Friday, November 30, 2012

Article worth reading from Bruce Bartlett...

Bruce Bartlett is an interesting man.

Formerly the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department under President George H. W. Bush, he also served in the Reagan administration as a senior policy analyst. He's worked with both Jack Kemp and Ron Paul. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy” (Doubleday, 2006) and “The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). His latest book, “The Benefit and the Burden” (Simon & Schuster, 2012), is a history and review of issues related to tax reform. 

He writes regularly for the Economix Blog at the New York Times, the Fiscal Times and several other outlets. He's a serious guy with a long successful career who not afraid to speak his mind. I came to learn about Mr. Bartlett via the "Stand up with Pete Dominick" program broadcast on Sirius XM's "POTUS" (channel 124), where he is a frequent guest.

Bartlett's expertise is in taxes and economic matters. His political background is that of a Republican. To say he is disenchanted with the GOP is accurate. Like myself, after supporting conservative candidates and policies for much of my adult life, he needed a change. Clearly the Party has changed in many ways, very few of which I'm comfortable with. After hearing him several times on POTUS, I decided his was a voice I respected, valued and would take seriously.

Earlier this week, Mr. Bartlett penned an article in The American Conservative that chronicles his journey out of the embrace of the Republican Party and Fox News, where he had been a guest on many occasions. Its an interesting read about one very reasonable man's experience. It's called "Revenge of the Reality-Based Community", but as he said on Dominick's show yesterday, he could've used the original title, "I told you so..."

A preview: 

"Revenge of the Reality-Based Community" by Bruce Bartlett
My life on the Republican right—and how I saw it all go wrong.

I know that it’s unattractive and bad form to say “I told you so” when one’s advice was ignored yet ultimately proved correct. But in the wake of the Republican election debacle, it’s essential that conservatives undertake a clear-eyed assessment of who on their side was right and who was wrong. Those who were wrong should be purged and ignored; those who were right, especially those who inflicted maximum discomfort on movement conservatives in being right, ought to get credit for it and become regular reading for them once again.
I’m not going to beat around the bush and pretend I don’t have a vested interest here. Frankly, I think I’m at ground zero in the saga of Republicans closing their eyes to any facts or evidence that conflict with their dogma. Rather than listen to me, they threw me under a bus. To this day, I don’t think they understand that my motives were to help them avoid the permanent decline that now seems inevitable.
For more than 30 years, I was very comfortable within the conservative wing of the Republican Party. I still recall supporting Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater as a schoolchild. As a student, I was a member of Young Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom at the height of the Vietnam War, when conservatives on college campuses mostly kept their heads down.
We need more people like Mr. Bartlett who are smart, serious professionals who have the integrity and character to step up and speak candidly about their former party's shortcomings and delusions. We need more guys like him from both sides and from all points to view to reject the blinding, mind-numbing narratives that too many people bow down to. The average American relies on people like Bartlett and others of his ilk to provide us a perspective that isn't being provided very often anywhere else, least of all cable news channels. 

Read Mr. Bartlett's full article here...Its worth your time...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Online Reports Allege Susan Rice Holds Major Financial Interest in Keystone Pipeline Project...

(UPDATE: According to the, liberal groups now pushing for Rice to divest herself totally from any companies doing any business related to the Keystone Pipeline project...)

I'm just catching wind of this...saw the story from via Mother Jones about US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice allegedly holding a pretty significant financial stake in several Canadian oil and pipeline companies that are involved with the Keystone Pipeline project. Rice is, of course, currently in the sites of several conservative lawmakers including John McCain and Lindsey Graham about her comments on several Sunday morning talk shows a few weeks ago about the attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Here is the story from Mother Jones, and the original story from

What this all means is hard to say right now. If President Obama doesn't plan on nominating her as our next Secretary of State, then this probably goes away pretty fast. if he does plan on promoting her, then its just another obstacle in her way to confirmation. There was also another story out today that suggests Rice holds investments that do business with the Government of Iran, which has been discouraged for some time. The company in question is Shell Oil, which I imagine many congressmen also hold interest in. This last story, on the surface sounds worse that it probably is.

Rice has clearly pissed some people off it seems.

