Thursday, November 3, 2011

Last Call

I wonder if Orange Julius actually kinda forgot who Grover Norquist was there after his sixth Appletini of the morning.

A simple yes or no would have sufficed, but when House Speaker John Boehner was asked whether anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist was a positive influence on his caucus, he feigned ignorance.

It’s not often I’m asked about some random person in America,” he said. 

You know, this random guy.

Totally random.

Running The Numbers Wrong

I'm not sure if Nate Silver is incorporating way too much beltway conventional wisdom into his analysis or if he's just decided to move into Firebagger Country, but his latest 35,000 feet analysis of President Obama's re-election is that he loses unless the economy improves and his chances are 50-50 overall.

The problem is with the input parameters on Nate's model:

Obama does indeed have a “Jewish problem.” Polls find that his standing among Jews has deteriorated: only about 54 percent of them approved of his performance in the most recent Gallup survey. But this is to be expected when a president has a 40-something approval rating. He also has a Hispanic problem and a problem among the white working class. He has a problem in Ohio and a problem in Florida and a problem in New Hampshire. He even has, to a mild extent, an African-American problem: Obama’s approval ratings among black voters are still high, but down to about 80 percent from 90 percent.

All of these, however, are symptoms of Obama’s larger problems, a set of three fundamental misgivings shared by much of the American electorate.

• First, many of us understand that Barack Obama inherited a terrible predicament. We have a degree of sympathy for the man. But we have concerns, which have been growing over time, about whether he’s up to the job.
• Second, most of us are gravely concerned about the economy. We’re not certain what should be done about it, but we’re frustrated.
• Third, enough of us are prepared to vote against Obama that he could easily lose. It doesn’t mean we will, but we might if the Republican represents a credible alternative and fits within the broad political mainstream.

I'm trying to figure out where somebody so dependent on actual facts, objective figures, and numerical analysis gets such a flawed model to start with.  I'll give Nate the second point there, most of us really are frustrated over the economy are there are serious differences about what should be done about it (although I've been yelling about what to do for a couple of years now.)  But his assumptions that "we" think President Obama isn't "up to the job" is just Village idiocy if anyone was capable of measuring President Obama's accomplishments in an objective manner...which if anyone is supposed to be able to up in Villageland, it's Nate Silver.

The third point is hokum as well.  Has Silver been paying actual attention to the debates, the laughable policy gimmicks, the absurdity of the sound bites coming from the GOP in the last few months, or the current head-shaking controversies?  Who is an actual credible alternative that would survive the primaries and still end up in the "broad political mainstream" in the general election next fall?  Surely Nate understands this.

Finally he goes on to basically say that unless the economy improves, the President will basically lose the election.  In both of his scenarios where the economy is stagnant, the President has long odds against Rick Perry and nearly impossible odds against Mitt Romney.  No mention, of course, that if he's right the Republicans have every reason to continue to obstruct and sabotage the economy, and so far it's been pretty effective in blocking every attempt by the Democrats to improve the economy.

And finally, FINALLY, Nate basically says that the polls this early that show President Obama winning against every specific Republican in the race are simply too far away from November 2012 to be of any use, but he does throw in this caveat:

Obama has gone from a modest favorite to win re-election to, probably, a slight underdog. Let’s not oversell this. A couple of months of solid jobs reports, or the selection of a poor Republican opponent, would suffice to make him the favorite again. 

I'm going to say the selection of any single Republican makes him the favorite again.

Your Political Cartoon Of The Moment

Daryl Cagle, Cagle Cartoons:

Daryl Cagle - - Occupy Fox News COLOR - English - occupy Wall Street, Occupy, Fox news, clown, TV, media

Amusing Stupidity: Going Nuts

A retired woman with plenty of time and peanut butter has trained a few local squirrels to perform.  This link will take you to all of the adorable pictures, but I included my top three here.

Here at ZVTS we cover a lot of things.  Because of the trend of hate and misfortune, the news has been pretty heavy lately.  But what is the point of life if we can't giggle once in a while and forget that we're generally disgusted with our government and fellow man?  I hope this makes you smile.

Kitty-  I don't know if you're a fan of all fuzzies, but I thought of you and it was so hard not to give this a "Heeeere Kitty Kitty" title.

