« McCain Blames Self For Economic Meltdown | Main | Credit Where Credit's Due »

October 10, 2008

Comments

I've been waiting for an open thread all day to post the MSNBC.com headline I saved this morning:

Palin pre-empts ethics report, clears self.

The headline writer is laughing, right?

I think you can go blind from that. At least, that’s what my GOP based sex education said.

I don't know if anyone else here has seen a film called Quantum Hoops. It's a documentary about the CalTech basketball team, which is just about as successful as you'd expect (Alternate title: Math Nerds Can't Jump.) Anyway, it send with a "Where Are They Now" sequence, showing where these incredibly gifted and intelligent young men went after graduation.They are now expanding the frontiers of human knowledge and achievement in things like String Theory and advanced semiconductor technology ...

No, I lied. Most of them went to Wall Street, where the real money was, and used their intellectual skills to create things like Credit Default Swaps. God help us all.

Drifting back to Palin: when is the report supposed to be released, anyway? Everyone says "Friday" or "Friday afternoon", but no-one seems to be naming a time...

One of my professors in graduate school claimed that the (then-current) failure of Long Term Capital Management was a result of insufficient funding for research in theoretical physics. At the time, many of my fellow physics students couldn't find jobs in physics, so they took their newly-minted PhD's to Wall Street, where they invented complicated derivatives and used computational modeling techniques originally developed to solve physics problems to show what wonderful investments they were.

My professor's point was that smart people are dangerous. It's better to spend a little money to keep them tied down thinking about harmless things like string theory and quantum phase transitions than to turn them loose on the economy.

Best enjoyed on a Friday with cold beverages of your choice:

lolfed

I'm in ur economiz protectin ur moniez

Open thread, you say? Well, alrightie, then:

Suppose I hand you an ordinary-looking US quarter. I let you flip it 10 times. It comes up heads every time. Now I ask you to tell me the probability that it will come up tails on your next flip:

1) More than 50%, since tails is overdue?
2) Exactly 50%, since each flip is independent?
3) Less than 50%, since the coin seems biased?

I don't think this has anything to do with the financial meltdown, the election campaign, or the price of beer. I'm just curious.

--TP

Just to toot my own horn a little bit, I recently took up cycling to work -- part of the reason we bought our house where we did last year -- as part of an effort both to be greener and to save money. I'm proud to say that, for the first time, I biked to work all five days this week, saving myself probably $15 in gas and $12.50 in parking for the week.

All told, I biked about 60 miles this week. The trip in is a little more than 8 miles and takes me a little over half an hour; the trip home has an ENORMOUS hill that I'm not quite up to tackling yet, so I ride 5 miles from my office to the Case Western Reserve campus and pick up a circulator bus that drops me about 1.5 miles from my house, then I bike the rest of the way home. Three nights a week, I take RTA from downtown to my gym, work out, then ride 4 miles home.

Great stuff, Phil.

You'll have to put runners on your bike when that snowy Lake Erie winter rolls around. (I grew up in a town on the lake about an hour from Cleveland, so I have some experience with that.)

3) Less than 50%, since the coin seems biased?

Nick Taleb already covered this ground in Black Swans. Ironically, the street wise fictional character he uses to deliver the smackdown is named "Fat Tony".

No resemblence, I'm sure.

TP, assuming no shenanigans: less than 50%. The coin flips are independent enough that past should correlate with future.

JanieM, did you grow up in Lake County?

Phil: no, Ashtabula County.

McCain appears to be trying to rein in the vitriol (linky:

"John McCain sought to walk back some of the hostility that he and his crowds have projected towards Barack Obama in recent days, saying he wanted to run a respectful campaign and urging his supporters to think of Obama as a decent person.

He was promptly booed.

After an attendee at his town hall said he was concerned about bringing up a child under a president who "cohorts with domestic terrorists such as [Bill] Ayers," McCain didn't take the bait. Rather, he sought to calm the questioner's obviously emotional tone.

"[Senator Obama] is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States," he said, before adding: "If I didn't think I would be one heck of a better president I wouldn't be running."

The crowd groaned with disapproval. Later in the townhall McCain was pressed again about Obama's "other-ness" and again he refused to play ball.

