So, how many Americans can ID Ukraine on a map … and, so what?

January 28, 2020

In a previous post, we asked loyal readers: Can you find Ukraine on a map?

If you didn’t take the test then, try sticking a pin in Ukraine now. (Prior post has the answer )

Our bet at the time: The vast majority of Americans can’t find Ukraine on a map … even those in the impeachment brigade.

Well, some political scientists did a survey on the question.

Here’s what they found…

Read the rest of this entry »

Cutting to the chase: the central impeachment questions.…

January 27, 2020

image

Cutting to the chase, the Congressional Democrats impeached President Trump on 2 charges:

(1) Abuse of Power – for pressuring the Ukrainian President to investigate Joe & Hunter Biden, and

(2)  Obstruction of Congress – for withholding documents and blocking his aides’ testimony.

In a prior post,  we replayed Prof. Jonathan Turley dismantling the obstruction charge against President Trump.

The essence of his argument:

  • The President has every right to withhold testimony and documents citing “executive privilege”.
  • If Congress disputes the right to executive privilege, it can appeal to the courts.
  • If the courts deny the claim of executive privilege and the President still withholds, then — and only then — is he guilty of obstruction.

Congress did not appeal to the courts and it has no standalone  legal power to deny executive privilege and charge obstruction.

Case closed.

So, what about the other impeachment charge: abuse of power?

This is will emerge as the central issue in the trial, especially given the hornet’s nest poked by the Bolton book draft leaks.

So, let’s dig a little deeper …

Read the rest of this entry »

My favorite split screen … ever!

January 25, 2020

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Below is Adam Schiff seemingly directing our attention to the My Pillow ad on the left.

image

My view: An appropriate end to the Dems dog-and-pony show.

It says it all.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

So, how’s the Dem’s impeachment gambit doing?

January 24, 2020

Here are the initial numbers from RCP’s poll-of-polls

Opposition to Trump’s removal is now a plurality … and the gap is widening

image

Note that:

  • Support / opposition was a push when the Congressional Dems passed the impeachment articles
  • Opposition turned upward during Pelosi’s slow roll handing the impeachment articles over to the Senate
  • Support for removal turned down as soon as the Dem managers started talking.
  • The Present’s defense hasn’t been presented yet.

Perhaps McConnell should give the Dems even more time to pitch their case.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Nobody that I know is watching…

January 24, 2020

… and, they’re not alone!

================

Apparently, the folks who are watching are the ones who are alone.

image

According to a New York Magazine recap….

  • TV ratings for the first two days of the trial, the six news networks covering Trump’s impeachment averaged a little over 11 million viewers combined.
  • Viewership dropped by about 20 percent on on the 2nd day, with a total of 8,858,000 million watching.

To put those numbers in perspective …

  • Approximately 125 million Americans voted in 2016 … so, fewer than 1 in 10 voters say they’re tuning in
  • The 2018 testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh drew an audience of 20.4 million … about twice the impeachment viewership.

=============

My key indicator of audience engagement are the head-to-head ratings for Hannity and Maddow.

  • Hannity drew 4,246,000 million viewers on Wednesday night.
  • During the same time slot,  Maddow drew 2.99 million viewers
  • Both Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson both beat Maddow’s ratings with 3.93 million and 3.73 million viewers. respectively.

==============

My take: Who cares? It’s a partisan political battle and positions are already hardened.  Who wants to watch a bunch of hypocritical politicos repetitiously bloviate for hours on end when the outcome is already determined?

==============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Nadler’s gift to President Trump…

January 24, 2020

Perhaps the most significant happening during the Dem impeachment managers’ presentations was Cong. Jerry Nadler admonishing Senators.

image

During the initial session on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, Nadler said:

“I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses, an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote. A subversion of the Constitution, a vote against the United States.”

Obviously it was an attempt to shame (or bully) senators into crossing party lines and voting with the Dems.

But, the antic badly backfired…

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading minds to discern intentions…

January 23, 2020

An opinion piece by Sharyl Attkisson in The Hill titled “Democrats can read minds” crystalized something that’s been bothering me for awhile.

Remember when IG Horowitz outlined 17 (or more) mega-errors in the FBI FISA process.

Though all of the miscues were material and in the direction of securing warrants to surveil Trump campaigners, Horowitz asserted that he didn’t have testimonial or evidential proof (i.e. “smoking guns”) that the “mistakes” were the result of political bias.

