Thursday, November 29, 2012

Va Governor's Race Just Got Interesting



Virginia state politics just got interesting.
Actually, the commonwealth's governor race was already pretty interesting. (Read why here.) But this week Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the 2013 Republican race, giving  current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a wide open path to securing that nomination.
Bolling announced his decision via email on Wednesday morning. Not surprisingly he cited the switch from a statewide primary to an “exclusive” party convention as one of the reasons. Ever since the switch in June, state party members have openly discussed how the switch favored Cuccinelli and would hurt Bolling.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't believe everything you read on Facebook

Another great reason to not believe most internet/Facebook memes!
This meme is making the rounds on Facebook today courtesy of a Facebook page called "We Survived Bush. You will survive Obama."
It makes some big claims that seem pretty outrageous, even if you do buy into the idea that all CEOs are evil and greedy.
So I did my own research.

Here are the facts (and unbiased facts at that. I don't like Twinkies or Wonder Bread. But I do love Hohos.)-
1. Yes, in January of 2012, several of the execs asked for pay raises, including then CEO Brian Driscoll, who asked for a $1.5 million raise.
2. The motion (to the board) DID NOT PASS.
3. Brian Driscoll left the company in March.
4. The current CEO is Greg Rayburn. He makes $100,000/month.
5. In September, during the bankruptcy proceedings, the Teamsters agreed to major concessions, including cuts in wages and company contributions to health care. As part of the deal, all of the company’s unions were to receive a 25 percent share of the company’s stock and a $100 million claim in bankruptcy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Benghazi-Petraeus-Broadwell-Allen-Kelley Scandal

With the elections over it almost seemed like I was going to run out of material for this blog. But that is not the case! This Benghazi-Petraeus-Broadwell-Allen-Kelley scandal is too crazy to not talk about.

Let's do a really simple recap of what promises to quickly not be a simple situation.

General David Petraeus-
Former top dog in Afghanistan
Former General
Was the CIA director until a few days ago
Knows a lot of dirt on Benghazi
Had an affair with Paula Broadwell (his biographer)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did Romney and Republicans Go Wrong?

I’m just starting to come out of my cocoon of disavowal of Tuesday’s outcomes. I’m still a little behind and don’t know full facts and figures. (And I continue to like it that way.) But these two articles got me to thinking-

Why Romney was surprised to lose
Inside Orca: How the Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote

I admit there is a part of me that is still a little bitter over Team Orca. I was a part of it. I spent 13 hours working at the polls (freezing my butt off) on Tuesday.  I had a small glitch around noon, and a longer glitch around 6 pm. I had no trouble calling into the national number and getting assistance.

If the campaign knew full well that their system wasn’t working, why did they allow thousands of workers to stand out there and work? I worked for 13 hours and they weren’t getting any data from me? If the system wasn’t working and they had all those boots on the ground, why didn’t they call us in to the field offices to work the phones? Does any of that make sense to you that they would mismanage the usefulness of nearly 30,000 active volunteers? Something just doesn’t add up there.

Not to mention how it just doesn’t add up that Romney would have allowed something so crucial  as this web app to not get beta tested and proven first. I’m the last person ever to become a conspiracy theorist, but this really just doesn’t add up for me. None of it does.

Why would a campaign in the final minutes not throw a hail mary, redirect 20-30,000 volunteers, and do something?? If the app suddenly failed and you have all those dedicated volunteers, why didn't they correct course or change directions? Even if the command didn't come down from the headquarters, why didn't thousands of field offices (who supposedly may have known the apps were failing) not make the call?

Supposedly fewer people came out to vote for Romney than voted for McCain. How is that possible? I am very confused over this. Again, I’m not a conspiracy type, but it just doesn’t add up. It either means the numbers just have to be wrong, or there are a lot of people who really didn’t want to vote for the Mormon. They didn’t want to vote for Obama, but in the end they just couldn’t vote for the Mormon? Or that many people came out specifically to vote against Romney? Honestly, that feeling sickens me to the point of not knowing which one I would rather it not be- a rigged election or that much bigotry?

I am admittedly not a die-hard Republican. I’m far too libertarian on foreign policies. And I have wanted to see a stronger third party emerge for a while. I think the Tea Party ruined the GOP, and forced it to go too conservative. I also think the primaries are too focused on social issues, driven by the evangelical vote that is not effective in the national elections.

