Friday, November 30, 2012

Steel Coins Might Be Coming

I kind of like the idea of steel coins and it seems to be a way to save the mint a few million.

Several lawmakers were more intrigued with the idea of using different metal combinations in producing coins.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said a penny costs more than 2 cents to make and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make. Moving to multiplated steel for coins would save the government nearly $200 million a year, he said.

I mean you could then melt the coins together and make various things out of them. It would be interesting to see a steel penny not be copper colored. It would kind of be like what they did in WW2 when copper was used in the war effort.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Windows 8 Phones Plagued By Reboots

I guess Microsoft just can't get out of its own way when it introduces new products.

Microsoft has reportedly acknowledged it has discovered that some Windows Phone 8 early adopters are experiencing random reboots. Microsoft experts say they've located the problem and will be able to offer a downloadable solution in the next few weeks. 

So they know of the problems but it will take weeks to fix it? I guess all of their engineers are on vacation or something. That's about par for the course for MSFT. Release a product to compete with Apple several years too late and execute it poorly. Why is Balmer still CEO at that company?

Grover Norquist Does Not Make Sense

I just don't understand how this guy became so prominent in the GOP establishment that people were scared of him when he says things like this.

"When you got married did your wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise? When you borrowed money to buy your house did you say, 'Oh geez. That mortgage? That was 10 years ago. You're still asking me for money?' You make a commitment, you make a commitment," says Norquist.

Did he just compare not hiking taxes to a marriage? Also that mortgage comment doesn't make sense when circumstances change. For instance a person would be a fool to keep the same mortgage as they had 10 years ago if it was possible to refinance it. If economic conditions change then you have to change with them. If taxes need to be hiked then just do it so it doesn't effect the vast majority of Americans. It is better than building up trillions more in debt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Obama Hits Campaign Trail to Push Tax Hikes

Why can't he stay in town and simply sit down with lawmakers and lead the country? Instead he is constantly fleeing Washington in order to make photo ops.

The president's visit to a small business in Hatfield, Pa., that makes parts for a construction toy company will cap a week of public outreach as the White House and congressional leaders seek a way to avoid the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

He already won Pennsylvania's electoral college votes. Why does he have to hang out at some construction toy company? Obama wants tax hikes so just make them palatable to the GOP and solve the problem. If they don't want hikes on people making more than $250K then push for people making more than $500K or a $1 million something. In other words sit down and lead and not rush off to mug for the cameras.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Senator Saxby Chambliss Turns Back on "No Taxes" Pledge

I guess getting hided in the election is bringing some realism back to Capitol Hill.

"I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Chambliss told Georgia television station WMAZ on Thursday. "If we do it his way, then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that."

A vast majority of elected Republicans have signed the pledge Norquist created in 1986, which commits them to voting against tax increases, and it became a type of litmus test among U.S. conservatives.

I mean you cannot even negotiate with the Dems if you cannot raise taxes ever. Maybe there will be some wiggle room on raising taxes on people making over a million or something. As long as they can avoid the fiscal cliff by letting tax hikes go on the table as long as they aren't too excessive and do not target the middle class. I just don't agree that someone making $250K a year should be called rich.

Friday, November 09, 2012

GOP "Get Religion" on Immigration Reform at Long Last

It is funny to see how the GOP is starting to "evolve" on immigration reform.

"This issue has been around far too long," Boehner said. "A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

Just two years ago, Boehner said it was worth considering amending the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship, because he said it might discourage people from illegally crossing the border. Boehner was also opposed to President George W. Bush's attempt to pass immigration reform.

Bush was prescient on this issue and it took losing the Latino vote by 70% in two strait Presidential elections to have them see the light. You can't treat 20 million people like hunted criminals and hope to get their friends and relatives to vote for you. The GOP needs to stop any "your papers please" laws going forward because they infringe on personal liberty which used to be a big deal in their party. 

Also Bush understood that speaking Spanish and reaching out to Latino communities might pay off for the GOP as well. Latinos seem to have quite a bit in common and might vote Republican much faster than Blacks or single women. Actually, all the GOP needs to do is split the Latino vote 50/50 and they have a better chance of winning Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico again.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Even Though I Don't Like Gingrich: What he Says Resonates

I usually think Gingrich is a huge bloviating moron but these words are spot-on.

"The question is do they want to, in a disciplined way, create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican?" Gingrich said during a Wednesday interview on CNN's "Starting Point With Soledad O'Brien." "The difference between outreach and inclusion, is outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you," he continued. "Inclusion is when you're in the meeting."

Yeah the GOP needs to not be 5 white guys in a room making decisions.They need to throw that tent wide and make sure there are Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and women in that room from here on in.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Biggest Winner for the 2012 Election: Math?

Well, I didn't believe Nate Silver but he shows that a mathematical analysis might be the way to go to handicap election's in the future. All that gut-feeling stuff is not the same as cold-hard math.

This year, according to all projections, Silver’s model has correctly predicted 50 out of 50 states. A last-minute flip for Florida, which finally went blue in Silver’s prediction on Monday night, helped him to a perfect game. 

A caveat: Florida has not yet been called officially, but Obama is in the lead with 98% of precincts reporting. If anything, Silver’s placing of Florida on a knife edge makes him look even more prescient. No wonder one of the night’s more popular tweets suggested that he was actually from the future, working from old newspapers.

I think his idea of taking all the polls and weighting them for historical accuracy is a very sound one. The idea that all the polls were used is what took some of the bias out of the equations. So you can have some polls (CNN) oversampling Democrats but others (Wall Street Journal) may have under-sampled them. Then he weighted them according to accuracy. That seems like a sound plan because the electorate seemed very much the same as in 2008. So if the poll was right in 2008 it should have been right in 2012.

The GOP made the mistake of thinking the electorate had changed from 2008 to 2012 and that did them in. I guess Silver needs to pick stocks next because I would love to see if his algorithm will work on Wall Street. Maybe he can use a mix of research Buy/Sell/Hold calls and newsletter picks as his "polls" for each stock to see if they hold up.

Why Romney Lost

Well everyone else are doing the post-mortem on why Romney lost so I might as well add my own. The problems with Romney were there from the very start. He is generally a white country-club conservative cut from similar cloth that John Kerry was. He was the Republican Kerry. Romney was portrayed as a clueless rich guy and quite a few of his actions pounded that point home. He only came on after the last debate because he seemed like a fairly caring individual that wanted to do well for the country. Also Obama looked like he didn't give a crap until the final week of the election. Here are some of the reasons why I think Romney lost and some tonics for the GOP going forward.

1. Hispanics are a force to be reckoned with.

I think the GOP ignoring the fastest growing group in the US is going to cost them many elections unless they change their tune. That means no more talk of "self-deportation" or other nonsense. Also building fences or demonizing illegals cannot be a plank in the GOP platform going forward. The GOP needs to embrace immigration reform and allow Obama to "win" on this issue. There needs to be some form of amnesty on the books. The GOP idea that an illegal is taking away an American's job needs to die in 2012. Make that illegal an American that pays his taxes and becomes a solid citizen and not a hunted man. Then make him a Republican.

I mean whenever Romney talked about "self-deportation" a Hispanic voter thought he wants to send my grandma back to Guatemala even though she's lived here since the 70s. The GOP needs to figure a way for that person's grandma to stay in this country and not have to fear being deported. If that means amnesty then so be it. There needs to be some mechanism in place because you cannot deport 20 million people.

After this Hispanic voter can be assured of safety for his family the GOP can appeal to his other issues using traditional GOP methods. That means pushing for economic security, good jobs, and his appealing to his faith. Hispanics seem to be more religious as a group than other voting blocs so reaching out here can peel some of them away from the generally nonreligious (or openly anti-religious) Democrats.

2. 47% of Americans are Lazy Parasites

This one hidden video cost him the election IMO. Obama needs to send a fruit basket to Mother Jones because they won it for him. There is a deep-seated idea that the GOP are a bunch of heartless assholes that want to steal from the poor and give the money to the rich. I mean nearly shutting down the government to protect a 3% tax hike on people making over $1 million does that to you.

The GOP used to fight for the little guy. The small businessman or the middle class American that wants to build a good life for himself. Romney talked about helping the Middle Class but far too late to do any good. He kept having to fend off the "tax cuts for the rich" crap that Obama kept hitting him with.

Then when he was caught talking to the GOP big-money men saying that people won't vote for him because they are used to living on the dole it rubs those little guys the wrong way. The whole idea of personal responsibility is a crock when you look at how the recession is kicking peoples asses. I mean there are vast majorities of Americans that did everything right and still got smashed. They need the government to be there for them or they starve to death.

This 47% crack is especially galling coming from a guy that has a elevator for his cars and owns a dressage horse. I mean how do you appeal to a middle class voter from Ohio or Pennsylvania when you are more worried about your dressage horse competing in the Olympics than trying to be president? That idea of the clueless rich-guy that doesn't understand your pain doomed Romney from the very start.

3. Losing the Women's vote

I think going after Planned Parenthood by saying you will shut them down was a huge mistake. Even though PP does abortions they do quite a bit of good for poor women. If they wanted to get rid of it the GOP needed to come up with an alternative. Maybe free vouchers that women could use for women's health that didn't pay for abortions. Even saying that they would "reform" PP to get rid of the abortions instead of just killing the program would have been a better idea. If I was advising Romney I would have told him to dump the whole issue.

Also the idea that the government should or shouldn't pay for contraception was an idiotic argument to make. I mean this issue just comes down to weather church sponsored hospitals would carry it or not. If you give them an "opt-out" then the issue is solved. Young women today should be afforded free contraception just because they will bear the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. The grognards in the GOP like that guy that said give women aspirin so they keep their legs shut need to be drummed out of the party. This is a big issue for some women so the GOP needed to figure a way to get the job done so that it didn't offend religious groups.

