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The real NFL stats

The other day a political website overflowing with the typical hatred for the current president published a supposedly carefully analyzed essay that boasted the NFL is doing just fine, despite the NFL’s politicization and the current president’s subsequent criticisms of that politicization.

Though supposed to be a careful numbers analysis, the essay was full of personal invective against the president. It is a hint that the numbers argument is not strong enough to stand on its own.

This essay stated that current NFL advertising payments demonstrate the NFL is in full financial health; that there is no measurable financial result from the NFL’s politicization or the public disputes and discourteous behavior many of its employees have shown toward average Americans and the US president.

In short, the NFL is doing fine with the American people and President Trump has no traction.

It was the kind of article that I had to read three times over to ensure that the writer really meant what he wrote. And in fact, he did mean it, and yet it is just another example of how just about everything has been politicized, and how anything that can be politicized to score a point will be  so used. Even if it is so obviously factually wrong.

Never mind that this week’s New Yorker magazine has a front cover showing a dead, bleeding Donald Trump at the bottom of an escalator. That is obvious bias and unhinged crazy (imagine if it had been the past president so portrayed). What is more intriguing is when someone reaches into a random numbers hat and tries to make a coherent argument, as the subject essay did, and pass it off as careful logic.

The problem with arguing that the NFL is doing great! fantastic! so there! based on current advertising payments is that those payments are not directly connected to actual league performance. Those ad numbers are heavily indexed and fixed long ago to past data and calculations of expected market performance. Long before Colin Kaepernick started his anti-America kneeling thing. Long before the NFL was politicized.

The cited NFL numbers are heavily lagged, meaning they reflect past, not present or even close to present performance. Also, these ad numbers are relative to other markers/ variables that are either unrelated to NFL performance or are fixed. This means they either cannot or likely will not change due to NFL performance for a long time. This means the market-driven financial fallout from the politicized NFL’s self-inflicted damage is yet to be tallied or measured by the sectors being cited by the essay (unless you are looking at short-term sales of NFL merchandise, which has been yo-yo-ing for the past two years, or half-empty NFL stadiums and unbelievably low game ticket sales, as one would expect as a result of the NFL’s politicization and purposeful alienation of at least half of America).

Using the advertising measures in that political essay in a logical way, an actual analysis in five years would be appropriate. That would catch the standard market-based reevaluation of the NFL’s actual performance. And that probably won’t be a happy situation; certainly nothing for political writers to crow about. I am willing to bet that the NFL will be in real trouble in five years, as a result of openly disrespecting their audience and market.

I conclude this by looking at the most telling, most relevant statistics: Low ticket sales, half-filled stadiums, NFL merchandise sales way down, measurable TV-broadcast NFL game viewership down.

But by then the essay in question will be long forgotten, because almost all such essays are done for their immediate effect. That is, they are trying to create an appearance, a narrative, with the simple goal of damaging and reducing the president’s current polling numbers among his supporters. Accuracy, facts, numbers do not matter. And no one else in the legacy media will call them out on their inaccuracy, anyhow.

Essays based on numbers written by politicos who are ignorant about numbers and markets are not really, truly, meant to persuade people that the numbers are meaningful. Rather, high-churn essays like this are simply meant to score temporary political points. Just like the vast majority of the US establishment legacy media. It is just another angle, that’s all.

Sometimes a threesome just sucks

Welp. Primary Election Day is now behind us. Thank God.

Yesterday’s bright moment was Andrew Lewis running and winning against a large part of the GOP establishment in the 105th State House District.

It lies around out through Harrisburg’s eastern suburbs and could easily swing “RINO,” but yesterday it did not. Proving the power of staying positive and of doing door-to-door, Lewis impressed so many voters that many of them eagerly relayed to us volunteer poll workers their happy experiences meeting him at their home’s front door.

That said, much of yesterday’s political outcomes were unfortunate, for those of us who trust and hope in We, The People and who have learned not to trust the GOP establishment.

Woody Allen once quipped “I believe in relationships. Love between two people is a beautiful thing. Between three, it’s fantastic.”

Well, sometimes that truism just doesn’t hold water, and nowhere was this observation more evident than the results from yesterday’s political threesomes in Pennsylvania.

