Today is remembrance day. On this day I would ask you to remember the sacrifices of our military personnel past and present. It goes without saying that we have a debt to these brave men and women which we will never be able to repay. We can, however, remember them and honour them, and that is precisely what we should do…and not just today, but today especially.
A happy Sunday to you. We only have a few bits for the Sunday Bits this week…first though, a programming note.
I have received an email about the election results graphic which is at the top of the page, specifically asking how much longer it will be there. I will probably take it down at the end of the day even though there is still a little bit of counting to go. We know what the general result is, and there’s no real point in keeping the graphic up there consuming a rather large bit of screen real estate for another few weeks while legal challenges take place to decide races. If you want to see the graphic, and the district-by-district breakdown, check out the Fox News Map.
Moving on, but continuing the mid-term theme, guess which news station won the ratings on election night. FOX News of course!
Not only did FOX significantly outrate both CNN and MSNBC, but between 10pm and 11pm (I assume Eastern time) they (remembering that they’re a subscription cable channel) outrated the three big free-to-air networks, ABC, CBS and NBC.
The cable network averaged 6.957 million viewers between 8:00pm and 11:00pm, far ahead of CNN on 2.423 million and MSNBC on 1.945 million.
Across the total election coverage period between 6:00pm and 2:00am, Fox News averaged 5.302 million viewers; CNN registered an audience of 1.789 million, while MSNBC averaged 1.544 million.
FOX News beat MSNBC and CNN combined during every hour in total viewers and 25-54. Tuesday’s performance was also amongt FOX News Channel’s top ten telecasts in the channel’s ratings history in total viewers. Furthermore, Tuesday marked FNC’s highest primetime delivery since the Presidential Election in 2008. All of this, according to Nielsen:
*FOX News Channel peaked with 7,167,000 viewers between 9-10PM
Meanwhile, CNN peaked with 2,592,000 viewers between 10-11PM
And MSNBC peaked with 2,040,000 viewers between 10-11PM
And to round-out the mid-term stuff, there’s some strange stuff being circulated by kooks like Media Matters For America (strange people who, rather than insisting that media should be balanced, insist loudly that media should have a strong left-wing bias…and are just too nuts for me to be bothered giving them a link) about Rasmussen Reports’ polling. Rasmussen was the most accurate of the polling organisations for the 2008 elections using their own unique polling formula, and as such is regularly contracted by media organisations (including FOX News, which is probably why MMFA hate them) to conduct polls. Media Matters are claiming that Rasmussen significantly over-represented the Republican vote in their polling when compared to the results of the election.
Really? OK well, if they’re over-representing the Republican vote in a statistically significant number of races, then their overall prediction should be massively over-representing the Republican seat gain in the House.
Rasmussen Reports projected 48 seats for the Democrats and 45 for the Republicans. We also listed seven Toss-Ups – California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia – in the final Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.
The two parties split those seven Toss-Up races, which is what you’d expect. Four were won by Democrats, two by Republicans, and one (Washington) remains too close to call.
On current trends, the Senate should end up D 53 – 47 R which, is pretty darn close to the above (assuming the toss-ups are considered “as predicted) D 52 – 47 R with one left over.
The rest of Rasmussen’s track record can be reviewed at the above link, but suffice to say, the complaints are a crock.
On to domestic matters and The Australian had an exclusive story on Thursday exposing government documents which revealed what many of us have suspected and even concluded in our analysis of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network: That the government needs to legislatively cripple Telstra in order for this new business to have even the slightest chance of success.
THE Gillard government must urgently pass legislation to smash apart Telstra’s near-monopoly position for the implementation of the $43bn NBN to proceed.
This has been revealed by previously secret documents.
Slabs of the documents released by Senator Conroy’s department [to The Australian in response to a Freedom of Information request] were blacked out. The documents would have gone to the minister soon after the election but there was no date on those released.
The briefing paper stresses the urgency of acting swiftly on the NBN. The government has been told that the laws to structurally separate Telstra must be passed during the spring sitting of parliament, due to finish on November 25.
The fact that Telstra has made a deal with NBN Co. which would see them receive billions of dollars (undoubtedly funded by new government debts) by agreeing to the split, is irrelevant. And if it’s not irrelevant, it’s bordering on bribery.
The point is that Telstra is a private business. It is owned by shareholders. The Federal Government once owned the whole thing but now only owns 10.9% of it. Given that, the government really is in no position to dictate to the company how it should operate, so the fact that they are willing to use legislation to interfere with the operations of a private business in order to help out a $43 billion gamble in a new mostly government-funded competitor to the business which they are legislatively hampering, is at best a disgrace, and at worst a deliberate and abominable attack on the private sector and, amongst others, the superannuation accounts which rely on the private sector…and therefore an attack on the taxpaying citizens who rely on those superannuation accounts.