Her comments about Benghazi that have drawn such controversy from the right don't seem to be going away or forgiven, which to my mind seems highly political in nature. She was asked to speak on the Sunday talk shows...she was given edited talking points to base her comments from...she did so stressing that the information that had at the time was preliminary and likely to change...which it did. McCain, Graham, etc. can puff out their chests and wonder aloud what if this or what if that, but in then end, it just doesn't seem to me to be as evil a deed as they apparently wish it was. To make this sort of political hay over the deaths of four Americans is distasteful to me.

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Open vs. Closed MRI's...

 A few weeks ago I began experiencing some pain behind my left ear which traveled up the rear of my skull to both sides. Although my head "ached," it wasn't like any "headache" I'd ever had. Coincidentally, I also had a single brief dizzy spell. Very unusual for me, so I checked in with my primary care physician who ordered me to undergo an MRI of my upper spine.

I've had several MRI's in my life. Several on my abdomen due to a benign tumor on my adrenal gland a few years ago and another one on my left knee that revealed a torn meniscus that will be repaired surgically in January. Not once have I found the procedure to be stressful in the least. Not at all. The radiology techs at our local hospital are very friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.

I arrived that morning for my neck scan really focused on the rest of my day. I had two performances scheduled in the afternoon and evening, plus other errands to run. I left all my metal items (watch, cell phone, belt, etc.) in a secured locker, waltzed into the MRI room, hopped up on the table and was all ready to go. They positioned me opposite the way I'd usually been oriented. Usually, I went in feet first. that day, it was going to be head first. No biggie I thought. So what? Let's do this, eh? The tech put a cervical collar on me and asked if I was ready to go in. I said "sure."

As I was being slid headfirst into the long, very narrow tube, there was a very sudden, very brief negotiation within myself. Entirely foreign to me, as well. I'd never in my life had a feeling of claustrophobia. Ever.

Until then, that is...

The tube was so tight, I couldn't move my head, shoulders or arms. I couldn't see anything except the top of the tube. It was like somebody flipped a switch and I felt enormously uncomfortable and the anxiety was intensifying quickly. I told myself, "cool with it." To which the rest of my brain replied with a hearty "Oh yeah? I don't THINK so..."

I was just dumbfounded as I squeezed the buzzer device in my hand and said, "Uh, I'm really sorry, this isn't going to work for me, get me out please..." I couldn't believe it. No way, not me. I felt embarrassed, frustrated and foolish all at once. I apologized profusely to everyone on the team for wasting their time and quickly gathered my belongings and left.

As I walked to my car, one thought ran over and over in my head. "Where the fuck did that come from?" I couldn't believe what had just happened. I tried to figure out what had caused it. A) I'd had no breakfast that morning. B) I'd just started a new painkiller the day prior that I already wasn't wild about as it too increased my anxiety. The combination of A & B seemed to me to explain much of what had just happened. Still, I couldn't convince myself that even without A & B I would've been ok. The negotiation was over awfully fast while I was in the tube. I mean fast...

By day's end, I'd discovered a different kind of MRI experience that is tailor made for people who don't like small spaces and several other types of patients, especially very large patients. Its called an "open MRI" and you can see a picture of it below:

As you can see, the sides of the device are totally open. This makes all the difference, trust me. The top of the tube is still very close to your face, but its not as bad. The tech at the open MRI I used a few days after my original experience also suggested putting a wash cloth over my eyes as I was slid into the chamber. I left it on my face and over my eyes during the 45 scan. It wasn't fun by any means, but it was manageable. There were still waves of anxiety but they were very minor compared to the previous experience with a traditional "closed" MRI.

From what I understand the images are both very good no matter which machine you utilize. The open MRI takes a bit longer to capture the necessary images but not dramatically so. A 30 minute "closed MRI" winds up being about a 45 minute "open MRI" session.

Tomorrow I'm back at the MRI Center for another scan, this time of my brain. I suspect that I will be mildly uncomfortable but get through it just fine. I had no idea these open MRI's even existed, but I'm awfully glad they do.

UPDATE: The brain scan this morning was "no big deal." Since I knew what to expect, my stress level was fine and the anxiety really never kicked in at all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Petticoat Rule?

Saw this on Twitter from John Fugelsang: 

It speaks for itself...

