October 31, 2006
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has asked his mother to stop using his picture in TV commercials touting her candidacy for a Texas appeals court.
In commercials running on Austin stations, Mina Brees had been using a picture of her son in the uniform of his former team, the San Diego Chargers, to emphasize her ties to football.
“I think the major point here is that my mother is using me in a campaign, and I’ve made it known many times I don’t want to be involved,” Drew Brees said Monday.
I’ve been following Drew Brees’ career since the late 90’s when he was the starting QB for Purdue, and I was sitting in the stands watching those games. At that time, and since, I have never heard anyone with a negative thing to say about Drew. In fact, he has been routinely praised for the work he does in the community, and with his recent trade to New Orleans, he’s very active in helping to revive the city after Katrina.
So my initial thought is to take his side. This is even further the case given what I know about people in politics, who are usually willing to do just about anything to get elected. And with a little more of the back story, it sounds like his mother is blatantly trying to use her connection to a famous football player to bolster her campaign:
She said her connection to football is relevant to her campaign because her father, a successful high school coach, used sports to teach her a strong work ethic that she would bring to the judicial bench.
Drew Brees, who won a state football championship with Westlake High School in suburban Austin, said he got no response from his mother when he first heard about the ads and called her to ask that she stop using them. His agent sent her a letter Oct. 20 threatening legal action, he said.
He called his relationship with his mother “nonexistent” after it crumbled six years ago when he refused to hire her as his agent.
Hmm, it’s funny how she wants to show her ties to football and how it has helped her work ethic, and yet gloss over the fact that she’s basically estranged from her son due to her past attempts to ride his coattails. People who are threatened with legal action from their children may have a great work ethic, but I’d have to think that some Texas voters would worry about her commitment to “family values”.
But one bit of this story made me really angry. Sometimes you can see in certain comments just how duplicitous and conniving people can be, and this quote is a perfect example:
“I love Drew very much, and I’m very proud of him. But sometimes when people are following a career path, they change,” she said.
So she says she’s very proud of her son, but in the way she makes this statement, it’s clear that she’s unhappy with the “change” he’s gone through. If she’s so unhappy with the “change”, why is she trying to hype her connection to him?
When you look at that statement again, perhaps she’s unconsciously talking about herself. She was probably a good mother, and then when the time came for her son to enter the spotlight, she decided that it was time for her to bring her career in line with his, by becoming his agent. When that didn’t work, she pushed ahead to try for elected office, and used her position as the mother of an NFL QB, in a state where football is very important, to bolster her campaign. So who changed while following their career path, Drew or his mom?
With an attitude like that, is it any wonder that Drew describes his relationship with her as “nonexistent”?
October 20, 2006
In politics, polls are everything. One thing you always hear is when one politician trails another by 5 points, with a margin of error in the poll of +/- 3%, all the pundits who favor that politician call it a “statistical tie”. After all, if you swing one guy up by 2.5 points, and the other guy down by those 2.5 points, you’ve got a tie. Now, it doesn’t matter if 12 different polls all find the margin a consistent 4-6 points, as long as each poll has the same margin of error, the pundits call it a statistical tie.
Now, if I poll 1000 people, asking them today, “which party do you think will win the House”, and I get a 5-point swing, with a margin of error of +/- 3 points, you can take that poll as meaningless. However, if I, and three other polling firms get the same result, the consistency of result means that the chance that all 4 polls are wrong by 2.5 points in the same direction is fairly low. So four polls that show someone is down 5 points pretty much means that the guys is down about 5 points. While each poll has a +/- 3 point margin of error, the combined result is probably, at best, a +/- 1 point margin of error. The more polls showing the same result, the more likely it is that this trend is real, and not an erroneous poll.
Of course, that’s no reason to believe polls at all. I much prefer to believe prediction markets like tradesports.com, as the old adage, “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is” is answered there by people actually doing it. But I’m also a big fan of pointing out idiocy of the media, and the pundits take the cake. One poll may be a statistical anomaly. Multiple polls, all agreeing with each other, are something to take notice of.
