Why I’m Voting the Way I’m Voting – 2016

Posted on October 12th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

I’m With Her

First, a disclaimer: I am not a ‘true believer’ of any political party. No US political party fully represents my worldview, and I have significant objections to the philosophies and actions of them all. Over the years I have voted for Republican, Independent, and Democratic candidates, and I am willing to vote for any candidate that I feel is best for the job.

All that being said, in recent years I have primarily voted Democrat. My basic political underpinnings are as follows:

The entire US election and campaign system needs to be completely overhauled to insure modern, free, and fair elections at every level (local, state, federal). This includes getting the current obscene amounts of money out of the system and eliminating gerrymandering. This, to me, is the single most important issue of our time, because solving all the other issues depends on first solving this one.
The level of destructive animosity and hate in politics needs to be dialed way down, and the level of constructive, civil discourse needs to be dialed way up.
We need to return our focus to a fact-based, science-based government.
Governmental fraud, waste, and cronyism needs to be ruthlessly ferreted out and punished to the point where it is no longer a profitable risk to undertake.
While every person is entitled to their own spiritual beliefs, no one is entitled to impose those beliefs on others.
Our tax system needs to be simplified and rationalized, and the overall tax burden reduced.
Peace and diplomacy are better alternatives to war, except in the most dire circumstances, which in my opinion we have not experienced since World War II.
The US is a wealthy nation, to the point where none of our citizens should be homeless, hungry, or lack basic health care.
Institutions that are necessary, but whose goals are to reduce or eliminate their need to exist (health care, prisons, national defense, police and fire departments, etc), should not be for-profit.
Capitalism is a great system, unregulated capitalism is a disaster, and over-regulated capitalism stifles progress. There needs to be a balance, and there needs to be non-partisan system created to achieve and maintain this balance.

To make a long story short, in the 2016 election there has been only one candidate that I have seen as viable, and that is Hillary Clinton. Do I love her? No, she’s done some questionable things, but so has every single other POTUS candidate in my lifetime, and my take is that her mistakes have been amplified by a multi-decade witch hunt by her enemies. Would she be my first choice? No, and I’m not sure who would be, at this point, because virtually every single candidate at the national federal level is tainted enough, in my opinion, to be unworthy of office.

The one exception to that is Bernie Sanders, and while I think Bernie is the cleanest and most honest national politician of my lifetime, I also think that he would have been unable to get anything

30,000 Emails, That’s a Lot! Or Is It?

Posted on October 10th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

How About 600,000+ Emails?

My wife and I have a private email server at home that we don’t use for our primary jobs. We use it to run our lives, hobbies, and side projects. Over the years, between us, we’ve managed to accumulate 600,000+ emails in our two email boxes.  Note that we’re both in the technology business, and we run fairly sophisticated cloud-based commercial spam filtering, so it’s not like our inboxes are filled up with V1agra ads and phony IRS/Apple gift card scams, or something.

So, my wife and I, a couple of the normalest normals who ever normalled normally, have managed to accumulate 600,000+ personal emails on our home servers.  Yet we hear Trump repeat the mantra of “30,000 emails” over and over again, as if it’s some kind of travesty of a mockery of a sham, when what it actually is is a MacGuffin with no context and no concrete meaning to many who hear it. He repeats it as if it were the most salacious thing imaginable…”30,000 emails”…”THIRTY THOUSAND EMAILS!”

The Clintons have much higher profile lives than we do, to say the least. They’ve been Governor, Senator, Secretary of State, and President of the United States. If it’s accurate that 30,000 personal emails were scrubbed from Hillary’s private email server, the only thing that surprises me is that it was so few. Maybe that’s Trump’s point and we’re all missing it? Maybe he’s calling Hillary out for being a Luddite who only has 30,000 personal emails when she should have millions?

Sadly, Trump’s focus on this will play strongly with those whose lives aren’t wrapped up in technology, because it’s difficult to have a frame of reference for something like this. The younger generations tend to have skipped over email and focus on texting and other forms of messaging. Older folks tend to be minimal adopters of technology – using Facebook to keep up with the family, texting to have some form of communications with the grandkids, etc. There are exceptions, of course, but most people don’t have the exposure to technology to put the “30,000 emails!” accusation in a realistic context.

