No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for February, 2012

February 22, 2012

Marquette Law School Poll – Santorum leads the WI Primary, Obama leads significantly in the general

Marquette University’s Law School released its second poll of Wisconsin registered voters this morning, the first dealing with the April 6 Presidential primary, and the first to match up each of the 4 remaining Republican Presidential candidates against Barack Obama (January’s poll matched Mitt Romney against Obama). The primary topline is that Rick Santorum had the support of 34% of those considering voting in the Republican primary, with Romney at 18%, Ron Paul at 17%, and Newt Gingrich at 12%. The general topline is Obama would get a double-digit majority win over each candidate, with Santorum coming closest at 51%-40%. Romney saw his deficit to Obama increase from 40%-48% in January to 38%-53% this month, due in part to a rather significant shift in the partisan split from 43% independent/28% Democrat/26% Republican (46% D/44% R with leaners) last month to 35% independent/34% Democrat/26% Republican (47% D/39% R with leaners).

Beyond the toplines – primary edition

Those who lean Republican make up a mere 66.6% of those who said they support one of the four candidates, which probably reflects the ease and anonymity of the partisan primary process in Wisconsin (only the voter knows in which party’s primary he or she voted). However, the facts that they’re the largest constituency and that 81.6% of those who lean Republican did support one of the four candidates illustrate the relative strength of the four candidates.

Among that core constuency (including the 7.5% who don’t plan on voting in the Presidential primary), Santorum trounced Romney 40.6%-18.5%, with Gingrich a distant third at 11.7%. Santorum, the only candidate to improve his favorability ratio from last month, had a favorable/unfavorable split of 56.1%-10.1%, a rather significant improvement from January’s 48.6%/9.8%. Romney slipped from a 48.9%-29.2% split in January to a 45.9%-32.4% split in February, Paul slipped from a 42.4%-28.0% split in January to a 38.4%-31.2% split in February, and Gingrich went underwater, collapsing from a 45.1%-41.5% split in January to a 35.2%-48.8% split in February.

Surprisingly, Santorum even placed second among those leaning Democrat, 23.7% of whom said they would support one of the four candidates in the primary. Among that group of 80, Paul took 43.5%, Santorum 26.2%, Romney 16.0% and Gingrich 14.3%. Notably, Paul’s Democrat-lean total of 35 was greater than his Republican-lean total of 31.

While the Marquette Law School Poll does not directly measure the “likely voter” metric (a discussion from director Charles Franklin on the subject here), the school did release a “likelyhood” crosstab based on a question of how likely each respondent was to vote in November. As Wisconsin is within a month and a half of the primary, looking at the likelyhood of a respondent voting is undeniably worth exploring. Among those “absolutely certain” to vote in November and who did not say they would not participate in the Republican primary, Santorum led with 39.2%, Romney was second with 19.7%, Paul was third with 13.7%, and Gingrich was last with 10.0%. Adding those “very likely” to vote in November and not ruling out voting in April changes the percentages to 35.4% Santorum, 19.0% Romney, 17.1% Paul and 11.4% Gingrich, virtually indistinguishable from the larger “registered voter” number.

On the ideology front, of those who did not rule out voting in the primary, 12.3% described themselves as “very conservative”, 41.2% as “conservative”, 31.5% as “moderate”, 6.1% as “liberal” and 1.5% as “very liberal”. Santorum took 57.5% of the very-conservative potential vote, with Gingrich a distant second at 24.3% and Romney an even more distant third at 11.2%. Among those who were “merely” “conservative”, Santorum took 34.7%, with Romney second at 21.4% and Gingrich third at 14.6%. Paul’s strength begins with the “moderates”, with a 28.1% plurality among moderates (barely ahead of Santorum’s 28.0% and well ahead of Romney’s 16.5%), and near-majorities of 43.7% of “liberals” (with Romney second at 26.1%) and 49.4% of “very liberals” (with the remaining 50.6% undecided).

Beyond the toplines – general edition

The biggest boost to Obama’s chances was his boost in favorability, from 50% favorable/44% unfavorable last month to 52%/43%. In an interesting twist, that is higher than his job approval split of 50% approval/43% disapproval (also up from January’s 47%/47% split), a mirror opposite of Scott Walker’s 47% approval/47% disapproval and 46% favorable/48% unfavorable splits.

