrong, so very wrong, and of course the people responsible for it rationalized their actions at the time, but then, don't the leaders of any government that oppresses its people always do that?
So, if you think I'm making a big fuss about something that's just small potatoes, then you need to understand where I'm coming from. Having seen the U.S. progress from a country with internment camps and segregated schools to a society in which so many people value tolerance and diversity above all else, I have an instant dislike for attempts to racialize any issue that isn't (or shouldn't be) racial. Years ago, the late Mike Wallace asked Morgan Freeman in an interview, "How are we going to get rid of racism?" Before Wallace had even finished his question, Freeman responded, "Stop talking about it." I couldn't agree more.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Where is the media attention?
Justice for this victim!!
I guess Sharpton and the rest of the scum don't care about white victims of brutal, black, drug-pushing thugs........
They just care about the thugs. Thugs like Trayvon Martin.
These vicious animals should be punished.