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Archive for September, 2012

Has the DCCC Bailed on WI-07 WI-08?

Need to confirm this news, but Matt Mackowiak is a connected GOP consultant in Texas and tends not to be wrong about these sorts of things.  He’s often quoted as a source by Politico.

If he’s right, then it pretty much says the DCCC has determined that Pat Kreitlow’s on his own and will likely lose to freshman Cong. Sean Duffy. The amusing part for me about that news is that it’s shown that “capper’s” little push this past weekend on anti-Duffy posts appear to be a last minute oppo drop of a flailing campaign.  (Just a guess, but hey, who else would Zielinski send it to for eyeballs?)

But hey, Liebs got to post a decade-plus old naked picture of Duffy which was explained as “youthful idiocy” years ago.  Must have been on our favorite AFSCME hack’s bucket list.

Bit of an insight into the other seats.  NC-08 is currently held by a Democrat, but redistricting in North Carolina has made it much more Republican.  The Cook Political Report ranks the seat for this November as “Leans Republican.”

FL-18 is the seat held by former Army Lt. Col. Allen West, he has been a target for many uber-liberals who hate the very thought of a black conservative.  Cook has the race as “Republican Toss-up.”

UPDATE:  Roll Call confirms two of the three Mackowiak lists, FL-18 and NC-08.  Nothing yet however on WI-07.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled a week of airtime in Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) district starting Oct. 9, according to multiple sources tracking the buy.

Democrats cite a substantial House Majority PAC buy — $1 million over a few weeks including Oct. 9 — as the reason they pulled their reservation in the West Palm Beach market that week.

It’s almost never a good sign when a committee cuts airtime for a candidate. The cancellation comes on the heels of the DCCC’s move to cancel a second weeklong buy for Rep. Larry Kissell’s (D-N.C.) tough re-election bid.

But unlike Kissell’s bid, the Florida race remains competitive — at least compared with other Democratic pickup opportunities (Roll Call rates it as Leans Republican). And the DCCC has given no other indication that it’s ready to give up on the race, either.

I’ll keep looking.

UPDATE II:  Apparently, it’s not WI-07 the DCCC and others running ads are abandoning, it’s WI-08.  Which frankly, makes more sense to me at this point in the campaign.  At least, that’s what Moe Lane of RedState was able to uncover.

The Service Employees International Union has canceled a previously scheduled television ad buy in support of businessman Jamie Wall’s (D) challenge of Rep. Reid Ribble (R).

Roll Call has learned from a source monitoring Wisconsin advertising markets that the union will no longer follow through with its approximately $130,000 reservation in the Green Bay media market, which covers the 8th district. But the same source noted that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is still scheduled to go on television in Green Bay on Oct. 9.

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, had previously canceled a $130,000 television ad-buy reservation in mid-September.

A buy by October 9th is practically a promise to pull the money later.  Time will tell if they do.

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Notre Dame to End Yearly Rivalry with Michigan

Well, this sucks.

There was talk that due to Notre Dame’s recent decision to jump to the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) for all other sports (sans football, it will still be an “Independent” with a mandatory five games with ACC teams a season) it would have to decide which of its traditional Big Ten match-ups it would have to drop to maintain its current.  The “Fighting Irish” have annual games with Purdue, Michigan, and Michigan State.

Today, it looks like the decided they could live without a game against Michigan every year.

Michigan is the first casualty of Notre Dame’s new arrangement with the ACC.

The Fighting Irish notified the Wolverines that they are exercising a three-year out in their series contract, meaning the last meeting between the historic rivals will occur in 2014.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Associated Press obtained a letter Tuesday from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan AD David Brandon, canceling the games from 2015 to 2017.

The schools had extended their contract in 2007, taking the series through the 2031 season. But it was on a three-year rolling basis, giving either side the chance to opt out with three years’ notice.

Notre Dame and Michigan announced this summer that a two-year break is coming in the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, but that they intended to resume the series in the years following.

“Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision — with a year being added each time a game is played,” Notre Dame senior associate athletics director John Heisler said in a statement. “We needed to avoid the automatic addition of additional games until we can get a better understanding of our available inventory in those years — an understanding that will develop as we implement our five-game scheduling commitment to the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours,” Brandon said in a release. “We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series. This cancellation presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a chance to create some new rivalries.”

The Irish beat the Wolverines 13-6 over the weekend in the latest game of a storied series that dates to 1887. They’ve played every year since 2002 and regularly since 1978 after not meeting from 1944 to 1977 or 1910 to 1941.

The final two games of the rivalry with take place Sept. 7, 2013 at Michigan Stadium and Sept. 6, 2014 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Reports on sports / talk radio were that Notre Dame wants to hang on at least to the Purdue match-up.  It’s an instate game and important as the only real football schools in Indiana.