So that’s what I’m trying to do here – show that a couple of normal, if technologically-enabled, folks can generate far more personal email than what is being bandied about by Trump. And just to put this in perspective, JFK was still alive when I was born and I watched the first moon landing on TV, so it’s not like I’m some kind of outlier child of the technology age.

CleverDonkey’s 2016 Rio Olympic Power Rankings

Posted on August 22nd, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy
2016 Rio Olympics

2016 Rio Olympics

2016-08-21 Final Standings – Congratulations New Zealand!

The 2016 Olympics are history, and congratulations to New Zealand, who squeezed out a one point win to take the Olympic Power title this year! Hungary was a close second, with the Netherlands taking third, and with Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Jamaica, Denmark, Australia, Croatia, and Sweden rounding out the top ten.

The standard sortable chart is below, and I’ve added a graph of power ranking by total population below that here.

The purpose of these charts is to look beyond raw medal count – who cares if countries with hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people win a lot of medals?  They should win a lot of medals, right?  The big question is, which country is kicking ass, pound-for-pound?  The answer is in the table below.

The 2012 London and 2008 Beijing final rankings are also available, and are included as right-hand columns in the table below.

For reference: This table creates a weighted medal score by giving every country three points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, and one point for each bronze.  The country’s Power Rating is calculated by determining how many weighted medal points each country wins per 10,000,000 in population.  And to factor in economics, the population only includes those living above the poverty level (according to CIA poverty estimates).  Also, to eliminate the impact of outliers, countries with excessively large populations are capped at 300,000,000 and countries with exceedingly small populations have a floor of 10,000,000 for the purposes of calculation.

Come back here in four years when we’ll (probably) be doing this again!

CleverDonkey’s 2016 Rio FINAL Olympic Power Rankings
click column headers to sort up/down

