Sunday, November 22, 2020
Perhaps the Libertarian Party Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Friday, November 20, 2020
What Good is a "Transition" for an Unprepared President-Elect-Apparent?
I keep hearing complaints about how the Trump regime is slow-walking the "transition" to the Biden regime.
Even setting aside the fact that the actual presidential election is nearly a month away (electors meet in their states and cast their votes on December 14), I'm not sure I see what the complaint is.
After all, I'm also seeing stories about how Joe Biden is "mulling" the possibility of appointing Merrick Garland to the position of Attorney General, "expected" to select Michele Flournoy for Secretary of Defense, etc.
Joe Biden has been running for president on and off for more than 30 years -- for more than a year-and-a-half this time -- and served for eight years as vice-president in the last Democratic regime, and he still hasn't picked his fucking cabinet. If he hasn't got his shit in one bag by now, how would a "transition" ritual help?
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Why Presidents Prefer Not to Investigate Former Presidents
"President-elect Joe Biden has privately told advisers that he doesn't want his presidency to be consumed by investigations of his predecessor," NBC News reports (claiming five unnamed sources). Supposed reasons:
- "concerns that investigations would further divide a country he is trying to unite and risk making every day of his presidency about Trump"
- "he 'just wants to move on.'"
- He "wants his Justice Department to function independently from the White House."
Concerning Legal Representation
If I found myself charged with a crime, requested a public defender, and arrived at court to find Rudy Giuliani waiting to represent me, I'd probably jump at whatever deal the prosecutor offered, or else just plead guilty and beg mercy from the judge. Just sayin' ...
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
In What Universe do Curfews Make Sense ...
... for preventing the spread of disease?
If preventing spread involves "social distancing" and not crowding as many people into a given place at a time, forcing businesses to close e.g. from 10pm to 6am daily achieves exactly the opposite of the desired effect.
Let's say a gym has 100 active members wanting to work out each day, and each member spends, on average, an hour at the gym (including clothing changes, showers, etc.). That means an average occupancy, at any given time, of about 4.2 members.
If the gym is open 24 hours a day, at least some of those members will work out in the overnight hours -- meaning there will be fewer people, and a lower average density of people, in the gym at any given time.
Cut the operating hours to 16 and that average occupancy goes up to 6.25 members (ceteris paribus -- some people will presumably give up working out if the hours they want aren't available, and the real occupancy is probably higher during those other 16 hours anyway, but there will be some occupancy increase effect).
Ditto bars and restaurants.
Sure, there probably won't be as many people working out, drinking out, or dining out at 3am as at, say, 7pm, but not allowing people to work out, drink out, or dine out at 3am will just result in at least some of those people making those facilities more crowded at those other times.
Friday, November 13, 2020
If We Can't Even Accurately Test for COVID-19 Yet ...
... how can we possibly know whether a treatment or a vaccine actually works?
Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020
Could the "Have the Legislatures Choose the Electors" Dodge Work?
One suggestion in the fight to decide who gets to serve the next presidential term is that state legislatures could defy (actual or alleged) election results in states where Donald Trump seems to be behind Joe Biden but is claiming fraud, and just directly appoint Republican presidential electors.
On one hand, there's nothing in the US Constitution to prevent the state legislatures from choosing presidential electors as such:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress ...
On the other hand, that doesn't mean there aren't problems with, and obstacles to, the idea.
Let's take Pennsylvania as an example.
The first thing to remember is that in all of the states, the legislature has already "directed," via the passage of election laws, that the voters shall choose the presidential electors. It would take a change in law for the legislature to directly assume that power.
And there are two HUGE problems with any attempt to implement such a change in law.
One is that Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor who could veto any such legislation. The Republicans do not control 2/3 of either house of the legislature such that they could override the veto.
The other is that Pennsylvania's constitution prohibits the passage of ex post facto laws. Any change in the way that electors are chosen would apply only to future elections, not to the 2020 presidential election, which has already happened.
Georgia has a Republican governor, House, and Senate, but its constitution also prohibits the passage of ex post facto laws and its election laws also assign the choosing of presidential electors to the voters.
