Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Best Campaign Stuff You Can Buy!

With midnight tonight being another campaign finance deadline before amounts must be reported to the FEC, candidates are trying to boost their numbers by selling you awesome stuff.  (And by that, I mean mostly complete crap.)  But, let's run through some of the craziest things you can buy in the next few hours.

A Giant Rand Paul Birthday Card              

Retail Price: $35

Who wouldn't want a 2'x3' Rand Paul birthday card at this obvious steal of $35?

Puppies for Carly Dog Shirt            

Retail Price: $22

Dogs should not wear clothes.  Period.

Retail Price: $25

I feel this is quite genius.  Although, I thought SNL would have been smart enough to trademark that phrase.

Retail Price: $10

You mean to tell me there is an actual market among cheerleaders for Donald Trump Pom Poms?

Retail: $5  (It's on sale from $10)

Hillary and chill?  Hell no!

Bernie Stickers White          

Retail: $5

I only put this on here because when I saw it in a small window, without reading what it was, I thought it was a roll of toilet paper.  Day after Mexican food, #FeelTheBern.

Ted Cruz Coloring Book             

Retail: $5

Wait!  This isn't the Count from Sesame Street's coloring book?

A Marco Rubio Plane Ticket             

Retail: $500

If this is working, then it's a great idea.  I just don't know how many people would be willing to put up $500 for a plane ticket, especially this early in the race.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

If Presidential Candidates were Pop Songs.

Donald Trump          "Applause" by Lady Gaga

For his constant obsession for attention.

Carly Fiorina             "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys

For her ascension into the top tear after the last debate performance 

Ben Carson              "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J

Because people didn't take this man seriously and now he's polling second

Jeb Bush                  "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano

Because we all know Jeb! speaks Spanish and has a Mexican wife after the last debate

Ted Cruz                  "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift

Because he's been getting along with Republicans so well these past few years

Mike Huckabee         "Chicken Fried" by Zac Brown Band

His last book was literally called "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy"

Rand Paul                 "My Way" by Frank Sinatra

By staying true to his libertarian roots, he will most likely encounter the same demise his father faced

John Kasich            "Anything Could Happen" by Ellie Goulding

He's just sitting by.  He could drop out tomorrow or claim the nomination.

Marco Rubio           "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias

You know this is the role he wants to play in the party

Chris Christie           "Cheeseburger in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffett

No comment is necessary

Bernie Sanders         "Lips are Movin'" by Meghan Trainor

Because when his lips are movin', he's lying, lying, lying  (or at least grossly misinformed)

Hillary Clinton        "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" by Aretha Franklin

The emails, Benghazi, the sniper fire in Bosnia, being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, being "dead broke" leaving the White House, etc.      (You get the point)

Joe Biden               "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx

Because he know he's just waiting for the Democrats to beg him enough to get into the race

... and as a bonus.

Scott Walker             "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars

Because he was the conservative front-runner early in the summer

Friday, September 25, 2015

Planned Parenthood and Crony Capitalism.

This year, it seems that the great debate on the federal stage will be over Planned Parenthood's $500 million.  Forget for the time being that the organization provides abortions, has been selling fetal tissue, and all the other terrible things the organization has done.  There is still an argument that both Republicans and Democrats should agree on as to why Planned Parenthood should not receive funding.

Why do we give grants and subsidies to farmers?  to coal and oil companies?  to Fortune 500 companies?  to Planned Parenthood?  Planned Parenthood's 2013-2014 report clearly states they received $528.4 million in government grants and reimbursements.  However, at the same time, they turned a profit of  $1.3034 billion.

Why are we just handing money to a "non-profit" that is turning a profit?  One area both Republicans and Democrats agree upon is that we do not believe in corporate welfare.  According to these numbers, Planned Parenthood would easily be able to provide all its "services" without government grants.

So what does Planned Parenthood do with that money?  Since 2000, Planned Parenthood has given over $25 million to politicians, spending over $1.2 million in the 2012 election cycle alone.  (Here's a list of their biggest recipients.)  Additionally, Planned Parenthood also gives money to unions, who also use that money to finance Democrats for public office.

Therefore, I argue you should be against all corporate welfare.  Because even forget what groups do, whether abortion or coal, why should you tax dollars go to organizations who turn around and give that money back to politicians?  It is not your job to finance politicians' campaigns.

