The politics of the Supreme Court…

October 8, 2018

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

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

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

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Source

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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

October 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

October 5, 2018

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

 

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Let’s unpack that offer (demand?)…

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

October 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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Survey Results

Drilling down, the results get more interesting…

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Poll: So, should Kavanaugh be confirmed or not?

October 4, 2018

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

Penn’s overall conclusion:

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

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         Source: CAPS data; Penn analysis

Let’s drill down on the data logic…

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NPR: Dem’s enthusiasm advantage has evaporated.

October 4, 2018

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

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

The obvious underlying force: adversity to President Trump.

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

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

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

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Survey Results

Recent events have closed that gap…

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What’s up with Dr. Ford’s parents?

October 3, 2018

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

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

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

Kavanaugh’s parents were prominent.

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

But, not Dr. Ford’s parents.

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

Say, what?

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

Dr. Ford answered emphatically: “NO !”

Why is that?

 

Read the rest of this entry »

She lied! Under oath, about polygraphs…

October 3, 2018

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

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source

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

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

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

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

Here’s the story…

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Here’s a gut-check question for you …

October 2, 2018

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

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Consider this scenario…

Read the rest of this entry »

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

October 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

I journeyed to Happy Valley…

October 1, 2018

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

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

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

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Oh no: PETA says “stop eating crabs”

September 30, 2018

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

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

Good fun, No harm, right?

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click to view news clip

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Well. PETA doesn’t see it that way…

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

September 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

BINGO!

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

Let’s drill down to some takeaways…

Read the rest of this entry »

Where’s the beef?

September 27, 2018

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

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

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More specifically, here’s what I expect…

Read the rest of this entry »

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

September 27, 2018

Let’s stick to the facts:

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

They conducted a second interview.

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

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

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According to NBC News, Democrats reacted predictably:

“They are desperately trying to muddy the waters.

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

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

To that, Sen. Oren Hatch tweeted:

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

click to view the video version

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

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

Hmmm…

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Avenatti jumps the shark !

September 27, 2018

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

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

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

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How does she know?

Read the rest of this entry »

The politics of the Supreme Court…

September 26, 2018

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

Let’s put things in context…

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

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

image_thumb[5]
Source

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Did Kavanaugh make a fatal gaffe during the FOX interview?

September 25, 2018

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

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

Here’s the relevant part of the transcript:

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

I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Where in the world is Dr. Ford?

September 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

That would flatten out the surf…

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

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett !

September 24, 2018

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

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

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

But, these new accusations are a game-changer.

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

OMG: Is Spartacus’ presidential bid doomed?

September 21, 2018

By his own account, Booker is guilty!
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Here’s a gut-check for for Democratic moralists.

I initially wrote “integrity check” but quickly realized how silly that would sound.

Let’s assume for a moment that Kavanaugh is guilty of the unproven and unsubstantiated allegations.

And, let’s accept the premise that unwanted groping is – at any age – attempted rape.

And, let’s conclude that attempted rape is disqualifying for the highest offices in the U.S. government.

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OK, that disqualifies Kavanaugh for the SCOTUS.

But, it also disqualifies Sen. Booker for the presidency.

Here’s the story

Read the rest of this entry »

Scientifically speaking, should the accuser be expected to remember when and where?

September 20, 2018

First, the disclaimers: On balance, I support Kavanaugh for the SCOTUS (though he wasn’t my first choice) … and, I’m not a psychologist.

But, over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading on how  brains work … largely focused on how students students learn – cognitively and mechanically.

So, politics aside, I found the accuser’s story (as reported to the WaPo) to be curious … mostly because of the self-admitted memory gaps … e.g what year the alleged  incident took place? where the incident took place? who else was present?

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The cable coverage has been predictably biased on the question of how much an accuser should be able to recall … cherry-picking folks who fit their respective narratives.

CNN/MSNBC have rolled out experts arguing that memories of traumatic events are usually vague, fragmented and incomplete. Think: fog of war.