Said differently, Horowitz refused to draw a conclusion re: motivation because “I can’t read minds”.

Fair enough.

The current FBI / FISA situation was reminiscent of Comey’s press conference re: Hillary’s transgressions…

Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s why Hunter Biden is a “material witness”…

January 22, 2020

image

Yesterday, we replayed Prof. Jonathan Turley dismantling the obstruction charge against President Trump.

The essence of his argument:

  • The President has every right to withhold testimony and documents citing “executive privilege”.
  • If Congress disputes the right to executive privilege, it can appeal to the courts.
  • If the courts deny the claim of executive privilege and the President still withholds, then — and only then — is he guilty of obstruction.

Congress did not appeal to the courts and it has no standalone  legal power to deny executive privilege and charge obstruction.

Case closed.

So, what about the other impeachment charge: abuse of power?

This is where Hunter Biden becomes relevant….

Read the rest of this entry »

Memo to Chuckie Schumer…

January 21, 2020

McConnell has proposed 12-hour days, starting at 1 pm to accommodate Chief Justice Roberts.

Schumer immediately started squawking:

“McConnell’s resolution stipulates that key facts be delivered in the wee hours of the night simply because he doesn’t want the American people to hear them.”

Say, what?

Apparently Chuckie hasn’t heard that DVRs have been on the market since 1999.

image

For Sen. Schumer’s benefit:

“DVR” stands for “Digital Video Recorder.” A DVR is basically a VCR that uses a hard drive instead of video tapes. It can be used to record, save, and play back television programs.

So, not to worry, Chuckie.

=============

P.S. I’ve wondered who besides me is watching in the afternoon.  Aren’t most people working then?

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Flashback: Turley shreds the obstruction charge…

January 21, 2020

Cutting to the chase, the Congressional Democrats impeached President Trump on 2 charges:

(1) Abuse of Power – for pressuring the Ukrainian President to investigate Joe & Hunter Biden, and

(2)  Obstruction of Congress – for withholding documents and blocking his aides’ testimony.

Let’s start with the obstruction charge.

Yes, Trump exercised “executive privilege” by blocking aides from testifying and by withholding documents.  No argument there.

But, the Schiff Team decided against going to the courts for rulings as to whether executive privilege was legal … or whether the testimony and documents should be delivered. Rather, they chose to start shouting “obstruction” and “abuse”..

But…

In his testimony during the impeachment “inquiry”, constitutional scholar Prof. Jonathan Turley told House Democrats that charging President Trump with  obstruction of justice for going to the courts over the subpoena of witnesses rather than surrendering executive privilege is itself an abuse of power.

His punch line: “It’s an abuse of Congressional power!”

click to view Turley’s 5-minute pitch
image

Here are the highlights from Turley’s statement… Read the rest of this entry »

About the GAO ruling …

January 20, 2020

Gotta admit that I was initially suckered in by this one:

image

I thought “Maybe they’ve got him with this one”.

That is. until the WSJ shredded the GAO opinion, arguing that:

  1. The GAO is not “independent”. It works at the behest of the legislative branch and is beholden to them.
  2. The GAO is not the authoritative word on legal issues. Its opinion are non-binding, are often over-ridden by the courts and are generally ignored.
  3. There are numerous examples  of GAO illegality opinions issued against the Obama administration.  They were routinely ignored by the Congress and the press.
  4. Regardless, the funds were released to the Ukrainians in the fiscal year for which they were authorized. Bottom line: no harm, no foul.

Here are the details….

Read the rest of this entry »

Why do students need a physical classroom?

January 16, 2020

An interesting op-ed in yesterday’s WSJ concludes that 2020 will be “the year the dam breaks for college education in America”.

image

The author notes  “the rising cost and slowing returns of traditional schooling, coupled with advances in and the growing acceptance of online education

Among the specifics…

Read the rest of this entry »

66% want John Bolton to testify … say, what?

January 15, 2020

Dems are touting a recent Quinnipiac University National Poll  that found  66% of Americans want John Bolton to testify at the Senate’s impeachment trial.

image

Hmmm.

Call me skeptical on that one.

Here’s why?

Read the rest of this entry »

Gallup: Conservatives regain plurality …

January 14, 2020

1.5 conservatives for every liberal.
=============

Gallup just published its 2019 Survey of Political Ideology.

The WSJ  headline:

“The share of Americans who say they are liberal declined in 2019.”

image

That’s true, but I think it masks some of the survey’s bigger points…

Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh look: Is college worth the price?