Clapper changed the talking points, but Rice still on the hot seat | The Cable

Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin writes about how U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice may be "off the hook" for her Benghazi comments on the Sunday morning talk show circuit a few weeks ago. That does not, however suggest smooth sailing for her chances of making it through the Senate should President Obama nominate her for Secretary of State. Its pretty safe to say that the Republicans will line up against her. Mr. Obama could attempt to cash in some political capital he earned from his re-election, but I'm not sure if this is what he wants to spend it on. There are other issues important to him that probably outrank foreign policy. It will be interesting to follow this as it develops.

I, for one, look forward to the possible questioning of Ms. Rice by Sen. John McCain.

Get the popcorn...

Read the full article here:

Clapper changed the talking points, but Rice still on the hot seat | The Cable

Friday, November 23, 2012

Abortion rates falling faster than normal...

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the abortion rates in the US fell faster in 2009 than in any of the ten years prior. Research tells us that the use of contraception has played a major role in this decrease. As improvements (IUD, implants and "morning after pills") to available contraceptive options has spread, more and more women are availing themselves of them.

(Click here for the CDC Study)

According to the AP, "U.S. abortions fell 5 percent during the recession and its aftermath in the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade, perhaps because women are more careful to use birth control when times are tough, researchers say.
The decline, detailed on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Both the number of abortions and the abortion rate dropped by the same percentage.
Reasonable people can agree that the use of contraceptives is a highly personal one. No one really disputes that. The main question arises when federal insurance guidelines mandate that employers make contraceptives available to their employees. Mostly, this causes issues for faith based employers. The Obama Administration has granted waivers to all Churches and other related businesses including many (mostly Catholic) Universities and Hospitals. In these cases, the burden falls upon the insurance company itself to provide these services.

In the run up to the election, we heard a great deal from politicians about women's health issues. Some of it was absolutely incredible to hear. Crazy talk about rape victims and their previously unknown powers of preventing pregnancy. And worse. It boggles the mind why some politicians felt that voicing such opinions would help their election chances. In several instances, these candidates who couldn't control their vocal urges, paid the price and lost.

I'm the husband of my wife, a father of three daughters and the brother of two sisters. I want them ALL to have as many options available to them as possible for their personal health issues. I know that this is getting awfully scientific and stuff for some, but if we agree that fewer abortions are better than more abortions, can we finally get some sensible talk about contraception from some of our conservative leaders?

The use of contraceptives prevents abortions. That is fact.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Proclamation....

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The ACA and Business: Pretty gentle in the end...

Great points from todays Wonkbook by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:

"In 1974, President Richard Nixon’s health-care plan proposed
 forcing employers to pay 75 percent of the cost of basic health insurance for their employees, though there would be some assistance for smaller businesses. In 1994, President Bill Clinton proposed forcing employers to pay 80 percent of the cost of basic heath insurance for their employees, though a somewhat confusing series of caps meant that smaller businesses would end up paying much less."

The ACA 's requirement doesn't come close to those numbers...

Click on the link below to read Klein's full article.

Washington Post

Does private health insurance provide better access than Medicaid?

"When it came to medical care and prescription medicine though, Medicaid patients reported no more challenges finding doctors than those on private coverage (the GAO researchers note that the differences in those categories, shown above, are not statistically significant). And they were certainly better off than those with no coverage at all."

Read the entire article by clicking on the link below...

Washington Post

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bush Tax Cuts: Obama Should Let Them Expire...

The Bush Tax cuts are scheduled to expire as of January 1st, 2014. If nothing is done, that means taxes go up on everyone who pays income tax.

President Obama is on the record supporting extending the Bush cuts for all earners below $250,000 per year and most small businesses. Obama does want to raise taxes on those earners above $250K, back to approximately the Clinton era levels, but with a maximum level of about 38%.

Republican leaders are holding fast to their position of new tax increases for anyone, period.

President Obama holds most of the cards in this game of poker.

He could try and negotiate a deal with the Republicans, but that seems unlikely given the rigidness of the GOP over time on the issue of raising taxes. Even a little. Republicans say they're willing to consider new revenue, but they mean more in the ways of closing tax loopholes, although they're not being at all specific, at least not yet.

Mr. Obama has almost begged for an agreement on the 98% of the issue both parties agree about. That taxes should not be raised on the lower and middle class. So far, he's been told no.

The good news for the President is that he needs to do nothing. If he waits for the Bush tax cuts to expire, then with everyone getting a tax increase, we can trust that in no time at all there will be a democratic Bill submitted for a tax cut for the lower and middle class. The GOP can agree to it or not.