I want to see the party get divided. I want to see a liberal party, a moderate party, and the freak show conservative Tea Party. And I will admittedly be right in the middle of the moderates. I don’t like extremism either way and I believe in compromise, and neither party offers that. I really, really want social issues to get kicked to the states, and left out of the federal government. I think a third party could sell that better than the Republicans have so far. And I think a third more central party could bring a better sense of compromise to energy issues.

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Will Keep the Faith. I Still Believe.

In my column for Meridian Magazine yesterday (Elections, Facebook, and the Throne of Thoughtless Stupor) I quoted Elder Neal A. Maxwell.   (For my non-Mormon friends, he was a much beloved leader in the Mormon Church who was known for not only his incredible knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, but his beautiful way with words. Check out this YouTube clip of him talking about Jesus Christ and the Universe. It's wonderful.)

 “The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well.”

I have often turned to this quote when I question what is the point of my life and why I have had to suffer through two bad economies and long periods of under/unemployment (the first after 2001 and again now). I said yesterday in my column, and I will try to say it again in my heart again today, that if the Lord can place a star over a stable, and that the placement of my life in this humanly orbit is no mistake, then I have no choice but to believe that something and someone as important as the President of the United States is not just the will of the people (because I must believe that all those people are here at this time and place as purposefully as my existence is), but who the POTUS is is the will of the Lord as well.

And so even though I am heartbroken and sad, and felt that much of my personal opportunities and happiness were tied up in the results of this election, I will accept the results and move on. And I will not cave in to the tendencies of so many to become a “doomsday prepper,” or moan and groan about what might happen next. I will wake up each day and remind myself that this is what the Lord has allowed, and continue on with the belief that He will never leave me without opportunities and choice.

There is a common belief in the firearms industry that firearms sell better under a democrat president. When people are afraid of losing their guns, they buy more of them. And you know what? Maybe the same holds true about many things in life. If people are afraid of where our country will go under this president, maybe they will fight harder to prevent those things from happening? Would they fight as hard under a Romney presidency? (Probably not.) Heed the battle call and join the fight. After all, it is no mistake that you were placed here in this orbit now.

It is my job to be happy and keep the faith no matter my circumstance. And if there is anything I have worked hard on these last 3 years it is finding joy in spite of difficulties. I will soldier on in God’s Army and choose to find joy, no matter what, and keep up my faith that the Lord will provide.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live Blogging Election Returns

(I'm adding thoughts at the bottom this time, instead of the top)

9 pm
After a very long day of volunteering as a poll watcher I am almost too exhausted to blog tonight. And yet I am so overly revved up that there is no way I can relax either. I'm close to spontaneous self-combustion.
I think the reality of a Mormon being in the White House has just hit me. It's here. It is finally happening. I can only imagine this is how African Americans felt 4 years ago.

I really want Virginia to go to Romney. Waiting on my own home state is going to kill me!!!
The first SWING STATE is in! Michigan goes to Obama. A bit disappointing, and not what I had predicted, but alas, it is done.

The House goes GOP majority.
I have some rude in your face things in my head that I will not vocalize to Nancy Pelosi right now.

Crap Pennsylvania looks like it is going to Obama. That's not good.

Senate is sitting at 41/41
The nightmare scenario where the electoral ties, and it goes to the house and senate, is actually feeling REAL.

Anyone else think it is hilarious that they haven't just called Utah for Romney already?

I'm going to freaking lose my mind. This is too much pressure and stress for someone so exhausted!!!!!!

10:04pET Romney 158 vs. Obama 147

John King is teasing a GOP surprise in Wisconsin!
Part of me is so sure it will be Romney. And yet... I just don't know. It's coming down to VA, NC, FL, OH. And apparently Wisconsin.
It's a good thing no one is here to see me singing "On Wisconsin" all by myself.

And now CNN is starting to say that without some huge surprises, they don't see how Romney can win. But "the Romney strategy to 270 is still in play."

My gut says VA goes to Romney. Why? Because 8 of 11 House races have gone to the Republican so far.  The Senate race is holding strong at 50/50 (between 2 former governors). Romney has a tiny lead, but my gut says he holds on to it.

