Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

(Now with updates in red!)

It's Election Day, and you know what that means...

...another long political post from Keryn that you can ignore. Yay!

So...the Senate races are some of the biggest to watch. In particular, I'll be looking at:
  • Nevada (duh): Angle (R) vs Reid (D). This one is going to be a squeaker. I'd like to think Angle wins, but I don't know. We'll just have to see. (Reid wins. Bummer.)
  • California: Fiorina (R) vs Boxer (D). I think this one stays with Boxer, although I'll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't. Boxer comes across as a somewhat obnoxious, and occasionally entitled incumbent; it would be a pleasure if she didn't get sent back to Washington. (Boxer wins.)
  • Colorado: Buck (R) vs Bennet (D). I don't know too much about this one, but it is a toss-up, apparently.
  • Alaska: Miller (R) vs McAdams (D) vs Murkowski (Entitled). This one is interesting. Murkowski is the incumbent, but she lost the primary nomination to Miller. She then decided to run a write-in campaign, essentially becoming a pretty sore loser about the primary. (I have Opinions about this.) The Alaska Board of Elections, on Thursday, decided to change its rules to allow lists of write-in candidates' names in the polling places, giving Murkowski a distinct advantage. There have been some very sleazy events surrounding this election. However, polling looks good, and it's hopeful that Miller will win. We'll see!
  • Washington, Pennsylvania (goes to Republican, thankyouverymuch Arlen Specter R-2, D-2), West Virginia (stays Democratic), and Illinois (President Obama's old seat has gone Republican!) are good ones to watch, as well.
The House is likely to switch parties today (the Senate less likely, but there is a wee little chance), and the number to watch for is 39--the Republican party needs a net gain of 39 to reach the 218 votes needed to have control of the House. (Major news networks are calling the House for the Republicans. No big surprise there.) I haven't been too interested in too many of these races, but an interesting one to follow will be Nevada: Congressional District 3 (suburban Las Vegas, but I don't know if that includes my family's home) Heck (R) vs Titus (D). This one wasn't supposed to be a close race, but Heck has been polling closer and closer to Titus in the last weeks. (And that would be just cool, because then two of Nevada's representatives would be named "Heller" and "Heck".)

Also, keep an eye on Massachusetts' Barney Frank, who might not win reelection. Heh heh. (Bummer. He wins.)

Also, there are some governor's races to watch.
  • Colorado: Hickenlooper (D) vs Tancredo (Annoying) vs Maes (R). I have Opinions about this race as well. Specifically, I think that if the primary voters choose a particular nominee (Maes), then the state GOP should darn well better get behind him and support him. If they can't support the people's choice for nominee, then they should RESIGN their positions in the state party. In this case, that didn't happen. And now Maes has single digit support, and the race is between Hickenlooper and Tancredo. Basically, I'm hoping for Hickenlooper, but since I don't live there, I don't know what that would mean for day-to-day stuff. Still, I'm highly annoyed at Tancredo and the CO state GOP. (Hickenlooper wins.)
  • California: Whitman (R) vs Brown (D). Brown was governor of California from 1975 to 1983, so he knows what's what. Whitman is a multi-killjionaire CEO. This will be interesting. I don't know why anyone would want to be in charge of the mess that is California right now, but different people have different tastes. (Brown wins the...honor?)
Okay, that's my two bits. There are precious few things to care about in my state today, so I'm ranging far abroad for interesting stuff. Even though I voted for Anderson for county commission, I don't care if Henderson wins instead. Ditto for everything else that might be a tight race here. Oh, and I guess I don't want the Constitutional Amendment A to pass. Whoop-de-do.

What do you all think?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Stupid, Racially Charged Headline

My head is going to explode over this headline: "911 call on Conn. shooting shows racial disparity". I don't know who wrote the headline (Yahoo! or the AP), but it is completely misleading and racially charged.

The first two paragraphs are the only one that deals with the 911 call:
A woman hiding under her desk tells an emergency dispatcher that a co-worker is in the midst of a shooting spree. The dispatcher presses for any information about the man.

"I don't know anything," the woman says, according to a 911 tape released Wednesday. "He's a tall black guy. He's like the only black guy that works here."

