Political scientists at George Washington, Yale and UCLA believe most elections can be predicted with just a few pieces of information. They created a formula that uses economic growth, presidential approval ratings in June and incumbency to forecast President Obama’s share of the two-party vote in the Nov. 6 election.
Mitt Romney’s contemptuous attitude toward the importance of public disclosure is increasingly troubling. Whether it involves the details of his personal finances or the identity of his big fundraisers, the presumptive Republican is setting a new, low bar for transparency — one that does not augur well for how the Romney White House would conduct itself if he were elected.
In the wake of Mitt Romney’s attempt to lay the Ohio manufacturing plant’s demise where he was speaking on the President’s shoulder, polls show swing-state are economies are improving, especially in Ohio. The drywall plant where Romney was delivering a campaign speech focused on the theme “Obama Isn’t Working” but was later questioned as the Lorain, Ohio plant actually closed under the Bush administration and Ohio’s unemployment has dropped from 8.8% to 7.5%. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Mr. Romney and the GOP to make credible arguments against the President’s fiscal policies as the economy improves around them. While not without worry, one analyst pointed out how easily things can change pointing to the slowdown during the middle of 2011. True, but there is also a valid argument to be made that the downturn and worries of a double-dip recession were due to the months of debt ceiling battles in Congress between the House Republicans, Tea Party freshmen and the White House and the resulting uncertainty that created.
This is the first Earth Day I have made an effort to take part in its celebration. My regular readers may find this a bit odd given the topics about which I opine. As an educated environmental scientist not taking part in the annual April 22ndobservance in some capacity may well be seen as dipping a toe into the pool of heresy. Perhaps it is. But then again I tend to be Earth Day-ish everyday.
Speculators have entered the conversation once more with President Obama’s proposal to police their manipulation of oil markets. Almost immediately his Republican opponents lambasted the effort as nothing more than a political ploy. Industry leaders stepped forward to warn consumers, with stricter regulations prices will rise. Who holds the reigns of truth here? Or does this all too familiar debate reinforce the need for a new approach?
The headline on the lead story in Thursday’s Times reads: “In Wariness on Economy, Poll Finds Opening for Romney.” Citing the findings from a Times/CBS News opinion survey carried out earlier this week, the article went on to say that a lingering concern among Americans “about their own financial circumstances is allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic prospects more than President Obama.”
On the face of it, this is highly encouraging news for the presumptive G.O.P. nominee. In our straitened times, it is a rarely challenged truism that economic concerns dominate elections. Now that we are well into the third year of a recovery, however weak, from a deep recession, the incumbent should be getting some credit.
Continuing with today’s theme Part 2 is the 2007 award winning, NOVA documentary about the landmark court case challenging the Dover, Pennsylvania school district’s policy advocating intelligent design. The documentary includes numerous interviews with the small town’s citizens from both sides of the issue delving into their deeply held beliefs and feelings. It also tells the story of the court case and the breadth of evidence from both sides. While long, it is truly worth watching.
If there are problems viewing the video or if it is slow try watching it HERE.
The Daily Scoop will delve into a controversial area today. Spurred by the direction a recent discussion took and coupled with the discovery of the article here examining some intersections of religion, policy and science, the debate between Theory of Evolution and creationism will be the theme today. The article here gives some insight into the recent Tennessee bill that was seen by many as an open door to bring intelligent design (or creationism) into the classroom, to be taught along side scientific theory. The author provides some good insight into the minds of the legislators who presented the bill and their astonishment over the controversy it created. It’s well worth reading along with the linked companion article it refers to at the beginning. The second part of today’s Daily Scoop is a video about a landmark court case in Dover, Pennsylvania involving the teaching of intelligent design in the high school there.
Under pressure from activist groups and corporate sponsors, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on Tuesday announced a reorganization plan that will shutter its Public Safety and Elections Committee, which encouraged passage of “Stand Your Ground” laws and other controversial measures.
The reorganization drew muted cheers from groups on the left that have for years been waging a campaign against ALEC, which describes itself as advocating “free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism.”
The move comes after half a dozen major corporations — including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Intuit and McDonald’s — announced they had decided not to renew membership in the group, which drafts “model bills” for state legislators.
In addition to backing Stand Your Ground legislation, ALEC has drawn criticism for laws requiring voters to show identification, tough immigration proposals and resolutions calling for an end to the regulation of carbon emissions.
Tax season is upon us all once more but every 4 years or so tax filings become a bit more sensationalized when presidential candidates open theirs up for public scrutiny. This year the hoopla has ballooned a bit beyond the norm. For the second time during this run for president Mitt Romney is delaying the release of his tax returns.