October 12, 2006
Sometimes I forget just how different the South is from the Pacific Northwest. I spent the early part of this week in Baltimore for a trade show, and the format of the show meant myself and the sales engineer spent a lot of time with no customers around. We ended up chatting for most of the day with the marketing guy from Oregon in the next booth, and he ended up joining us for dinner that evening, as he was without a car, and the hotel for the show was a long way from any halfway decent restaurants.
I should have known what I was getting into at lunch. We were sitting around talking about gas, alternative fuels, etc, and I heard a typical leftist talking point: “I think we should slap another dollar of taxes onto gasoline, so that we can encourage the use of alternative fuels and more fuel-efficient vehicles.” I held my tongue, because I was in a work setting. All I ended up saying was “Well, that’s certainly not what I’d do.” What I was thinking was that while I have an ideological argument against using tax policy to influence behavior, there is a much stronger argument. The costs of such a policy would far outweigh the benefits, in reduced economic growth, government mismanagement of the tax largesse, and higher costs to consumers to purchase these expensive technologies. That’s to be expected when you’re using a blunt-force government policy, i.e. using a chainsaw to remove an appendix when you really need a scalpel.
So that night, we ended up heading out for dinner. A bit of a boring meal for me, as he and my coworker, both divorced, were discussing strategies for meeting women on match.com. As a married guy, I sat back with my beer and meal during that portion.
But on the way home, we stopped at a gas station, and he followed up his earlier comment, explaining how “glad he was that Oregon didn’t have any self-serve gas pumps.” We got onto the topic, and he trotted out the first idea, that “it’s a safety issue.” I was not so interested in holding my tongue any more (might have been due to beer), and had to point out that we don’t really have much of a “safety” problem pumping gas in the rest of the country. Basically, that’s an argument from pure common sense, and he must not have had an answer, because he moved on.
He followed up with his concerns about how he didn’t want to have to get out of his car, and how if there was a line at a station, people could go to another one. He mentioned that he heard a radio show where a station owner called in and said it only cost him $0.03 per gallon to pay someone to pump the gas, and how great it was that they had it. Well, that was cause for another simple answer. “If it’s so great, and cheap, why do you need the government to enforce it?” Again, no real answer, so he moved on.
He followed that up with two arguments. First, that it’s great to have these jobs for high school and college kids, and how much of a benefit that is. Second, that he’d been to gas stations in California, where they’re dirty, dangerous, and you don’t see that in places where they have more people on staff. Well, we had just arrived back at the hotel, so I couldn’t take the time to refute him. Of course it’s great for the kids who get the job, but how great is it for those of us paying for it? And while he might have been to some stations in California, I can point to quite a few counter-examples. Perhaps he’s seen these sorts of dirty, dangerous stations in Compton, but I didn’t see too many in Irvine.
But as I don’t spend too much time with people of his ideological stripe these days, it was a bit instructive. I learned that a leftist is completely willing to use the power of government to make everyone bow to his wishes. And that if it’s in his interest, he’ll latch onto easily-refutable, feel-good arguments that hold no weight under scrutiny. Of course, he’s more than entitled to his opinion, and it’s possible he thinks my arguments against him hold no merit. But there’s a big difference. He wants to use the force of government to make me pay for and conform to his wishes. I ask for nothing but freedom. But I’ll bet he thinks he’s the one with the moral high ground.
October 3, 2006
Congress is, once again, doing the Lord’s work, making sure that you don’t have access to immoral offshore gambling web sites.
US President George W. Bush this week is expected to sign a bill making it harder to place bets on the Internet, a practice which already is illegal in the United States.
Bush was expected to act quickly after Congress approved the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act making it illegal for financial institutions and credit card companies to process payments to settle Internet bets. It also created stiff penalties for online wagers.
Billions of dollars are wagered online each year and the United States is considered the biggest market.
The bill’s chief Senate sponsor was conservative Republican Jon Kyl, who, like Leach, has said he believed Internet gambling was a moral threat. He has called online betting as the Internet version of crack cocaine.