"He is a decent family man and citizen that I just have disagreements with on fundamental issues," he said. "


Too little, too late?

Good on him. Does this mean he realizes he's lost?

Christopher Buckley on why he's voting for Obama.

Ah, I was just about to link to some of the stories similar to what Andrew just posted.

"Does this mean he realizes he's lost?"

Possibly, but more likely it's just been brought to his attention that the reaction has gotten so bad that it's counter-productive with swing voters.

Heh, I guess Steve Benen answered my question: "Alaska Lawmakers Could be Meeting For A While".

I'm sure some of you have seen this already, but this is unforgivably bad:

County Prints Barack Osama on Ballots.

here's another link to the story about McCain calling off the dogs

A couple of thoughts:

1 - We'll know this is real when Palin tones it down too.

2 - This may be a regional thing. What plays well in OH and the South may not play well in MN (where McCain was speaking today) and surrounding states. McCain may be tailoring his message to the local audience.

This is not calling off the dogs.

Neither is this.

McCain versus the base.

I'll believe McCain is calling off the dogs when the dogs retreat.

I heard someone on the radio (NPR?) today talking about how McCain was uncomfortable with the direction his campaign has taken.

What BS.

All the public statements he makes don't amount to a hill of beans. If he disapproves, he can stop it. If it goes on then the only rational conclusion is that McCain approves, and makes public statements only to fool idiots like whoever it was on the radio.

More Republicans peeling off.

Speaking of dogs, my little girl Emily will be coming home on Monday. She survived. Nine grand mal seizures in twenty four hours!

Unfortunately the vet doesn't know what is wrong with her. The seizures were probably caosued by the chronic malnutirition but could be a symptom of an as yet unidentified conidtion.

She isn't getting better. Even though she's hahd ggod food every day for three weeks she has not gained much wieght. She has very little energy, sleeps most of the imte. About the only improvement i see is in her affect: she licks my hands, rolls over for belyy rubs.

So she might be euthanized in a week or so if she doesn't start to gain wieght. She is very weak, especially in her hindquarters.

But I'm hoping that she will perk up if she finds herself in a loving foster home.

So that's an update on my foster dog.

Best wishes to you and Emily, wonkie.

And believe me, the affect sometimes is the first positive thing you see and the physical happens later. Since I am a religious type, I will say a prayer.

Watching MSNBC. Evidently the Troopergate report is out and the committee ruled her guilty. Can't find a link yet.

Full-text of report. (not pdf. neat format, actually)

Finding Number One:

For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides

“The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.”

Finding Number Two:

I find that, although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.

Finding Number Three:

Harbor Adjustment Service of Anchorage, and its owner Ms. Murleen Wilkes, handled Trooper Michael Wooten’s workers’ compensation claim properly and in the normal course of business like any other claim processed by Harbor Adjustment Service and Ms. Wilkes. Further, Trooper Wooten received all the workers’ compensation benefits to which he was entitled.

Finding Number Four:

The Attorney General’s office has failed to substantially comply with my August 6, 2008 written request to Governor Sarah Palin for information about the case in the form of emails.

Everyone’s been waiting for the bottom line, so there it is! More to come soon.

Sorry, forgot to link where to where I found that.

Josh Marshall has an interesting story on the Acorn fraud fraud.

Marc Ambinder has the funniest and most unexpected headline on the ACORN story.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/world/asia/11china.html?hp

Who Says Capitalism Is Dying?
Some good news:

"BEIJING — Chinese leaders are expected to allow peasants to buy or sell land-use rights for the first time, a step that could draw hundreds of millions of farmers more firmly into the city-centered market economy.
The new policy, which is being discussed this weekend by Communist Party leaders and could be announced within days, would be the biggest economic reform in many years and would mark another significant departure from the system of collective ownership and state control that China built after the 1949 revolution."

Read on.

Who says capitalism is dying?

Remember the wackiness at the Corner that Hilzoy pointed out?

Well, Paul Campos has a post on the subject that is made of win.

Oh, and in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that Campos is one of my current professors.

Who the hell is this Larison guy?
I was under the impression conservatives who talked like that were prone to being whisked away by black vans in the dead of night...

Entirely too reasonable.

Hang in there, Emily.

You, too, Wonkie.