January 13, 2020

New Fed study raises some red flags
=============

Everybody knows that folks with college degrees outearn those without them, right?

In fact, a recent study by St. Louis Fed researchers confirms that college graduates earn nearly twice as much as their peers without a college degree.

image

But, the Fed researchers found that the degree-earners’ earnings aren’t translating at historic rates to higher wealth …

Read the rest of this entry »

Psych 101: The one thing that I remember…

January 10, 2020

Long ago, one of my students  observed that students  remember, at most,  one or two things from any course they take.

At the time, I would have bet the over on that one … at least for my courses!

Over time, I’ve concluded that he was more right than wrong and that I would have lost the bet.

Partial evidence: I sometimes self-test on what I remember from courses that I took long ago in college and grad school.

image

Fast forward to today.

One of my friend’s daughters is graduating today with an degree in psychology.

That prompted me to think back to my undergrad Psychology 101 course.

Here’s what’s stored in my long-term memory…

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that the a contestant can win on one show?

January 9, 2020

Here’s the solution to yesterday’s question.

=============

Note: Refer back to yesterdays post if you need a refresher on the question and the Jeopardy game essentials

See Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?

============

OK, let’s get started with the Jeopardy round’s gameboard:

image

For starters, assume that our contestant first-buzzes and correctly answers all of the gameboard’s questions.

Each category has questions totaling $3,000 … and there are 6 categories … so the gameboard has an “displayed total value” of $18,000.

That’s not the most that a contestant can win in that round because it doesn’t consider the impact of the hidden Daily Double square.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeopardy Math: What’s the most money that a contestant can win on one show?

January 8, 2020

You don’t need to be a Jeopardy fan to solve this math problem.  Try it!

==============

Last night, Jeopardy stated running a special tournament head-to-head matching former super-champs Ken Jennings (longest winning streak – 74 games), Brad Rutter (most winnings including special tournaments) and James Holzhauer.

James Holzhauer – a professional gambler –  won $2,714,416 in his 33 appearances. His $82,255 average daily winnings uber-eclipsed other Jeopardy contestants.

See our prior post How a “professional sports gambler” is disrupting Jeopardy for a recap of his strategy

I was chatting with a friend who is a Jeopardy fan and former insurance industry exec.  The question on the table was whether Jeopardy has an insurance policy to cover a runaway daily winner like Holzhauer.  If yes, what’s the insurance risk?

Analytically, that led to today’s math problem: What’s the most that a contestant can win on one show?

For reference, Holzhauer won more than $100,000 five times  … his best day ($131,127) is an all time Jeopardy record. A typical Jeopardy winner hauls in about $25,000 per show.

Today, I’ll set-up the problem.  Again, you don’t have to be a Jeopardy fan or know the rules.  I’ll tell you all that you need to know to solve the problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you can shovel coal, then you can learn to code … right?

January 7, 2020

Joe Biden has a remarkable ability to say really stupid stuff, doesn’t he?

His latest was telling a (small) crowd that thousands of jobs would be lost when he puts the brakes on the coal industry, but not to worry:

“If you can go down 300 or 3,000 feet in a mine, you can learn to code.  If you can shovel coal, you can program a computer.”

Say, what?

image

Sleepy Joe seems to overlook a few basic points…

Read the rest of this entry »

A Star is Born!

January 6, 2020

OK, I’m a doting grandfather and may be getting ahead of myself, but…

We’re very proud of 7-year-old Maddie who performed this Christmas season in the Nutcracker with The Washington Ballet.

image

Here’s the backstory in pictures…

Read the rest of this entry »

Shocker: Gallup says Obama, Trump Tie as Most Admired Man in 2019!

January 3, 2020

Who’s the man that Americans most admire?

According to Gallup — the most trusted polling organization — it’s a dead heat between former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump.

image
Photo source: Gallup

Both are “most admired” by 18% of Americans.

Trump’s score increased by 5 percentage points from 2018.

Obama’s inched down by a point over that period.

Pundits say that Trump’s increase is mostly attributable to the continuing economic boom

I’ll take that…

Obama’s decline?

In 2018, Obama was “most admired” by 39% of Dems … that number dropped to 35% in 2019.

Hypotheses include:

  • Out of sight, out of mind … happens to all former presidents.
  • Way more “hope” than “change”
  • Not progressive enough for 2019 Dems.

Gallup didn’t offer a point-of-view as to whether impeachment boosted or dampened Trump’s scores.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Happy New Year !

