Questions and answers about both politics AND crap!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is there a less meaningful predictor than the Iowa Caucuses?

We'd have to look at every predictor to know, but let's have a look at Iowa's track-record:
Sometimes one party has no contest. I'm not giving Iowa credit for picking the ONLY guy in the race, nor for calling a TIE for nomination since that's impossible. Otherwise, one point for picking a party nominee.
2008: Iowa gave us Obama vs Huckabee for 1/2 of possible points.
2004: Iowa gave us Kerry. 1 more, 2/3 total.
2000: Iowa gave us Gore vs Bush. Perfect. 3/5 total.
1996: Iowa gave us Dole. 4/6 total.
1992: Iowa gave us Harkin. 4/7 total.
1988: Iowa gave us Gephardt vs Dole. 4/9 total.
1984: Iowa gave us Mondale. 5/10 total.
1980: Iowa gave us Carter vs Bush. 6/12 total.
1976: Iowa gave us Uncommitted vs Tie. 6/14 total
1972: Iowa gave us Uncommitted. 6/15 total
Before that, it's harder to find data so screw 'em. Call it. Final score: 40%.
There you have it. Winning Iowa generally means you DON'T get your party's nomination.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Doesn't government spending create other kinds of jobs? Don't these workers buy more cars and other things?

All government spending follows this formula - all of it - no exceptions - anywhere - ever:
1) It removes capital from the economy.
2) It substitutes the judgement of a few for the judgement of "everyone" regarding how that capital should be used therefore guaranteeing less aggregate value is yielded.
3) It competes against the economy for remaining capital and labor resources.

Government spending eliminates other jobs in preference for politically chosen ones - always with overall less productive use. Therefore in net, it reduces total jobs/productivity. Fewer cars are bought because our car budget is reduced in favor of the government plan. Government spending can give a very short-term and/or targeted boost but always at the expense of the economy overall. Government jobs inefficiently replace jobs in the private sector. Thus fewer workers have paychecks they can spend on groceries, clothing, furniture, cars, houses, utilities, entertainment, appliances, restaurants, vacations, and all sorts of things. Further, available resources to apply in those industries is likewise reduced, driving prices up while employment and productivity falls. Those companies and employees end-up with less capital with which to produce so they generate less revenue and pay less in taxes so government gets less stuff built, fixed and done. See? everybody loses except for the few politically selected beneficiaries.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What do you think about Newt's comments on Palestine?

He is factually correct. Gingrich said the Palestinians are an “invented” people who seek to destroy Israel. That's almost as self-evident as "X=X."
There has never been a Palestinian state or people. Can you name the last Palestinian capitol? How about the last Palestinian President, Prime Minister, King or other head  of State? How about any famous Palestinian from before Israel was attacked in 1948?
Sure, you hear about "the Palestinians" all the time but have you ever asked "who the heck are they?" They are almost all exiles and their descendants. Most are Jordanian. Most of the remainder are Egyptian (Do we yet have a more iconic "Palestinian" that Arafat? - He's Egyptian. You may have failed to notice that.) Only a very small few "Palestinians" have any ancestral ties to Israeli land, or indeed to the land they live in now.
Those very few who left what is now Israel were not expelled. Their cousins are Israelis. Some are or have been members of the Israeli legislature, having far more rights than do Arab people anywhere else in all of the Middle East. The "expelled Palestinians" in fact left for one or both of two reasons: The Arab League told them to, so as to avoid the peril of impending Arab invasion and/or they simply couldn't stomach the idea of living among so many Jews. It's pretty obvious why some people would want them to be recognized as a nation-State, isn't it?
For the sarcasm-impaired, by "some people," of course, I mean the insane, the ignorant and/or the evil. I can't imagine anyone else thinking it's a good idea.

Do you agree you cannot be Christian and believe in the theory of evolution?

Of course not.
Here's what Genesis tells Christians: In the beginning, The earth was without form. There was was light before there was matter as we know it. The universe is self-contained and is not the residence of its creator. The Earth is designed to bring forth vegetation. The sea is designed to bring forth animal life. What evolutionist disagrees with any of that?
Now, Genesis also tells us that while "creation" of life itself is inherent in our planet, that God did reserve for himself the hands-on creation of mankind but it does not make-clear exactly what that means. There is no scriptural conflict with the idea that the universe "creates" life-forms - even rather sophisticated ones. As for creating man, the key point of the Genesis story seems to be that God's gift to man of a soul is what separates him from other animals.
Since the details are left to be discerned through exegesis and interpretation there are a number of hypothesis in the Christian community that are each consistent with the Genesis story. My favorite suggests the Eden story illustrates homo sapiens in his animal state: a sophisticated primate without inherent difference from other animals. Again, any good evolutionist will tell you our self-awareness and creative intelligence was not present in early homo sapiens but is an emergent property. I agree and like-minded Christians will tell you the bit about the "forbidden fruit" illustrates this.
"You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." This is thought by some Rabbinical and Christian authorities to be a metaphor. "Less-than human" animals, including early homo-sapiens, are not intellectually aware of their own mortality nor is one generation particularly discernible from its predecessors. We know lions in Africa today are not the same lions that were there centuries ago, but we also know if you could switch an ancient lion for a modern one no one would notice. Lions lack sufficient individuality for that to matter. "The lions" have always been there as far as history is concerned. So it was with "pre-human" homo sapiens until "we" became more self-aware, more individual, more creative and - significantly - started keeping track.
At that point "we" became something more than a sophisticated primate. We became "mankind" gaining moral judgement and accountability, having unique identities that transcend our common species identity. I would suggest that even in the modern world this is not a universal property, that some are never more than homo sapiens but that's another subject for another day.
So, no, I can't agree with the supposition that a Christian can't believe in the theory of evolution. Genesis seemingly supports evolution as part of God's design and may even be telling us that's where our biological ancestors came from before He picked them to carry our souls.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why don't Republicans want to extend the payroll tax cuts for the poor & Middle Class?