Speaking of grognards, the GOP needs to banish every single one of them that have some weird-assed definition of rape. Men like Akin and Mourdock have no place in a party that wants to win more than 43% of the women's vote. The GOP should have tried to not only distance themselves from these guys but offered a different candidate instead. If that wasn't possible, then condemn them in the strongest possible terms, and de-fund their campaigns. It's 2012 so why is the GOP still "defining" rape or even talking about it in an election?

4. Trying to Say the 2008 Election was a fluke that didn't carry over to 2012

I actually believed this one so Romney can't be faulted too badly for following it. I really think that the electorate has changed from 2004 to 2012. There are more urbanites, women, Blacks, and Hispanics than ever before as part of the voting block. The bad part is that they are solidly Democratic. There are just less angry-white guys than ever that before that will vote for your rich country-club guy.

So the GOP needs to open the tent to everyone that wants fiscal security, good jobs, and a growing economy. So that means they need to start courting some of these groups that are supposed to be Democratic with these ideas. They aren't race specific or gender specific and appeal to all Americans.

I think it was shameful how the GOP drummed out Michael Steele and replaced him with some milquetoast white dude with a funny name. I mean this Priebus guy needs to get fired because the GOP has become the "rich white-guy party" again on his watch. The "rich white-guy party" will never again win a national election because the electorate has changed forever. The swing states are mostly large urban areas with minorities living in them. You can't win an election without appealing to them.

5. It's the Economy Stupid

This should have been a slam-dunk election because Obama is an epic bumbler when it comes to the economy. Trillions wasted on stimulus that didn't stimulate anything. Then he tackled health care before jobs. We have more people on food stamps then ever before. We had 4 years of economic stagnation. Obama is just inept when it comes to the thing Americans are concerned about the most.

Then when it looked like Obama didn't care enough to even prepare for the 1st Debate you would figure that Romney had it. Instead he seemed to fumble it away right at the end. Obama looked presidential and FEMA looked heroic during Hurricane Sandy and that brief moment Romney could have won was over. Romney wanted to get rid of FEMA for the sake of fiscal austerity and that cost him.

Now people are blaming Christie for saying that Obama was a decent enough guy that helped his state. That was just the truth as Christie saw it. A disaster is when you need the government the most. I don't mind paying my taxes for FEMA as long as as "old Brownie" Michael Brown doesn't run it. A well run government that doesn't waste my money is preferable to an "every man for himself" one.

But in his zeal to cut everything Romney needed to think before he talked. I mean what better way can FEMAs $14 billion budget be better spent? I mean making cash-strapped states pay for their own disaster clean-up is asinine. They have balanced budgets so they cant afford $50 billion when they can barely keep the lights on. That is the states fault for wasting their money but the Feds need to backstop when a disaster strikes.

In any case fiscal austerity does not equate to any swing state votes. We would all like a smaller government but it needs to be cut in practical terms. That means not talk of cutting FEMA during a disaster or getting rid of Planned Parenthood unless there is a better use of the money out there. I guess the idea of making the government spend my money (and China's) better is what I would prefer to slash-and-burn cuts that Romney seemed to back. People seem to like the government that is in place so cutting it needs to be done slowly and with more thought.

The Market Speaks: Obama's Win costs 2.37% to the Downside

Well it is time to buy Medicaid Servicers like Centene (CNC) and Hospital Stocks like Tenet (THC) because Obamacare is are very real reality going forward. You might also see some companies saving a good bit of expense by dropping their insurance plans and making people buy from the "exchanges."

The only thing Obama better not mess with is the shale oil boom. If the EPA jumps all over fracking we will be back to begging Saudi Arabia for oil and having to fight wars in the Middle East every few years. Hopefully all this "green energy" talk I keep hearing means a move to Natural Gas as our fuel of choice for the next few decades.

The idea of an energy independent America is something that really needs to be explored. Imagine if we can get gas prices down and convert our power plants to Natural gas and nuclear. We would even be a net exporter of energy and reverse some of our trade imbalance. Finally, we would finally not need to be policing the Middle East very much at all. This is a good thing because we won't need to fight a war there anytime soon. But it will also be bad because without us snooping around the Jihadis are taking control from the kleptocracies. The next 9/11 might be launched out of Syria or Egypt.

Obama Wins! *Sigh*

Well Nate Silver was right and I was wrong. Obama won quite handily so we will have 4 more years of gridlock and economic stagnation to look forward to. In any case they better get us off the "fiscal cliff" before we see more damage done to the economy.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fearless Prediction for the 2012 Presidential Election

I think this will be the final tally for tomorrows election:

311 Romney
227 Obama

I just see 311 and Romney giving an inauguration speech. I am probably wrong but I'll go ahead and make a prediction anyway. I'll post the real final tally tomorrow.