Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2 weeks left and Debate 3 reaction...

Some observations of this past week:
  1. CO & VA have been pretty solidly in the "Leaning Romney" category throughout.
  2. IA, OH & NH have been jumping in and out of the "Tossup" category from the "Leaning Obama" - NH more so.
  3. WI has been in the "Leaning Obama" category for over 24 hours  - still 68% Obama, but not "Solid"
To all objective observers any movement is in Romney's direction.

Last night's debate:
From the little I saw and the reactions I have read, Romney made a solid appeal to the "undecided" crowd.  He articulated a very pragmatic and nuanced perspective on our relations with China (it almost sounded like an article from the Economist) that softened some of his hawkish rhetoric (especially during the primaries) and related foreign policy to Americans' everyday lives.

I mentioned Zbignew Brzezinski on Facebook last night.  Though he did give Romney credit for his China statements, he viewed Obama as more comfortable with his knowledge and articulation of foreign policy.  As a Political Scientist (my MA emphasis was in International Relations) I agree.  Obama's performance will be applauded in policy-making and academic circles around the country; however, these same circles were surprised the Nixon won in 1972 because "everybody they knew had voted for McGovern."

Brzezinski viewed Romney's responses as "repeating prepared talking points" - he did not appear as comfortable with or knowledgeable of his foreign policy statements.  Whether Romney intended to or not, this approach will likely play better with the average voter.  American's notoriously care little about foreign policy or foreign affairs.  There are a variety of reasons, none of them having to do with intelligence or political engagement, that we are more parochial in our political knowledge.  Romney's statements related the nuanced world of foreign policy to domestic politics and the everyday concerns of Americans in a way that Obama did not.

If the two were giving presentations in my foreign policy or international relations class, Obama would likely get the better grade; however, put the two in my federal government class, and Romney would likely get the better grade.

Due to the less "hawkish" nature of his statements and his ability to frame his foreign policy in a way that is more immediate or tangible to most voters, I give Romney the "win" in debate 3.


p.s. - Yes, we all love teachers...now go vote (early and often for those in Chicago)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How many days? 21! Har Har, Hardee Har Har.

New feature today...a picture!  I hope it works:

According to Intrade, CO and VA really are too close to call...less than .5 separates the two candidates.

Senate: No change.

Tonight's debate:
Best case for Obama: He stops the rise of Romney in the polls - he has little to no chance of retaking FL, NC, MO or any other "battleground state"
Best case for Romney: The same Obama shows up for this debate that showed up for the first.  He takes a solid lead in VA & CO (a major polling firm has already stopped polling in VA - conceding it to Romney), take a "leaning" lead in OH, NH & IA, and puts PA & NV solidly into play.

I strongly recommend NOT watching the debate live...wait for tomorrow so that the "undecided voters" who ask the questions can be properly vetted (because CNN will make no effort to do so.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

4 weeks and counting...

This week's post was delayed due to my assuming my new job as Interim Dean for the School of Social Sciences and Human Services yesterday - just too busy to post yesterday!

After my post last week, my wife's uncle sent me this Updated Election Forecasting Model
I had seen it (and other models) before.  Though I respect social science modeling and predictions (I'm a Political Scientist myself) I have more faith in predictions that people put money behind.  "But aren't the scholars at CU putting their academic reputation on the line?" you may ask.  Yes, and no.  If they are wrong, they have margin of error, unforeseen variables, and anomalies to save their reputation.  Gamblers/investors lose their money if they are wrong - nothing to fall back on to save themselves.

Here's this weeks map.

Obama: 303
Romney: 235

The big news is Florida flipping into Romney's column.  Across the board there is some movement towards Romney, but not enough to even pull him into the 40% range in the swing states he is losing on this week's map.

Senate Partisan Caucusing prediction:
Democrats: 52
Republicans: 48

Indiana's Senate race is only 51% in the Republican column...53-47 is a possibility next week.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

T-minus 5 weeks...UPDATE

I have been relying a lot on Facebook to keep people updated on my life.  However, this update is too long for a status - I need a blog.

I used to frequented a sports gambling site called TradeSports.com.  The format they used was of a futures exchange.  In addition to sporting events, they would have social, political, weather, and all other sorts of events to "bet" on.  I am not a gambler - and have never gambled in my life (except at Grandpa and Grandma Young's New Year's Eve parties) - but I found the gamblers at TradeSports more accurate than the pollsters.  In fact, their state-by-state electoral college prediction for 2004 was exactly right.

Tradesports.com went out of operation a few years ago; however, Intrade.com took over the non-sports side.  As of 10/1, the electoral college outcome looks like this:

2012 Presidential Election: Electoral Map

Obama: 332
Romney: 206

Colorado, Florida and Virginia have been slipping slowly away from Obama over the past 24 hours; however, they remain above 65% likely to go Democratic.  Don't get to excited or disheartened about the map - 5 weeks is a long time in politics.  Also, the phrase "October Surprise" has nothing to do with the Great Pumpkin.

I hope to post these predictions every Monday until election day - and I'll link this over to Facebook so my friends can see it quickly.


The Senate is expected to go as follows:
Democrats: 50
Republicans: 48
Independent: 2 (Bernie Sanders, VT, caucuses with the Democrats.  The ME independent will likely caucus with them as well)

Partisan Caucusing prediction:

Democrats: 52
Republicans: 48


Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to School...

