Archive for Political Science Fiction

A bit of the ultra-violets

I’ve long characterized my neck of the woods as neither fully red nor blue, but somewhere in between. This year’s precinct numbers suggest it’s getting slightly bluer:

President: Hillary Clinton (D) 687, Donald Trump (R) 519, Gary Johnson (L) 137.

Senate: James Lankford (R) 624, Mike Workman (D) 559, Robert Murphy (L) 69; independents 102.

Congress: Al McAffrey (D) 658, Steve Russell (R) 586, Zachary Knight (L) 97.

HD87: Collin Walke (D) 715, Bruce Lee Smith (R) 506, Elle Collins (L) 117.

Only one state question garnered 1000 Yes votes: 780, the simplification of drug penalties.

Previous red/blue balances: 2012; 2010.

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The aftermath

Yeah, I know, all the TV coverage dealt with who’s winning. Me, I wanted to know who’s losing, and I don’t mind telling you why.

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Burn it to the ground

My younger offspring (old enough to be President himself) analyzes the events of the week:

All of this presidential stuff reminds me of Nickelback.

If you ask people if they enjoy Nickelback they will unabashedly tell you no they do not. They might even go so far as to say they hate them. But Nickelback has sold 50 million albums.

Someone is lying here. Either we are buying these albums and supporting the band or Chad Kroeger figured out a way to buy 50 million of his own albums with the proceeds of selling his albums to himself.

So, did you vote for Trump? Nope, nuh uh, sure didn’t, no way José, no ma’am, I would never vote for that monster! But he got the popular vote and the electoral vote. And surprisingly, he got more female representation than Hillary did. America means progress …

Someone is lying here.

Actually, HRC wound up with about 100k more popular votes than Trump, which of course counts for nothing in the grand scheme of things.

As I noted earlier, I did not vote for Trump/Pence; for that matter, you will find that I own no Nickelback recordings, though I did score a few tracks from Kroeger’s ex-wife.

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Meanwhile in the Wiregrass

You may remember this from last month:

Relating to Henry County, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 72 at the time of qualifying or appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Henry County.

The Amendment passed with about 60 percent of the vote, meaning if Judge David Money wants to run for another term in 2018, he can.

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Tweeting up a storm

I promised myself I wouldn’t get bogged down on Twitter during the election returns.

As I probably should have expected, I failed miserably:

Your Tweets earned 7,374 impressions over the last 24 hours

Although this doesn’t compare with the 22nd of October, during which I picked up 19,738 impressions with a lot less controversy.

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Is we edumacated good?

A letter to the Oklahoman starts off reasonably and then shoots itself in the foot at the end:

Remember House Bill 1017? Wagering on horse racing? Liquor by the drink? Lottery? All these things were supposed to provide more money for the schools. In addition, 78 percent of our property tax goes to the schools. Irresponsible spending needs to be reined in. Those in power continue to resist school consolidation. Anyone who lives on a budget could tell them that if superintendents were reduced to one per county (with an assistant in the larger counties), there would be money to pay teachers a raise without having to tax the people again. I ask, respectfully and without malice, why classroom teachers are so quiet on the subject when the solutions seem so obvious?

Perhaps they figure that consolidating a dozen school districts into one will cost more than just administrative jobs.

Then the argument goes off the rails:

Here in Krebs-McAlester, we are taxed at 10 percent. The raise would put us at 11 percent. For every $100 we have to spend for groceries, it will cost us an additional $11. There are many who are finding it difficult already. There must be another path to helping the classroom teachers without causing more hardship to low-income people.

Sales tax in Krebs is indeed 10 percent: 4.5 state, 4.0 city, 1.5 Pittsburg County. The tax on $100 worth of groceries is therefore $10. Increasing the tax rate to 11 percent will mean that the tax on $100 worth of groceries will be, um, $11. This is an additional dollar, not “an additional $11.”

If this is the prevailing arithmetic out there, no wonder many are finding it difficult.

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Party at the polls

There are those who argue, not entirely unconvincingly, that Election Day — the big one in November, anyway — should be a Federal holiday.