“Gambling can be highly addictive, especially when its done over an unregulated environment such as the Internet” he said this year.
You see, you are too weak to make your own choices. Especially in an “unregulated” environment. Perhaps we, the esteemed Congress, might allow you gamble from time to time, but only when we’re watching over you.
This, like every other vice law, doesn’t do anything to stop gambling. Especially since the “unregulated internet” moves a lot faster than Congress. Try to shut down one payment method, another will crop up. Just like with every vice law, from gambling, to drugs, to prostitution; if people want it, they will find a way to get it.
When it comes to a vice law, though, this is typical government behavior. They made it illegal. It didn’t stop it. So they’re going to expand their power, in order to try even harder to find the behavior, and punish it more severely. When that doesn’t work, they’ll expand their power again, expanding their reach and control over our lives, because they have to crack down on this “immoral” behavior.
But the true coup de grace? They’re protecting the family and the children…
“It is extraordinary how many American families have been touched by large losses from Internet gambling,” said US Representative Jim Leach, the bill’s main sponsor in the House, in a statement after its passage early Saturday.
Leach cited research which showed that young people who tend to spend hours of leisure time on the Internet, are particularly vulnerable.
A 2005 survey by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 26 percent of male college students gamble in online card games at least once a month, while nearly 10 percent of all college students gambled online at some point last year.
“Never has it been so easy to lose so much money so quickly at such a young age. The casino is in effect brought to the home, office and college dorm.
“Children may play without verification, and betting with a credit card can undercut a players perception of the value of cash, which too easily leads to bankruptcy and crime,” Leach said.
Ahh, it’s for the children… How can you argue with that?
The Unrepentant Individual linked with I Hear China Has Some Good Proxy Servers
September 6, 2006
It must appear so, because they’ve been nice enough to drop gas prices. That’s the only explanation I have for coming back from Hawaii to see gas prices under $2.50 a gallon here in GA.
I guess those guys in their wood-paneled conference room where they set the nation’s gas prices have decided that they’ve been making enough profit lately, and that while they were gouging us before, they’ve decided to change their ways and play nicely.
Either that, or we’ve had news of potential increases in supply. But the laws of supply and demand are just for economists, I prefer to blame oil execs.
August 9, 2006
The whole “netroots” crowd is patting themselves on the back for taking down Joe Lieberman. But are they getting ahead of themselves?
I think they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Winning the Connecticut primary shows that they’ve got some power, but they took aim at a big fish in a small pond. Connecticut is a state where you declare a party at registration, and a very large number if people are registered as Independent. Thus, only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary, meaning it’s even more partisan than most states. And the small population makes it a lot easier to effect a change. It’s a veritable “perfect storm” of primary upset, where a far-left candidate can unseat a moderate-left candidate. But they left Lieberman with a leg to stand on. He had enough time to plan to get himself on the ballot as an Independent. While they’ve won the first salvo, I think they’re in serious danger of losing the campaign.
There’s a big reason you see Democrats urging Lieberman not to run as an independent. He’ll beat them in November. So they keep asking him to “respect the will of the people” and drop out of the race. But as I saw Lieberman point out on PBS today, only about 15% of Connecticut registered voters took part in the Democratic primary. And barely less than 50% of those 15% voted for him. So he’s supposed to assume that because a very small majority of a tiny minority of the population picked Lamont over him, that means the rest of Connecticut voters won’t prefer him in the general election?
The “netroots” crowd are in a tough spot. Unless they convince Lieberman not to run, they have to beat him in November to count this as a victory. If they beat him in November, they’ve proven that the tide has turned against the Iraq war amongst the general public. But if they don’t beat him in November, they’ve only proven that the Democratic party has marginalized themselves by heading farther left, and they’ll look foolish. If Lieberman doesn’t run, Lamont will win, and while that’s not (IMHO) a real victory, it will be seen as such.
