Monthly Archives: November 2012

Give Peace A Chance

There is a conflict going on right now with one side trying to hurt innocents and doing a bad job, and one side trying not to hurt innocents and doing a bad job. It is an ancient conflict and there’s no resolution in sight.

No, this isn’t about Israel and Palestine. It’s about the NHL versus its players. The innocents are the fans.

I’m generally in favor of the worker. It’s not that the owners are bad people, it’s just that their imperative in these situations is to make the most amount of money. So, it takes tough negotiation for them to get convinced it’s actually affordable and rational to pay what the workers want.

In the previous lockout, however, I generally favored the owners’ position because at that time there were only a handful of teams that were genuinely competitive perennially. There were some Cinderellas, and who the handful was changed between the late 70s and the early 00s, but there was never parity. In fact, most of the “Cinderellas” were teams that did appeared in the finals and then faded away the next years, like the 2003 Ducks, the 1993 Kings, or the 1996 Panthers.

In the 25 years from 1980 to 2005, only 11 different teams won the Stanley Cup. Before that, parity was even worse, with Montreal winning more than 25% of the championships, which, even during the brief time where the league was six teams is skewed.

Since that lockout, just 7 years ago, 7 different teams have won the Cup and 12 have appeared in the finals. But regular season parity has been greatly improved as well. Remember 9 win Ottawa in the early 90s?

In a league that has drastically overexpanded, the only way to keep fan interest is to give their team a realistic shot every few years. Since the lockout, perhaps only the New York Islanders haven’t even had a glimmer of a chance of making a run.

It wasn’t the players’ fault that the league expanded into Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Anaheim, Columbus and Miami (i.e. one third of the teams) without first putting another team in Greater Toronto. It wasn’t the players’ fault that the league abandoned Winnipeg, Quebec, and Minnesota (only to return to the two of the three). Some of these cities have been able to sustain fan interest; most have not.

It wasn’t the players’ fault that these decisions were made on three of the most foreseeably stupid notions: (1) that the magic European talent pool fairy would “preserve” parity, even though the league already lacked parity; (2) that the Canadian dollar would be permanently weak against the US dollar (remember that?); and (3) that shitty teams in non-traditional markets would spawn legions of season ticket holders. Of course, premised on these assumptions also was that a magical TV deal would appear, which brings…

It wasn’t the players’ fault that the league abandoned even an occasional appearance on ESPN so that it could play second string to the Steroid Derbies of cycling and provide the lead-in to fishing shows on Outdoor Life Network OLN Versus NBCSports.

The players do bear the primary responsibility for some of the ridiculous rule changes that have occurred over the last 15 years trying to bring back the Icestravaganza of the Gretzky era, that period of high parity when 3 (count ‘em!) teams (Montreal, the Islanders, and Edmonton) won the Cup in a 15 year period.

But even though most of those things weren’t the players’ fault, restoring some parity, and thus preventing the dufus leadership of the league from destroying itself was to impose a salary cap.

Some teams (like the Islanders) will still trade away an All Star team worth of talent and sign losers and glassjawed players to Magic Johnson contracts all while drafting as if they were trying to win the Special Olympics instead of the Stanley Cup, but it would provide a strong incentive to teams to not do these things and plan long term because they would never be able to simply buy their way out (or blame their failure on other teams doing so).

And, from a monetary perspective at least, it worked. Actually, on a lot of levels it worked. Parity wasn’t “restored”—it came about for the first time ever. The league also slowly, silently walked back some of its more ridiculous rule changes and the product, from the perspective of long-term, hard-core fans, improved. They even put a team back in Winnipeg.

Yet despite this success, the owners decided what they needed to do was mess with the first real improvement in success they had had since the 80s in order to get an even bigger slice of an expanding pie and change the rules they agreed to just a few years ago.

Make no mistake. This lockout will do permanent, long-lasting damage to the league. It does not exist in a vacuum. The previous lockouts are too recent and the effect is cumulative. The mistakes that were not corrected, over-expansion, and teams in unsustainable markets, are basically being doubled-down on, while the improvements being made are being neutralized. The league just can’t give up on the failed experiment in Phoenix—they wouldn’t let the Blackberry co-CEO buy the team while he still had money and move it to Ontario because they didn’t like him, even though the league sold a team to a fraudster will no money recently.

Yet the things that were done to improve fan excitement, like parity, the Winter Classic, and so on only help if games are played.

