Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Turns Out

An irregular blog feature inspired by our soon-to-be ex-President, and not a moment too soon ...

"It turns out that there's a lot of interlinks through the financial system." -- George W. Bush, September 21, 2008

Shit, who knew?

It turns out ....

... that the main reason Obama won is that the country got less white. Whites were 81% of the vote in 2000. In 2008, they were 72% of the vote. McCain won among Southern Whites by 38 percentage points, and whites overall by about 12%, but Obama won by huge margins in every other group -- he took 95% of the black vote, 66% of the Hispanic vote, and 63% of the Asian vote.

It turns out ...

... that the Southern Strategy of marketing racism in code words, which worked brilliantly for two generations, is broken. Two generation ago a substantial part of this country really was racist, but the racists have been dying out. What's left is a country that's less white than it used to be and rather more white than it's going to be -- the Census Bureau estimates the non-Hispanic white population of the United States at 46% by 2050. Hispanics will be 30% of the population, blacks 15%, and Asians 9%. A few years back there were about 10,000 elected black officials in this country: 50 of them were Republican; one half of one percent.

Republicans will adapt: they have to. They'll find a way to market themselves to non-white audiences, they'll shed the (relatively few, any more) genuine racists among their ranks, and they'll become competitive again -- or they'll cease to exist and a new party will come into existence. Politics abhors a vacuum.

It turns out ...

... that people under 30 voted for Obama by 3:1. This is the period when voting patterns are set -- which is good news for Democrats and more in a long string of bad news for Republicans.

"It is my belief that our party has lost a generation of young voters." -- Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine

It turns out ...

... that George W. Bush was the Herbert Hoover of our era. (Well, worse; Herbert Hoover merely presided over an economic disaster. But economically, he's the first President to approach the Hooverian ballpark ...)

It remains to be seen if Barrack Obama is FDR.

It turns out ...

... that investing in the stock market during Republican Presidencies is a bad, bad idea. By raw coincidence, I am assured by my Republican friends, the stock market does substantially better during Democratic Presidencies than during Republican Presidencies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, when George Bush took office, was 10,587. As of today it's below 8,000 -- about where it was in 1997. If this were an unfortunate coincidence, well, that'd be one thing, but it's not. Ever since the end of the Great Depression, the stock market has done better during Democratic administrations than during Republican administrations.

Look here:

"Looking at the 72-year period between 1927 and 1999, the study shows that a broad stock index, similar to the S&P 500, returned approximately 11 percent more a year on average under a Democratic president versus safer, three-month Treasurys. By comparison, the index only returned 2 percent more a year versus the T-bills when Republicans were in office."

Worth a click-through -- but note that the study cited was performed in 2004, before the greatest economic crisis of the last 80 years hit.

It turns out ...

... that Senate Democrats will welcome back into their caucus, and into their leadership, a man who vigorously campaigned against their Presidential candidate, and who campaigned against other members of their caucus, if he really really wants to keep his job. "Whores" and "cowards" are two words that spring to mind, but neither one quite fits. I'll keep working at it.

I understand why people vote Republican. I do -- I don't agree with it, not lately, but the core of pure yellow at the heart of the Democratic establishment has to be heartening to America's enemies. Republicans may be crazed, but you'd have to hunt to find a group as gutless as the ones Democrats have elected to leadership positions in the House and Senate.

It turns out ...

... that Quantum of Solace is a good movie, but not a very good movie. It's not as good as Casino Royale, though it's better if you watch Casino Royale again before viewing it -- I did.

I will say that this is my favorite Bond, surpassing even Sean Connery. Heresy, I know, but ranking Bonds on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best ....

Daniel Craig, 10
Sean Connery, 9
Pierce Brosnan, 6
Timothy Dalton, 6
Roger Moore, 2

Daniel Craig is the best actor to play Bond, by quite a margin. (Connery became a very good actor in later years -- but not when the series started. The Connery of Untouchables is not the Connery of Dr. No.)

