Friday, November 30, 2012

Great Conservative Article About Raising the Minimum Wage

Here is a great article by conservative writer, Ron Unz, in favor of raising the minimum wage.  It concentrates on why it would be good for the US economy to raise the minimum wage.  Note, Walmart agrees with the writer - they want poor people to be able to afford shopping at Walmart.

I suggest you read the article thoroughly, I'm just summarizing some important points, with some comments.

First note that due to inflation, the effective minimum wage has been dropping pretty consistently since 1967.  In 2011 dollars, the minimum wage in 1967 was above $10.  It broke below $6 under George Bush, but has been pushed back up to a bit over $8 under Obama (see the chart in above article).     So when he wants to push to push the minimum wage to $12, it's not that big a deal.  It's a return to traditional values.

Let's look at winners vs losers.

Well, there are four types of people involved.

  1. Consumers of cheap products.  They will face a small increase in price.  Run Unz estimated we are talking about 3% or so.  Not that much, and not a huge inflation.
  2. Low paid employees.  They will have a significant raise.  They benefit incredibly.  Note this includes both those earning minimum wage AND those in slightly better paid jobs - as to employers will have to give raises to thee minimum+ people to keep them at their jobs.  People won't do the extra/harder work if you don't pay them more than the minimum.
  3. Big businesses paying the minimum wage.  Their profit margins will drop a small percent and/or their prices will go up a small percent.  The owner's profitability will not change significantly - as long as all of their competitors have to do the same.  If people can outsource their work to areas outside the US where there is no minimum wage, well they already will have done that.  Big Business does well.  Frankly, tax changes more than make up for this slight percentage.
  4. Small business of all kinds.  Most of them will do MUCH better with a higher minimum wage. Why?  Because small business has to compete with the big ones and most small businesses can't compete on price.  They have to offer better quality.   Big chains can almost always do it cheaper than you can, because a guy who owns 30 shops can live well off of a small profit per store, while a guy that owns 1 shop would starve without the big profit per store.  If you are a small business paying minimum wage, chances are you are doing something very wrong.   There are a few exceptions.
So let's expand on the exceptional small businesses paying the minimum wage. 

Here are the three examples I could think of:
    • Rare legal business that have large economies of anti-scale.   Something has to prevent a large corporation from taking over, without making it harder to do the work.  The most common situation here is high rent prices.  That's why Manhattan has more small stores and fewer chains - the big chains have trouble finding cheap rents.  But a long term tenant can have a sweetheart deal lease, own the property, or move to a new location. Then there are businesses with almost no fixed costs (maid services for example).  Here the small business benefits as he can raise prices.  If the economies of anti-scale aren't big enough to handle the small 3% price increase, then he doesn't have a real economy of anti-scale.
    • Franchise.  Here the big company gives you many economies of scale, but you get to own your own business, and want to pay your employees as cheaply as possible.  Here it will hurt the small business franchise owner. 
    • Criminal or semi-criminal enterprises.  I am not referring to drug dealers or other people selling illegal services or products.  Instead I am talking about people using illegal methods in their business.   Something along the lines of a small business that illegally dumps stuff in a national park.  They can compete with the big boys on price - because they don't have the same fixed costs to comply with the laws.  It is quite possible for them to employ minimum wage employees.   Here it will hurt the criminal small business. 

    The biggest negative will be slightly higher prices.  But it will help the economy a lot, because low paid people pump their extra profits right back into the economy.  Considering how low inflation is, we can accept a slight rise due to higher prices.   We might lose a few small franchise owners.  I feel bad for them.   We might hurt the semi-criminals -  but I don't feel bad for them..  But in any case the benefits to the entire economy should easily make up for that.

    Yes, their will be some people that get hurt by this rule.  There will be far more that benefit from it.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Corporate Tax Simplification

    I've talked before about how the major reason taxes are considered unfair is that we tax income, not wealth.  Income is always a much more dynamic and changeable term than wealth.

    A single, 21 adult with no kids, healthy parents making $125,000/year is wealthy.

    A divorced and remarried 45 man, making $125,000/year, paying alimony and child support, with two kids from his first marriage and a set of twin newborns, who is also supporting his aging mother, while he is undergoing cancer treatment is POOR.  And worried about what's going to happen if he dies and can't support 4 kids, his mom, and current wife (let alone the ex.)

    But if they had different salaries and both have exactly one million dollars in assets, then both are probably wealthy (barring either of them having the wealth from sudden good fortune).  This is in large part because wealth tends to vanish quickly if income is not sufficient to maintain it.

    The tax code is complicated in part because of these kinds of issues.  Their are tons of rules and regulations dealing with alimony, child support payments, marriage rules, and health payments for elderly parents.

    The world is not a simple place, and no simplified tax code (for people) could be fair.   This is the main reason why individual income taxes are so complicated and  also the main reasons why trying to simplify them is not always a good idea.

    Another reason why the tax code is so complicated is that we often like to use it to encourage good behavior.  We lower your taxes if you buy a home, go green, pay for education, employ more people, etc. etc. etc.   

    We do this to keep government SMALL.   That is, instead of having the government buy solar panels, we let people do it and give them a tax deduction.  In both cases, the solar panels get bought.   In effect, we are trying to out source the administration of the government program.  As government is all about administration, this should be a huge savings.

    Except... people try to cheat on their taxes.  As such, we need to check the deductions. So we replace administering of the government program with administering the tax code. Worse, the new administrators are accountants, not specially trained in all the programs.

    As we outsourced more and more of the government's administration to taxpayers (and the IRS), it also started annoying the crap out of the taxpayers.   No one likes to be treated as cheap labor. If you are wealthy, you can pay an accountant to do that administration work, and if you earn enough money, you might make a profit (i.e. make more money from the tax deductions then you paid the accountant).  If you are poor, then chances are the payment from the government exceed your hourly wage, so it is worth it.   But there are a bunch of people in the middle that do their own taxes and who just get angry about having to fill out complicated math tests for less money than their yearly salary.

    Could we get rid of some of the individual based tax  adjustments?  Sure.   But not all of them and the big ones can't be cut without major issues (Fair warning, I live in a tax heavy state and own a nice home - I might have to sell it if some moron got rid of the mortgage tax deduction entirely). 

    But.... corporate taxes are slightly different.  Corporations don't get married or divorced.  They don't have children or elderly parents.   They don't pay alimony or child support.  They are not home makers.  More importantly, capitalism is all about letting corporations die.  No extraordinary means to keep companies alive.  If they catch the corporate equivalent of cancer, they die.  They also already have an accountant.  He get's paid the same for his tax work as anything else. 

