About the homeless guy who forked over $20 to save a damsel in distress…

November 16, 2018

Heartwarming story that raised  $400,000 takes a strange twist.

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Just in case you missed it…

In November 2017, a homeless guy (Johnny Bobbitt) noticed that a driver (Kate McClure) was stranded on a roadside … out of gas with no money or credit cards.

So, Bobbitt gave “his last $20” to McClure to buy a couple of gallons of gas.

McClure went on a PR blitz praising Bobbitt’s generosity.

Then, McClure and her boyfriend (Mark D’Amico) set up a GoFundMe page to lift Bobbitt from homeless.

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The GoFundMe campaign raised almost $400,000.

Bobbitt reportedly set up a bank account, bought a house and a truck, and started looking for job.

A life-changing story that restores your faith in people, right?

Well, here’s the rub….

Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon and the “power of free” …

November 15, 2018

Since Amazon is in the news these days ….

In class, I always preached: Don’t underestimate the “power of free”.

Here’s a real life example to prove the point.

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Everybody knows that Amazon’s free shipping program has been a resounding success.

So much so. that the company has announced that it will be moving the minimum qualifying order up from $25 to $35 … inducing shoppers to fill  their carts fuller or switch to the highly profitable Amazon Prime program.

The free shipping program’s success was highly predictable based an an apparently inadvertent “matched market test” that Amazon did.

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Here’s the skinny on the Amazon’s inadvertent market test …

Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon decides … more jeers than cheers.

November 14, 2018

May be a classic case of the “winner’s curse” … or just loser’s lament.

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Well, Amazon finally reached a decision re: HQ2.

Err, make that HQ2 and HQ3

Rather than the ballyhooed 50,000 jobs in one locale somewhere in the U.S., Amazon had a last minute change of heart and split the spoils between 2 east coast metro areas:: HQ2 in Crystal City. VA  … HQ3 in Long Island City, NY (25,000 jobs).

WSJ summarized Amazon’s stated criteria … and estimated where both VA and NYC score.

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Looks pretty analytical, right?

But, many observers retro-conclude that the fix was in from the start.

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Predictable places?

Yep,

DC because it’s the nation’s capital and proximate to the goldmine of government business (of which, Amazon is already a major player).

NYC because it’s the financial and media capital of the world (where Google has already staked a big claim).

Both DC and NYC because they’re located on the east coast (pundits say that Heartland locales were never serious contenders) … and because those local governments have the deepest pockets.

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So far, there don’t seem to be many current residents dancing in the streets.

What’s up with that?

Read the rest of this entry »

Economist: The demography of American voters…

November 13, 2018

Conclusion: All politics is “identity politics”.

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The Economist and YouGov, a pollster, have surveyed thousands of Americans and built a statistical model to predict political party preferences.

Think: generic ballot for Congressional elections.

What did they find?

America’s founding fathers envisioned a republic in which free-thinking voters would carefully consider the proposals of office-seekers.

Today, however, demography seems to govern voters’ choices.

Specifically, Economist and YouGov identified a dozen demographic characteristics that highly predicted how people would vote in Congressional elections.

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Let’s drill down on the the findings…

Read the rest of this entry »

Déjà vu all over again?

November 9, 2018

Florida’s tax migrants may not be out of the woods yet … but they may be holding an ironic high card.

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OK, let’s recap the the bidding…

On election day, FL Gov. Rick Scott (R) edged incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) by a razor thin margin.

Similarly, Congressman Ron DeSantis edged Socialist-Democrat Andrew Gillum for the Florida Governorship.

Gillum conceded the race to DeSantis.

Looked like Florida was safe as a tax sanctuary … at least for another 4 years.

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Then the worm turned.

Let’s walk thru that … and, a predictable end-game that I haven’t heard from the pundits yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

America’s “Exhausted Majority”…

November 8, 2018

Post-election, can they muscle up to pull us together?
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A lot of punditry these days about American Tribalism … categorizing people by common interests …  usually with a demographic slant (i.e. race. gender, and location – urban, rural; coastal or Heartland).

Those “tribes” are usually characterized as warring factions with little in common.

The result: sharp differences and apparently intractable political polarization.

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An organization called More in Common did some research that takes a different cut at the situation.