Correction to Andrew. The bipartisan committee (10 Repubs, 4 Dems) did not "find her guilty". They unanimously voted to release the report to the public, but made no statement as to whether they endorsed its contents.

Presumably, the committee found the findings at least moderately persuasive, or else at least one Republican would have opposed its release on the grounds that it was a partisan "hatchet job".

It's amusing that the McCain campaign dismisses the finding on the grounds that Palin did not benefit financially from persecuting Wooten. They conveniently ignore the words of the statute that prohibit any official action to benefit either a personal or financial interest. Clearly, it's silly to pretend that abuses with no financial gain don't count. That would leave officials free to pursue personal vendettas against anybody they didn't like.

I've found it curious that no coverage seems to put the Palins actions in the context of rulings by Superior Court Judge John Suddock, who presided over the messy divorce case between Mike Wooten and Palin's sister, Molly McCann. As the divorce case dragged on, Suddock expressed concern as family “disparagement” appeared to deepen. He specifically noted that attempts to get Wooten fired were contrary to the interests of the children, since it would leave him less able to provide for the children financially.

In the order signed Jan. 31, 2006, which granted McCann and Wooten a final divorce decree, Judge Suddock continued to express concern about attacks by Palin’s family on Wooten. The judge even threatened to curb Molly’s child custody rights if family criticism of Wooten continued.

It will be interesting to see whether Wooten petitions Judge Suddock to take action, given this clear evidence that the Palins disregarded his order.

Correction to Andrew. The bipartisan committee (10 Repubs, 4 Dems) did not "find her guilty". They unanimously voted to release the report to the public, but made no statement as to whether they endorsed its contents.

Presumably, the committee found the findings at least moderately persuasive, or else at least one Republican would have opposed its release on the grounds that it was a partisan "hatchet job".

It's amusing that the McCain campaign dismisses the finding on the grounds that Palin did not benefit financially from persecuting Wooten. They conveniently ignore the words of the statute that prohibit any official action to benefit either a personal or financial interest. Clearly, it's silly to pretend that abuses with no financial gain don't count. That would leave officials free to pursue personal vendettas against anybody they didn't like.

I've found it curious that no coverage seems to put the Palins actions in the context of rulings by Superior Court Judge John Suddock, who presided over the messy divorce case between Mike Wooten and Palin's sister, Molly McCann. As the divorce case dragged on, Suddock expressed concern as family “disparagement” appeared to deepen. He specifically noted that attempts to get Wooten fired were contrary to the interests of the children, since it would leave him less able to provide for the children financially.

In the order signed Jan. 31, 2006, which granted McCann and Wooten a final divorce decree, Judge Suddock continued to express concern about attacks by Palin’s family on Wooten. The judge even threatened to curb Molly’s child custody rights if family criticism of Wooten continued.

It will be interesting to see whether Wooten petitions Judge Suddock to take action, given this clear evidence that the Palins disregarded his order.

You'll have to put runners on your bike when that snowy Lake Erie winter rolls around.

Both Nokian and Schwalbe make really good snowtires for bikes. You won't be able to go offroad, or through really deep snow, but if what you're talking about is riding on paved surfaces that have been plowed, they'll do you pretty well.

If folks don't mind a commercial plug, this guy can set you up, and is also just a generally good source for information about winter riding.

My apologies if the link is inappropriate, please let me know if so.

Hey Phil enjoy the ride!

Thanks -

Tony P: 10 straight heads is virtually impossible with a fair coin (the probability of tens heads in a row with a fair coin is only 0.001. (You get that by multiplying 0.50 by itself 10 times.)

Ten straight heads gives you 90% confidence that the probability of a head is at least 79%. So, call heads next time.

Wonkie, since I'm also a religious type, I'll say a prayer for Emily too. Can't hurt.

Big Russ: I have no problem with the link.

Best wishes, Wonkie!

I mentioned earlier this week that our household kitty, barely six months old, died of an anesthesia reaction while about to get spayed; everyone was devastated.

Today we brought home two new three month old sister kittens from a local shelter: to be named. They're very adorable. It is good.

Oh, wonkie: best to you and Emily.

You know your democracy is broken when...

