Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Aug102012

Silver Is Wrong! It Should Still Be Rubio!

 
Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com, one of my favorite numbers crunching sites, has an interesting analysis on the Mitt Romney Veep front.  I don't agree with the conclusion, but it's fascinating.  Silver goes through hoops to come up with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as most likely to help Romney if you just look at  one state.  McDonnell is up 24 points in popularity in his home state (55-31) while it's only 16 points for Rubio (48-32).  Paul Ryan, the flavor of the day, is only up 38-33 in his home state of Wisconsin.
Tim Pawlenty actually has a negative eight rating (37-45) in Minnesota while Rick Santorum is the only other in negative territory, down 11 (37-48 In Pennsylvania).
Silver also agrees with Larry Sabato that Romney needs to win Florida on his own to have a real serious chance with hitting the magic number of 270 electoral votes, so help in Florida won't be enough.
I say this is a misreading of history as pundits say that a Veep choice can at most help by a couple of points in his or her home state.
Consider this as I still push for Rubio.  Pundits are fond of saying that the last time a Veep choice mattered was in 1960 when LBJ helped JFK carry Texas, but read the new Johnson biography, Passage of Power (by Robert Cano, the fourth in his series of LBJ), and see if you don't agree that LBJ's whistle stop stumping helped JFK not only in Texas but throughout the south which had reservations about a Massachusetts liberal.
It's time that some talking head point that out and note that Rubio could do the same thing, not in the south this time, but he could help both in Florida and in western states (Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico) and some eastern states with large Hispanic populations.  Even if Rubio improved Romney's standing only a few points with Hispanics, it could be more of a help than he would be in Florida, and I continue to insist that banking those 29 electoral votes is more critical than hoping to get Virginia back.  Wins in places like Colorado, Iowa, and NH could offset the loss of Virginia; nothing can help Romney if he loses Florida, and Rubio's 16 point plus favorability at home is nothing to sneeze at.
Besides, Rubio polls ten points more than any other when Republicans are asked who they'd like to see number two.
If it can't be Rubio, it better not be Pawlenty.
I still like the thought of making Democrats attack a black woman (yes that would be Condi) if it can't be Rubio.

 

Friday
Aug102012

The Week In Polls--Aug. 10--We Want Olympics Live!

Political polls are in such a state of flux that they tend to provide more disinformation than true knowledge these days, so I'm trying (without a great deal of success) to stay away from them until after Labor Day.
However, Gallup has a poll on the Olympics which is worth a look, especially since it backs up my contention that Americans are not happy with pre-recorded coverage by NBC TV.
Among those watching the Olympics a lot, only 12 percent think Olympic events should be broadcast on a tape delay basis.  71 percent would prefer the events be broadcast both live and then on a tape delay basis (that's okay by me), and 14 percent want them only broadcast live.
Among those watching not at all, only 6 percent approve of the tape delay; 43 percent want they both taped and alive; 22 percent want them only live.
NBC simply doesn't care because it's obviously making scads of money with its pre-packaged pablum, but don't buy the excuse that the time difference (five hours from New York to London) forces the tape delay.  When it's 9 p.m. in London, it's 4 p.m. in New York, so there's no reason events could not be broadcast live.  Even at noon London time, it's 7 a.m. in New York, so the network could go live.  For its 8-12 p.m. slot in New York (1-6 a.m. in London), it would have to run highlights, but at least the live versions would have already aired.
As Gallup proves, Boo to NBC!
Gallup (gallup.com for a full report) breaks down viewers in several categories, and it appears that the poorer and less educated you are, the less you are watching the Olympics.  Overall 40 percent are watching a lot, 38 percent a little and 21 percent watching none.
Among those with an annual income of more than $90,000, 54 percent are watching a lot and only 12 percent none.
For those below $90,000, only 37 percent are watching a lot, 24 percent not at all.
College graduates are 50 percent a lot, 16 percent none; for those with some college, it's 44 percent a lot and 14 percent none; for high school or less, it's only 28 percent a lot, 33 percent not at all.
Interesting.
Women are also watching more than men, 43-36 percent a lot while it's 21 percent among both groups for not at all.
Young people are watching the least.  Only 33 percent of those aged 18 to 29 are watching a lot.  It's 44 percent for those aged 30 to 49, 41 percent for those 50 to 64; and 40 percent for those over 65, not that big a difference, but there's a huge gap between married people watching a lot (48 percent) and singles (only 31 percent).
As for politics, here's just a sample of why I'm trying to avoid the polls.  Gallup today has it dead even at 46-46.  Rasmussen has Romney up four (47-43) while numerous other polling outfits, including Fox, have Obama pulling away.  Fox has him up nine (49-40), Pew up ten, CBS up seven.  That's because they are oversampling Democrats who appear less likely to vote in November.  I continue to trust Rasmussen which uses only those likely to vote.
Both Rasmussen and Gallup have Obama at negative eight today while Fox has him at plus three.
The Real Clear Politics average has Obama up 4.1 points even while his approval is at minus one.
The pollster average has Obama up only 1.1 points (46.6-45.5) while his negative is minus 3.6 (49.4-45.8).
As I said, these polls really make no sense.
Individual state bad news for Obama is from Iowa where Rasmussen now has Romney up two and Colorado where CBS had Romney moving five up (most likely an outliar).
But you see, I'm doing what I promised to try to avoid till after Labor Day.
Excuse moi.