(Yes Bloomington grads, I just ripped your school’s ability to play football.  Gonna do something about it?)

No one knows if the annual games against the Spartans of Michigan State are the next to go.

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The Packers Got Robbed, Now What?

Yes, we all lived through this.

And we’re going to live through this:


Now I’ve seen countless people, including my favorite clueless state senator from Middleton, say contact Roger Goodell to make a change.  Here’s the problem, Goodell is middle-management, he’s not the one making the calls.

It’s ownership. It’s the 32 guys who hired Goodell.  Goodell’s just the face of the league, he’s not the one who’s really calling the shots on the replacement refs.  It’s guys like Jerry Jones, the Moras, the Rooneys, and on and on and on.

And they all just watched in stunned silence as their bet — that replacement Division III refs they believed could get the job done to impose leverage at the bargaining table — cost the one team owned by its fans a game, in horrific fashion on the game’s biggest stage — Monday Night Football.

The question now is “What next?”  Do you call Goodell, knowing he’s a pawn of ownership, and end up deleted voice mail?  Do you boycott the NFL for the rest of the season?  Do coaches — who are being fined by the NFL for speaking ill of the replacement refs — opt instead to forfeit next Sunday’s game instead of being out there governed by the replacement refs?  Do you call teams personally, owners personally, and say “Enough!” already?

Admittedly, I think whoever ends up reffing these games is going to get criticized.  It’s part of the gig.  Putting the zebra jersey (or umpire shirt in my case once in the past) comes with crowd jeers, so I empathize with the replacements.  They’re doing the best they can and the “real refs” would probably make similar high-profile screw-ups.

But the league now is in a land of damage-control hell of its own making for what, a few extra thousand bucks a season?  Which of those 32 idiots thought that was a good idea and the NFL could weather that storm? That’s their problem.

But it’s also too easy to blame the officials for everything in the game of football.

Was it the officials that got Aaron Rodgers sacked 8 times in the 1st half?  Was it the officials who let the Seahawks down punts inside the five — TWICE!  Was it the officials who let Golden Tate wide open for his legitimate 41-yard touchdown catch?

Yes, the Packers got robbed at the end of the game last night.  But the rest of the game, they played poor enough to allow the theft to occur.

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An Editorial With Footnotes

Amazing breakdown of an answer by President Obama from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board.  It’s so impressive, I’m posting the whole thing below.

The 10% President

The annotated Obama: How 90% of the deficit becomes somebody else’s fault.

A question raised by President Obama’s immortal line on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday—”I think that, you know, as President, I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree”—is what that degree really is. Maybe 70% or 80% of the buck stops with him? Or is it halfsies?

Nope. Now we know: It turns out the figure is 10%. The other 90% is somebody else’s fault.

This revelation came when Steve Croft mentioned that the national debt has climbed 60% on the President’s watch. “Well, first of all, Steve, I think it’s important to understand the context here,” Mr. Obama replied. Fair enough, so here’s his context in full, with our own annotation and translation below:

“When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history.1 And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90% of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for,2 as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for,3 a prescription drug plan that was not paid for,4 and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.5

“Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10% of this increase in the deficit,6 and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.7

***

Footnote No. 1: Either Mr. Obama inherited the largest deficit in American history or he won the 1944 election, but both can’t be true. The biggest annual deficit the modern government has ever run was in 1943, equal to 30.3% of the economy, to mobilize for World War II. The next biggest years were the following two, at 22.7% and 21.5%, to win it.

The deficit in fiscal 2008 was a mere 3.2% of GDP. The deficit in fiscal 2009, which began on October 1, 2008 and ran through September 2009, soared to 10.1%, the highest since 1945.

Mr. Obama wants to blame all of that on his predecessor, and no doubt the recession that began in December 2007 reduced revenues and increased automatic spending “stabilizers” like jobless insurance. But Mr. Obama conveniently forgets a little event in February 2009 known as the “stimulus” that increased spending by a mere $830 billion above the normal baseline.

The recession ended in June 2009, but spending has still kept rising. The President has presided over four years in a row of deficits in excess of $1 trillion, and the spending baseline going forward into his second term is nearly $1.1 trillion more than in fiscal 2007.

Federal spending as a share of GDP will average 24.1% over his first term including 2013. Even if you throw out fiscal 2009 and blame that entirely on Mr. Bush, the Obama spending average will be 23.8% of GDP. That compares to a post-WWII average of a little under 20%. Spending under Mr. Bush averaged 20.1% including 2009, and 19.6% if that year is left out.

