Thursday Open Thread

“The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff.”

–Ambrose Bierce

80 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Libertad says:

    Congressional investigators have questioned why the Obama administration agreed to help the company in late 2010 when it was warned that the firm was at risk of collapse. Internal e-mails show federal reviewers initially estimated they could save the taxpayers as much as $168 million by letting the company go under in December 2010, rather than resuscitating it and allowing it to draw down more federal money.

    Just how many hot lunches went down the drain with Solyndra when they used political favors to hoodwink the taxpayers versus making a capital call on their equity investors?

  2. Libertad says:

    It’s as if Solyndra never happened. The Obama Administration is giving $737 million to a Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve. PCG is an investment partner with SolarReserve. Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law happens to be the number two man at PCG.

    You can’t make this shit up, like you couldn’t have dream up or scripted the Rays-Sox rally to game 162.

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    They did a ton of blind tests in Perry’s last gubernatorial campaign. And really interesting results. Items they found have zero impact?

    • No yard signs
    • No direct mailers
    • No newspaper ads
    • No robo-calls
    • No human calls

    What’s effective? They list two things. First is local candidate visits – that provides a bump that stays. Second is TV ads – but they only provide a bump for a week or two after the ads finish.

    No mention of social media efforts or radio ads. They may not have measured social media but they should have measured radio. (This is a book where you wish it was 10 times longer telling you a lot more of what they found.)

    The bottom line is run your candidate to local events that gets free local media until they drop. Then run them some more. (Michael Bennet did this and that is a large part of how he won.)

    Second, run TV when you can do so continuously. Running and then stopping is the same as not running the TV ads. So wait till you are close enough to election day that you can run ongoing.

    Third, have volunteers go talk to people in person. Live phone calls don’t have an impact. (Not sure if this helps – the book is silent on this approach.)

    So all the things a campaign with little funding does – total waste of money.

    • VanDammer says:

      This is a 1-chapter excerpt teased from an upcoming book so odd that you wished for more unless you didn’t pay attention.  The “studies” in this chapter only cover Parry’s ’06 campaign and none of his primaries or other runs so it’s a pretty selective snapshot of what worked in Texas for a sitting 2-term Gov.

      Your 2nd takeaway is basic advertising 101.  Ad campaigns run like a whack-a-mole game just piss away money & time.  This is no revelation that is pertinent to most any media — broadcast, social, …  

      Funny that the ’06 Parry campaign studied is also one marred by allegations & lawsuits concerning illegal late-stage campaign donations from wealthy GOP backers.  In Parry world a win is a win (if even by ill-gotten means) but to cite it as evidence of a successful campaign is a bit suspect.  

      Recent NYT interview had Issenberg opining on Parry:

      …the fundamental structure of the race looks to be in Perry’s favor at the moment. He’s basically built for this primary, this year. He is ideologically in sync with the Republican energies of the moment, has the country’s best claim to successful economic stewardship and a long record of governing and winning elections that can convince primary voters he would be a credible nominee to challenge Obama.

      Let’s get back to this story come Feb. 28th 2012 and see just where Parry’s eggheads have him.

    • BlueCat says:

      all the years I’ve canvassed I’ve been told that studies showed high effectiveness for door to door contact, especially by the candidate but also, to a lesser but still significant degree, by neighborhood volunteers.  Effectiveness much less if the person isn’t at home and the candidate or volunteer must just leave literature nstead of engaging face to face.  Sorry, but without spending a lot of time I’m not going to be able to find anything to cite.  

      Your post doesn’t address this type of contact which has always been considered an important part of campaigning.  Easy to believe annoying calls don’t make much difference but hard to believe volunteers shouldn’t bother with door to door, face to face. Not that things which are hard to believe can’t also be true.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        But I’m with you – I think that works well. Especially when people do their own neighborhoods.

        • BlueCat says:

          when you can tell them you’re not hired help, you’re a neighbor doing this as an unpaid volunteer because you think so highly of the candidate, especially with congressional, state level and local HD and SD candidates.  Of course that’s not very scientific.  Hope all those miles weren’t a waste.  If nothing else they help me lose winter weight when the summer campaigning goes into high gear.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    How Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing

    On paper, Porsche made between 30-40 billion [euros] in the affair. Once all is said and done, the actual profit is closer to some 6-12 billion. To put those numbers in perspective, Porsche’s revenue for the whole year of 2006 was a bit over 7 billion.

