Monday, January 28, 2008
I wish people would be a little more open minded about the whole thing. I don't think we can continue to grow through building highways. This is a good start, lets hope it works well for everyone's sake...
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
If this Ahwatukee woman wants more little league fields then she needs to figure out how to make little league profitable. Look at professional baseball, they would never ask tax payers to pay for a stadium.
Ok, seriously. These ballot elections are important and no one votes in them except me. The thoughts above are from the brain of an anti-tax zealot (or at least what I imagine an anti-tax zealot might think) right before they vote to kill this park funding. They see tax on the ballot and they reflexively vote against it. The election will be on May 20th. Please mark it on your calendar and vote. Do not let this slip by and be defeated. After all, parks are nice and improve our quality of life.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I can tell you how I made my decision to vote for Obama. I asked myself the following questions:
1. Who would I be most proud to have representing myself and my party?
2. Which candidate would be willing to take hard positions and do the right thing even when it is unpopular?
3. Which candidate can best heal the rift that exists in our country and calm the all out political war?
4. Which candidate can best withstand the coming Republican onslaught?
5. Who will build the best organization?
6. Which candidate will pursue a 50-state strategy and expand the presidential playing field?
7. X-factors: likability, etc
Here are my answers:
1. This was easy Barack Obama is easy to be inspired by. He represents a generational shift away from the baby-boomer culture war. He gives us chance to make a fresh start (thanks George Bush for destroying your party this cycle). WINNER: Obama
2. I worry about all of the candidates on this one. Obama has been very careful in the Senate. I have been disappointed that they all voted to fund Iraq. Edwards has disappointing votes, most of which he has apologized for. Hillary is pretty much the same. WINNER: Three way tie
3. This one is easy, Obama. I think Edwards has the potential to improve things, but Hillary will certainly unite the Republicans and make things worse. WINNER: Obama
4. This is a tough one. Edwards made some early blunders that gave me pause. I also saw him in person being grilled by Arizona press and found it uninspiring. Obama is being tested by the Clintons in a major way and so far I think he is holding up well. Hillary has a good operation and can mix it up with the Republicans. Winner: Hillary
5. This is a tough one. I think Hillary and Obama would both build good organizations, but I give this one to Obama. I think he will plug into the DNC organization more readily and Clinton will build her own. Obama has a proven ability to bring in small donors and I think this important. Winner: Obama
6. I don’t think that Hillary will work to expand the presidential field because she won’t be able to. Obama has the greatest potential in this area, especially in Southern states with large African-American populations. Edwards also has potential here, but it worries me that he did not win North Carolina in 2004. Winner: Obama.
7. The truth is I just like Obama better as a person. I like Edwards and would be happy with him(Voted for him in the 2004 primary). I don’t really like Hillary. Her voice annoys me and she yells a lot during debates (I know that is not a good reason, but it is what it is). At this point, I don't think Edwards can win the nomination. Winner: Obama
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I get it guys, you don't like taxes. I don't like taxes either. I also do not like going to the dentist or painting my house when the paint is peeling or fixing my roof when it is leaking. I would like all of those things to magically fix themselves for free.
Government has to do things. It needs to provide law enforcement, roads, parks, sewage, water, schools, courts etc. All of these things cost money. The government needs sufficient and stable funding to operate. I for one do not trust right-wing ideologues to determine whether a sales tax will provide enough funding to do what needs to be done.
The unintended consequences of these sorts of policies can be pretty harsh. I am being self-interested here (I pay property taxes, income taxes, car taxes, sales taxes etc). Anyone who has lived in a state without an income tax have seen how the state insures its funding. In California they passed Prop 13 for property taxes, now they have a very uneven system of property taxation. If you are a new home owner, you get stuck with much higher property taxes (and all manner of fees) to make up for the others with low taxes. It is similar to rent control. You also pay higher prices for car tags and almost everything else. In Florida, property taxes are sky-high because they don't have Prop 13 or income taxes. In fact, there are fees everywhere when you deal with the government.
What I almost never see is an analysis of the consequences of something like prop 13. What is the affect on the housing market when a new house pays double the taxes as the house next door? Does it affect the fungibility of property? Does it keep newer home owners out of the market? Does it drive higher foreclosure rates? Will a sales tax only system provide sufficient revenue? Will people seek loopholes out of self-interest with property and sales taxes?
