Patterico's Pontifications


NCAA Basketball: Kansas vs Tennessee

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 8:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Playing 3 walk-ons, the No. 16 Tennessee Volunteers upset the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks 76-68 in Knoxville:

“Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor stole the ball and dished it to Brady Morningstar, who hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to cut Tennessee’s lead to 71-68.

Skylar McBee, one of three walk-ons who saw playing time for Tennessee, answered with his own 3 as the shot clock expired.

“McBee’s shot was worth how many hours in the gym?” [Tennessee Coach Bruce] Pearl said. “When other kids were doing everything else, you could see McBee in the gym practicing all night long. It paid off—the beautiful thing about sports.”

The Volunteers prevailed despite recent suspensions, dismissals, injuries, and today’s foul trouble:

“It was the Vols’ first game after Pearl dismissed Tyler Smith on Friday, a week after the senior was arrested on misdemeanor gun and drug charges. Tennessee was also playing without Cameron Tatum, Melvin Goins and Brian Williams, who were arrested Jan. 1 with Smith.

But Tennessee, who had already lost two players before the season started, played even more short-handed than that. Starters Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince found themselves in foul trouble early and both spent more than half of the game on the bench.”

Kansas has looked shaky recently but it was still exciting to see three walk-ons help their team beat a number 1 ranked team, especially McBee’s game-deciding 3-pointer. You don’t often see that in NCAA Division I play.


More Game Change-rs

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Game Change excerpts continue with the most recent one involving the rivalry between Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton:

“According to “Game Change” Schumer had a deep rivalry with Clinton, who started overshadowing him the second she ran for her Senate seat in 2000.

“Schumer’s relationship with Hillary had always been fraught with rivalry and tinged with jealousy; though she was technically the junior member of the New York team in the Senate, she had eclipsed him in terms of celebrity and influence from the moment she arrived on the Hill,” Halperin and Heilemann write.”

But the real bombshell is the cabal of Senators including Schumer who plotted to get Barack Obama to run against Hillary Clinton:

“Schumer, Reid, Tom Daschle and North Dakota Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad joined Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Ted Kennedy in pushing Obama in “a conspiracy of whispers. They told him that 2008 was going to be a change election and that he uniquely could embody transformation. They told him he might never get a better chance. They told him this could be his time,” Halperin and Heilemann claim.

Hillary and Bill Clinton “were blind to the degree of Clinton fatigue in their world and deaf to the conspiracy of whispers.

“They had no idea how fast the ground was shifting beneath their feet. And neither, really, did Obama — until his conversation” with Schumer and Reid, the authors write.”

The result of this plotting? Obama went from a quasi-unknown to President … and with Reid sliding in the polls at home, Schumer may be the next Democratic leader in the Senate. Thus, setting aside Kennedy’s untimely death, Obama and Schumer seem to be the only Senators from this group who end up better off than where they started.


ObamaCare Supporter Jonathan Gruber

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 6:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On Thursday, emptywheel at Firedoglake (with a hat tip to Daily Kos commenter Mote Dai) revealed that MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber had $300,000 (later updated to approximately $400,000) in contracts with the Obama Administration while serving as the “the go-to source” in support of health care reform.

Following that revelation, Megan McArdle noted several sources that touted Gruber’s support for ObamaCare, including this article in The Atlantic by Ron Brownstein. McArdle believes Gruber “wouldn’t have been cited with quite the same authority–particularly by mainstream media–if he’d been more upfront about the fact that he’s being paid almost $300,000 by the Obama Administration.”

On Friday, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air pointed out an OMB blog post dated November 24, 2009, by Peter Orszag entitled “An Insightful Article on Health Care” that recommended the Brownstein article with a special focus on Gruber’s take:

“Brownstein reads the bill, examines these pillars, and then calls up many of these economists to get their take on the Senate bill. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — who calls himself “sort of a known skeptic on this stuff” — says, “Everything is in here….I can’t think of anything I’d do that they are not doing in the bill.” And Len Nichols of the New American Foundation told Brownstein: “The bottom line is the legislation is sending a signal that business as usual [in the medical system] is going to end.”

All the elements are there for fiscally responsible health reform. For more, read the entire piece.”

The OMB wasn’t the only government entity to point out Brownstein’s article. The White House twittered it on the same day as Orszag’s blog post:

“Good piece by Ron Brownstein @ the Atlantic on how health reform will reduce deficit & cut costs” #hcr

The White House

It appears the Obama Administration does know how to share information between agencies. Too bad the counterterrorism agencies aren’t as focused.


Harry Reid’s History of Racial Posturing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:11 pm

Amidst the brouhaha over Harry Reid’s comments, some people are defending Reid by saying that he told the truth, however . . . awkwardly. See, for example, Robert Stacy McCain, who declares: “Harry Reid is no more a racist than I am.” (Did Reid hit McCain’s tip jar?) And indeed, I fully support the principle that people need to be able to tell the truth, even if doing so might be perceived as politically incorrect.

But I’m not sure why Harry Reid, of all people, should benefit from that principle. He sure as hell hasn’t given others the benefit of the doubt when it comes to racial matters.