Their study – America’s Hidden Tribes – identified seven distinct groups of Americans. These are our Hidden Tribes of America: distinguished not by who they are or what they look like, but what they believe. (Below – at end of this post – are descriptions of the groups)

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The study reached three fundamental conclusions…

Read the rest of this entry »

Bottom line: The stock market likes the results.

November 7, 2018

Brace for 2 years of Congressional theatrics, legislative gridlock, Executive Orders and  judicial appointments.

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Here are a couple of morning after thoughts from the election:

  1. Big win for prognosticators … on balance, the election turned out the way Silver, et. al., said it would – split decision with an expanded GOP majority in the Senate.
  2. Money down rabbit holes … big money bets by Bloomberg, Streyer, Soros, etc., made for some tight races, but no wins.
  3. Obama was a non-factor … the candidates that he stumped for came up short: Gillum, Abrams, Cordray (former head of BHO’s CFPB)
  4. So were the celebs … think: Oprah, Buffett, oh yeah, Taylor Swift.
  5. MSNBC first with many calls … I was flipping channels and MSNBC beat Fox to the punch on many calls (e.g. Cruz over Beto); big exception was Fox’s early call that the House would flip.
  6. Another Reid Rule kicks in … remember how Harry Reid refused to take up hundreds of bills passed by the GOP led Congress? Well, what goes around, comes around … gridlock is alive and well.
  7. Time for “pen and phone” … remember how a stymied Obama turned Executive Orders into a governance art form? A favorable judiciary looked the other way as Congress was rendered inconsequential.  Bet on Trump to apply the precedent.
  8. Here come the judges … no secret that the GOP will use its Senate majority to pack the courts with Constitutionalists … again, big thanks to Harry Reid for implementing the nuclear option.
  9. Tax migrants sigh relief … couple of close calls – especially Florida – but tax & spend progressives were fended off … whew!
  10. Stock market is up … past couple of days have been good and today’s futures are up … let’s see if that trend is enduring.

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Silver’s hedge: ”Bet’s off if there is a systematic polling error”

November 6, 2018

And, a Vegas odds-maker says that’s likely.

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Let’s connect a couple of dots today…

Nate Silver is the Democrat’s predictor of choice.

Remember, he’s the guru who said – on the day before the 2016 election – that Hillary had a greater than 90% chance of winning.

Oops.

Of course, he retroactively said that he was talking about the popular vote – not the pesky electoral college …. and Hillary’s 90% meant conversely that Trump had a slim statistical chance that happened to materialize..

Vindicated, right?

So, what is Silver saying about today’s elections?

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Cutting to the chase, he says that Democrats have an 86% chance of taking control of the House.

But, wiser with age, Nate is explicitly hedging his bet this time….

 

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Here’s Silver’s final pre-election banner headline:

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Directly on-point,  he says:

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Hmmm

Could it be that the polling data is “systematically wrong” … again?

Read the rest of this entry »

How do you feel about the country’s direction?

November 5, 2018

Here’s a variant of the question: Are you better off than you were 2 years ago?
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According to the mainstream media, America is going to hell in a handbasket.

Evidence: Only 40% of Americans think that the country is on track and  moving in the right direction.

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True, but let’s put that number in perspective…

Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re one of the 155 million people on employee-based health insurance plans …

November 4, 2018

Here’s the main reason why YOUR health insurance premiums have gone up.

Since Dems have made pre-existing conditions a centerpiece in their midterm campaigns, lets flashback to a 2009 post which injected some sobering facts into the debate…

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All the healthcare attention seems to be on the 20 million people who are getting insurance via Extended Medicaid or ObamaCare Exchanges.

Virtually no light is being shined on the vast majority of folks who are covered by employer plans.

Case-in-point: the soaring premiums being paid by employees … hardly the $2,500 reduction that was promised.

Here’s one of the reasons that premiums have gone up not down …

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Most people – probably bordering on all – would agree that people with pre-existing conditions should be able to get health insurance.

I accept that as a non-debatable point.

But, I got curious about the economics of so-called “guaranteed coverage”… i.e. how much does it cost, and who pays for it?

Specifically, for folks covered by employer plans, how much of their increase in health insurance premiums over the past couple of years is attributable to guaranteed coverage?