The first problem that I think of with a sales tax only system besides its regressive nature for food and other necessities, are online sales. If you increase sales taxes you will incentivize buying online to avoid taxes. For instance when I bought my wife's engagement ring, I purchased it online. Not only were the prices lower and the quality better, but I got a 6% discount because of no sales tax being charged. If you significantly raise sales tax the incentive to buy online goes up significantly.
My only point here is that when it comes to taxes, I wish that the right could have an adult conversation about providing necessary services and the unintended consequences of changes. You anti-tax folks must realize that just because something sounds good does not mean that it is good.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I grow weary at the thought of 4 or 8 years of impending "bimbo eruptions" and the subsequent lost opportunities that will accompany them. I would rather spend my time defending policies than a dirty old man's lack of impulse control. I find myself less able by the day to bear the thought of voting for Hillary Clinton. If McCain is the nominee, I doubt I would bother voting for president (I am not voting for McCain, lets not get crazy here). If Arizona was a true swing state, I would probably hold my nose, try to keep down my lunch and vote for her.
As you can tell, I am not happy with the Clintons these days. Here is why I think their behavior could ultimately be good. If Obama is the nominee, he will prepared for the Republicans. The Clinton tactics and Rovian tactics have converged.
For all of the fighting between the candidates and their surrogates, the simple fact is that the Clinton Campaign is running a better race on a mechanical level. They are finding their supporters and turning them out. If the Obama Campaign, cannot match this intensity, he does not deserve to win.
Friday, January 18, 2008
We have to either recall or defeat this douche bag!
I have talked about this before but endorsements don't mean much if they do not come with resources. If Culinary and SEIU come with a lot of resources, it could really help Obama. Given the transitory nature of Nevada, I think they could have more influence than normal.
I expect Obama to perform well, but there is also a lot of Edwards support among the unions. The real question will be the overall turnout. If turnout is low, I think Clinton is toast. I think Clinton does well if turnout is moderate. I think high turnout helps Obama. There is also the X factor of the lawsuit. It may anger and harden the support of the Culinary membership. Then again, who knows.
I ran across this poll which shows Clinton with a sizable lead. I don't think it is outside of the realm of possibility that she could have a 9-point lead. Mason-Dixon is the polling outfit and they are some of the best pollsters in the country. Not only that, but the demographics seem to make sense. Hillary has a large lead among older women and Hispanics. The real question is how the hispanic vote is affected by the union endorsements. I suspect turnout will be low enough that strong union turnout could shift that demographic. This is especially true given the high Hispanic density in the unions. There is also a big problem in determining likely caucus goers.
I am truly conflicted and trying to be consistent in my beliefs. On one hand, I love poker. I have friends over to play poker for money (gambling, gasp...). On the other hand, I am a believer in the rule of law. If the law is wrong it should be challenged in court or changed. We cannot pick and choose the laws that we want to recognize.
Here is the problem that I see, what do we do as a civil society when large groups of people ignore a law? Laws on gambling are largely ignored. The size of the operation is the only real factor here. I am tempted to say that gambling causes no harm, but I suspect with a small group of people is does cause harm. Gambling is not victimless, but it is pretty close. So, how is gambling different than something like speeding?
I guess the difference that I see is that almost no one is prosecuted for gambling in their home (poker, betting on sports etc.) While many people are prosecuted for speeding. I actually think that most people follow the speed limit (give or take a few mph). I also think that the government has a pretty compelling interest in regulating the speed limit because of traffic deaths (I don't want me or my family to be killed by some jackass driving too fast for his ability.)But maybe I am just trying to justify my own activity (my objectivity is thin here).
Here is what I would recommend: Why not make poker like home brewed beer? In most states, you can brew a certain amount of beer in your home legally. BTW, this was considered boot-legging before the laws were changed. The laws are simple enough. You can brew a certain volume of beer every year, but you cannot sell it. How about allowing small not for profit poker and card rooms that can only make so much money per year or limit the stakes? You can limit their size and just let them be...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I actually find it heartening that there are two guys who worry about the specifics of the economy and seem relatively non-political. This is why having great education intuitions is so important and why we should give more respect to intellectualism. It also more than a little ironic that these guys could cause the funding of their respective universities to be cut. To me this illustrates the importance of tenure (an economist would see an incentive to fudge the forecasts).