    Porsche’s move took three years of careful maneuvering. It was darkly brilliant, a wealth transfer ingeniously conceived like few we’ve ever seen. Betting the right way, Porsche roiled the financial markets and took the hedge funds for a fortune.

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    super funny including:

    What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

    Mechanical Engineers build weapons. Civil Engineers build targets.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    One of the measure’s simplest, and most swiftly implemented provisions, allows children to stay on their parents’ health care until they turn 26. And, as a top College Republican official let slip during a post-debate panel in a Google “hangout” promoted by Fox News last Thursday, that’s become a problem for the party on campus.

    “That’s an issue that on college campuses we battle every day as College Republicans and that we get questions about,” said CR National Co-Chairwoman Alex Smith. “The candidate that will speak to specifics like that issue and others is going to be the candidate that will eventually prevail among the youth vote.”


  7. nancycronk says:

    One of his guests was Bill Vidal, who talked about all the progressive things he was trying to do while filling in as Governor – cleaning up the police department, speaking up for immigrants and gays and lesbians at every turn, finishing projects that were taking too long, etc. Bill Vidal sounds like an amazing guy.

  8. BlueCat says:

    that Gessler is following AG Suthers’ interpretation of the law in his decision to sue Denver over ballots to inactive voters, here’s what I found.  

    After failing to find anything either on the AG cite or by searching for any mention of any such thing in the media I e-mailed the AG’s office.

    I conveyed what an anonymous blog poster had said and asked A) if it was the case and B) to clarify whether or not such advice would be privileged and therefore could not be publicly known. Here’s the very prompt and brief response I received:

    Any advice provided to this office’s clients would be confidential. Only the client, in this case the secretary of state, could break that privilege.

    Is ArapG the alter ego of the SOS?  Is he on the SOS staff? Is he just blowing it out his…? Perhaps ArapG would like to clarify?  Any bets?

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      but I think Arap is smarter

    • RedGreen says:

      by the attorney general’s office, so it’s not a stretch to think the AG signed off on it. Plus, Gessler said he’s following the AG’s interpretation of the law during his news conference after the lawsuit was filed, and anyone with an internet connection can listen to that.  

      • BlueCat says:

        Guess there was a source to cite, Gessler himself, and I just couldn’t find it. However ArapG should have linked to the that press conference if that was his source and assuming that ArapG’s info can be trusted has not been a safe assumption in the past. But wrong is wrong so I must admit it.

        I still think that, in the absence of both the stipulation “only” and the fact that there is already apparently permitted inconsistency where overseas and military ballots are concerned, the suit won’t be successful regardless of AG views. Wonder why the response I got didn’t acknowledge the press conference which made this public via the privileged client himself.  Also why hasn’t ArapG ever responded with what you just said when challenged? Now you’ve saved him the trouble.

        • RedGreen says:

          mention of AG’s interpretation in a story about the lawsuit, though if you say you did an exhaustive search and didn’t turn it up, I might be mistaken. Gessler has said the same at political functions since the lawsuit was filed, too. My only citation for that is that I heard him say it.

          The problem with the military ballots is a big one for Gessler’s case. There’s already no uniformity, and that’s a major part of his argument, that it’s his job to make sure there is.

          • BlueCat says:

            It’s hard and time consuming to find media stories once they get older because there are so many new ones all the time. And of course if I’d stopped to think it makes sense that all suits by officials are going to be drafted through the office of AG.

            Uniformity was used in Supreme Court decision Bush v Gore though they took the strange step of stipulating the decision would be stand alone and not to be used as a precedent because they knew it was bull and that there isn’t any such thing as the kind of uniformity (uniform  methods for recount from county to county across the state) contingent on which they were making the decision/appointment/stop the count/bloodless coup.  So I guess it depends on how the judges here see it.  

            Gessler losing the suit would be a big enough story to have some legs and get national attention as stories about R attempts to suppress the vote are gaining steam in the media these days.