2016 Rank IOC Code Country 2016 Power Ranking Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals Total Medals Weighted Medals Population (above poverty) 2012 Final Power Ranking 2008 Final Power Ranking
1 NZL New Zealand 35.0 4 9 5 18 35 4,709,044 26.0 16.0
2 HUN Hungary 34.0 8 3 4 15 34 8,359,373 37.0 21.0
3 NED Netherlands 27.1 8 7 4 19 42 15,475,907 25.4 23.8
4 AZE Azerbaijan 27.0 1 7 10 18 27 9,146,670 16.0 11.0
5 GBR Great Britain 26.0 27 23 17 67 144 55,343,500 26.2 18.8
6 JAM Jamaica 26.0 6 3 2 11 26 2,273,910 24.0 26.0
7 DEN Denmark 25.0 2 6 7 15 25 4,950,934 17.0 13.0
8 AUS Australia 23.2 8 11 10 29 56 24,141,810 28.7 41.6
9 CRO Croatia 23.0 5 3 2 10 23 3,373,489 13.0 7.0
10 SWE Sweden 21.0 2 6 3 11 21 8,509,604 14.0 9.0
11 CUB Cuba 20.5 5 2 4 11 23 11,239,004 24.0 34.6
12 KAZ Kazakhstan 16.7 3 5 9 17 28 16,812,280 18.2 15.8
13 SRB Serbia 16.0 2 4 2 8 16 6,425,346 6.0 4.0
14 BLR Belarus 15.0 1 4 4 9 15 8,900,282 24.0 32.0
14 SUI Switzerland 15.0 3 2 2 7 15 7,707,638 10.0 10.0
16 CZE Czech Republic 14.0 1 2 7 10 14 9,650,491 21.0 14.4
17 ITA Italy 13.2 8 12 8 28 56 42,526,551 8.7 9.1
18 FRA France 13.0 10 18 14 42 80 61,330,384 10.9 11.6
19 GRE Greece 13.0 3 1 2 6 13 6,949,132 2.0 5.4
20 GER Germany 12.4 17 10 15 42 86 69,096,411 12.3 11.3
21 BEL Belgium 12.0 2 2 2 6 12 9,612,950 4.0 5.0
21 GEO Georgia 12.0 2 1 4 7 12 3,378,123 12.0 12.0
23 KEN Kenya 11.6 6 6 1 13 31 26,744,066 8.9 15.4
24 CAN Canada 10.1 4 3 15 22 33 32,756,871 7.9 11.1
25 SVK Slovakia 10.0 2 2 0 4 10 4,742,544 5.0 14.0
26 KOR South Korea 9.7 9 3 9 21 42 43,226,956 15.0 16.3
27 ESP Spain 9.6 7 4 6 17 35 36,639,915 8.9 10.3
28 USA United States 9.1 46 37 38 121 250 275,233,065 22.5 8.2
29 ARM Armenia 9.0 1 3 0 4 9 2,036,668 4.0 6.0
30 UZB Uzbekistan 8.7 4 2 7 13 23 26,399,810 2.8 5.5
31 RUS Russia 8.6 19 18 19 56 112 130,180,075 15.5 11.6
32 SLO Slovenia 8.0 1 2 1 4 8 1,784,816 7.0 9.0
33 JPN Japan 6.9 12 8 21 41 73 106,544,610 7.0 3.8
34 UKR Ukraine 6.2 2 5 4 11 20 32,389,498 12.5 16.0
35 POL Poland 5.7 2 3 6 11 18 31,787,597 5.0 7.0
36 RSA South Africa 5.6 2 6 2 10 20 35,673,992 5.5 0.8
37 PRK North Korea 5.5 2 3 2 7 14 25,281,000 5.7 4.6
38 ROU Romania 5.2 1 1 3 5 8 15,412,136 12.0 10.6
39 BRN Bahrain 5.0 1 1 0 2 5 1,404,900 1.0 3.0
39 LTU Lithuania 5.0 0 1 3 4 5 2,754,902 10.0 7.0
41 CHN China 4.7 26 18 26 70 140 1,293,840,725 19.0 7.4
42 COL Colombia 4.5 3 2 3 8 16 35,236,270 5.0 1.3
43 BAH Bahamas, The 4.0 1 0 1 2 4 342,882 3.0 3.0
43 BUL Bulgaria 4.0 0 1 2 3 4 5,594,259 3.0 8.0
43 IRL Ireland 4.0 0 2 0 2 4 4,496,287 8.0 4.0
43 NOR Norway 4.0 0 0 4 4 4 5,223,256 9.0 21.0
47 ARG Argentina 3.6 3 1 0 4 11 30,513,280 2.5 3.2
48 CIV Ivory Coast 3.0 1 0 1 2 4 13,149,372 0.0 0.0
49 FIJ Fiji 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 598,230 0.0 0.0
49 JOR Jordan 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 8,178,209 0.0 0.0
49 KOS Kosovo 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 1,285,885 0.0 0.0
49 MGL Mongolia 3.0 0 1 1 2 3 2,429,106 7.0 10.0
49 PUR Puerto Rico 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 3,474,182 2.8 0.0
49 SIN Singapore 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 5,535,000 2.0 2.0
49 TJK Tajikistan 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 5,534,278 0.8 3.0
49 TUN Tunisia 3.0 0 0 3 3 3 9,425,468 5.8 3.0
57 MAS Malaysia 3.0 0 4 1 5 9 30,243,294 1.1 0.8
58 BRA Brazil 2.4 7 6 6 19 39 162,129,063 3.0 2.0
59 IRI Iran 2.3 3 1 4 8 15 64,587,566 4.1 0.7
60 TPE Chinese Taipei 2.2 1 0 2 3 5 23,155,737 0.0 1.8
61 THA Thailand 2.1 2 2 2 6 12 57,112,047 1.0 1.8
62 BDI Burundi 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 3,236,642 0.0 0.0
62 GRN Grenada 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 64,063 3.0 0.0
62 ISR Israel 2.0 0 0 2 2 2 6,661,980 0.0 1.0
62 NIG Niger 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 7,664,550 0.0 0.0
62 QAT Qatar 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 2,477,113 2.0 0.0
67 TUR Turkey 2.0 1 3 4 8 13 65,433,815 1.8 2.5
68 VEN Venezuela 1.9 0 1 2 3 4 21,068,487 1.5 0.6
69 ETH Ethiopia 1.8 1 2 5 8 12 64,913,028 2.4 3.3
70 MEX Mexico 1.4 0 3 2 5 8 58,324,447 1.3 0.8
71 ALG Algeria 1.3 0 2 0 2 4 31,108,000 1.1 1.2
72 AUT Austria 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 8,376,894 0.0 4.0
72 DOM Dominican Republic 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 5,934,202 4.4 5.0
72 EST Estonia 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 1,031,700 3.0 5.0
72 FIN Finland 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 5,491,817 4.0 7.0
72 MDA Moldova 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 2,814,055 2.0 1.0
72 POR Portugal 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 8,407,501 2.0 4.7
72 TTO Trinidad and Tobago 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 1,120,224 0.0 0.0
72 UAE United Arab Emirates 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 7,934,080 0.0 0.0
80 VIE Vietnam 0.6 1 1 0 2 5 82,224,900 0.0 0.3
81 EGY Egypt 0.4 0 0 3 3 3 68,344,077 0.6 0.2
82 MAR Morocco 0.3 0 0 1 1 1 28,904,250 0.4 1.1
83 INA Indonesia 0.3 1 2 0 3 7 229,471,335 0.3 0.4
84 PHI Philippines 0.3 0 1 0 1 2 77,356,514 0.0 0.0
85 NGR Nigeria 0.2 0 0 1 1 1 56,096,400 0.0 1.1
86 IND India 0.1 0 1 1 2 3 907,680,100 0.8 0.2

