Sunday, January 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

The Start of Sunset

365.31 (1/31/10)

Filed under: photoblogging | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Reynolds also notes the Washington Examiner column on the Tea Party movement cited in my previous post:

In fact, Tea Partiers seem quite clear on what they’re for: A limited government, one that keeps its nose out of their business and focuses on things like protecting the country in preference to redistributing income.

As blogger Freeman Hunt wrote recently:"You want a big tent? It’s fiscal conservatism. The people are overwhelmingly in favor of it.You offer that, you follow through on it, and you get the Republicans, the moderates, and a sizable chunk of disaffected Democrats."

Only to the likes of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is support for limited government a species of nihilism. But Tea Partiers are, in fact, working on a platform, which they’ve called the Contract From America . Though the name may remind some of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, this is something very different.

It’s a set of ideas developed via an interactive Web site, where voting determines which elements are most important. And it’s not a top-down contract consisting of promises made by leaders to the voters — it’s more in the nature of a contract of employment from the voters, which politicians may choose to accept, or look for alternative employment.

This is basically a crowd-sourced party platform, with the smoke-filled rooms and convention logrolling taken out of the picture. More dis-intermediation. I’m guessing that the political class won’t like it much, either.

Now, I know from Reynold’s work (such as his book Army of Davids) that he has certain theories and preferences regarding the work and wisdom of crowds.  However, it is one thing for a group to generically agree on “a crowd-sourced party platform” especially one that is focused on what end up being (as a matter of practical politics and history) platitudes (specifically “limited government” and “fiscal conservatism”).  Most people are, to one degree or another (as Reynolds notes), in favor of those things (certainly I would consider myself to be a proponent of both limited government and fiscal conservatism).  However, the devil in these issues is very much in the details.  And, the working out of such details in the context of a political movement, manifests in things like the “logrolling” that Reynolds seems to hold in contempt in the above paragraphs.

Indeed, as I noted the other day, the actual practice of governing in the U.S. is such that the institutional parameters make spending more likely, not less—even if it seems that “people are overwhelmingly in favor of” a specific outcome.  It is rarely that  easy(indeed, it is never that easy).

One thing is for certain in life, and certainly in politics:  frustration is easy, governing is hard.1

  1. Indeed, as Ann Althouse points out: “It’s a lot easier to be appealing when you aren’t sitting in any positions of power. It’s all free speech and reaction to what other people are doing.” []
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (3)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Glenn Reynolds notes in a Washington Examiner column:

A year ago, the Tea Party movement didn’t exist. Today, it is arguably the most popular political entity in America. The movement is already more popular than the Republican or Democratic parties, according to a recent NBC / WSJ poll .

I presume he is referring to the December 2024 NBC/WSJ poll done by  Hart/McInturff (a well respected, bipartisan poll) [PDF here] which showed the following:

14b. As you may know, this year saw the start of something known as the Tea Party movement. In this movement, citizens, most of whom are conservatives, participated in demonstrations in Washington, DC, and other cities, protesting government spending, the economic stimulus package, and any type of tax increases. From what you know about this movement, is your opinion of it very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative? If you do not know enough to have an opinion, please say so.
Very positive ………………………………20
Somewhat positive ……………………..21
Neutral ……………………………………….21
Somewhat negative …………………….10
Very negative………………………………13
Don’t have opinion/not sure ………..15

This sums to a 41% positive and only a 23% negative and 36% neutral/don’t know.

Now, this is better than the Republicans and Democrats fare in the poll, to be sure.  Specifically, the GOP had a 28% combined very/somewhat positive and the Democrats 35%.

As such, it is fair to state that in this poll, the Tea Party movement has better numbers.  However, the implications of those numbers are not what Reynolds (or others1 ) claim.

One of the reasons that it is difficult to impute serious popularity to the Tea Party movement from this poll (and specifically the question above) is the question that immediately precedes it in the poll:

14a. How much do you know about the Tea Party movement––do you know a great deal about this, a fair amount, just some, very little, or nothing at all?
Know a great deal ………………………..7
Know a fair amount …………………….22
Know just some …………………………..23
Know very little …………………….……25
Know nothing at all ……………………..23
Not sure ………………………………………-

The percentage of persons in the poll knowing “a great deal/a fair amount” about the movement in question is only 29%, while the percentage knowing “very little/nothing at all” is 48% (which goes to 71% if we include “just some”).  As such, it is rather difficult to truly assess the public’s approval/disapproval of the Tea Party movement since the public, on balance, doesn’t have enough information to form an opinion.

The real test will be electoral in nature, and at a minimum we will need to see what happens in November to begin to understand what the Tea Party movement is or isn’t.  Indeed, unless the Tea Party actually takes its name seriously and starts to run its own candidates, it will be difficult to totally disaggregate the exact effect of Tea Party activists from other variables.

I would further note that we have two elections to date that could be said to have been under the influence of the Tea Party movement:  the special election in NY23 and the special election in the Massachusetts senate race.   Based on that meager data set we have one election in which the Tea Party preferred candidate lost (and indeed, helped to elect the Democrat) and one in which the Tea Party preferred candidate won (i.e., Brown over Coakley).  That is not enough to conclude much of anything.  Certainly not enough for Reynolds to conclude the following (based on the Brown win):

So far the Tea Party’s record is looking pretty good.


But whether the political class likes it or not, this sort of thing is probably here to stay. While 2024 was the year of denigrating and ignoring the tea parties, I suspect that in 2024, they’ll be listened to quite closely. Those who fail to do so, are likely to find themselves out of a job.