Here's how the whole process works.  Congress appropriates money to organizations you don't agree with by drafting a law that raises the debt ceiling, takes on more debt, and effectively works as a tax on you by devaluing the currency.  The organizations you don't agree with receive the money, which they don't need, turn around and give it back to the politicians that you don't support.  So in effect, you fund both organizations and politicians you don't support.  Welcome to crony capitalism known as the US Government.

In conclusion, if you don't support money going to oil and coal companies, then you cannot support money going to Planned Parenthood without being a complete hypocrite.  There is absolutely no evidence that any of these organizations need funding.  I would also call for the revocation of Planned Parenthood's non-profit status.

Just for your knowledge: Planned Parenthoods do not provide mammograms.  Marget Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, believed in eugenics.  (Look it up and be horrified.)  Planned Parenthood has covered up sexual assault multiple times.  (Also, check out this video as well.)  These all preclude the harvesting of baby parts I might add.  It's time to once and for all stop funding this horrifying, devilish organization.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"The Year of the Outsider"

This year has been dubbed the "year of the outsider" by political pundits looking to coin catchy phrases that stay with the audience.  Is it really though?

To run for president and be taken as a serious candidate, you have to have major connections to the political class.  I would argue that every single person running for president is an insider, claiming to be an outsider.  This reached peak irony levels as Hillary Clinton declared yesterday that she was an outsider because she is a woman.

I don't really know whether I should laugh or cry.  How dumb do you think the electorate really is?  Bill Clinton lost his first race in 1974 and then became Arkansas Attorney General in 1976.  In 1976, Hillary was a field operative for Jimmy Carter in Indiana, only to become first lady of Arkansas in 1978.  She became first lady of the United States in 1992, Senator of New York in 2000, and a presidential contender turned Secretary of State in 2008.  Excuse me for laughing as you approach almost 40 years politics Hillary.

As for Donald Trump, he's been endorsing candidates for president and making contributions as far back as the late, great Ronald Reagan.  He's been very vocal on his positions in the past and has been flirting with the idea of a presidential run for almost two decades now.  Once again, excuse the laughter.

Ben Carson has been debating politics in the public spotlight for almost a decade now, even making the mistake in the CNN debate of exposing that he advised then-President George W. Bush against the war in Iraq in 2003.  He just hasn't been receiving the media attention since his speech at the prayer breakfast in 2013.  Again, another insider.

Carly Fiorina has been doing much better to hide her credentials as an insider than all the other candidates.  With it being a time when the entire country hates Washington, I see why.  However, I think her experience would give her a better leg to stand on, especially foreign policy wise.  After being let go as CEO from HP, Fiorina worked on Senator John McCain's election campaign as early as 2006.  In 2008, Carly was named the Republican National Committee's new fundraising chair.  From 2007 to 2009, Fiorina led the CIA's External Advisory Board and became chairwoman of the board.  Then in 2010, she lost a bid for California Senator to incumbent Barbra Boxer while battling breast cancer.  Quite the insider.

As for the other candidates: Rand Paul dropped Senator from his title to add Doctor; Chris Christie claims being from New Jersey makes him an outsider; similarly, Scott Walker claims defeating unions in a blue state makes him an outsider; Ted Cruz is an outsider because his name is Ted Cruz; Marco Rubio isn't part of the political class because he had over $100,000 of student loans (which he was able to easily pay off with his $174,000 + book deals and perks of being a Senator salary); John Kasich is an outsider because his father was a mailman; and of course, Bernie Sanders is an outsider because he's a socialist.

None of these people are outsiders.  None of them.  It is illogical to think that these people just woke up one day, all of the sudden, and decided they were going to run for president.  It took years of calculated moves, networking, developing support, forming their teams, and now running for office.

I am not going to be voting based on this "outsiders" crap because none of them running are like me.  Instead, I'm going to vote for the person I believe is most fit to lead this nation back into prosperity.  So please, media and candidates alike, let's cut the "outsiders" rhetoric and get on with the campaign because in terms of the political establishment, you all ARE the political establishment.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Kim Davis Issue.

I have a real problem involving the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis because I see both sides of the argument.