FOX has presented rape victims who claim precise recall of all sights, sounds and smells from start-to-finish. Think: mechanical evidence gathering.

Note: I do channel-switch to hear both sides.  If you don’t, try it to get a more complete picture.

I wanted a more scientific treatment, so I did some digging.

Here’s what I found…

Read the rest of this entry »

A simple, fast way to move forward on the Kavanaugh allegations…

September 19, 2018

Let’s recap …

The Dems wanted her story told.

GOP said okay. Put it on next Monday’s schedule – public or private.

Dems say: not until a full FBI investigation is conducted.

Say, what?

FBI has already said that’s outside their scope and isn’t going to happen.

So, what to do?

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Here’s my idea…

Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

September 19, 2018

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

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And, the result …

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Shocker: Obama’s “I’m back” speech gets fact-checked…

September 18, 2018

….and, the results may surprise some of you!
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Kast week, breaking from the historical precedent, former-President Obama hit the campaign trail to support Dem candidates by blasting Trump and burnishing his record as president.

The sweet oration was there … along with the usual emphasis on “I” (reportedly. 132 times) and the castigation of all evil people who disagree with him … especially President Trump.

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I imagine that Obama was expecting a continuation of the free-pass that the press gave him during his active  tenure … but, that wasn’t the case.

For example, the AP — which is dependably left of center —  took a stab at fact-checking Obama’s assertions.

The entire AP report is worth reading if you have time.

Here are some highlights…

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Freedom of the press

Obama: “I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people.”

AP: Trump may use extraordinary rhetoric to undermine trust in the press, but Obama arguably went farther — using extraordinary actions to block the flow of information to the public .. in a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its news-gathering activities, betraying information about its operations “that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

Quoting the NY Times: “The Obama administration moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.”

Oops.

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ObamaCare

Obama: “Sabotage of the Affordable Care Act has already cost more than 3 million Americans their health insurance.”

AP: While sign-ups for government-sponsored private insurance under Obama’s law show a drop of about 900,000 … that number is more than offset by the number of additional people who are now working full-time with employer-sponsored health insurance benefits.

And, enrollment through expanded Medicaid — the other major source of Obamacare coverage — appears to be stable at about 12 million people.

The AP fact-check didn’t flashback to Obama’s biggest whoppers: “Keep your plan, keep your doctor” or “reduce costs by $2,500”.

Bottom line: Many folks had to switch plans and doctors … and average out-of-pocket spending on healthcare went up by $2,500 … a $5,000 swing from the promise.

For details, see Remember when an ObamaCare architect called you stupid?  and   Remember how healthcare costs were going to drop by $2,500 for every family? 

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The economy

Obama:  “The actions we took during that crisis returned the economy to healthy growth.”

Fact-check (from multiple sources): Yes, the economy did start to revive itself.

Obama stepped-up  Bush-initiated programs to bail out the the U.S. financial and auto industries … and his   stimulus package pumped almost $1 trillion into the economy.  About 1/2 went to tax cuts and about 1/2 went mostly to so-called shovel-ready projects and grants and loans to green energy initiatives.

But, data shows that the recovery was far slower than prior economic recoveries (source); none of the shovel-ready or green projects reached marquee status (quick: name one besides Solyndra); and, most economists credit the Fed’s near-zero interest rate policy for the recovery’s growth.

Importantly, GDP growth  was stalled at 2%, which was touted as a “new normal”.

It’s currently hovering around 4%

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Hope the AP’s fact-checking was just a one-time effort…

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett ?

September 17, 2018

Dems may win the battle but lose the war … vice versa for the GOP
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It’ll be an interesting couple of news cycles as the Kavanaugh accusations either get substantiated or vaporize.

My initial take:  the allegations are serious but the case details are sketchy and the timing is suspicious.

In a court of law, I’d rather be Kavanaugh’s attorney since (a) the allegations go back 35 years (to high school!); (b) the accuser’s memory is fuzzy (e.g. where was the party held?) (c) no corroborators have stepped forward or have been discovered (who else attended the party?); (d) no other accusers have stepped forward to implicate a pattern of behavior; (e) first disclosure was made 30 years after-the-fact to a marital counselor.

