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Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle
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Tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney

Sunday, November 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin
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Here’s a Prediction: Romney 341 Obama 197

Sunday, November 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Refer back to my “Stay Calm and Finish Him” post for some details, but here’s the prediction: All, or nearly all, states in which the poll on Romney/Obama is even within the margin of error will go for Romney.  My reasoning is  this:

  • All these samples seem to me to still imply a greater D turnout than R. Nearly all actual reported early voting has been heavily Republican, plus we have the Washington Post polling on defectors.  So it seems very probable that the actual turnout will be favoring Republicans, possibly heavily.
  • The “Sandy” debacle isn’t making Obama’s administration look good.  This may not mean more votes for Romney (although it could), but it may well depress Democrat voters on Tuesday.
  • Romney/Ryan are drawing tens of thousands, Obama/Biden thousands or hundreds.  Again, this indicates greater enthusiasm and suggests greater Republican turnout.

If I’m right, that’s 341 R/ 197 O.

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Keep Calm and Finish Him

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

I’ve owed PJM another polling piece for a couple of days, but frankly there’s not much left to say that’s particularly deep. Look, it’s like this: for all the reasons I’ve mentioned before, the polls this year are more unreliable than ever. When the pollsters have to call eleven people to get one person to cooperate, then nobody has any idea what the real population is thinking.

That said, there are some things to look at that can perhaps help you sleep tonight.

I. Michael Barone

There’s not a lot of people smarter about American politics than Michael Barone; he’s worked for both parties over the years, he’s made a life study out of American politics. And he’s been saying for weeks that he thinks Romney will win. He said it today, again.

Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election.

II. Today’s Washington Post

In a story today titled “Obama’s Defectors,” the WaPo looks at a long series of their polls. Rather than averaging them — I just drove a bunch of people screaming from the room by showing a proof of the problems of averaging, so I promise I won’t, but believe me, it sucks — they looked at a long series of polls of various different subpopulations. In each case they asked people who had voted for Obama if they were going to again. In every case, there was a fair proportion of “defectors.”

Overall, “[t]wo weeks of Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll interviews find 84 percent of likely voters who supported Obama in 2008 support him this year, while 13 percent say they are switching to Romney and 3 percent are backing others or haven’t made up their mind yet.” Now, from the standpoint of the Republican Party, whether they vote for Romney or for Mickey Mouse, they reduce Obama’s vote. Now, here’s a little bit of math for you: Obama got about 53 percent of the vote in 2008. Obama is only getting 84 percent of those votes this time.

84 percent of 53 percent is 45 percent.

III. Enthusiasm

One of the things that turned the election for Obama in 2008 is that while a lot of people were excited about Obama — from the people who thought he really was the Messiah to middle of the roaders who just thought it’d be cool if we elected a black man — a lot fewer were excited about McCain. Lots of hard-core conservatives thought he was a RINO; a fair number of people believed the hatchet job on Sarah Palin; a bunch of otherwise sensible people got gamed on the financial crisis. The result was that from about the first of October on, the crowds were surging for Obama; early voting was way in Democrats’ favor.

This year, the actual data is much the other way. (There were some polls, of course, that early on claimed Obama was getting amazing proportions of the early vote in, say, Ohio, but they turned out to be what mathematicians call “nonsensical,” with sample sizes of, like, 50.)

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Obama Ticket Demand Low — In Boulder

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Yes, the People’s Republic of Boulder, Berkeley East, 25 square miles surrounded by reality. The Daily Camera reports:

When President Barack Obama came to speak at the Coors Event Center in April, people waited hours in a line that stretched across the University of Colorado campus to make sure they could get tickets. But for those who wanted to see the president at his third CU visit on Thursday, grabbing a ticket just entailed a quick stop on the way to lunch.

The Obama campaign handed out tickets for the president’s appearance for the second day Wednesday at several locations around Boulder, a second chance for those who missed out Tuesday.

I suspect a certain loss of enthusiasm.

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Nothing Is More Important Than This Election, Perfect Storm Edition

Friday, October 26th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Here’s a press release we got today:

Statement by Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts and ClimateSilence.org:

“If the candidates won’t listen to the voters demanding they break their climate silence, maybe they will listen to Mother Nature’s October Surprise. We know the candidates will be asked about Hurricane Sandy, and will express their sympathy with those affected. They will rightly applaud the first responders, the compassion of neighbors, and the strength and resolve of the American people. But what their role as national leaders demands that they also do is explain that Hurricane Sandy is a true Frankenstorm, a monster created by man tampering with nature with oil, coal, and gas pollution.

It’s worth looking at Wikipedia’s list of New Jersey hurricanes for comparison. Doing a little data reduction by eye, it looks like October hurricanes come roughly every 5-10 years. The last one in that area was 1995, so we’re either a little overdue or right about average.

Looking at Roger Pielke, Jr.’s blog, we find the predicted damage along with a convenient map. Here’s an excerpt of the report:

The tool shows the storm parameters, the damage at the time of landfall, and the estimated damage if the storms were to make landfall in 2012. The 2012 damage estimations are made by “normalizing” the data by adjusting for population change, inflation, and change in wealth per capita.

The most damaging storm to make landfall within the current range of computer model forecasts was the New England hurricane of 1938, which would cause an estimated ~$47B in damage today. However, this storm was a category 3 hurricane when it made landfall, while Sandy is only expected to have category 1 force winds. Of the 7 storms selected, only two made landfall as category 1 hurricanes. Hurricane Agnes of 1972 made landfall with 85 mph sustained winds near New York City and would cause an estimated $19B in damage today. Agnes initially made landfall over the FL Panhandle, then moved NE and emerged off the NC coast. As it approached New England, the storm strengthened as it underwent extratropical transition, which is also expected to occur with Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Agnes’s impacts were felt across a very wide area of the Northeast. Hurricane Belle of 1976 also had 85 mph winds, but moved much more quickly than Agnes and was weakening as it made landfall. It is estimated that Belle would cause less than $1B in damage today.

As can be seen from the storms selected by the ICAT Damage Estimator, the sample size of category 1 hurricanes making landfall along the Northeast is not very large. While Agnes appears to be the most similar to Sandy, it made landfall near New York City, which explains why the damage estimates are so high. Hurricane Irene of 2011 officially made landfall further south, but impacted a similar area that will be affected by Hurricane Sandy. That storm caused ~$7B in damage, but was not quite as strong as Sandy is expected to be. This data can be used as a benchmark to assess the range of possibilities for Sandy’s impact.

In other words, it’s a hurricane. Unusually late but not unprecedented, and right now they think Category One — which here on the Colorado Plains we call “a little too windy for the kites kids, but yes, you have to go to school.”

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Michael Mann Claiming a Nobel Prize He Didn’t Receive

Friday, October 26th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

A few days ago, Professor Michael Mann  of the University pf Pennsylvania — a climate scientist whose “hockey stick” graph was at the center of, among other things, Al Gore Jr.’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” – filed a libel suit against National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn, and (regular PJ contributor) Rand Simberg.  The reason for the libel suit was that both Steyn and Simberg had questioned whether the investigation that “exonerated” Mann of misconduct related to the Climategate emails (we revealed them at PJM in 2010.)

Well, there are some interesting things to be found in the complaint, including page 2 paragraph 2, in which he claims to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, apparently because he was one of the IPCC scientists.  The IPCC received the Peace Prize along with Al Gore in 2007.  Mann even shows a certificate for this:

The Nobel Committee is usually pretty careful with these things, and the IPCC had more than a thousand participants — are they all Nobel Laureates?  The Washington Examiner contacted the Nobel Committee, and got this answer:

Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, or The Norwegian Nobel Institute emailed me back with the following:

1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.
3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007.

Lundestad goes on to say that, “Unfortunately we often experience that members of organizations that have indeed been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize issue various forms of personal diplomas to indicate that they personally have received the Nobel Peace Prize. They have not.”

This should be an interesting lawsuit indeed.

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Today’s Fun with Polls: Gallup Party ID (Update: Gallup 51/46 Romney)

Friday, October 26th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Today, Gallup released a poll, not of the horse race but of the demographics of the electorate.  The headline is “2012 Electorate Looks Like 2008″, but that buries the important difference. While the gender, racial, age and education characteristics are about the same, party identification has changed radically:

Basically, Republican vs Democrat is about +1 Republican; include leaners and that’s +3 Republican.

Gallup’s “horserace” poll of likely voters has Romney 50 percent Obama 47  46 percent. However, as Bob Krumm noted on Wednesday, the “likely voter” screens are very, er, liberal, and are probably including a fair number of people who won’t actually vote.

Rasmussen, by the way, has 50/47 Romney again today.

One more interesting point: several polls have now shown Republican enthusiasm much higher than Democrat, in fact at all all-time high. What this would imply is a greater likelihood that Republican and leaning-Republican voters will actually make it to the polls. And that in turn suggests the actual vote may be significantly more Republican than the polls are showing. This could be shaping up to be a Reaganesque landslide.

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Clint Eastwood Cuts an Ad for Romney

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin
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New York Times Fact Checkers Mauling Obama (Update: Augh!)

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Somehow the NY Times site sent me to the Oct 3 fact checks instead of today’s.  Here are today’s.

See here:

The hosts on the cable news channel friendliest to President Obama, MSNBC, groped to find anything friendly to say after the debate on Wednesday night.

Liberal hosts like Ed Schultz were taken aback by what they thought was a weak performance by Mr. Obama. Mr. Schultz, who earlier said he was stunned that Mr. Obama was “off his game,” later threw up his arms and asked, “Where was the president tonight?”

His exasperated colleague Chris Matthews said, “Obama should watch MSNBC.” Mr. Matthews said he felt that Mr. Obama went into the debate “disarmed” and suggested that he would learn something by watching his show, “Hardball,” and MSNBC’s other programs.

“He would learn something about this debate,” Mr. Matthews said. “There’s a hot debate going on in this country. You know where it’s been held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed!”


Was President Obama surprisingly flat?

Even Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the president, acknowledged that Mr. Romney won the debate on style points, saying so in an interview on CNN.

Mr. Obama has a reputation for being professorial to a fault. During the four years of his presidency, Mr. Obama has often gotten lost in the weeds during town hall meetings or at White House press conferences.

The president who showed up at the debate was similar to the one who Americans have seen day-in and day-out for the last several years.

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Has Obama Lost Chris Matthews?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin
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One thing that jumped out at me — Matthews saying “Commander, give us our orders!” That needs some thought, but it goes with my reaction when someone says Americans are ungovernable: “Damn right we’re ungovernable! We’re Americans!”

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A Prediction for Tonight’s Debate

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

I think a lot of people misread the second debate, especially when President Obama and Candy Crowley together pushed the notion that Obama actually called Benghazi a terrorist attack.

Remember what Romney’s exact response was? An incredulous look, and repeated questioning to establish, “on the record”, that Obama was claiming he had indeed called it, and treated it, as terrorism from the first, and not a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand.

I’m stealing a trope from someone I would credit if I remembered who it was. I don’t think Romney is a debater. I don’t think he’s at heart a politician of the glad-handing double-talking sort that seems to gravitate to the Senate especially.

I think he’s a predator. A predator doesn’t relish a fight with its prey. Oh, a well fed housecat may play with a mouse for a little while, for fun and for practice, or to teach a kitten, but when the time comes it’s not a long fight — the cat dispatches the mouse. A lioness doesn’t want to fight with an impala, and possibly get gored — she finds her time and makes the efficient killing stroke to the spine and brainstem.

So here’s the situation tonight: the Benghazi incident has been in the news now for a solid week, and Obama’s claims have been debunked by pretty much everyone except for a few partisans. It will be on everyone’s mind from the minute the debate starts, and it has got to be one of the questions.

I think, when it is, we’ll see that Romney has all the dates and times in his head, ready to go.

My prediction is that when the question does come up, Romney will be loaded for bear.

Update: Via a comment from SJH, here’s the American Thinker article I was remembering.

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Minnesota Bans Coursera (Update: Minnesota Backs Down)

Friday, October 19th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

O rly?

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The state’s Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It’s unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution:

Notice for Minnesota Users:

Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.

(Hat tip to the brilliant and beautiful Michelle Fields.)

Update: Minnesota has backed down.

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Today’s Ras: Romney 50/Obama 47 in VA (Update: 54 R/43 O in MI, 51/46 in FL)

Friday, October 19th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Among those certain to vote, it’s 52/47 in Virginia. North Carolina, 52/46 Romney. The Rasmussen Presidential Preference Poll is tied at 48 percent. Gallup likely voters 52/45 Romney, up a point more since yesterday.

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Romney Wins on Points, Not a KO

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

… and Candy Crowley didn’t do much for her reputation for even-handedness.

In the mean time, my favorite graphic from Facebook:

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Biden Says ‘Out of Afghanistan in 2014′, Administration Disagrees

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

According to Foreign Policy’s diplomatic blog The Cable (which I recommend, by the way):

Despite statements by Vice President Joe Biden, the State Department is about to begin formal negotiations over the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, a top State Department official said Tuesday.

Last week, U.S. and Afghan negotiators met in Kabul to talk about the Bilateral Security Agreement that will govern the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, when President Barack Obama said the combat mission in Afghanistan will end and the U.S. will complete the transition of the entire country to Afghan government control.

I wonder how this happened to be released just before the debate?

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A Rant on Supposed Racism

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

So today’s little furor is some ass at a Romney rally who worked his way around, right in front of the press, and showed off a pretty obviously racist shirt.  Now, as Stacy McCain has pointed out, there’s good reason to think the was a troll, a false-flag operation.  We’ve been seeing them, organized and disorganized, since the first Tea Party demonstrations — remember “Crash the Tea Party“?

But you know what? Forget that. I’m tired of idiots trying to make one asshole in the back row of a Romney rally the issue. You want to talk racism? Well, let’s talk about this:

It was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Democrat, who founded the Ku Klux Klan.
Woodrow Wilson segregated Federal Buildings and jobs after 50 years of integration under largely Republican administrations.
It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted Jim Crow Laws.
It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted “separate but equal”.
It was the Democrat Party in the South that supported the Ku Klux Klan.
It was George Wallace and the Democrat Party in the South that said “Segregation Forever”.
It was Orval Faubus and the Democrat Party that wanted the Arkansas National Guard to enforce segregation, and Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican President, that sent the 101st Airborne to integrate the schools.
It was Bull Connor, a member of the Democrat National Committee, who turned the hoses on the marchers in Birmingham, and it was the Republicans who made up the majority that passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, over the filibuster of such Democrat paragons as William Fulbright and Al Gore Sr. — and Grand Kleagle Byrd.
(And no, the Dixiecrats didn’t join the Republican Party – most of them remained Democrats.)
It was the Democrats who kept Grand Kleagle Byrd in the party.
It was Democrats who called General Colin Powell a “house nigger”.
It was Democrats who called Condi Rice — who grew up with and knew the little girls in Birmingham who were blown up, by Democrats — an “Aunt Jemima” and ran cartoons of her with fat lips doing Hattie McDaniel riffs.
It was Democrats, or at least Obama supporters, who called Stacy Dash a hundred different racist names for daring to leave the Democrat plantaion.

It’s the Democrats who hold annual dinners honoring Andrew Jackson, who owned slaves and who orchestrated the Removal, the Trail of Tears, the near genocide of several of the Indian Nations.

So when the Democrats stop having Andrew Jackson dinners, and take Wilson’s name off the bridge in DC, and start taking Grand Kleagle Byrd’s name off of the hundred things named after him, then we can talk about one asshole in the back row of a Romney rally.

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Rumors Gone Wild: The Tampon Rumor Rides Again

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

As pointed out on Twitchy today, the “GOP wants to ban tampons” rumor has gooten going on Twitter. You may recall that we reported this one on October 7.

This is actually something that has fascinated me since the old Palin Rumors list. A story will start on a satire site — as this one did — and become common knowledge as the truth.

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Obama Myth: Fast and Furious Started Under Bush

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

We can just turn this one over to Jake Tapper:

Asked about the Fast and Furious program at the Univision forum on Thursday, President Obama falsely claimed that the program began under President George W. Bush.

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration,” the president said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned a inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”

In actuality, the Fast and Furious program was started in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency.

Previous programs involving ATF agents allowing guns to “walk” across the border so as to trace them were run during the Bush presidency, but not this particular “field-initiated program.”

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When You’ve Lost Jeff Greenfield…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Jeff Greenfield doesn’t like the signs and portents:

[L]ook at the response of the late-night comedians—one of Obama’s securest bases—skewering his debate performance. From David Letterman to Jon Stewart to Bill Maher to the folks on “Saturday Night Live,” they have subjected Obama to something he experienced in the past only from his most zealous foes: ridicule. It is precisely the last thing the Obama campaign needs right now, as it works to gin up excitement among the president’s supporters, especially among the younger voters, for whom 2008 was a time of passionate engagement.

“Come on,” the reply might be. “These are trivial, insignificant items—nothing of real heft.”

So turn instead to one of the more remarkable pronouncements I have seen in recent years from a prominent American journalist: the remarks of CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan.

In a speech last week to Chicago’s Better Government Association, Logan, who was brutalized by a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year, painted a frightening picture of the terrain in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya—and accused the Obama administration of soft-pedaling the dangers there. On the heels of her “60 Minutes” report a week ago Sunday, her remarks amounted to nothing less than a frontal assault on some basic assumptions of Obama’s foreign policy—an area where he retains a significant advantage over Mitt Romney.

Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me. — Othello

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Obama Myth: Obama Isn’t Really Cutting $716 Billion from Medicare

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

This one has been back and forth a lot, not helped by the “fact checkers” who apparently took their accounting classes in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Basically, everyone knows that the ObamaCase plan takes $716 billion from out of Medicare and uses it to fund ObamaCare.  But is that “cutting Medicare”?

If you ask the Obama supporters, no — because, as Mother Jones (yes, Mother Jones!) put it:

Mitt Romney says that Obamacare cut $716 billion in Medicare spending. Is that true?

Yes it is. This is the most recent estimate from the CBO for the ten-year period from 2013-2022.

So seniors are getting screwed?

No, probably not.

Then who is?

Mostly hospitals and insurance companies.

How so?

About a third of the cuts come from reduced reimbursements to hospitals. About a third comes from reducing overpayments to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage plans, which are private competitors to standard Medicare. The remaining third comes from cuts in reimbursements to various other healthcare providers. More details here.

Their argument is that it’s not “really” being cut from Medicare because instead of cutting the benefit to seniors, they’re going to cut the amount paid out of those benefits for services.


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Venezuela Results: 54 percent Chavez 45 percent Capriles

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Just announced by the election commission.

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Breaking: Or Maybe Not: Reuters Reports Chavez Celebration

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin


Oct 7 (Reuters) – Supporters of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez began setting off fireworks and partying in the street on Sunday night in anticipation of victory in the presidential election.

Various aides to Chavez published celebratory messages on Twitter, while some supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles began crying at his campaign center, Reuters witnesses said.

“Perfect victory! The fatherland has won,” Tweeted Interior Minister Tareck el Aissami. There was no confirmation from election authorities who have stressed it is illegal to declare victory before an official announcement.

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BREAKING: Chavez Loses Election(?) (Updating as we hear more)

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Reported by ABC en Español.  More to come…

In the absence of anyone who actually speaks Spanish, here’s a little bit more of my translation:

The candidate of the “Mesa de la Unidad Democratica” (a coalition of opposition parties)  …. the consulting firm Varianza has reported their exit polls show 51.3 percent for Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate, to Hugo Chavez’ 48.06 percent.

These exit polls were published before the polls closed, because the polls were held open for an extra hour because of “long lines”. This is strictly against Venezuelan election law.

6PM PDT: Polls are mostly closed now. The Consejo Nacional Electoral has gone to the counting rooms.

6:13PDT: Univision is reporting that it looks like a clear victory for the challenger: “Univision confirms the trend to Capriles is irreversible” (from a tweet.)

6:19PDT: There’s another report that “credible exit polls” show Chavez with an 9-10 point lead of Capriles….

7:14PDT: They’re teasing a result soon.

8:00PDT: Or maybe not.

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Romney Rumor: Cutting PBS Subsidy Will Kill Big Bird

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Here’s what Sherrie Weston said:

“We are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship,” Sherrie Westin, executive VP and chief marketing officer of the Workshop, told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Thursday. “So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird – that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.” [Emphasis mine.]

Look, this is a real policy disagreement and normally wouldn’t count as a “rumor”, except first it’s such a great example of the Washington Monument Gambit, and second, frankly, because it’s getting passed around so much.

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Romney Rumor: GOP Wants to Ban Tampons

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

I think we may have a chance here to pick up one of these crazy rumors as it is being spawned and pushed.  This one is being sent around the Web with this text:

In recent weeks, the GOP attack on contraceptives and women’s rights has been returning to the legislative tables, and causing a stir among women’s rights activists and media outlets nationwide.

Now it seems that many within the Republican party who strive to ban contraceptive use also see it as a necessity to prohibit the use of tampons, and seek to ban the sales of these and similar products as soon as possible.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) recently put together an all male panel for discussion at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule and excluded women from the conversation. It seems that he is set to establish a similar group of men to discuss the use of tampons within a woman’s vagina.

It is unnatural for a woman to insert a foreign object into her body for the sake of stopping the menstrual flow. I, as well as several others seek to eliminate the sales of such objects. Women should let nature take care of itself the way that our Almighty Creator intended. To try to manipulate and control such an occurrence goes against God’s plan for women.

Initial drafts of this new legislation have already been brought before Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and several other GOP Congressmen. It is likely to come to a vote as early as next month. If passed, tampons will no longer be available to sell or purchase, and women will have to find an alternative means to alleviate menstrual excreta.

Several Democratic Congresspeople are already petitioning in dissent of this new piece of legislation, and will not give up without a fight to preserve a woman’s right to take care of her own body as she deems most effective.

This is pretty much a classic urban legend: it cites no sources, but it has a lot of little details intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. But then some of those details are … off. Like “Congresspeople petitioning in dissent.” I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that phrase in print, and it immediately raises questions like “petitioning whom?” Googling for that phrase brings up — this same report, repeated over and over. In fact, this complete text appears to be the only place in which this story appears, and it’s not on news sites — although if previous experience is any guide, it will be, reported as “there is a story that” or “it is reported that”.

All in all, this is a pretty fresh one. Steaming.

Update: Okay, so I was a little too subtle, in that the site I cite is a satire site and the probable source. But google for a sentence from the story and see how many times it’s being referenced as true.

Update 2: At 4:33PM PDT, Google gives me 2600 hits of sites reporting it as true.  See, for example, here, where it’s now attributed to the Republican Party Platform.

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Facebook Blocks Twitchy (Update: Block Removed)

Saturday, October 6th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Facebook has blocked Twitchy for posting a censored photo from “I Like Tits”, a twitter feed to which the @BarackObama official titter account subscribes. Here’s the photo:

Facebook notified Twitchy the photo had violated their terms of service. Those who follow my facebook know I’m not at all averse to cheesecake pictures; this one seems pretty darn tame compared to some.


Twitchy is no longer blocked from posting on Facebook. Twitchy’s posts were accidentally removed during Facebook’s review process.

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Romney Rumors: Romney Used “Cheat Sheet” During Debate

Friday, October 5th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

You can sort of see how the Obama fans would believe this.  How could the Smartest Man In The Room — for any room — the Lightbringer, the One, be bested intellectually by someone who merely has two Harvard graduate degrees and made a zillion dollars.  So it makes sense that Kos, for example, would conclude that Romney must have had help (just as they concluded Bush was getting radio control during the 2004 debate, when he more or less whupped John Kerry):

There is a scandal brewing that suggests that Mitt Romney used crib notes for the debate.  This is of course, C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G!, and would be awful if true.

I believe the candidates are only supposed to have a blank piece of paper (pad) and a pen at the podium, provided by the CPD.  No notes, this isn’t “open book.”

In a move that might remind many of Joe Niekro ‘s flying emery board Romney seems to have gotten caught taking notes from his pocket and later unfolding it on the podium.

Thanks to BuzzFeed, we now have conclusive proof that Romney had something at the podium:

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Understanding Today’s Employment Numbers

Friday, October 5th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

It’s always tempting to fall for conspiracy theories, because they explain everything in a nice neat package.  So, naturally enough, a lot of people — including Jack Welch, who should know better — are suggesting that today’s unemployment numbers have been manipulated down.

In fact, if you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, it’s unlikely that anything has been manipulated — which would be hard to do without being caught anyway — because you can see exactly how the change happened.  Here’s the net-net:

  • net 114,000 new full-time jobs
  • net 456,000 people who left the unemployed list — discouraged or whatever
  • net 600,000 people added to part-time workers.

What distinguishes part-time workers from full-time? In general, part-time workers don’t get benefits — like health insurance.

What these numbers seem to be telling us is that it’s too expensive to pay for benefits.

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New Obama Scandal Lurking?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

The Washington Examiner asks “Was Obama rattled by developing donor scandal story?

President Obama [sic] reelection campaign, rattled by his Wednesday night debate performance, could be in for even worse news. According to knowlegable sources, a national magazine and a national web site are preparing a blockbuster donor scandal story. ….

According to the sources, a taxpayer watchdog group conducted a nine-month investigation into presidential and congressional fundraising and has uncovered thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations to Obama and Capitol Hill, allegedly from unsecure accounts, and many from overseas. That might be a violation of federal election laws.

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“I Want To Hear Them Scream”

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

(My young friend “Bill Reader” passes this along…)

I have not got much time to write this, so I will keep it brief. This is all to the good in the current political environment anyway. The last couple of projects I have started have become non-topical before I could find sufficient mental space to comment on them.

Right now, I want to talk to you… you personally… about how battles are won and lost. Why? Because your life depends on it, soldier. You… sitting there in your office chair and grimacing at the unspeakable horrors that crawl out of the president’s mouth like under-boiled crawdads… are really sitting on the front lines of a war. And you will fight in it, like it or not, because out here there is just one alternative. Don’t believe me? Take one look at that debt clock, and then go ask those master clock-makers in Greece what happens when that sucker ticks too long. The life on the line in the culture war is your life. It’s time to take it seriously.

Now, we don’t have the luxury of a boot camp out here, and if we did, we wouldn’t have the time to train you. But that’s all right. Out here on civilian street, we’ve got it a lot easier than the brave men and women from our armed services who fight on dusty battlefields, instead of from a comfortable desk. All you really need out here is a philosophy.

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Quote of the Day

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin


Romney’s real sin was resorting to an age-old cheap debating tactic, called “The Coherent Sentence.” Obama, being a very ethical fellow, refrained from such chicanery.

Don’t miss some of the other excuses being offered….

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Letter from Barack

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

To: Charlie Martin

Subject: Hey

Charlie –

I hope I made you proud out there explaining the vision we share for this country. Just four short years ago, I defined a new moral course for this country, a course in which the poor would be uplifted, the rich would be made to pay for their centuries of oppression, the rising seas would return to their proper shores; every valley would be exalted, and the crooked would be made straight.

In last night’s dominating performance, I …

oh, who am I kidding?  I sucked.  It was a cold cold ride back to the hotel, and I’m not talking about the crazy Colorado weather.  Sweetie was so mad the Secret Service guy insisted on sitting between us in the limo. I tried to comfort her. “Baby, please. Look, think about Eleanor Roosevelt — she was an icon for her entire life.  She helped found the UN, she –”

“Yeah. And Franklin Roosevelt was dead.”  She gave me The Look; the Secret Service guy instinctively turned to take it on his own body, but it was too late.  ”If you died in office, maybe.”  (Mental note: have the Secret Service taste my food until she calms down.)

Look, I don’t really feel like chatting; I’m just writing to remind you that the campaign isn’t over — honest! — and we’re still looking for donations.  Send $10, $5, even $1 — anything will help.  You can log into the website and make a donation with your credit card.  Hell, it doesn’t even have to be your credit card — it’s not like we’re checking.  By the time it’s noticed and charged back, I’ll be planning my library and talking to Bill about ghosting my memoirs.

Maybe I can run for Secretary-General.  Ban Ki Moon is a puppet of the special interests, the oil companies.  Yeah, that’s it.



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“Curiouser and Curiouser” said Nobody About the Polls

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

I’ve got another long piece on polling and sample theory coming out real soon now (it has been a kinda busy week) but in the meantime, I wanted to point something out.

Mysteriously, the polls have started to have a smaller D column.

The polls have also started to show the race getting closer.  If fact, the National Journal poll now shows Romney and Obama tied — and their sample is still D+7.

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

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Denver Expecting 50+ Degree Temperature Drop Tonight

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

From a high in the 80′s to a low in the 30′s.

Is Al Gore coming to town for the debates?

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Obama Myth: When Did the Obama Administration Start? (A Bleg)

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Before I started trying to catalog the various Romney Rumors — to which I’m now adding Obama Myths starting today — I pointed out something odd I’d noticed: that Obama’s term in office had started peculiarly late. At least, it seemed that all 2009 spending had been signed by Bush (although the budget was signed in March 2009 and the Stimulus was signed in February), and Fast and Furious, started in late October 2009 was supposed to have started under Bush.

We learned today that according to Nancy Pelosi, assignment of diplomatic security in Benghazi, which is done by the State Department, was also weak because the Republicans did it.

So I thought we should crowd-source this a little bit: in the comments, please link me examples of the Democrats saying that something actually happened during the Bush Administration or under Republican control of the Executive functions.

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