Among the Republican challengers, only Santorum had a positive favorability in the Dem-heavy overall poll at 30% favorable/27% unfavorable (versus 27%/21% last month). Paul, who was at an even 31%/31% split last month, fell to 27%/37% this month. Romney slipped from 30%/42% to 27%/50%, while Gingrich slipped from 25%/53% to 21%/61%.

While last month, among those “certain” to vote, Obama and Romney were tied at 45.1%, Obama increased his percentage among this group to between 49.4% (against Santorum) to 53.8% (against Gingrich). Much like last month, the less committed one is to vote, the more likely one would vote for Obama against any of the Republicans.

Specifically to Romney, while a significant portion of his softening of support versus Obama was due to the increased number of Democrats, that does not explain the entirety of the collapse. Even after “normalizing” the February poll numbers to the January partisan percentages, Romney would lose 51%-40%. That was due to a 8-point drop in support among Republicans down to 80.8% (with a 7-point gain by Obama among the same). By comparison, Santorum held 87.1% of Republicans, Paul 82.4% and Gingrich a mere 78.9%.

The news is not all “good” (relatively-speaking) for Santorum. While he would lose the “independent” vote to Obama 53.1%-35.7%, Romney would “only” lose by 50.5%-38.9%.

Regarding ideology, the larger poll sample had 8% “very conservative” (compared to 9% last month), 30% “conservative” (versus 32%), 38% “moderate” (versus 32%), 16% “liberal” (versus 14%), and 4% “very liberal” (unchanged). Santorum would carry the “very conservative” vote by a 86.4%-13.6% margin and the “conservative” vote 67.7%-23.0%, and lose the “moderates” 62.3%-27.1%, while Romney would carry the “very conservative” vote 72.7%-23.1% (note; while that doesn’t seem right, it does add up), and the “conservative” vote 68.0%-22.2%, and lose the “moderate” vote 65.7%-24.4%.

Revisions/extensions (1:13 pm 2/22/2012) - Somehow mentioned Romney twice in the “conservative” portion of the primary writeup. Fixed.

R&E part 2 (8:19 pm 2/22/2012) - Many thanks to Stacy McCain for linking in his liveblog of the debate tonight.

February 21, 2012

Wednesday, Wednesday, Can’t trust that day Debate

Breaking out the air folk guitar for this intro:

Oh Wednesday morning, Wednesday morning couldn’t guarantee
That Wednesday evening, we be closer to a nominee….

Join me and hopefully Steve, for another drunk or otherwise blog. Show starts at 7 Central. I’ll try to get it rolling a bit before that!

Revisions/extensions (11:44 am 2/22/2012, steveegg) - I’ll be here a bit late. We do have a special treat for you, however – Stephen Kruiser and Tony Katz doing commentary. In case Shoebox and I forget to throw it in the CiL window, I’ll also throw it here…

I also made this temporarily “sticky”, so new posts, at least until after the debate, will be below this one. Yes, I do have a couple of posts I’m working on.

If we drilled ANWR ten years ago….

Jim Geraghty highlighted a few choice quotes from the 2000-2002 timeline on how drilling in ANWR wouldn’t have an effect for ten years. Guess what? It’s now ten years later, and we’re staring $4.50-$5.00/gallon summer gas in the face.

February 12, 2012

Peek-A-Boo America!

As the battle between President Obama and the Catholic Church continued, President Obama attempted to diffuse the growing angst with something he classified as a “compromise.” The compromise from the White House’s fact sheet:

Under the new policy to be announced today, women will have free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where she works. The policy also ensures that if a woman works for a religious employer with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide, pay for or refer for contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to directly offer her contraceptive care free of charge.

Wow, that’s great! Religious organizations no longer have to pay for insurance that provides for contraceptive coverage! How magnanimous on the part of the President! In fact, the President who would be King, has fixed the problem by decreeing that all insurance companies must provide said contraceptive coverage in the plans offered to these religious institutions for FREE!

o Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.