Not everyone, however, is buying this premise:

[T]oo many people will take the Monday night before as an excuse to party, and I suspect we will see no increase in turnout, and we already have enough Federal holidays where ordinary people have to work but the banks and DMVs are closed, and there’s no mail delivery.

I think the single biggest argument against it is that it’s a Tuesday. Who the hell wants a Tuesday off?

In defense of the idea, it might suggest to this state, where election planning is scattershot at best, that maybe we don’t need seven or eight little elections every damn year.

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Aw, heck, why not?

I mean, he chose the persona:

And apparently it wasn’t entirely parental pressure, either:

The Backstory: Our 5 yo daughter had no costume. We said: How about HRC? Daughter: Nope. Son: Well someone’s gotta be Hillary! @HFA #Proud

(Via Tim Blair, who says this is a contender for Saddest Thing of All Time.)

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All about that ballot

Yours truly is voting absentee this year, and on the off-chance that you actually care, I’m letting you know what sort of thinking went into my selections. It is not, I hasten to add, always sensible.

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They’ll make it up in volume

This strikes me as one hell of a lot of email:

I can’t wrap my mind around 650,000 emails. Even before the next round of spam clearing, I have 55,617 emails on this box, and it took nearly twenty years to accumulate that much. Of course, I don’t have Carlos Danger’s propensity for hitting on every female within 20 ZIP codes, either.

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You’d be doing us all a favor

“Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty,” says the YouTube video description, “is a proven fighter for better roads, lower taxes, and responsible county spending.” But there are other reasons to vote for him:

“Quite possibly the best ad of this political season,” says Pejman Yousefzadeh.

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To be the King

We don’t have royalty in this country, the best efforts of some people who think themselves throneworthy notwithstanding, but we do have a great deal of internecine warfare, which may be the one thing we have in common with kingdoms of the past:

[P]eers maneuvering to ruin each other was the national sport of every court in the Middle Ages, in their brief breaks between trying to kill each other on the battlefield. Very few kings got shanked, even when it was in everyone’s obvious best interest (e.g. the Hundred Years’ War, which would’ve been about 75 years shorter if someone had just slipped Jean II some tainted snails).

This is a lesson our wannabe-aristocrats in the political elite should ponder. As the Z Man points out re: Hillary Clinton, she’s not in it for the ego-stroke; she’s in it for the money. But the Clintons are arrivistes, the 21st century equivalent of hustling rubes from the sticks who bought their patents of nobility from an addled old monarch who found them almost as useful as they were amusing. While being a titled court jester suits Bill just fine — he’s a poonhound who only cares about droit de seigneur — Hillary’s got a hole in her soul that no amount of money will ever fill. She certainly thinks she’s in it for the money, as she has understandably confused money with security and above all prestige … but she’s wrong, as she will find out to her great dismay should she win the Presidency. Even if the King is a drooling halfwit, he’s still the King, and she’s not, and never will be. We can only hope she doesn’t set the world ablaze trying to avoid that lesson.

Then again, our purposes are not well served by electing a drooling halfwit and expecting him to behave in kingly fashion.

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Front of the line

It is de rigueur in some circles to complain about early voting, usually with dark, mumbled references to “vote fraud.” I suppose it could be a fraud vector — just one among many — but it’s still a defensible practice:

In principle, early voting is described as a bad thing because it encourages people to vote before having the chance to learn all there is to know about a candidate or ballot question. In practice, it dissipates the impact of “October Surprise” gotcha revelations about a candidate or ballot question — which in my mind isn’t a bad thing. Eliminating the incentive to play endgame gotcha tricks on the electorate changes the tenor and rhythm of campaigns, and really the only ones with reason to complain are those who rely on such tricks.

And in this particular year, where both major campaigns are decidedly, even desperately, gotcha-oriented, there’s a lot to be said for being able to tune that stuff out.

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Presumed absence

I have formally requested an absentee ballot for the November festivities, on the basis that I don’t expect to be able to stand in line for any substantial length of time that day. I am not actually required to give the State Election Board an explanation, but the application indicates that they’d like to know, probably for data-mining purposes, and it’s not like it’s any big secret in this town that I have mobility issues for the moment.