On the one hand, she did take an oath of office to uphold her duty to the American people, which she violated when refusing to issue the marriage licences not only to gay couples but straight couples as well.  However, for those saying she shouldn't have taken the job if she couldn't uphold her duty to the American people, how was Kim Davis supposed to know when she was elected that same-sex marriage would be legalized (on a fabricated Supreme Court "rights" decision) during her time in office?

Additionally, Democrats keep citing the "it's the law of the land argument" against Davis, who ironically is also a Democrat, as a means of validating her jail sentencing.  Since when have Democrats been for the "law of the land."  Maybe I'll take this argument seriously when Democrats start throwing mayors of sanctuary cities, the governors of marijuana legalizing states, and some people from Washington D.C. behind bars for not following the "law of the land."  No, Democrats only want to follow the "law of the land" when it works in their favor.  What is it going to be?  Because you can't have it both ways.

Finally, look at this issue from a broader perspective.  Say you are leaning toward being against gay marriage, religious as many people in America are, and the Supreme Court issued it's ruling in June, so you are trying to hear some arguments as to why you should be in favor of gay marriage, or at least tolerate it.  Then, little over two months later, a Kentucky clerk refuses to issue licenses, citing her religious convictions, is thrown in jail and this is cheered from the pro-gay marriage community.  What makes you think that you want to be like them?

It doesn't.  It makes you think those people are disgusting, anti-religious nuts walking around with chips on their shoulders in order to bring retribution to those who were against same-sex marriage.  Completely makes you want to align yourself with them, doesn't it?

This is why I stated that the government should not get involved with this issue on a national level.  Marriage is a power delegated to the states under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, and when you get the federal government involved by bringing cases through the court system so five Justices on the Supreme Court can wave their hands and pretend that there was a right hidden in the 14th Amendment that we haven't seen for nearly 150 years in the name of judicial activism, it doesn't change hearts and minds.  Rather, it increases resentment and push-back.

Congratulations, you threw a woman is in jail because of her religious convictions.  Hope you feel good about yourselves because there are a lot of people in America who resent your right now, and their resentment will be carried with them for a long time.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Trump's Cabinet.

If Trump were to somehow miraculously ascend to the Presidency, I feel like this would be a fairly good representation of his cabinet.

President: Donald Trump

      Reasoning: Obviously Trump puts himself on a pedestal one step above God. 

Vice President: Omarosa Manigault

      Reasoning:  What's the Presidency if you can't share it with someone who helped make you famous?

Secretary of State: Dennis Rodman

      Reasoning:  Dennis Rodman supports Trump, and he's practically already our ambassador to North Korea.

Secretary of Treasury: 50 Cent

      Reasoning: He's Republican and just went bankrupt.

Secretary of Defense: Nobody

      Reasoning:  Who needs a Secretary of Defense when you are Donald Trump?  Obviously anybody but himself would just be a waste of time.  Trump would rather tackle China and Mexico himself.

Attorney General: Megyn Kelly

      Reasoning:  Won't it be a great publicity stunt?  The woman Trump attacked after his first debate promoted to Attorney General of the United States.  It would make for a great attention grabbing headline, and if anybody knows how to do that, it's Trump.

Secretary of Interior:  Donald Trump Jr.

      Reasoning: How do you manage to put up more hotels as President?  Nepotism of course.  Interior is in charge of the National Parks Service.  Therefore, you get Donald Trump Jr. to push through proposals to allow the Trump company to build hotels almost on top of the nationally historic sites.  This whole time Eric Trump stays back to manage his father's company.  It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Secretary of Agriculture:  Cliven Bundy

      Reasoning:  Because nobody knows agriculture like this famous cattle rancher from Nevada.

Secretary of Commerce: Ivanka Trump

      Reasoning: What is politics if not for nepotism?  Actually she wouldn't be a bad choice as she went to college for economics and is a successful businesswoman.  #Ivanka2016

Secretary of Labor:  Nobody

      Reasoning:  Trump has employed a lot of people and he's not going to let you forget that.  Just move over and let his company handle this.  There'll be an unemployment rate of 0% when he ships anyone without a job to the border to build his fence... but why stop there?  Just make one giant Trump hotel.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Lindsay Lohan

     Reasoning: With all her drug addictions, DUIs, and trips in and out of rehab, Trump knows Lohan has got to know something about the complex healthcare system by now.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Oprah Winfrey

      Reasoning: Trump once said he wanted Oprah as his running mate, but he'll realize that if anybody can help the inner-city youths, it has to be Oprah.  "AND YOU GET AN EDUCATION! AND YOU GET AN EDUCATION!  EVERYBODY GETS AN EDUCATION!!!"