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Let’s take a whack at the numbers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Has ObamaCare provided more healthcare?

November 3, 2018

Not really: it just covered more people with health insurance?

Since Dems are making ObamaCare an election issue, let’s flashback to a prior post and inject some facts…

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In my consulting / problem-solving class, I emphasize asking the right question before starting to gather data, doing analyses, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Then, would someone please explain to me why the politcos (on both sides) obsess over health insurance coverage (how many people are covered) and largely ignore the quantity & quality healthcare that Americans are getting?

 

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Source: AAMC

My conclusion: More Americans now have health insurance, but healthcare hasn’t increased … it has just been re-distributed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Remember how healthcare costs were going to drop by $2,500 for every family?

November 2, 2018

Since Dems are making ObamaCare a midterm’s election issue, let’s flashback to a prior post and inject some facts.

In 2016 (Obama’s last year in office), employees paid $11,000 out-of-pocket for healthcare … up $2,500 since 2012.

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Milliman – a well-regarded actuarial consulting” firm – has published an annual recap of healthcare spending since 2001.

The Milliman Medical Index tracks the total costs of providing health care to an average family of four covered by an employer-sponsored “preferred provider plan” … that’s about 155 million employees and their dependents.

The total includes the health insurance premiums paid by both the employer and the employee, as well as the actual expenditures for health care paid by the insurance plan and out of pocket by the insured family.

The big news: In 2016, the average healthcare costs for a family of 4 surpassed $25,000 for the first time … the $25,826 is triple the cost to provide health care for the same family in 2001 … and up about $5,000 since 2012.

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The bad(est) news is the increased proportion of the healthcare costs being shouldered by individual employees …

Read the rest of this entry »

Remember when an ObamaCare architect called you stupid?

November 1, 2018

Since Dems are making a big deal of ObamaCare in the mid-terms, let’s flashback to a November 2014 post ….

Once again, they’re counting on the “stupidity of the American people.” (<= their words, not mine!)

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Even if you believe that “the end justifies the means”, this has gotta make your skin crawl.

Some background: Prof. Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economist who helped on RomneyCare in Massachusetts and was one of the primary architects of ObamaCare.

He was caught on video  speaking quite frankly about the crafting of ObamaCare.

His basic message:

“The bill was written in a tortured way … to be sure that the CBO didn’t score the mandate as a tax …  otherwise the bill would die … so, it was written to do that.

With regards to the subsides … if people figured out that healthy pay in to give sick people money, it wouldn’t have passed … lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.

Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or what … that was critical to getting the bill to pass … yeah, it would be better to be transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Watch the video … it’s even more chilling to hear Prof. Gruber say the words: “obfuscate” and “bank on American stupidity”.

How do these guys sleep at night?

 

 

P.S. Another Gruber video got some wide play..

He’s on tape saying that the specific language in the bill that only provided subsidies for folks going through state exchanges was intentional to motivate states to build exchanges,

ObamaCare supporters started claiming that  it was just a typo that didn’t represent intent.

The Supreme Court agreed with them … with life & death consequence for ObamaCare.

As Forrest Gump would say:” Stupid is as stupid does.”

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Is Trump on the midterm ballot?

October 31, 2018

Of course, he is …. presidents always are.

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Interesting analysis by Pew which asked people:

Will your vote (in the midterms) be a vote FOR the president, AGAINST the president, or isn’t the president not much of a factor?

Here’s what they found:

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Let’s drill down on the numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Liar, liar … pants on fire.

October 30, 2018

What’s worse, lots of inconsequential lies … or a a couple of consequential ones?

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As a Catholic kid, I was taught about the difference between venial sins and mortal ones.

The former are naughty-naughty  … destining you to a few years in a holding tank before admittance to perpetual bliss in heaven.

The latter – mortal sins – are bad-bad … guaranteeing you that you’ll get banished to the fires of hell.

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That lesson comes to mind when former President Obama adopts his trademarked holier-than-thou persona and  lambasts current President Trump as a congenital liar.

Read the rest of this entry »

More from Obama’s “I’m back” tour …

October 29, 2018

Another theme of former President Obama’s “I’m back” speeches is that there’s a racial divide and that Trump rhetoric is fueling it.

