Archive for the ‘Romney’ Tag

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FAREED ZAKARIA: Did you know that Obama supporters are likely to eat at Red Lobster and listen to smooth jazz? That Romney supporters prefer to dine at Olive Garden and watch college football? Well, big data does. Big data. That is the buzz word for the immense amounts of information being captured about all of us in this interconnected age. It’s a great boon for business, but unbeknownst to many of us, it was also used to great effect in the 2012 presidential race. Here to explain this, “New York Times” reporter Charles Duhigg. Charles, what is big data? Why is it new?

CHARLES DUHIGG, REPORTER, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Big data is — two things have happened in the last four or five years, the first of which is that everyone is now generating much more data throughout their entire life. When you go online, when you use your credit card, when you do almost anything that allows a company to track your behavior, you are creating data about yourself and your preferences. And in addition, computing power has grown so much so significantly that companies and campaigns can now take that data and can crunch it within seconds to try and figure out who you are, what types of habits you have, what do you like, and what can push your buttons.

ZAKARIA: So explain what the campaigns have been doing with this new data?

DUHIGG: Well, one of the things that the campaigns have done is try to vacuum up everything that they can. It used to be that when someone was running for office, they would get — the voter file, right? They would say, someone’s name, where they live and their party affiliation, whether they ever voted before. Now each campaign has literally thousands of data points on you. They know what magazines you subscribe to, they know if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or gone into foreclosure, they know how many kids you have, they know if you ever bought a boat, what type of insurance you own, where your send your kids go to school. Thousands and thousands of data points, they collect to try and create an image of you, at the center of that is the same question, how can I push your button to vote for my guy or gal?

ZAKARIA: And what do you find that we — you know, what are the kind of surprising things that are predictive of whether or not you are not going to vote — you are likely to be a Republican or a Democrat?

DUHIGG: Well, what’s interesting is a lot of it is as you mentioned it, when you introduced me was the other places you go. :Like, we didn’t know, for instance, that Romney supporters go to Olive Garden and that Obama supporters go to Red Lobster, but knowing that is actually really useful. Because that means that Romney can go buy ads inside Olive Garden since they say, look, if you don’t really — if you don’t often vote, come out to the polls, because I know you’re going to vote for me.

ZAKARIA: Why were Obama’s people better at this?

DUHIGG: Obama’s people were better at it for two reasons. The first of which is they’ve had a lot more time to build it up. Keep in mind that four years ago, Obama started building this database. And so, when Mitt Romney came to this campaign this year he really had to recreate the wheel that the Obama folks had been building for four years and building the database bigger and bigger and bigger. The second reason is that there was a basic fundamental difference in approach to between the campaigns. Romney outsourced its data management. Obama built it inside. And there was a big question going on. The Romney folks would say, look, it’s better to outsource because we can get the most cutting edge science, whereas the Obama folks are stock with something they started building four years ago. But I think what the election showed is when you build it inside, you really own the knowledge, the technical know-how and that seemed to end up making a huge difference. In fact, the Romney campaign folks I’ve talked to — spoken to inside the campaign said on election day they were blown away. They had no idea how much more Obama knew about voters in certain areas and it just blew them out of the water.

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Staffers working for the Romney 2012 campaign got a sudden and unwelcome lesson in fiscal conservatism Tuesday night and Wednesday morning when they tried to check out of hotel rooms or travel home. According to NBC’s “First Read” blog, campaign workers were left to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they found that all the credit cards issued by Romney/Ryan 2012 were canceled as soon as the nominee finished his concession speech.

“From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself,” wrote NBC’s Garrett Haake. “Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.”


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Bill Maher “You know what?  You live in a bubble, you die in a bubble.  We’re finding out today that the entire Romney campaign, including Romney himself, was shocked.  Right until they called Ohio for Obama, they were shocked.  I almost feel sorry for this man.  You know, we found out also that when he arrived at his “victory” celebration, where he hadn’t even written, didn’t even need a concession speech, arrived in a 15 car Secret Service caravan.  Of course, when you loose the Secret Service dumps you immediately.  It’s true.  So, he had to hitch a ride home with his son.  So, there he is, arriving in a 15 car motorcade, then goes home in the back seat, Tag driving, Ann riding shotgun, dog on the roof.  No, it’s got to hurt Mitt Romney.  The better the voters knew him, the worse he did.  He lost Michigan, one of his home states, in a landslide.  He lost Massachusetts in a double landslide, and listen to this, he did worse with Mormons than Bush did.  That is a legitimate rape.”

Posted November 10, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take: The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook makes for gloomy reading. Growth projections have been revised downward almost everywhere, especially in Europe and the big emerging markets like China.

And yet, when looking out over the next four years, coincidentally the next presidential term, the IMF projects that the United States will be the strongest of the world’s rich economies.

U.S. growth is forecasted to average 3 percent, much stronger than that of Germany or France at 1.2 percent or even Canada at 2.3 percent.

Increasingly, the evidence suggests that the United States has come out of the financial crisis of 2008 in better shape than its peers because of the actions of its government.

Perhaps the most important cause of America’s relative health is the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke understood the depths of the problem early and responded energetically and creatively.

The clearest vindication of his actions has been that the European Central Bank, after charting an opposite course for three years with disastrous results, has now adopted policies similar to the Fed’s and, thus, averted a potential Lehman-like collapse in Europe. Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, the leading experts on financial crises, argue that the United States is performing better than most countries in similar circumstances in history.