If they agree to it, Obama and the Dems get what they've wanted all along.

If they refuse to cooperate, they get to explain to the most of the American people why they are voting against a tax break for them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What US City is Best for Veterans?

(From and USAA
Announce List of Best Places for Veterans
McLean, VA—Pittsburgh ranks as the top place in the nation for veterans to transition from combat boots to civilian shoes, according to a new study commissioned by USAA and
The "Best Places for Veterans" list identifies U.S. metro areas that offer America's most recent veterans more opportunities to find a job or go to college while providing a higher quality of life in an affordable location. Here is the entire top 10 list:
1. Pittsburgh
2. Phoenix
3. Dallas
4. Cleveland
5. Atlanta
 6. Warren, Mich.
7. Ann Arbor, Mich.
8. Cincinnati
9. Columbus, Ohio
10. St. Louis
"Today's veterans are battling a highly competitive job market and need to proactively plan for life after the military," said Scott Halliwell, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at USAA. "This study allows us to help recent and soon-to-be veterans identify preferred locations throughout the U.S. where they can launch a civilian career and use the GI Bill to further their education."
"The millions of young veterans who have already entered the work force and the many more that will join them in the coming years have the opportunity to use the discipline and determination they've acquired in the Armed Forces to make a significant impact in their workplaces and communities," said retired Cmdr. Ward Carroll, editor of "Best Places for Veterans was commissioned to help equip this remarkable group with tools for a successful transition."

Click here to continue reading article...


Another high ranking sex scandal?

The Commander of US and NATO forces, General John Allen is now investigation involving some twenty to thirty thousand inappropriate emails between the General and Jill Kelly, the woman who's complaint into the Patraeus scandal of the last few days.

Read the latest by clicking here for coverage from the Washington Post, here for coverage from Politico and here for coverage from Fox News...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Politico Playbook: Mike Allen with David Axelrod...

Great post-election victory interview from Politico's Mike Allen with David Axelrod, long time President Obama confidant and advisor.

To the question of President Obama's first debate performance:

AXELROD: “I can't evaluate what was going through his head. I will say this: He worked hard. He read voluminously. He would read these big, thick briefing books on Romney, and he'd send back a memo with 40 questions, which reflected the degree of his  review. He got very granular. So it wasn't as if he was throwing the books away and putting his feet up on his desk and watching ESPN. He was working at it. ... I suspect, to some degree he succumbed to the same kind of trap that I would say most presidents do. ... He kind of showed up for a discussion, and Romney showed for a debate. The President was answering questions as if he was on ‘Meet the Press,’ and Romney was delivering his material, and he was going to deliver his material no matter what happened. There is a performance element to these debates. It may seem contrived, it may be awkward, but it's just what it calls for. It's not ‘Meet the Press.’”

Regardless of who you supported, its an interesting look behind the scenes of Obama's re-election bid.

Read it all here:


Nursing Home Patients Lost in NYC?

The aftermath of Sandy will be felt in the New York City/New Jersey areas for a long time. One of the developing sad stories is the one in yesterday's New York Times.

Patients from the Promenade Nursing Home in Queens found themselves being evacuated to various emergency shelters in the area when the storm hit on October 29th. Close to 200 patients were relocated throughout the city without anyone from Promenade accompanying them or even their medical records. Both are violations of New York State regulations.

Reports of not enough food and a failed backup generator point toward a lack of proper planning and safeguards being put in place for the storm. Some family members are still searching for loved ones, in some cases with little to no help from Promenade employees.

From the Times article:

Interviews with employees indicate that Promenade failed to carry out basic responsibilities, including adding staff for the storm as required by the state, stocking enough medicine and flashlights, and preparing patients’ records in case of evacuation. The nursing home administrator, who runs the home day to day, left the city — on what he said was a “personal matter” — on Oct. 28, as the hurricane approached. The nursing director left the next afternoon to check on her sick husband; she did not return until Oct. 30, after the storm had blown over.

Read the entire article here: 


Deadline for State Exchanges Extended by White House...

"Obamacare is the law of the land..."

John Boehner, Speaker of the House, 11/09/12

Yes, it is...