Michigan has a Democratic governor and a Republican House and Senate without veto-proof majorities. Its laws also assign the choosing of presidential electors to the voters, not the legislature, and its constitution also forbids the passage of ex post facto laws.
Wisconsin likewise has a Democratic governor, a Republican House and Senate without veto-proof majorities, election laws assigning the choosing of presidential electors, and a constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws.
Absent possession and use of a time machine, it doesn't look to me like that's a plausible route to a second Trump term.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
I'm Thinking It's Time to Change Direction vis a vis the Libertarian Party
Friday, November 06, 2020
How Fraud/Cheating Affects My Presidential Election Models
One comment I've had from several people when I point out that e.g. Michigan, Wisconsin (and likely Pennsylvania) went as I predicted is that that's because of cheating/fraud.
They're not necessarily wrong -- but the fact that they're not necessarily wrong tends to support my models, not contradict them.
First, a disclaimer: My "models" for predicting elections are not notebooks full of mathematical calculations. The only real math is "here are the results from last time." Everything else is looking at the trends in play and making educated guesses as to how those trends will affect future results.
When it comes to cheating/fraud in statewide votes for presidential elections in battleground states, I assume it's a wash -- that is, that Republicans will be about as successful at suppressing Democratic votes as Democrats will be at manufacturing Democratic votes -- unless I see clear evidence that there's some kind of change in motion.
I don't assume that in "safe" states. The reason those states are "safe" is that the party in power has the clear upper hand and either doesn't need to cheat or could easily out-cheat the opposition party. It's only when a state looks competitive that I see any need to really consider cheating/fraud as a factor.
My predictions this year missed at least one state, probably two. And they probably missed precisely because I mis-underestimated the cheating success of the party in power.
In Florida, I assumed that the GOP would have, at best, only partial success in suppressing the Democratic vote by defying the will of the voters on restoring former felons' voting rights, ensuring fewer polling places in likely Democratic areas, etc. I also assumed that the "anti-Castro Cuban" (aka "save our sugar subsidies and CIA money") lobby would only have limited success in either getting its vote out, or just plain manufacturing that vote, for Trump. I was clearly wrong.
In Georgia, I assumed that the GOP would be very successful in stealing the 2020 election just like it stole the 2018 midterm, through mass de-registration of likely Democratic voters and such. It looks like I was wrong about that, too.
In both Georgia and Florida, I assumed that the Democratic vote-manufacturing scams would function about as well as usual. I've not seen any reason to believe I was wrong on that count.
Oh When Will They Ever Learn?
In 2012, some of my Republican friends (including some readers of this blog) confidently predicted a Mitt Romney landslide and told me my state by state predictions were nuts. I correctly predicted the main outcome, and the outcomes in 48 of 50 states.
In 2012, some of my Democratic friends (including some readers of this blog) told me I was completely nuts to predict that Trump would win the election, or that he would carry ANY of the following states: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan. He carried all four. Once again, I correctly predicted the main outcome, and the outcomes in 48 of 50 states.
This year, some of my Republican friends (including some readers of this blog) confidently predicted a Trump re-election landslide. They had him holding every state he took in 2016 and adding some to the column, and told me I was nuts when I said he'd lose Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Here's my latest update to my election night "how right or wrong was Tom?" post:
If things hold per current counts, I will have predicted 47 of 50 states correctly. I've already blown Florida. Current counts say that Pennsylvania and Georgia are going the opposite of my predictions. But I expect Pennsylvania to end up going for Biden, and Georgia may still pull it out for Trump. If one of those two things happen, I'll be 48 for 50, just like the last two elections. If both things happen, I'll be 49 for 50.
Absent some kind of bizarre litigation outcome, this will be the third presidential election in a row in which I have correctly predicted both the overall outcome and the outcomes in at least 47 of the 50 states (I'm almost certain I'll hit 48 again, 50/50 on hitting 49).
So, is anyone interested in a friendly advance wager on the nuttiness or accuracy of my 2024 predictions?
Update, 9am EST Friday: 30 minutes ago, I wrote "I expect Pennsylvania to end up going for Biden." And then ... Biden overtakes Trump in Pennsylvania vote count. For why, see my Wednesday "bellwether" post.