Footnotes No. 2 through 4: Liberals continue to claim that the main causes of the current fiscal mess are tax rates established in, er, 2001 and 2003 and the post-9/11 wars on terror. But by 2006 and 2007, those tax rates were producing revenue of 18.2% and 18.5% of GDP, near historic norms.

Another quandary for Mr. Obama’s apologists is that he has endorsed nearly all of these policies. The 2003 Medicare drug benefit wasn’t offset by tax hikes or spending cuts, but Democrats expanded the program as part of ObamaCare.

The President also extended all the Bush tax rates in 2010 for two more years in the name of helping the economy, and he now wants to continue them for people earning under $200,000, which is where 71% of their “cost” resides. The Iraq campaign was won and beginning to be wound down when he took office, and he himself surged more troops in Afghanistan.

Footnote No. 5: Mr. Obama keeps dining out on the excuse of the recession, but that ended halfway through his first year. The main deficit problems since 2009 are a permanently higher spending base (see Footnote No. 1) and the slowest economic recovery in modern history. Revenues have remained below 16% of the economy, compared to 18% to 19% in a normal expansion.

The 2008 crisis is long over. The crisis now is Mr. Obama’s non-recovery.

Footnote No. 6: Even at face value, Mr. Obama’s suggestion that he is “only” responsible for 10% of what the government does is ludicrous. Note that in addition to his stimulus, what he calls “emergency actions” include his new health-care entitlement that will cost taxpayers $200 billion per year when fully implemented and grow annually at 8%, even using low-ball assumptions.

But the larger point concerns executive leadership. Every President “inherits” a government that was built over generations, which he chooses to change, or not to change, to suit his priorities. Mr. Obama chose to see the government he inherited and grow it faster than any President since LBJ.

The pre-eminent political question now is whether to reform the government we have to make it affordable going forward, or to keep growing the government and raise taxes to finance it, if that is even possible.

Mr. Obama favors the second option, though he pretends he can merely tax the rich to do it. Nobody who has looked honestly at the numbers believes that—not his own Simpson-Bowles commission and not the Congressional “super committee” he sanctioned but then worked to undermine.

At every turn he has demagogued the Romney-Ryan proposals to modernize the entitlement state so it is affordable, and he personally blew up the “grand bargain” House Speaker John Boehner was willing to strike last summer.

Footnote No. 7: Mr. Obama’s posture as the tightest skinflint since Eisenhower is a tutorial in how to dissemble with statistics. The growth rate seems low because he’s measuring from the end of fiscal 2009, after a one-year spending increase of $535 billion. That is the year of his stimulus and thus spending is growing off a much higher base. The real annual pace of government growth is closer to 5%, and that doesn’t count ObamaCare.

***

In another news-making bit with “60 Minutes,” which the program decided not to air, Mr. Obama conceded that “Do we see sometimes us going overboard in our campaign, mistakes that are made, areas where there’s no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things, that happens in politics.”

Note the passive voice, as if the President’s re-election campaign is disembodied from the President. If Mr. Obama’s campaign seems dishonest enough that even Mr. Obama is forced to admit it, this is because it’s coming from the top.

Emphasis in bold mine.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Adam Carolla on “Luck”

This is a product of “Prager University,” an offshoot of the Dennis Prager show where Prager has special lectures and small talks by friends, intellectuals and the like give four to seven minute lectures on his YouTube channel.

Today’s is by comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla on “Luck” and how what is often seen as “Luck” by some is really the result of years of hard work.

 A quick insight into where Carolla talks about how me met Jimmy Kimmel on the radio.  Back when Carolla was first starting out, he lived in North Hollywood working as a contractor and part-time boxing instructor.  Kimmel was on KROQ, the top radio station in L.A. and part of the morning show.

One day, the morning show decides as a bit and a fund raiser for charity, they’re going to have a boxing match between Jimmy (who I believe was the sports guy) and another member of the morning show.  Carolla, heard the show live and sought out Kimmel to serve as trainer for the fight.

From there, he somehow convinced Kimmel he was funny and that led to the two of them working on radio together and eventually to Loveline and “The Man Show.”

He’s mentioned this story countless times on his podcast.  Here’s an interview where he tells it again.

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AARP Will Make Nearly $3 Billion off of ObamaCare

No wonder they booed Paul Ryan last week, he wants to cut off the money train for the “impartial” lobbyists for the elderly.

According to an analysis by Representatives Wally Herger (R., Calif.) and Dave Reichert (R., Wash.), Obamacare’s cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, by driving seniors out of that program and back into traditional Medicare, could earn AARP over $1 billion over the next ten years, because AARP makes nearly half a billion dollars per year collecting royalties from supplemental Medigap policies sold by private insurers. Those Medigap policies are primarily sold to seniors in the traditional, government-run Medicare program.

In other words, AARP is poised to make billions thanks to Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage. As it is, the interest group makes almost twice from its Medigap royalties what it gets in membership dues. So it’s no wonder that AARP supported Medicare cuts that would be unpopular with seniors: Its own financial interests won out.

Democrats considered reforming the Medigap system instead of cutting Medicare’s payments to hospitals and doctors. But AARP fought those reforms, and they were left out of the bill. A separate analysis by Senator Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) calculates that keeping Medigap reform out of Obamacare saved AARP another $1.8 billion over ten years. That’s a total of $2.8 billion, with billions more in future profits.

Furthermore, AARP’s Medigap plans were exempted from nearly all of Obamacare’s key insurance regulations, such as its restrictions on insurer operating margins; bans on exclusions of preexisting conditions; and caps on executive compensation.

A good op-ed on this subject is the one Jim DeMint’s office submitted to Politico last week before Ryan spoke in person and Obama spoke to them via tape.

Ironically, this isn’t news.  It has been well reported that most of what caused AARP to give ObamaCare its blessing in in 2009-10 the face of $716 Billion in cuts to Medicare was that its bottom line was taken care of.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Mankiw 1, Krugman 0

This has to be the equivalent of a beat down in the Economics world.   It’s just the summary of a white paper which is entitled “Mankiw vs. DeLong and Krugman on the CEA’s Real GDP Forecasts in Early 2009: What Might a Time Series Econometrician Have Said?”

It looks back at the heated online exchange between former Bush Admininstration Economic Advisor Greg Mankiw (and Harvard Economics Professor) on the right and Cal Econ Professor (and former Clinton Economic Advisor) Brad DeLong and NYT Columnist (and Princeton Economics Professor and Nobel Prize winner) Paul Krugman on the left.

In early 2009, the incoming Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers predicted real GDP would rebound strongly from recession levels. In a blog post, Greg Mankiw expressed skepticism. In their blogs, Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman sighed. Of course there would be strong growth, they maintained, because the recovery of employment would mandate it via Okun’s Law. Mankiw challenged Krugman to a bet on the issue, but there was no response. Of course we now have a good idea of the likely outcome, but I posit a hypothetical time series econometrician who, at the time of the blog entries, applies some standard forecasting methods to see whether DeLong and Krugman’s confidence was justified. The econometrician’s conclusion is that Mankiw would likely win the bet and furthermore that a rebound of any significance is unlikely. The econometrician has no idea how DeLong and Krugman could have been so confident in the CEA’s rebound forecast.

Translation: The numbers didn’t add up then, they certainly don’t add up three years later. DeLong and Krugman were giving political arguments — and probably still are to defend Obama economic policy — not economic ones.

The “Okun” mentioned above in “Okun’s Law” is Arthur Melvin Okun (now that’s a name only fit for an economist), an economic adviser under LBJ who theorized that for every 1% drop in employment, you will have a 2% drop in nominal GDP growth.   Nothing close to that has been registered in the past three to four years of the American economy.

His “law” isn’t an economic law.  It’s typically accepted “rule of thumb.”  It was gathered from years of studying the typical business cycle.

Mankiw was right.  Krugman and DeLong have been wrong.  This paper doesn’t just confirm it, it points it out in nice little graphs, charts, and explanations and does so for 40 pages.

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Post Office Latches on to Junk Mail to Survive

I swear I’ve done a blog post on this before.   Sort of tells you dire straits of the U.S. postal service when it’s great hope is more meaningless junk mail to try to offsets its decline due to Fed Ex, UPS, email, modern technology and of course, its own union contracts.

Get ready for the avalanche.  Again.

Eighty-four billion pieces of junk mail were delivered to our doors last year – music to the ears of the U.S. Postal Service.

“We certainly have to fill in the void when it comes to revenue,” says the agency’s Tad Kelley

There’s been a huge recession-related decline in the volume of first class mail. The postal service hasn’t relied directly on taxpayer dollars since the early 80′s.

Cutting costs only goes so far in easing serious budget deficits, so the USPS is looking to junk mail as a rescue remedy to add more revenues.

“We’re talking about a national program where a company can take a look at direct mail from a 30-state or more perspective and say, ‘Can I reach more customers?’” Kelley said.

The postal service is planning to woo businesses and direct marketers with rebates and discounts to increase advertising mail.

Marketing studies do appear to back the idea that “junk mail” actually works.

“About 60 percent of Americans will act upon a hard copy piece of mail,” he said.

Yeah, it’s usually called a take-out menu.

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