Note: I got curious as to whether the Power Ranking distribution was skewed by population, meaning, for example, did smaller countries tend to have higher rankings, or vice versa. So for my own curiosity I ginned up a chart that shows all countries that medalled from smallest to largest population (orange line), with their corresponding Power Rankings (blue bars). It appears to my half-trained eye that the distribution does not seem to trend along population lines, and confirms that the Power Ranking algorithm, while crude, appears to remove the advantage of population, which is one of the primary goals of this excercise:

Olympic Power Ranking by Population

Olympic Power Ranking by Population

Possible Trump Candidacy Outcomes

Posted on August 3rd, 2016 in Commentary,Politics by EngineerBoy
Trump Outcomes

Trump Outcomes

Disclaimer: the article below represents the noodlings of a dumbass who is talking about things way over his head, but which he nonetheless finds interesting as a mental exercise.

At this point, I think it’s clear that the results of the 2016 US presidential race will be extraordinarily strange, and that strangeness primarily comes from Donald Trump’s candidacy. His campaign has been unlike any in my lifetime, and he’s certainly been a unique major party candidate.

As November approaches, I can’t help but consider the possible outcomes, as follows (from most to least likely, in my opinion):

Trump Drops Out: I think the most likely scenario is that Trump will realize he can’t win and so drops out of the race because that prevents “losing”.  Also, he’d never come right out and say that he’s dropping out, he would wrap it in some kind of faux drama, like:

Has a business deal going that is too big to pass up, but it would be a conflict of interest to continue his candidacy
The fix is in and he’s not going to play along in a corrupt system
Some kind of family drama (wife having issues, kid sick, etc)
Assassination attempt (real or contrived) and he quits for the good of his family
A mysterious walking away and steadfast refusal to explain, with hints of a nefarious cause

Trump Stays In, Loses: It’s possible that even if he sees he won’t win he’ll stay in to the bitter end, most likely culminating with lawsuits and the launching of TrumpTV.

Trump Concocts a Legal Challenge, Delays the Election: He’s got floors full of lawyers who make their living off of Trumpian litigation, he could spin up some kind of legal challenge that causes a friendly court to stay the election until resolution (and/or virtually certain reversal by SCOTUS).

The Republican Party Disavows Trump: In order to try to preserve and rebuild their brand, the Republican party could choose to disavow Trump as their candidate, and possibly even run an alternate candidate. This move would virtually guarantee a win by Hillary, but the Republicans might see it as necessary for cutting their losses and reducing the damage to their party in the long term.

Trump Runs Third-Party: If the Republicans disavow Trump, or he senses it is imminent, he could spin up a third-party candidacy in order to try to remain in the race.

Trump Stays In, Wins: I think at this point this is an unlikely, but not impossible, scenario. It would, in my opinion, require a Clinton scandal of incredible proportions to swing the momentum at this point. If he does win, I’d expect him to either resign before the first term was done, or be impeached and removed from office.

As per the disclaimer at the top of this post, I’m just another dumbass with a blog spouting nonsense. However, this election is going to be different from any in my lifetime, and however it ends it’s going to be with a bang.

Strange Bedfellows – Sequester and Marriage Equality Edition

Posted on May 9th, 2013 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy
The Birth of a New Political World?

The Birth of a New Political World?

Disclaimer: the article below represents the noodlings of a dumbass who is talking about things way over his head, but which he nonetheless found interesting as a mental exercise.

There’s an old saying that ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’, meaning that the alliances and enmities that occur in politics are often highly situational and transient, resulting in kaleidoscopic political theater where it’s difficult to tell the players without a constantly updated program.