We shall see.  If the Tea Parties are able to have a direct and obvious effect on the process (apart from the aforementioned running of their own candidates) it will be in the primaries (presumably the Republican primaries).  However, if they are successful in affecting the type of candidates nominated by the GOP, that may not have the effect on the outcomes that Reynolds (and the Tea Party) prefers.  See, for example, NY23.

  1. I saw Dick Armey cite these numbers and imply something similar on TV last week. []
Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
Saturday, January 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AFP:  Colombian police seizes cocaine-stuffed cookies

Colombian sniffer dogs smelled something that was just not right: cocaine-stuffed cookies that were about to be shipped to Barcelona, police said Saturday.

A total of five kilograms (11 pounds) of the drug were concealed in 10 packs of cookies, counternarcotics police said in a statement.

Not your average biscuit, "the cream was taken out of the cookies and replaced with compressed bleached cocaine to avoid suspicion from counternarcotics units," it added.

That’s no sugar high, amigo.

This made me think of the following (which also inspired the title):

The relevant part is the clip of the old commercial, which I remember from when I was a kid.  The whole concept (“open up a cookie, a Drox filled cookie, open and say “hi Drox!”) was one that I always thought a bit odd, although really the pertinent drug for the creators of those commercials was more likely LSD than cocaine.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor



Filed under: photoblogging | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC,  Machu Picchu tourist airlift ends with 1,300 flown out:

A total of nearly 4,000 tourists and local residents have now left the area following last Sunday’s heavy flooding.

The Machu Picchu site, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year, will be closed for several weeks.

Officials say it will take months to repair the railway that leads to the World Heritage Site high in the mountains.

Pretty much any vacation the includes the word “airlift” is, by definition, not a good one.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (2)|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via USAT’s OnDeadline:  Jet diverted to Florida by ‘no-fly’ scare, but no threat.

An airliner has been diverted to Florida because a passenger on the no-fly list might be on board, the Associated Press is reporting, citing "officials."

The flight originated in Newark, was headed to Bogotá, Colombia and was diverted to Florida.

This caught my eye originally because I am flying to Bogotá in about a month (although, thankfully, not out of Newark).

The second thought was:  isn’t the point of a “no-fly list” that the person on the list isn’t allowed to fly?  How does said person end up on the plane and then someone says “Hey!  Who let that guy on?”  This strikes me as a rather poor procedure.

Ends up that there was no threat.  While there is certainly a sense to which better safe than sorry and all that, this sounds like a failure (yet again) of the no-fly list (not to mention a process which unnecessarily frightened a plane full of people, as well as seriously inconveniencing them).

More from the Morning Call,  Newark-to-Bogota flight diverted:

A Continental Airlines jet flying from Newark, N.J., to Bogota was diverted to Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday over concerns a passenger was on the government’s watch list of suspected terrorists banned from commercial flights. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

The passenger — one of 75 on board — was cleared by the FBI at Jacksonville International Airport and permitted to continue on the flight to Colombia, the Transportation Security Administration said.

More from NBC New York:  Newark Flight Diverted Over No-Fly List Fears.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off|
Friday, January 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

El Rey

365.29 (1/29/10). Taken at the Montgomery Zoo.

Filed under: photoblogging | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters:  Pork better for sex than Viagra?

"I’ve just been told something I didn’t know; that eating pork improves your sex life … I’d say it’s a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry.

She said she recently ate pork and "things went very well that weekend, so it could well be true."

TMI, methinks.

If anything, this may be one of the most pandering statements made to an audience in some time.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (2)|
By Steven L. Taylor

I noted the following over at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site: Why Is Senator Kirk Still Voting on Legislation?

The question follows on from some pre-special election concern that even if Republican Scott Brown won the race (he did, in case you’ve been under a rock) that Democrat Paul Kirk would be able to vote on health care reform before Brown was sworn in.  The speculation was centered primarily on a Weekly Standard piece.  

A health care reform vote is no longer an issue.  Still, the author of the Big Government piece is quite concerned:

Why is the GOP allowing the Democrats to blatantly violate Senate and election rules and laws? Where is the GOP leadership? Will Kirk’s votes stand?  Massachusetts voters deserve an explanation as does the rest of the country for this blatant abuse of power.

Now, what strikes me about this piece is that it is representative of an especially poor (yet increasingly common) type of political “analysis” insofar as all it does is take two partisan sources and then reaches rather extreme (and outraged!) conclusions.

The problem, of course, is that just because a GOP lawyer reaches a conclusion about how the process works, doesn’t make it so.  I would note, that the GOPness isn’t the relevant part so much as the fact that he is just some lawyer whose conclusions, oddly enough, have no binding legal authority.

The piece also seeks to make an argument based on a 1939 Senate committee ruling on a specific special election in 1939 (see here).

However, in looking back to the most recent example of a special election that led to a change in control of a seat, we see the seat remaining under the control of the appointee until the new Senator is sworn in. To wit:  back in 2024 Jim Talent defeated Jean Carnahan to finish the term of Carnahan’s late husband, Mel.  Talent defeated Carnahan on November 5, 2024.  Carnahan remained in the seat until November 25, 2024, when Talent assumed the seat.

It ends up that Brown’s swearing-in is scheduled for February 11th, and that the Senator-elect appears more than content with said date (if, for example, sitting for interviews with Jay Leno and Barbara Walters are any indication).

Given that Massachusetts appears unready to certify Brown’s win,  it is hardly surprising that the Senator occupying the seat is remaining there so as to allow the state uninterrupted representation in the Senate.   As such, move along:  no real outrage to see here.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (5)|
Next Page »

blog advertising is good for you

Visitors Since 2/15/03

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics



Powered by WordPress