If I’m reading this right, Obama believes that the issue the Catholic Church had, was paying for the cost of contraception. I’m not Catholic but I do understand a fair amount of their doctrine. I’m pretty sure that the Church didn’t have a proviso that allowed for contraception if you could get someone else to pay for it! In fact, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have already called out Obama for his ruse that he claims is a “compromise:”

And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

Beyond the theological issue, I’m having a tough time figuring out how exactly, Obama believes that forcing the insurance companies to provide something “for free” does not result in having the insurer pay for it? Does Obama really believe that by simply saying “it is free” that it actually is free? I’ve been a Southerner for nearly two years now. However, unless they’ve rewritten the rules of economics in that time, the only thing Obama’s mandate has done is shift costs and increase the costs for all of our insurance to pay for the contraceptive services for those who get it for “free”. In fact, some accounts have the costs for this “free contraception” as high as $2.8B, a portion of which will now be shared by all 60+ year old women and all males. Speaking of which, if we’re all so concerned about making sure contraception is free, where are my coupons for condoms?

Peek-A-Boo is a game played with young children. We’ve all likely played it at some time. In Peek-A-Boo we play on the young child’s lack of understanding about reality. We attempt to convince them that when we cover our eyes, we somehow disappear even though the child can still see us. it’s a game that loses it’s cuteness as the child grows to understand that reality is reality and that words or claims that reality isn’t so, doesn’t change reality.

Obama’s contraception “compromise” is in the end, nothing more than a game of Peek-A-Boo with the American public. Obama makes claims about insurance economics that simply are not born out by reality. Of course, you would have to have matured beyond the economic age of two to actually realize such a thing. An economic age that most on the left never approach, let alone grow beyond.

Peek-A-Boo seems so innocuous with toddlers, and it is. However, as adults, Peek-A-Boo is escapism and an inability to deal with the world in real terms. Unfortunately, it is this very game of Peek-A-Boo that most in DC would use to tell us that: Massive Deficits aren’t a problem, Every increasing debt isn’t a problem, growing numbers of people on the government dole is not a problem, fewer and fewer actual tax payers aren’t a problem, Iran isn’t a problem, increasing costs of energy aren’t a problem and 8+% unemployment is the new norm. To those people who want to continue to play Peek-A-Boo rather than solve problems I say:

“I see you!”

February 5, 2012

The Frog and the Crocodile

During the past week, the Catholic Church has gone slightly apoplectic as HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius has informed them that their hospitals and doctors will not be exempted from the requirement to distribute contraceptives and provide abortions. Numerous bloggers have covered this controversy including this post.

What’s ironic about the Catholic outrage is not that they don’t agree with Sebelius on this issue but, the lack of consistency on the part of the Catholic Church when it comes to government involvement and dictation of our lives.

A little over two years ago, in the heat of the Obamacare battle, Catholic Bishops wrote letters supporting Obamacare. While they seemed to like the idea of forcing everyone onto a government mandated healthcare system, they somehow held out hope that they would escape requirements that they found objectionable.

the Church had a similar conundrum when Illinois decided to remove its support unless it agreed to allow homosexual couples to adopt via its programs. They were happy as the the government supported their efforts. However, when the government decided that it’s social agenda didn’t align with that of the Catholic Church, well, things became difficult.

The Catholic Church has been in support of social change via taxation for the past several years. In 2009, as cap and trade legislation was being debated, US Catholic Bishops came out in support of the Waxmen/Markey bill which was one of the core bills for implementing cap and trade in the U.S.

More recently, President Obama has been calling for increasing taxes on the rich. Not coincidentally, progressive Catholics have fallen in line claiming that tax increases were required so that “fairness” and support for needed social programs could continue.

The Catholic Church’s recurring embrace of big government programs while expecting them to respect the teachings of the church is something akin to the Church being subject to Stockholm syndrome. Worse, it takes only a grade school education to understand the risks in putting your life in the risk of the hands of one who would rather see you done in.

The story of the frog and the crocodile is taught as a lesson against succumbing to the creep of temptation. The Catholic Church teaches a lot about the perils of temptation. I wonder if they ever see the institution of the Church succumbing to it?

February 3, 2012

Reid – 1,000 days without a budget? You’re damn right I’m doing that!

by @ 15:48. Filed under Budget Chop, Politics - National.

(H/T – Tina Korbe)

I had resisted the conservative push to mark the 1,000+ days since the Senate last passed a budget, mostly because the budget they passed on April 29, 2009 was for FY2010, which ended on September 30, 2010, and they weren’t legally required to pass any succeeding budget until April 15, 2010. However, The Only Member of Congress That Matters, Sen. Dingy Harry Reid (Dingy-Nevada), just uttered that the Senate will not take up a FY2013 budget either. From The Hill:

Senate Democratic leaders said they don’t expect a fiscal 2013 budget to reach the floor this year because spending levels were set last summer under the debt-ceiling agreement.