Quite frankly, I find this whole effort to re-nationalise the telecommunications industry disturbing.
Among other problems highlighted in the documents, The Australian notes that:
The documents also highlight the massive funding task to roll out the network, confirming that the government would provide $26bn in equity funding. This is likely to be largely done through commonwealth-issued debt, leading to interest costs that would have a “negative impact on the budget bottom line”, the briefing states.
The documents suggest a tension between boosting competition and making the roll-out cost effective. Many telcos are threatening to seek compensation if the plan leaves their assets “stranded”.
So not only is the government spending billions of dollars which it doesn’t even have, it is quite possibly putting itself in a position to repeat the mistakes of the New South Wales government whereby they are having to pay millions of dollars per year in penalties to private companies involved in the M5 Motorway because things didn’t quite work out as the government had hoped…in this case we’re looking at a situation where the Federal Government or the NBN Co. may have to pay penalties to private telcos which assist in the NBN if they don’t get as much co-operation as they might like, which is quite possible if the NBN Co. decides that retail is more profitable than wholesale.
Oh, and did I mention that the mandatory back-up batteries for the National White Elephant Broadband Network are going to cost between $90 million and $150 million per year to replace as they reach the end of their useful lives? No? Oh, well The Australian did. Why are they the only major news outlet which seems remotely interested in exposing this white elephant for the farce it truly is?
Anyway, I digress. Between two and four million acid batteries will be disposed of annually under the scheme. And there I was, living under the impression that this government was concerned about the environment or something…
Realistically this whole thing should be left to the private sector. Sure, it would take longer and probably wouldn’t put fibre in as many places, but to the same extent it would be reacting to demand (or likely demand) and would be capitalising on new and emerging technologies as the evolve, rather than the government’s model of locking itself in to the assumption that fibre will be the absolute best option in five or ten years from now…a model which is highly likely to result in an expensive white elephant.
And finally, one I’ve been hanging on to for a while. Back in High School, PE (Physical Education, or “sport” for the most part) was not really my favourite subject and I had a bit of a habit of getting under the skin of my teachers. One of the regular annual units in PE was athletics, which usually involved my hated 400 metre run and sometimes an 800 metre run, and even worse a cross country jog over a much larger distance, all of which exhausted me. To make matters worse, it was deemed compulsory that students had to stretch before exercise to prevent injury, something which I contended was utterly useless and which I often refused to participate in.
I got in to an argument with my teacher, Todd Brazier, about this one day. I cited an article from (if memory serves) The Sun Herald on the subject. Mr. Brazier said that if I could show him the article and accompany it with a parental note, then he wouldn’t make me do the stretches, however it had to be both as the note or the article on their own wouldn’t cut it, and he gave me the whole “responsible teacher doesn’t want to be sued” lecture. Funnily enough, I got that lecture from a number of teachers in my high school years.
Anyway, the article had been in the paper a few weeks beforehand and had since been discarded, so I couldn’t show the article to Mr. Brazier, which was a pity because, as obnoxious and annoying as I may have been, I was right…and a study released in August by US Track and Field (the governing body for the sport in that country) backs me up.
The study, one of the largest of its kind, involved almost 1,400 runners, from age 13 to past 60, who were assigned randomly to two groups. The first group did not stretch before their runs, while otherwise maintaining their normal workout routine: the same mileage, warm-up (minus any stretching) and so on. The second group stretched, having received photographs and specific instructions for a series of simple, traditional poses, like leaning over and touching toes, that focused on the calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles. The volunteers were told to hold each stretch for 20 seconds, a technique known as static stretching. The entire routine required three to five minutes and was to be completed immediately before a run.
The volunteers followed their assigned regimens for three months. Predictably, since running, as a sport, has a high injury rate, quite a few became injured during the three months. About 16 percent of the group that didn’t stretch were hobbled badly enough to miss training for at least three days (the researchers’ definition of a running injury), while about 16 percent of the group that did stretch were laid up for the same amount of time. The percentages, in other words, were virtually identical. Static stretching had proved to be a wash in terms of protecting against injury. It “neither prevented nor induced injury when compared with not stretching before running,” the study’s authors concluded.