When you add money to the mix, it tends to accelerate the wackiness even further.  I think that two recent political theater productions are both ultimately being driven by economics. There’s another old saying that if you want to understand something in the political (or business) world, your best bet is to ‘follow the money’, so here’s my decode based on that precept of two recent omnipresent political issues:

Issue #1: The Sequester
Remember a couple of years ago when the US faced a debt-ceiling crisis, and ultimately the compromise was to extend the debt ceiling, with the proviso that a ‘poison pill’ called the ‘sequester’ would kick in if the Executive and Legislative branches couldn’t come up with a mutually agreeable budget by 2013? Good times.

The sequester was essentially a set of automatic spending cuts that hit at the sacred cows of all the players, meaning the Republicans put the defense budget on the table, while the Democrats put entitlements on the chopping block, etc, and if the two sides couldn’t agree on a more rational budget, these automatic cuts would trigger. The goal was for the cuts to be so painful for both sides that they’d be forced to put aside partisan bickering and actually cooperate for the good of the country.

Well, that didn’t happen, and the sequester has begun to kick in, causing budgetary pain throughout the government. Each side is loudly blaming the other, but nobody seems to be doing anything meaningful to fix things.

But stop for a moment and consider, what if this was the exact goal from the outset? Think about it – we (the United States) needed to drastically reshape our governmental spending, and it needed to cause pain for areas which are staunchly defended by either the Democrats or the Republicans (or both).

If the two sides had cooperated and jointly passed a bipartisan budget that instantiated these sweeping cuts, they could be vilified by challengers in the upcoming elections because they were ‘soft’, and ‘compromised’, and ‘sold out’ the ‘core values’ of their own constituency.

But with the sequester, the cuts are getting made by some mysterious ‘automatic’ process, while both sides get to blame the other for being obstinate. So in the upcoming elections, the incumbents can say, hey, put me back in the ring to go another 15 rounds against those evil other guys who forced the sequester by being big dummies and hating everything that *we* stand for! I’ll show

Why I’m Voting the Way I’m Voting

Posted on October 23rd, 2012 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

Vote!

Note: I’m just a dumbass with a blog.  My purpose in writing this post is not to convince anyone to change their opinions, but to (one hopes) maybe have the slight effect of making sure that those who agree with, disagree with, or don’t care about my opinions will be more likely to vote next week.  Having every eligible voter vote is the key to keeping America free and strong, in my opinion, and discourse tends to motivate people.

I’m a 51 year old white male who is mid-to-upper middle class. I got my first job when I was 12 years old (paper route) and have never not worked since then. I’ve never been fired or laid off, some of which is luck and some of which is brains and hard work. I’ve lived on the West and East coasts, but have lived primarily in Texas and consider myself a Texan.

My mother’s family were Texas farmers, and she and her seven siblings picked cotton, tended the animals, and used slop buckets. I did not come from money, but I was raised with a strong work ethic, a strong moral compass, a strong family bond, and an open mind.

Through the decades I have voted for Republican, Democratic, and independent candidates. For most of my life I strove to vote for the person, not the party, with the (perhaps naive) thought that if we always select the best available candidate, that will lead to better government.

However, that only works if the elected parties are willing and able to compromise in the pursuit of (what should be) common goals. However, the American political landscape is at its most divisive in my memory.  Personally, I think the system is broken, and our voting is barely more than political theater, a show that is put on every four years to allow us to retain the illusion that We the People run this country.

Also, my take is that, by definition, any candidate for national political office is a combination of professional liar, megalomaniac, and borderline sociopath, something I talked about several years ago.  I see our choice as being between differing styles of lies and misdirection.

However, even if any of the above were true, we still do have a choice.  Politically I lean towards fiscal conservatism and also towards social liberalism.  Here are my key areas of concern for this country:

Control of the federal deficit
Revamp of health care
Free and fair elections
Maintain a strong defense and leadership of the Free World
Strengthening of civil liberties and civil rights
Return to technological leadership
Improved national and global economy

I am not an expert on all of the above topics (just like 99.9% of all voters), but I do have my opinions (just like 99.999999% of citizens).  As noted in the disclaimer above, I’m just a dumbass with a blog, but my take on these key points is as follows:

Federal Deficit
I think that balancing the budget will be best achieved through both spending

Just for today…

Posted on September 11th, 2012 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

#peace

Mourn the dead, honor the heroes, fight injustice, embrace freedom, celebrate life, and, on today of all days, forget to hate.