How in the WORLD is describing the crazy mad shooter "racially disparity"? That has to be the dumbest, most inflammatory way to describe the caller's actions I can think of. Really, really bad form, AP and/or Yahoo! Super lame.

(The story then goes on to describe the difficulties the man had being the only black man in his office. I have no information about whether or not he was discriminated against in his job. That, however, is not relevant to the headline. The woman under the desk was describing the physical attributes of the attacker for the dispatcher, presumably so the police could identify him.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Think Progress vs. Breitbart

I've watched from a distance as the flap over Shirley Sherrod has come and gone over the past week. First, Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip that showed her confessing racist feelings. The audience in the video seemed to chuckle at the sentiment rather than act repulsed or disappointed.

The USDA immediately believed the worst about Sherrod and forced her to resign before they even had a conversation with her to understand her side of the story.

Shortly, the larger picture came out. Sherrod was confessing that she had been a racist but was trying to tell a story of how she moved past those feelings. The clip had been unfair to her. As the news was breaking, my wife was scanning the blogs as we were driving. She started rattling off the list of people who retracted their denouncements of Sherrod. Glenn Beck, Rich Lowry, Shannon Coffin, Jonah Goldberg... basically all the big conservative bloggers immediately set the record straight.

It was really encouraging. Someone made the point, in defense of Breitbart, that it is possible to act rashly without acting maliciously. Breitbart claimed to have received only the small clip that he played and that he hadn't checked the larger context before he posted.

This morning, I was reading through some older posts and I came across a link to a video created by Think Progress.  My jaw dropped to the floor. They were splicing together clips from Tea Party activists making racist comments. This may be one of the most dishonest political clips I've ever seen.

The editors at Think Progress chose to use a video clip statement from a man being actively expelled from a Tea Party event as representative of the content of the event. Breathtakingly dishonest. It is like using ellipses to turn a negative movie review into a positive one.

Here is the Big Government post that criticizes the Think Progress clip.

Will Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman now denounce Think Progress as they did Andrew Breitbart? Will those on the left who were fooled by the video come out and apologize as so many on the right have done? This is a test of character. Let's see how it goes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pox: Lee AND Bridgewater

I'm so fed up with Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, I've decided that I won't cast a vote for either of them tomorrow. There are two reasons for this.

First and most important, they are both running negative campaigns and it is disgusting me. On a small flyer I got from Mike Lee, 25% percent of the space was consumed by stuff he didn't like about his opponent. The rest was filled with photos and fluff.

Bridgewater had the gall to send me a campaign flyer in the mail that denounced Mike Lee for running a negative campaign--and then attempted to smear him for being a lawyer. A short time later, the next flyer in the mail comes from Bridgewater attacking Lee for carrying water for EnergySolutions.

Way to lead by example about how you'll improve the tone in Washington.

The second reason I won't vote for either of them is the blatant disregard they've shown to having my telephone number. The other night, we returned home after a day of being gone. In the two and a half hours, we received SEVEN robocalls from the two candidates. It was infuriating that they would disrespect my time like that. Today, one day before the primary, we've counted 16 calls so far today. Two of them were real people, the rest were robocalls.

Here is a tip to future candidates. (I'm sure they'll all be reading this blog post intently.) As a voter I love to be informed. I appreciate getting a call or two with information about candidates or an endorsement. Especially calls from real people. But if you are wasting your money calling the same people with the same message over and over, I don't trust you to spend money wisely while you're in office.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Glenn's Favorite Graphic

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) used to put up this graphic pretty frequently. It is the one I think of when people complain about the Tea Party protests being overly partisan.

I'd be curious to see the current numbers for '09 now that that is in the books. Perhaps we'll start seeing an updated view of the spending that will either confirm or refute this rather stunning chart.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why My Sister Couldn't Be a Union Boss

My sister is a leader of her local Tea Party movement. The folks in her area have decided they want to get together every two weeks. They invite candidates in to address them.

A lot of these people are really angry. They are taking the time to not only "vent" but to get informed. That is cool. Even so, some of the participants will ask my sister who she is endorsing or recommending in the various elections.