Hard to dispute either of those points.

But, Obama also ballyhoos that things weren’t that way when he served as self-proclaimed Uniter-in-Chief.

That’s where the facts belie the storyline.

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Source

Lets drill down…

Read the rest of this entry »

Uh-oh: The end of Florida as a tax haven?

October 26, 2018

A lot of friends have packed up and moved to Florida.

Some say it’s because of the winter weather.

Most concede that it’s because of the favorable state tax structure.

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Andrew Gillum is a far  left progressive … even to the left of Bernie Sanders.

He advocates extensive government spending on social programs … think: Medicare for all and expansion of Medicaid.

His campaign is built around the “power of free”.

It’s relatively silent on the details of paying for the freebies.

So it surprises me is that I haven’t heard any chatter about the inevitable rise in taxes if Gillum gets elected governor.

Maybe, the FL legislature will still be controlled by the GOP … containing any tax increases in the short-run.

But, eventually the tax piper will need to be paid if the majority of Floridians vote for big spending.

All of which raises the question: what happens when a tax haven turns Blue.

Uh-oh.

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Does anything about this photo strike you as odd?

October 25, 2018

Below is a picture of the caravan that’s moving from Honduras and Guatemala to the thru Mexico to the U.S. border.

Does anything in the photo strike you as odd?

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Let me rephrase the question…

Read the rest of this entry »

Some people just shouldn’t vote!

October 24, 2018

Sometimes (often?) I scratch my head and wonder whether “one man, one vote” makes sense.

Polls routinely reveal that a majority of Americans have marginal knowledge of government, politics, and political issues.

Try this: ask folks to explain the difference between the Federal deficit and the Federal debt … ask them where the money that funds, say unemployment benefits, comes from.

Jason Brennan is a rare breed … a libertarian prof at MSB.

His research is at the nexus of ethics and politics.

He has written an insightful book called The Ethics of Voting

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The essence of Jason’s argument is that all adult citizens have the right to vote … but that they shouldn’t exercise that right unless they are informed, rational, and aiming for the common good.

Let’s drill down on that conclusion…

Read the rest of this entry »

Should all people vote … or, just those who are “informed”?

October 23, 2018

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder whether “one man, one vote” makes sense.

Polls routinely reveal that a majority of Americans have marginal knowledge of government, politics, and political issues.

All citizens should be allowed to vote.

But, should these uninformed citizens vote?

YouGov.com conducted a survey that queried people’s opinions on  that specific issue.

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Overall, it was a split vote … with a slight plurality (46%) saying that all citizens should vote and 42% saying that only the well-informed should vote.

The results are more interesting if you drill down to the poll’s “internals”:

Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe there is a political middle…

October 22, 2018

In the old days it was called the “silent majority”
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Last , we reprised a post: America’s political polarization in 3 charts …

That analysis ended in 2014 … showing a double-humped distribution that had been separating over the past decade or so.

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New data is now available, so let’s advance the picture to 2017

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Source: WaPo analysis of Pew data

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The humps have spread further apart … indicating sharper polarization.

The peaks are higher … especially the one on the left,

Also, note the vanishing middle (the dark blue on the graphic).

Now, let’s drill down another level…

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

A Never-Trumper asks: Is it too late to get one of those red hats?

October 19, 2018

We previously posted results of a Rasmussen survey that showed 64% of Republicans are “very angry” about the way that Kavanaugh was treated … and practically all of them are more likely to vote in the midterms than they previously were.

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Today, let’s provide some human context to the numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

About that “blue wave” that’s coming …

October 18, 2018

Post-Kavanaugh, momentum seems to have shifted.

A few weeks ago, most pollsters predicted that Dems would win a Congressional majority and that they stood a shot at taking the Senate.

That picture seems to have changed … quite a bit.

RealClearPolitics is a down-the middle source that reports several polls-of-polls.

One tracks Congressional races, slotting them as likely Dem, likely GOP or toss-ups.

It takes 218 seats to control the Congress (which has 435 representatives).

A couple of weeks ago, RCP was reporting 206 seats as likely Dem, 191 likely GOP and 38 toss-ups.

Now, the RCP recap is Dems 206 and GOP 199 … with  30 toss-ups.

The Dem “hard” advantage has narrowed from 15 seats to 7 … with most of the GOP gain coming from the toss-ups (note the near mirror image of the GOP and toss-up lines).

 

What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Gallup: GOP favorability up, ties Dems

October 17, 2018

Last week, we reported Gallup findings that Americans satisfaction with the way they are being governed jumped 10 points in the past year …. and that 72% of Republicans are satisfied with the way the Trump administration is governing.

See Gallup: Satisfaction with governance increasing…

Predictably, the “satisfaction with governance” seems to be influencing the way that people view the Dem and GOP parties.

Gallup periodically surveys party favorability.

Their most recent poll was conducted during September during the run-up to the Kavanaugh hearings.

It’s headline conclusion:

In the past year, the GOP has erased an 8 point favorability disadvantage and now edges out the Dems by a point … that’s a 9 point swing.

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Let’s drill down on those numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a way to get your kid into a better college…

October 16, 2018

Instead of submitting SAT scores, take an ancestry-DNA test.

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Call it the “Elizabeth Warren Method”.

The Senator used DMA testing to  “prove” that she is at least 1/10th of 1% Native American and she stands behind the legitimacy of her claiming minority status for academic standing ….

Tech note: The DNA testers inferred from Warren’s lab sample that she  has some Native American DNA tracing back 6 to 10 generations (i.e. hundreds of years).  “Inferred” because they don’t have enough certified Indian DNA in their data base to ascertain Indian  ancestry.  So, they “project” off of South American DNA that they assume mimics Native Americans.  Said differently, 1/10th of 1% is probably overstated … with a very wide margin of error.  In mathspeak, the result is not statistically different from zero.

Math note: 6 to 10 generations ago translates to between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Indian blood … 1/1,024 = .0009765 ~.001 ~ 1/10th of 1%That’s about a big toe nail’s worth of Indian blood

A veritable  Pandora’s has been opened.…

As previously reported, some colleges are no longer requiring (or accepting) SAT & ACT scores

See University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

The action is a thinly veiled move  to “diversify” the student body by throttling the number of high scoring Asian-American admissions.

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I’m not a big fan of the commercial DNA testing done by ancestry sites.

But, they may be a tool for getting kids into better colleges.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shocker: Hearings stoked anger and likely voter turnout.

October 15, 2018

And, advantage seems to go to GOP.
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In a prior post, we reported an NPR survey finding that  Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

There’s some directional support for that conclusion from a recent Rasmussen poll.

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Let’s drill down….

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Specifically:

62% of vote-eligible Republicans say that they’re more likely to vote in the midterms because of the Kavanaugh controversies.

The 62% compares to 54% for Dems and 48% for Independents.

Arguably, the GOP and Dem numbers are a wash.

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64% of likely Republicans voters are “very angry” about the Senate’s treatment of Kavanaugh

Less than half (48%) of Dems are “very angry” about the Senate’s treatment of Dr. Ford.

I’d call 64% to 48% statistically significant.

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Rasmussen’s conclusion:

“Republicans are madder about the Kavanaugh controversy than Democrats are and more determined to vote in the upcoming elections because of it.”

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Technical note: Rasmussen is often disparaged by pollsters because it’s a robocall survey. 

But, in 2016, its method was one that early-captured the “hidden” Trump voters … in part because the method doesn’t require admitting a controversial opinion to human pollsters.

So, I often refer to Rasmussen for clues … but, wouldn’t bet the house on its specific findings.

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How reliable is your memory?

October 12, 2018

Simple answer: not very … it’s subject to gaps, distortions and falsehoods.
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The Kavanaugh-Ford imbroglio really piqued my interest in brainworks, memory and psychotherapy.

Studying up on the topics, I stumbled upon a 2013 TED Talk by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus – a research psychologist specializing in memory.  Her specific areas of interest are the effects of trauma and therapeutic memory reconstruction.

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click to view

Trust me, the entire 15 minute talk which has been viewed by almost 4 million people and is loaded with evidence and examples – is engaging and educational.  Well worth watching!

For now, here are some key snippets from the talk…

Read the rest of this entry »

Gallup: Satisfaction with governance increasing…

October 11, 2018

According to a recent Gallup poll, American’s satisfaction with the way they are being governed has bumped up by 10 points in the past year (the green line below).

38% now say they’re satisfied with the way they are being governed.

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Let’s drill down on those numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Everybody has an opinion on Dr. Ford’s allegations; some are hyperventilating.

October 10, 2018

But, how well informed are the opinions?
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In a previous post, we presented a post-testimony survey finding  that only 37% of respondents thought that Kavanaugh should be confirmed.

That is, until they were informed that Dr. Ford’s accusations could not be corroborated by anyone … not  even her “lifetime” best friend.

When so informed, jumped to about 60% said that he should be confirmed.

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See Poll: So, should Kavanaugh be confirmed or not?

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But, some recent polls indicate that a majority still say that Kavanaugh shouldn’t have been confirmed.

How to square that circle?

Read the rest of this entry »

America’s political polarization in 3 charts …

October 9, 2018

The Kavanaugh circus and former President Obama’s return to the campaign trail reminded me of an interesting analysis that NBC’s Chuck Todd did a couple of years ago.

So, let’s flashback:

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It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

Of course, Obama lays blame on Trump and his band of ignorant deplorables.

Let’s look at some inconvenient facts from Todd’s analysis…

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As Meet the Press host Chuck Todd puts it:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

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The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Based on the latest Pew data (from 2014), here’s where we stand:

clip_image002

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What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

There is less than 10% in each party leaning ideologically to the left (or right) of the other party’s median.

That’s where we are.

How did we get here?

Read the rest of this entry »

The politics of the Supreme Court…

October 8, 2018

Now that Kavanaugh is confirmed, let’s take another look at ideological balance on the SCOTUS.
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Let’s put things in context…

Political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn developed  a measure to calibrate how liberal or conservative SCOTUS justices are … based on their rulings.

As near as I can tell, the measure is uncontested by either ideology.

image_thumb[5]
Source

First, let’s pull some takeaways from the chart…

Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re serious about the Kavanaugh decision, read Sen. Collin’s speech…

October 7, 2018

Don’t just rely on biased summaries from your usual cable news favorites.
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Read the text   View the speech

For my right-leaning friends, the speech gives you most of what you need to fend off your left-leaning friends.

For my left-leaning friends, the speech matter-of-factly provides context and Collins’ legal reasoning behind her conclusions on both Ford’s accusations and Kavanaugh’s likely judicial rulings.

In the final analysis,  this polarizing bruhaha really centered on abortion rights and Rowe vs. Wade, here’s an extract of what Collins argued on those specific  questions…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why won’t Ford’s lawyers turn over the polygraph details and therapist notes?

October 5, 2018

And, do they really want the FBI to interview her?
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“Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford,  responded Wednesday to Grassley’s request for notes from Ford’s therapy sessions and recordings of a lie detector test she took related to her allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her during a high school party in the 1980s.” source

 

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Let’s unpack that offer (demand?)…

Read the rest of this entry »

NPR: vast majority of Dems have high confidence in the FBI

October 5, 2018

Or, at least they did before yesterday.
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Yesterday, we reported an NPR survey indicating that the Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

Buried in the survey’s “internals”, but not reported in the headlined story, was an interesting question:

“Do you have a great deal of confidence, quite a lot, not very much confidence, or no confidence at all in The FBI?”

For the total sample, 59% said “great deal” or “quite a bit”;  36% said “not very much” or “no confidence”; 5% were “unsure.

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Survey Results

Drilling down, the results get more interesting…

Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: So, should Kavanaugh be confirmed or not?

October 4, 2018

Former Clinton strategist Mark Penn took an interesting analytical cut at survey results from Harvard’s Center for American Politics Studies CAPS.

Penn’s overall conclusion:

“The testimony of Ford and Kavanaugh had a powerful but not decisive effect on the public.”

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         Source: CAPS data; Penn analysis

Let’s drill down on the data logic…

Read the rest of this entry »

NPR: Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

October 4, 2018

“Kavanaugh Effect” awakening GOP voters.
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Interesting study conducted by NPR

Prior to the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, 78% of  Dems considered the midterm elections to be very important.

The obvious underlying force: adversity to President Trump.

Only 68% of GOP considered the midterms to be very important.