Craig's Bond is a blue-eyed sociopath, a man who kills when it's convenient and without remorse or much in the way of affect. Quantum is a lousy Bond movie; Bond movies are Western kabuki, highly formalized, and Quantum ignores most of the formalities. We don't get the right music, we don't get the "Bond, James Bond," we don't get the gadgets, we don't even get "shaken, not stirred" -- Miss Moneypenney is gone, and so is Q. And I don't care much. We get a man struggling to hang onto the shreds of his humanity, and I'm there. I'm willing to wait and watch this Bond evolve toward the more elegant Bond of the Connery/Brosnan mold.

He certainly does look good in a tuxedo.

Next episode, please.

It turns out ...

... that HDTV is not an unalloyed blessing. I had clear memories of Ursula Andress coming out of the showers naked in Dr. No -- I saw a 1080P copy of the movie recently, and in fact she's wearing a flesh-colored one-piece.

Technology giveth, and technology taketh away ... I've seen two high-def porn movies at this point, and it may be that there's a resolution limit beyond which porn should not be shot. DVD resolution, maybe. Just thinking aloud on that one.

(Still ... Phoebe Cates in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" justifies HDTV pretty much all by herself. I am not really open to discussion on this point.)

It turns out ...

... that David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who after the 2009 season. I haven't written about Doctor Who on this blog before -- I just discovered the relaunched Who in the last year, and as with Battlestar Galactica, went through it in a couple dozen sessions -- and it's brilliant, a show that all by itself has defined a Golden Age of science fiction.

I've also watched Torchwood, the spinoff series, and while it's OK (and pretty gay), it's not up to the standards of invention of the Eccleston (one season) and Tennant (four seasons so far) Doctor Who. The current Doctor is the last survivor of the Time War, a strikingly lonely man or alien or whatever he is, who's out to have fun and do the right thing. There's the suggestion that he killed millions in the Time War, destroying the race of the Time Lords and their Dalek enemies in that conflict -- but we're never shown the war, just the aftermath (a good decision, that)..., in which an immortal man, the last of his kind, keeps his head up and keeps swinging away at what the universe throws at him.

There are iconic moments -- in particular the ending of "The Family of Blood," which has a downright epic conclusion to the tale of evil, short-lived aliens who want to live forever, running head-on into the last of the Time Lords ...

He never raised his voice, that was the worst thing. The fury of the Time Lord.

And then we discovered why, why this Doctor who had fought with gods and demons, why he had run away from us and hidden.

He was being kind.

He wrapped my father in unbreakable chains forged in the heart of a dwarf star.

He tricked my mother into the event horizon of a collapsing galaxy to be imprisoned there forever.

He still visits my sister once a year, every year. I wonder if one day he might forgive her but there she is, can you see? He trapped her inside a mirror ... every mirror. If ever you look at your reflection and see something move behind you just for a second, that’s her. That’s always her.

As for me, I was suspended in time and the Doctor put me to work, standing over the fields of England as their protector.

We wanted to live forever.

So the Doctor made sure that we did.

Careful what you wish for. Tennant plays the Doctor again in four more one-hour specials -- five more hours of the best science fiction ever televised.

It turns out ...

... that people who kill children are prone to other failings as well.


The Last Dancer copies should ship at Thanksgiving. Sorry, I've been on the road and swamped. But home again and catching up.

(Thought about calling this "thoughts from the road," but I ran across the "turn out" quote again, and I like it better ....)

Yes, more AI War coming. And another chunk of Last Five Exits, too.

It's been suggested that the way I'm categorizing these posts is useless to most people -- I can see that. I'm going to add more generic posts categories going forward:

Fiction (mine)
Fiction (not mine)

Maybe a couple others. I suppose I could add one for Alan Rodgers as well, but most of that material's going on over to the Alan Rodgers Experience. There are probably another half dozen posts going up over there -- some video from my daughters, a complete copy of the dependency court document on the death of Anthony Rodgers and the abuse that infant suffered before he died, a few other things. And then that blog will be allowed to sit, unless something interesting happens that's worth commenting on. I've got even money on a murder-suicide somewhere down the road.

Amy Casil, a downright remarkable human being, has sent me half a dozen psychotic messages lately -- one of them bragging about how many friends she's got. I'm curious if any of them have children, and if so, how many of them would let the love of her life babysit, unsupervised....


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss George Bush at all. He's been great for comedy. This, amazingly, is not photoshopped -- I got it directly off the White House website.