As we political watchers and participants have seen repeatedly, and as I myself have experienced as a candidate for office, three-way races can and often do allow liberal Republicans to prevail. And in fact, it now seems that the threesome approach is a significant strategy for GOPe candidates.

Yesterday, Dan Meuser won the PA 9th congressional district election (he lives in the 8th District) through the benefit of the two grass roots candidates  (Halcovage and Uehlinger) each siphoning off sufficient votes to allow the establishment candidate to get the plurality. There is some question out there about whether Uehlinger was, in fact, a conservative, or even a Republican; despite getting in the race first, his campaign seemed the least organized. Halcovage was not terribly organized, either, and did not respond to important questionnaires from interest groups. Firearms Owners Against Crime advised voters to select only Meuser of the three candidates.

Actually, Meuser may have obtained more than 50% of the vote, which is an indication that he might have won on his own merits (e.g. he was the only candidate deemed acceptable on Second Amendment rights to FOAC). All his negatives notwithstanding.

One lesson for sure comes out of that particular three-way race: If you cannot present yourself as an organized, credible candidate, then please spare everyone the drama and do not run.

People who wake up on some Thursday morning and say “What the heck, I am gonna run for office” have every right to do so, but recognize that there are consequences to this. Better to have a one-on-one clear choice for the voters. We will almost always have an establishment candidate, so pick the one best grass roots candidate as The People’s champion, and chase off the rest.

In the PA governor’s race, liberal dark horse Laura Ellsworth knew she had no chance of winning. I mean, with liberal policy positions like hers, she should run as a Democrat (she said she would not accept money from the NRA). But run she did, and though she obtained less than 20% of the vote, she siphoned off sufficient votes (especially in Western PA) from true conservative and US Army veteran Paul Mango to get Scott Wagner the plurality.

Mango is from western PA and would have otherwise obtained most of Ellsworth’s votes.

Yesterday I was a volunteer poll worker from 7:00 AM until 7:35PM in the Harrisburg area.

What I heard from GOP voters (and mostly from women over 50 years old) at several different polls was that they were angry at both Mango and Wagner for all the negative ads. They knew Ellsworth was liberal, but they were voting for her as an alternative to the two boys engaged in distasteful roughhousing.

Wasn’t this a variable we were picking up from women voters weeks ago? Yes.

Did someone pay Ellsworth to run? One asks, because she knew her chances were very low to nil, that her liberal ideas and policy positions are way out of synch with the vast majority of Republican voters.

Ellsworth the Spoiler has now burned her bridges with about 40% of the state’s Republican super voters, which even the most obtuse political nerds would expect as a logical outcome.

So why else was she in it? One cannot help but wonder if she was paid to play the spoiler. It was done in the last race I ran in….by someone involved in the race she ran in…so…

When we look at Idaho’s primary yesterday, a similar scene unfolded. The unlikely liberal GOPe candidate beat the conservative, by way of siphoning of votes by a third candidate who himself had no hope of winning.

Folks, the only way these third candidates can run is if they are independently wealthy and just yee-haw running for office; or, they are willing to sacrifice their name in one race by trying to build it up for a future run at some other office; or, most likely, they have “other” sources of income or promises made to reward them for playing the spoiler in the current race.

So, as we move into a more experienced and savvy grass roots political landscape, begun just ten years ago as the “tea party,” we are learning that our own strength can be used against us judo-like by the same corrupt political establishment we are trying to defeat.

Threesome races may look democratic, and it is true that every American has the right to run for office. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes those threesomes are designed to undermine the conservative grass roots candidate, and to help the plain vanilla milquetoast establishment candidate win.

Sometimes political threesomes just plain suck. And not in a good way. They can be designed to exploit the big-hearted nature of so many grass roots activists, so that their enemy, the GOPe, can win.

Lesson learned.

Laura Ellsworth for Governor?

Attorney Laura Ellsworth is running for governor of Pennsylvania.

I have heard her speak at length, and heard her debate, and she is impressive. She is the kind of person I would want representing me as a lawyer: Articulate, earnest, knowledgeable.

She would also make an interesting college professor, or a policy think tank analyst.

But is she right for governor of Pennsylvania? As a Republican?

Polls by everyone – Democrats, Republicans, independent research firms, including your aunt and your auto mechanic, show Ellsworth getting somewhere between five hundred votes and five percent of the primary vote on May 15th.