    Most importantly, quite frankly, we don't have to be fair to corporations.  If they die, it's not as big a deal.

    There is a difference between large corporations and small corporations - how many people they hire.  I can easily see giving a slightly different, lower tax rate for small corporations.  This would have to be done in such away so as not to let a large corporation create a small US subsidiary to earn the profit, while the work is done by a larger related entity.  Big corporations tend to have extra ways they can avoid paying taxes.  Things like the "No Sale Sale", "The Double Irish", among many others. 

    But aside from this, the only reason to give corporations large deductions is to outsource government work.   But corporations LIKE THIS.  They make a profit over it.  That assumes of course that they are profitable and thus owe taxes.  If they are unprofitable they don't gain from taxes.

    In effect, we end up helping the companies that don't need the help and hurting the companies

    I say we should simplify the corporate tax codes.  Rip out all the corporate tax deductions, create  equivalent government programs for those we think are worthy, cancel the ones we don't like.

    Note doing this will in all likelihood increase  government spending somewhat, as I do not think

    But honestly, because of international shenanigans like the Double Irish, I am not sure an income tax is the right way to go at all.  I have previously discussed a wealth tax.  a Wealth Tax is a tax based on how much you own, not how much you make.  For public corporations, that is pretty easy to figure out, it's called the Market Value  (total shares times price per share).  Oh, we can talk about book value and other methods but honestly, those are side issues.    It's harder to implement for private corporations, but not impossible.  You can always do the "Value it at whatever you want, but by law if someone offers to buy it at that price, you have to sell it, or re-value it and pay back-taxes for the past 10 years" trick.

    If it were up to me, I'd probably change the tax rules.  Even if you don't want to use wealth taxes for individuals, you can easily do it for corporations.  A solid 3% of the value each six months works well.   If you want to help out small corporations, you can always put in a one year delay. That is, at the end of 2012 you pay taxes based on your value at the end of 2011.  That way new companies don't pay taxes the first year.    If the company is growing, you pay less money each year than your real value and the taxes are known ahead of time.  Put in a rule so that if you declare bankruptcy you don't pay taxes for the next two six-month periods (equivalent of starting a new corporation).

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    The GOP's real demographic problem.

    Much has been said of the GOP's demographic problem.  Everyone is talking about how the GOP has to get the Hispanic vote.

    Here are some basic numbers.

    72% of voters were white and they went 40% for Obama ,58% for Romney.

    13% of voters were Black and went 93% for Obama and 6% for Romney
    10% were Hispanic and they went 69% for Obama and 29% for Romney
    5% were Asian, 74% for Obama, 25% for Romney
    5% were 'other', 58% for Obama and 38% for Romney.

    So that means, out of 100 voters:

    30 White Obama fans    vs.   42 White Romney fans
    12 Black Obama fans     vs.   1  Black Romney fan
    7 Hispanic Obama fans  vs.    3 Hispanic Romney fans
    4 Asian Obama fans      vs     1 Asian Romney fan
    3 other Obama fans       vs.    2 other Romney fans
    56 total Obama fans     vs    49 other Romney fans

    (as always, the numbers don't add up to 100% because of rounding)

    The GOP is worried that they only got 29% of the Hispanic vote.   They have bigger problems.

    Honestly, 29% is not that bad.  Not compared to 25% for Asians.  And certainly not compared to 6% for blacks  Blacks outnumber Hispanics.  

    OK, so you can't see black people voting against a black president.  Well in 2004 Senator Kerry won 88%  of the black vote and Gore won 90% in 2000. (Source)  It's not because Obama is black, it's because he's a Democrat.

    The GOP does not have a Hispanic problem.  It has a NON-WHITE problem.  It's not just the Hispanics.  It's blacks, Asians and even 'other'.  There is NO reason they should abandon the black 13% of the electorate.  The fact that they are talking about fixing their Hispanic problem and not even talking about their black problem is itself telling.   It means they won't even consider trying to get black votes.

    It's not just an 'immigration' issue.  Treating it that way will not solve the problem.  Part of it is a   racism issue.   Until they fix that issue, they will never win the majority of a votes of any non-white electorate.

    The republicans are just a little bit racist.  Strange, because 60 years ago it was the southern Democrats that were racists.  The DNC got over that mainly because of the actions of two people - JFK and Lyndon B. Johnson.  Those two presidents, mainly Johnson, moved us forward away from racism, leaving the GOP to pick up the old racists.

    But being just a little bit racist isn't a horrible thing.  Just ask Kate Monster.   The GOP has an even bigger problem. Right now, I'm about to show just a little bit racism myself.  If you heard a black man voted for Romney - most people would assume "He's rich." Because from my experience, most poor black people don't vote Republican.  Frankly I'm always surprised when I hear about poor white people voting Republican.  As a white Democrat, I wish that poor white people were as logical about their vote as poor black people.  OK, enough of my racism.

    It's not just racism, it's class-ism.   The GOP likes to talk about "Class Warfare".  They blame the Democrats, saying when we demand taxes be 'fair', it's class warfare.  Nope.  It was class warfare when you created the unfair taxes in the first place.  The Republicans are the master of class warfare.  As proven by Romney's famous quote.

    Here it is: "All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

    He refuses to admit that any poor people might actually BE victims.   It has to be their fault.  They can't be worth saving or even worrying about them.   And that's the basic problem with the GOP.  They insist that everyone take full responsibility for every bad thing that happened to them.  I'm all for taking responsibility for things you do.  But not everything bad is caused by the victims.

    Get raped? It's your own damn fault, says the GOP.   Get sick and lose your job?   Your fault.   Get denied a job because of your skin color?  It's your fault.     Get beaten up because your gay?  Your fault.  Get hit by a hurricane?   Your fault.
    The GOP is wrong.  There is evil in this world.  It is not a karmic-ally neutral universe where God punishes you for things you did bad.   Bad things happen to good people.  The government needs to take this into account.

    Republicans needs an attitude adjustment.  You can believe in capitalism without insisting on continuing to mistreat people that did not do anything to deserve it.  That is the real problem with their philosophy.

    Yes, there are some people in the world that don't try.  Their own misfortunes are caused by their failures.  But it is just as often that their misfortunes are caused by sheer chance, their parents or by other people.