There you have it, stretching before exercise is a futile waste of time, although I suppose it could count as further exercise and be of some help if you’re on a weight-loss kick, but seeing as I weighed 30kg at the age of 14 (which is when I believe this encounter occurred), I certainly didn’t need to lose any weight. The average weight for that age is somewhere between 50 and 60kg, apparently.
And yes, if you’re wondering, I am mentioning Todd Brazier’s name so that, one day when he’s googling himself, I can finally settle the score…not that I hold a grudge or anything, far from it, I actually admire the man and thank him for putting up with me and especially for allowing me to use the laundry instead of the communal changeroom…I think I would have gone postal if I’d been forced to continue to use that changeroom and deal with the ever-present bullying.
I digress, yet again. Hey Mr. Brazier, here’s the article and uh, as I’m over 18 now I assume you don’t need a note from my parents. Hope you’re well and that teenagers haven’t driven you nuts.
And with that, I’ll end what I thought would be a short Sunday Bits.
Or to be more precise, a hatred of their country and America, plus an inability to comprehend the fact that some of us are actually proud of our country.
Normally I wouldn’t bother to write about this as I know that the answer to my question is that they lack common sense (see, that’s how you tell a sane leftist from an insane leftist…the insane one will have a rabid dislike of their country, America and often Israel…a sane one might not be a big fan of these entities, but they won’t blatantly hate them) or they might just have a mutant gene (I’m not sure that I believe this theory, although it certainly would explain a thing or two). I know that I have no hope of redeeming the rabid and insane among the leftists, but sometimes writing this is therapeutic. Today is one of those days.
A couple things spurred me to write this. The first was the reaction I read on a bunch of forums during the day after Marco Rubio, in his acceptance speech after winning the Florida Senate race, noted multiple times that:
America is the single greatest nation in all of human history
Naturally I didn’t bookmark them and now I can’t find the darn things…the closest I can get now is the reaction of a person on Facebook
What? You don’t think that America is unquestionably the greatest society ever to exist on the entirety of humanity? If you say this mantra enough, you’ll start to believe it. Marco said it 5+ times in his speech alone.
This was in response to another person complaining about every aspect of Marco Rubio’s speech including the music. Much of the reaction which I’d love to link to but neglected to bookmark was along these lines…people had a problem with Marco Rubio believing that his home country is “the single greatest nation in all of human history”. Basically, they had a problem with him being patriotic.
I don’t get it. When I elect someone to public office, I want them to be patriotic. I want this because I want them to stand up and fight for their country’s interests, and to do all they can to ensure that their country remains great. If you do not believe in your country, and if you lack the capacity to be proud of your country, then quite frankly I don’t think you can be an acceptable representative of the people.
Those few forum and Facebook posts, I could have let them slide as I was expecting that type of reaction from the left after they were annihilated in the election, but then I stumbled across this blog post:
Unfortunately, most of the public holidays in Australia are either religious holidays or celebrations of nationalistic ideas or wars.
I’d like to see more silly holidays, scattered through the year, as a sign of good will towards the mental health of the entire community.
At first I couldn’t tell if they were serious(ly deranged) or if it was the best piece of sarcastic writing that I’ve read all week. Could they really be against the idea of public holidays which celebrate, amonst other things, the founding of the nation? A quick flick back through their posts revealed the sad truth…they were serious:
Why I will vote for the Greens
I’ve voted Labor all my life, not because I like their colours or the dress sense of their leaders, but because their policies have been generally in accord with my own principles. I’ve never voted for the two big conservative parties because their policies have been (and remain) focussed towards meeting goals that I believe to be unethical.
The Greens now have real and ethical policies on most of what I see as the important issues of 2010.
From what is written there, I can surmise that the author has done more research that merely listening to the Green love-fest of various parts of the mainstream media, and has actually read the Greens’ policies, in which case they would know that they pretty much reflect a marxist view of the world. How capitalism could be seen as unethical when put up against marxism is beyond me…but it does give a decent insight in to the deranged mind of the far-left.
Their goal, clearly, is to form a worldwide “socialist utopia”. To do this, they do three main things:
1) Concentrate power and resources in the hands of individual national government, at the expense of smaller governments and individuals.
2) Set up massive unelected multi-national government organisations such as the UN and EU, and grant them the power to issue binding directives which override national laws.
3) Convince the public that their own nation (along with large powerful nations) is bad and that they need to be overseen by organisations such as the UN and EU, thereby slowly moving power to these unelected bodies, at the expense of national governments, and especially at the expense of smaller governments and individuals.
And then all of a sudden it makes sense why they hate their country, and insist that we need to follow their lead. It’s one of the many tricks of the far-left socialists, but when you understand it in the context of the overall plan, it is so much easier to argue against.
