Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Election Prediction

Okay, we're six days out and here is how I think it'll shake out:

Millions of people who voted for Obama in 2008, did it so they could seize the opportunity to vote for the first black president.  Some did it to prove to themselves (and others) that they weren't racist.  Some were just caught up in the positive movement of the 2008 campaign, while others were voting against former President Bush and the Iraq War.

The political landscape is completely different today.  While candidate Obama made people feel good about themselves, President Obama is deeply polarizing… and a little disappointing.  Most of the polls this season have assumed a voter turnout similar to 2008, when Democrat enthusiasm was at its peak (yet still show a Romney lead).  But the strong Republican showing in the 2010 mid-terms might be a better indication of how things stand today (giving Romney an incredible advantage).

I think millions of people who voted for Obama in 2008 will not vote for him this year.  The novelty is gone.  Some will sit out, some will vote Republican, and some will vote for a third party.

I also think a lot of folks will claim they voted for Obama again, even though they didn't.  They feel pressured to be labeled an Obama-voter but they don't have any enthusiasm to actually vote.  This will cause problems because exit polls and opinion polls may show an Obama victory that won't actually be happening.  This is where the lawyers will pounce.

Voter turnout for Republicans will be higher than four years ago (but similar to 2010) while Democrat turnout will be much lower than 2008.  Independents will go to Romney by a 20-point margin.  Polling of early voters already shows this.


Romney will win the popular vote by more than 5 points.

Romney surprisingly wins the electoral vote by taking several of the swing states, including Ohio.
Of supposedly Democrat-leaning states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, Romney takes at least three, maybe four or more.

Because of the surprise victories in the swing states, Obama unleashes a well-organized legal assault calling for recounts in the close races.  At least one state's results get reversed from Romney to Obama a day or two after the election but the lawyers lose steam.

Romney is finally declared the winner but Democrats decry his victory as stolen and illegitimate.  More specifically, his "questionable" victory takes away any mandate to reverse Obamacare and any attempt to do so will be met by cries of a stolen election and, surprise, more partisanship.

Chris Matthews and other liberals will be flabbergasted.  They don't know a single person in their life that voted for Romney and can't imagine how this happened.

  • The Republicans keep the House, solidly.
  • The Republicans take the Senate, 52-48. 
  • Obamacare is undone.
  • The Bush Tax cuts are made permanent.
  • Three Supreme Court justices get replaced by conservatives that will eventually act like liberals.
  • Absolutely nothing changes with abortion laws in this country.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Disney Princess, Princess Leia

Seriously now…

The breaking news this afternoon (other than election and hurricane news) is that Disney is buying Lucasfilm, George Lucas' company that owns Star Wars, for about $4 billion.  Lucasfilm includes Lucas Arts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, i.e. movie-making, video game-making, special effects-making groups that help make several films every year including many of the biggest, special effects-laden blockbusters you see each summer.

The Lucas companies are very large and busy, so in the short term they'll stay where they are, doing what they have been doing.  But the executives have already started planning new Lucasfilm projects under Disney's umbrella, including…

…wait for it…

A seventh Star Wars film, already scheduled for release in 2015.  Seriously.

At first such news is met with gasps and probably groans.  The last three films didn't impress most folks who loved the first three.  But part of this merger is that George Lucas won't be controlling the films anymore; he'll be handing off the franchise to a new generation of filmmakers.  Perhaps less of Lucas' influence would be good.  I'd love to see the guys who write stories for Pixar handling the Star Wars plots and dialogue. 

My boys love "the Clone Wars" cartoon on The Cartoon Network, a show that I think is better than the last three movies.  This cartoon, to me, seems to prove that the Star Wars universe is not exhausted.  In fact, Disney might be just the right thing to breathe new life into franchise.

Random Thoughts 10/30/12

  • I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the 30-for-30 documentary, "No Place Like Home," about the pursuit to buy the original rules to the game of basketball and bring them back to Kansas University.  As a Jayhawk fan, this story of crazy obsession is amusing and endearing.
  • The first exhibition KU basketball game is tonight.
  • One more week of political campaigning.  Then Romney wins.  Then Obama's lawyers sue.  Then life goes on.
  • It looks like publishers Penguin and Random House are going to merge, making the new company the biggest book publisher in the world.
  • Happy birthday to my favorite mother-in-law!
  • My fantasy football team is now a mediocre 4-4, though my team is scoring well.  The problem is that I have a knack for finding perhaps the only team that week that is scoring more points than I am that week.  I'm really good at that.  Grrr…
  • I wish the Chiefs would just go ahead and trade away Dwayne Bowe… it just feels like there's no good that will come of the relationship.  If they can't get a third-round pick, they should take whatever they can get before they end up getting nothing.
  • Yesterday was a field trip day for our family.  I absolutely love taking our five kids out.  They seem so well-behaved and they love each other so much.  It all does the heart good.
  • Good news: "The Office" will not spawn a Dwight Schrute-focused spin-off.  NBC declined to take a series based on the Schrute family farm and B&B.  To me, it sounded like an absolutely awful idea and now it, fortunately, won't see the light of day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Republic, Not a Democracy

This was written by Ron Paul a few weeks ago and makes a great point.  If you think Ron Paul is a nut (which I sometimes do), please try to put that out of your mind and focus on the very sound argument that he makes.

Last week marked the conclusion of the grand taxpayer funded spectacles known as the national party conventions.  It is perhaps very telling that while $18 million in tax dollars was granted to each party for these lavish ordeals, an additional $50 million each was needed for security in anticipation of the inevitable protests at each event.  This amounts to a total of $136 million in taxpayer funds for strictly partisan activities - a drop in the bucket relative to our disastrous fiscal situation, but disgraceful nonetheless.  Parties should fund their own parties, not the taxpayer.

At these conventions, leaders determined, or pretended to determine, who they wished to govern the nation for the next four years amidst inevitable, endless exaltations of democracy.  Yet we are not a democracy.  In fact, the founding fathers found the concept of democracy very dangerous.

Democracy is majority rule at the expense of the minority.  Our system has certain democratic elements, but the founders never mentioned democracy in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, our most important protections are decidedly undemocratic.  For example, the First Amendment protects free speech.  It doesn't - or shouldn't - matter if that speech is abhorrent to 51% or even 99% of the people.  Speech is not subject to majority approval.  Under our republican form of government, the individual, the smallest of minorities, is protected from the mob.

Sadly, the constitution and its protections are respected less and less as we have quietly allowed our constitutional republic to devolve into a militarist, corporatist social democracy.  Laws are broken, quietly changed and ignored when inconvenient to those in power, while others in positions to check and balance do nothing.  The protections the founders put in place are more and more just an illusion.

This is why increasing importance is placed on the beliefs and views of the president.  The very narrow limitations on government power are clearly laid out in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.  Nowhere is there any reference to being able to force Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax/penalty, for example.  Yet this power has been claimed by the executive and astonishingly affirmed by Congress and the Supreme Court.  Because we are a constitutional republic, the mere popularity of a policy should not matter.  If it is in clear violation of the limits of government and the people still want it, a Constitutional amendment is the only appropriate way to proceed.  However, rather than going through this arduous process, the Constitution was in effect, ignored and the insurance mandate was allowed anyway.

This demonstrates how there is now a great deal of unhindered flexibility in the Oval Office to impose personal views and preferences on the country, so long as 51% of the people can be convinced to vote a certain way.  The other 49% on the other hand have much to be angry about and protest under this system.

We should not tolerate the fact that we have become a nation ruled by men, their whims and the mood of the day, and not laws.  It cannot be emphasized enough that we are a republic, not a democracy and, as such, we should insist that the framework of the Constitution be respected and boundaries set by law are not crossed by our leaders.  These legal limitations on government assure that other men do not impose their will over the individual, rather, the individual is able to govern himself.   When government is restrained, liberty thrives.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Random Thoughts 10/20/12