As we chug toward the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, one of the things scheduled to take place is the establishment of the state based health insurance exchanges. Originally, the ACA called for every state to set up their own exchanges. If the states didn't do so, the federal government would do it for them. As we headed toward first the Constitutionality of Obamacare being considered and approved by the Supreme Court and then the 2012 Presidential Election, many Republican Governors took a wait and see approach before acting. Other Governors, especially in southern states, simply announced they would not the exchanges. Period. As of late September, only 19 states had communicated their plans.

The original deadline was November 16th, 2012 for states to communicate their plans for their exchanges to the federal government. Yesterday, the Administration announced a few extensions. States just have to communicate their intentions by Nov. 16th to the federal government. They will have until December 14th to submit the actual plans for their exchange.

Another option exists for the States. They may "partner" with the federal government, in which case the two governing entities will work together on the setting up of an exchange. States wanting to go in this direction have until February 15th, 2013. There are also funds available from the federal government to help fund the setting up of the exchanges in the form of federal grants.

The exchanges are essentially health insurance "shopping malls" where in early 2014, some 12 million uninsured Americas are expected to purchase private health insurance.

You can read the short letter sent to the governors by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius here...


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wayne Allyn Root: Predicted Landslide Win for who???

Wayne Allyn Root is a successful business man who's worn several hats in his career. His website site, "" describes as a "Capitalist Evangelist, Entrepreneur, Former Vice Presidential Nominee, Media Personality, Business Speaker and Best Selling Author." Quite the resume. He also attended Columbia University the same time President Barack Obama did, although Root says he has no recollection of meeting or seeing him.

He's also a sport handicapper, which I suppose gave him the idea that he could make a keen prediction on the 2012 Presidential Election between incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.

His first public prediction on the race came back in December 2011, when he predicted Mitt Romney would win the GOP Primary and go on to win the Presidency. Root turned out correct that Romney would win the Republican nomination, so we tip our hat to him on that one. Some might argue that Romney was the most attractive passenger on the GOP clown car and winning that race shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Nonetheless, after the primaries were over in the Spring of 2012, Root again announced his prediction that Romney would beat Barack Obama come November. As recently as October 9th, 2012, Root doubled down on his belief that Romney would defeat President Obama in a "landslide."

Root cited several reasons why he felt this way. He felt the polls were utterly wrong and skewed toward Democrats. He felt that the media wasn't reporting a "mass revulsion" towards Obama across the country, even in some hard core Democratic areas like Massachusetts and Illinois. He claimed that since there were more Republican Governors in power today than there were in 2008, that this would also boost Romney. He cited the changes in electoral vote distribution would benefit states that generally lean Republican.

Mr. Root also felt Romney held a decisive advantage financially over President Obama saying, "What matters is that in 2008 Obama overwhelmed McCain by out-spending him 10 to 1 down the stretch. That won’t happen in 2012. Romney is even, or can out-spend Obama, in the last 2 weeks of the election. That makes a huge difference in the outcome." 

Another advantage for Mr. Romney would be the Christian vote, citing the long lines at Chic-fil-A's earlier this year and the perception that Obama has offended Christians one too many times.

He also explains that since voter's in 2012 have been purged of felons and illegals, Democratic turnout will be down as a result. Root asks, "...What kind of political party relies on felons and people illegally in the country to win elections?"

Finally, he feels that the undecided voters traditionally break for the challenger, in this case, Mr. Romney. In closing, Wayne Allyn Root writes, "This is Carter/Reagan all over again. The same horrible economy. The same economically ignorant fool in the White House bringing misery to Americans. The same economic collapse under the weight of socialist, pro union, soak the rich, demonize the business owners, policies.  

I predict the same result on election day. Mitt Romney in a landslide."


I first heard of Wayne Allyn Root several weeks ago while engaged in a political discussion on facebook. My counterpart suggested my faith in polls and especially Nate Silver's forecasting was unwise. Foolish. Stupid.

You get the idea...

After our conversation ended, I wrote down Mr. Root's name. I wanted to remember to follow up after the election. Just how close would he come with his prediction of a Romney landslide?

Let's take a look...

Total Votes: 

Obama-60,652,149 popular votes
Romney-57, 810, 390 popular votes (Not included are the results from Florida, where Obama holds about a 47 thousand vote lead over Romney.)

Electoral Votes: 

Obama-332 (Including 29 EV's from Florida)

Nate Silver's forecast: 

50 out of 50 States called correctly...

Mr. Root is an interesting and enterprising man. He is ambitious and diverse in his ventures. He was NOT very good at predicting this year's presidential election. He blew it and wasn't remotely close to an accurate prediction. 

I also have to smile when I think back to that conversation where I was ridiculed for choosing Silver's math over Root's gut. I haven't heard from my conversation partner since the election ended. Nor do I expect to. 

The New Congress: Nine Things to Know -

"For all that talk of voter anger, things look pretty much the same as they did 24 hours ago.
Congress is still the same bundle of dysfunction and dyspepsia that it was on Tuesday.
The turnover of what looks to be a miniscule number of Senate and House seats—mere puddles compared with the tea party tsunami of 2010—hasn’t been enough to change Capitol Hill.
Congress remains a bicameral body of stall and crawl: a House dominated by conservatives and a Senate held hostage by the filibuster.
In the weeks to come, National Journal Daily will track the most important bills and leadership moves—who snags committee chairs, which bills move forward and which stall, and, of course, that mess called the fiscal cliff.
For now, here are nine things to know:"

Click here to read the entire story:

Who did well/poorly among the pundits?

President Obama Wins Re-election, Some thoughts...

As I write this, its several hours since the major news organisations and networks called today's election for incumbent Barack Obama. I'm still shocked at the way the evening went, with one State after another falling as Nate Silver predicted they would, for the President. The long drawn out drama that was predicted never really came.

I'm being told that Obama crushed challenger Mitt Romney with minorities, single women and young people. It makes sense. Tonight almost seemed easy for the President.

What was a surprise was the number of other races that went in the Democrats favor. Elizabeth Warren defeating Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Claire McKaskill defeating Todd Akin in Missouri. Allan West losing in Florida. Tim Kaine winning in Virginia. Joe Donnelly winning in Indiana. Joe the Plumber losing in Ohio. Sherrod Brown winning in Ohio. Allan Grayson winning in Florida. Same sex marriage passing in two states. Etc...Even Michelle Bachmann had to fight for her life to save her House seat.

As bad as the 2010 mid-terms were for Democrats, 2012 seems to be almost as bad for the Republicans. Many of my conservative friends predicted a major landslide given President Obama's record. They were, of course, wrong. Completely wrong.

While I congratulate Mr. Obama on winning a second term, I see storm clouds ahead. A split Congress and not enough seats in the Senate to stop a filibuster. The fiscal cliff is looming and expected to be pushed into next year. I don't sense that any of the GOP leaders want to cooperate, regardless of tonight's outcome.

Speaking of the GOP, they'd better start re-branding their image fast. You can't alienate those groups I mentioned above. Well, you can, but you do so at your own peril. In four more years, hundreds of thousands of older voting Americans will have passed away. Voters who usually voted Conservative. Replaced by a like number of, based on demographic information we know, younger voters who are mostly minorities. Minorities voted for Obama in dramatic numbers...again. The GOP has to pick at least one specific group, and start a serious courtship. Soon. I'd suggest Hispanics and Latinos. Build the next 20 years of your party around that group and Marco Rubio.

If you don't, its not hypebole to suggest that the Republican Party as we know it today, will be little more than footnote going forward.

I am very pleased that Mr. Obama won re-election. Mostly due to the now secure implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It somehow seems as if justice has been served. Four more years of adult, responsible leadership for America.

To those who are upset that Mitt Romney lost, you have some thinking to do. A subject which I'll have more to say about later.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paths to victory...

From the NY Times: Terrific interactive guide on the various paths each candidate can reach 270 electoral votes with...

I voted...observations...

My voting experience...

6:45-pulled into the voting location for Precinct #53, Concord South Central in Troy, OH. Parking lot was overflowing, my estimate is that between 75-100 cars were parked in the lot, the grass and curb side...

6:50-walked into polling place. Saw roughly 70-80 voters and poll workers inside the Concord Township building. I checked in at the greeters table and reported promptly to line #3...I was 4th in line at this table.

6:57-gave my name and driver's license to the nice lady behind the table. She authenticated my information and had me sign in, and then told me to slide over to the next station.

6:59-a different nice lady cross-checked me off of her rolls and handed me my electronic voting card.

7:01-got in line behind five others waiting for a voting machine to become available..There were three stations, with eight Diebold voting machines each for a maximum of 24 voters casting their ballots at any given time.

7:09-stepped up to my machine, fed my card in, made my selections, and completed my voting process.