When Bill Bennett made an arguably true but racially controversial statement, Reid rushed to call Bennett a racist:

Washington, DC — The following is a statement by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on William Bennett’s recent comments:

Yesterday, on his radio call-in show, former Reagan Secretary of Education, William Bennett made the following comment, “… you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

“I am appalled by Mr. Bennett’s remarks and call on him to issue an immediate apology not only to African Americans but to the nation. At a time when so many Americans are struggling to recover from two devastating Hurricanes, now is the time to help one another, not feed the fires of racism. America can do better. The Republican Party has recently taken great pains to reach out to the African American community, and I hope that they will be swift in condemning Mr. Bennett’s comments as nothing short of callous and ignorant. They are reminiscent of a time our nation is still struggling to overcome.

Again, I call on him to issue an immediate apology to the nation for his insensitive remarks.”

One could attempt to defend Bennett on the same grounds that Stacy McCain uses to defend Reid: that Bennett was simply telling the truth, albeit in an “insensitive” way that was certain to inflame the crowd that makes a living profiting off racial grievances.

But Sen. Reid really didn’t care whether Bennett was telling the truth, did he? Sen. Reid saw an opportunity to make some political hay, and he took it.

Similarly, when a Republican sought to make English the national language, Reid called the attempt — you guessed it — racist:

The Senate voted on Thursday to designate English as the national language. . . . The amendment was proposed by Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma.

. . . .

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said the Inhofe amendment was racist.

“Everybody who speaks with an accent knows that they need to learn English just as fast as they can,” he said.

Same goes for everyone who speaks with that “Negro dialect,” eh, Senator?

Feel free to declare Harry Reid a non-racist if you like. But some of us aren’t so sure. Recall, for example, Reid’s bizarre treatment of black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Recall that Reid once rushed to declare Justice Thomas to be “an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.” When pressed for specifics, Reid declared that one of Thomas’s opinions was similar to “an eighth-grade dissertation” — far inferior, Reid said, to the opinion of Justice Scalia in the same case. Except that Thomas’s short opinion was perfectly logical . . . and Scalia hadn’t even written an opinion in the case.

Law professor Eugene Volokh decried Reid’s comments about Thomas as “unfounded assertions of incompetence” backed up with “false statements” and “mischaracterizations.”

What was it about the black justice Thomas that Reid didn’t like? That made him inferior to the white justice who hadn’t even written an opinion in the case? Hmmm?

I think you’re starting to get the picture.

So decry the attacks on Reid as political correctness — if you think that’s what they are. Some of us don’t agree. Some of us happen to think that his declarations about the comings and goings of Obama’s “Negro dialect” are a little window into Harry’s soul.

And if we’re wrong, I won’t feel too bad. Reid is simply getting a taste of the medicine he has so eagerly dished out to others.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. I hope new readers will bookmark my main page.

What’s up with the Mass. Senate polls?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:22 am

[Posted by Karl]

The new Boston Globe poll showing Democrat Martha Coakley beating Republican Scott Brown by 15-points in the race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, when contrasted with Public Policy Polling showing a dead heat, has people scratching their heads. So what’s up with that?

TPM’s Josh Marshall claims it is “all about the screen,” referring to how each poll selected likely voters. The two polls do appear to screen differently — the Globe specifically asked, while PPP selects voters in recent elections (Personally, I prefer the latter). But Marshall is almost certainly wrong that it’s all about the screen. AmSpec’s Philip Klein does a much better job of outlining differences between the two polls: (1) The Globe sample is much more Democratic; (2) PPP has Brown winning Independents by a huge margin; (3) PPP polled after the Globe. But the differences do not stop there. The Globe poll used a smaller sample, producing a larger margin of error. The Globe poll used live interviewers, while PPP uses automated calling. The sequencing of key questions also differs. For example, PPP started by asking for whom the respondent would vote, while the Globe asked about party registration and candidate favorability first. The Globe specifically included Independent candidate Joe Kennedy, while PPP did not (though one might have expected a faux Kennedy to hurt Coakley, that turned out not to be the case).

The import of the first two factors Klein identified is crystallized in his observation that the Globe only polled 83 independents, while PPP polled about 290. The Globe asked specifically in terms of registration, while PPP did not, which may account for some of the gap. Even so, there will be a much larger margin of error in a sub-sample as small as 83. These issues also filter down to the different results on candidate favorability in both polls — the Globe speaks of Coakley’s “durable statewide popularity,” which you do not see in the PPP results.

One point of agreement between the two polls is the role of relative intensity. PPP reports that “66% of GOP voters say they are ‘very excited’ about casting their votes, while only 48% of Democrats express that sentiment.” The Globe reports that “Brown matches Coakley – both were at 47 percent – among the roughly 1 in 4 respondents who said they were ‘extremely interested’’ in the race.” Some might be tempted to frame these numbers as an “enthusiasm gap,” though it is probably more accurate to note that the Right tends to vote more regularly than the Left, and that the key for Coakley will be turning out enough of the state’s much larger pool of Democrats.

Finally, I should add a note about PPP. The news accounts (and blog commenters in stories involving PPP) almost always note that the Democratic firm infamously showed Conservative Doug Hoffman leading Democrat Bill Owens by 17 points in its final poll of the NY-23 Congressional special election last November (Owens won by 4 points). There were a number of practical problems with polling that particular election, though I do not think they fully explain PPP’s call. Rather, everyone should remember that the margin of error reported by most polls assumes a 95% confidence interval. That means that given repeated samples, 19 of 20 would produce results for any given question falling within the stated margin of error. PPP’s call in NY-23 was likely that bad outlier for which the risk always exists, even with the best of pollsters. That is why it is always better to have more than one poll to examine, even if the results are maddening when we have only two to examine.


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