Not nearly enough to win by any way possible. Mango is barely trailing Wagner by a percent or two, statistically tied.

Laura Ellsworth is as liberal policy-wise as her choice for US president in 2016, John Kasich, who she joyfully announced she wrote in on her November 2016 ballot (i.e. she did not vote for Trump).

She is big on gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens, one of those big government elitist feel-good actions that has zero relationship to crime reduction and lots of conflict with the constitution.

She has the foolish America-is-too-big-to-fail attitude toward illegal immigration, which she does not oppose.

She is in lock-step with the teacher’s unions on a variety of policies, not the least of which is continuing Pennsylvania’s broken and punitive property tax system that leaves about ten thousand elderly grandmas kicked out of their own homes every year to pay some teacher’s gold-plated pension.

None of these are conservative policy positions.

And Ellsworth refuses to talk substantively about the bigger political and cultural context, the larger world surrounding Pennsylvania. Such as the criminalization of policy differences through phony investigations as the Democrat Party’s new approach to losing elections (which is what the Communists successfully did in Europe). Such as the implications of the illegal, unconstitutional Mueller witch hunt. It is as if Ellsworth lives in a Western Pennsylvania bubble full of cool ideas.

This is hardly the stuff a worthy, sturdy governor is made of.

Then again, she has now been endorsed by former governor Tom Corbett, one of the modern era’s most failed, incompetent, though ethical, governors.

Because of his grossly negligent political incompetence and 40-grit sandpaper communication style, Corbett was soundly rejected by his own Republican voters in his quest for a second term in 2014. So accepting his blessing to run for governor is like lighting yourself on fire and then hoping someone nearby has a fire extinguisher.

By the obvious measure of the Republican electorate’s mood, Ellsworth is willfully tilting at windmills here. She is not a serious candidate.

Yesterday I had an illuminating conversation about this governor’s race with a long-time woman friend. She is a lawyer and a lobbyist, smart as hell, articulate, principled and tough. She was a Paul Mango supporter.

She said that watching Paul Mango and Scott Wagner duke it out with negative ads was like watching two school boys fighting at recess, with all the other students standing around yelling, and she doesn’t like it.

So she is going to vote for Ellsworth, as a protest.

When I pointed out that voting for Ellsworth is literally throwing away your vote, and most likely helping Scott Wagner get elected, she sighed deeply.

“I know. I feel like I can’t win here.”

I don’t think my friend is alone. Most older women do not like conflict, especially this kind of warfare going on between Mango and Wagner.

With about 40% of the likely Republican voters still uncommitted to any candidate here, there might be a lot more women voters like my friend than we expect.

Tell you what, as a conservative Republican voter for a long, long time, I have never been in this position before. It is a bittersweet feeling.

Never before have I seen a situation where the third candidate made it likely that the most explosive, confrontational, wrecking-ball candidate would get elected. But that is what is likely happening here.

If enough people like my friend vote for Ellsworth, then Ellsworth will end up taking away just enough votes from Mango to help Wagner win.

While I am supporting Mango, the fact is that Scott Wagner will be better on most policies than current governor Tom Wolf. And a lot, lot more destructive of the political establishment than Mango will ever be. Usually, it is the other way around in three-way elections, where the most liberal establishment candidate gets elected due to the presence of the third candidate.

So once again, politics makes strange bedfellows and it is full of irony. Laura Ellsworth is such a liberal candidate that her candidacy will cause the most confrontational, anti-liberal, anti-establishment candidate to get elected to governor. You could not write a political thriller more complicated and unlikely than this.

I am crying over spilt milk

Whether FakeBook causes, accelerates, or encourages the split-up of long standing friendships and friendly acquaintance-type relationships is a subject of endless discussion.

People who for many years, even decades, shared affection for and cheerful enjoyment of one another’s company and personality are now not talking, communicating, or sharing. Instead, one party has abruptly broken off entirely, leaving the other party bemused, hurt, and or frustrated. The drama can be plain silly, because we are talking about adults here who post histrionic things like “If you voted for ________, then just un-friend me, now, please, I beg of you.”

Or it can be more subtle, with people hitting the “ignore” button on a relationship, pretty much tossing the friendship away without the pain of actually breaking off.