7:12-returned my card to the volunteers, got my voting sticker and left.

7:15-Pulled out of the parking lot, 30 minutes on the dot from when I pulled in.

There were no observers from what I could tell. As far as electioneering, there was a single middle aged man  standing by a flag and offering Republican voting guides. Everyone seemed to be ignoring him.

Monday, November 5, 2012

We're losing our minds, election eve edition...

Well, its almost here...

As I expected social media, facebook, twitter is approaching a critical mass. White hot, polar opposite rhetoric wars raging for most of the evening that in the end, don't mean a damn thing. The far right crowd is having a seizure and the far left crowd is already cooking up voter suppression plot lines. I doubt members of either group will sleep well tonight.

Mathematically, it certainly looks pretty good for Barack Obama to serve another four years in the White House. That's just fine by me. I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad guy, he's just not what I want. If he wins, we'll be ok. I'm worried about healthcare and the cost of possessing an over-sized military, but it'll be dealt with eventually.

I view the electorate as a bell shaped curve. Most people are in the middle, far fewer are on the edges. I want to say a few things to the fringe groups.

To the far left: 

Calm the hell down, you haven't won anything yet. If Obama wins, we're still going to have big problems to deal with and he's going to have to find a way to work with Congress. Yes, it takes two to tango, but he'll need to do more. Those of you who think that anyone who disagrees with your way of thinking is racist should be quiet. Every once in a while, yes, you run across a bigot, but that's not usually the case. Moving forward, you can't refuse to cut any entitlement program ever. Period. The pain has to be spread around, in a smart worthwhile way. If Obama wins, no strutting. We don't strut...

To the far right: 

As a slightly left of center person, I've had many memorable run-ins with the far right folks. Most are fine and just have a different opinion than I do on most things. Then there are the lunatic fringe elements. The kind that are SURE Obama's the worst POTUS ever, a socialist, a Muslim, a Kenyan, etc...You folks need to learn some manners. I've never heard such a stream of hatefilled, bigoted, racist, ignorant bullshit than I have from this loud but hopefully small subset of the conservative population. So many of you nutjobs are so sure Obama won't be re-elected, I'm looking forward to what happens to the "anyone but Obama crowd" types if he does win.Your rejection of most things science or math based is frightening to the rest of us. You're an embarrassment to most of us. Your ability to pivot to different issues when your argument gets shredded is as impressive as it is annoying. Regardless on who wins tomorrow, the rest of us would like to say just one thing to you.

Shut the fuck up, the rest of us are really tired of your crap...

To everyone: 

If you really think your side has all the right answers, well, get a grip, will ya? Neither Party has exclusive rights to good ideas and it will take solid ideas and leadership from both sides to make the progress we need to on our national problems. Politics as a team sport doesn't do much for our country. Cable news channels, talk radio and the book business, perhaps but the average Joe or Jane six pack don't benefit from Sean Hannity or Ed Schultz making some guest or caller look like a baffoon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Presidential Election Prediction...

I think President Obama will win a second term.

I think it will be a close margin of victory in the popular vote, I expect a margin of less than 1.75%

I think Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College by a larger margin, I suspect in the (+) 50-70 range over Mitt Romney's total electoral count.

I base this on the approach many forecasters such as Nate Silver of the 538 Blog and Sam Wong of the Princeton Election Consortium. We don't elect our President ever four years by a straight national vote. We essentially have fifty separate State elections, which then (usually) yields enough electoral votes, 270 being required, to determine the winner.

While the national polls look very close, too close to call in fact, the State polls are far more revealing. No one will be surprised if Obama wins California or if Romney wins Texas. So we don't spend a lot of time studying those states. Our time is better served and a clearer picture of what may happen on Tuesday comes from looking at the battleground state polls. In short, I'll defer to Mr. Silver in Friday's 538 column:

Friday’s polling should make it easy to discern why Mr. Obama has the Electoral College advantage. There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday. Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls, and two showed a tie. Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida.

Unless all the State polls are biased and under-estimating Mr. Romney's chances, it doesn't look good for seeing a Republican in the White House anytime soon. 

I will acknowledge a warped sense of respect for much of the far right who has been using white hot rhetoric, often in lieu of factual information, in their case against President Obama. Its been tempting for me to lower my expectations for this election, especially given my location here in Southwest Ohio. In the end though, what I see daily in this part of the country is being addressed in the state polls and ultimately, I don't think, will make a difference. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Special Mitt Romney Statement Just Released...

