The Phony Campaign

2015-06-07 Update

[phony baloney]

Rules are rules, even arbitrary ones. And our rule is: PredictWise has to show a 2% or above probability for inclusion in our phony poll. So once again we bid adieu to VP Joe Biden:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-05-31
"Jeb Bush" phony 1,560,000 +662,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 401,000 -92,000
"Martin O'Malley" phony 289,000 -125,000
"Rand Paul" phony 190,000 -26,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 110,000 -19,000
"Scott Walker" phony 108,000 -49,000
"Elizabeth Warren" phony 82,700 -12,300

Announcing their candidacies this past week: Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Lincoln Chafee. So far, PredictWise judges their chances as between slim and none. (Ditto the previously-announced candidates Sanders, Fiorina, Cruz, Carson, Huckabee, Santorum, and Pataki.)

  • The Washington Free Beacon headline: "ThinkProgress Finds Linguist Who Doesn’t Want You To Mock Hillary’s Phony Southern Accent".

    And it's true! Robin Dodsworth, an Associate Professor in Linguistics at North Carolina State University pointed out to ThinkProgress that when Hillary slathers on the cornpone, she's simply "trying to get people to like her, and trying to fit in."

    To adapt one of James Taranto's shticks: what would we do without Associate Professors in Linguistics?

  • You'll note that Elizabeth Warren still appears in our phony poll. The betting market undergirding the Predictwise probabilities has decided to shrug off the sad news that "Run Warren Run", a group backing her imaginary candidacy, has decided to throw in the towel. In The Hill story announcing the end of the effort, the reporter observes:

    But while the calls never publicly moved the needle toward a Warren presidential campaign, the groups point to their efforts as a main reason Clinton burst out of the gate taking progressive stances on issues like income inequality and campaign finance reform.

    Corollary: nobody believes that Hillary came to these "stances" via any deep-held conviction.

  • I'm sympathetic to the libertarian argument that the NSA goes too far in accumulating vast amounts of data about the phone calls of Americans neither accused nor suspected of any criminal activity.

    (Sometimes this is fudged by calling it "metadata". I demur. I don't think that's correct usage of the meta- prefix. What's being collected is data, plain and simple.)

    Pretty much the only Republican candidate who comes close to my position on this issue is Rand Paul.

    So it's distressing when Paul goes out and steps on his own d—erm, his own tie while arguing for this worthy cause.

    While addressing the Senate Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul said that opponents of his efforts to end the NSA’s bulk data collection and force an expiration of the Patriot Act “secretly want” a terror attack on the U.S. so they can blame Paul for it.

    To his credit, Paul walked back this stupid accusation later, but he badly needs a real-time filter on the stuff he says "in the heat of battle" if he wants my primary vote.

  • The NYT found it newsworthy that Marco Rubio (and his wife) had combined for 17 traffic citations in Florida in the past 18 years. ("Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13.")

    Ye gods.

    The Twitterverse leapt into action with #RubioCrimeSpree. It's difficult to pick one, but:

The Love Punch

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The only people who should watch this movie are aspiring filmmakers who can use it as a prime example of how to waste acting talent. Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson are simply lost with a tired script and sub-par direction. I would blame (naturally enough) writer/director Joel Hopkins, but his previous effort (Last Chance Harvey, also with Ms. Thompson) was better.

Anyway, the story: Kate (Ms. Thompson) and Richard (Mr. Brosnan) are divorced, due to Richard's infidelity. But they're still semi-civil, and at least Richard still has feelings for Kate, because who wouldn't, it's Emma Thompson, fer goodness sake.

On the edge of retirement, Richard has sold his company to what he thought was a dynamic up-and-comer. He is disappointed when the company is hollowed out and put into receivership. Not only is his life's handiwork destroyed, his pension (and those of his ex-coworkers) has vanished into thin financial air.

He and Kate track down the misbehaving financier; it becomes apparent that there's no possibility of getting him to personally shoulder the old company's liabilities. So instead they set their sights on "nicking" (I should have mentioned that this is a British comedy) a huge diamond the financier is about to give his airhead fiancée as a wedding present. The resulting hijinks are eminently predictable. (Do Kate and Richard rekindle their romantic feelings for each other? Duh.)

I missed about twenty minutes or so due to extreme boredom. No subtitles on the DVD.