This one-sided dynamic plays out most visibly on FakeBook because “likes,” comments, and the number of “friends” are actual numeric measures of a relationship’s quality. And when you start seeing a numeric down-trend in one area, you often see the actual end coming quicker and quicker.

And what is the primary cause of these fractured friendships?

Why political differences, naturally.

Do you recall the poll done about eight or ten months ago (Pew, Gallup? I don’t recall which firm did it, but it was a real polling firm and the results are believable), which showed 39% of self-identified liberals can and will live with a conservative, versus nearly double that for conservatives willing to live with liberals?

That poll showed what many of us have observed personally for some time, and increasingly over the past year: Political correctness has destroyed liberals’ ability to live up to the qualities they claim ownership of, like being tolerant, open-minded, and accepting of differences.

PC has become so intense that now simply belonging to the wrong political party, driving the wrong vehicle, or EVEN HAVING THE WRONG SKIN COLOR is grounds for heaps of burning hatred and criticism. Nothing about this behavior is open-minded. It is not tolerant. And watching people walk around with a burden of hate for all kinds of classes of people makes them look and feel a lot like the other side, the KKK or neo-Nazi side, who are ALSO intolerant and violently hateful.

While the few decades-long friends I and others I know have lost through FakeBook were not violent people, their visceral hatred still burned bright.

Where someone’s burning hate becomes physical violence is a subject for philosophy books, because gut instinct tells you that one naturally follows the other. Seemingly uncharacteristic behavior for the loving and gentle relationship we had enjoyed lo these many years, even decades, suddenly there was the hatred, the intolerance, the violent words, and then the break.

Not one conservative I know of has broken off with the liberals in their lives (because they are liberals), via FakeBook or any other way, but the number of liberals who have broken off with people who are not liberals is legion and legendary.

These liberals’ behavior is the very definition of intolerance.

Do you ever wonder why there is no ‘world peace’?

I do wonder now, and I always have wondered since I was a kid, when the Vietnam War was going strong.

Well, part of the answer to why there is no world peace is that those people who most assiduously claim ownership of being peaceful are those who in personal practice are the least peaceful.

During the Vietnam War, being pro-peace meant being against American war-making in Asia; but those same anti-war people were not against Asians making war against other Asians, or against America. So they were not really, truly pro peace. They were simply anti-America, despite living in and enjoying America.

One test of being peaceful is your ability and willingness to accept differences between one’s self and other people without getting angry, hateful, judgmental, accusatory, or violent. When that inability to accept others turns to intolerance, why then…there is an absence of peace. And you are not a peaceful person. And it is self-evident to those around you.

And no, demanding that people adopt your way of thinking is not being tolerant. Humans have been doing things a few certain ways for thousands of years, and if you want to deviate from that, then asking for tolerance is fair. Demanding acceptance, acquiescence etc at the cost of breaking off (a form of coercion and violence) is unreasonable.

I am crying over all this spilt milk, because to not cry is to lie to myself, and to make pretend that certain unhealthy dynamics are not happening.

I am sad at the lost friendships, whether mine or those of friends of mine, for sure. I am also sad about an America that has everything, certainly more than any other country, and yet is being torn apart by violence and hate in the name of “peace” and “tolerance.”

The relationships between fellow Americans are being torn apart, over what?

This is spilt milk, and I prefer to cry over this now and have a positive, healing, peaceful conversation with someone about this, rather than later cry over something else being spilt as a result of no attempts at healing having been made and the logical outcome of hate and intolerance come to fruition.

Updated: Take someone to the voting poll today

Today is Election Day.  Vote.

Voting is the life blood of any representative form of government, whether it’s a straight democracy or a republican constitutional democracy, everyone has to participate or it fails.

So, irrespective of whatever political party you belong to, or do not belong to, take someone to the polls who hasn’t voted in a long time.

You will be doing America a favor.

Today I will be working a poll for one state house candidate.  That will be my contribution to the process.

UPDATE: After working a poll this morning and afternoon, and voting at my own different poll, and hearing from other campaign workers what they’re seeing around the area, voter turnout sounds very high outside of Philadelphia. This is good for conservatives. There’s a chance that Tom Corbett might pull off a Dewey Defeats Truman upset-upset tonight.