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Peace.

The rational case for Voter ID

Posted on August 28th, 2012 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

Vote!

It may come as a surprise to some of you who know me to hear that I am in favor of Voter ID.  I think that having a standardized method of identifying valid voters, and limiting those voters to a single vote, is a great idea.  I don’t think we have much of an in-person voter fraud problem in the United States, but I’m a big believer in being better safe than sorry.

However, my objection to the current spate of Voter ID laws is that, from my perspective, they have been designed for no purpose other than to disenfranchise Democratic voters in Republican-controlled states during the upcoming 2012 elections.  You can quibble with this if you like, but given that there is not an in-person, voter identity fraud problem in this country, these laws are not designed to fix something that’s broken.  As they stand today, they are designed solely to limit the ability to vote for those who do not currently have a proper photo ID and who would have difficulty in getting one in time to vote, which are primarily poor/Democratic voters.

I currently live a lifestyle such that having a valid, acceptable form of photo identification is not something I ever have to think about.  I have a drivers license and a passport, and although they aren’t always 100% current (because I’m lazy and/or forgetful), I can easily afford the time and costs involved to keep them up to date, and have easy access to all necessary supporting documentation.

However, that has not always been the case for me, and isn’t the case for many, many Americans.  These Americans still have a right to vote, however, even if they have not navigated the myriad processes necessary to obtain an acceptable photo ID and to keep it current.  Again, for those of us of a certain means, it may sound ludicrous to state that having a valid photo ID is a burden, but it is for a large number of people.

As an indicator, current estimates indicate that 6% of Americans don’t have broadband internet access today.  To those of us who are ‘connected’, it’s difficult to conceive of someone living a disconnected lifestyle.  Some of the disconnected simply choose not to connect even though they have the means, but many of them do not have the wherewithal or circumstance that allows for digital connectivity.

Now picture a disconnected person trying to get a photo ID.  How do they even learn the process?  Go down to the DMV? What if they don’t drive and there isn’t mass transportation where they live?  What if they work a job where getting away during municipal office hours is difficult or impossible?  What if they don’t have a copy of their birth certificate?  What if the cost of getting their birth certificate and/or photo ID comes down to a choice between feeding their children or getting an ID?

Consider not only the costs for documents,

Five Theories about Romney’s selection of Ryan

Posted on August 14th, 2012 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

2012 Presumptive Republican Presidential Ticket

I will start this post out with the disclaimer that I am just a dumbass with a blog, noodling on things that interest me.

After Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee, I became very curious about who he would select as his running mate, and am surprised that he picked Paul Ryan.  Picking Ryan doesn’t make any sense to me because, as far as I can tell, Ryan will primarily appeal to folks who would have voted for Romney anyway.  So, from that perspective, it seems to me that picking Ryan was ‘preaching to the choir’, in a sense.

Also, it seems to me that if the selection of Ryan is going to have any impact at all, it will be to alienate swing voters, who tend to be moderate.  Based on current polling numbers it seems that Romney needs as many of those voters as he can get.

So, why would Romney pick such a polarizing running mate?  I offer five theories below, in order of likelihood from least to most (with a bonus sixth theory that is probably the most likely of all):

Theory #1: Romney doesn’t want to win, and has picked a running mate that will insure that he loses.

It is not possible for me to know why Romney wouldn’t want to win, and there is no evidence of it that I’m aware of (other than his selection of Ryan).  But, because he has picked a running mate that I think he knows will hurt his chances, we have to at least consider this option.  I speculated along these same lines in 2008 when McCain picked Sarah Palin.

Theory #2: Romney knows that he is going to win, so he picked whoever he damn well pleased.

How could Romney *know* he’s going to win?  It could be that he has an ace up his sleeve that he knows will be devastating enough to win the election (dirt on Obama, etc).  It could also be that there is some currently-hidden aspect of Ryan that will emerge and swing the election for him.  It could also be that the power brokers have arranged things such that a win for Romney is the most likely thing.  In any case, if Romney felt supremely confident that he was going to win regardless of his selection of running mate, he may have gone ahead and selected the running mate who will most boldly represent the Republican strategy, and that’s Ryan.

Theory #3: Romney knows that he isn’t going to win, and so picked a running mate for politically expedient purposes.

In this scenario, Romney has realized that there’s no way he can win for whatever reason (polling numbers, tax return issue, etc), and so he picked his running mate in order to maximize whatever positives there are that can be gleaned from a losing presidential bid.  For example, it may be that

CleverDonkey’s Final 2012 London Olympic Power Rankings

Posted on August 12th, 2012 in Engineerboy,Politics,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy

London Olympics 2012

2012-08-12 Final Sunday Update

This year we once again tracked Olympic Power Rankings for the 2012 Games in London.  For reference, the 2008 final rankings are located here. The purpose of this chart is to look beyond raw medal count – who cares if countries with hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people win a lot of medals?  They should win a lot of medals, right?  The big question is, which country is kicking ass, pound-for-pound?  The answer is in the table below.

This table creates a weighted medal score by giving every country three points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, and one point for each bronze.  The country’s Power Rating is calculated by determining how many weighted medal points each country wins per 10,000,000 in population.  And to factor in economics, the population only includes those living above the poverty level (according to CIA poverty estimates).  Also, to eliminate the impact of outliers, countries with excessively large populations are capped at 300,000,000 and countries with exceedingly small populations have a floor of 10,000,000 for the purposes of calculation.

Below is the Sunday update, reflecting the final standings.  Congratulations to Hungary for taking the title of the most powerful Olympic nation, pound for pound.  The rest of the top ten are rounded out by Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica, Belarus, the United States, and the Czech Republic.

Well, that wraps up another Olympics, be sure to check back in four years because we will (probably) be tracking them again!

 

 

 