January 2, 2020

2019 summarized in 1 chart

==============

OK, call me a single issue voter if you want, but…

The S&P closed at 3,230.78.

image

That puts the S&P up about 34% from the markets Xmas 2018 “correction” when the Fed tried to inch up interest rates.

Breaking that down…

It took the market about 7 months to rebound about 24% and get back to the pre-correction high.  (See the green dotted line above).

Then, the market tacked on another 10% in the back half of 2019.

And, the market still seems to have some steam for 2020.

I wouldn’t mind another 34%.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Merry Christmas … 45 Lessons in Life

December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all !

This short video was sent to me by a friend a couple of years ago

It really resonated with me, so continuing a tradition,  I like to share it at Christmas time.

back with you after the New Year

* * * * *

         click to view  (best with audio on)
image

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma             >> Latest Posts

The perils of long-term financial planning…

December 24, 2019

A couple of months ago, we alerted readers that Congress was targeting frugal estate planner by considering an end to so-called “stretch” IRAs.

Well they did it.

While folks were fixated on a shiny object, Congress passed a massive spending bill … with some of the outrageous spending being funded by limiting IRA benefits..

Why’s that important?

Here’s our original post, in case your memory needs a jogging…

============

According to a WSJ recap…

Conventional financial planning wisdom has been to put as much money as possible into IRAs and 401Ks … starting early, maxing plan contributions, benefiting from company matches, growing accounts tax-free … and, if you don’t end up spending all of the dough in retirement, pass anything left in the pot to heirs.

image

While that basic logic still holds, Congress is moving to throw a monkey wrench into the works by substantially increasing the tax burden on heirs.

Here’s what’s going on…

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading minds to discern intentions…

December 23, 2019

An opinion piece by Sharyl Attkisson in The Hill titled “Democrats can read minds” crystalized something that’s been bothering me for awhile.

Last week, IG Horowitz outlined 17 (or more) mega-errors in the FBI FISA process.

image

Though all of the miscues were material and in the direction of securing warrants to surveil Trump campaigners, Horowitz asserted that he didn’t have testimonial or evidential proof (i.e. “smoking guns”) that the “mistakes” were the result of political bias.

Said differently, Horowitz refused to draw a conclusion re: motivation because “I can’t read minds”.

Fair enough.

The current FBI / FISA situation was reminiscent of Comey’s press conference re: Hillary’s transgressions…

Read the rest of this entry »

From imminent existential threat to our national security and democracy to …

December 20, 2019

image

I’m hopelessly confused …

The “Intelligence Community” IG said that the whistleblower’s hearsay narrative must be considered immediately or the nation would perish.

Nadler & Schiff said that there wasn’t time to let the courts rule on constitutional issues.

Pelosi said that with each tick of the clock our national security and democracy itself were threatened.

The case was proven … uncontested … unanimous among disgruntled state department bureaucrats and Trump-hating law professors.

So, it was a sad, solemn day — Trump had to be impeached along partisan party lines … now!

============

Then fast forward to the next morning.

No, we’re not going wheel our articles of impeachment and empty box evidence over to the Senate.

That can wait until after our Christmas break.

Say, what?

This has certainly gone from the sublime to the ridiculous at warp speed.

  • Def’n: A change from something very good or serious to something silly or unimportant.

So, should I fret that the world is crashing … or chill knowing that it was (another) hyperventilation-inducing hoax.

Somebody help me with this….

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

“If you’re going to shoot the king, don’t miss”

December 19, 2019

On a party line vote, Dems declare war (and it’s going to be ugly)
=============

image

Last night, there was a remarkable split screen on TV that you may have missed  if you were glued to CNN or MSNBC.

On one side of the TV screen was the Congress voting along partisan party lines to impeach President Trump for going 61 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

On the other side was a shot of Trump holding an arena-jammed “in your face“ rally in Michigan — a battleground election state — both figuratively and, now literally..

  • Note: Specifically, the rally was held in Battle Creek — the home district of former Republican Congressman Justin Amash who is rumored to be a member of the Dems prosecution team for the Senate trial “since he is able to speak to conservatives”

The split screen immediately brought to mind the admonition commonly attributed to Machiavelli:

“If you’re going to shoot the king, don’t miss”.

Even the Dems had to know that there aren’t 67 Senators who will vote to remove Trump based on the Dems constitutionally shaky articles of impeachment and a pile of hearsay dished by a stream of dismayed and defrocked state department shills.