Consumers are paying down debt and consumer confidence is at its highest levels since September 2007. Every American recovery since World War II has been led by housing, except this one.

But, finally, housing is back. Two weeks ago, Jamie Diamond, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, declared that housing had turned the corner and predicated that, as a consequence, economic growth in 2013 would be so strong that the Fed would have to raise interest rates.

Corporate profits are at an all-time high as a percentage of gross domestic product and companies have $1.7 trillion in cash on their balance sheets.

American exports, which have climbed 45 percent in the past four years, are at their highest level ever as a percent of GDP.

The key to long-term recoveries from recessions is reform and restructuring and U.S. businesses have been quick to respond. Government intervention, believe it or not, has assisted this process with banks, with auto companies and even in housing.

Banks had to undergo stress tests and had to raise capital. The Economist Magazine, which had initially opposed the auto bailout, reversed itself because of the manner in which General Motors and Chrysler were forced by the government to cut costs and become competitive.

Now, all these good signs in the economy come with caveats. Europe continues to weaken, the fiscal cliff looms ominously. But compared with the rest of the industrialized world and with the arc of other post bubble recoveries, the United States is ready for a robust revival.

This is partly because of the dynamism of the U.S. economy, but also because of the timely and intelligent actions of the Fed and the Obama administration.

The next president will reap the rewards of work already done. So it would be the ultimate irony if, having strongly criticized almost every measure that contributed to these positive trends, Mitt Romney ends up residing over what he would surely call the Romney Recovery.”

Posted October 29, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Bill Maher “New Rule: America, before you get in bed with Mitt Romney, remember.  He may seem like a nice fella from what we know about his core beliefs, nothing, his tax plan, nothing, his faith, off limits, his donors, anonymous.  But, a compulsive liar who’s whole life is secret can get you worse diseases than Romnesia.”

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. The second presidential debate has been studied and analyzed mostly as a prize fight, who punched hard, who missed a swing. That’s fine.

But there was a substantive aspect to the debate as well. President Obama actually showed up this time and he was engaged and articulate, as was Governor Romney.

As a result, we got a sense of the issues and there is an important and honorable difference between these two candidates. The central question in this election is what will grow the American economy.

Governor Romney’s basic answer is lower taxes and a more streamlined tax code and fewer regulations. President Obama’s answer to the same question would be investments in education, infrastructure, science and technology, as well as support for important sectors like energy and advanced manufacturing.

Both arguments have merit to them so the question is which is our more urgent problem now? Well, the United States is the 7th most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. It’s dropped a bit over the last four years.

Overall, however, whether compared with our own past of, say, 30 years ago when airlines, banks and telecommunications were tightly controlled by government rules or compared with other countries, the United States remains a pretty business-friendly place.

The U.S. economy boomed in the 1950s with tax rates that were much higher than today and Germany, the country that has come out of the current crisis best, is not exactly known for low taxes and low regulation.

As I’ve often pointed out, America is worse off than it was 30 years ago in infrastructure, education and research. The country spends much less than it did on infrastructure.

And, by 2009, federal funding for research of development was half the share of GDP that it was in 1960. The result is we’re falling behind and fast.

A decade ago, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. infrastructure 5th in the world. In the latest report, we were 25th. The U.S. spends only 2.4 percent of GDP on infrastructure, the Congressional Budget Office noted in 2010, whereas Europe spends 5 percent and China 9 percent.

In the 1970s, America led the world in the number of college graduates. As of 2009, we were 14th among the countries tracked by the OECD. Reversing that decline will cost money.

In other words, the great shift in the U.S. economy over the past 30 years has not been a dramatic increase in taxes and regulation, but rather a decline in investment in human and physical capital.

Now, we should really push on both fronts; a better tax and regulatory system and more investments. But, on the substance, Obama is right to emphasize investments.

You may still think he’s not a good president, but, by the way, Governor Romney, as he pivots to the center, now talks about spending money on retraining and education and boosting manufacturing and exports.

So let’s hope that whoever wins, America gets the investments it sorely needs. Let’s get started.

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Should have been posted October 19, 2012

Stewart “You watched Tuesday night, what did you think of the debate?”

Samantha Bee “Well, the media nailed it Jon.  Total turn off.  You know, on Tuesday night, I personally didn’t take in any of the policy specifics, because, as a woman, I was appalled at how rude and belligerent those two men were to each other, and to that nice waitress that was trying to calm them down.  No.  Uh-uh.”

Stewart “You mean the debate moderator, Candy Crowley?”

Bee “Yea, right.  A lady moderated the debate.  Jon, it took place at 9pm.  A lady would have been home, most likely hand washing the plates she had just hours earlier filled with a nutritious dinner for little Michael and Candy junior.”

Stewart “You’re saying you couldn’t bear to watch the debate?”

Bee “Yes.  We’re women.  We don’t like it when people argue on television.  No thanks.”

Stewart “Sam, Real Housewives is a whole series.  It’s like the most popular series amongst women.  All that is, is arguing.”

Bee “OK.  that’s different.  A, it’s not staged, like a debate, and B, when two women fight, it’s girl on girl.  Its natural and beautiful.  When two guys do it, its just gross.  It’s such a turn off.  Gross.”

Stewart “You see, right there, turn off.  You would never hear a pundit say, oh I think men will find Romney’s tax plan a real turn on.  It doesn’t bother you that these pundits are describing women’s reactions to a Presidential debate in dating site terms, like turn on and turn off?”

Bee “Of course it doesn’t bother me.  Men need to be convinced by the candidates.  Women need to be courted.”