CleverDonkey’s 2012 Olympic Power Rankings
click column headers to sort up/down

Olympic Power Rank Country Old Power Rating New Power Ranking! Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals Weighted Medals Population (above poverty line)
1 HUN - Hungary 43.14 37.00 8 4 5 17 37 8,577,282
2 AUS - Australia 28.66 28.66 7 16 12 35 65 22,682,201
3 GBR - Great Britain 26.15 26.15 29 17 19 65 140 53,545,320
4 NZL - New Zealand 58.64 26.00 5 3 5 13 26 4,434,060
5 NED - Netherlands 25.37 25.37 6 6 8 20 38 14,978,787
6 CUB - Cuba 24.00 24.00 5 3 6 14 27 11,247,925
7 JAM - Jamaica 106.22 24.00 4 4 4 12 24 2,259,366
8 BLR - Belarus 34.81 24.00 3 5 5 13 24 6,895,247
9 USA - United States 8.44 22.50 46 29 29 104 225 266,579,208
10 CZE - Czech Republic 21.97 21.00 4 3 3 10 21 9,558,825
11 CHN - China 1.63 19.00 38 27 22 87 190 1,166,805,100
12 KAZ - Kazakhstan 18.23 18.23 7 1 5 13 28 15,361,812
13 DEN - Denmark 35.15 17.00 2 4 3 9 17 4,836,400
14 AZE - Azerbaijan 19.47 16.00 2 2 6 10 16 8,219,239
15 RUS - Russia 12.46 15.50 24 25 33 82 155 124,368,673
16 KOR - South Korea 15.01 15.01 13 8 7 28 62 41,293,000
17 SWE - Sweden 14.74 14.00 1 4 3 8 14 9,495,113
18 CRO - Croatia 36.95 13.00 3 1 2 6 13 3,518,302
19 UKR - Ukraine 12.49 12.49 6 5 9 20 37 29,632,961
20 GER - Germany 12.29 12.29 11 19 14 44 85 69,170,855
21 GEO - Georgia 29.55 12.00 1 3 3 7 12 4,061,333
22 ROU - Romania 11.98 11.98 2 5 2 9 18 15,024,877
23 FRA - France 10.93 10.93 11 11 12 34 67 61,298,300
24 SUI - Switzerland 13.51 10.00 2 2 0 4 10 7,403,871
25 LTU - Lithuania 32.68 10.00 2 1 2 5 10 3,060,192
26 NOR - Norway 17.91 9.00 2 1 1 4 9 5,025,600
27 ESP - Spain 8.91 8.91 3 10 4 17 33 37,040,929
28 KEN - Kenya 8.89 8.89 2 4 5 11 19 21,374,500
29 ITA - Italy 8.72 8.72 8 9 11 28 53 60,813,326
30 IRL - Ireland 18.45 8.00 1 1 3 5 8 4,335,898
31 CAN - Canada 7.91 7.91 1 5 12 18 25 31,591,858
32 SLO - Slovenia 38.79 7.00 1 1 2 4 7 1,804,673
33 SRB - Serbia 10.78 7.00 1 1 2 4 7 6,494,047
34 MGL - Mongolia 40.48 7.00 0 2 3 5 7 1,729,152
35 JPN - Japan 6.16 6.60 7 14 17 38 66 107,125,200
36 TRI - Trinidad and Tobago 54.86 6.00 1 0 3 4 6 1,093,703
37 TUN - Tunisia 5.84 5.84 1 1 1 3 6 10,268,196
38 PRK - North Korea 5.70 5.70 4 0 2 6 14 24,554,000
39 RSA - South Africa 5.54 5.54 3 2 1 6 14 25,293,379
40 POL - Poland 5.01 5.01 2 2 6 10 16 31,955,830
41 SVK - Slovakia 11.62 5.00 0 1 3 4 5 4,301,806
42 DOM - Dominican Republic 9.16 5.00 1 1 0 2 5 5,459,372
43 COL - Colombia 4.44 4.44 1 3 4 8 13 29,278,616
44 IRI - Iran 4.09 4.09 4 5 3 12 25 61,096,681
45 LAT - Latvia 19.32 4.00 1 0 1 2 4 2,070,371
46 ARM - Armenia 18.57 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 2,153,942
47 FIN - Finland 7.39 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 5,413,250
48 BEL - Belgium 4.31 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 9,286,674
49 GRN - Grenada 460.83 3.00 1 0 0 1 3 65,100
50 BAH - Bahamas 93.53 3.00 1 0 0 1 3 320,768
51 EST - Estonia 28.10 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 1,067,745
52 PUR - Puerto Rico 8.05 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 3,725,789
53 BUL - Bulgaria 5.21 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 5,759,094
54 BRA - Brazil 1.97 2.80 3 5 9 17 28 142,358,607
55 UZB - Uzbekistan 2.78 2.78 1 0 3 4 6 21,551,316
56 ARG - Argentina 2.49 2.49 1 1 2 4 7 28,081,967
57 ETH - Ethiopia 2.35 2.35 3 1 3 7 14 59,699,259
58 MNE - Montenegro 34.54 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 579,107
59 CYP - Cyprus 23.84 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 838,897
60 BOT - Botswana 14.08 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 1,420,645
61 GAB - Gabon 12.79 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 1,564,000
62 QAT - Qatar 11.77 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 1,699,435
63 MDA - Moldova 7.62 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 2,623,352
64 SIN - Singapore 3.94 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 5,076,700
65 GUA - Guatemala 2.95 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 6,768,331
66 GRE - Greece 2.32 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 8,630,152
67 POR - Portugal 2.31 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 8,660,523
68 TUR - Turkey 1.77 1.77 2 2 1 5 11 62,095,868
69 VEN - Venezuela 1.52 1.52 1 0 0 1 3 19,710,969
70 UGA - Uganda 1.40 1.40 1 0 0 1 3 21,410,870
71 MEX - Mexico 1.31 1.31 1 3 3 7 12 91,891,288
72 ROC - Republic of China (Taipei) 1.29 1.29 0 1 1 2 3 23,261,747
73 MAS - Malaysia 1.10 1.10 0 1 1 2 3 27,257,438
74 ALG - Algeria 1.05 1.05 1 0 0 1 3 28,567,000
75 BRN - Bahrain 8.10 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 1,234,571
76 KUW - Kuwait 2.79 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 3,582,054
77 TJK - Tajikistan 2.73 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 3,666,000
78 HKG - Hong Kong 1.41 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 7,103,700
79 THA - Thailand 0.83 0.83 0 2 1 3 5 60,175,617
80 IND - India 0.09 0.80 0 2 4 6 8 907,645,067
81 AFG - Afghanistan 0.61 0.61 0 0 1 1 1 16,320,064
82 EGY - Egypt 0.61 0.61 0 2 0 2 4 65,934,400
83 KSA - Saudi Arabia 0.37 0.37 0 0 1 1 1 27,136,977
84 MAR - Morocco 0.36 0.36 0 0 1 1 1 27,729,125
85 INA - Indonesia 0.15 0.30 0 1 1 2 3 205,963,737

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