It will be an interesting couple of months. Lieberman isn’t going anywhere, and there’s a good chance he’ll beat Lamont and the Republican challenger. The “netroots” crowd, if they want validation, is going to have to put serious money into the Lamont campaign, possibly to the point of attacking Lieberman, the man who they supported only 6 years ago to become Vice President. And the Republicans can either walk away from their own candidate, ensuring a Lieberman victory, or put serious money behind him, hoping to capitalize on Lieberman and Lamont splitting the Democrat vote.
Either way, the only way for the “netroots” crowd to win is if Lamont beats Lieberman and the Republican. I think that’s pretty unlikely.
August 4, 2006
They might, if Rep. Steve Davis has his way:
As some of you may know that this past year I introduced the Georgia Fair Tax, HB 1667, on the last day of the session. I actually had the bill drafted prior to the session and was seeking a fiscal note, however I did not meet the deadline to submit tax legislation to the Department of Audits (freshmen learning). I still tried to get the fiscal note during the session but to no available, but introduced the bill anyway on the last day to open discussion during the off season.
Never the less, I had some time to review it and some time to research other aspects including the impact on the gas tax. I have made some minor changes to the bill and have submitted the bill to the Department of Audits, many months before the November deadline. You can view the new draft legislation here. I have received confirmation(view it here and here) of the request and they are preparing the analysis and fiscal note. I would like to point out this is a piece of draft legislation that will be adjusted during the legislative process and I encourage any and all recommendations from my constituents as well as my colleagues in the General Assembly.
Perhaps if it works extremely well here, the rest of the country may actually take notice. Georgia is already a job-friendly state due to the relatively low cost of living and educated population in the Atlanta area, and this will only help.
Hat Tip: Jason Pye
August 3, 2006
I’ve added a site over on the blogroll. DraftNewt.org is the rallying point for all those who would like to see Newt run in ‘08.
Of course, he’s already running, whether he’s declared or not. If he didn’t have designs on the Presidency, he wouldn’t be seen on just about every cable news show in existence. But I know how the game is played, and he has to have his “grassroots” support before he can formally declare. I’m happy to be a part of that group.
I recommend, if you’re actually a believer in small and efficient government, like me, check it out. And if, like me, you think that the person best able to actually bring that about would be the man largely responsible for the Contract With America, you might want to consider joining and helping out. Like me
August 1, 2006
Iran’s hard-line president rejected a U.N. Security Council deadline for it to suspend uranium enrichment, saying Tuesday Tehran would not be pressured into stopping its nuclear program.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd in northeastern Iran his country would not give in to United Nations’ threats.
“If some think they can still speak with threatening language to the Iranian nation, they must know that they are badly mistaken,” he said in a speech broadcast carried live on state-run television.
This doesn’t surprise me. They watched their neighbor, Iraq, spend 12 years ignoring UN resolutions. And after the political fallout of the Iraq war, they know they can go 20 years before there are any real consequences. Long before then, they’ll have a nuclear weapon, and will be in a much stronger negotiating position than they are now.
Of course, when the United Nations waters down a resolution they probably wouldn’t enforce in the first place, Iran pretty well knows they’re in the clear.
Earlier Tuesday, Japan and Russia both urged Iran to comply with the resolution.
“We call on Iran to listen to the opinion of world society,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said Tuesday.
Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the text of the Security Council resolution was watered down from earlier drafts that would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. The resolution now requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.
“You hear that? You’ve got a month! No more! And after that month, well… We’re going to get back in a room and talk about what we’re going to do about it!”
July 27, 2006
House Republican leaders, giving in to political reality, plan a vote to raise the $5.15 minimum wage before leaving Washington this weekend for a five-week recess.
“Whether people like it or not, we need to go ahead with it,” said Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., who supports the idea. “There’s a general agreement among Republicans (opposing the raise) that `maybe we don’t like it much, but we need to move forward with it just for political reasons.’”
The No. 3 House GOP leader, Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, said the plan was to have a vote before week’s end. But Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans leaders were working to pass the increase but that “no decisions have been made.”
It was a decade ago, during the hotly contested campaign year of 1996, that Congress voted to increase the minimum wage. A person working 40 hours per week at minimum wage makes $10,700, which is below the poverty line for workers with families.