Chalk that up to midterm complacency and confidence that all folks would appreciate that the economy is doing quite well.

That’s a 10 point gap in a proxy measure of voter enthusiasm and likelihood of turning out to vote.

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Survey Results

Recent events have closed that gap…

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s up with Dr. Ford’s parents?

October 3, 2018

They may be able to break the case.
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I’ve read a couple of reports that Dr. Ford’s parents are on the FBI interview list.

Assuming that the reports are true and that  they cooperate, I think that might provide some important information.

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Among the aspects of Dr. Ford’s testimony that struck me as very odd was that her parents didn’t show up to lend support.

Kavanaugh’s parents were prominent.

Every parent that I’ve chatted with has said they’d be there to show support for their son or daughter.

But, not Dr. Ford’s parents.

And, when Rachel Mitchell asked who, other than her lawyers, had  had been advising her, Dr. Ford answered “My beach friends.”

Say, what?

Following up, Mitchell asked if she had sought advice from her parents.

Dr. Ford answered emphatically: “NO !”

Why is that?

 

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She lied! Under oath, about polygraphs…

October 3, 2018

Dr. Ford fell into in a perjury trap.
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Overnight, several sources, including the WSJ, broke a fact-laden story that Dr. Fox lied under oath when queried about polygraph tests.

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source

In the Senate hearing, Prosecutor Mitchell asked a series of questions about polygraphs: Did anyone coach you before your’s? As a psychology prof, have you studied up on polygraphs? Have you ever coached anyone on how to take a polygraph?

Ford answered “no” to all 3 questions. Mitchell nonchalantly said “OK, let’s move on”

At the time, I thought the “have you coached” question seemed a bit odd.

Turns out that mild mannered Mitchell may have set a perjury trap … either because she knew the answer or because it was a standard protocol question …. regardless,Dr. Ford took the bait.

Here’s the story…

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Here’s a gut-check question for you …

October 2, 2018

Let’s personalize the issue-of-the-day.

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Consider this scenario…

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Psst: Somebody wasn’t sold on Dr. Ford’s testimony.

October 1, 2018

Rachel Mitchell apparently didn’t drink the kool-aid
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Remember Rachel Mitchell?

She’s the multi-decade experienced sex crimes prosecutor who interviewed Dr. Ford during last week’s Kavanaugh hearing.

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She was, at the moment, a fright to the right (boring, too slow, no knockout punches) and darling of the left.  After all, she oft referred to Dr. Fox as a victim and seemed to be buying Ford’s story.

But, Ms. Mitchell has issued her final report and the table has been turned…

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I journeyed to Happy Valley…

October 1, 2018

… and, I found traditional American values alive and well in the Heartland.
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I temporarily broke my news cycle addiction by trekking to the Ohio State – Penn State football game in State College, PA (aka. “Happy Valley”).

State College is in Pennsylvania farm country, secluded enough from the hustle & bustle of neighboring East Coast cities to legitimately claim its decades-old nickname.

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Here are some highlights from my trip in Happy Valley,,,

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Oh no: PETA says “stop eating crabs”

September 30, 2018

Crabs are part of the Maryland cuisine culture … a “signature” regional food.

Nothing like a group of friends sitting around a picnic-like table cracking crabs and sloshing down brewskies.

Good fun, No harm, right?

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click to view news clip

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Well. PETA doesn’t see it that way…

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Verdict: Feinstein, Dems found guilty of obstruction of justice!

September 28, 2018

Victimized both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.
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Sorry, but I have to start today with a chest pound.

Yesterday’s post Where’s the beef? made 3 major points:

1) The outside prosecutor wouldn’t be effective in the 5-minute ping-pong format.

2) Dr. Ford would be a sympathetic accuser but would still end the day with no evidence or corroboration to support her claims.

3) Kavanaugh would need to emphasize the damage done to him and his family… while aggressively  attacking the process and the Democrats scorch-the earth strategy.

BINGO!

What I underestimated was how good Kavanaugh’s A-game would be.

Let’s drill down to some takeaways…

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Where’s the beef?

September 27, 2018

And, other things to watch for in today’s hearing.
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I expect today’s hearing will be long on emotional drama, short on facts (which are known in some circles as evidence), and won’t change many entrenched opinions.