    Sometimes you come up with a brilliant idea and make a fortune.  Other times just as you are putting all your money into your brilliant idea, someone else comes up with an even better one.  There is no second place prize in capitalism. Mark Twain went bankrupt betting on a new improved typesetting machine when another, better one came out.  There was this really cool shoe lace holder system for kids that came out just before Velcro.  The guy that came up with that idea lost all his money, as velcro blew it away.  Doesn't mean he didn't work hard or come up with a brilliant idea.   Just bad luck that someone else came up with a better one too soon after he came up with his.

    The GOP needs to admit that the government has a place helping down and out people.  They need to admit that being born poor and in the wrong school district is something that does affect your chances.  No, not everyone can overcome it.

    It also needs to admit that the Democrats are not fools and traitors, that we have ideas and morals.   That we are part of this country and deserve a fair say.

    They need to be a loyal opposition once again.

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Treason Proposed by Republicans - boycot the Electoral College

    A lot of Republicans are upset that Obama won the election.

    A few go are really upset - they feel the same the heart breaking pain the Democrats felt when Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote.

    But a select few have gone insane.  They are enough to commit treason and overthrow the lawful government of the United States of America.

    Specifically, certain Tea Partiers (by which I mean Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation), want to have their electors boycott the Electoral College.  They thought that the 12th amendment of the Constitution said if at least 2/3 of the electoral college did not meet, then it would let the House of Representatives determine the next president.   (Source)

    They are wrong. found that the 2/3 requirement is for within the House, after the Electoral College has already failed to select a President.  It does not apply to the Electoral College at all.

    But I am not going to talk about the legality of the theory,.  Snopes did a good job dismantling his argument.  Instead I am talking about the ethics of the theory. 

    Because something can be legal and still be treasonous - if the traitor Judson Phillips were to invent an entirely new device that when activated causes all nuclear bombs within 100 miles to detonate, then selling that device to say say Syria, would be treason.  Yes it might be legal, as there are no clear laws against it, but it would still be treason.

    First we need to dismiss his feeble attempt at justification.  He refereed to previous times state legislatures have boycotted state votes.   He fails to realize three things.

    1. The people boycotting those state votes were not elected solely to do those state votes.  They were elected to govern the entire nation and specifically told to vote their own mind, not simple perform a direct function of voting as they ran.   That is, there were no laws requiring them to vote as they had promised. 
    2. The matter in question had in fact never been mentioned in the elections that put the representatives there.   
    3. Lastly, those were lower level matters.  What's OK to do for a law on union negotiations is not OK to do for deciding who the President of the US will be.

    Next I need to remind people of the purpose of Democracy.  It isn't to get the best President.  We didn't rise up against England because we thought King George's younger brother would be a better king.  No, we rose up because we wanted a democracy - the ability to vote for who would lead us.  We rose up  against a fascist pig that ignores our desires, taking up weapons and killing the S.O.B. that tried to make us obey a government that ignored our desires.

    At heart the reason democracy works is that it makes more sense to vote for who will lead with a ballot rather than with a bullet.  In other words to stop an armed insurrection because some asshole stole power.  And that's what Judson Philips was suggesting.  He thought that he had found a 'legal' way to steal an election from America and turn us into a Dictatorship run by a bunch of fascists telling us what to do, despite having lost an election.

    That's all Judson Philips and his friends (see Tea Party Nation) are - a bunch of anti-American, anti-Democracy wanna be dictators.

    By the way, that's why the GOP lost.  They ignored the needs and desires of black Americans, Hispanic Americans, and female Americans.  We realized that the Tea Party are not in favor of democracy.  They like to wrap themselves in the Flag and the Constitution, but:
    1. Don't know what the Constitution really says (hence had to correct that wanna-be dictator about what the 12th amendment actually said)
    2. Don't care about Democracy.  Which is why they came up with the twisted attempt to get the loser of the election - which he admitted he didn't like - to be President.
    3. Doesn't care about right or wrong, he just wants to WIN.
     In the past I've talked about the advantages of Democracy.  Let me take a minute to refresh

    The six reasons why Democracy is better than other forms of government are:
    1. Ideas not people are what matter
    2. More attentive leaders
    3. Leaders with good social skills
    4. It trains multiple people
    5. We can thoroughly investigate candidates
    6. It's your own damn fault if the wrong party wins
    Well, here the Democrat Ideas won, and the traitor Judson Philips wants to ignore this..  He wants to make it about people, specifically "Mitt Romney was a terrible candidate, and he will not be a great president. But he will be infinitely better than Barack Obama."

    The traitor Judson Philips wants to ignore what the people said (yes to Obama, yes to Healthcare, yes to higher taxes on the wealthy), rather than pay attention to it.

    The traitor Judson Philips  wants to get a leader with admittedly bad social skills (see moronic "Gift Comments, by Romney - note the real "gifts" Obama gave to down trodden Americans were Respect, an ear to talk to a voice to speak for them).

    At least the traitor Judson Philips was willing to keep the ability to train multiple people and investigate candidates.

    But finally, the traitor Judson Philips was unwilling to admit IT'S HIS OWN DAMN FAULT ROMNEY LOST.  The GOP elected him as their candidate, in large part because Tea Party Traitors like Judson Philips prevented the smarter candidates like Huntsman from winning (anyone that thinks one the Tea Party's favorite candidates could have done better has been doing some pretty impressive drugs.)   Hell, their stupidity is almost certainly one of the reasons Chris Christie didn't run. (They yelled at him for 'standing too close to President Obama during the Hurricaine Sandy aftermath).

    The Traitor Judson Philips need to go back to school.  He needs to study the Constitution of the United States.  He also needs to study the Civil War - about how horrible it was (and the fact that the South lost because the North had the better weapons even though the South had better trained people and more guns).  He also needs to learn more about the difference between legal and illegal, ethical and unethical.

    But most importantly, the Traitor Judson Philips needs to know three things.
    1. It is still legal in the US for citizens to own guns.  Lots of Liberals own them.
    2. What do you think would have happened if Republicans had won the general election and the electoral electoral election, but a bunch of commie liberals had tried to do the kind of low down, treasonous coup you suggested the Republicans did?  There be gunfire in the streets and a bunch of dead liberals, that's what. 
    3. Liberals are not soft.  Those guns you think we don't have?   We will use those guns against against any traitor that tries to steal our election.   The same way you would have shot us dead if we tried to pull the illegal coup you suggested.
    Judson Philips, you are a traitor to the United States, a traitor to Democracy, a traitor to pretty much everything George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Ronald Reagan and Clinton stood for.

