Trump’s tailwind in 3 charts.

February 17, 2020

I get bewildered when I hear the Dem presidential candidates whine about how bad things are going and how bad off Americans are.

I guess that they need to keep harping on the theme — and stimulating some despair —  because Americans seem to think they’re doing ok.

Who says?

According to Gallup, “Satisfaction With Personal Life” is at an all time high 90% … up from 78% during the Obama years.

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Hmm.

And, things get even better….
Read the rest of this entry »

How Biden & Klobuchar could both become president.

February 14, 2020

Simple: Biden should pre-announce he’s a 1-termer and name Amy as his running mate … and she should gracefully bow out of the 2020 presidential race and run as Joe’s VP.
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I hate to give the Dems useful advice, but…

Imagine a Joe Biden that is old but not cognitively challenged … and is nice and well-intended, not influenced by Ukrainian bribes laundered through his ne’er-do-well son.

Or, at least imagine that Biden’s above shortcomings could be sufficiently minimized or obscured so that voters revert to “It’s just Joe being Joe” and give him a pass.

If that were the case, the Dems dream ticket might be Biden-Klobuchar.

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Here’s my logic…

Read the rest of this entry »

Adam Corolla explains why LA doesn’t act on its homeless crisis.

February 13, 2020

Adam Corolla is a comedian and podcaster … a very clever guy who sees things that other people miss and presents his insights in his comedy.

He was recently on the Tucker Carlson show, opining about the homeless crisis in LA.

I thought the segment was both entertaining and insightful.

Here’s a link to the full 10-minute interview … which, in my opinion, is worth viewing.

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And, here are a couple of snippets to tease your interest…

Read the rest of this entry »

So, what happened to Biden and Warren?

February 12, 2020

Both Warren & Biden got smoked in NH last nite … they finished out of the money (4th & 5th place) … each got less than 10% of the vote … and neither scored any delegates.

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Pundits are coming up with many convoluted explanations, but the answers are really quite simple.

For Biden, the answer can be summed up in one word:impeachment.

Not his, Trump’s.

As we previously posted, Looks like Dems aimed at Trump but hit Biden…

I get it that Pelosi got pressured by AOC and her extreme liberal squad and by the most avid Trump-haters in her caucus.

Didn’t she realize that Biden would get caught in the crossfire? Or, was she just ok with sacrificing his candidacy?

Either way, Biden was toast from the get-go.

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In my opinion, Warren’s rapid slide can be traced to a single incident that went viral…

Read the rest of this entry »

Who wants to be president?

February 11, 2020

Or, more to the point: why would anybody want the job?
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The Iowa debacle didn’t surprise me. Maybe its an omen.

The morning after the last pre-Iowa Democratic debate, James Freeman of the WSJ asked: Doesn’t anybody want to be President?

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Freeman opined:

Six competitors took the stage at the Democratic presidential debate, but  nobody wanted to compete.

Given a final opportunity to challenge rivals before Democrats begin selecting the party’s nominee, the candidates looked just as bored as the television viewers who were treated to stale recitations of campaign talking points.

The reasonable conclusion is that both of America’s major political parties will be relying on Donald Trump to drive turnout in November.

I think Freeman may be selling Bernie short — that guy wants the job — but he’s on the right track.

In fact, I’d reframe the question and broaden it beyond the Dems roster of candidates.

For the the life of me, I can’t understand why anybody — including Donald J. Trump — would want the job rolling into 2021.

Here’s my thinking…

Read the rest of this entry »

Romney 2016: “If Trump is the GOP nominee …”

February 10, 2020

Some dire predictions from our national arbiter of morality.

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At the risk of piling on …

Last week, we flashed back to Romney’s 2016 public diatribe against then nomination candidate Trump.

Click to see a  3-minute video summary  or a transcript of the speech

Of course, he dwelled on Trump’s boorish personal behavior (as if that wasn’t already evident to all) and his choppy business record (with emphasis on the entrepreneurial  failures, e.g. Trump University and the Atlantic City casino).

And, he made a couple of dire predictions.

First, he unequivocally predicted: He will lose to Hillary Clinton.

Hmmm.

I guess his logic was: “I was a better candidate than Trump and I lost, so …”
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And, if Trump does get elected …

Read the rest of this entry »

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can End Up WithTofu

February 7, 2020

Was Biden a victim of the process or simply an awful candidate?
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This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original WSJ article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

But, the analysis has current relevancy given the Iowa (partial) results.