“We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year — it’s done, we don’t need to do it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters on Friday, echoing previous statements from his office.

I could have swore I predicted when the debt deal was passed last year, this would happen. Thanks to The Dingy One and his sidekick Charles “Don’t call me Chuck” Schumer (Dunce-New York), that prediction came true:

Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued that the debt-limit agreement in August directs spending for the next year and that Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has already asked the heads of the subcommittees to write their appropriations bills for fiscal 2013.

Let’s do some math:

  • The next Congress will be seated on (or about) January 3, 2013. Even if the Senate passes a budget that day, it will be 1,345 days after they passed the prior budget, and 994 days after they were required to pass the FY2011 budget on April 15, 2010.
  • Unless said budget covers the remainder of FY2013, the Senate will have gone 1,096 days between the expiration of the last passed budget (for FY2010) and the start of the next adopted budget (for FY2014).

By the way, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal debt will have increased by $3,252,000,000,000 in the three full fiscal years Congress has operated without a budget. It took over 200 years to reach the first $3,252,000,000,000.

Is the unemployment rate 8.3%, 8.9%, 9.9% or 11.9%?

by @ 11:24. Filed under Economy Held Hostage.

I’m sure you have heard by now that the official unemployment rate has “dropped” to a seasonally-adjusted 8.3% last month, with the somewhat-broader U-4 (which includes “discouraged workers”) and U-5 (which includes “those marginally-attached to the labor force) declining to 8.9% and 9.9% respectively. That’s pretty much where the good news ends, unfortunately.

On a seasonal basis, the 141,637,000 employed is lower than it was in February 2009, and indeed the last time prior to that point it was that low was May 2005. On the other side of the equation, the 12,758,000 officially unemployed (i.e., they didn’t have a job and looked for one in the 4 weeks prior to the mid-January survey) is higher than any point prior to February 2009. Worse, the 6,319,000 who want a job but were not counted as “unemployed” because they had not looked for work in the previous 4 weeks was higher than any point between May 1994 (the fifth month this stat was recorded) and December 2010, and over 1 million higher than any time between one month prior to Bill Clinton’s re-election (October 1996) and Barack Obama’s election in November 2008. Zero Hedge noticed a record 1.2 million departing the labor force on a seasonal basis (or if you prefer unseasoned numbers, Ed Morrissey noted it as nearly 1.6 million on an unadjusted basis).

Others have used different modifiers. ShadowStats uses a proprietary method to add in what it sees as “long-term discouraged workers” to the U-6 rate, while AEI’s James Pethokoukis uses the labor-participation rate as it was in prior years.

The absolute simplest definition of the unemployment rate is to divide the number of people who want a job but don’t have one by the sum of that number and the number of people who have a job. Unfortunately, since that number is often embarrassing to those in public office, it is never publicized, and indeed, has only been able to be accurately calculated since 1994. Think of the chart below as “U-5Plus”, as it takes everybody who is unemployed and wants a job and divides it by that number plus those who want a job.


Click for the full-size image.

The 11.9% of the potential labor force who want a job but do not have one is higher than any month prior to March 2009. Worse, the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t see the future as too bright. They don’t see the number of employed returning to the first-quarter 2008 high of 146 million until the first quarter of 2015.

February 2, 2012

Gingrich to pursue the Sore Loserman stragedy

by @ 10:07. Filed under 2012 Presidential Contest.

(H/T – Allahpundit)

Campaign Carl Cameron is reporting the Newt Gingrich campaign is planning on challenging Florida’s winner-take-all primary scheme because it held said WTA primary prior to April 1. Florida actually violated two provisions of RNC Rule 15(b), which governs the timing of primaries, caucuses and conventions:

RULE NO. 15
Election, Selection, Allocation, or Binding of Delegates and Alternate Delegates

(b) Timing.* (Revised language was adopted by the Republican National Committee on August 6, 2010)

(1) No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which a national convention is held. Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule.

(2) Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis.