    Luckily for us, most conservatives (including most Republicans) are as horrified as I am at the vile evil thoughts in your head.  

    And that my friend, is the real reason why you lost the election.  Frankly, you never had a chance.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Isreal and the Gaza Strip

    Full disclosure:  I am a non-practicing Jew, living in the USA.

    The way Israel treats the Palestine people is shameful.  And yes both countries have the right to defend themselves.

    I feel real bad for the Palestinian children.  They risk death every day.

    Of course, it doesn't help that their parents either are terrorists or harbor terrorists.

    The problem is that while the Israelis are defending themselves by trying to kill combatants, the Palestinians are not.  Gaza is targeting civilians, not soldiers.  When you target civilians, that is not defending yourself, that is aggressively attacking innocent people.

    The most reliable numbers I have found say that 3 Israelis (Source)  [Note, after I wrote that, they killed another 22 Israeli civilians - (Source) by bombing a bus.]  were killed from Gaza and that  96 Palestinians were killed.  (source)  Of those 96, 50 were civilians, and 46 were militants.  I am not happy that more than half (52%) of all those killed were civilians, but those are the numbers.

    But the number of missiles fired are similar - 1350 strikes filed by Israel,848 fired by Gaza.  So that just means that Israel is better at killing while the Palestinians are incompetent when it comes to killing.

    Mainly because the Israeli anti-missile system, Iron Dome, is pretty good (80-85% efficiency).

    But that's 80-85% efficiency, not 95-100%.   Which means that 15-20% get through and they have only killed three people.  Those 25 Israelis that were killed?  They were all civilians.   As in 100% (vs the 52% I mentioned above)  It was a a rocket fired into an apartment building and a bus bombing.  (Source)  Why such a poor, incompetent showing?

    They are firing missiles blindly, and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) doesn't let just anyone on their military vehicles.

    They don't have smart missiles, they have dumb ones.  They fire these dumb missiles blindly, aiming only at cities.  Not to mention the stupidity of bombing a bus.

    These are the actions of terrorists.  They are targeting civilians, while the IDF at least tries to kill combatants.   Terrorists aim at civilians.  If you are aiming at a city, or worse, at a public bus, you are aiming at civilians.

    Soldiers aim at combatants.  Yes, they may kill civilians, but those are incidental deaths, not intentional. That is the difference between terrorists and soldiers. 

    Gaza is a terrorist state, blindly firing missiles and placing bombs.  The next question is why?

    They want to piss off Israel enough to invade.   The last time Israel invaded, some of their soldiers took out frustration on innocent civilians.  They were accused of war crimes and Israel lost some prestige, and Gaza got some positive press.  (Source)  

    Gaza terrorists were firing missiles in the hope that Israel will invade and that will give them more support and/or convince Egypt to help them out, possibly even defending them.  When peace looked possible, they bombed a bus, derailing the chances of peace.   Which is of course why the Palestinians did it.

    Well, they also claim they want the blockage lifted.  You know the blockade Israel put in to stop people from giving missiles to Gaza.   Does anyone really think that firing missiles at Israel is going to convince Israel to lift the blockade that Israel put in to stop Gaza getting missiles?

    Israel just wants Gaza to stop trying to kill Israeli citizens.  There is no way they will lift the blockade given that missiles are being used and the blockade is designed to stop them getting missiles.  

    It's not that hard to figure out who are the bad guys, who are the good guys.  Israel is defending itself from a bunch of terrorists blindly firing missiles.

    Terrorists in Gaza are blindly firing missiles and bombing public buses.  They have an evil, despicable plot to convince Israel to invade and kill more Gaza residents, all in the vain hope that they will be able to ring some political advantage out of the deaths of their own people (and 25 innocent Israelis.)

    What should Israel do?

    Well, I would send in suicide drones.  Have the drones look for missiles, then detonate.  Of course, the Gaza people might try to kill the drones before hand.  It wouldn't be that hard for the Israelis to film everything the drone sees, then detonate if someone stupid tries to get to close to the drone or attacks it.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    The Lie of voter Fraud

    Politifact did an interesting, though complicated piece about the lie of voter fraud.  You can read it here.

    A synapses of it goes as follows:

    • The 2010 census had 98,213 people over the age of 18 in Wood County, Ohio.
    • The 2012 Voter Registrar lists 106,258 people as of Sept 17.  (Up to 108,014 as of the Politifact published date).
    • A bunch of fools are insinuating that 106,258 people voted for Obama in Wood County in the 2012 election, being an obvious example of voter fraud.  This is an outright lie.
    • The truth is that only 80,433 people are listed as 'active voters', and of those only 62,338 voted this November 6th.  
    • Of the people that voted, only 31,596 voted for Obama.  The other 28,997 voted for Romney.

    So, the idiots implying that there was massive, voter fraud are clearly trying to deceive people with the wrong numbers.  But let's talk about the right numbers.

    Why are there 8,045 more people on the Voter Registrar list than in the census?

    There are lots of reasons this happens.

    1. Two years passed, and people aged.  Someone that was 16 in 2010 would not count in that 98,213 number. 
    2. Some people moved into the county.
    3. People that died did not get immediately removed from the list.
    4. People that moved did not re-registrar to vote, removing themselves from the list.
    5. College students may tell the Census that they 'live' with their parents, but register to vote in the the county they go to school.  (They may think that their parent's student financing need them to be claimed as a resident)
    First, which way should we be cautious about.  Should we try to eliminate everyone we can from the voter registration list- preventing fraud?  Or should we be extra careful not to violate someone's voting rights by eliminate them unless we know that they are no longer an eligible voter?  Well, as there are practically no convictions or even arrests for voter fraud, we should obviously protect their voting rights - just as we protect our rights to own a gun or practice religion.   If on the other hand you can show significant numbers of arrests and convictions for voter fraud, then I could see changing those rules

    College students are hard to measure, as are moves.  But birhts and deaths are public records easily looked at. 

    In the US, about 0.839% of  people die every year.  (Source)

    The birth rate is about 1.375% (4 million births/291 million people)

    Not counting moves, that means there is a net increase of 0.536% of the population each year (on average.

    So over two years, the actual number of people in the country probably grew from 98,213 to 99,268

    That means that the Voter Registrar has an extra 6,990 people on it.Out of 99,268 that comes to an error rate of about 7%.

    7% is fairly high number of non-people listed on a registrar.  But lets look at the number of people listed as 'active' but did not vote this election.

