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The Troglodyte

A Catholic Cave Dweller Stumbling in the Dark Around a Big Idea Examines Culture, Policy, Sports, and Economy

Updated: 2017-11-18T15:11:14.683-06:00


Happy Flag Day


Today commemorates the 236th anniversary of the adoption of the Star Spangled Banner (aka the Stars and Stripes) by the Second Continental Congress as the national flag of the United States. In recognition, I offer a light edit of what has become an annual post, one of my favorite flag stories: It has been 37 years since then-Chicago Cub center fielder Rick Monday, after noticing two protesters jumping onto the field and attempting to burn a Star Spangled Banner while kneeling on the outfield grass, ran immediately toward them and snatched it away during an early season game against the Dodgers in LA.As a nine year-old child at the time, I have only fond memories of the extended celebration of the country's Bicentennial, but in a post years ago, Ed Morrissey recalled the state of the national psyche, just removed from Vietnam and Watergate, and the power of Monday's action:[W]hen Monday took off with the flag, all of the cynicism and defeatism of the past two years melted away. Watching Monday rescue the flag from two lunatics who tried to hijack a baseball game for their protest, which would have provided the perfect nadir of American morale at that time, the crowd did something no one expected. [Then-Dodger third base coach Tommy] Lasorda recalled in his book that starting softly, the crowd started singing "God Bless America," completely unprompted, until all of the tens of thousands of Dodger fans had joined together to sing it. It was one of the few unscripted and spontaneous patriotic displays in our Bicentennial, and one of the most moving at any time.The entire scene has been included in a list of 100 Classic Moments in the History of the Game published by the Baseball Hall of Fame. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="480">The flag was presented to Monday, a 19-year major league veteran and 6-year veteran of the Marine Corps Reserves, later in the '76 season. He has it proudly displayed and has refused an offer of $1 million.That little piece of cloth represents a lot of rights and freedoms that people have given up their lives to protect... But the flag is not for sale. What this flag represents, you can't buy. [...]

Memorial Day


Copyright, JD Crowe, all rights reserved

"Thank you" to those who gave their last full measure and the ones they left on the homefront.

Dear Rep. Will Morgan, [Update]


My message to our state representative regarding today's vote on HF1054:On behalf of the four voters in our home, including me, I ask that you vote against this bill for a variety of reasons.First, and not the only reason I could give along this line, I think that children have a right to both a mother and a father. Circumstance already denies many children in our state the opportunity to benefit from the unique gifts a mother and a father can each bring in the raising of a child. This bill proscribes a portion of our population from that right forever.Second, as a practical matter, same sex civil marriage and religious liberty are incompatible. It is specious to claim the protective provisions for churches and religious organizations in this bill will hold. There is a long track record of such provisions being struck down, or vacated, in other states. There is nothing here to ensure Minnesota will be different.Finally, you stood in my driveway last fall and told me directly that you do not support the Minnesota Legislature pushing divisive issues; that they should be limiting their attention to working across party lines on solvable issues, particularly regarding the budget and jobs. You said that these other kinds of issues were distractions. This bill is nothing if not one of those divisive issues. If that is in fact a principle of yours, then I should expect nothing but a "Nay" from you today.RegardsSadly, my expectations of him are low.Update:The bill has cleared the House, as expected, and will likely be law early next week.The Minnesota Catholic Conference has issued a statement on the House voting to redefine marriage. In my letter to my state representative I did not address the affect of the law on those who work outside of churches and religious organizations for the simple reason that I do not consider the provisions in the bill to protect religious organizations will be anything but temporary, which makes the case of non-religious workers moot. The MCC statement highlights how this bill would affect those Minnesotans if it were to become law:The Minnesota Catholic Conference is disappointed that the Minnesota House of Representatives has voted to redefine the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In doing so, it has set in motion a transformation of Minnesota law that will focus on accommodating the desires of adults instead of protecting the best interest of children. This action is an injustice that tears at the fabric of society and will be remembered as such well into the future.The bill also poses a serious threat to the religious liberty and conscience rights of Minnesotans. Although some accommodations for clergy and religious organizations were included in the bill, they fail to protect the people in the pew—individuals, non-religious non-profits, and small business owners who maintain the time-honored belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. As legal experts on both sides of this debate have stated, the failure to accommodate the deeply held beliefs of a majority of Minnesotans will result in numerous conflicts that will have to be adjudicated by our courts. We are disappointed that same-sex marriage proponents have vigorously refused to protect the majority of Minnesotans, some of whom will be targeted with lawsuits and complaints if this bill passes.The Conference is thankful for those Representatives who demonstrated great courage in supporting marriage as only between one man and one woman, as well as the thousands of Minnesotans of all backgrounds who have prayed vigorously and put their lives and hard-earned dollars at work over the last two years to preserve marriage as the foundational unit of society.Prayer in Defense of MarriageGod our Father, we give you thanksfor the gift of marriage: the bond of life and love,and the font of the family. The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,and is the[...]