The politicians can fight their political fights (and they will), but without Marshall Vest and Dennis Hoffman, to provide the information, they would not even be able to discuss the future. Thanks guys!
I find it amazing that a public official who is supposed to enforce the laws can be this dense. I understand he wants to be reelected, but does he really think these billboards and pamphlets will help? He probably could have cruised to victory if would stop being such a nut. When did the Republican Party become the party of absconding with tax-payers funds for campaigning and secrecy? I thought you guys learned your lesson after Nixon.
Frankly, I find the authoritarian impulse of the modern Republican Party a little scary.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Robb accuses our fine Governor of missing the point on education and of being an incrementalist(it is a big word for him. I bet used his thesaurus). He takes her to task for not fixing the various indicators that remain unchanged since she took office. The problem is that he forgot that all of the legislation passed in Arizona is passed the Legislature (I know it is hard to believe. I used to think the Governor could just make up legislation too, but surprisingly, no. ). Mr. Rob it makes me very happy to let you know that your own party controls the Legislature.
Mr. Robb now that you know the Legislature is controlled by your party you should open that Rolodex of yours and start calling all of your buddies at the capital. I bet you could use your influence to pass all of the educational reforms you want. Come on, help the Governor fix all of those indicators.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
This is exactly what our state needs, she gets it. Kudos to Janet...
Republican Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll forced three Democratic colleagues last week to do what their party and its lawyer couldn’t accomplish in a year of arguing and court challenges.
Thanks to Carroll, we’ll either learn those elections were counted honestly, even if procedures were sloppy ... or that one or more rogue employees of the county’s Elections Division actually changed some vote results.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Then there is this... (and this)
Here are my favorite snippets about her most recent attack dog:
Johnson served on President George Bush's commission on privatizing social security. In January 2005, he convened a summit whose stated purpose was to raise and answer questions about the African American community's political affiliations, but whose true design, critics claim, was to peal black voters away from the Democratic Party.He has repeatedly called for the repeal of the estate tax, saying that the policy is propagated by "a liberal, noblesse oblige attitude that they have probably had in their families for generations."
I think that speaks for itself...
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I have eliminated undecided to push leaners and sorry no Kucinich.
On one hand they want to cut education and health care spending for the poor during an economic slow down. As the governor rightly points out, people need more educational opportunities and health care spending during a down turn.
This goes back to my seemingly Sisyphean argument that education should be as constitutionally mandated as nearly free as possible. When education is cheap people can retool easier during an economic downturn. This makes for a more flexible and vibrant economy. I can imagine a person who works in construction (and is finding less work) wanting to go to school to become a computer programmer, a project manager or even get a construction management degree. It should be as painless as possible to do this because in the end it benefits everyone. People taking advantage of educational opportunities will consume less public resources over the long-term because of increased income. They will pay more in taxes to offset the increased educational spending and their increased buying power will stimulate the local economy. Not only that, but a highly educated work force draws new industry to Arizona.
The other article addresses the Republican insistence that we make a tax cut permanent when we are running a deficit. I know it is wishful thinking given recent batch of Conservatives, but they used to value fiscal responsibility as one the primary pillars their philosophy. What happened? First, the tax will not be reinstated until 2010, so what is the rush? When we are running a huge deficit that is likely to run into 2009 (and get bigger), why would you even be concerned with this now? How about this, lets deal with this next session before the tax is reinstated? Lets wait and see how things look next year...
I have to say that the Republicans almost seem determined to relegate themselves to minority status.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
My theory is based on this from Wactivist. Matt Rodriguez ran Jim Pederson campaign for US Senate from Arizona for a while. His time working for Pederson was an unmitigated disaster. While he was at the helm, it was one of the best funded and worst run operations I have ever seen. He was also running New Hampshire for Obama.
The other piece of the theory comes from Andrew Sullivan. The exit polling suggests that Clinton had things wrapped up for a while. Some of the events leading up to the election might have added a few people and/or it may have hardened the resolve of her people.