I am back into teaching at OCC.  The Fall Semester started last week and I am settling into my routine.  I did not have as many "first-day-of-school-late-to-class-no-clothes-or-lesson-plan" nightmares during August as I have in the past.  I think it is due to the fact that I spent a good deal of time on campus during August (finishing a special project for my VP, learning our new online course management system, assembling my tenure application material, etc.) so I never really had to "go back" to school - I was already there.
Hurricane Irene ruined our last best chance to hit the beach before school started back up.  The boys are in swimming lessons every Saturday morning through October and my schedule does not have a "free" day until late September (right before my tenure application is due!)  Therefore, our beach going is likely over until next Summer.
One positive note about Irene...we cleaned out our garage the weekend before she hit.  As it became apparent that she was headed our way, we decided to try to fit our minivan in the garage (just in case a tree fell on the driveway.)  With some minor organizing (and by folding in our van's side mirrors) we got it in the garage rather easily.  Up until this point, we had "eyeballed" the van and garage and decided that it wouldn't fit.  Now that we know it will fit, we can keep it safely locked up whenever we need to.
Once again I am dealing with troubling issues at work - it seems that September is the time for those lately - and once again I am finding my only comfort as I turn to my Heavenly Father and Savior.  Perhaps September is the "humbling" point in my own Nephite-like pride cycle.  Even if it isn't, I am grateful to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who are there to comfort me when the world cannot provide comfort.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer is here...

The past two days here on the Jersey Shore have been hot - "stupid hot" in fact.  I am looking forward to today's "tornado alert" to hopefully blow in some cooler weather before I have to tackle the jungle that is my lawn.

The lawn...we took some initial swipes at it with our push-reel mower; however, the weeds that make up 30-40% of our lawn (or so it seems) just grow too fast and too tall for our push-reel to accommodate.  Given that fact, the size of our lawn, and the amount of leaves that we have to rake and bag each year (over fifty 33-gallon leaf bags!) we decided to purchase an actual lawn mower.  We decided on a battery-powered model over gas (too expensive and smelly) or corded-electric (yard is too big and electric cords around a lawn mower is just asking for trouble.)  We were able to get it through Amazon.com.  I had a gift certificate from a textbook publisher (I do regular academic reviews of textbooks and online learning platforms) plus we could get free shipping.  It arrived yesterday and the battery is now charging up.  If all goes quickly I could have the front yard done tonight and the back done tomorrow or Friday.  Hopefully before Friday - I like to leave Fridays free (during the Summer) for time with the kids.

The kids...are all growing up way to quickly.  The boys' hair is about 10" long (last we checked) and should be ready to cut and donate by early fall (at the latest!)  They are growing so independent - their personalities and age difference are really showing.  I guess I've always thought of them as "the boys" and thus treated them very similarly (with minor adjustment for personality type.)  But there is a lot of difference between them that can be better explained by age.  I really hope I am up to working with them.  I sometimes think that I am failing at being the kind of father I want to be.  If I am failing now, how do I have any hope later?
Aside from their hair the boys are involved in cub scouts and love to play outside.  They love to read and watch Pokemon.  Last night we introduced them to "Mr. Bean."  My oldest was laughing so hard he had to stop eating so he wouldn't choke on his food.
My daughter is growing up too fast as well.  Her strong little personality is evident in all she does.  She is very good at telling everyone what to do (she even started counting at her oldest brother when he didn't do what she said - just like my wife and I do.)  She knows so many words, signs, and songs.  She sings to herself all the time.
My family is my joy and my anchor.  I am so blessed to have them!

I'll do my best to keep up a little better with my blog.  I plan to continue my Lent resolution of posting only non-political items (unless they are really important and relevant.)

For now, my daughter just woke up from her nap,


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lent begins...

OK, so lent began on Wednesday - I know!
I did post my Lent commitments on Facebook, but thought I should elaborate here.  First, no political posts on Facebook or on my blog.  It has been hard - and will be really hard this coming week especially.  Normally I can get my "fix" of politics in the classes I teach.  This next week is Spring Break - so no classes.  So why did I give up political posts for lent?  As with any good (non-Catholic) lent commitment, I have chosen something that I do frequently, I normally enjoy doing, but that I feel is not so good for me.  I want my blog and my FB status to be about me and my family.  I want it to be the phone call back to all my family back West that I don't have the time to make.  They know I'm politically opinionated, but they want to know how I am feeling, what I am doing in my career, what the kids doing and how are they feeling.  All of these things are easy to ignore when I just link to the latest political article or video.  My elimating politics from my posts could do two things.  First, it could eliminate my posting altogether.  I really hope this doesn't happen (and is why I have two Lent commitments) but it could.  Second, it will change the nature of my FB and blog posting and get me into the habit of regular posting about things that my family really would like to hear.
OK, my second commitment is to eliminate late-night television and movies.  My wife and I have shared that particular activity for many years now.  It began when we started watching Star Trek: TOS via our Netflix subscription and continued through TNG, DS9, Voyager, The Office, all of the Food Network competitions, and beyond.  We really had a field day when we got Netflix's Instant View function installed on the Wii.  Well, after finding that season 2 of Buck Rogers really sucks we decided to take some time to rediscover other activities.  We started reading an Orson Scott Card book out-loud (like we did with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy) and have spent some time just talking.  In addition to time with my wife, I think I may actually have some time to post something worthwhile on my blog (or at least on Facebook!)  As with my other Lent commitment, I think this one will help me improve myself and my relationship with my wife.  We will probably return to some of our favorite late-night television (it really is an interactive and "connected" experience that we share) but we may be more discriminating in our choice of programs.  I hope it will also remove the TV as the "default" activity.
That's all for now.  I'll let you know how I'm doing as Lent moves along (on the 2nd commitment - you'll know how I'm doing on the first!)