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Hopefully the real truth (whatever it is) will out, but I'm getting a strong "convoys to Syria made Saddam's WMD disappear" vibe out of the Trump campaign's legal challenges at this point.
That is, they feel like they're geared more toward setting up a narrative for four years of pretending Trump got robbed than toward actually explaining/changing the results.
Wednesday, November 04, 2020
One Thing It's Hard for Election Models to Account For ...
... is the conflicting strategies of the Democrats and Republicans.
The Democratic strategy is to GET OUT THE VOTE -- even if it that means getting it out of graveyards, etc. In a close race, if the Democrat is behind, count on more ballots to magically appear.
The Republican strategy is to make it as difficult as possible for poor people, black people, etc., to vote. Then, in a close race, if the Republican is behind, sue left and right to stop votes from being counted.
Here's how my model accounts for that:
Nationally and in competitive areas, I consider it a wash. The Republicans are probably going to subtract as many votes as the Democrats add.
Locally, i.e. in state by state prediction, I look at which party is in power, where the political machines are and how powerful they are, etc. close the state looks, and assume a 1% edge in addition to what polling might indicate on the part of the party with better fuckery machinery (unless one of their schemes is visibly kiboshed, in which case I deduct that advantage).
Well, SOMEONE Has Already Won the Election
I've seen a bunch of articles, tweets, and Facebook posts this morning along the lines of "no, Trump has not already won the election, the votes aren't counted yet."
I don't know whether Trump has won the election or not, but someone has. The votes have been cast. Counting them doesn't decide who wins the election. It just tells us who already did.
Now, the caveat: Winning the election and winning the presidency aren't the same thing.
There are various ways in which the process of selecting the president by election might be thwarted.
For example, stuffing ballot boxes with fake votes.
Or getting the courts to stop the counting while one candidate is ahead, when the other candidate actually has more votes in the remaining pile
But that doesn't change the actual outcome of the election. It just steals the office which was supposed to be decided by the election.
Checking My Pennsylvania Bellwether
In a comment about a year and a half ago, I wrote:
Take Erie County, which Trump won by about 2,000 votes in 2016 with the Democrats only getting 58,000 votes. Trump got the same number of votes there in 2016 as Romney got in 2012. It was the Democrats who were missing in 2016. In 2012, there were 177,000 votes cast and 93,000 instead of 58,000 of them were Democratic. That county alone would add 35,000 votes to the Democratic total in the state if the Democrats get their voters to the polls.So, what's Erie County looking like right now (source link)?
"Top Two" Fails in Florida
I was hoping it would, and it did.
The purposes of the proposed amendment were to 1) protect gerrymandered districts in perpetuity by making sure that ONLY the gerrymander party's candidates appeared on the November ballot, and 2) to kill third parties by ensuring that in competitive districts, only the duopoly parties appeared on the November ballot.
There was one big weakness in that second purpose -- in a competitive district with big Republican and Democrat primary fields, a single third party candidate with some money and a real campaign might be able to make the "top two," and I was already doodling a strategy paper on how to exploit that if it passed -- but overall it was a bad, bad thing and I'm glad it went down.
Well, That Ought to Wrap Things Up for Tom Cotton's Presidential Aspirations
Tuesday, November 03, 2020
Election Night Open Thread w/Prediction vs. Reality Goodness
So, here's my prediction from October 11:
Old Chromebox, New Life
I got my first Chromebox in 2012 -- the OG model, Samsung Series 3.
Later, I upgraded to an Asus (CN62, I think), and handed the Samsung over to my son. He used it until this week, even though its service updates ended a couple of years ago.
Yesterday and today (with some assistance from me on the hardware), he flashed its BIOS, installed a new solid state drive, and installed Debian Linux (with xfce GUI) on it.
So now an obsolete, eight-year-old Chromebox is probably going to be a pretty decent Linux box.
But, scandalously, he intends to install Chicago95, a Windoze 95 styled theme. Even though he constantly uses ChromeOS, Linux, etc., he likes to pretend that Windoze is a real OS, even a good one. And when I mock him, he calls me a Boomer.