So, why did they do it?

Surely, the couldn’t have thought that Trump would just retreat to a shell and politely watch the process evolve.

Haven’t the Dems read “The Prince”?

It’s going to get ugly.

==============

For historical accuracy: Though commonly attributed, Machiavelli didn’t really  write those words in “The Prince”.

Here’s the story…..

Read the rest of this entry »

Ken’s Political Engagement Index — the PEI

December 18, 2019

Though trained as an econometrician, I’m a simple guy at heart … always looking for a simple (but information-rich) indicator of what’s happening.

For example, my UEI (Ultimate Economic Index) is based on how long it takes to receive a non-Prime Amazon “free shipping” order.

Let’s do another one…

There are lots of polls done that try to measure how engaged or enthusiastic members of a political party are at any point in time … or respective of current events.

My PEI (Political Engagement Index) cut to to the chase).

I look to cable TV ratings … how right-leaning FOX is doing relative to left-leaning MSNBC and CNN … or, more specifically, how Hannity is doing compared to Maddow.

In “normal” times — i.e. no frenzied events like an impeachment — Hannity and Maddow jockey for the top spot.

Using ratings as a PEI, look what happened last week during last week’s Nadler hearings.

image
Data Source

FOX snagged the top 5 slots … led by Hannity and Tucker.

Look specifically at the Hannity – Maddow match-up.  Maddow trailed Hannity by a statistically significant 33%.

My read: As the Dems case for impeachment weakened and weakened … and, as ardent Dems began to realize that they were on a fool’s mission with certainty that Trump wouldn’t be bounced from office …  Dem viewers’ interest in the proceedings waned.

Looks to me like the GOP is more energized than the Dems right now.

Maybe love will trump hate after all.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Still again, thanks Chairman Nadler.

December 16, 2019

Polling the public: the nays have it.

==============

OK, the Judicial Committee voted allong part lines to impeach … and Nadler published a 500 page report defending the decision.

With those acts in the book, there should be a public groundswell for impeachment, right?

Nope.

image

According to the RCP poll-of-polls, the lines have crossed and opposition to impeachment / removal now has a plurality:

Now, 46.7% support impeachment … but,  oppose impeachment … 47.3% oppose it.

For the first time, opposition has a plurality.

Nice job Schiff & Nadler!

===============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Ken’s UEI (Ultimate Economic Indicator) … the real gauge of the economy.

December 16, 2019

Recently, I placed an Amazon order for a pair of shoes … checked ‘free shipping’ (not Prime) … and it took 10 days for the order to arrive on my doorstep.

Why is that important”

There are a lot of indicators bandied about to ‘prove’ how well or poorly the economy is doing.

There’s GDP, unemployment, CPI, and many, many other metrics.

Sometimes they provide a consistent view of the economy … sometimes they contradict.

image

Well, I now rely on my Ultimate Economic Indicator (UEI). An indisputable measure of economic activity …

Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks again, Chairman Nadler!

December 13, 2019

A milestone today in the RCP poll-of-polls

Support for impeachment and removal has dropped … opposition has increased … and, for the first time, support / opposition is now dead even.

image

Pelosi said no impeachment without bipartisan Congressional support and a groundswell of public support.

Well, looks like it’ll be partisan support and bipartisan opposition in Congress … and by the time the vote is taken next week, a plurality of public opposition to impeachment and removal.

Hmm.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Are you doing better than you were 3 years ago?

December 12, 2019

The classic Ronald Reagan campaign question seems likely to be resurrected in the 2020 election.

And, guess what?

Based on a recent Quinnipiac poll

A majority — 57% of registered voters — think they’re better off now.

The breakdown: 87% of Republicans and 54% of independents  think they’re doing better today … only 1/3 of  Democrats share the joy.

Hmm.

==============

A couple of other interesting cuts …

A higher proportion of younger registered voters (think: millennials) think they’re doing better today (66%) … but less than half (47%) of seniors feel the same way.

image

=============

Two-thirds of whites think they’re doing better today … half of Hispanics think they’re doing better … but less than 1/3 of blacks think they’re doing better.

image

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

I guess the Macedonian “content farms” are in the clear, right?

December 11, 2019

The Dems are now arguing that — since the Russians hacked the 2016 election — then it is simply a conspiracy theory to think that the Ukrainians did, too.

Apparently, there can only be one designated “meddler”.

My question: Using the same logic, aren’t the Macedonians innocent, too?

========

In case you’ve forgotten about the Macedonians, let’s flash back to one of Hillary’s first book launches…

Remember when HRC perched on a faux-throne at CodeCon and the Javits Center … spilled the beans on why she lost?

image

Of course, there are the usual villains: Comey, the Russians, WikiLeaks, deplorables, etc.

But, she’s also starting to turn on her support base: the DNC (bad data, no money, no ground game), mainstream media (for disclosing that she had classified docs on her server), women (both suburban and rural, urbans were ok), and low-information voters (her base !).

My personal favorite: “content farms in Macedonia” … apparently there’s an army of tech savvy social media writers based in Macedonia who turned their cannons on her.

Really?

=========
Here’s a current list of culprits and ill-wishers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Trump contemptuous of Congress…

December 10, 2019

Just like the vast majority of Americans !

============

Here’s a set of stats to keep in mind when you watch or hear about Nadler’s impeachment hearings…

Trump has a 43.7% job approval.

Pelosi is at 37.1% favorability.

And, my favorite: only 26% have a “positive opinion of” Adam Schiff.

image

Surprisingly, Schiff low-ball 26% pulls up the Congressional numbers ..

According to the RCP poll-of-polls, only 22% of Americans approve of the job that Congress is doing.

image

Seems like contempt of Congress is even more widely spread than Trump-hating.

=============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Thank you, Chairman Nadler!

December 9, 2019

Last week, we posted survey results seeming to indicate that the uptick in impeachment opposition that was increasing during the hearings …  was dissipating during the Congressional Thanksgiving recess.

At the time, I opined: I’m glad that Jerry Nadler is going to restart hearings and start drafting articles of impeachment. For sure, that’ll rally the opposition.

If you’ve been glued to CNN or MSNBC, all you’ve been hearing is how the 3 Trump-hating law professors hit it out of the park with their bombshell testimony … and, surely, support for impeachment would now sky-rocket.

  • Note: I know that’s true b/c I’m a channel switcher.

But, as is usually the case, facts (not opinions), get in the way of the Trump-hating narrative.

image

Based on the most recent RCP poll-of-polls, after the Nadler & Eggheads show, opposition to the impeachment inquiry process turned up again … and support for the inquisition dropped.

So, the gap has narrowed … to now be within the polls margin of error.

More hearings this week … that should close the gap even further … and keep impeachment support well below Pelosi’s stated requirement of “compelling public support and bipartisan Congressional approval.”

As a self-proclaimed devout Catholic who prays every day for President Trump, she wasn’t lying, was she?

==============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Cognitive biases: Falling for false expertise …

December 6, 2019

This week’s “constitutional” hearings reminded me:

People don’t naturally know who they should listen to.
==========

Worse yet, in a majority of instances when a reliable expert is identified, people end up following somebody else’s advice.

That’s what Univ. of Utah’s management professor Bryan Bonner concludes.

image

==========

Bonner observes that rather than identifying advisers with actual competence, people habitually fall for spurious “proxies of expertise”.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Ramblings of a basement blogger’ … say, what?

December 5, 2019

OK, maybe I’m being hyper-sensitive, but…

A couple of weeks ago, we posted the sad story of Maria Yovanovitch — who Trump “re-posted” (i.e. fired) from her position as ambassador to Ukraine — and “relegated her” to a teaching gig at Georgetown (at full government rank and pay).

Sensitive-me pointed out that when I got an offer to teach at Georgetown after 2+ decades in corporate and consulting jobs, I considered it an opportunity to change careers and pursue a life dream … I didn’t think that I was being relegated to to some junk heap job.

===============

Fast forward to yesterday…

Read the rest of this entry »

Burst the bubble !

December 4, 2019

High time to decentralize the government … at least geographically
============

I’ve long been a proponent of moving some (or many) Federal government agencies out of Washington to other locales … e.g. cities & states that have been upended by globalization-induced deindustrialization.

image

The idea has often been floated, but rejected.

The usual arguments: (1) Gov’t employees — especially departmental honchos — need to be geographically co-located in order to coordinate services and activities across agencies (2) The gov’t has already amassed a formidable network of real estate holdings in DC (think: offices) (3) there is a massive organization of gov’t employees (note that I try to avoid the term “government workers”)  up and operating. 

But, the idea of decentralizing the Federal government seems to be gaining some momentum…

Read the rest of this entry »

Smart states voted for Hillary, dumb states voted for Trump … right?