      • Craig says:

        This is no evidence that the lawsuit is supported by AG.  Only evidence that AG felt there was a reasonable argument for the position or for overturning current law.  Years ago, I was involved in such a lawsuit by the SOS’s office and the AG begged the SOS at the time not to file it, but the AG did as was required since the AG felt there was a reasonable argument for the position or for overturning current law.  The fact that the AG filed the lawsuit is evidence of nothing more than this.

        • BlueCat says:

          That’s kind of what I thought…that it didn’t mean the AG necessarily thought it was a great idea or likely home run. I e-mailed the AG again and got a nice e-mail, again very promptly, just saying that all such suits are drafted by the AG office and anything more specific is privileged.  I will say I never expected my questions to be answered in less than an hour.  That’s  pretty impressive and considerate. I’m certainly nobody important to get back to.

        • BlueCat says:

          Why won’t he link us with the source we’re all looking for? He ‘s the one who made the statement in the first place so he must know  where he got it. Granted we collectively got it all figured out without his help.   RG and Craig should send a bill.

  9. ardy39 says:

    of this groundbreaking scientific paper elucidating the fact that some gases interact with infra-red wavelengths differently, and their effects at blocking infra-red radiation can be way out of proportion to their concentration in a sample of mixed gases.

    Tyndall, J. 1861. On the absorption and radiation of heat by gases and vapours, and on the physical connexion of radiation, absorption, and conduction. Philosophical Magazine Series 4(22):169-194, 272-285.

    The Royal Irish Academy is sponsoring the Tyndall Conference all this week.

    I just thought it would be nice to celebrate the wonders of evidence-based knowledge.

  10. Voyageur says:

    My son just got a job teaching philosophy at Stone Hill College this spring.  Not adjunct, the real thing where they actually pay you money and you can, you know, get off food stamps.  He is defending his thesis at Boston College next month and will have a brand new ph.d.  With my daughter a J.D., the long, long odyssey of two kids in graduate school…private graduate schools (sob) … is over at last.  Of course, my son had a full ride fellowship at Boston College, so that eased the financial strain.  

     Very, very proud of him.

    • Voyageur says:

      Like B.C., it’s a Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition.

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Getting a teaching job that actually pays the bills is a helluva accomplishment these days. One of my much-loved aunties teaches in Charlottesville, VA and it took many years of education and networking to land a gig that provided enough funds for housing, groceries, and so on. You raised a son willing to work his butt off to follow his intellectual leanings–nicely done!

      PS. I take all of the above back if he’s teaching Objectivism as the One True Philosophy 😉

      • Voyageur says:

        with a strong bow to Heidigger in the more contemporary schools.  I don’t think atheist Rand would have much traction at Catholic Schools like Boston College and Stone Hill.  It’s not so much that she’s an atheist but she is incredibly sloppy in what passes for logic.  Neither my son nor I am Catholic, though I was raised as one.  The Jesuits don’t care about your religion but they do demand intellectual rigor. to the max.  

          They don’t use the term Platonist much, any more, but the classical philosophers are now grouped with the continental school, he tells me.  That’s opposed to the analytical school, whatever that means.

         I minored in philosophy in the Neolithic era, but don’t have more than a passing knowledge of the later trends.    On the other hand, I can still beat him in chess;-)

    • BlueCat says:

      I’m sure they got lots of support from you.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      That’s definitly a long path you had. Good job!!!

  11. dwyer says:

    Caplis “knows” why Americans do things and will tell you why you voted for Obama and why you were wrong….

    What is the psychological term for people who “know” what others are really thinking, even if it is different from what those people say they are thinking…

  12. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Despite general disorganization and the lack of a clear objective, Occupy Wall Street is picking up support–a major union plans to join protesters tomorrow.

    Could be the left wing’s Tea Party. Just like most self-identified conservatives look askance at the Tea Party for similar disorganization and kookiness, much of the left has so far giggled at Occupy Wall Street, with protesters voting for “demands” like a four hour work day and the abolishment of capitalism–but, like the Tea Party, it seems to be growing in spite of early pitfalls and appears to be reflective of a general undercurrent of national discontent.

    I wrote them off at first, but if they keep on keepin’ on it could be an interesting election.

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