Applications are accepted no later than 5 pm on the Wednesday before the actual election.

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The oath made mock

A troubling thought from Rand Simberg:

The next President to take the oath to defend and preserve the Constitution will very likely either be someone who despises it (particularly the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights), or someone who has almost certainly never even read it.

Still hoping for the meteor:

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Putting the “trophy” in “atrophy”

A bit from Steve Sailer while he was watching the debate (so I didn’t have to):

Hillary’s answer on how she’s shocked, shocked by Trump’s 2005 lewd comments would be pretty good except for the fact that the only reason she ever got higher in life than, say, a Congressman’s chief of staff is because she is married to Bill Clinton.

But you are supposed to vote for Hillary because she is a self-made woman. Or something.

That’s one of the weirdest things about this election: it’s obvious that Hillary’s main reason for being the Democratic nominee is that her husband is term limited out of a third term, the way Lurleen Wallace was elected governor of Georgia when George Wallace got term limited out of running. But we’re all supposed to act like Hillary has taken on the entire male sex by running for President, rather than coasting on her husband’s slipstream.

Consistent with this viewpoint, Lurleen’s 1966 general-election opponent, Congressman James D. Martin (R-Gadsden), claimed that she was merely a “proxy” candidate, a manifestation of her husband’s “insatiable appetite for power.” But truth be told, I’m pretty well convinced that Bill Clinton, at least these days, is indifferent to power, so long as he can exercise the perks; I have no doubt that were it not for the optics, Hillary would have hung him out to dry years ago.

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On being too old for this

On the ballot this fall in Henry County, Alabama:

Proposed Local Amendment Number One (1)

Relating to Henry County, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 72 at the time of qualifying or appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Henry County.

This would apply to — how many people, exactly? You got it. One:

Judge [David] Money is currently in the 4th year of his first term as Probate Judge. He’s 68, but is already looking to the future.

“It gives us an opportunity that if you want to pursue another term, you can, it doesn’t necessarily say that I will, or the next one will, but it’s there if we should wish to do that,” said Judge Money.

This office has a six-year term; Judge Money’s term expires in 2018.

I’m wondering why Alabama would have a maximum age on any elective office. But clearly they do:

“Probate judge” in the AL judiciary is kind of like justice of the peace elsewhere: it’s not a lawyerly job. Here are the requirements of the office, per the AL Secy. of State:

Must have resided in the district which candidate seeks to represent for one year prior to election. No one may be elected or appointed to a judicial office after reaching the age of 70.

State legislators, I note, have no such age restriction.

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Quote of the week

Severian says it’s a learning process:

You know, this election has taught me a lot. For instance, I believe that women are just people, no better or worse than anyone else. That makes me a “sexist.”

I believe that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That makes me a “racist.”

I believe that governments exist to protect their citizens against foreigners. That makes me a “fascist.”

I believe that my fellow citizens have the right to want what they want, and like what they like, whether or not it’s “good for them,” as defined by idiots who racked up $100,000 in student loan debt getting a Gender Studies degree. That makes me a “populist.”

I believe that people are unique individuals, not interchangeable widgets or cells on a spreadsheet. That makes me … I don’t even know what anymore, but it sure isn’t a “conservative,” the definition of which now appears to be “trying to beggar myself and my children so that GOP donors can have cheap Mexican labor on their fourth yacht.”

The political culture values labels far more than it values performance, ideas, or for that matter voters.

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Very well then, we contradict ourselves

Dave Schuler looks at the major parties and diagnoses cognitive dissonance:

In the Republicans’ case for the last three decades they’ve been preaching small government while doing almost nothing to reduce the size and reach of government. The resolution of their conflict seems to be the quasi-religious but empirically unfounded belief that tax cuts always pay for themselves.

On the upside, the GOP is ever so slightly less likely to utter the perverse phrase “revenue-neutral.”

The Democrats for their part struggle to be the party of the little guy while deriving most of their strength from the very biggest guys. Their resolution appears to be the equally dubious belief that if you just pay the top quintile of income earners enough it will solve the problems of the poor.

Especially if you’re pretending to raise taxes on said top quintile.

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Actual dialogue

I mean, I was there when it happened.

Woman at the office: “Are you voting for Donald Trump?”

Me: “Do I look like I have a gun to my head?”

The resourceful reader will immediately realize that this is not technically an answer.

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When the levies break

Reports Rasmussen:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 83% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that when most businessmen pay their taxes, they try to pay as little as possible. Only 12% feel they are more concerned with paying their fair share.

Bill Quick calls out what’s wrong with the way this survey is worded:

1. “Avoid paying taxes.” The implication is that taxes should never be “avoided,” even if the tax code specifically permits you to follow procedures that lessen your overall tax burden. A further implication is that taxpayers should not do this at all — because, really, it isn’t your money, is it? If the government lets you keep any of “your” money (which it actually regards as its money), well, isn’t that nice of the government?

2. “Try to pay as little as possible” versus “fair share.” I really hate this notion of “fair share,” because it loads the calculus in the direction that “fairness” requires you to hand over to the government as large an amount of your own wealth as possible, to be “fair.”

Wealthy people pay by far the largest amount of taxes in this country. If you want to talk about actually fair shares, what about the enormous number of people who don’t pay taxes at all.

More eloquently, Judge Learned Hand, then on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals:

Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.

Opinion in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 1947. Then again, it was a dissenting opinion; the government, once it was awarded droit de seigneur with regard to your paycheck, has consistently argued that the award was deserved.

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Low levels of litter

Is there anything good to report about the 2016 election? Well, there’s a definite paucity of yard signs:

There aren’t many yard signs for Hillary, because even dead dog Democrats who will vote for her solely because of the D after her name (as they would also do if she were Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler or the Ayatollah Khomeini) don’t like her enough to do anything beyond casting that vote. Certainly not go to the trouble of putting up yard signs.

OTOH, Trump supporters, with good reason, are probably fearful of being singled out for punishment from progtards and other violent ethnic racists if they publicize their preference for Trump — especially in front of their own homes, where their families live.

If that’s all we get, I’ll take it.

Meanwhile, someone ripped up a sign from Bark M.’s yard.

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Quote of the week

Inasmuch as this election boils down to Your Lizard versus Their Lizard, Roberta X is here to address your reptilian brain:

[I]f you genuinely believe It’s All Over if the wrong lizard wins this go-round, why are you even on the computer instead of your rooftop — or an airplane bound for Elsewhere? Seriously, it’s been over; the knee of the curve from “republic” to “empire” was, in my opinion, around 1913. Empires generally last a long time; it’s a smooth, gradual slide and crossing the Rubicon is really barely a bobble. Short-term, things will waver between “kinda good” and “kinda bad”; long term, there are centuries before wolves and barbarians (but I repeat myself) go howling through the empty streets of the Capitol. Preachings of Imminent Doom are risible. Small-scale doom, especially if you happen to live in the wrong neighborhood? Count on it. But it’s been happening; you just didn’t notice as you drove past.

The thing is, you can’t always be sure if your neighborhood is one of the wrong ones, until something doom(ish) actually happens. Hence this prescription:

Put on your big-boy pants and go wave Hi to the neighbors. They vote for the wrong lizard, they have no idea of the right hues to paint a house and their groundskeeping is, frankly, inept; but they are indeed your neighbors, breathing the same air, and you’re going to have to get along or move out. Standing there on the sidewalk with your thumbs in your ears going “Nyah-nyah!” isn’t a useful move.

It is, however, a popular one.

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Terman limits

Even if Donald Trump actually has a yuge IQ, it’s mostly irrelevant in the long run:

Back in the George W. Bush era, I got a liberal colleague literally screaming mad by saying that I didn’t much care what the President’s IQ is. Note that I wasn’t defending W. in the slightest, as known conservatives are ruthlessly disemployed in my field. I simply said that I don’t think a high IQ is the main, or even a primary, qualification for president, and I quoted somebody to the effect that Benjamin Disraeli played cards while Czar Nicholas played chess, and who would you rather have running your country? Horse sense and the ability to shift gears rapidly — the top two things “intellectuals” obviously lack — are far more important. This sent my colleague into Hillary-level conniptions.