I’m not saying that you have to like everything about your country, or anything about it for that matter…but what you should do is value your liberty. You are well within your rights to prefer aspects of other countries over aspects of your country, and subject to the immigration laws of other countries, you are well within your rights to move to a country which is more in-line with your beliefs. But what happens if the above plan is carried out to completion? You would no longer be able to move to a country which is a better match for your views and beliefs because, thanks to the aforementioned plan, the whole world would be under socialist rule.
You would have lost your right to choose.
As I say, you don’t have to like everything about your country or agree with the government (it’s pretty obvious that I, for example, am a proud Australian but disagree with various bits of the nation, including many of our governments)…that’s the great thing about living in a country where debate and the vote is valued, but hating your country to the point where you would prefer a global socialist utopia is not the answer…unless of course you’re not a fan of your own personal freedom.
I, for one, am a fan of liberty and freedom, and I suspect that all but the most radical far-left nutjobs would agree with me that liberty and freedom are things which should be valued.
I didn’t have time to address this yesterday, but I certainly wanted to.
I’m sick of people complaining about banks making profits and increasing interest rates, without giving any thought to changing bank and instead wanting the banks to be more heavily regulated.
Regulation is not the answer to this problem; competition is. At the moment there is virtually no competition for two reasons:
1) People don’t consider changing bank. If they did, the banks would be more afraid of losing customers and be less willing to annoy their customers.
2) The federal government put that silly deposit guarantee in place which gives banks an unfair advantage over the smaller outfits such as credit unions. This bit of government regulation is killing competition by making smaller outfits seem less safe in the eyes of customers.
The banks are doing what any sensible profit-making business does when in a virtual monopoly position; they’re making as much money as they can. Of course they wouldn’t be in a virtual monopoly position if the federal government’s deposit guarantee hadn’t caused a heap of people to shift their business from credit unions to the big banks.
The federal government’s regulations are largely responsible for this situation, and yet people want more regulation. Haven’t people learnt from the financial crisis yet? Government regulation was the main catalyst for the financial crisis, as the US government forced lenders to lend money to people who could never pay it back. Government regulation does not help people when it comes to banking. In fact the current situation is not sustainable as this ever increasing concentration of the banking business will lead to many people defaulting on their loans, followed by banks struggling to sell houses, followed by the federal government (aka the taxpayers) compensating banks for lost investments due to a lack of loan repayment income.
The solution to this problem is for the deposit guarantee to be removed. This will encourage competition.
Competition is good for consumers, and leads to businesses being more creative in the way they run their business in an effort to gain more market share. This, in turn, leads to economic growth.
The solution is simple…the question is though, will the government make it happen?
The message from voters in the Midterm election is clear. When they voted for “hope and change” in 2008, they were not hoping for socialist change, and they do not appreciate the massive spending of Obama and the Democrats.
Republicans romped in on a basis of cutting spending, repealing Obamacare (which undoubtedly would have eventually led to the total collapse of the private healthcare industry through over-regulation, resulting in government-run socialised medicine) and reducing the role of government to a more constitutionally mandated role. Basically, Republicans got in on conservative principles, something which can’t really be said of Republican victories since Reagan was President, with perhaps the exception of the 1994 midterm victory. The Bush-led governments, while Republican, were not what the American public view as being based on conservative principles…a subset of them perhaps, but not true conservatism.
Republicans did not win enough seats to take control of the Senate, but they did win more of the Senate seats which were up for grabs than the Democrats did (currently by a margin of 23-11), in much the same way as they won more House seats than the Democrats and more Gubernatorial races than the Democrats. Whichever way you looks at it, more people wanted Republicans in charge than wanted Democrats in charge…and the only reason the makeup of the Senate does not reflect this is that only a third of it was up for election.
The onus now is on the Republicans to follow through on their promise. They have a hostile Senate to contend with, but even without the blessing of the Senate, they can at least show that they meant what they said by submitting the Executive branch to proper scrutiny, and by passing various bills in the House which are in line with their agenda. They don’t have to get their agenda through the Senate, but they do need to be able to show in 2012 that they have at least been trying to do what the people have asked them to do.
The split control of the Houses is in many ways the perfect opportunity for both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats have two years to rethink their approach. If they’re smart, they’ll learn from this election. A decent chunk of the country obviously wanted at least some of what they promised in 2008 (and they did promise a few things, once you get past the whole “isn’t Obama such a lovely historic man” thing), but the country has flatly rejected the socialist approach which they took, and especially the dishonest approach (attempting to appoint a whole heap of tax cheats to important positions, for example) which they took in doing it. I’m sure that people expect some level of dishonesty in politics…but when, Like Obama did, you campaign on a platform of “ethical administration” you just can’t get away with being unethical.