I'm starting to take it personally that CNN (and no one on twitter) hasn't commented on Team Orca and Romney turn out in swing states. But I can promise you it was Team Orca making the difference in Wisconsin!!

Crap. Kaine beat Allen.

Crap, Iowa goes to Obama.
It's starting to look like 4 more years of Obama.
To someone underemployed and at times unemployed as I am, this is incredibly depressing. There is no hope.

Completely and in every way depressing.
I don't see how the economy ever recovers. And I don't see how I ever get real employment again. I really don't.

It looks like this will probably come down to 10-20 electoral votes difference. There's some degree of hope in knowing that a few states could be contested, but not a lot of it. Oh well. What can you do?

Just some thoughts/facts-

Bush won with 47.9% of popular vote- 50,456,002
Gore lost with 48.4%, or 50,999,897
Or a 543, 895 votes.

Some thoughts from a sad loser-
I'm looking over the results state by state. I'm noticing an interesting trend. But first, let me say, I'm a fan of the electoral college. I like the weighted state system because it speaks to the original intent of the country- a union of states or colonies. We were meant to be individual units, that united together, but operated independently. And so the weighted electoral system made sense.
But take a look at these figures- (note I did not include VA, FL, OH, HI, and AK in these numbers)

Romney wins 23 states, and of those 23, he won 10 with a lead of 21% or higher. He only has 2 states in the single digits. In other words, when he won, HE WON.
Georgia 8%
Kentucky 23%
Indiana 9%
South Carolina 14%
North Carolina 2%
West Virginia 27%
Alabama 22%
Missouri 11%
Tennessee 29%
Mississippi 13%
Oklahoma 24%
Arkansas 23%
Arizona 13%
Kansas 20%
Nebraska 23%
South Dakota 20%
Louisiana 20%
North Dakota 20%
Texas  18%
Wyoming 40%
Montana 10%
Utah 45%
Idaho 43%

Obama won 20 states. And of those he has 6 states with less than a 10% lead. In other words, he didn't have overwhelming wins (except in DC and Vermont).

Vermont 36%
Delaware 18%
Maine 20%
Massachussetts 20%
New Jersey 17%
Pennsylvania 6%
Connecticut 12%
DC 84%
Illinois 17%
Maryland 23%
New Hampshire 6%
Rhode Island 27%
Colorado 3%
Minnesota 3%
New Mexico 9%
Michigan 6%
New York 20%
Wisconsin 14%
California 14%
Oregon 9%

As of right now (12:45 am), Romney still has the lead in the popular vote, albeit, a razor thin lead.

I still believe in the electoral system because I am definitely pro-state. I believe in the state system. However, I am definitely more in favor of a proportional electoral college. We have a few states going to that method this year. And I do think we will see more states go to it by the next presidential campaign. Why? Well, look at these numbers.

NOTE: I'm doing this math completely exhausted and without a calculator at 1 am. It is very rough math, but I have applied it equally. And I always rounded up.
(NOTE: by the time I started these numbers there were a few more results in from VA, OH, FL)

Georgia 8%  R8, O8
Kentucky 23% R5, O3
Indiana 9% R6, O5
South Carolina 14% R5, O4
North Carolina 2% R8, O7
West Virginia 27% R3, O2
Alabama 22% R6, O3
Missouri 11% R6, O4
Tennessee 29% R7, O4
Mississippi 13% R4, O2
Oklahoma 24% R4, O3
Arkansas 23% R4, O2
Arizona 13% R6, O5
Kansas 20% R4, O2
Nebraska 23% R3, O2
South Dakota 20% R2, O1
Louisiana 20% R5, O3
North Dakota 20% R2, O1
Texas  18% R22, O16
Wyoming 40% R2, O1
Montana 10% R2, O1
Utah 45% R4, O2
Idaho 43% R3, O1
 TOTAL= 121 Romney
82 Obama