But, in the court of public opinion – where accusation and verdict are synonymous and facts are fungible – I’d rather be the accuser’s attorney.

The quasi-legal situation should play out in warp speed over the next couple of days.

Today, let’s look at the politics…

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s magic about 10,000 steps?

September 14, 2018

“The 10,000 daily goal is built on bad science”
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That’s the claim is a research recap done by The Guardian.

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Here’s the skinny…

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What will be remembered about the Kavanaugh hearings?

September 13, 2018

Now that the dust has settled a bit, let’s pause and reflect on what happened last week.

I think it’s commonly accepted that no votes were changed … GOP senators will vote ‘yea’; Dems will vote ‘nay’ (save for the couple of Trump-state Dems running for re-election) … and Kavanaugh will fill the vacant 9th spot on the SCOTUS.

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Historically, SCOTUS hearings have only 1 or 2 memorable takeaways.

For example, Robert Bork was uncivilly ‘Borked’ … though most people can’t recall the incendiary issue.

Answer: Bork was characterized as being callous to protecting people’s privacy (think: wire taps)

Clarence Thomas was characterized as “Long John Dong” — a misogynist who alleged told dirty jokes in the presence of women.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been cited in every subsequent hearing for the “Ginsburg Rule” that shields judicial candidates from answering hypothetical questions or ones related to cases that may come before the court.

So, what will be remembered about the Kavanaugh hearings?

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Advice to the Rowe v. Wade hyperventilators: chill out.

September 12, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings were loaded with predictable content:

Dem senators used their air time to warn (again) that Rowe v. Wade would be repealed and abortions would be outlawed.

Really?

First, I doubt that a sweeping case will ever reach the SCOTUS. 

Pro-choicers — about half the country — are zealous to their cause.

The other half — pro-lifers — have largely accepted the world as it is … just nibbling at the margins against late-term and partial-birth abortions and tax-payer funding … not angling for “outlawing”.

Second, even in the very unlikely case that RvW were overturned, it wouldn’t eliminate access to abortions.

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Here’s why…

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Rowe vs. Wade a winning hand for Dems?

September 11, 2018

Resisting Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the SCOTUS, Dems are warning that Rowe vs, Wade will be repealed and abortions will become illegal.

Putting personal views aside, the strategy is a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

While the issue riles the base (I guess) and motivates protest marches by passionate pro-choice advocates, it’s not apparent to me that it’s a winning political issue.

It’s true — based on Pew data — that when given a binary choice between  overturning RvW or keeping it as is, about 2/3’s of respondents are against overturning.

That says it’s a winning issue, right?

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But, the political case isn’t nearly so clear when drilling down on the numbers …

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Correct awareness?

2 in 3 respondents identify RvW as something to do with abortion (chart above) … but of those who do, the vast majority believe (or are led to believe) that that repeal would, by definition outlaw all abortions.

Not the case, it would simply push abortion rights back down to the state-level. (More on that in a subsequent post).

According to Pew, less than half of respondents under 30 even associate RvW as relating to abortion.

Really?

And, that’s despite a similar lathering-up operation when Justice Gorsuch was under consideration.

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Critical Issue?

Pew also finds that only 18% of the total population consider abortion rights to be a critical issue.

53% say that abortion is “not that important” of an issue.

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And, of those who think that abortion rights are a critical issue, by a margin of 4 to 1, the preference is to overturn RvW.

In other words, most of the support for not over-tuning is among folks for whom the issue is not important.

So, politically speaking,  it’s not obvious to me, why the Dems would choose to showcase the issue …

Maybe it’s only important when it’s important … when folks are led to believe that the law will change and abortion will be outlawed.

More on that tomorrow.

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Ben Sasse rises above the fray…

September 10, 2018

He and Kavanaugh seemed like the only adults in the room last week.
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Not sure if that’s a benefit or a liability of being retired, but I had the TV on for much of the Kavanaugh hearings last week.