Friday Video - Two Chips


Because sometimes you just want mild amusement.

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"Two Chips" / An Animated Short from Adam Patch on Vimeo.

HHT: HelloGiggles


Joy of Stats


Houston has struck out 56 times in the first four games. That's 12 more than any team to open the season. Even if they strike out only four times tonight they will STILL have more K's to open the season through five games than any team in history.

The Dodgers haven't struck out 14 times in a game since 2010. The Astros are averaging 14 K's through 4 games.

And then there's Chris Davis. Four home runs in the first four games becoming the fourth player to do that in history. His 12 RBI off those four HR's is something that hasn't been done in any four game stretch (much less to start a season) since 1937.

My point? That we can know all this, to this level of detail in a historic context, is one of the reasons I love baseball. (image)

If I Had a Ballot


In no particular order:
  • Jeff Bagwell - MVP, 59th career WAR, 22nd career OPS, 449 HR, 1500 RBI
  • Larry Walker - MVP, 3 batting titles, 7 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers
  • Dale Murphy - 2 MVPs, 5 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, Roberto Clemente award
  • Tim Raines - 2500 hits, 808 SB (5th all-time)
  • Jack Morris - best pitcher of the 1980s & all in the AL East
  • Craig Biggio - 3000 hits, All-Star at 2 positions, 4 Gold Gloves, 5 Silver Sluggers, Roberto Clemente award
  • Mike Piazza - best hitting catcher of all time
  • Kenny Lofton - 2400 hits, 600 SB, 4 Gold Gloves

Someday, but not today (why is for another day):
  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens


2013 Hall of Fame Vote a Shutout


Friday Video - Who's on First? Redux


We could all use a little levity (and not just Minnesota Twins fans scratching their heads at the gaping hole in starting pitching being filled by three moves to compete for the 5-spot in the rotation because, "Hey, 'we can't call this a rebuilding year'"). Here it is brought to you by the genius of Jimmy Fallon's Late Night.

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For those who can't place the guy playing "What," he is AD Miles, an actor who is the show's lead writer. Link to video.

Compare it to the original Abbott and Costello.

allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">(image)

Who's Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff?