Vermont 36%  O2, R1
Delaware 18% O2, R1
Maine 20% O3, R1
Massachussetts 20% O6, R5
New Jersey 17% O8, R6
Pennsylvania 6% O11, R10
Connecticut 12% O4, R3
DC 84% O3
Illinois 17% O11, R9
Maryland 23% O6, R4
New Hampshire 6% O2, R2
Rhode Island 27% o3, R1
Colorado 3% O5, R4
Minnesota 3% O5, R5
New Mexico 9% O3, R2
Michigan 6% o8, R8
New York 20% o20, R9
Wisconsin 6% O5, R5
California 14% O23, R22
Oregon 9% O4, R3
Washington 13% O7, R5
Virginia 1% O7, R6
Ohio 1% O9, R9

Obama 157
Romney 121

Obama 229
Romney  242

Florida still outstanding, but will be about 49% for both people, bringing results to –
Obama 233
Romney 256

Alaska and Hawaii still outstanding for 7 electoral votes. Even if all 7 go to Obama, he still can't catch up.

As I finish typing this, and get ready to finally fall asleep after a very long day, President Obama has taken the lead in the popular vote by a scant margin (400,000 votes). My guess is that number will easily change again and go back in favor of Romney. After all, there's nearly 8 million people in Florida alone who aren't included in that number.

But let's say Obama takes the popular vote, it will only be by 1 or 2%, just like Romney's current (or was current) lead. This is the beauty of the electoral college- the states still have weight.
Like I said, I do believe in the idea of weighted states. But I like it because I like power belonging to the states and operating individually from each other. And even with a proportional electoral college, the states still have the power. The voice of the people is better heard, and the states are still strong.
Again, if my math is completely crazy, I blame the late hour and exhaustion. But I doubt it is too far off. I'm am sure it is slightly off though.
Just a few things to think about.
And maybe someday, when I have free time again, and I'm all caught up on sleep, I'll write out a little discourse on the call for smaller states, or mandated state sizes. And at the same time, give a compelling reason for Puerto Rico and DC statehood, and a very good argument against it (the answer to all of the above: natural resources). But there is something to be said for 90% of FL being forced to follow the political ideals of one metropolis. Same with California. Oh but see, this will bring me right back around to a proportional electoral college.
And yes, before you go there, I do realize that a proportional college would also require changing the 270 requirement.

Election Day is finally here!


Go vote!
Good luck!
And may all Americans win!

I'll be out with "Team Orca" starting at 5:30 am! Gotta go do my duty!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

49/49 Polls, polls and more polls

A last minute look at the polls released today-

CNN/ORC International poll shows a dead heat in the race for the White House, but also on almost every major indicator of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney that was tested in the poll. That's HUGE. Not that a 49/49  result is what anyone wants...

A new Michigan poll shows Romney eeking ahead 46.86% to President Obama's 46.24%. That would swing Michigan (which in the map I posted yesterday had MI in blue) pink, with its 16 EVs. 

A new Rasmussen poll released Sunday also shows the 49/49 split. The Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections now show the president with 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 206. Eight states with 95 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups: Colorado,   Florida, Iowa, NevadaNew HampshireOhio,Virginia and Wisconsin. Note that they did not pull MI out of the O column. I'm going to take MI out of Obama's number and stick it in toss-up, giving us Obama 221, Romney 206, with 111 toss-ups. 

And now there's 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters, 48 percent for Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll.

And last but not least, USA Today is also showing a 48/48. Unreal.

Using the latest RCP polls, I filled out the CNN do it yourself map. I kept with the RCP numbers except on Michigan, where I used the latest polls that only came out a few hours ago. 

That gives us 274 Obama, 264 Romney. 
You know what I think? I think it is impossible to call. Except I think Team Orca just might make the difference in the too close to call states. 
What's Team Orca? We'll discuss that on Tuesday. 

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Possible Election Outcomes and What Happens if there is a Tie??

Tuesday is coming! Tuesday is coming!
And finally all of the political ads and polling calls will end!! YEAH!!!

Real Clear Politics (and several other outlets) have some useful tools for creating your own electoral results map. My best guess for the electoral college is below.I scrolled my page so that I couldn't see the electoral count total at the top, so I wouldn't be tempted to swing a state one way or the other to make my candidate win.  I was very surprised by the total number in the end. I didn't realize a tie was a possibility in the electoral college!

(I created my own electoral map on Real Clear Politics.)
Any time there was a 2 or 3 point spread, I gave it to the higher party. If there was only a 0-2 point spread I gave it to the underdog, IF and only if the chart shows an upward trend in recent weeks for the underdog. The only 2 states I really don't think anyone can call are Virginia and Colorado. I gave both to Romney using my underdog trending upward theory. And because you don't see a lot of Obama supporters in my town. I also called Nevada for Romney based on the fact that in the past it has gone Republican, except in 2008.

So what happens if there is a tie at the electoral college? Some fascinating stuff I tell you. And a strong scenario for a Romney-Biden administration.
Say what?
Oh yes.
Time for a lesson on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the Electoral College, and the calendar that will blow your mind.
We vote on November 6.
Sometime between Nov 6 and Dec 11 the electoral representatives gather with their states to formally declare that their state will be voting a certain way.
(Ahem, people are already raising the Ron Paul disruption flag here. I have no desire to address that right now. Maybe I will if and when there really is a tie.)
The electoral college will be held on December 17th. The votes are cast, but not counted.
The votes are formally counted on January 6.
NOTE- The new 113th Congress will swear-in on January 3rd!
Therefore it is the NEW House of Representatives that counts the votes for president. The new Senate counts the votes for VP. If there is a tie, the 12th Amendment declares that the House then gets to vote and decide who will be the president. And the Senate will vote on who gets the VP seat.
SIGNIFICANT DETAIL- The new House is expected to go overwhelmingly GOP. But the Senate is still a toss up!
And because our Founding Fathers never really cared for a majority of the popular vote of anything, the winner must win with a 2/3rds majority! And the Senate will most likely be 50/50!
Who casts the deciding vote when the Senate is all tied up?
The vice president!
You know, VP Biden.
Yes, it is possible that he would then have to cast the deciding vote for the VP. Does he vote for himself or Paul Ryan in that scenario??
Another interesting conundrum- if you are the newly elected congressperson, and you are a Republican, but your district voted for Obama for president, who do you vote for in your first ever chance to vote in the House? Your party or your people???

(Source: An Electoral College Tie Would Be an Hilarious Disaster, Huffington Post)

Now, another suggestion from my polluted late-night mind-

Sadly, we all know that New York has been suffered a lot of devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Much of the 5 boroughs are still under water and without electricity. This is likely to effect voter turnout. They are already talking about consolidating precincts (and when people don't know where to go vote they don't turn out), and how many precincts have no power.
New York is firmly in the blue right now. Obama has a 26% lead over Romney.
BUT! If voter turnout is low in the boroughs, could the rest of the state sway the overall vote?
Take a look at these older maps-

The top map is Bush/Kerry, the bottom is Obama/McCain. Both times the state went for the Democrat. But look at how much of the state is actually red! Personally I feel that the Bush/Kerry models are more accurate than the Obama/McCain models because McCain never had the support that Romney does now.
In my humble opinion, without the boroughs New York is in play. The overall vote is more important than the county results. And if few people turn out to vote in the boroughs, that can really sway things.

FACT CHECK- I am fairly certain that I am right about overall vote versus county results. I have heard that this is not the case in all states. I can't find any information to indicate I am wrong about New York.

If you pull New York out of the "strong Obama" category and move it to "leaning Romney" you really have a toss up scenario.

One more detail to note- New York has a little known law that allows them to hold a second voting day in case of a natural disaster!

(In all fairness, I applied this same logic to New Jersey which was also hard hit by the storm. However, the state overall is fairly split blue and red, but no one side of the state is more red or blue.) 

Here are a few more maps and the way these major publications are calling it-

CNN electoral map with toss-ups Obama 237, Romney 206. 

NY Times with toss-ups., Obama 243, Romney 206. The major difference between NYT and CNN is NYT is calling Nevada for Obama. 

Real Clear Politics with no toss-ups. Obama 290, Romney 248. 

All 3 publications are calling Nevada for Obama. I personally think this is a mistake. Nevada is currently Obama 50, Romney 47.3. Romney has never had the lead in Nevada, but he is on an upward trend there. I think that is a good sign he could catch up and win. And I have a hard time believing that in the end the Mormons won't come out and really win it for him. That is the only state I truly disagree with the polls on. I really do thing the rest of the toss up states are unpredictable at this point.

And more than anything, I think there is little to no chance of this election actually getting settled and answered on Tuesday night.