    That would be 62338/80433 = 77.5% of the active voters voted, leaving 22.5% of 'active voters' not actually voting in one of the most contentious elections ever.

    Given that almost 1/4 of people did not bother to vote, is it that surprising that 7% have moved away and did not re-registrar?  Or died and not been removed?

    More importantly, those people SHOULD NOT have been removed during the past 9 months.  They should be removed NOW.   After the election.  Go through the 106,258-80,433 = 25,825 inactive voters and any that did not vote this year, becoming active again, telling them they will be removed from the voter lists and will not be able to vote again until they re-register.

    That's how you do it - after the important election, not before.  That gives them two years to re-register for the congressional elections if we were mistaken, four years for the presidential one.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Why Powerfull Women Don't Have Affairs.

    The meme of a powerful man having an affair is fairly common.  South Park did an entire episode where the unspoken theme was that the men have affairs because they CAN.  The spoken theme was that they had to stop getting caught, not stop doing it.

    A more important question is not why powerful men have affairs, but why don't powerful women?

    Well, there are three explanations for this.

    1. More men have power than women, and that means that only the top of the top women get power.  There are fewer women in politics and we get better women because of that.  
    2. The standards of attractiveness differ.   Women are judged on their beauty, men are judged by their power.  That is, if you are a powerful man, you are the equivalent of a 10.   Powerful women don't get that same boost in attractiveness.  In fact, women's standard of beauty focuses more on youth.   Which means they are at the most attractive before they become powerful, not after.  Powerful men on the other hand have become more attractive than they have ever been before.  In effect, the men are in their 'prime' attractive years, while the woman aren't.   So the men have a much easier time finding a partner to cheat with.
    3. Explanation 2?  Men know it.  That's half the reason why they get power (and part but not all of the reason why more men seek power).   Just as some men become rock stars to get women, others go into politics.  Women know that power doesn't make them more attractive, so women seeking mates don't seek power.
    Please note this is not a statement in the greater character of women.  Only that the particular women that get involved in politics are likely to have different flaws than the men that get into politics.

    What are these flaws?  Well, they'll probably be small flaws.  Why? Because the flaw in men, infidelity, is itself a small flaw - at least when it comes to politics.

    Large political flaws are things like stupidity, stubbornness, refusing to compromise, poor communication skills, and being out of touch with the electorate.

    Infidelity represents either changing ones mind or a desire for pleasure, combined with a desire to maintain a particular image.  Those are not bad things in politics.  They are bad for the marriage, but not in politics.   That doesn't mean I approve of infidelity, just that it's not such a big deal with when it comes to politics.  There are far worse.

    The press however tend to focus on it, because no one claims it's easily seen as a flaw, it's salacious, and in general makes for good press.  People like to read about sex, especially the details.  For some reason, budgetary details don't inspire the same press coverage.

    As such, it is not surprising that we don't see a lot of female flaws the way we see infidelity scandals.

    Infidelity used to be far more accepted.  We all know about the affairs John F Kennedy had and the fact that never made it into the press.  Why?  Because neither the press nor the Republicans thought it was worth mentioning. 

    Now a days we have become slightly more puritanical, but Clinton proved an affair does not kill a presidency.  It might kill a marriage, but not a presidency.

    Some politicians are corrupt.  The worst sell their votes to the highest bidder.   Up until recently they legally traded on insider information they got as a function of their job.  They avoid paying taxes.   But even excluding those crimes, most politicians do rather despicable things to ensure they get elected.  Gerrymandering is legal. Not to mention the smear tactics of attack ads.

    Having an affair is not good, but when it comes to politics, it is closer to getting caught speeding than getting caught with 100 kilos of cocaine.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    More about how to cut the military

    I've already talked about how the US has a ridiculous number of aircraft carriers.  But I found out I was wrong.  I underestimated the issue.

    The US doesn't have 11 air craft carriers, it has 11 super carriers.   These are the huge, double runway things seen in movies and TV.  Other countries mostly have small single run way carriers (except for China, Russia and France - their single carriers are double runways, but are still smaller than the US.)  As for Italy and Spain the only other country that have more than one air craft carrier, they both have one small one and one TINY one.   (Source)

    But the navy isn't just about aircraft carriers.  The next big, expensive ship are Submarines.  Non-nuclear submarines are basically worthless.  They can't stay down very long, travel very slowly and can rather easily be identified when they surface.  Which is why the US doesn't own any military non-nuclear subs.  All of the US military submarines are nuclear powered.

    There are three main types of nuclear powered submarines:
    1. Attack submarines - designed to kill ships
    2. Nuclear bunkers - designed to hold missiles in a hidden, moving location
    3. "Information/rescue" ships - designed to get up close and spy, do research or retrieve people.

    The US owns about 74 nuclear powered submarines, of these 54 are declared to be attack nuclear powered submarines.  We don't talk about the other 20.   Russia owns 45 submarines, 40 of which are attack, England owns 13, 8 of which are attack, France and China both own 10 each and each has six attack submarines.  (Source - yes, I had to look up Russia's flag - in my head it was still the old USSR flag)

    It's hard to talk about the Bunker and Spy subs, because we don't know how many of each each country has.  But we can talk about the attack submarines.  Right now, the US has eight more attack submarines (54) than Russia (40) and China combined (6).  Not to mention the fact that we can depend on England, if not France to help us out if we go to war with both China AND Russia?   How about cutting down the attack submarines from 54 down to 49?  We give up 10% of our attack submarines, keeping the bunkers and the spy ships, and still have more than Russia and China combined, without depending on our allies.

    Lets look a the air force next.   No other country has reliable, tested stealth aircraft.  Everyone else has tried to build them but not tested them in a war.    We currently have 3 different stealth aircraft being designed/built.  No other country has more than one design and only: Russia, India, China, South Korea, and Japan have even bothered to try. (Source)  They are the F-35 Joint strike, the F-22 Raptor fighter and the B-2 Spirit bomber.  Aircraft are already incredibly expensive, stealth ones doubly so.
    But that's OK, we've already moved on to drones.  Of which once again, we have far more battle testing than they have (although recently Israel shot down an unarmed drone.)

    Our drone programs are still relatively small.  For example, as per Wikipedia, the Reaper (one of the biggest and deadliest drones we use), costs less than $40 million and we ordered less than 60 of them.  Compare that with the B-2 , which costs over 1,000 times that much - and we ordered 21 of them.

