Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last Call

Orange Julius on the debt ceiling:

Congress is never going to give up this power. I've made it clear to the president that every time we get to the debt limit, we need cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. It's the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone.

And Boehner says: hostage taking then, hostage taking now, hostage taking forever!

If only President Obama and the Democrats had done the right thing and all resigned from office, right?

Peace Through Superior Building Power, Part 2

If you're wondering what's so awful about Israel's "retaliatory strike" of building more settlements, as Emily L. Hauser explains, it's where the settlements are that matters.  As with any real estate issue, it's location, location, location. (emphasis mine:)

Yet if we’re to be brutally frank, bluster and threats are entirely unnecessary. Israel doesn’t need to convince the world of its position or to take extreme measures to make sure that Palestine’s nascent statehood dies in the cradle. All Israel needs to do is stay its decades-long course and keep sending out bulldozers.
Witness the report that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s morning-after response to the statehood vote is 3000 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as expedited work in the E-1 “envelope,” a development project intended to geographically join Jerusalem to the settlement of Maaleh Adumim and thus cut the West Bank in half. And thus destroy territorial contiguity for any Palestinian state. And thus drive a final nail in the coffin of the notion of two-state peace.
Though impressive in scope, there is, in fact, nothing new in these plans—indeed, even though Netanyahu committed to President Obama upon taking office that he would not build in E-1, that piece of it can’t be considered a breach with the past either. After all, Israel is forever promising the U.S. one thing and then doing quite another, in particular with regard to the settlements.

So yes, the reaction of the Israelis to the Palestinian recognition vote is very much an act of war.  Building a settlement corridor that would cut the West Bank in two is pretty despicable.  And yet, most Americans will shrug and say "Well how could that be bad?  Why are those awful Arab terrorists complaining about that?"

Now you know.

Existential Polling, You're Doing It Wrong

Nate Silver is rather brutal with his assessment of the Romney campaign's complicit effects in wrecking a number of key firms through their ludicrously incorrect internal polls.

Campaigns should foster organizational cultures in which their pollsters are enabled to provide the most value.

Campaigns might consider how pollsters are compensated; they could tie some of the pollster’s compensation to the accuracy of its final polls, for instance.

Some campaigns have had success with hiring more than one pollster and having them work relatively autonomously from one another. This can serve as a check against groupthink — and may increase the likelihood the different assumptions that the pollsters might introduce will be thought over and debated.

But most important, campaigns would be wise not to have their pollsters serve as public spokesmen or spin doctors for the campaign. Campaigns have other personnel who specialize in those tasks.

The role of the pollster should be just the opposite of this, in fact: to provide a reality check such that the campaign does not begin to believe its own spin.

Ouch.  And yes, he's talking to you, Gallup.
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