Save for the hilarity of Sen. Booker’s “Spartacus Moment”,  most of the proceedings were predictable histrionics and talking points (from both sides).

I was impressed with Kavanaugh’s ability to “take a punch”. (<= one of my highest commendations).

The only other “actor” who made me spin my chair around was Sen Ben Sasse.

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I’d barely noticed Sasse before … but his opening remarks resonated with me.

Rather than laundry-listing political talking points, Sasse took Congress to task for failing to address difficult issues and “punting” rather than legislating.

Here are a couple of snippets from Sasse’s opening remarks…

Read the rest of this entry »

Forensic linguistics: The “lodestar” tell…

September 7, 2018

I thought that the NY Times’ anonymously written I Am Part of the Resistance op-ed  was pretty vacuous.

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I was expecting a bombshell and got “where’s the beef?”

But, as a faithful Forensic Files viewer, I did get some amusement from the op-ed…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why are Canada’s drug prices so much lower? Blame NAFTA?

September 6, 2018

Short answer: No … it’s a self-inflicted wound.
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Last week,  trade negotiators failed to close a deal with Canada.

During the Canadian press conference, a reporter asked a question about prescription drug prices.

Answering the question with a question: What has that got to do with NAFTA?

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Let’s drill down?

Read the rest of this entry »

Does a 200% tariff sound fair to you?

September 5, 2018

Some Canadian diary tariffs are even higher!
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The U.S.-Canadian tariff riff appears to center on 2 sectors: “cultural” and dairy products.

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We dealt with the cultural products yesterday

Today let’s deal with diary tariffs …

Read the rest of this entry »

Should Canadians have to listen to Justin Bieber?

September 4, 2018

Apparently so: It’s a sticking point in the trade negotiations
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The U.S.-Canadian tariff riff appears to center on 2 sectors: “cultural” and dairy products.

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Today let’s deal with so-called “cultural products” …

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Labor Day !

September 3, 2018

Time to reflect…

The unemployment rate is below 4%.

Black unemployment is at an all time low

Wages have started  to creep up.

And, according to a recent Harris poll, blue collar job satisfaction is over 80%.

Thanks to all who do the work so that I can sit back and enjoy my retirement.

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Shocker: Majority of Harvard students cut class…

August 31, 2018

A recent WSJ article written by a clinical psychologist advocated that college students attend classes.

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Say, what?

Read the rest of this entry »

Fighting back against the cyber-attackers…

August 30, 2018

Yesterday, we posted about the Chinese cybersecurity threat.

Coincidentally, the WSJ ran an article: America Goes on the Cyberoffensive

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The essence of the article:

Obama-era rules restricting the use of cyberweapons have been rolled-back.

U.S. government hackers will now have more latitude to respond to and deter cyberattacks by adversaries.

Here are some details….

Read the rest of this entry »

The Chinese cyber-threat…

August 29, 2018

Continues to amaze me so much attention is being focused on the Russians (and Macedonians) … and so little on China.

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Michael Pillsbury nails the point in his book The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower

Read the rest of this entry »

John McCain: Respected … and Disrespected.

August 28, 2018

First, my personal view.

My wife is a Viet Nam Gold Star family member.

I’m deeply and sincerely appreciative to the men and women who serve in our military … especially those who were killed, wounded or confined as POWs.

I can’t imagine the horror of being a POW for 5 years.

So, I put John McCain irrevocably in the heroes’ column.

That said I disagreed with many of his political stands.

That was ok with me because he was one of very few politicians that I thought was a good, well intended man who had the cajones to speak his mind truthfully.

This week I’ve been struck by the gross hypocrisy of politicos who “always respected” John McCain.

Always? Really?

Reminded me of the day — the moment — when Obama “lost” me.

It was the televised healthcare summit that Obama held to “listen” to opposing views.

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click to view

McCain offered a short, sincere, respectful point-of-view.

Obama shot him his trademarked condescending glance and rebutted: “John” … not Senator McCain … “you can stop campaigning the election is over so .”

Pretty disrespectful, right?