This shows not just that the owners are greedy, but that they are stupid or are being led by stupid people. This makes one wonder not just about the fate of this season, but about the league in general.

The players should begin seriously considering forming a player-owned league. There may be no saving the NHL.

 

Things That Bug Me

Left  Center  Right
  • Drone angst
  • GMO obsession
  • Opposition to nuclear power
  • Absolutist pacifism
  • Military-industrial CT
  • 9/11 CTs
  • Antisemitism
  • Tolerance of Islamic hate/Hatred of Christians hypocrisy
  • Federal Reserve CT
  • The Nation
  • Amy Goodman
  • Ralph Nader
  • Mike Malloy
  • “There’s no difference between the two parties”
  • Jimmy Carter’s Post-Presidency
  • Jane Hamsher
  • “Obama sold us out”
  • Opposition to space program
  • Protesting everything ends up turning people against you
  • The 1960s are over
  • Obsession with non-existent “purity” and “natural” things
  • Pseudointellectual atheism
  • Fear and loathing of money
  • Anti-vaccine CT
  • Deficit/Debt concern trolling
  • Social Security/Medicare concern trolling
  • Utter lack of principles
  • Tom Friedman
  • Joe Lieberman worship
  • False equivalence
  • Elitism
  • Simpson-Bowles
  • Cheering every bad idea just because it’s “bipartisan”
  • Vulnerable to Overton Window cheating
  • Pretending David Brooks is a Centrist

 

 

  • Ayn Rand/ “Libertarianism”
  • Detachment from reality
  • “Liberal media” canard
  • Racism
  • War-mongering
  • Trickle Down Economics
  • Climate Change denial/CT
  • Pro-Rape
  • Homophobia
  • Creationism
  • Patriots, except when Democratic President
  • Tax cuts as solution for everything
  • Guns in public
  • Militias
  • Birther CT
  • Voter Fraud CT
  • Sarah Palin
  • George W. Bush
  • Anti-education
  • Antisemitism
  • Anti-unionism
  • Goldbuggery
  • Federal Reserve CT
  • “Free Markets”
  • Gas Price concern trolling
  • UN/Agenda 21 CT
  • Ann Coulter
  • Michelle Malkin
  • Jennifer Rubin
  • Fox News
  • Karl Rove
  • Reagan Worship/Ignorance of Reagan’s actual record
  • Unitary executive
  • The 1950s are over
  • Fear and loathing of sex
  • 47%/moocher philosophy
  • Death Panels/Misc. Obamacare CTs
  • Pretending the “Tea Party” isn’t just the same old Neoconfederate doughy white assholes that voted for Bush
  • “Freedom” bound up in right to use 100 year old light bulb technology
  • “Keep the government out of my Medicare”
  • Alleging Iraq involvement in 9/11
  • Freerepublic.com
  • National Review
  • “States rights” except for ballot counting rules and marijuana

 

 

 

How Dumb Is The Presidential Primary?

If I were a Republican crying tears of impotent rage right now, I might wonder what I can do to never have this feeling again. The answer, of course, is to find a way where majorities in 270 EVs worth of states vote for your candidate.

The old assumption was that you can pick a nominee and running mate from two states and get those states. To the extent that happens anymore, it’s because the state tends to favor that nominee’s party, such as in the case of Illinois and Delaware, or Texas and Wyoming.

A simple way to do it might be to nominate a Latino, like Marco Rubio, and tout his ability to use that advantage to carry Florida and Colorado without trying much and possibly even making a race out of California.

But, as with most things in life, if they were different they wouldn’t be the same. Can a Latino win a GOP primary without having a series of Sistah Souljah moments that might alienate that constituency? I have a feeling that the GOP base especially, but probably more people than we want to believe are going to have a hard time accepting another minority president. Remember the “white men are doomed” articles after Obama appointed Kagan after appointing Sotomayor? That thing.

Now, if you get those folks thinking that there’s “no difference” between the parties, then the electoral map changes big time.

A smart thing to do might be to put a committee together to look at what states you want to win in the next election and make those the important states in the primary.

If I were Democrats, I would want someone who can keep Virginia blue, get North Carolina back, and make big pushes in Missouri, Indiana, and Georgia. These could nullify any big swing in Latino support for Rubio.

Will The Rage Ever Die?

So, it looks like Obama is going to be reelected tomorrow. The level of the conservative freak out isn’t difficult to gauge. The reason is that it’s the same every time something doesn’t go their way. The last time the Republicans curled up their tales in shame, after Watergate, they interrupted their revolution temporarily. And since that change reached its apex in 1984, they’ve been protecting the lead with voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, fear, uncertainty, doubt, lying, institution building, election stealing, and just about every trick in the book that money could buy.

When they were about to lose the 1988 election to a swarty unamerican looking Massachusetts “liberal,” they escalated the bitch slap politics of the Presidential race to new heights. And it paid off.

But people were tired of Republicans by then. They were ready for a moderation of direction, but they were used to losses moderate a party, not radicalizing it. The near miss in 1988 was avoided when Dukakis simply didn’t “stoop to their level.” Bill Clinton was ready for Presidential politics, but he wasn’t ready for the effect of his win: a radicalization of the Republican base. The ghost of Nixon’s persecution complex lived on in the same case of characters that plotted to shut down the government and impeach Clinton. Then they managed to steal an election, plot a fake war, strip mine the government for private property, put the middle class on life support, and nearly destroy the American economy.

Shame? Nope. Shame is for losers! Rebrand. Now we’re the tea party! A name which implies that there is some oppression to revolt against the way “true Americans” would. The latent racism in this claim is not hard to identify. The new “unamerican” President who was elected handily was illegitimate because he spent money in a recession, they said, even though deficits didn’t matter under Bush (nor did the Orwellian police state). Now, it was all about freedom. The revolutionary rhetoric centered around guns and violence, but in reality was often most stimulated by the stupidest things, like the “freedom” to pay a higher electric bill by using incandescent lights, or the “freedom” to let private insurance companies bilk you.

Instead of being seen in the light of a bad economy and a normal midterm election, the 2010 House victory (they couldn’t get the senate) was seen as a rejection of Obama and an indication that his victory was an aberration. But for a party so confident, they selected their weakest candidate, yet the one who symbolized them best. This is no coincidence. Mitt Romney, whose views are like the quantum superposition of every political position—it’s value only exists at the instant you measure it, yet whose past was of a moderate who invented the dreaded Obamacare model and who once profited from garbage trucks that carried away aborted fetuses—the rich and religious entitled prick, his trophy wife, his Stepford kids, and his Olympic horse was probably seen as the best choice because he was moderate in the past. Indeed, his polling in the election seemed to improve when he moderated his positions (of course, temporarily, until his Fraudron particles made their quantum leaps back into a coherent state).

If you’re so confident that Obama would be rejected, why run this clown? Why not run a true blue conservative like Santorum? Ahhh, there it is. They know.

Starting tomorrow night, there will be a series of violent reactions. Obama will have stolen the election. Romney was not conservative enough. Obama didn’t win by enough to have a mandate. And they will cry for revenge from the GOP House. Shut down the government! Impeach! There will be talk about getting the electors to change their minds because Obama murdered someone in Benghazi.

But they won’t wonder if they should cut all of this out. They think the other side does it too, of course. They think they are oppressed. They think they are being robbed. And they think all of these things because their plutocratic paymasters have brainwashed them with decades of bullshit.

This is a tragedy.

America is hobbled by some of its archaic institutions—like the electoral college and the senate. Even worse is that we are limited to two parties or a protest vote. But Republican detachment from reality, combined with their violent will to power to make reality conform to their alternate universe, makes them completely untenable as an alternative. This is bad for America. And it’s dangerous, because if people begin to realize this, it’s not unlikely that the Democrats will get lazy and be replaced by default by lunatics.

We need two parties with most of their voters in reality. Bill Clinton declared an end to the era of big government, but tomorrow’s vote will declare and end to the era of no government. That debate will be over (again). Global warming is the issue of the century and the Republicans don’t even “believe in it.”

I would never prefer a Romney win, but that doesn’t mean I look forward to the sore loserdom coming.

1980, 2004 and 2012

In the summer Team Mittens posited that this would be a 1980-like election. Jimmy Carter was actually ahead for most of that campaign until the first debate. Somehow, by repeating, “there you go again” Ronald Reagan passed a fundamental plausibility test as President and thereby gave people the “okay” to dump Carter, which they were inclined to do anyway.

The Romneyians were somewhat correct. Mittens underperformed relative to Obama’s negatives up until the Debacle in Denver. Obama’s ambien-oriented performance garnered Romney the plausibility cred far more than Romney’s usually pile of verbal dung. Obama won the two debates he actually participated in.

But the damage was done. Just like in 1980, Mittens picked up anti-incumbent voters that weren’t sure about the challenger. The difference was that Carter was never really that popular — he barely defeated Gerald Ford even with Ford’s pardon of Nixon wrung around Ford’s neck. Also, “things” were largely getting worse at that point, whereas “things” are getting better too slowly now.

The challenger’s debate bounce, however, is just one more case where 2012 is turning out like 2004. Just as then a vulnerable incumbent largely outmaneuvered a flawed challenger, until the debate. Kerry cornered Bush over his obfuscations and misinformations aobut Iraq, whereas Obama was caught napping, but whatever. Team Bush won most of the news cycles after the debates and got an empty net goal when bin Laden cut an tape on election eve that created a worthy fugue with Bush’s fearmongering.

Similarly, this year Obama had won enough news cycles to reverse the momentum. Super Storm Sandy gave him the opportunity to lead. Mittens was pushed off the page, performed an absurd plastic “storm relief” event, and has resorted to lower tactics ever since. Sandy was beneficial to Obama both for the accolades from Christy, but also because it was a real event and made the churlishness of the right-wing dialogue against Obama appear silly.

Sandy has appeared to accelerate the slow drift towards the president nationally and in the swing states. Obama has the momentum heading into election day.

So, the election comes down to these three questions.

1.) Are the polls, in aggregate and general, using an incorrect likely voter screen that is too favorable for Obama?

This seems unlikely to me. Obama does worse after each LV screen, so they are already weeding out some of his support. It seems unlikely that they would not be restrictive enough, particularly in light of Team Obama’s ground game and their ability to get in early votes.

2.) Who are the Republican early voters?

Presumably, expanded ability to perform the franchise helps Democrats because more Democrats are of groups that are less likely to turn out. That is why Conservatron Secretaries of State have been trying to limit early voting. Team Mittens is doing better than Bush Patsy McCain did in getting early votes in (albeit basically by by default). Republicans are generally more likely to vote, but there must be some flaky Republicans. So is Team Romney increasing its margins or simply shifting people that would’ve voted on election day to an earlier day? Too early to tell, but numerically Team Obama is doing about as good or better than they did with early voting two years ago.

3.) Will voter suppression help the Conservatrons steal the election (again)?

Vote suppression is what is most sickening about the Republican Party. But I digress. Team Obama has tried to shift more early voting to absentee voting in Florida and has redoubled its ground game in Ohio. Still, there is no doubt that Team Obama would prefer, and would benefit, from the more reasonable early voting allowances of 2008. Will the votes shaved off of Obama’s margin under the 2012 rules allow the Conservatrons to “win”?

Overall, I don’t think so. Polling aggregates and models are modes of the day and are better than my own gut. In fact, they have influenced my gut. But here is how I’m calling it based just on my grey matter anyway:

Popular Vote: Obama 50.5%, Romney 49.1%

EVs, Obama 332, Romney 206

Of the swing states Obama wins: NH, PA, VA, FLA, OH, WI, IA, CO, NV. Romney wins NC.

Obama has been leading in most FLA polls towards the close, but the presumption is that FLA is a relatively red states so that Romney will win. My guess, is that seeing Obama handle Hurricane Sandy may have meant a bit more in FLA and NC, as those states are frequently hurricaned. It will be close in FLA and the voter suppression efforts of the governor may flip it for Romney, but I’m going to test the aggregate of the more recent polling.

NC is another interesting state. Most have Romeny favored there, but Obama has likely built up a decent lead with early voting. It is not as large as last time, because Romeny is actally trying unlike McCain, but numerically more people (and likely) Democrats have voted early than four years ago. Obama is getting his people to the polls, are there enough Republicans on election day to make up the difference. Obama has a similar advantage in Iowa, and Nevada may already almost be in the bag.

A final thought on the map, is that Romney has to win NC, VA, and FLA to begin to have any chance. That’s tough row to hoe when you are leading in one, about tied in the other, and behind in the third. If Romney wins that trifecta and then loses NH, then he has no non-Ohio path to 270. NH is relatively small, so if it’s called early that will be interesting for the rest of the night. If Romney hits the trifecta and wins Ohio then he only needs one more state to win, and then Colorado get interesting and scary. Still, that’s a tough bank shot — Obama only has to win one of those five states to get to 270.