Squirrel karaoke (with California Raisin backup goodness).

Liberace looks down from heaven and says, "SQUEEEEE!  It's a squirrel!"

There are a million punchlines for this one, but I'll keep it classy.  "Fluffy knew the enchiladas weren't safe to eat, but check out the hot blond in the shower.  Priceless."

A Special Place In Hell: The Juvenile Sequel

I try to be pretty understanding when it comes to kids.  But then you read something like this, and the heart can't help but harden.  Kids or not, this is criminal beyond understanding.

Courtesy of the New York Post:

A wealthy Manhattan real-estate agent buying Halloween goodies for underprivileged kids at an East Harlem mall was nearly killed by two 12-year-old punks who dropped a shopping cart on her from four stories above — then laughed about it later, police sources said yesterday.

Marion Salmon Hedges was with her 13-year-old son, who watched in horror as his mom fell to the ground in the East Harlem mall on Sunday.

Kids do stupid things.  Nothing could excuse something like this, but if it had been an accident, it would be only one tragedy, not two.  The second tragedy is that we have juveniles laughing about nearly killing someone minutes after it happened.  A woman who was getting candy for underprivileged children on Halloween couldn't get a more sympathetic response.  This is a perfect example of when everything goes wrong and nothing whatsoever goes how it should.

The GOP War On Women Rumbles On

Republicans never met a vagina they thought they couldn't control.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptive services free of charge.

But on Wednesday, a House subcommittee opened a hearing into the new guidelines, with Republicans arguing that that mandate does not offer a broad enough opt-out rule for religious groups and others who have a moral objection to providing such services.

The guidelines require insurance providers to cover women’s preventative services — which includes everything from birth control to breast exams — free of charge starting next August as part of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services already exempted some religious groups from the new rules, but critics contend that the regulations still ensnare others who have a moral disagreement with birth control.

In opening remarks, Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) said that the current opt-out clause is too narrow, and that the government was taking, “coercive actions to force people to abandon their religious principles.”

When the healthcare law was being debated last Congress, the proponents adamantly refuted claims that this would be a federal government takeover of our healthcare system,” Pitts said. “Now we have the federal Department of Health and Human Services forcing every single person in this country to pay for services that they may morally oppose.”

I morally oppose paying the salaries of Republicans in Congress on the religious grounds that Zandarism finds Republicans to be completely amoral.  As your boss and a taxpayer, I demand that you immediately remit your paychecks to the Treasury to make a dent in the deficit.  Thanks.

What?  It makes just as much sense as Pitts there, which is to say "none at all" and that the man shouldn't be put in charge of a cardboard box for more than 37 seconds unless you wish to see it covered in flames and badly spelled lies about Obama's country of birth and Pitts immediately asking you to give him another three boxes because Jesus said so, shut up, that's why.

On the other hand, the fact that women in the GOP are all for this nonsense probably explains why Herman Cain will get away with this whole harassment thing.  Tiny Vagina Governments for all the ladies!

A Glass Half Empty

For the first time in Ars Technica's history, Microsoft Internet Explorer has dropped below 50% in the combined browser market share.

Where has that market share gone? In the early days, it all went Firefox's way. These days, it's Chrome that's the main beneficiary of Internet Explorer's decline, and October was no exception. Chrome is up 1.42 points to 17.62 percent of the desktop browser share. Firefox is basically unchanged, up 0.03 points to 22.51 percent. Safari grew 0.41 points to 5.43. Opera has been consistently falling over the last few months, and it dropped again in October, down 0.11 points to 1.56 percent.

I'm still a Firefox man myself, but I know Bon is having a lot of good results with Chrome.  I never use IE unless I have to for compatibility reasons however and I know of a whole lot of folks who feel the same.

Chrome is getting steadily better, but given the anger over Google's recent changes to Google Reader and Gmail I can say I'm not ready to commit to Chrome myself.

Still, if there's a loser in all this, it's Microsoft.  They sat on IE 6 for years and they lost.  Now they are scrambling to catch up again and stave off the bleeding to Chrome, but I don't see it happening unless IE 10 is super amazing.  Let's put it this way: IE 10 just now adds auto-correct to the browser.

Sheesh.  I would have been out of business here ages ago without that.


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