Let’s look at how election processes influence results…

Read the rest of this entry »

Romney touted his deep Christian values …

February 6, 2020

But forgot to mention how much he hates Trump.

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Romney’s “guilty” vote should have been expected.

Listening to his near tearful rationalization of his vote, my mind immediately flashed back to his 2016 unforced diatribe against Trump.

Though Romney wasn’t a presidential candidate at the time, he felt it was his moral responsibility to give a speech to call out Trump.

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In a nutshell Romney opined: “Trump is a phony and a fraud lacking the temperament or judgement to be President” and “If his economic plans are implemented America will go into a deep recession.”

He could have stated his deep Christian assessment more simply as: “I hate Trump.”

I thought he was warming to Trump when he groveled for the Secretary of State job.

When Trump rejected him, the die was cast.

Revenge was certain … it just needed an opportunity.

Imagine how frustrating it was for Romney hear Trump recount his many presidential accomplishments during the State of the Union.

Well, Pelosi-Schiff-Nadler provided the opportunity … and Romney took it.

His vote really didn’t matter other than depriving Trump the chance to use the phrase “on a strictly partisan vote”.

It’ll be interesting to see how long his moral courage will be touted by the Dems who previously called him a racist, misogynist, animal abuser and corporate looter.

My bet: He’ll be a quickly fading Dem hero … hours or days … not months or years.

Romney is trying to claim the mantle that Comey forfeited as as America’s self-proclaimed moral arbitrator.

My question to him: When did hate become a Christian value?

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Looks like Dems aimed at Trump but hit Biden…

February 5, 2020

Two charts tell the story.
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Yesterday, as the Dems’ impeachment gambit continued to fizzle towards its inevitable conclusion, Gallup reported that:

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.

His 94% approval rating among Republicans is up 6 percentage points from early January.  His 42% approval rating among independents is up 5 points, over the same timeframe.

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Rather than being a casualty of the Dems’ flailing impeachment attempt, Trump seems to be a beneficiary.

But, what about good old Sleepy Joe Biden?

Read the rest of this entry »

Bottom line: Trump was less guilty than Obama, Clinton and the Bidens.

February 3, 2020

OK, I’m willing to stipulate that Trump pressured Ukraine — by throttling some congressionally approved military aid — to get European nations to step-up with more aid (i.e. burden-sharing) … and to investigate the Bidens.

But, Schiff & Nadler weren’t able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump wanted the investigation to undercut Biden’s presidential campaign — versus legitimately investigating a corrupt act … nor were they able to demonstrate that the check-cutting delay created a security risk for either the U.S. or  Ukraine.

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And, Trump’s transgressions were shown to pale in comparison to those  perpetrated by Obama, Clinton and the Bidens … all of whom skated free.

Let me explain…

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Let’s start with Obama.

To appease the Russians, Obama withdrew support for the Polish missile defense system that was being developed … and ceded the strategically pivotal Crimea peninsula to the Russians by refusing to provide the Ukranians with lethal defensive munitions.

Disclaimer: My ancestry is 1/2 Polish, 1/2 Ukranian … so I take both acts of neglect a bit personally.

I was delighted that during the Schiff investigation the State Department witnesses had to admit that that Trump was providing  Ukraine more substantial military aid than Obama — mostly in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles … and, that the delay in military aid didn’t have any material impact, e.g. no Javelins were delayed since they were previously funded under a separate program (that some of the House Managers voted AGAINST).

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Then, there’s the  Steele Dossier situation … funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

Though going through a couple of laundering channels, they engaged a foreign agent (Steele) to dig up dirt on Trump … by soliciting “information” from Russian sources.

Of course, we all know how that turned out.

Falsified FISA requests opened the door to spying on the Trump campaign.

Any reasonable person might conclude that was engaging foreigners to interfere with a U.S. election, right?

I loved it when House Manager Jefferies stammered through a tortured rationale that said, in essence, that all they did was “purchase some opposition research’ … no harm no foul.

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And finally, the Bidens.

As I’ve argued before, if Burisima had handed Sleepy Joe a suitcase containing a million dollars to get the prosecutor fired, even Chuck Todd would have to admit it was a bribe.

My view: there is insignificant difference between a suitcase full of loot and a million dollar board seat for a family member who lacked any relevant experience or expertise … and who only attend a couple of board-related events.