...a Board of Electors cites "status as an expert on Sequoia voting machines" as a reason why Andrew Appel can't be allowed to be present when poll workers are counting the votes supplied by the Sequoia voting machines.

...a Board of Electors say this election is “too important” to permit extra people in the polling place. (cite

...this refusal is not headline news all over the nation everywhere Sequoia voting machines are in use by the next day.

Here is how to hack a Sequoia voting machine.

Now tell me why electoral officials wouldn't want an expert in that hacking present to observe the poll workers on election night?

Still think you're going to have Obama in the White House next year, just because he looks like a cert to win the election?

I'll pass pn everyone's good wishes to Emily. I'm sorry about the family cat, Gary. I worry about that with my dog Blackie since he has a heart condition. his teeth need to be cleaned byt the vet says he could die from the anetheisa. So its a dilemna.

But I'm so happy that two little kitten girls are home from the pound and with people who will love rhem.

You know your democracy is broken when...

Jes takes a beating sometimes when she brings this stuff up, but it's not much of a reach to say that electoral fraud via technology is both feasible, and within the bounds of behavior that we know has occurred in the Republican party.

Is there a way to request third party (UN or other organization) oversight of the election? Might be too late for November, but I'd be interested to know the answer anyway, if anyone happens to know the details.

Thanks -

Is there a way to request third party (UN or other organization) oversight of the election?

You could talk to United Nations Electoral Assistance.

"Still think you're going to have Obama in the White House next year, just because he looks like a cert to win the election?"

Yeah, I do, because I'm confident it's not just Republicans who steal votes. The reason I'm confident of it, is because if it were, the Democratic party would be more interested in ballot security.

"..a Board of Electors cites 'status as an expert on Sequoia voting machines' as a reason why Andrew Appel can't be allowed to be present when poll workers are counting the votes supplied by the Sequoia voting machines."

Your link says no such thing. Did you have some other article in mind? Because otherwise: wtf?

"The reason I'm confident of it, is because if it were, the Democratic party would be more interested in ballot security."

Okay, what are you talking about, Brett? (I'm hoping it's not more nonsense about ACORN, or non-existent voter fraud that "must" exist, and which the lack of evidence is proof of.)

What I'm talking about are electronic voting machines, which anybody with a CS degree who's not on the payroll of one of the manufacturers can tell you are nightmarish from a security standpoint. This is what Jess is talking about.

If the institutional (Incumbent officeholders plus people running the party machinery) Democratic party thought that ballot fraud was a net cost to them, you'd see a legislative crusade against it. But you don't see that. So they don't think that.

Either they think the threat isn't real, (Hard to believe, given the security problems that have already been demonstrated.) OR they think it's a wash as far as partisan balance is concerned.

I expect it is a wash. Nobody is in a better position to commit ballot fraud than elections officials, who are typically partisans. Where can they most safely commit it? In precincts dominated by one party, where all the officials will be of the same party.

The net effect of ballot fraud by elections officials would, then, be to make incumbents more secure against challengers, not to tilt the partisan balance. The effect on the Presidential race would be strictly secondary, and just cause either candidate to win a bit more strongly where they were going to win anyway.

If Obama carries California, or McCain carries Arizona, by a few more percent, it doesn't mean anything at all given the electoral college.

So Jess is wrong to think Diebold is going to hand the election to McCain. Not, however, because any sane nation would let Diebold have anything to do with counting votes.

Brett, what evidence there is from 2004 and 2006 says that the senior echelons of the Democratic party are not committing wholesale electoral fraud on the same scale at the Republican party: in fact, unless you count "they don't publicly protest the lack of integrity of US elections they must be in on it" as evidence, there's no evidence at all that the Democratic party is using the no-paper-trail voting machines to rig elections.

However, if the only way you can talk yourself into protesting hackable voting machines is to tell yourself that you're sure the Democrats have used them too, go ahead, Brett. ;-)

Yeah, I do, because I'm confident it's not just Republicans who steal votes. The reason I'm confident of it, is because if it were, the Democratic party would be more interested in ballot security.

Aha! You're onto our fiendish liberal plots again!

Dude, you're giving me logical whiplash.

Thanks -

I will be taking Emily in to be euthanized this morning.

We just couldn't pull her through.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad