Monday, July 11, 2005

Some free advice for the Democrats with regards to the whole Karl Rove/Plame thing.

The proper way to deal with this is *NOT* to scream for the head of Karl, demand that he be frogmarched out of the White House, and explain how what he did was absolutely horrible for any president's advisor to do. That will only result in the Republicans pretending that all Rove did was suborn perjury or similar.

Just say something to the effect of "bringing back honor and integrity to the White House, my hind end!"


If you want to see change, stop comparing Bush to Hitler.

Compare him to Clinton.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Things to keep in mind when hoping to get elected to public office:

If I may make a sweeping genralization, there are three kinds of people in the political arena.

Column A consists of people who vote for Democratic candidates, no matter what. "Jesus" has two syllables. These people are easily offended.

Column B consists of people who vote for Republican candidates, no matter what. "Jesus" has three or more syllables. These people are easily offended.

Column C consists of people who sometimes vote for Democratic candidates and sometimes vote for Republican candidates. "Jesus" has 2 or 3 syllables, but never 4 or more. These people are less easily offended than A'ers or B'ers.


It is my argument that speeches that offend the members of Column B but *NOT* the members of Column C are 100% okay.

Speeches that appeal to Column A but not to Column C are okay, so long as the speeches do not really offend Cers.

A speech that appeals to members of Column A, offends members of Column B, and (when it's pointed out to members of Column C), offends members of Column C, is a bad speech. EVEN IF EVERY WORD IS TRUE.

If said speech could have been rewritten so that it offends members of Column B but *NOT* members of C, then it should have been.If it could not have been, then it should not have been given.

A lot of comparisons are being made between Durbin's recent comments and Rove's recent comments.

Durbin's recent comments offended members of Columns B and C.
Rove's recent comments only offended members of Column A.

I sincerely believe that one of the main reasons Republicans keep getting elected is that they excel at saying something that offends the members of Column A without offending members of Column C, and Column A fires back with something that offends members of both Columns B and C.

Free advice to Democrats: quit offending people who might otherwise vote for you. No, I'm not saying "don't offend Republicans". It's perfectly fine to offend Republicans. Offend them all you want.

But quit offending people who might otherwise vote for you.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Religion and Gay Marriage and Getting What You Want

I'm one of those who tends to see Religion as D&D for grownups.

If you want to have your little group and play by these little rules and have all of these weird little taboos and totems and all that stuff, knock yourself out.

Hey, if you enjoy your gaming sessions so much that you want me to show up and play along, good for you. Come on in. We can talk about it. I'll put the kettle on.

Hey, if you even want to say "Our gaming group has a rule against elves", that's fine. I think that you're likely to alienate a lot of gamers out there who want to be elves... but it's your basement and it's not like there aren't games in other basements where elves are welcome.

But when you try to pass a law that says "nobody can play an elf in any basement", you're forgetting your place. It's just a game. Leave other people who want to play alone. If you're part of the SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) and that's how you want to spend your free time, that's great. But you don't get to tell me that I should not be wearing denim or my glasses have inappropriate frames unless I sign up and say "I want to play by your rules".

I tend to feel the same for gay marriage. If your church doesn't want to provide the sacrament to gays, that's fine. It's your church.

If you try to make it so that the unitarians can't give the sacrament to gays? I ask: "What the hell?" Moreover, if the government wants to provide some measure of rights provided to married people to gay people in long-term life-partnerships, that's pretty much between the two people and the government and it's none of your business. If the two homosexuals come to your church and say "we want to have a wedding", you can say "we reserve the right to withhold sacraments from the following groups of people" and have whomever you want on that list... but you don't get to tell other churches and institutions about who they can or can't give similar sacraments to. Withhold your own. Talk about how people who aren't married by your particular Holy Man aren't *really* married. Talk about how, after they die, they will spend an eternity in hell. That's fine. But it's wrong for you to actively try to prevent people in other basements from playing elves.

I do not suggest, however, that pro-gay marriage proponents adopt this argument. I think that it would do their cause much more harm than good. As a matter of fact, if this stuff started being said in public, it would alienate pretty much everybody with even the slightest amount of sympathy for Religion (which, as we've seen in the last few elections, is enough to push the outcome one way or the other).

So if I were going to try to get gay marriage accepted by as many people as I possibly could, I wouldn't invoke religion at all. Point out that churches wouldn't even have to worry about homosexually sullying their altars. As a matter of fact, it shouldn't even be called "marriage". Hell, even "civil unions" is too loaded a term. I would come up with the most boring name ever. "The CP-45a Tax Relationship."

Point out that it's not marriage. Keep saying over and over and over that it's not marriage. Point out that all it does is allow for 100% tax-free inheritance between the two members of the CP-45a tax relationship. Point out that it allows for one to be covered by the other's insurance (if the policy itself allows such a thing). Say that one person in a CP-45a tax relationship can visit the other in the hospital over the objections of, say, the other's parents. Keep hammerring over and over and over that it's not marriage, it's just a tax relationship that is recognized by the government that allows a handful of benefits between the two partners who are, we'd like to point out, *NOT* married. (And, by the way, CP-45a tax relationships are only available to people who are not already in one and who are not married.)

I honestly feel that most people out there don't *CARE* about whether homosexuals are able to visit each other in the hospital, or if they require a will between the two of them if one dies, or if one is eligible for insurance coverage the other gets from work. It's not that they're for it, but they're just not against it. They don't care. A CP-45a tax relationship would play off of this apathy for the tax workings of others and most people will start yawning right around the hyphen in the name.

Just let the Christians keep their own gaming groups unsullied by elves and they will allow something like the CP-45a tax relationship to exist (and if the Unitarians want to hold a marriage ceremony for the two guys who signed the CP-45a Tax Relationship paperwork yesterday, well, that's offensive but the Unitarians aren't *REAL* Christians anyway, destined to hell forever and all that).

Far too often, I get the feeling that the gay marriage proponents are less interested in allowing gays to marry than they are interested in a thumb to the eye of Christians.

I sympathize with this. I really do. Just read the top part of this essay again, if you don't believe me. But, at the end of the day, if they want to keep to their basements playing their little games, they have every right to do that... just so long as I can allow elves into my games.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A quick and dirty guide to the upcoming 2006 Senate elections. I used the CNN 2000 results as a checklist of who will be running next year.

So be warned, not all of this info is relevant. Jim Jeffords, for example, is no longer Republican. Zell Miller has retired. But, for the most part, I think the info is good.

That said, let's look at the election returns, senate-wise, in 2000.

Republicans Senate elections won:

Arizona - Jon Kyl (Incumbent. Won with 79% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Indiana - Richard Lugar. (Incumbent. Won with 67% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Maine - Olympia Snowe. (Incumbent. Won with 69% of the vote.)
She'll likely be re-elected.

Mississippi - Trent Lott. (Incumbent. Won with 66% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Montana - Conrad Burns. (Incumbent. Won with 51% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Nevada - John Ensign. (New guy. Won with 56% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Ohio - Mike DeWine. (Incumbent. Won with 61% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Pennsylvania - Rick Santorum (Incumbent. Won with 53% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Rhode Island - Lincoln Chafee (Incumbent. Won with 57% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Tennessee - Bill Frist (Incumbent. Won with 66% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Texas - Kay Hutchison (Incumbent. Won with 66% of the vote.)
She'll likely be re-elected.

Utah - Orrin Hatch (Incumbent. Won with 66% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Virginia - George Allen (New guy. Won with 52% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Wyoming - Craig Thomas (Incumbent. Won with 74% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.


Here's the Independent seats up for re-election:

Vermont - Jim Jeffords won the election as a Republican but jumped to Independent shortly thereafter. He's since announced his retirement. He won with 66% of the vote.
We'll be back to look at this one.


Here are the Democratic elections won in the Senate and by how much from 2000:

California - Dianne Feinstein (Incumbent. Won with 56% of the vote.)
She'll likely be re-elected.

Connecticut - Joe Lieberman (Incumbent. Won with 64% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Delaware - Thomas Carper (New guy. Won with 56% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Florida - Bill Nelson (New guy. Won with 52% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Georgia - Zell Miller (Incumbent. Won with 57% of the vote.)
He's since retired. I think it's Johnny Isakson that replaced him in 2004.Anyway, this seat isn't up for election this time around.

Hawaii - Daniel Akaka (Incumbent. Won with 73% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Maryland - Paul Sarbanes (Incumbent. Won with 63% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Massachusetts - Teddy Kennedy (Incumbent. Won with 73% of the vote.)

Michigan - Debbie Stabenow (New guy. Won with 50% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Minnesota - Mark Dayton (New guy. Won with 49% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

Missouri - Mel Carnahan (Deceased guy. Won with 51% of the vote.)
We'll definitely be back to look at this one.

Nebraska - Ben Nelson (New guy. Won with 51% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

New Jersey - Jon Corzine (New guy. Won with 51% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

New Mexico - Jeff Bingaman (Incumbent. Won with 62% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

New York - Hillary Clinton (New guy. Won with 55% of the vote.)
If she runs again, she'll win.

North Dakota - Kent Conrad (Incumbent. Won with 61% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Washington - Maria Cantwell (New guy. Won with 49% of the vote.)
We'll be back to look at this one.

West Virginia - Robert Byrd (Incumbent. Won with 78% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.

Wisconsin - Herbert Kohl (Incumbent. Won with 62% of the vote.)
He'll likely be re-elected.



And now the analysis...

It seems to me that the only shaky Republican seats are the ones in Montana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

In the 2004 election, Montana voted for Bush with 59% of the vote. Given that Conrad Burns is an incumbent and has incumbent's advantage and given Montana's voting for Bush, I'm guessing that Montana's seat isn't going anywhere.

Pennsylvania... Santorum might be in real trouble. PA went for Kerry with 51% of the vote and Santorum won with only 53% of the vote last time. Now, Santorum does have incumbent's advantage... but this is one that has a real shot of going away.

Virginia. George Allen has incumbent's advantage and his state voted for Bush with 54% of the vote. He's not a shoo-in, but I am guessing that he's going to keep his seat.

So, out of 14 Republican seats (that I have counted using CNN.com's election webpages), it seems to me that only 3 are shaky and only one of those three has any real risk of being lost (Rick Santorum's).


Jefford's Independent seat will be going to the Democrats.

For the rest of the Democrats up for election...

Florida - Bill Nelson has incumbent's advantage, but he was the new guy when he got elected so that advantage is minimized when you look at the fact that Florida voted for Bush with 52% of the vote in 2004. I'd say that this seat has as much as shot of going away as Santorum's does.

Michigan has a senator up for her first re-election bid after winning with only 50% of the vote in 2000... but Michigan voted for Kerry with 51% of the vote. I'm guessing her seat is safe.

The same goes for Minnesota, really. He's up for his first re-election bid after a squeaker of a win the first time but Minnesota voted for Kerry. He's probably safe.

Missouri is where it gets interesting. "That Dead Guy's Wife" is not likely to win this time around. MO went for Bush with 53% of the vote in 2004 and there were some really weird circumstances in 2000... I'm seeing this seat switching for sure.

Nebraska is also interesting. Ben Nelson won as a new guy with 51% of the vote... but Nebraska went 66% for Bush in 2004. On top of that, Nebraska is the state in which that judge just recently overthrew a State Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. This is a state where the argument about the importance of Senators willing to vote on Bush's nominees is likely to resound a bit more than elsewhere in the country. I don't see this guy keeping his seat.

New Jersey is likely to keep their senator around. They went for Kerry with 53% of the vote.

Washington is kind of interesting insofar as their senator won as a new guy with only 49% of the vote (never a good sign). Washington state went for Kerry with 53% of the vote, so that's in her favor... but the governor's election came down to a kabillion little recounts and the governor position was won by a truly dinky margin. Given that it's an off-year election, the Republicans may have a bit of an advantage and they may still be fired up after that battle over the governor seat. This is nowhere near a safe seat.

My conclusion:

The Republicans are picking up two Senate spots for sure (Missouri and Nebraska). They have a shot at Florida and a much longer shot at Washington.

The Democrats, however, only seem to have one shot at picking up a Senate spot. Santorum's seat in Pennsylvania.

It seems to me that the most likely outcome is the Republicans picking up Missouri and Nebraska (assuming nothing really strange happens between now and then... awful assumption, I know).

If there is a real shake up, the Republicans could get Missouri, Nebraska, and Florida and the Democrats could pick up Pennsylvania.

My prediction:

Come November 2006, the Republicans will get Missouri and Nebraska and the Democrats will take Pennsylvania.

If we're lucky, I'll post before then.