The latter is just a lightly laundered bribe paid in installments rather than as a direct lump sum.

The Bidens are guilty as sin … and Trump had authority and responsibility to have their corruption investigated.

What I love is that the Biden case is so easy for everyone to understand: son gets a million bucks, dad fires prosecutor. Case closed.

Compare that to the tangled web of suspicions, inferences, and presumptions that the House witnesses provided.

When pressed, all those witnesses denied having any direct evidence of an impeachable crime.

Close that case, too.

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Why the Senate won’t be hearing additional witnesses…

January 31, 2020

OK, it’s coming down to whether or not to call witnesses.

My take: No way.

For many reasons, the GOP will stick together and, by majority vote, the Senate won’t call additional witnesses.

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Here’s my thinking….

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading minds to discern intentions…

January 30, 2020

OK, Trump delayed aid to Ukraine and encouraged Zelensky to look into the Biden’s million dollar fauz-job scheme.

But, did he delay aid it because (1) he didn’t think other countries — more dependent on peace in Ukraine — were paying their fair share, or (2) he thought that a VP taking a million dollar bribe — albeit disguised — was corrupt, or (3) he was shaking at the prospects of facing Sleepy Joe in the election and wanted to kneecap him, or (4)  some combination of the above.

The question boils down to how can you discern a person’s intentions?

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Re: witnesses … maybe Maxine Waters has the right idea.

January 29, 2020

Punt the ball back to the Congress!
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First, a couple of disclaimers:

  1. I’m neither a lawyer nor a Constitutional scholar.
  2. I think that Maxine Waters is a complete idiot.

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That said, Waters may have inadvertently provided some air cover for the “pivotal 4 moderate GOP Senators” … permitting them to stop wringing their hands … to vote no on witnesses … and to vote for acquittal.

Here’s my rationale…

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First, what’s the “Water’s Doctrine”?

Simply stated, she has stated publicly  that if Trump is acquitted, the Congress will just reload and issue new articles of impeachment.

Brilliant, Maxine.

So what should the Senate do?

Simply stated, the GOP should vote no on additional witnesses (the source of this week’s hand wringing)  … and vote to acquit based on the evidence provided by the Congress.

The underlined words are key.

Based on the evidence Congress turned over to the Senate … Trump  will be acquitted.

Everybody knows that.

If the Congressional majority really believes that more witnesses (Bolton, the Bidens, etc.) are case-breaker for them … then they should reconvene Schiff / Nadler.

Their “Impeachment Version 1.1” could start with the calling of Bolton and other witnesses.  Something they should have done in the first place.

Yeah, Trump will claim executive privilege — with a stronger hand since the issue has been thoroughly hashed out in the Senate “trial” … and Congress will have to appeal to the Courts.

That’s OK … in fact, it’s better than ok because it’s the proper process.

After the court rules, the Congress can proceed accordingly and — if they get the smoking gun that their frantically searching for — they can issue new, more specific articles of impeachment.

Note: Since impeachment is a political process, not a legal process, I don’t think that double jeopardy rules apply.  But again, I’m not a lawyer or Constitutional scholar.

Of course, that won’t happen.

They won’t find a smoking gun … and the clock will likely run out on them.

What’s the downside?

Trump is branded “an impeached president” for life (<= as declared by Pelosi) … but he can boast that he was acquitted.  Win-win.

The “do nothing” Congress can continue doing nothing except chasing its collective tails for the rest of its term … which, incidentally, I think is a good thing.

The Senate can get back to doing its “work of the people” … including, appointing more Federal judges.

Sounds like a perfect solution to me.

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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

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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.

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

It says it all.

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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

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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.

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Nobody that I know is watching…

January 24, 2020

… and, they’re not alone!

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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
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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:

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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”.

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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.

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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.
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Gallup just published its 2019 Survey of Political Ideology.

The WSJ  headline:

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

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Happy New Year !

January 2, 2020

2019 summarized in 1 chart

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

The S&P closed at 3,230.78.

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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%.

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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

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         click to view  (best with audio on)
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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…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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

December 20, 2019

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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!

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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….

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“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)
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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.

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

Here’s the story…..

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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.

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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.

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Still again, thanks Chairman Nadler.

December 16, 2019

Polling the public: the nays have it.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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

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Trump contemptuous of Congress…

December 10, 2019

Just like the vast majority of Americans !

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

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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.
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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.

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

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‘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.

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Fast forward to yesterday…

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