Monday, November 02, 2020
If I Could Get One Thing Out of the Election Tomorrow ...
... it would be the end of Tom Cotton's presidential prospects.
Cotton's been campaigning hard, but not to retain his Senate seat. He's been barnstorming around the country, in theory as a Trump proxy, but mostly to position himself for a 2024 presidential campaign.
The reason he doesn't think he needs to campaign for his Senate seat is that his Democratic opponent withdrew from the race, after the filing deadline, when Cotton's campaign dumped a bunch of embarrassing oppo research.
That means the Senate race in Arkansas is Tom Cotton (R) vs. Ricky Harrington (L). And while most polls show Cotton winning easily, at least one has him only 11 points up on Harrington, 49-38, with 13 percent undecided.
If Harrington wins, Cotton's finished.
If Cotton can't knock down at least 2/3 of the vote in a race against an under-funded Libertarian candidate, he should be finished vis a vis the presidency. His opponents for the GOP's presidential nomination will make hay with it -- "the guy can't even get double the Libertarian vote in his own state, how can he beat a Democrat nationally?"
Sometimes it's hard to tell whether Cotton really is batshit insane or whether he's just an opportunistic snake. I strongly suspect he's equal measures of both -- whackjob and sociopath. Getting his grubby little rat claws off of and far, far away from the levers of power would be a real win for freedom and America. Ricky Harrington is a hero for his efforts to accomplish that.
Sunday, November 01, 2020
My Amazon Review of the Nakto Camel F Electric Bicycle ...
... is available here. (Note: Our family Amazon account is in my wife's name)
Given previous bad experiences, I waited until I had put more than 100 miles on the bike to write a full review. That doesn't mean something couldn't go wrong at 150 miles, or a thousand miles ... but I figure 100 miles is a reasonable marker for "obvious defects" judgment. If something was going to go wrong because of defective parts, poor quality control, etc., it probably would have by now.
Put another 15 miles or so on it last night, riding to the gym and back. No problems.
Some time in the next 30-60 days, I want to see if I can get 50 miles out of a battery charge with a little muscle and judicious use of pedal assist.
If I can get 50 miles out of a battery charge, I may consider buying a second battery. That would give me 100-mile range (round trip or one-way with the ability to charge at the other end). That would get me to Jacksonville, or even the Georgia state line, one way, or round trip to Fort White, Cedar Key, Ocala, etc.
Thanks For Asking! -- 11/01/20
Ah, the first of the month ... time for the monthly "Ask Me Anything" thread!
Ask me anything in comments.
I'll answer in comments, or possibly in a stand-alone post or other format that I'll link from comments.
OK, let's do this.
Is the 2020 Presidential Election Already Over?
Americans cast 136,669,276 votes in the 2016 presidential election.
As of yesterday, according to the US Elections Project, Americans had already cast 92,038,417 votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Assuming similar or even higher turnout, it looks like there are still a lot of votes to be cast.
The US Elections Project also asserts the existence of 32,303,784 mail ballots "outstanding," i.e. "yet to be returned." Some of those probably weren't cast (the voters forgot, or just decided screw it and threw them in the trash), others may still be in (or be lost in) the mail, still others may be sitting in mail bags at election authority offices waiting to be processed as "received."
Let's look at some battleground states (same source):
In 2016, Arizonans cast 2,604,657 total presidential ballots. This year, Arizonans requested 3,383,433 mail ballots and have already returned 2,302,756 of them.
In 2016, Floridians cast 9,420,039 presidential votes. This year, they've already cast 8,294,115.
Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are all way behind Florida and Arizona in terms of "actual votes so far in 2020" versus "votes cast in 2016." Actual turnout on Tuesday in those states will be depressed. They're up north where the weather isn't as nice. They're more "lockdown-oriented" vis a vis COVID-19. Their urban areas seem more inclined to "civil unrest." All three of those factors make standing in line with a bunch of strangers for hours unattractive.
I suspect that in all of the "battleground" states, the die is cast. Whoever was winning in each state this morning will still be winning in that state come Tuesday night.