In the face of these requests, it would be easy to counsel these people how to vote. However, my sister doesn't feel comfortable making these calls. She wants people to choose for themselves. She sees her role as being a facillitator of information dissemination.

Think how cool it would be if politically active unions and other organizations would showthe same respect to their diverse members.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Great Moment of Political Drama

Basking in the coolness of the new C-SPAN Video Library, I watched some of the Clinton impeachment hearings and came across a striking moment of political drama that I had totally forgotten about.

The two sides in the debate were having their turns giving members one minute speeches either in favor of, or opposed to impeaching the president. The first speech was pro-impeachment and laid out a pretty rational case. The second speech was anti-impeachment and was a massive non sequitor where the congresswoman rambled on about abortion and Medicare and everything except the charges against the president.

The back and forth continued for a couple more speakers. Then, the Republicans bring up their next speaker, Bob Livingstone. However, instead of getting recognized for one minute, he is recognized for two minutes. When he walks up to the podium, he turns to the chair and says something I couldn't hear. (Usually, it is the asking for unanimous consent to revise and extend their remarks in the official record.)

As he started speaking, I didn't remember who he was. Then I realized that he was the Speaker of the House-Elect, set to assume those responsibilities in a few weeks time. He spoke at length, way more than two minutes, laying out the case for impeachment. He builds up to a climax where he tells the president that he can end all this agony right now. A hiss emits from the Democrats in the chamber. Livingston presses forward. He calls on the president to resign.

Immediately, the Democrats start shouting, "No! No! No!" and then the dominant voices in the chorus of dissent are shouting, "You resign! You resign!" You see, Livingston had recent admitted to his own extra-marital affair and the Democrats thought it was high hypocrisy (if not a high crime and misdemeanor) for one philanderer to call for the resignation of another philanderer.

After a moment, the chamber quieted enough for Livingston to continue. He seemed to steel himself for the moments to come. And then he announced that he had been unfaithful to his wife and that he would lead by example. He would not take a role as the Speaker of the House, and he would resign his seat in 6 months time when there could be a special election to replace him. He then called on the president to follow his example and resign.

The whole chamber erupted in applause. It looks like even the Democrats gave him a standing ovation. Probably different motives for the applause on the two sides of the aisle, but still an impressive display. It must have been somewhat unexpected for him to make the move and the chamber was all abuzz and the next speaker had a hard time getting started again.

What an interesting moment of political drama, and a moment of political courage as well. I wish more politicians had the courage to admit failure and step aside when appropriate. Instead, many of them cling to power and frequently, though inexplicably, retain enough votes to stay in place.

If you want to watch the video, you can find it here at about 18 minutes in.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

HB 113: Child Restraint Device Amendments

I sent this letter to both my state senator and my state congressman. I'll be sure to update the blog with any information they send me.


Dear Representative Morley and Senator Madsen,

I have noticed with interest HB113, “Child Restraint Device Amendments”. I believe that the current child restraint device laws are too restrictive, and I am pleased the legislature is considering amending them.

In the book “SuperFreakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the authors discuss a study indicating that perfectly installed and fitted car seats for 3- and 6-year-olds are no more effective in a crash in protecting children than the poorly fitting built-in seat belt. (A brief summary of their findings can be found here and here at the Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times website.) While I am not claiming that this is a definitive study on the subject, I am interested in learning what studies and reports the Utah State Legislature is using while considering amending the law. I am especially interested in any recent studies about older children (ages 5-8) and booster seats being considered during the deliberative process.

As much as I applaud the direction of the amending (loosening the requirements on older children), I have serious concerns about the language of the amendment. As written, I do not see how this law could be enforced. How would a police officer know if I was driving directly to or from my home? That I was driving to the school or an authorized activity? That I don’t have a booster seat in the trunk in case I have to drive 5 miles away from the house?

As a parent of four children under the age of seven (with a fifth child on the way), I am directly affected by these laws, and will be for a good many years to come. I would very much appreciate hearing from you on your opinion as to these amendments, on how the law would be enforced, and what scientific studies are being used to inform the Legislature on this subject.

Thank you for your service and your help in this request.