As I say, if the Democrats are smart, they will learn from this, and offer a better product in 2012.
As for the Republicans, they have two years to prove that they are capable of doing what the people have elected them to do. If they can run the House in a conservative manner for two years, and make sure that the public are well informed of this, then they should be able to quite easily take the Presidency and Senate in 2012.
One thing which I can say with absolute certainty is that socialism has been rejected by the American people, and as funny as it may sound, Obama is one of the best things to happen to the conservative movement in decades. Sometimes it takes a taste of the exact opposite of what you believe, to remind you of the value of what you believe.
Now on a lighter note, I thought this was the funniest thing to happen yesterday. You might recall the infamous MSNBC utter elation at Obama’s 2008 victory, and MSNBC host Chris Matthews going all giddy over it to the point where he was getting tingles and thrills up his leg.
Well the delightful Michele Bachmann who won her House seat was interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC. Chris completely lost his remaining marble and asked Michele if she was in a trance. Michele was not thrown by it, and instead managed to have some fun at Chris Matthews’ expense.
Well, he deserved it, and it looks like it threw him because that ramble trying to justify the thrills and tingles was a cross between a flat-out lie and some sort of deranged incoherency.
An interesting election, and needless to say, I’m very happy with the outcome. The final results won’t be in a for a little while yet, and in the coming days I will run through the results of some of the races which were of particular interest to me.
For now though I will just say this. The people have spoken, and the clear message is Conservative Victory 2010!
Alrighty then. This will probably be my last rolling update for the day as we’ve pretty much run out of things to update, plus the fact that I have to be somewhere soon, and I have to be at work really early in the morning. I will aim (but can’t promise depending on my sleep requirements) to post some sort of summary in the wee hours of the morning, although if that falls through, you can look forward to it later tomorrow.
In the Nevada Senate race, Harry Reid has hung on to defeat Sharron Angle. I’m disappointed, but that’s the way it goes. On the bright side, Brian Sandoval has prevented Rory Reid from extending the Reid dynasty. Brian will be the new Governor of Nevada.
In California, various websites are confusing me by telling me that Barbara Boxer has hung on to her Senate seat (shudder) with less votes than Carly Fiorina. I don’t understand what’s going on there, so I’ll wait for something more concrete.
Sadly Jerry Brown is the replacement for the Governator, defeating Meg Whitman.
Some good news from California is that the silly proposal to legalise marijuana has been defeated, currently 56%-44%.
Alaska has only just closed, so we’ll be waiting for that one for a while, especially given the remote nature of many of the polling booths.
Overall though, it’s a great victory of historic magnitude for the Republicans, having taken the majority in the House and reduced to a mere handful the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, meaning that the Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority. To that end, I’m very pleased that Nancy Pelosi has flown out of the House on Broomstick One (as Rusty Humphries quite cleverly called it earlier) for the final time. She’ll have to broom-pool like the rest of the representatives now.
As I said, I’ll run a more thorough summary later on. Suffice to say though, I’m pleased. As with any election there are a few disappointments, but overall this has been a great election.
Good news in Arizona. The Governor’s race there is clearly going to incumbent Jan Brewer. With 10% of the vote in, Jan leads the Democrat Terry Goddard by 63%-34%.
California is way too close for me to call. I’m getting weird inconsistencies in numbers from various sources, so I’ll leave it be for now.
As for Nevada, nothing nada zilch right now. A power failure in one part of the state may have delayed some figures, but I’m not seeing anything out of the state yet. The wait to see the Senate race there is excruciating.
That Senate race is really starting look very very close. The House of course is a tsunami.
FOX R 123 – 70 D
CBS R 174 – 115 D
ABC R 183 – 126 D
NBC R 147 – 93 D
FOX R 41 – 45 D
CBS R 42 – 47 D
ABC R 42 – 47 D
NBC R 43 – 47 D
Incidentally (bearing in mind the earlier disclaimer about the usual uselessness of exit polls) Sharron Angle is winning the independent vote, but not as much of the Republican vote as Harry Reid is of the Democrat vote. Politico goes in to some detail, but doesn’t give an overall figure. That probably means that the exit poll was roughly 50/50 overall, with a half point favouring one of the candidates, and the exit poll people just don’t want their name on an incorrect result.