I may be coming to the conclusion that going over the so-called fiscal cliff could be the right thing to do, not for the strategic political advantage some may see, but as a reasonable, practical step toward doing the moral thing. One thing I am certain of is that the "confluence of unpleasant consequences" does not represent a cliff in any real way--more a "bump in the road" to use the president's vernacular. PATRICK J. BUCHANAN - Were the average Republican asked for a succinct statement of his views on taxation, he or she might respond thus:“U.S. tax rates are too high for the world we must compete in. The tax burden — federal, state, local, together — is too heavy. We need to cut tax rates to free up our private and productive sector and pull this economy out of the ditch.”This core conviction holds the party together.Yet today the leadership is about to abandon this conviction to sign on to higher tax rates or revenues, while the economy is nearing stall speed. Yet, two years ago, President Obama himself extended the Bush tax cuts because, he said, you do not raise taxes in a recovering economy.Why are Republicans negotiating this capitulation?Because they have been warned that if they do not sign on to a tax hike, they will take us all over a fiscal cliff.If we go over, Republicans are being told, you will be responsible for tax hikes on all Americans as the Bush tax cuts expire on Jan. 1.You will be responsible for a surge in tax rates on dividends, interest, capital gains, estates.You will be responsible for an automatic sequester catastrophic to the national defense.This is the pistol Obama is pointing at the GOP. This is extortion.The Debunker asks: Should the GOP cave on tax hikes?Republicans are being told that they either vote for something they believe to be wrong and ruinous — or get something worse. Pay the ransom, fellas, Obama is demanding, or take the blame for a second recession.Like the Panama Canal debate that made Ronald Reagan a hero, this is a defining moment. No GOP senator who agreed to the Carter-Torrijos treaty ever made it onto a national ticket.What are the perils for Republicans who sign on to an Obama deal? continue reading... [...]

"Inbetweeners" Star for BBC Three Assisted-Suicide Comedy


Sigh. Now, if they had the writers from The Inbetweeners, they might be on to something. Of course, it would probably still at best only give the evil of assisted-suicide an ironic back hand, but the show'd have a decent shot at being funny.
DIGITAL SPY - The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison is to star in new BBC Three sitcom Way to Go.

Blake Harrison
(Image: BBC Channel 4)
The six-part series is described as a "black comedy" about three men who set up an assisted-suicide business.

Harrison will play Scott, who devises the desperate scheme when his terminally ill neighbor asks for his help to die and his brother Joey (Ben Heathcote) is in desperate need of cash to pay off his gambling debts. continue reading...

The Troglodyte Top 12 for the Week of 11/26/12


Everybody held serve, except Mississippi St. who got spanked by Ole Miss and bounced out of the ranking, accordingly, which allowed Oregon St. back into the ranking. That was pretty disappointing because I really wanted to have the argument that a 3-loss team deserves to not be excluded from the Top 12 if those all those losses happened to be against Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M. Oh, well.

As for Oregon St., I just can't truck an ACC, or a Big Ten, team in the ranking, yet, so the other bubble teams are frozen out. We'll see how Championship Week goes, I guess. Interestingly, after the Big 12, the SEC, and the Pac-12, there's a bit of a drop off to the next 3, but Jeff Sagarin has the hapless Big East rated as stronger than the ACC.

Ranking (Previous)

1. Notre Dame (1)
2. Florida (2)
3. Alabama (3)
4. LSU (4)
5. Kansas St. (5)
6. Oregon (6)
7. Oklahoma (7)
8. South Carolina (8)
9. Texas A&M (9)
10. Georgia (11)
11. Stanford (12)
12. Oregon St. (Bubble)
Bubble: Clemson (Bubble), Nebraska (Bubble), Florida St. (Bubble)
Out: Mississippi St. (10)

This Week's Big Match-up

Alabama (3) vs. Georgia (10) @ Georgia Dome (SEC Championship)(image)

A Fitting Introduction for Christ the King [Video]


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See Catholic Culture for more resources on today's Feast of Christ the King.(image)

The First Thanksgiving


This post was originally published in 2005, and is re-presented here. Happy Thanksgiving!The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) has republished an essay from the 1950s by economist, lecturer, and writer, Sartell Prentice, Jr. about the first Thanksgiving. Three years after arriving at Plymouth Rock and enduring near starvation under the European scheme of "farming in common," the Pilgrims “set apart a day of thanksgiving.” With the plentiful harvest of 1623, Governor Bradford later noted, “Any general want or famine has not been among them since to this day.”Here's a truffle passage from the essay that could be a case study as to why we must study natural law:Three years of near starvation—and then decades of abundance. Was this a miracle?Or is there a rational explanation for this sudden change in the fortunes of our Pilgrim forefathers?Describing events that took place in the spring of 1623, Governor Bradford answers our questions, in eloquent words that should be engraved on the hearts and minds of all Americans:All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Gov. (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular [private use], and in that regard trust to themselves . . . . And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that among godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing;—as if they were wiser than God.For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, with out any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors, and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them.And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those relations that God hath set among men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of the mutual respects that should be preserved among them. And would[...]

Ignore the Stupid Joke and Thank Our Military [Video]


It was a Thanksgiving theme tonight on The X Factor, and Vino Alan dedicated his song to the US Military. And. Absolutely. Crushed. It.

I'm sure most of you have seen the picture of Lindsey Stone "pulling a prank" at Arlington National Cemetery. I'm not one of those who says that you can't joke about certain things. Everything is fair game. But if you're going to joke about certain things, or in certain places, your margin of error becomes incredibly thin. She missed the mark here--not funny.

Rather than waste time condemning a stupid joke, I prefer to try to crowd it out with something brilliant. And a "Thank you" to our military men and women, past and present.

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Link to video.


The Troglodyte Top 12 for the Week of 11/19/12


The big changes this week, of course, are a result of the top two BCS teams getting dropped (Kansas St. by Baylor on the road and Oregon at home to top 12 team Stanford). From a ranking point-of-view, the question is which is worse, particularly given the thumping dished out by Baylor and the fact that it took overtime for Stanford to beat Oregon.

While many say Kansas St.'s margin of loss should be more detrimental, which it is, it is moderated by three factors: The Wildcats' loss was a conference game on the road, KSU played closer to form than how much Oregon was knocked off their game at home by Stanford, and the drop-off in quality after the top three or four teams in the Pac-12 is steeper than that of the Big 12. In the end, the significant difference I had between the teams before last week is now down to a very slight advantage for Kansas St.

So after Notre Dame, we're back to dominance by the SEC at the top (and the bottom), although I think the relative differences among the entire top 12 have collapsed. Things have remained pretty firm with no one getting bounced and the bubble teams really feeling like they are a little on the outside looking in.

Ranking (Previous)

1. Notre Dame (2)
2. Florida (3)
3. Alabama (5)
4. LSU (6)
5. Kansas St. (1)
6. Oregon (4)
7. Oklahoma (7)
8. South Carolina (8)
9. Texas A&M (9)
10. Mississippi St. (10)
11. Georgia (11)
12. Stanford (12)
Bubble: Oregon St. (Bubble), Clemson (Bubble), Nebraska (Bubble), Florida St. (--)

This Week's Big Match-ups

It's rivalry week, so just about every game is a big match-up for somebody. The big ones within the ranking are:

Oregon (6) at Oregon St. (Bubble)
Florida (3) at Florida St. (Bubble)
South Carolina (8) at Clemson (Bubble)(image)