Democrats have made increasing the wage a pillar of their campaign platform and are pushing to raise the wage to $7.25 per hour over two years. In June, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to raise the minimum wage, rejecting a proposal from Democrats.
The chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee said the GOP would embrace the increase to $7.25 per hour and probably attach a proposal passed last year that would make it easier for small business to band together and buy health insurance plans for employees at a lower cost. Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., said the minimum wage bill probably will not include tax cuts such as a repeal of the estate tax.
Great… So let me get this straight.
You’re going to give the Democrats what they ask for. In order to try to make it slightly more politically palatable, you’re going to barely ease regulations on small business. And when you might have an issue worth going tit-for-tat on, and actually getting a real concession from the Democrats, you roll over.
An estate tax repeal would be the ultimate poison pill for Democrats on this bill. I can just see the quandary they’d be in, knowing they can’t vote against a minimum wage, but being against the estate tax repeal. And it’s a politically great move. If you’re going to do something to help the rich, why not do it as an offset to helping* the poor. Yet the Republicans are not going to do it.
The Republicans are showing, once again, that they’re just as statist as Democrats, but with some nice religious authoritarianism and hyper-nationalism thrown in on top of it.
Thanks, guys. I really feel good about voting for you chumps in 2004.
* Yes, I realize the minimum wage hurts the poor. But in the political world, perception is reality, and the perception is otherwise.
Below The Beltway linked with Libertarians And The GOP: What’s The Point Anymore ?
July 26, 2006
I posted the other day about Stephen Colbert getting Congressman Robert Wexler (who is running unopposed in 2006) to say “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do.”
Well, below is the YouTube clip of the same. Watch how Colbert completely manipulates Wexler into saying it. It’s pure mastery.
Below The Beltway linked with Friday Videos: The Colbert Report, Part I
July 24, 2006
Just ask Congress…
Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler says he was just playing along with the joke when comedian Stephen Colbert prodded him in an interview to say: “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do.”
The Florida congressman who is unchallenged for re-election appeared on Colbert’s Comedy Central show and was asked to say a few things that would “really lose the election for you if you were contested.”
Colbert asked the congressman to complete this sentence: “I enjoy cocaine because … ”
A bemused Wexler looked into the camera and said, “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do.”
A follow-up in the complete-the-sentence questioning led to this comment: “I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons … because it’s a fun thing to do. If you combine the two together, it’s probably even more fun.”
Something tells me that he’ll be opposed come 2008… And that this clip is going to get a lot of airplay around that time. But I think he’s locked up the coked-out hooker vote!
That’s funny stuff. Much funnier than “I didn’t inhale”…
The Unrepentant Individual linked with Watching it is Funnier Than Reading About It
July 18, 2006
As I mentioned previously, I decided to vote for John Konop in the primary of our local Congressional race. That primary occurring this morning, I headed over to the polling place.
My first surprise was to see a product my company sells sitting on the poll workers table. I think, as this was originally a third-party product, that Diebold was getting these from the original vendor. But it’s entirely possible they were buying through our other division in Ohio. Very interesting. I wanted to snap a picture to send to all my coworkers, but they seem to frown on the idea of snapping photos of the technologies used at the polling place. I wonder why?
Outside of the Congressional race, there weren’t many races I was interested in. So I decided to run the contrarian vote. Every race with an incumbent, I voted anti-incumbent. Any race without an incumbent, I didn’t vote, as I don’t really have the time to research races like our local school superintendent (especially since I don’t have kids).
I’ve decided to call my anti-incumbent strategy the “Throw The Bums Out” campaign.
As for the Price-Konop race? Price will probably win it. He’s had several commercials over the last week, and I’m seeing volunteers out on the streets holding signs for him. Of course, he wouldn’t be spending money on commercials and time sending out volunteers if he wasn’t a little bit worried, so we’ll see how it turns out.
July 17, 2006
Our wonderful Congress has decided they need to ban online gambling:
The House easily approved a bill yesterday to curb online poker games, sports betting and other Internet-based wagering that gained infamy as a central focus of a major lobbying scandal.