Secretary of Transportation: Miley Cyrus

      Reasoning:  Stating her support for Trump at the VMAs, Miley will need something to do before Kanye runs in 2020.  Trump knows Miley is onto something with her wrecking ball transportation.

Secretary of Energy:  Nobody

      Reasoning:  If you thought Donald Trump could only criticize China and Mexico, that is where you'd be wrong.  Just wait until he lays into Russia.  And when he realizes Russia is the largest producer of oil, he'll only want the job for himself.

Secretary of Education:  Kimye

      Reasoning:  If Kanye West wants to run for President in 2020, he's going to need some experience of sorts.  Since Kanye only has half a brain, he'll take the quarter Kim has and round up to a full brain thanks to Common Core math.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs:  Hulk Hogan

      Reasoning: Because why not?  You endorse Trump; you get a spot in his cabinet.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Ann Coulter

      Reasoning: She obviously supports all of Donald Trump's policies, and if any duo could construct a wall, it would be them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Obsess Over Polls.

This year in particular, pundits, hosts, and candidates have been fixated on one thing - poll numbers.  While polling is important in a presidential race, it is important to remember polls are not that important in this early stage of the election.

Don't worry.  You have a statistics major turned data science major here to break it down for you.

This year in particular on the Republican side polls have been placed in higher importance due to the fact that it determines which stage the candidates will be on for the debates.  It is important to make the top 10, but every candidate who made the top 10 is doing the one very crucial thing right now: consistently polling decently.

I check RealClearPolitics every single day to watch the polling numbers.  At this point, it's not that important to be trending up or getting concerned when your candidates poll numbers are trending down.  As long as they are maintaining some sort of consistent polling, then they are doing fine because he or she is keeping his or her name on the map.

Three-quarters of primary voters will not choose their candidate until about a month out from the election in their state.  Therefore, you can start looking at and worrying about trends at the beginning of January for the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.  Until then however, I would say you should more likely pay attention to the favorable-unfavorable rankings and the percentage of people who would never vote for the candidates.

If you still want to look deeper into current polls, it is important to keep in mind the statistical errors of these polls.  When a reporter announces something along the lines of "Donald Trump increases his lead by another 3 points" or "Jeb falls 5 points in the latest poll," take it with a very large grain of salt.  Being this far out from an election, the polls being conducted are not going to have the same precision as before the general.  Therefore, they tend to sample less people, which results in a higher margin of error, sometimes upward of 5%.

Just think about that for a second.  You have all these candidates on the Republican side polling about 5%.  If there is a large error in the polling for whatever reason, they could possibly actually have 10% support or >1% support.  That would either put them at the front or back of the pack.

The lesson here is that it is important to slow down and not consider every newly released poll as certain, not to be challenged polling percentages of the candidates.

Finally, don't believe every poll that you see.  Here's a good recommendation: if it's a reputable enough poll to be used in the RealClearPolitics average, then it was most likely scientifically conducted properly.  If not, I personally do not trust the poll, unless the organization who conducted the poll has a reputable history in the field.

I bring this up due to the recent polls after the debate.  People from all over the internet pointed to the Drudge Report poll as proof that Donald Trump won the debate.  This poll was not scientifically conducted in any way.  It was literally Drudge Report readers who voted in the poll, which automatically has a significant bias in the sample if the population you are looking for is Republican primary voters.

If there is any reason to suspect bias in a poll, throw it out.  If it was conducted by a website, throw it out.  If there is a significant backing of a candidate by an organization, throw it out.  If you click on the poll to view the actual data and it directs you to a Twitter post, throw it out.  (Yes, that did happen yesterday.)

The only online poll I would even possibly consider, though examining with much more scrutiny and caution than others, is a YouGov poll, which have shown to be fairly consistent with reputable polls.  However, there are still serious doubts over possible biases still present.

Overall Lesson:  Don't worry about polls so much.  Not every poll is a make or break.  Question every polls findings.

If you are looking for reputable sites in order to look at and analyze polling data, I recommend the following: