Friday, February 06, 2004
BUSH'S POLL NUMBERS DON'T MEAN MUCH
My new column at the American Spectator.
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DIRE NEED FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY?
The Des Moines Register editorial board must have a severe case of traction after all the intellectual gymnastics it took to make the case that money in the Grow Iowa Government Values Fund shouldn’t be transferred. Let’s begin:
Depleting the state's economic-development fund to find money for education really would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Now, for Peter to be robbed, the money he is robbed of must belong to him in the first place. But the money in the Grow Iowa Government Values Fund doesn’t belong to the fund, and it surely doesn’t belong to the corporations that are sticking their snouts into the taxpayer trough. Indeed, it is the taxpayer that is being robbed to pay for this corporate welfare boondoggle. But why bother to actually understand the meaning of the phrase you use when using it seems so effective in making your point?
Lawmakers have got to face the fact that both priorities must be adequately funded for Iowa to grow. That, of course, assumes that the Grow Iowa Government Values Fund will help Iowa grow. In fact it also assumes that lots of new education spending will do the same. I’d say those assumptions are as flimsy as wet noodles, but that’s being unfair to wet noodles.
Then there is this bit of genius they present as a solution:
Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, has recommended hiking the cigarette tax and expanding the sales-tax base - while lowering the rate over time - among other possibilities. The state's financial straits in the last several years have made it essential to raise more revenue in the short term.
Does it ever occur to the Register that raising the sales tax on business services might offset any good done by the Grow Iowa Government Values Fund?
I know: that’s a rhetorical question.
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Thursday, February 05, 2004
NOT HIS FAULT
I had a revelation while watching Michigan State pretty much bounce Iowa out of the game by the end of the first half last night. I saw Jared Reiner sitting on the bench and recalled that coach Steve Alford had ripped Reiner publicly for his play not long before Reiner went out for the season with an injury. That led to my revelation that Iowa’s continued basketball woes are always the players’ fault and never Steve Alford’s.
Consider Pierre Pierce’s sexual assault, Sean Sonderleiter’s possession of his friend’s marijuana, and Mike Henderson’s academic problems. Seems like the Hawkeye’s have some attitude problems. But that’s the players’ fault, not Steve Alford’s.
Or how about Nick Dewitz up and leaving the team this year after about 4 games? And now Sonderleiter’s out-of-the-blue hiatus due to emotional problems? Seems like there isn’t a very supportive atmosphere among the Hawkeyes. But that’s the players’ fault, not Steve Alford’s.
Then there seems to be some conditioning problems. Last year Erek Hansen was a skinny beanpole. This year he is still a skinny beanpole. And remember during Alford’s 3rd season when Luke Recker came back with a weight problem? But that’s the players’ fault, not Steve Alford’s.
And what about the talented players who never seem to reach their full potential? Brody Boyd, now a senior, has never repeated the performance he had during the Big Ten Tournament in his freshman year. Glenn Worley? Constant foul trouble and a tendency to take stupid shots by trying to shoot over two to three opposing players. Now as a senior he has improved to the point that he should have been at as a sophomore. Current sophomore Greg Brunner is a brute under the boards, but can’t seem to average double digits in scoring. Maybe he’ll get there when he is a senior too. Seems like talent just isn’t developed very well on the Hawkeyes. Again, that’s the players’ fault, not Steve Alford’s.
Last year, the Hawkeye’s averaged in the neighborhood of 16 turnovers per game. This season, they are averaging 17 turnovers per game. They have also had off-an-on free throw problems, with the problem being on earlier this season. And you guessed it: that’s the players’ fault, not Steve Alford’s.
I recall when Steve Alford first came to Iowa. Our coaching savior had arrived. Big Ten championships, maybe even a national championship, were right around the corner. Five years later, Alford has yet to have a winning season in the Big Ten. But for a fluke win in the Big Ten Tournament in his 2nd season, Alford would never have even been to the big dance. Heck, Iowa has never even been beyond the 2nd round of the NIT. All I can figure is that it must be the players’ fault. Never Steve Alford’s.
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A BRUISED EGO
That’s about the only way I can explain this rambling piece by George McGovern in yesterday’s Washington Post. It’s there in the first paragraph:
I had not expected to be involved in this year's presidential campaign. But almost daily my name is mentioned by some commentator, usually as a warning of what candidates should avoid. One gets the impression that the campaign of 1972 is the only one whose shortcomings are worth noting.
Altogether now: AWWWW!
Is the central lesson of '72 that George McGovern lost everywhere except Massachusetts and the District of Columbia?
Actually, it’s the central reality.
If so, what is the lesson of 1984, when my friend Walter Mondale lost everywhere except Minnesota and the District? Is the lesson of these campaigns that Midwestern liberals can never reach the White House?
Oh, he is so close! The lesson is that no liberal, even if he was from Texas, would have won those elections.
But never mind,
I don't think so. Mondale and his Minnesota mentor, Hubert Humphrey, who, like me, was defeated by Richard Nixon, were U.S. patriots of unquestioned integrity and ability. (They might say the same about me.) I wonder whether even a Jefferson or Washington could have defeated Ronald Reagan in 1984 or Nixon in '72. Any Democrat running against these heavily financed incumbent presidents would probably have lost ...
In other words, the lousy campaign he and Mondale ran were not their fault.
...(though some still think that the Democratic contenders Mondale and I defeated in winning the nomination would have been stronger than we were in the general election).
And they’re probably right. After all, how hard is it to run a campaign that doesn’t get blown out by 18 points or more?
So, what does McGovern apparently think should be the focus of this campaign?
I'm proud of my war service, but today I'm more interested in peace. I certainly don't want any more wars like the one in Iraq -- a country that posed no threat to us and had nothing to do with Sept. 11, 2001. There seem to be no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But here at home, 100,000 Americans die each year from alcoholism. Multitudes are suffering from clinical depression or obesity or other disorders. And in the world at large a child dies from hunger every five seconds. Those are the weapons of mass destruction that disturb my rest.
Opposing a strong foreign policy and proposing government solutions for problems that are a matter of personal responsibility—funny, but that seems like the recipe that led to disaster in 1972 and 1984.
Guess some people never learn.
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Wednesday, February 04, 2004
SO NOW WHAT?
Well, it seems my predictions are getting better. I said Joe Lieberman wouldn’t last beyond next week unless he got a win. Last night saw the exit of the candidate most likely to beat President Bush in November.
Okay, that was an easy prediction to get right—pretty obvious. Here’s something even more obvious: John Kerry cemented his position as frontrunner. I said he needed to win three of six states outside of South Carolina to keep his status as frontrunner. He won five. I see only two scenarios in which Kerry loses the nomination. One is he has a Dean moment—YAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!—but given that the guy is about as exciting as whale blubber, that probably won’t happen. The second is in the paragraph after next.
John Edwards did what he needed to do. Over at NRO, David Frum contends that Edwards had a bad night because of his “failure to win an outright majority in South Carolina.” I’d agree with that except he fought to a tie in Oklahoma, a state that Wesley Clark was supposed to win. I think that makes up for his non-majority win in South Carolina. Thus, Edwards will get a bounce from yesterday’s results. What happens next, of course, depends on what Edwards does with it. His apparent decision to spend resources in Michigan is a mistake. He has little chance, so why not write it off? Furthermore, he needs at least one win in next Tuesday’s primaries in Tennessee and Virginia. Without one, his claim to be the candidate most able to win the South loses its steam; so does his campaign, and he will likely be done by the end of February. With one win, he can probably last until March 3, although without another win before then, he limps into March 3 and is done thereafter.
However: If he wins both Tennessee and Virginia, then he has a decent chance of besting Kerry for the nomination. With wins there, his argument that only he can win in the South becomes unassailable. His tie in Oklahoma also shows he’s viable in the Bible Belt. The exit polls from last night showed that respondents were very concerned about “electability,” i.e. the ability to beat Bush. If that trend holds, his claim to being the most electable then becomes far more credible, holding sway with not only Democrats but potential cross-over voters in Wisconsin’s open primary February 17. A win there and he becomes even more appealing to the more moderate-to-conservative Democrats in Idaho’s and Utah’s primaries a week later. Wins in those two states and he has tremendous momentum going into March 3. I admit that the odds are against it, but they are not impossible odds.
As for Howard Dean, I don’t have a clue as to when he drops out. How could I, when Dean is competing with Michael Jackson’s fans for the title of the biggest case of hard-core denial? My wild guess is he drops out on February 27. I picked that date because I threw a dart at my calendar and that is where it landed.
I have pretty much the same problem with Wesley Clark. He’ll probably figure his tie in Oklahoma makes him viable until June—2005! I’ll pick February 27 as his drop out date because I am too lazy to go get the dart and throw it again.
As for Sharpton, this editorial in the New York Post says it all. As for Dennis Kucinich, this says it all.
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ON THAT GAMBLING DECISION
Roth C.P.A. is all over that Iowa Supreme Court decision about taxing racetrack casinos at different rates than riverboat casinos. Jeff at Tusk and Talon has even more.
And Yin blog wonders,
What I want to know is, when did all of these casinos pop up all over the country? I still remember when it was Nevada and Atlantic City and that was it. Then the Indian tribes started opening casinos, and now everyone is. What's up with that?!?
Actually, it happened when (1) economically depressed areas were fooled into believing that casinos were good for economic development, and (2) state governments got a glimpse at the revenue streams generated by gambling facilities. My guess is factor 2 weighed more heavily than factor 1.
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Monday, February 02, 2004
Blogging will be lite today, and maybe tomorrow. Very busy at work right now. Will return to regularly scheduled blogging duties by mid week.
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Bloggin will be lite today and probably tomorrow. Busy day at work. Will resume blogging activities by mid week.
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AND JUST WHEN YOU THOUGH IOWA COULDN’T GET ANY LESS BUSINESS FRIENDLY
Roth C.P.A. notes that the Iowa Department of Revenue is not letting Iowa businesses take a certain deduction.
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