December 3, 2019

A friend sent along a study by an organization called SafeHome that ranks states by their relative “smartness”.

More specifically, the study used a formula that “takes into account college degrees, high school graduation, professional or advanced degrees and test scores to create a smartest states ranking.”

So, “smartness” isn’t just native IQ, it’s opportunity and achievement, too.

Without quibbling over the criteria or the formula, here is the answer:

imageclick to see the state by state details

I suspect that my friend was multi-motivated, sending me the study because (1) it’s interesting, (2) New Jersey — her home state — topped the list, and (3) it would prove that smart voted for HRC and dumb voted for DJT.

Of course, I had to drill down to see if #3 is true…

Read the rest of this entry »

Thank God, the impeachment hearings are starting up again…

December 2, 2019

There was practically no T-Day chatter among our friends & family re: the impeachment hearings.

It wasn’t out of respect for the holiday, it was pure apathy re: impeachment and the Schiff inquisition.  Vast majority didn’t watch any of the hearings … and, flat out didn’t care.

So, I was surprised when I checked the polls to see how the numbers are moving.

image

Bottom line:

According to the RCP poll-of-polls … since Congress went on recess (i.e. no hearings held) … support for the hearings increased a bit … support is up by a point, opposition is down by a point.

Could be that Dem Congressmen were able to rally the cause when they went back home for the recess … or it could just be rounding error … or it could just be that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Presuming the latter, I’m glad that Jerry Nadler is going to restart hearings and start drafting articles of impeachment.

For sure, that’ll rally the opposition.

===============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Happy Thanksgiving !

November 27, 2019

image

* * * * * 
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

What’s the ROI of a college education?

November 26, 2019

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently published a study on the ROI of college educations.

Billed as a “first try”, the report estimates the Net Present Value of a college education — taking into account the “price” of a college’s degree, the interest on student debt incurred, likely future earnings and the time value of money.

image

Among the reports key conclusions….

Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback: Obama schools Romney that “Russia isn’t a threat”

November 25, 2019

Watching the Impeachment Inquiry last week I was struck by Dem witnesses’ hyperbolic concern about Russia.

Just a minute guys…

Remember the 2012 Presidential debates?

A key moment was when President Obama ridiculed Gov. Romney’s knowledge of foreign affairs.

Given the current hysteria over Russia, the clip is a classic …  try to stay calm when you watch it

=====

Here’s more that’ll should make you scream …

Read the rest of this entry »

So, are the impeachment hearings moving the needle?

November 22, 2019

Short answer: Yes … to Trump’s benefit.
=============

Let’s ignore the partisan punditry for a moment and take another look at the numbers.

As we’ve posted before, TV ratings for the hearings have been dismal.

That’s no surprise since 60% of voters say that they are less interested in impeachment than are the politicos and the media … since the hearings are generally dull and confusing to most people … and since the hearings are broadcast during the day — when most people are at work.

So, people who do have an interest, resort to their usual partisan sources of news.

OK, so how are the numbers moving?

==============

Let’s starts with opinions re: the inquiry proceedings themselves…

image

According to the RCP poll-of-polls, support for Schiff’s impeachment inquiry has slipped from 51% to 48% … and opposition to the inquisition (err, inquiry) has increased from 42% to about 45%.

So, support has gone from 9% net favorable to 3% net favorable.

Still, support is net favorable … but it’s less than a majority …marginally net favorable … and decreasingly so (i.e. the trend is unfavorable.

What about views on impeachment itself?

Read the rest of this entry »

The question that I’d ask at the impeachment hearings…

November 21, 2019

“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”
=============

The hearings have been so predictable and dull that — when I’ve been watching — I’ve played the game “What would I ask?”.

Yesterday, I watched some of the testimony of Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

Ms. Cooper seems like a serious, well-intended government bureaucrat.  I don’t have a beef with her specifically.

But, she prefaced several of her answers with a couple of recurring phrases: “My staff does that; “I’d have to ask my staff”; “that’s outside my purview”; etc.

Her answers flashed me back to a classic scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s only a minute long and worth the time … guaranteed: it’ll change the way you watch the hearings

click to view
image

When interviewing a “customer specifications analyst”, a pair of efficiency experts — the Bobs — laser in on the most fundamental question…

==============

“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”

When watching the hearings, just substitute the words “the US government” for “Initech” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

All of the witnesses:

  • Seem to have very narrow specialties.
  • The specialties seem to be duplicated in several departments.
  • The specialists in each of the departments seem to spend a lot of time in meetings, on the phone and at dinners … often with each other, honing their groupthink.
  • Nobody seems to have authority to actually do anything other than generate make-work for their staffs.
  • All seem to have locked up government paychecks and benefits for life.