They haven't taken any such position.
The "payroll tax cuts" have exactly three effects:
> An increase in your take-home pay that OBAMA says is too small for you to notice. Admit it: until it became "news" that its renewal was in doubt, you didn't even know about it.
> For every "extra" buck in your paycheck, many times more will be left out of your future SS payout - if the program is still there when you retire - leading to the third effect:
> It accelerates the collapse of the program.

You see, that "payroll tax" is the only thing funding the SS program and literally 100% of Congressional DEMOCRATS admitted SS is doomed to catastrophic collapse - soon - unless fundamental changes are made. Let me emphasize: that's fundamental changes, not "adjustments."
So, given a program that's already running in the red, de-funding it for NO noticeable benefit to anyone seems a little silly. That's why the GOP says those contributions to your retirement account have to be replaced with something and ought not simply be cut as Democrats demand.

GMO food is good or bad?

Yes, I left the question intact as asked. It demonstrates the intellect of those fearing "genetically modified" food.
Seriously, unless you found a source for ancient primordial ooze, all of your fruit, vegetables, grains and meat is genetically modified. ALL of it. No exceptions. So it has been for all of known time.
Successive generations of all cellular life-forms bear genetic modification from the "original" design. When this happens on its own the result either thrives or dies, depending on its suitability for this world. When this happens by deliberate intervention the result either thrives or dies, depending on its suitability for this world. I'm having trouble appreciating the scary difference there.
Relax. Your bread might have a slightly different vitamin and mineral content but it won't turn you into a mutant monster. The modified genes in the wheat WILL NOT meld with your cells turning you into a grass-man hybrid. I promise.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is there a difference between the Neo Cons and the Democrats?

Start with the origin of the term "neocon." Decades ago, what we now know as the "liberal agenda" was written by people openly seeking to destroy America. A lot of people saw what they thought of as great ideas FOR America and embraced pretty-much the entire public liberal agenda as their own. They wanted a strong, independent liberal America. The founding liberals said destruction of America was so central to their ideology that agreeing with EVERYTHING ELSE but  not hating America meant you might as well call yourself a conservative and thus the term "neoconservative" was born.
So there you have it. The difference is the neocons don't hate America.

How can I get rid of weeds?

Embrace them.
There is no objective way to define "weeds." A weed is just a plant growing where it is unwanted.
Learn to love your dandelions and crabgrass, welcome them into your lawn. Mow and landscape to showcase their presence along with your grass and other ground cover.
When you have done this, no plant in your lawn will be out of place or unwanted. You will have no weeds.
Or, you could poison the crap out of them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When should you measure your car's engine oil; when the engine is hot, or when it's cold?

The temperature won't make a significant difference. Check your oil with the car level and the engine off - ideally after it's been off until the oil has time to drain back to the pan.
Until you have a good idea of your car's oil-consumption rate, check it every time you get gas.

How come all Republican deficit reduction plans involve the middle class and poor doing all the sacrifice?

In short, they don't. None of them do.
First, let's be clear. ONLY Republicans have ever offered any deficit reduction plan. Each and every so-called deficit reduction plan offered by any Democrat calls for INCREASE of the debt, merely featuring a few years in which the rate of increase is slowed. The LAST deficit reduction we had was under Bush with a GOP Congress. Deficits fell to less than 1/10 of what they are now and we were on track to SURPLUS in one or two more years.
Now, on to who bears the burden of GOP plans. No one's proposing anything that hasn't already been done in the U.S. or elsewhere so we already know their tax simplification with lower and flatter rates and decentralization of bloated Federal bureaucracies WILL yield results such as:
  • Increased federal tax revenues with reduction of the federal deficit
  • Increased business growth rate
  • A larger share of total national income going to bottom earners
  • Higher real per-capita income
  • Improved upward mobility
  • Expansion of black employment in professional and managerial jobs
  • Statistically full employment
  • Top earners paying a larger share of total taxes
  • Low inflation
  • Higher wages
  • More minority-owned businesses
  • Less poverty
So yeah. Evidently those are prices the Democrats just aren't willing to pay.