Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Logic Boat


Answer to question in panel 4:

Because you are a Stark.

Oh - and by the way, Winter is coming.


Is it just me, or is this book title now an unfortunate double entendre?

UPDATE:  This takes it to a whole new - and unfortunately, much lower - level.

H/T to nanute. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Nation, Divisible

We are a country not just divided, but fragmented along axes of race, age, religion, economic status and geography.  There are now 15 States where citizens have filed petitions to secede from the Union.  "These include Louisiana (which led the charge), the Republic of Texas, Kentucky, Colorado, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Oregon."  I don't know which is number 15, but I'm gong to guess Oklahoma. 

I'm not going to get flip about it.  While these petitions have virtually no chance of achieving anything, it's important to remember two things:

1)  You never hear anything like this when Republicans win.
2)  All but 4 of these states represent the (since 1965) solid Republican South.

Another geographic dimension is urban vs rural.  When I do get flip, I say Obama won everywhere that people outnumber cattle, deer, goats or alligators.  This comes distressingly close to being the truth.  Look at the electoral map of just about any State.  I like to consider Ohio, since it is my home State and in many ways represents the U.S. in miniature.  But pick a State at random [or Texas in particular] and you'll probably see the same scenario.   The Ohio electoral map shows that Obama carried 16 of Ohio's 88 counties.  Half of these are strung along the Lake Erie shore, four more are contiguous in the densely populated north-east corner, and the other four contain Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati and Athens.

I'm not ambitious enough to undertake the study, but I'll hypothesize that Obama's vote percentage in each county is directly proportional to the total population - and this in a State where the counties don't vary much in physical size.  Consider that Lucas Co. [essentially my home town, Toledo] with 198,000 votes cast went for Obama by 64 to 34%, while Mercer Co. along the IN border with 21,000 votes cast went for Romney by 77 to 22%.  You can find these kinds of results all over the country.

Another divide is along education level.  Among the 15 States with the best public school systems, Obama carried 13, while among the 15 States with the worst public school systems, Romney carried 12.  I see this as a big component in the recent Republican war on education.  One thing you develop as a result of good education is a set of critical thinking skills, which then give you the ability to see through nonsense peddlers like Rush, Trump, and the whole Fox roster.

All of this tends to make me pessimistic about our nations future.  But I see rays of hope amidst the great divide.  Even in Georgia, which went 53 to 45% for Romney, you find Obama winning by huge margins in Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, Columbus, Savannah, and Albany.

Plus, another thing is happening that you have to see a country-wide county level electoral map to notice.

There is a blue streak that starts along the Mississippi river valley where Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi converge and runs almost continuously through Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas to join with the blue States along the coast.

I call it the band of sanity running through the South, and it might just represent an opportunity for progressives to build on going forward.

Cross-posted at AB

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Predictions and Results

Now that Florida is in - having been won by BHO by a resounding 0.6%, and it's all over, I can have a look at my predictions.

Obama carries FLA by a slim margin.  Actual was 0.6%  Check.  Determined voters overcame suppression.  Good on them!

Wins Ohio by at least +6.   Actual 1.9%   Not even close.  Way less than the '08 margin of 5%.  I am totally baffled by this result.

BHO gets at least 303 EV; 330 looks attainable. Actual 303 with FLA hanging, 332 now that it's captured.  Nailed this one, but I can't take much credit.  All I had to do was believe the people who know what the hell they're talking about.   Note who did NOT do this.

Obama in the popular vote by +3.5%. Actual 2.5%.  Ack.  This really is distressingly close.  If demographics are going to make the Rethugs obsolete, they'd better get at it, PDQ.

Third party candidates collectively get under 1% nationwide.  Nope.  With BHO at 50.5% and  Randall Boggsomney at 48.0%, that leaves 1.5% to be distributed among the few, the hopeless, the turd party candidates.

About 100,000 deluded fanatics write in Ron Paul.  Who knows.  I don't know how to check this out, but I do feel pretty good about it in view of the 1.5% going to "other."

Sharrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren both win.   Check and Mate.  Brown by 50.3 to 45.1,  Warren by 56.7 to 46.3.  These are pretty comfortable wins, but not slam dunks.  In each case a lot of outside $$$$ were behind the Rethug. Who can say how much influence that had.  Thankfully, money did not rule the day.

There is some musical chairs in the Senate, but no net change.  Sometimes I'm happy to be wrong.  Dems pick up 2 seats.

Dems pick up 5 to 10 in the House.  Missed on this one.  Dems are currently up 2, with 6 seats still unconfirmed, but, alas, most of these are leaning R.  11/29 UpdateThis just in.  Every race decided late went to the Democrats, who picked up 8 seats, right in the middle of my estimate.  How 'bout dat!

Tomorrow the recriminations begin - Republicans will claim Romney lost because he is either "not a true conservative" or "not conservative enough." Only one of these is correct.  Oh, yeah.  Check.  OK, this was too easy.  Really, could there have been any doubt?   But at this point, I'll take it.

 The lesson is not to be less conservative. The lesson is not to be found in purging social conservatives. The lesson is in taking a look at how the radicals won: Yes, there was the fear element. There was the devil-you-know element. But there is also the fact that all of what they say seems plausible and even not all that radical, because it has been in our cultural milk. Because while they may obscure some of the details and make it all sound mainstream, at the same time they are bold and confident about the extreme positions they believe in. That’s what we’ve got to be.
                                       - Kathryn Jean Lopez

I will continue to be amazed that any decent, intelligent, educated human being would vote for this lying odious unprincipled elitist chameleon.  Well, yeah, but predicting my own mental state is not really a huge challenge for me.

Most of the time.

Hoisted from the Archives (and the OTHER 47%)

Four years ago today, on my Tumbler blog that was never read by anyone, I posted what I am about to repost here today.  Though this is in a way a continuation of the anti-Sarah Palin rant that got me blogging in the first place, you can almost just plug in Paul Ryan and not lose much continuity.

Except  for the title, of course.

The Perils of ‘Populist Chic’

In my idle moments I wonder what is to become of the Republican party?  I think the political process needs differing points of view, brought together by right-minded, clear thinkers.  On a good day, from this clash of ideas can come balance and something approaching the truth.

But that is for later.  For now, the country has gone so far off track, we need united resolve to get back on course.  I believe Obama has the skills and character to make a serious attempt, and he’ll need the cooperation of both houses of Congress.  For now, at least, the Democratic sweep is the best thing that could have happened in this election.

Meanwhile, the Republican party needs a long walk in the wilderness, to search for its soul.  It cannot be with the hijacking Bushite neocons, who have violated every legitimate conservative principle.  If it is with the religious right, then God help us all.  One of our country’s founding principles was the avoidance of theocracy.

Sadly, though, Sarah Palin remains the darling of the Republican party - as unbelievable as it seems after their defeat.


She represents not only theocracy, but a particularly vapid and dangerous brand of anti-intellectual populism.  The same kind of populism displayed by Hitler.

Here is an article about the intellectual decline of the Republican party.

Notable quote:
There was a time when conservative intellectuals raised the level of American public debate and helped to keep it sober. Those days are gone. As for political judgment, the promotion of Sarah Palin as a possible world leader speaks for itself. The Republican Party and the political right will survive, but the conservative intellectual tradition is already dead. And all of us, even liberals like myself, are poorer for it.

This is the final paragraph, and the first clue I had that the writer wasn’t a conservative.


The comments tab accompanying the article will take you into the dark cave where the Palin fans lurk.  Their unabashed love for Palin, and forthright contempt for Obama are astounding.  These people display the worst of partisanship - the idea that one of ours is right and good, always; and one of theirs is wrong and bad, always.

Good luck, Barack.  This is 47% of the country you will soon be governing.

Well, what happened is that the Rethugs sold themselves figuratively to the insane Tea Party and literally to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers.  It came pretty close to working.  But I firmly believe that the Rethugs were done in by their own over-each.  I'm astounded by how close the vote count was in my beloved Ohio.  It could be that a back-lash to Romney's flat-ass idiotic anti-Chrysler last minute campaign ads energized Ohio Dems, and that voter suppression energized them in both OH and FLA, where people stood in line to vote past 2:00 a.m. Wednesday.  [It's obvious that this is part of the Rethug's make-it-hard-to-vote strategy.]

About 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, when it was all over except the wailing, gnashing of teeth and a two hour wait for the Romney to concede, I posted this on my FB page.

I want to thank the Republican party for all their voter suppression and intimidation efforts, mid-game rule changes, war on women, nomination of bat shit crazy tea-party candidates, inexplicably stupid campaigning in the closing moments, and unidentified billionaire super-pac funding, without which the lethargic Democratic party would never have mobilized enough to re-elect President Obama.
The lesson of 2010, re-emphasized here, is that if we show up, we win, and if we don't the Rethugs win.  It's that simple.  We outnumber them, but - with their hot buttons, dog-whistles and fear-mongering, they have a highly motivated base composed of angry white men, religious fanatics, racists, the stupid, the insane, the ignorant, and the easily swayed, who will come out and vote for them in force. The utter dependability of these cadres gave the Rethugs the luxury of not having to think in any sensible way about policy or the actual practice of governance.  And that has been their demise.  Amid all the post election finger-pointing and recrimination, the Rethugs have not been able to realize that their vacuous policies of trickle down rich-coddling, anti-science war on information, war on women, and contempt for half the country are not a recipe for success.  And they are not going to get it, because their world view rests squarely on denial of reality.

What I was hoping for back in '08 was that the Republican Party would get its groove back and become the sane and responsible party that it had not been since at least the time of Nixon.  That was a forlorn hope then, and remains so now.  For the good of sane conservatives - if such there be - the nation, and indeed the world, the Rethug party must be destroyed.

And this will be no loss.  Genuine conservatism is now well represented within the Democratic party.  There is a huge vacuum on the political left.  But our system simply cannot accommodate more than two parties.   For it to manifest itself, the Rethugs have to disappear.
Tomorrow will not be too soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ohio and Florida Don't Matter

Playing around at 270towin.com yesterday, I discovered a scenario where Obama would win the EC without winning either Ohio or Florida.  You can see the map view at this link.  I've left OH and FLA unclaimed, along with NV, CO, IA, NC, and NH.  At that point, BHO has 260 EV, and only needs 10 more.  This would involve the very uncertain prospect of carrying VA.

Given all of that, any two of NV, CO, IA or NH would give BHO the victory.  Alternatively, NC could do it, all on it's lonesome.  The narrowest win would be to get NV and NH, landing on exactly 270.

For Romney to eke out a victory, he would have to almost run the table, taking FLA, OH, NC AND all but 1 of the other in-play states.

As it turned out, Obama got VA by 50.8 to 47.8 and swept all of NV, CO, IA and NH, while Romney took NC by the close margin of 50.6 to 48.4.

As it stands now, with FLA still up for grabs, Obama has 303 EV and retains the presidency.  If FLA comes in, his EV total will be 332.

He also takes the popular vote by 50.3 to 48.1, a margin of 2.2 points.

For an election in which old white male demographics are supposedly the Republicans last refuge, this is distressingly close.

UPDATE: As it turned out, and as Johnathon Bernstein pointed out, Obama would have won even without VA.  Because CO + NH = 13 = VA, carrying CO and NH is another route to exactly 270, even without OH, FLA, VA, and NC.

Update 2:  Actually, the number in update 1 should be 272.  Math is hard.  Especialy before breakfast after a short night.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I'll go out on a limb and say that despite the gonzo voter suppression efforts, Obama carries FLA by a slim margin and wins Ohio by at least +6, as the latest Romney lie barrage backfires. BHO gets at least 303 EV; 330 looks attainable. Obama in the popular vote by +3.5%. Third party candidates collectively get under 1%. Nationwide, about 100,000 deluded fanatics write in Ron Paul.

Sharrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren both win. There is some musical chairs in the Senate, but no net change. Dems pick up 5 to 10 in the House due to Tea Party backlash, but still are in the minority.

Tomorrow the recriminations begin - Republicans will claim Romney lost because he is either "not a true conservative" or "not conservative enough." Only one of these is correct.

I will continue to be amazed that any decent, intelligent, educated human being would vote for this lying odious unprincipled elitist chameleon [picture Randall from Monsters, Inc.]

For my ultra-long shot I'll say sometime in the next year Chris Christie completes his epiphany and changes parties. [Not really - this one is fantasy land stuff. But I do think Obama and a competent FEMA response to Sandy gave him one hell of a jolt in his partisan-hackery circuit.]

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I have to believe that Republican voters are largely motivated by a hatred of taxation and a contempt for those who they consider to be freeloaders on those tax dollars.

So it is more than a little bit ironic that Republican strongholds are leaches sucking money out of the Democratic States, where, coincidentally, people are more urban and well educated.

"There is a very strong correlation, then, between a state voting for Republicans and receiving more in federal spending than its residents pay to the federal government in taxes (the rust belt and Texas being notable exceptions). In essence, those in blue states are subsidizing those in red states. Both red and blue states appear to be acting politically in opposition to their economic interests. Blue states are voting for candidates who are likely to continue the policies of red state subsidization while red states are voting for candidates who profess a desire to reduce federal spending (and presumably red state subsidization)."

 In this map, red states are net recipients of federal spending, blue states are net donors.

In this map, red represents republican and blue democrtic electoral votes in the 2008 presidential election.

Pretty amazing.


I tried to picture Mitt Romney this morning, but the only image I could conjure was of a chameleon drawn on an Etch-a-Sketch. nestled in a huge pile of Thousand Dollar bills.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Employment Report

I just left this comment at CI, and am posting it here as a hedge against deletion.

As Spencer reported at Angry Bear:

"The unemployment rate ticked up from 7.8 to 7.9.  But this may actually be a bullish development because it stemmed from a 578,000 jump in the labor force.  A large increase in the labor force may mean that people are more optimistic about employment prospects and are rejoining the labor force."


Per Calculated Risk;

"This was another encouraging employment report. The 171,000 payroll jobs added in October, plus the 84,000 in upward revisions to the August and September reports, suggests decent job growth recently."

'Not all the news is good. U-6, an alternate measure of unemployment, only declined slightly to 14.6%. The average workweek was unchanged and average hourly earnings decreased slightly."

Employment/population ratio up slightly.

Number of part time worker for economic reasons declined.

Unemployed over 26 weeks declining sharply.


Not a stellar report, to be sure, but I don'tt see any good reason to emphasize the negative.


Why NOT Balance the Budget?

On 10/30, in an open thread at AB, I posted a summary of my experience (up to that time) in commenting at Confounded Interest, a blog by GMU Prof Anthony Sandler.  The CI post in question has since been taken down.

This generated an interesting discussion (that I unfortunately lost track of) with some links to good information that I don't want to lose.  Keeping a link to that post is one of the reasons for this post.

Another is to show some interesting data that mcwop provided:

1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.

1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.

1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.

1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.

1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.

1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.

1998-2001: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 9%. Recession began 2001

2004-2007: U. S. Deficit Reduced 61% (from $413B to $160B) Great Recession began 2008

I had read somewhere (attribution lost) that balancing the budget was the route to recession, with IIRC a six for six record.  The above list show 8 such examples.

Food for thought.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Open Question to Romney Supporters

If you're going to vote for Romney, either you must like him as a candidate, be such a die-hard Republican the candidate doesn't matter, or hate Obama so much you're rather vote for a dead skunk.  (Have I missed any possibility?)

Whatever your reason, please answer for me as many of these three questions as you are able, in as much specific detail as you can muster.

What do you like about Mitt Romney that makes you want to vote for him?

What do you like about Republicans (or hate about Democrats) that make you a die-hard Republican voter?

What is there about Obama that makes you hate him so much?