 

Friday
Aug102012

Teleprompter, Everyone? No Thanks

 
Apparently Barack Obama is not the only politician who feels the need for a Teleprompter when he wants to convey a cogent thought to the electorate.
For years now, Manchester public access TV has been scheduling three minute speeches for candidates running for office.
In fact, it was my idea more than a decade ago, since I believe candidates should communicate their positions on issues to voters rather than rely on a maze of signs.
I sold the idea to station management; the tradition has been carried on, and whenever I run, I sign up for the three minute message.   (Only about half the candidates even both to do the three minutes spiel).
For the first time, when I arrived at the station yesterday I was asked if I had what I wanted to say written out.
No, I usually ad lib, I explained.
You know, I was told, we are offering teleprompter service this year, and most candidates are taking advantage of it.
Really, I thought. 
Yes, 80 percent have been reading from Teleprompters, I was told.
Really, I thought again.
There must be some art to using a Teleprompter.  It can't be the kind of thing one just excels at at first whack, but the station manager told me candidates were doing well reading.
No thanks, I said; I'll ad lib for three minutes, as always.
I did. 
I always find the ad libbing a better way to communcicate than reading.   In fact, there's a real art to deliver a written speech without making it sound like one is reading.
Back when I first began in elected office, I used to write speeches and read them. 
Now, I simply jot down notes of what I want to say and trust that I'll be able to find the right words to get a thought across.
No thanks, Mr. Teleprompter.
I just finished reading the biography Cronkite (not a short or easy read but a most rewarding book).  What set Cronkite apart from today's talking heads was the ability to ad lib.  Sure, he read a script most nights, but he could also communicate off the top of his head.  Not surprisingly, he was once a sportscaster (University of Oklahoma football) as was I.  It's a great training ground for ad libbing.
Bob Costas, as I've noted in another blog, was once a great ad lib sportscaster.  He's been reducing to reading from a Teleprompter these days, and I assume he's better at it than the candidates appearing on Manchester TV.
The three minutes spots will start airing shortly on Channel 22 (not to be confused with Channel 23, the public access station where The Liberty Express, another mostly ad lib effort, airs Monday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon, always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx).
Having moved to the dish years ago, of course, I get neither channel.  It's true: I can't watch my own show without going to vimeo.
Friday
Aug102012

Whore House Harry And Other Embarassments

Having been in the great Northland last weekend, I got to hear Jerry Doyle, one of my favorite talk shows hosts (overnight on
WVMT, Burlington), go off on Whore House Harry Reid, the despicable Nevada senator who embarrasses himself, his party, and the entire Senate with his "dirty lies" about Mitt Romney on the Senate floor.
Whore House Harry is Doyle's epithet for Reid, based on the senator's childhood in a Nevada whore house (not that there's anything wrong with that), and a more fitting nickname would be impossible to come by.
I've been reading about the great Senate triumverate of Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, and just to think, this very Senate floor where Webster uttered those resounding words "liberty and union, now and forever" is the same place where Whore House Harry made up a story out of whole cloth that Mitt Romney hasn't paid any taxes in ten years.
In the New Hampshire House, such a comment would not be allowed (Paul Mirski came close to breaching the level of decorum by ranting against the Supreme Court).  It would be ruled not only inappropriate but irrelevant, but here we had the Senate Majority Leader not in some bar or in some back alley, but on the very floor of the Senate spread vicious slurs.
Even if it were true (and it clearly is not), how would this anonymous source have been able to tell Whore House that Romney had not paid any taxes.  Doesn't Whore House Harry realize that one's tax returns are private items between one and the IRS? 
Maybe Whore House Harry should release his own tax returns to show the world how he's become a multimillionaire many times over on a senator's salary.  Some say influence peddling has been involved, but none say that on the Senate floor.
Almost as silly as Whore House Harry has been the response from certain overzealous Republican spinmeisters who embarrass themselves and their party (albeit not on the Senate floor, usually in radio studios) by insisting that President Obama needs to release his college grades or that he needs to explain how he ever got a "Connecticut" social security number without living in Connecticut.
Has the political world gone mad?
I seem to remember a time when stupid comments from the likes of Whore House Harry or his Republican counterparts would not dominate the news?
Unemployment?
A $16 trillion deficit leading to the downfall of this country?
Who cares when we have the wild ravings of a United States senator and Republicans obsessed with college grades and SS cards.
Make it stop; make it stop.
 