    I like drones.  They are cheap - both in dollars and in lives.  They can be launched from our yet to be launched new 'rail gun' Ford class aircraft carriers (coming 2015).  But most importantly, they work well against terrorists.  We can have them out spying where we don't dare send people.    I don't see a need to cut drones.  I do see a need to replace B-2 bombers with drones.

    Which do you think is more cost effective?  Sending one B-2 Bomber to take out a radar site, letting our fighters fly in behind them.  Or sending 500 Reapers to destroy the radar site.   Say we lose 100 of the reapers each time. 

    I see no problem in reducing our navy and air force expenditures by 10%.  The army is more problematic, but it is not impossible.  A general 10% reduction in the US military looks more and more possible.  We simply don't need to have that large a military because we are facing small insurgents, not Russia and/or China.   Drones do more than replace one grunt, they replace a highly trained, flying, hidden person.

    We could take 1/10 of that 10% budget reduction and spend it on foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence.  We need to fight the next war - terrorism, rather than the old cold war.  Save the rest to cut down the deficit.

    We spend about $900 billion a year on the military.  10% of that is $90 billion.   The sequester that everyone is talking about?  It saves 100 billion.  We only need another 10 billion to trade for it.   Raise taxes by 5 billion on the wealthy and cut 5 billion from welfare and we can cancel the sequestration.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Why the Democrats didn't retake the House.

    There are several distinct reasons why the Democrats failed to retake the House of Representatives.

    First and foremost Gerrymandering.  Now, in the past I have downplayed Gerrymandering.  I still think it is at heart less useful than people think.  People move.  But the Census was just done and it's only been two years, so right now is the most effective time to Gerrymandering.  And it worked extremely well.

    The best example of how it worked is Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania has 18 Congressional districts.  Of those 18 congressional districts won 13 of them, or 72%.

    But Obama won Pennsylvania with 52% of the vote, and the Democrat running for Senator won with 53.6% of the vote.  (Source for all Pennsylvania numbers and maps)  How did the GOP manage to keep 13 districts, if a straight numbers game they should have kept about 47% - or only 9 districts.

    That's four whole extra districts that the GOP  probably should not have won.

    Well, if you look at the gerrymandered' congressional districts, you see that the Pennsylvania 14th district, which the Democrats won by 76.9%, has long tail that extrudes into and almost cuts Pennsylvania 12th district in half.  Also, the 12th district has a couple of smaller bumps that intrude into the 14th. The GOP wont the 12th district by a slim margin of 51.8%.  If you cut off that tail and made it part of the 12th district and smooth out the bumps, then the Democrats would have won the 12th district as well as the 14th.  It's also next to the 18th that the GOP won by 64% .

    Without gerrymandering, the Democrats would have at least won the 14th, possibly even the 18th.

    Then there is the 6th, 7th and 8th districts.  The 6th they won by 57%, 7th district b 59.5% and the 8th by 56.6% of the vote.  But the 7th and 8th surround the 1st, 2nd and 13th, with the 6th district getting real close to both of them.  The seventh districts looks like two districts because of how tight it gets around the 13th.

    The Democrats won the 1st District by 85%, the 2nd by 89.4% and the 13th by 68.9%

    A reasonable map would have had many of the 13th voters in the  8th District, with the Democrats winning both of them.   If the Democrats gerrymandered the districts, it could have had the 1st and 2nd district voters moved to the 6th and 7th district, again, winning all four of these districts.  Those last two are naturally concentrated in cities, so merely getting rid of gerrymandering wouldn't fix the problem, you'd need to actively gerrymander for the Democrats.

    So GOP gerrymandering in Pennsylvania stole the 14th, the 8th districts, and could have let them win the 6th and the 7th districts.  You might say that 'natural' gerrymandering caused by the fact that democrats tend gather in a cities took the other two districts.

    That's how the GOP managed to steal away two to four extra districts.

    As I've said earlier, the Gerrymandering only works really well for one or two elections.  People move.   Come 2014, the GOP won't have that same advantage. 

    But that's not the entire story.   There's other things at work as well.   Among other things, not everyone is a died in the wool party regular.  A lot of people vote the person, not the party.  Which can mean they voted for Obama over Romney, but also for their Republican Congressman over the Democrat challenger.   The GOP were simply better local level politicians.

    Part of that is Obama's fault.  He did not offer a lot of support for the rest of the party.   He gave a single robo-call recording- he could have given 50.  They don't take a lot of his time.  Granted some Democrats did not want Obama's support as they were moderates in Republican states.   But there were quite a few moderates in swing states.  No need to campaign in rural Texas, but there were seats in California, Illinois, New York, Florida, even Massachusetts that were Toss Ups.

    The President needs to support the Congressman.   Hopefully he will do that in 2014, as well as hope whoever runs in 2016.

    That gives us four reasons why the GOP kept their congressional majority:

    1. GOP gerrymandering
    2. Natural gerrymandering
    3. Effective local republican politicking
    4. Poor support from Obama

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Looking to 2016

    As anyone that pays attention knows, the conservatives in America win more land by a huge amount.   They win states that are rural, which usually means large - and empty.  The liberals tend to win the states that are urban.

    (Source for this information)

    But that's the the big story.  When you look at the margins, a clear pattern emerges.  The pro democrat margin slowly tapers off.   Hawaii was +42.7 for Obama, then Vermont at 35.9.   By the time you get down to Oregon at +10.5, it goes down by around 1%, till you get to Florida which was +0,6 for Obama.

    Then comes North Carolina at +2.2% in favor of Romney, jump of over 2.5 points.

    In fact, you can pretty much count North Carolina as a 'swing state'.  At only +2.2% pro Obama, a Democrat from North Carolina could probably win the 2016 election by a greater margin than Obama did  (Like Kay Hagan, whom I have previously praised).

    But then something strange happens.  No state was +3% for Romney.  or +4%.  Or +5%.  or +6% or +7%.

    The next state as Georgia which was +8%.   That's almost a 6% jump.  In effect, all the swing states went to the Obama.  Obama won all but one state of those he had ANY chance at all of winning.

    There may be a lot of reasons for this.  The vitriolic the GOP spewed (socialist, death panels, apology tour).  It could be something else,  I don't know for sure.

    But there is very clearly a bunch of red conservative states with a total of 191 electoral votes, who are all in the GOP's camp by at least +8%.   But the problem is there no "just a little bit republican states."   All the rest are either moderately Democrat or very Democrat states (again with the possible exception of North Carolina).