Said colleague, I’m willing to bet, might claim to have at one time scored a couple of standard deviations above average — and probably doesn’t have the sense God gave a goose. (With only minor changes, this description also applies to me.) Besides, pointy-headed intellectuals are just fine with the idea of czars, or their czars anyway.

(Should the title require explanation…)

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Cancel the coronation

Vanity Fair posed some questions to Ann Coulter, whom they describe as the “High Priestess of Trumpism,” and this one stood out:

Is there anything that you respect or admire about [Hillary] Clinton?

To be honest with you, no. I really hate this idea that women can feel like now they can … little girls can grow up to president. No, her entire career is based on the fact that she was married to a president. She has gotten ahead 100 percent on who her husband is. She’s not Claire McCaskill, she is not Dianne Feinstein, she is not Jeanne Shaheen — who, by the way, I am citing all liberal Democrats, but they are actually impressive women. They did it on their own. I defy any Vanity Fair reader to even know what their husbands do for a living.

I’m not so crazy about McCaskill, but I concede, I have no idea how her husband spends his day.

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Fobbed off

Kimberly Fobbs, you might infer from her yard signs, is running for Senate District 33:

Kimberly Fobbes yard sign, photo by Jameson Faught

“Republicans” being the third-largest word on the sign, you might think Fobbs is a member of the GOP. She isn’t; she’s the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Nathan Dahm.

Jamison Faught explains why this is happening:

In the 6th most Republican district (59.29% Republican to 27.82% Democrat), it’s not surprised that Democrats would try this.

In an era where a Democrat can actually win the Republican presidential nomination, I’m surprised we’ve seen so little of this sort of thing.

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No lesser evils here

You may not need this little cheat sheet, but just in case:

And thank you, Crawling Chaos.

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Your 2016 State Questions

I can stand two of them, maybe. The other five, I want nothing to do with.

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Pop, pop, pop music

New York, London, Paris, Munich … Pyongyang?

South Korea is set to blare pop music across its border with North Korea as part of its latest attempt to breed discontent in Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom.

The bizarre tactic has been proposed in response to yet another nuclear test by the aggressive maverick state, which has put the world on red alert.

Korea pop music, nicknamed K-Pop, will be played from huge speakers positioned near the border, with officials claiming the catchy tunes will be audible from a distance of 20 miles.

South Korean and international news reports will also be broadcast across the border.

Billboard abandoned its K-pop Hot 100 in 2014. This was the last Number One:

How would the DPRK deal with that?

(Via Fark.)

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Connecting Rodham

Let us, for the moment, entertain the idea that there is no Hillary Clinton:

I mean, we all know about Bill’s sexual proclivities. Why would he marry that? It’s much more likely that “Bill’s wife Hillary” has been played by a succession of B-list actresses. Actors, after all, must master the art of lying for money. Not to mention all the accents “Hillary” has tried to fake …

Of course, those actresses had to be carefully selected. Each one had to be a near-perfect fit to the prescribed pattern. Each one had to appear the right age under the klieg lights. Each one had to possess the ability to feign all the necessary emotions — and, of course, the erudition expected of a lawyer. And it was absolutely vital that none of these actresses become emotionally attached to “her husband.” That would have been disastrous.

It wouldn’t have taken much for the Governor of Arkansas, arguably the most inept, most corrupt government in the United States, to arrange for the required deceptions and concealments.

There is, of course, an alternative theory:

Why hasn’t anyone else deduced the implausibility of a real Hillary Rodham Clinton? Why is all the heavy lifting left to me? She’s an android, Gentle Reader. A certified golem! Body by Fisher, training by Stanislavski, scripts from whatever part of Hollywood produces B-movies and slasher flicks!

I suspect the Clinton machine, so to speak, has had difficulty obtaining replacement parts of late.

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