 

Friday
Aug102012

Holy Myopia Batman, What's Happened To Costas?

Don't get me wrong.  I was a big fan of Bob Costas back in the days when he actually worked for a living, back when he did baseball play by play with the great Tony Kubek as his color man, back when he actually had to ad lib rather than read from a teleprompter, back when he was covering live events rather than shilling for pre-recorded pablum, back when he interviewed important people rather than bantering with sports wannabes like Ryan Seacrest, back when his back account was tens of millions of dollars less stuffed.

Costas is the perfect example of how once mighty NBC has fallen when it comes to Olympic coverage.  We get a minute highlights of the fantastic U.S. women's soccer victory over Japan, and then Costas turns to Ryan Seacrest for a five minute segment on social media surrounding the games; at least I'm guessing it was five minutes.  In all honesty, I turned the channel the moment Seacrest came on, just as I did the previous night when Costas intruded on the late night coverage b y silly bantering with Jimmy Fallon.
Hey NBC, these are the Olympic games, a quadrennial exercise in excellence which you are demeaning with your inane coverage.
But back to Costas.
Monday or Tuesday, I couldn't follow a word he was saying, so entrance was I by looking at his face.  Has he pulled a Joan Rivers and undergone massive botox treatments, I kept wondering.  He looks so unnatural.  NBC should fire whoever is doing his make-up, I thought.  The guy looks like he's one step away from become a female impersonator (transvestite).  We know decathlete champ Bruce Kardashian  (excuse me...Jenner) and Sir Paul have come to look like old women, but I didn't know Costas, whom I once considered one of the greatest baseball announcers ever, had fallen into the same genre of man who look like women.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought Costas was looking mighty strange because last night, he'd ditched the look in favor of the strangest glasses (googles) since Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.  Aha, it wasn't botox treatment, I thought; Costas was obviously in pain by wearing contact lenses which made him look unnatural.  Not that he looked real with those glasses, but it was an improvement, and it engendered somewhat of a sympathy factor.
One would think that NBC, having spent hundreds of millions to ruin the Olympics, could spring for a few extra bucks for an eye doctor and pair of decent lenses for its prime time host.
Like Costas, Al Michaels was much better at play by play (the 1980 hockey moment) than he is as a studio host, but it seems that NBC puts so little importance on the actual events of this Olympiad that they insist on putting their supposed back as studio readers.
Boo to NBC.
My favorite announcer is the great hockey play by play man, Doc Emmerick, who seems to have taken to water polo real well. My favorite for color commentary...and I can't even remember her name...is the diving analyst who never hesitates to tell us how a diver blew the entry.  She's fantastic...of course, none of what she's telling us is live.  I've started watching more diving just to see if I can concur with the judges.  I've actually gotten pretty good at it, and that just goes to show that we shouldn't put much credence in any sport (gymnastics, diving, figure skating, silly synchronized swimming) which requires judging rather than verifiable winning--a knockout, more goals, a faster time for example.
That beach volleyball announcing clown needs to tone it down several decibels; this isn't the end of the world; it's four women hitting a ball back in forth over a sandy patch.
I expect the closing ceremonies to be as disappointing as the Sir Paul/Mr. Bean opening, and I fully expect Costas and company to shill by trying to convince us they are as spectacular as Beijing four years ago.
As I was watching NBC's inferior coverage of the greatest event of all, the decathlon, last night I couldn't help but think back to Jim McKay's coverage in 1968 when Bill Toomey won in what will always be one of my favorite sports moments ever.  Maybe I'm just a bitter old man reliving the past, but I'm convinced that while the athletes weren't better then, the coverage sure as hell was!
NBC sucks, and Costas should go back to doing real sports play by play...although it would undoubtedly require a multi-million salary cut.  At least, he's abandoned the female impersonator look for the Kukla, Fran, and Ollie look, a vast improvement.