    The GOP thinks this is a good thing - those 191 votes are a lot like Romney's 47%.  It would take a miracle for a Democrat of win any of them  (with the possible exception of a strong Hispanic candidate stealing Texas and Arizona.).  But that's not true.  You see, the +8% Romney margin for 191 electoral votes is LESS than the +207 electoral votes that were > +8% for Obama.

    It's like a Great Wall of Republicans states.  Like the Great Wall of China, the wall doesn't wok one way, it works both ways.  The Great Wall of China didn't just keep the Mongols out, it also kept China from from taking and conquering the Mongols.  Similarly, the GOP cliff doesn't just protect the Republican core states, it also protects the Democrats from the Republicans.

     The lack of moderate republican states means the republicans can't appeal just a little bit to the Democrats.   It radicalizes the GOP, they listen to their people from those states and it makes a moderate much harder for them to swallow.  That's why they ignored Huntsman and went with Romney.

    The GOP needs to find a way to appeal to the moderates and liberals states. Romney only won one state that had less than +8% lead.  If Obama had only one state with less than a +8% lead, than Romney would be President Elect.

    Forget about the Fiscal Cliff.  The Republican Cliff is the the real problem.   That jump in the voting margins? It's caused by a radical shift in BELIEFS.   The GOP from the red states (except for North Carolina) simply have no idea what the rest of this country believes in.

    Without that understanding, they can't win enough electoral votes.

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    When the US Government Lies

    OK, previously I talked about how the US government lies.  Now let's talk about when it lies.

    First of all, remember that it lies indirectly.  The US government doesn't ever knowingly make false statements.  We don't accuse people of doing something that we did.  Because that destroys our reputation and America values it's reputation more than you can imagine.  Not just among other countries but among it's own citizens.  We love to think of ourselves as the good guys.

    Instead of saying false statements, we talk around our lies.   We circle the truth.   We imply things.  So you can tell when the US lies by watching for a response that doesn't quite address the question.

    Now before you get all x-files, the US government also doesn't like to talk about ridiculous things.  So when you read about how the US doesn't talk about aliens, it doesn't mean we are lying about them, it just means we think it's ridiculous.  Same thing for Bigfoot, birthers and truthers and vaccine myths as well.

    So how do you tell if we are lying or if we think it's ridiculous.  Well, there's an easy question you can ask - what do the scientists think - the official experts.  If they laugh at the ideas, then it's ridiculous.  It doesn't matter what YOU think, you aren't the government.  The government is run by people that respect experts.  As such, if the experts think it's ridiculous, the the US government thinks it's ridiculous, and won't talk about it.

    In addition the US government will definitely make the following lies:

    1. We will lie about who we are targeting. (Why no sir, we are not investigating that wealthy Pakistani for terrorism charges)
    2. Who we trust and who we think is lying to us.  (Look at the wiki-leaks)
    3. About where we spent the federal budget.
    4. Our plans for the future (whether it's future budget, future missions, research for new devices), that have not yet been achieved.
    5. Taxes.  Almost every president ever has had to downplay what they intend to do about taxes - including Reagan.  We all want them to lower it, but we want to buy the nice things - like healthcare - that cost us taxes.
    6. Their own personal political opinions both about issues and about their political competition.  I.E.  Some republicans that think Obama is a great guy will still insult him for partisan reasons.  They need to satisfy their constituents, the party power brokers, and to support their own party.  This is less imperative for Democrats, because the DNC is a 'big tent', willing to accept dissent, while the GOP keeps trying to kick the 'Republicans In Name Only" (RINO's) out, eliminating the moderates.
    Those are the main cases when the US lies.    There is a clear pattern.  Most of them are about our plans for the future (budget, targeting, taxes).

    That's what the US lies the most about - we lie about the Future.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012


    Congratulations to President Obama, who clearly won re-election.

    The states I said to watch were:

    Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado

    Obama was ahead in all of them but Florida and Colorado.  He clearly won all of them except for Florida, which has not yet counted it's votes?  Why?  Because they killed early voting and had huge lines.  Exit polls show Obama up by 46,039 votes, or about 1%.

    The Justice department is said to be looking into the problems Florida and deciding if they were severe enough to violate federal voting rights.

    While technically not all votes are in, Obama won by such a large margin of electoral votes and also by the popular vote.  His re-election is a done deal.

    Note, many of the rest of the results below are PRELIMINARY.  They are projections, not final vote tallies and may change in the coming weeks.


    In the Senate, the two rape comment republicans (Akin from Missouri and Mourdock from Indiana) lost to McCaskill and Donnelly

    The republicans picked up one senate seat in Nebraska, but lost three - Indiana (thank you Mourdock), Massachusetts and Connecticut.  That's a total of of +2 to the Democrats.

    In addition,  two more senate seats are not finished counting.  Both were held by democrats last week.  The democrat Senator Tester of Montana seems to have kept his job with a 4% lead but only 81% of votes are in.  North Dakota was an empty seat, the old democrat retired, but Heidi Heitkamp has a slight lead of 2,994 with 93% of the votes in.

    Worst case, the senate balance stays the same, but we might pick up two seats.

    House of Representatives

    After the 2010 election the House was 193 democrats, vs 242 republicans.  In 2010 this was a huge year for the republicans, they picked up 62 seats back then.

    Not all the results are in, but it is good news for the Democrats.  The results are in for 191 Democrats and 231 Republicans, that leaves a total of 13 seats unclear as of now.  But the Democrats did not lose more than 2 seats, and could have gained all 13.  Honestly, I expect the Democrats to get about half of the remaining undeclared seats, which would give them a gain of +4 members of the house.  Not a huge move, nothing compared to the 62 seats from 2010, but it still going in the right direction.


    Democrats won 5 Governorships, vs four Republican wins.  Two are not yet decided (Montana and Washington - both of which have the Democrat ahead by a small amount)

    Ballot Measures:

    There were 18 ballot measures, for five main issues.  Here are some quick summaries (these are projected results).

    • Obamacare: Alabama, Florida, Montana and Wyoming tried to limit Obama care.  Expect more court cases.
    • Marijuana: Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington passed pro Marijuana laws.  Montana voted to ban it.
    • Taxes: California passed a tax increase supported by the governor, but not the one he opposed. 
    • Abortion: Florida voted against public funds for abortion
    • Same Sex Marriage: Maine, Maryland and Washington voted to allow same sex marriage (Minnesota voted against banning it - i.e. in favor of same sex marriage.)
    Take aways:
     The larger the election, the more likely Democrats were to win.  The smaller an election, the more likely the Republicans won.
    The Democrats need to work on winning the smaller elections.  Local politics is where it all starts, we need to find a way to get appeal to the more moderate republicans in conservative states and convince them to vote for us in off year (non-presidential) elections.