I wonder if Obama’s flowery eulogy this week will say “I always respected, Senator McCain” or if it will include an apology for publicly disrespecting “John” at the healthcare summit.

My money is on the former.

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PS Obama doesn’t have a monopoly on this week’s hypocrisy.  It’s just that the incident was meaningful to me at the time.  There are worse cases, including the Bush campaign insinuating during the SC primary  that that McCain was a racist.  I doubt that Bush will apologize for that in his eulogy.

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Southwest nixes peanuts, okays horses … say, what?

August 27, 2018

Is the world getting crazier by the day or is it just my imagination?

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OK, I understand the peanut part.

I’ve seen allergic reactions to peanuts … not pretty … and potentially a big health risk.

I also accept that ingestion isn’t always required to trigger a reaction … for some people, just touching or smelling a peanut can set off a threatening reaction.

But, let’s put the dastardly peanut in context…

Read the rest of this entry »

Chuck Todd: “Start impeachment now”

August 24, 2018

I agree … but for different reasons.
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Let’s connect a couple of stories today.

Encouraged by the Manafort-Cohen outcomes, Chuck Todd (NBC / MSNBC commentator) ranted that outgoing Speaker Ryan should begin “drawing up impeachment papers now”.

After all, “You now have a president of the United States accused of committing a federal crime.”

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My first reaction was “echo-chamber over-reaction”.

At first, I shrugged off the idea, but…

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Dershowitz: “Candidate” Committed No Election Crime

August 23, 2018

I was channel-switching yesterday to get both sides of the Cohen “bombshell”.

Alan Dershowitz provided the clearest (and most succinct) explanation (on MSNBC of all places).

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Click to view … or keep reading

Here’s the essence of Dershowitz’s argument…

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Cohen lawyer: “It’s a crime because he plead guilty to it”

August 23, 2018

Say, what?

That’s the central argument being proffered by Lanny Davis – Michael Cohen’s lawyer (and longtime lawyer for the Clintons).

Interviewed by a well-prepped Martha McCallum,  Davis — playing defense — argued that there is certainly a campaign law violation:

Explicitly, because Cohen plead guilty to a campaign violation, and …

Implicitly, because the prosecutors – who had the facts – included the campaign violation in the plea deal.

imageclick to view … or keep reading

Let’s unpack Davis’ logic…

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Trump’s Space Force is a dumb idea … or is it?

August 22, 2018

After reading …

Bret Baier’s Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire

… and Michael Pillsbury’s The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower

I think Trump may be on to something.

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Let’s drill down…

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It’s not Russia that we should be worrying about … it’s China!

August 21, 2018

And, here are China’s 9 strategic principles.

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One of my summer reads has been The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

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Pillsbury is a bona fide China expert, having served 8 administrations in a variety of high-level positions in the state and defense departments and having worked for heralded think tanks, including RAND and the Hudson Institute.

Note: To me, guy seems very credible since (a) he footnotes every major point with compelling source documentation, and (b) he is very self-effacing – often pointing out the mistakes that he had made in his China analyses.

As the title indicates, Pillsbury concludes that China is about midway through a 100-year strategy to replace the U.S. as the global superpower…

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About the bruhaha over security clearances…

August 20, 2018

Thanks to John Brennan for opening a veritable can of worms.

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Let’s start with some basics.

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It’s not your imagination, people are really getting dumber.

August 17, 2018

That’s the conclusion from a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The researchers that the  increase in population intelligence observed throughout the 20th century has peaked and has now gone into reverse.

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More specifically…

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Who’s your daddy?

August 16, 2018

Ancestry DNA tests are delivering some shockers.

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Yesterday, we wrote about a relatively common situation: ancestry DNA results that don’t jive with a person’s prior beliefs regarding their race or heritage.

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

Let’s open another of Pandora’s DNA boxes today…

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The NY Post ran an article titled “My ancestry test revealed a genetic bombshell”.

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

August 15, 2018

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

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Let’s open Pandora’s box today…

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

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

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

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

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

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