Any opinions that are changed will be based not on evidence but on apparent credibility… how Ford and Kavanaugh present themselves.

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More specifically, here’s what I expect…

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Breaking: Man says he, not Bret, did it.

September 27, 2018

Let’s stick to the facts:

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Judiciary Committee Republicans revealed that on Monday, they conducted their “first interview with a man who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982 that is the basis of his [sic] complaint.”

They conducted a second interview.

Then,, they received a “more in-depth written statement from the man interviewed twice previously who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter in question with Dr. Ford.”

The man has not been identified and his testimony has not been corroborated, though committee investigators indicate that he provided substantiating details re: time and place.

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According to NBC News, Democrats reacted predictably:

“They are desperately trying to muddy the waters.

Twelve hours before the hearing they suggest two anonymous men claimed to have assaulted her.

Democrats were never informed of these assertions in interviews, in violation of Senate rules.”

To that, Sen. Oren Hatch tweeted:

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For the record, the news of the issued statement (a fact) was reported by FNC.

click to view the video version

As of now, it hasn’t shown up on CNN’s or MSNBC’s web sites or newscasts.

They’re still hyping  Avanati’s gang rape story.

Hmmm…

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Avenatti jumps the shark !

September 27, 2018

Now, we’re moving from the sublime to the ridiculous … or, as Kavanaugh said “The Twilight Zone.”

In a nutshell the accuser – who reportedly holds a security clearance and contracts on-and-off with the government – says that circa 1981, Kavenaugh (and  buddy Mark Judge) spiked party punch bowls causing women to become inebriated and vulnerable to subsequent gang rapes.

She presents no witnesses or corroborators, but knows for sure.

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How does she know?

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The politics of the Supreme Court…

September 26, 2018

As I’ve stated before, Dems may win the current battle by scorching Kavanaugh, but may end up losing the war regarding SCOTUS balance.

Let’s put things in context…

Political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn developed  a measure to calibrate how liberal or conservative SCOTUS justices are … based on their rulings.

As near as I can tell, the measure is uncontested by either ideology.

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Source

First, let’s pull some takeaways from the chart…

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Did Kavanaugh make a fatal gaffe during the FOX interview?

September 25, 2018

A couple of things that he and wife Ashley said are head-scratchers.

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First, let’s deal with the stupid (but not fatal)  “I was a  virgin” answer.

Here’s the relevant part of the transcript:

B. Kavanaugh: We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault.

I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.

I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years there after.

What was he thinking? Why didn’t he stop after “never assaulted anyone”?

Being a virgin (at the time)  isn’t  a compelling defense point … and opens Kavanaugh up to ridicule and dispute.

It was a totally unforced error that is a distraction … but, not a fatal wound.

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There was a way more serious gaffe.  If haven’t heard it called out by the pundits. See if you can spot it:

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Where in the world is Dr. Ford?

September 25, 2018

Odds dropping that she’ll post at Thursday’s Senate hearing.
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Trending are speculations that Dr. Ford will be a no-show on Thursday.

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Her lawyers’ are griping that Grassley is “bullying” by bringing in an experienced sex crimes prosecutor to do the questioning.

I find that odd since their battle cry is “FBI investigation” … that they want unbiased law enforcement to dig deep into the case.

Perhaps Grassley should commission an experienced prosecutor who is a former FBI agent to do the questioning.

That would flatten out the surf…

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A few other pivotal observations that you might have missed….

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett !

September 24, 2018

Kavanaugh is toast … and, she’s the likely nomination.
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The new allegations reported in the New Yorker are likely  fatal to Kavanaugh’s nomination.

They’re everything that the Ford accusations weren’t:  heavy on details with specific time and place; eyewitnesses; contemporaneous word-of-mouth.  See the  New Yorker article for the graphic details.

I thought that Kavanaugh would survive Ford’s suspiciously-timed, gap-filled, uncorroborated charges.  In fact, I thought the odds were less than 50/50 that Ford would show up to testify this week.

But, these new accusations are a game-changer.

Hard to imagine Kavanaugh surviving this onslaught.  I expect that his nomination will be withdrawn.

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So, let’s advance the story and anticipate the next steps…

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