    The Republicans need to find a way to moderate their extremists.  While it plays well in conservative counties, it gets you laughed at on the national stage.  (See Akin, Mourdock, et. al.)  It also prevents serious moderate candidates like John Huntsman from winning the primary, leaving it to radicals and people that say one thing in the primary and another in the general election (Romney).   Neither of them can win.

    As for issues, I think Obamacare is pretty much a done deal.  The Supreme Court ruled on it and the states just look stupid and childish trying to violate the federal laws.   Of course, I truly hope that republicans continue to waster their time and money trying and failing to change that.

    Marijuana and Same sex marriage are both gaining support.  Abortion continues to be divisive issue - while Florida voted against public funds for it, two Republicans lost their seats for being too stridently against it.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Election Protection

    Election Protection is a non-partisan organization that tries to protect American;s right to vote.  They offer a hotline that you can call:

    866 ourvote, or 866-687-8683

    Their website is

    En Espanaol, it is 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota, = 1 888-839-8682

    You can contact them to:

    1) Find out if you are registered to vote (and help you get registered for the next election..

    2) Find out where you have to go to vote

    3)  Tell you any requirements to vote (Voter ID laws, signatures, etc.)

    4)  Report any problems (anything from excessively long lines to criminal activities) preventing or interfering with voting.

    They have lawyers working for them in all states, and they know how to get in touch with judges.

    They can get a judge to issue an order allowing you to vote, if someone is illegally preventing you from voting.

    You can download a free apps from them as well that verifies registration, registers you for next time, finds your polling place, reviews key laws and information.

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    States to Watch

    Come tomorrow, November 6th, the election will finally arrive.  As I have said earlier, it will be about turnout, not the undecided voters.  Which is why I am happy that the GOP went so negative.   Negative ads work great on undecided voters.  But in a turnout fight, they are much less effective because they push up turnout for both your own people AND for your opponents.

    Most of the states we already know who is going to win. If anyone thinks Romney is going to win Delaware or New York, they are on drugs.  Similarly, Obama has no chance in Utah or Wyoming.

    There are however, eight states that are close (less than 3% difference).

    Here are the states to watch, in order of who is most likely to vote for Obama, followed by their number of electoral votes, then Obama support, and finally Romney Support.

    New Hampshire

    Minnesota is the next state that Obama has a great lead (5%), while Romney has a (4%) lead in North Carolina and Arizona.    They might go another way, but if that happens, then these states will also follow.

    These are the states to watch.  They account for 95 electoral votes, out of the 270 you need to win.

    First, note that if the polls are correct, than Obama should win.  He has a large lead in electoral votes of the 'spoken' for states and is also winning the swing states.  Granted the lead in the swing states is within the margin of error, but it applies to almost all of them.  Ignoring these swing states, Obama has 237 (including Minnesota) and Romney has 206 (including North Carolin and Arizona).  That's a 31 point lead in the spoken for states.

    Assuming that only these swing states change hands, Obama needs to pick only 33 votes (Wisconsin, Nevada and Ohio give him 34) .  Note, if he somehow manages to get Virginia, and Iowa but not Ohio, Obama still wins.  Or even Virginia and New Hampshire without Ohio or Iowa, he still wins (by a bare 270).

    Romney on the other hand needs 64 votes, He has to win almost all of the swing states, and he is losing in all but two.  He could however win Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Colorado, which would give him 79.  

    Ohio is the 'tipping point state' - but only assuming no other state changes their relative 'order'.  Romney could also win with Wisconsin instead of Ohio.  But he can't win with Nevada instead of Ohio.  Frankly, if Obama wins, as I predict, then Ohio isn't that important.  He should get lots of extra votes.

    But for Romney, Ohio is the almost the MINIMUM he needs to win (again assuming current polls have the order of the swing states correct).

    So pay attention to these eight states.  If Obama wins three  or more of them, that pretty much means he wins the election.  If Romney wins six or more, then he wins.

    Also, Colorado has one extra interesting fact about it.  The only reason it says that Romney has the lead by 1% is Rasmussen polls.  Without Rasmussen polls, it is a dead heat.   If Obama wins Colorado, it will be a pretty strong indictment against Rasmussen, demonstrating that they are in fact biased.

    Finally, there is a slight chance of a tie 269 and 269.  If Obama wins Wisconsin, Ohio and New Hampshire, but loses all the rest then we get the tie.  In this case, the tie goes to the (new) House of Representatives, which means it will almost certainly go to Romney, as in a tie situation, that probably means the GOP retains control of the House.  Note the senate picks the VP in that situation, which could be... strange.   The really weird part is that Congress need not pick Romney or Obama.  They are allowed to pick the third highest electoral vote getter.  Granted, that won't happen, (I doubt if a third candidate will get even one vote this election).  But it is legal.  The Senate must pick from among the top two candidates, no third party victory here.

    This is pretty unlikely, as Nevada, and Iowa like Obama more than New Hampshire does.  And Virginia likes him as much as New Hampshire does.

    Oh, if you want to brush up on the rules for the electors, click here.

    P.S.  Also don't forget to watch the two Republican Rape Candidates:   Missouri (Akin - "legitimate rape")  and Indiana (Mourdock - "God intended").

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    How did Hurricane Sandy affect the election.

    The Hurricane has benefited Obama and hurt Romney.

    Romney was behind in most of the swing states he needs to win.  He needed this time to attack the President and make up ground.  In addition, he specifically choose to spend less in the early campaign and blitz us with ads at the end.

    But the Hurricane took over the news, locking him out of the coverage.  It disrupted his plan at the last minute.   People weren't talking or thinking about his ads, they were thinking about survival and their family.  Worse, in times of real crisis, people dislike partisan attacks.  So Romney had to tone down his talk.   Otherwise, he would have looked spiteful.

    It also gave President Obama an opportunity to act Presidential.   He did a good job.   In particular he was praised by Republican Governor Chris Christie, who is a big Romney supporter.   Romney, who currently holds no political office, did not have that chance.

    Some people have said this doesn't matter.  Ask President Bush about Katrina.  How the President

    The election is still a few days away, but we have more than enough time to get power and transportation systems up and running.  This means that poor people will still be able to vote.

    Obama would have won anyway, but this prevented a last minute October Surprise, as they say (last minute turn around in a political election)