Sean Fagan said...

So much to comment on... one off-hand comment, any chance you could be up here the morning of Jan 20th? I'm having a small party at 9AM. I'll be buying some very good champagne. (The party was going to happen no matter who won... but with Obama's win, I went from planning on buying rather good champagne to planning on buying very good champagne.)

I've seen a debunking of the stock market thing, but I can't find the link right now. (As I recall, I think you ended up seeing more growth during Republican presidencies -- but also a lot of loss, while things were far more stable with the Democratic presidents. Take as hearsay until/unless I can find that link.)

The Family of Blood... I didn't care for the episode as a whole, but the end, even just reading the transcript you quoted, sends shivers down my arms. Literally. DT does quiet menace really, really well -- and usually mere seconds after clownish sillyness. Good writing, and good acting. I'm going to miss him. My favourite episode of the series to date is Blink... which is one of less than a handful of shows (movies or tv) that have ever managed to scare me.

I haven't seen Quantum yet; wasn't sure I would. If I do, I will rewatch Casino Royale just before going. Bond as a sociopath works for me, I think.

Anonymous said...

Craig as Bond is close to Bond as Fleming wrote him. Best. Bond. Ever. Quantum, eh, ok movie, not bad, but the inclusion of the guys who worked on Bourne definitely shows. It feels more like a Bourne movie than a Bond one.

We *DON'T* *WANT* Obama to be another FDR. We don't even want him to be Hoover. To be either is to finally shatter the Union.

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.


New Who - very hit and miss.

Torchwood - mostly rubbish - a show that clearly shows the problems of using humanism as your moral base, they flounder around are are morally inconsistent from episode to episode. Any more gay and it would open on broadway.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


I've seen a debunking of the stock market thing

I haven't, but I'd love to see it. In fact all the broad economic indicators, not just the stock market, perform better under democratic administrations than under republican administrations, historically ... but I'm open to argument on the subject.

This is an area where my thinking has changed over the years. The Republican handling of the budget and the economy during my adult lifetime has been dreadful -- whereas Clinton did a pretty good job. (Only Democratic President of my adult lifetime, so I'm a little limited in comparisons.)

Those who allege that Presidents have nothing to do with the economy have an argument, though I think it's a bad one. But the idea that Presidents don't have a direct influence on the federal budget -- a fifth of the American economy -- is a ludicrous one. On that account alone, Clinton's been the best President of the last 40 years.


I haven't read the Cole/Ohanian article, but I will, and will write about what I think.

Here's what I think already, however:

Year %Change in GNP President
1930 - 9.4% Hoover
1931 - 8.5 Hoover
1932 -13.4 Hoover
1933 - 2.1 Hoover/Roosevelt
1934 + 7.7 Roosevelt
1935 + 8.1 Roosevelt
1936 +14.1 Roosevelt
1937 + 5.0 Roosevelt
1938 - 4.5 Roosevelt
1939 + 7.9 Roosevelt

Anyone looking to lay the Depression on FDR's going to have an awful tough time of it.


I'm not a huge fan of Torchwood myself, though predictably it's not the fuzzy morality that annoys me -- fuzzy morality is endemic to people who don't think clearly, and episodic television, with its multiple writers, is prone to it. When you do get a consistent moral tone -- Battlestar Galactica comes close -- it's the result of very strong lead writers. I don't see that on Torchwood, but I have certainly seen thousands of instances of humanistic writing that did present a clear and consistent viewpoint.

Sean Fagan said...

Okay, I remembered which blogger had the link, and found it. is the one he recommended last.

I was going to write about Torchwood, but the captcha down below is "fangump," and I decided not to.

Dann Cutter said...

Incidentally, I am in the middle of a portfolio management class at the moment (must graduate and leave Net admin as a career - I am beginning to hate computers)... but, the stats are off.

A fair balance between R and D are R 7% and Ds 11%. This accounts for a TON of complicated math... which if I didn't have finals I might attempt to replicate here, but suffice it to say, there is a difference, but not a tremendous one. As my professor said "It has more to do with history, than with likely policy effect", which is to say, its the times and the choices of men, not the party. Outliers are common, and the world has changed pretty damned dramatically in 200 some odd years to say we have any real ability to call a pattern.