(Editor's note: Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has released the following statement...)

Good evening...

With less than 90 hours to go until the polls open on election day, I've take some time after my speech earlier today to reflect on where my campaign is. There's been some things troubling me and I can't remain silent any longer. I have to speak. I have to speak now.

For most of my political career, I've been a moderate. That approach served me well up until the GOP primaries. It was pointed out to me in very clear terms that if I wanted to get support and donations from conservatives, I'd have to convince them that I actually was one of them. I agreed to move to the right on virtually everything. I wasn't wild about it, but there seemed no other way. Hence my "severe conservative" remarks...

I've had to abandon many of the moderate positions I'd taken earlier on my career on everything from climate change, same sex marriage, women's rights and healthcare. It's been difficult arguing the other side of these cases for the last few months. I've also been too quiet on some of the offensive remarks and attacks aimed at my opponent, President Obama. President Obama is a good, decent American Christian who has shown all of us the value of tolerance. His first term has been at worst, a modest success.

I say here and now, I was wrong to change my stance to appeal to the hard core conservatives. I apologize to my wife, my children, my friends, supporters and contributors. When considering someone for the highest office in the land, you not only have every right to explore their character, you have a duty. I changed my stance on these issues and others in order to try and become President. I justified it by telling myself that once I was in office, I could soften my stances and lead from a more moderate position. With the odds of me winning next Tuesday looking worse by the day, I've decided to come clean. Put it all out there, warts and all for the American people to decide if Mitt Romney, the real Mitt Romney, is worth another look.

There will be some changes made, effective immediately that effect my campaign...

First, I've asked Paul Ryan to step down as my Vice President candidate. He has agreed and will now focus on his House race in Wisconsin. Paul is a bright shining star that we will hear great things from someday, but I want to replace him with the man who was my first choice, Jon Huntsman. Jon is an expert at foreign affairs and has a high knowledge level. Our relationship with China will be integral over the next several years and I want Jon's expertise close at hand. Plus, he has a great record of business development that we'll also need to tap into as we rebuild our economy.

Second, I realize the importance of Bi-Partisanship in Congress. We, as a team must work to do the work of the People we represent. As a gesture of my determination of leading a different kind of Congress, I've decided that there are certain Republicans running for office currently that really have no interest in reaching across the aisle. Two come to mind. Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia and Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. Both have voiced an intention of staying inflexible with their ideas and party agenda. While I think holding fast to your values is important, compromise is essential to good productive governance. As proof that I'm serious about Congress working together, this evening I've donated one million dollars to each of their opponents. It may cost me some votes, but if I wind up as President, I want people working with me who are open to some semblance of give and take.

Thirdly, a few words about the hard shift to the right that my party has taken in recent years. We've gone too far. Our principles of small government, prudent fiscal policy and a strong military aren't wrong. They're absolutely right. However, when we demonize those who have different ideas, we're wrong. Reasonable people can disagree. They ought not be ridiculed or characterized as un-american, dangerous or anything else. I also ask the media, on all sides and yes that means Fox News and MSNBC, to cool it with the over-heated rhetoric. It doesn't help anything.

A Romney/Huntsman team has years of successful experience in growing jobs, plus we offer proven management skills and foreign policy credentials. We'll work with Congress to reduce the size of Government, while maintaining our important social safety net. The Affordable Care Act will continue to be the law of the land, but we'll have serious tort reform legislation introduced at the next session of Congress. While its already in the law, tonight Jon and I pledge that we will get our health insurance from the same pool of coverage options that all federal workers have available to them. We will look for opportunities to make the ACA as business-friendly as possible. We'll work on reforming our tax codes, both personal income and corporate level taxes. We'll propose serious immigration reform by our 3rd year in office. We'll also target a balanced approach toward deficit reduction.

As crazy as it sounds, I still ask for your vote. I've been a problem solver all my adult life. There are problems...big ones we all face together over the next several years. I feel confident that I can lead the United States in a better direction. If you agree with me and want a different direction and leadership team in the White House, please consider voting for me.

Thank You,

God Bless America

Mitt Romney

(Ok, so Mitt Romney didn't really issue this statement, but one has to wonder if he had a few months ago, what would the race look like now?)