Archive for September, 2011
There was no Republican debate this last week. Perry fell in the polls anyway, while those being polled were raising Cain, the “flavor of the week”. Chris Christie wavered slightly on his earlier insistence that he’s not a candidate for President, leading most “professional” commentators to speculate about his intentions and and about when he’ll get into the race. The Chinese launched their first space station into orbit. Messenger, NASA’s Mercury orbiter, returned spectacular photographs and a wealth of data. A flock of wayward neutrinos reportedly broke the speed limit. No indication of whether they got pulled over and cited.
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Yesterday I provided an illustration of how one’s strategic moves can appear to be counterproductive, but yet turn out to be rational gambles with advantageous odds. This week, Florida is weighing a similar sort of decision.
Per the Republican Party Primary Election rules, only four states are permitted have their delegate selection process (caucus or primary election) prior to March 1, 2012 (and must have them in February): Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. States who award their delegates proportionally are permitted to have their selection process in March, while winner-take-all states must wait until April. All states who violate these rules are penalized by having half their delegates disqualified.
Thus far, Colorado and Arizona have scheduled their elections on February 7th and 28th, respectively, in violation of the rules. Michigan is expected to also violate the rules, and hold elections on February 28th.
Florida, in a fit of chutzpah, is considering holding its primary elections on January 31st, ahead of even Iowa’s February 6th caucuses. And South Carolina (traditionally the “first in the South” primary), in a game of one-upmanship, has promised to have its primary election in advance of Florida’s, regardless of Florida’s chosen date.
Why on earth are these states willing to give up half of their delegates? (more…)
I read this article on the topic of both Democrats and some Republicans criticizing Mitt Romney for having switched positions on a number of issues. The label of “flip flopper” has become a particularly deadly political insult in America. There are times when this criticism may point toward real problems. There also are plenty of instances when use of the label instead indicates cynicism and dishonesty on the part of the people who sell it, and some shallowness — even dangerous shallowness — on the part of the people who buy it.
There are at least three sorts of situations in which I’ve seen the label “flip flopper” used as a political curse. In two of them it is entirely unjustified. In the third, the true sin is deeper. In all three, a different word would be more accurate. (more…)
Last year, people all over the political universe were calling Republicans crazy for rejecting the more moderate Mike Castle, Sue Lowden, and Jane Norton for the more extreme Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck. After all, those three Senate seats would have been enough to shift the majority from the Democrats to the Republicans.
The response from many in the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is that it’s better to lose with a “real” conservative than to win with a RINO. Is that position really all that crazy? It’s worth investigating, given that this year’s leading Presidential candidates, other than Mitt Romney, have all been working diligently to find just how far off the right end of the political spectrum they can go. (more…)
Tomorrow, a one-week extension on funding the federal government will likely pass with the support of a minority of the House.
Wait…a minority will pass it?
This is one of those subtle, strange facets of our legislative government. (more…)
This week’s Economist has an article about the unexpectedly rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice.
In 2007, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice reached a record minimum, at 4.2 million square kilometers, or about 1.7 million square miles. September of each year, at the end of summer, is when the sea ice reaches its annual minimum. This year’s minimum, 4.3 million square kilometers, was almost as low as the record. The thickness, which cannot be easily measured, seems to have reached a historical minimum as well, and the total volume of arctic ice may be as low as it has ever been in the last 8,000 years, since the global warming that signaled the end of the last Ice Age.
The models used by climatologists are clearly faulty and have not accurately predicted the volume of sea ice. However, contrary to the assertions of Governor Rick Perry, the books (models) haven’t been cooked to exaggerate the rate of sea ice disappearance — the models have underpredicted the loss of sea ice. (more…)