  • Cinnamon says it allUnbelievable.  I love the reporters restraint until she walks away.  [thanks for the link, Dustin]
  • Here's an interesting map showing how conservative or liberal the books bought from Amazon are, state by state.
  • Missouri might finally win an SEC game next week.  That's good for them.  Meanwhile, on this side of the state line, Jayhawk fans moved on to basketball season a week ago.
  • Read this incredible story about recently-deceased British soldier who was carrying about two handfuls of shrapnel in his body since 1944.
  • Why isn't the Ft. Hood massacre also a terrorist attack?  It only took a month to get around to calling Benghazi a terrorist attack.  I know that
  • So, the boxelder bugs have invaded, I notice, as I flick one off my desk.
  • Collin Klein for Heisman.
  • I'm feeling better and better about Romney's chances in a few weeks.  The question is whether the victory will be lawyer proof.  And will the Senate still be Democrat controlled?
  • If you're still undecided… doesn't that mean you're hesitating to vote for the incumbent?  If two new candidates were running, being undecided late into the race makes some sense.  But when you've had over 4 years to get to know a guy and now you find yourself unsure… it means you're either going to hold your nose and vote for him, not vote at all, or vote for the other guy.  Any way you cut it, the undecideds are not likely to swing toward the President in large numbers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Random Thoughts 10/18/12

  • Romney opens up a 7 point lead among likely voters.  Very nice.
  • It looks like Kansas City will have a new airport terminal in the next five years (two more years planning, two plus years construction).  Kansas City's airport, KCI, was conceived and built just before a major shift in airport design brought about by increased security concerns in the 70's and later.  If you've been to KCI, you'll notice the street is just few yards from the gates, which would be great except that it's a security nightmare.  Modern airports are built to separate the planes and the unsecured world outside as much as possible.  The new terminal, designed with these concerns in mind, will be built on the site of the current Terminal A.
  • Do Kansas City residents actually want a new airport?  That's another question.
  • According to Kansans for Life, I should vote for Romney/Ryan, Kevin Yoder for congress, Steve Fitzgerald for state senate, and Shawn Shipp for state representative.  Sounds like a plan.  Missouri's list (from the August primary) is here.
  • I watched the second presidential debate on tape delay, late Tuesday night.  I almost lost it when President Obama didn't answer the Libya question directly and then took a stand as if he had always been calling it an act of terrorism.  (…)  ARGHHHH!!!!  A few of us actually read the news everyday and watch your press conferences and know when you're telling a bald-faced lie!  ARGHHH!!!!  I think Romney was so stupefied by the President's brazen tack that it three him off his game a bit, no thanks to the mistaken moderator. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Thoughts 10/16/12

  • The Jayhawks have landed a top 6-5 combo guard for the 2013 class of freshmen (that's the fourth commitment, for those of you scoring at home).  Wayne Selden came to Late Night in the Phog, spent the weekend quietly calling and canceling visits at other schools and then humbly made an announcement (no press conference) that he has selected KU.  Selden is a beast of a physical specimen and could easily be a top player at KU and early NBA prospect.
  • 2016: Obama's America is getting released on DVD… today.  It's also available to purchase online.  This was the fourth most successful documentary ever and extension of the book by Dinesh D'Souza, The Roots of Obama's Rage.  It's a fascinating examination of who and what has influenced President Obama and why his view of America is a lot different than most Americans.
  • Speaking of documentaries, ESPN will be airing another "30 for 30" documentary tonight, this time about Kansas basketball and the pursuit of Dr. James Naismith's original rules for the game.  It's titled, "There's No Place Like Home," referencing the effort to bring the document to the place Naismith spent the last 40 years of his life.
  • I've gone 3-3 so far this year with my fantasy football team.  I'm actually scoring the more points than any other team in my group (#2 out of 30), but match-ups being what they are, I've had three narrow losses already.  Oh, well.
  • Kansas is getting fancy new high-tech driver's licenses.
  • Why is everyone so convinced that President Obama will do well in the debate tonight?  I think the president will likely struggle considering his record and Romney's momentum.  It was front page news today that Romney is leading in most of the swing states and nationwide among likely voters.
  • Today's Gallup poll shows President Obama is down 14 points among men and compared to 2008, has less support across all groups in all regions.
  • Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Our Problem in Simple Terms

    Here's the problem: the numbers are so large they don't mean anything.  People don't understand the trouble that our country is in.

    First, take the actual numbers.  Be forewarned, there are lots of zeroes.

    U.S. TAX REVENUE: $2,170,000,000,000
    FED BUDGET: $3,820,000,000,000
    NEW DEBT: $1,650,000,000,000
    NATIONAL DEBT: $14,271,000,000,000
    RECENT BUDGET CUTS: $38,500,000,000

    Then, by erasing eight zeroes from each number, change this into a picture of a family budget.  Now the problem jumps off the page at you.


    This family is in serious trouble!

    Almost every voter in America could look at these smaller numbers and come up with the same solution that Paul Ryan has suggested for our country.  But because the national numbers are in billions and trillions, they don't really mean anything to most folks, and we continue to drive over a financial cliff.

    [Thanks to Glenn Beck for the illustration]

    Tuesday, October 09, 2012

    Random Thoughts 10/9/12

    • I know that the 2012-13 KU basketball season hasn't even started yet, but news for next is already trickling in.  The fall of 2013 class is already taking shape with another player committing to be a Jayhawk, namely Frank Mason, a 5-11 Sheron Collins-style point guard.   Extraordinary shooter Conner Francamp (from Wichita) and small forward Brannen Greene will also be joining the team a year from now.
    • I totally understand Eric Winston's outrage at some Chiefs fans cheering the concussion of Matt Cassel.  That said, I'm not surprised at the push-back either.  First of all, there's dispute about how many fans were actually cheering the injury and the rest are offended at the accusation.  Second, long-time KC fans have suffered through bad football and dashed hopes and dreams.  For some fans, there is a lifetime of bitterness involved in watching the current team struggle.  Was cheering for an injury classy?  No. 
    • My birthday was last Thursday, a day on which I had multiple meetings and spent quite a bit of time in my office studying and writing.  Most of our celebrating was done in the days before or after my actual birthday.  But the birthday day itself still felt special for one reason:  Facebook.  There's just nothing quite like getting dozens and dozens of birthday wishes from sunup to sundown.  It's a great shot in the arm!
    • No success finding iPhone 5's.  My local AT&T claims they haven't received a single phone since the day it was released.
    • I've listened daily to talk radio for over 20 years.  But KMBZ's "Dana & Parks" is the one of the worst shows out there, and easily the worst to disgrace 980's airwaves.  Specifically, I can't stand Dana Wright in this kind of format.  Almost every opinion she gives is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, championing government regulation and mocking traditional values.  Her on-air persona is the worst example of a shrill, close-minded, talk-first-think-later liberal I've ever heard on local radio.  And her radio partner, Scott Parks, is not up to the task of counteracting her liberal rants.  He is mostly moderately conservative but he doesn't seem to have the chops to explain conservatism or why he thinks the way he does.  The pair have completely lost me; 980AM only plays after 2pm in my office by accident.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2012

    What Preachers Ought to Say on Politics


    Random Thoughts 10/03/12

    • What does it cost to charge your smartphone?  Less than 50¢… per year!  Specifically, recharging an iPhone 4 costs about 38¢ and a new iPhone 5 costs about 41¢ annually to charge.  I'm not sure why that sounds crazy cheap but it does.  Considering that running a computer or television or Xbox can run you upwards of $50 or more a year, these handheld devices are very energy efficient for what they do.
    • Our church family is struggling through financially hard times, just like everybody else.  A lot of ministers are sweating bullets now, wondering what the future holds, and that insecurity makes them less effective in the ministry they do.  But the folks at Wyandotte have gone out of their way to encourage their ministers.  I know I feel I've been supported and loved and encouraged in every possible way and it makes all the difference.  So thank you, thank you, thank you to my church family!
    • From Lifehacker: things to buy in October.
    • Don't use olive oil on your leather furniture.
    • That NFL stadium in Los Angeles is happening and one of the 32 current teams moving there as soon as 2013 is a real possibility.  Commissioner Goodell sent out a memo to every NFL team telling them that they had to declare their intentions to move to L.A. in the fall of 2013 by February 15, 2013.  Teams like the Jaguars, Bills, Vikings, Cardinals, Raiders, and others have all been rumored at one point or another.
    • Birthday coupons to eat at bd's Mongolian BBQ =  winning.
    • So… the iPhone 5… it turns out it can be kind of hard to get to get your hands on them.  Hmmm…  Challenge accepted!  Fortunately, I'm not in a hurry.