May just be me, but the words “bloat”, “inefficiency” and “ineffectiveness” keep popping in my mind.

Where are the Bobs when you need them?

============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

Before climate change, there was the “Population Bomb”.

November 21, 2019

And, there are remarkable similarities.
============

Recently, in one of her articulated streams of consciousness, AOC warned that we all would be toast in 12 years if global warming wasn’t arrested.

Time to metal-cube our SUVs and mass-slaughter the bovine-methane creatures, right?

Well, not so fast.

While AOC’s warning may come to fruition, I’m betting the over on the 12 years … in part, because it fits a pattern of hysterical unrealized doomsday predictions.

For example, circa. 1970, Prof. Paul Ehrlich  (Stanford University) wrote Malthusian-inspired book: The Population Bomb. The book became a runaway “scientific” best-seller.

image
Smithonian.com

Ehrlich warned that because of unchecked population growth:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over.

Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.

All of us will face mass starvation on a dying planet.

While their were some deniers, demographers agreed almost unanimously with Ehrlich’s doomsday prediction ….

Read the rest of this entry »

CBS tunes out the Schiff Show … resumes regular soap operas.

November 20, 2019

And, public support for impeachment continues to erode.
=============

Earlier this week, we posted re: the dismal viewership the Dems’ impeachment hearings are getting.

Want an unmistakable indicator?

Well, CBS became the first major network to face reality — that nobody was watching the tedious hearings — and switched back to its usual soap operas, i.e. from one soap opera to another.

image

More important, the Pelosi-dreamed groundswell of support for impeachment sure doesn’t seem to be materializing…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Reduced to teaching at Georgetown” … say, what?

November 19, 2019

There was a part of Amb. Yovanovitch’s that made my jaw drop.

When the Dem counsel was prying into her firing, he was obviously trying his level best to get her to cry … “how did you feel?”; “what was the impact on your family?”; “can you describe how distraught you were?”, etc.

Boo-hoo …

image

In my business career, I was sold twice to new owners … and  “rationalized”, “synergized” and reassigned many times during internal regime changes.

So, I have zero sympathy when a “paying job for life” diplomat gets reassigned when a new sheriff comes to town.

But, that’s not what stopped me in my tracks …

Read the rest of this entry »

So, is the Dem’s impeachment action gaining widespread support?

November 18, 2019

In a word: NO!
=============

Pundits and politicos on the left are shouting BOMBSHELL! BOMBSHELL!! BOMBSHELL!!!

Those on the right are declaring: “nothingburger”.

So, what’s the answer?

image

Let’s look at some numbers…

==============

“Fan interest” for the televised hearings is pretty low.

Nielsen says that just under 14 million watched the first day of hearings.

That’s down from the 20 million that tuned into the Kavanaugh hearings … and only about 1% of the number of 2016 voters.

============

And, what impact are the hearings having on voters?

Well, according to left-leaning FiveThirtyEight, support for impeachment FELL a bit during week one of hearings. (See chart above)

Support for impeachment is now a mere 2 percentage points higher that opposition … but, at 47.7%, it’s less than a majority. 

And, according to RCP, approval for the inquiry process itself slid during the week of hearings … dipping below 50% for the first time in weeks.

image

Bottom line: Pelosi said “no impeachment unless there was bipartisan Congressional support and widespread public sentiment.

Doesn’t look like Inquiry will meet those hurdles…

==============

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

>> Latest Posts

#HomaFiles

More: Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 15, 2019

A survey of 700 schools answers the question.
===============

In a prior post, we outlined the criteria and method that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) used to assess whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

image

In a nutshell, ACTA researchers culled through over 700 schools’ course catalogs and web sites to determine what courses were being offered and, more important, which courses were required of all students.

Specifically, they investigated whether undergraduates are gaining a reasonable college-level introduction in seven core subject areas:

  1. Composition & argumentation
  2. Literature and critical thinking
  3. Foreign language & culture
  4. U.S. government & history
  5. Economics: Macro, micro, behavioral
  6. Mathematics, logic & computer science
  7. Science & scientific experimentation.

Here’s what they found …

Read the rest of this entry »