The 317-to-93 vote came nearly six years to the day after a similar measure went down to surprise defeat. At the time, unknown to its conservative supporters, the bill was derailed by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the office of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, on behalf of the disgraced lobbyist’s gambling clients.
“This is the opportunity to expunge a smear on this House done by many lobbyists,” Abramoff included, said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), one of the legislation’s chief sponsors. “Now is the time to set the record straight.”
Oh, you’ve set the record straight. We can see that you care very little about freedom, but that if you’re getting enough money, you’ll care about whatever you’re paid to.
Thankfully, a new group called the Poker Players Alliance has stepped up to fight for our rights. Let’s hope they’re doing more than tilting at windmills…
Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would prohibit Americans from playing poker on the Internet.
“We are disappointed that the House of Representatives would assail the rights of Americans to enjoy the great game of poker on the Internet. It is unconscionable that a skill game like poker gets swept into the net of prohibition, while online horse betting and Internet lotteries get free passes,” said Mr. Bolcerek.
“The United States should follow the lead of the United Kingdom by regulating and taxing online poker, not banning it. An economic analysis just released by our organization shows that U.S. regulation of online poker has the potential to raise more than $3.3 billion in annual revenue for the federal government, in addition to another $1 billion for state coffers. We hope that this analysis will give a fresh perspective for U.S. Senators about the benefits of regulation.
“The Poker Players Alliance is undeterred in its mission to promote and protect the game of poker and we will continue to advance the cause on behalf of poker players in the United States.”
I do have a problem with this. They harp on the fact that poker is a skill game— which it is— as the basis for it being allowed. I’d rather just let them argue for liberty, rather than arguing that poker is worth of an “exception” to regulation.
I don’t wish to let any Congressperson, even my own, tell me whether or not I have the right to play poker online. I’m an adult, and I can make that decision for myself. And frankly, if I want to play a little blackjack or roulette, I’ll do that too.
July 6, 2006
I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to do in my local primary. I’m not particularly unhappy with Price, considering some of the other clowns in Congress, but at the same time, I’m not extraordinarily happy.
But considering the options, I tend to lean towards the devil I know, rather than the devil I don’t. Do I dare try to toss out a politician who— all things considered— isn’t that bad, to bring in one who might be worse?
In this case, I do. I’m endorsing John Konop for the Georgia 6th Congressional District.
Now, this isn’t an indictment of Price. He supports the FairTax and has said the right things regarding controlling spending. Overall, he’s been a fairly trustworthy Republican Party vote in his freshman term, evidenced by his ACU Rating of 96.
But I don’t want a trustworthy Republican. I’m a libertarian. I want someone who is going to buck the trend and make waves, not someone who’s going to fall in line. Price criticized about the pork in the Transportation Bill, but he put in some of his own and voted for it anyway. He voted for the flag-burning amendment. And worst? He shaded his way out of a debate. As someone who values accountability in government, that last bit is just too much.
As for Konop? He’s a mixed bag with a big upside. His web site and emails portray his stance on immigration and free trade in a way to make a libertarian retch. He tells me that this is more of a way to gather publicity, and in a conversation, gave me a lot more confidence in the philosophical underpinnings for some of the outlandish things he says. Specifically, he’s an Adam Smith devotee, and talks about government propping up big business as a corporatist, not a capitalist, phenomenon. He referred to himself as the Ron Paul of Georgia, always a good sign. I have some hope that he will make waves. Right now the last thing we need is a continuation of the current Republican machine.
It’s been a tough decision to reach. But it’s not like I’m talking about a staunch Republican up against a raging statist. If John Konop is the small-government ‘libertarian in a Republican suit’, we’re a lot better off than Price. If he’s another run-of-the-mill Republican, we’re no worse off. So John’s got my support in the primary on July 18th.
The Unrepentant Individual linked with Throw The Bums Out
The Liberty Papers»Blog Archive linked with Who Wants to Vote In Georgia?
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