That being said, Obama is taking over a a statistically significant period of time. Pretty reasonable odds that either party will see a huge recovery over the next 4 years. The things that are wrong right now are things that needed to happen - the biggest issue we have is not credit swap defaults or a tight market - but that we cannot decide if we are a free market economy or a regulated economy.

A choice either way will solve it, but we can't be both. Huge losses happens either way, but in my personal opinion, wealth, like energy, isn't magically created - and frankly if you find yourself with a ton of new wealth, there is equal antiwealth in some obscure form waiting around the corner. Did people really think that if everyone said there house was worth 3X more, that those dollars came from nowhere?

Then again, as a 5 year old I saw my first Roger Moore 'Bond' flick, and still think of him as Bond... so clearly I am not right in the head.

Rick Whitesell said...

Clinton's been the best President of the last 40 years.

Except he did sign on the dotted line for allowing people who didn't deserve to obtain a mortgage to do so. Which brings us to the housing/mortgage crisis, but I doubt you will be able to see this.

You have made up your mind about a lot of things. Now we will have to wait for history to see if you are right.

SF said...

Have to admit I completely fail to get the love for the new Doctor Who. I mean, I enjoy watching the show, all right, and have watched at least 3/4ers of the episodes. But back when I had the MythTV up and running for my exercising (need to get both things going again), it was solidly in the bottom of the shows I bothered to record, about tied with Smallville and just above Torchwood (which I never bothered to watch after the first couple of episodes). It seems like it lurches back and forth between cutesy and melodramatic, with occasional bursts of awesome which seem almost out of place. (Like someone had a really good Twilight Zone script and shoehorned it into a Dr. Who story because that was the only way to get it on TV in England.)

If I were to rank the SF/Fantasy TV of the last fifteen years, BSG, Firefly, B5, and early seasons of Buffy would be at the top, and Dr. Who would be out there somewhere a bit above Xena.... though if I'm honest, I'd take any episode of Xena guest-starring Bruce Campbell over all but maybe two or three episodes of Dr. Who.

Anonymous said...

I have been watching the new Who for awhile, and am slavishly devoted. I think Tennant is fantastic as the Doctor, though my favorite episode of the new series is....wait, maybe its...... hmmm. Nope. Can't pick one.

As for Obama, I voted for him, as I've voted demcrat in every presidential election of my adulthood. I am not rich, and likely never will be. Why would I vote for the interests of corporations I distrust, and against my own best interests at the wealthy end of poor?

I think that if McCain had won 8 years ago our country would have been in a much better place, if only because we would probably never have went into Iraq.

Torchwood is silly, and very gay. But occasionally fun for it's silliness.

Thanks for the post, and for all the snippets of AI War.

Menduir said...

It turns out ....

... that "Doctor Who", like any TV show, has people who love it, people who hate it, people with mixed opinions, and people who could care less. Me, I love it, even granting the episodes which were rather weak.

(On the other hand, I'm also one of those who had to stop watching the new "Battlestar Galactica" because I kept rooting for the Cylons.)

I'm looking forward to the episodes on which Steven Moffatt (who wrote "The Empty Child", "Blink", "Silence in the Library", and others) will be the executive producer. He seems to understand fear suitable for children (scary gas masks, angel statues, shadows) and the complex use of time travel stories, and might produce some of the best stories of this new incarnation. Shame about David Tennant leaving, though. He has been *very* good as the Doctor.

If you haven't seen the fourth season yet, you'll probably be amused by the Trent-ish moment in the Pompeii episode (you'll know it when you see it).

~ Jas. Marshall

Deadford said...

Hi Dan,

It's been a while since you've posted a blog, here's hoping that all is well with you and yours in 2009.



Deadford said...

Hi Dan,

It's been a while since you've posted a blog, here's hoping that all is well with you and yours in 2009.



Deadford said...

Hi Dan,

It's been a while since you've posted anything, here's hoping that all is well with you and yours in 2009.



Bobbe Edmonds said...

>"Republicans will adapt: they have to"<

What, and break a good streak? I doubt it. Republicans do two things well, not changing bad habits is the other one.