So, what are the penalties? Rule 16 specifies them:

RULE NO. 16
Enforcement of Rules

(a) If any state or state Republican Party violates The Rules of the Republican Party relating to the timing of the election or selection process with the result that any delegate from that state to the national convention is bound by statute or rule to vote for a presidential nominee selected or determined before the first day of the month in which that state is authorized by Rule No. 15(b) to vote for a presidential candidate and/or elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates or alternate delegates to the national convention, the number of delegates to the national convention from that state shall be reduced by fifty percent (50%), and the corresponding alternate delegates also shall be reduced by the same percentage. Any sum presenting a fraction shall be increased to the next whole number. No delegation shall be reduced to less than two (2) delegates and a corresponding number of alternates.

(Sections b-d, which deal with the timing of the notification of the penalty and the procedures to follow if the chair does not enforce the rule, omitted for space)

(e) If a state or state Republican Party isdetermined to be in violation:

(1) No member of the Republican National Committee from the offending state shall be permitted to serve as a delegate or alternate delegate to the national convention.

(2) After the Republican National Committee members are excluded from being part of the offending state’s delegation to the national convention, the state Republican Party shall determine which of the state’s remaining delegates (and corresponding alternate delegates) are entitled to serve as part of the state’s reduced delegation to the national convention.

(3) In addition to the penalties provided for in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this rule, the Standing Committee on Rules may impose additional sanctions relating to the offending state’s hotel location at the national convention, guest privileges and VIP passes at the national convention, and seating location in the national convention hall.

(f) A state or state Republican Party shall have no appeal from either a finding of a violation against it or a penalty imposed upon it under this rule.

Because the RNC halved the Florida delegation because they jumped the first Tuesday in March (3/6) date, the Republican Party of Florida changed their allocation from a total of 54 delegates (2 per district) awarded to the winner of each Congressional District and the other 45 (42 “at-large” and the 3 RNC members) awarded to the statewide winner to all 50 of the remaining delegates being termed “at-large” and awarded to the statewide winner. The RNC also reportedly applied the other sanctions.

The RNC does contemplate a contest of “at-large” delegates (see Rules 22 and 23). However, as long as the Committee on Contests feels bound to the RNC rules, this situation cannot end well for Gingrich. It is unlikely that the sole available penalty under RNC rules, a second halving, will be applied. The convention is in Florida, after all, and Florida is a key state for the GOP’s chances of winning the White House. Even if it were applied, the reduction of Mitt Romney’s delegates from the 50 he claimed as the statewide winner to 25 would almost certainly not affect his chances of getting the nomination (he would have to finish with more than 1,144 but less than 1,156 before a second FL chop to affect that).

Worse, it would open the door for somebody to contest South Carolina’s winner-take-all scheme on the basis of it taking place prior to the “protection” of the February 1 date South Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada enjoy (with all but Nevada and Iowa leaving said protection). As Gingrich claimed 23 of the once-halved 25 delegates, a second halving would take away 11. That, in a tight race for Next-In-Line™ status and thus, should Romney lose in November, the 2016 nomination, could cost Gingrich.

There is no basis for the “proportionality” “solution” allegedly being sought by Gingrich, and if my eyes weren’t deceiving me, Rick Santorum. While it would likely give Gingrich 16 delegates in Florida, if the “floor” to receive any delegates were set at 10%, it would also give Rick Santorum, Gingrich’s main competition for Next-In-Line™, 6 delegates. If the same “proportionality” rules were applied to South Carolina, Gingrich would lose 5 of his 11 “at-large” delegates with Santorum picking up 1, Romney picking up 3, and Ron Paul picking up 1.

Similarly, there is no basis to force Florida to modify their original WTA-by-district-and-statewide plan to fit 50 delegates (no, it wouldn’t work if a second halving took place because there would be fewer delegates than Congressional districts, much less leaving enough delegates to allow at least 1/3rd to be “at-large”). While it would have the benefit (at least for Gingrich) of not opening the door to either making South Carolina delegate allocation proportional or further reduce South Carolina’s delegation (due to the inability to further reduce Florida’s delegation), it would only likely net Gingrich, depending on the Congressional breaks, 10-15 delegates.

That minor gain by the Gingrich campaign would likely be wiped out by the ill effects in the 46 45 (oops, Gingrich isn’t on his home state’s ballot) states plus various territories left on the schedule caused by taking the strategy the Gore/Lieberman team took in Florida in 2000. It would serve the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns better to pick up the pieces, learn from what went wrong in Florida, and work in the remaining states on their schedules instead of using lawyers to chase after less than a dozen delegates.

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