To me this adds up to a badly run operation against a well run operation with solid support. I can tell you from first hand experience that a well run field operation in a low turnout election (this was high turnout for a primary, but low-turnout overall) can turn results on their head. I have run field programs where polls showed my candidate losing by 15 points only to win by double digits.
The final piece is speculation on my part, but I also think that many Independents decided to vote for McCain over Obama because they though he had it wrapped up. You don't have to have big numbers for it to make a huge difference. A bad operation can cost you a percentage point or two, late breaking events cost a point or two and you lose a couple percentage points among Independents because their sense of urgency wanes, that could easily explain the loss. The converse of this along with second choice voting could easily explain the surprise win in Iowa.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I worry about this with Obama as well...
I am still 100% behind Obama and I think he is by far the best candidate. On to South Carolina...
They sure want to anoint Saint McCain the nominee...
If Clinton wins this, this race blows wide open...
Time will tell...
I am crappy prognosticator when my heart is in it...
As it's explained much better here, at least one polling company-American Research Group, or ARG- did not poll cell phones because, apparently, young people don't vote. Well, as Tony Cani said over on wactivist, young voters in Iowa turned out so much that they represented a higher proportion of votes than they represent amongst the electorate.
Not only that, but the head of that polling org actually turns out to be kind of a dick, and now it looks like the editors on Wikipedia have removed most references to American Research Group in articles dealing with political polls.
The article I linked to above will give you a much better idea of the whole thing.
Here is the question I pose: Why is it wrong for a political party to have a partisan primary to choose that party's representative? There is an easier and better solution to this problem. Allow voters to switch their party registration. Oh, wait they can already do that... Ok, how about letting voters register and change their party registration of Election Day? I know what you are thinking, but that would just solve the problem, allow for greater participation and not allow for the Republicans in the legislature to make a bone-headed decision. But wait wouldn't that open up our elections to fraud because all of those "illegals" waiting to vote in every election (at least according to the Prop 200/nativist crowd and they couldn't be wrong?) would register on Election Day and vote for the Aztlán Peoples Party candidate.
Seriously, if you want to vote in a partisan primary, just register as a member of that party and your problem is solved. If you don't like political parties, sorry you only get to vote in the general election.
Note the Prop 200/nativist crowd: Most immigrants are too busy cleaning up your yard, cooking your meals, cleaning your homes, building that extension on your house, taking care of your kids and generally working too hard for too little money to vote.
Friday, January 04, 2008
There was this article from the East Valley Tribune about the recommended budget cuts by Republican controlled chairmen of the appropriations committees in the Arizona Legislature. Here is list:
The proposal also would make major -- and permanent -- cuts in funding for state universities, suspend funding for new land and buildings for community colleges and eliminate the state's general assistance program.
Other cuts suggested by the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees include:
-- eliminating a new initiative to help teach math and science.
--rolling back an extra $15.3 million that lawmakers gave to public schools above
what a formula requires them to provide.
-- reducing eligibility for a program that provides health insurance for the children of the working poor.
If you get beyond how bad these cuts are for a growing state and how morally bankrupt it is to preserve tax-cuts while cutting health care for poor children, how politically dumb can one be?
If I could pick a group of items to run against in a political campaign the list above would be a dream. The only problem that I can see is that the list is so dumb that is almost hard believe.
Seriously, you cannot find better cuts than education and child health care? Wow...
Sure there are crisises around the world, but is there anything bigger than this. In fact, if there is any connection between the draught, excessive rain affecting hop production and global warming, it (Global Warming) must be fixed immediately. What is more important beer or cars, obviously beer. In fact if the free market system is the cause of this shortage, it to must be abolished. Above all the availability of IPAs must be ensured... After all the only real reason to have cars or a free market is to transport beer and its ingredients and provide a monetary means of acquiring beer.
If a society cannot provide cheap and high quality beer can it really be considered civilized? Rise up beer drinkers of the world...
If any campaign wants to pick up the venerable endorsement of this site (we currently endorse Obama) you need a strong position on the looming hops crisis. (I am talking to you HRC you need a boost at the moment...)
PS -- This entry is intended to only partially be humorous. Seriously, I want my IPA.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I have to say that we have really good candidates in Hillary, Obama and Edwards. On to New Hampshire... Now I guess I have to get off my butt and volunteer some time at the Obama headquarters in Arizona.