Why I am Done Supporting the CCHD, and You Should Be, Too


[T]he purpose of a system is what it does. This is a basic dictum. It stands for bald fact, which makes a better starting point in seeking understanding than the familiar attributions of good intention, prejudices about expectations, moral judgment or sheer ignorance of circumstances. - Stafford BeerIt's going on three years now since the issue was first raised of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development [CCHD] directly and indirectly financing groups that work actively against Church teaching, i.e., promoting intrinsic evils.After the matter was brought to the bishops' attention, a set of reforms, called the Review and Renewal, was put in place ostensibly to prevent this from happening. At the time, I adopted essentially a "wait and see" attitude, with some serious concerns still remaining.Well, now we have the results of the reforms for 2011-12, and the conclusion remains the same: If you are a faithful Catholic who cares whether your stewardship dollars support causes in line with Church teaching, then keep your wallet closed when the CCHD plate comes by for the 2012-13 campaign, which will begin in many parishes this weekend before Thanksgiving.Audit Highlights of CCHD Grants for 2011-12Image: ReformCCHDNow38% of grantees are directly involved in, or are actively involved in organizations that are directly involved in, activities contrary to Church teaching and in violation of the reformed CCHD guidelines. This is up from 21% in 2009-10 and 24% in 2010-11.38% of dollars granted went to these violating organizations. The grants total $2,889,500. This is an increase of $1,026,500, or 55%, from 2010-11. 24% of the Catholic dioceses in the US had grantees in violation of the CCHD guidelines (including the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis).51% of the violating grantees appear to be either guilty of formal cooperation with evil, or are in proximate danger of formal cooperation.On paper, the idea of the CCHD is an elegant combination of the social justice principles of solidarity and subsidiarity being directed to address the human suffering caused by poverty and to promote human dignity. Regardless the intentions, the reality is something quite different. Human dignity is not served by supporting such causes.When the level of undesirable unintended consequences increases after attempting to manage a system, it reveals how poorly the behavior of that system is understood. When those consequences are more than undesirable, but represent the promotion of evil, then it is probably time to shut the thing down.I know this could very well annoy clergy who vote like militant twentysomething feminist secular humanists and other social justice-y dissident Catholic types. So be it. My message to them is the same as it was to the orthodox laity two years ago and remains today: [T]here is nothing stopping anyone from supporting directly [those] worthy organizations that are fighting poverty on the front lines.Additional Information For more details on the audit's methodology and the communication of the results to the bishops, check out this in-depth interview with Michael Hichborn and Rob Gaspar of the American Life League. [...]

Happy Veteran's Day [Poster]


A special thank you to those who served from one who didn't. My family and I thank you heartily.


Timeout for Health and Wellness


It's been quite a week with high tension and roller coaster emotions for many. A break may be in order. With the state of the economy being what it is and the ever-present demands of time by modern life, it is increasingly difficult to do things spontaneously, so it may be necessary to do a little extra planning. Feel free to use the following to "inspire" a little R&R.


Friday Video - America the Beautiful


In honor of the peaceful re-election of President Obama, I offer one of my all time favorite songs, while keeping with the Meatloaf theme for November.

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Link to video.

Regardless how butchered, the lyrics will always apply.
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
- Katharine Lee Bates
Well, at least the 2nd and 3rd verses will always apply.(image)

So Now That We're Here, Where Are We?


In the end, the Republican Party (as the bearer of today's political conservatism) is basically where I thought it was five years ago (pre-Tea Party, pre-Obama), struggling with a bit of an identity crisis, as parties occasionally do. So what's next for the party? Do a reality check, of course, and that means ignoring most of what's being said this week.
ERICK ERICKSON - We are three days removed from a brutal election for the GOP. A lot has been said.

I have decided it is virtually all bull crap.

Whenever the GOP loses — actually going back to some time around 1972 and the re-election of Richard Nixon — Democrats have told the GOP they are going to lose the demographic battle. Demography is only destiny when you party is obsessed with race as the Democrats are.

Let me explain my thinking with a story from the Old Testament people tend to ignore and work my way up to Dick Cheney. Seriously.

In the Old Testament, Moses had an apprentice named Joshua. Chosen by God to be Moses’s right hand, Joshua took over from Moses. When Joshua died, the wheels came off. Don’t believe me? Flip your Bible to Judges 2:7. Joshua died and all the elders who had surrounded Joshua died. Within five verses we are to “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.”

Five verses later!!

No, Baal has nothing to do with Dick Cheney. continue reading...

Local Spritual Director for Catholics Against Chastity is At It


Again. This time in a letter to the StarTribune:Image: Mark Kartarik, City PagesAs a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, I would ask our archbishop, John Nienstedt, to prayerfully consider stepping down from his office. It would be healing for our state and our church and would show some magnanimity on his part. His misguided crusade to change our Constitution, spending more than a million dollars and, more importantly, much goodwill, has been rejected. Elections have consequences.THE REV. MICHAEL TEGEDER, MinneapolisSix and half years ago popular orthodox priest and once Relevant Radio darling, Fr. Robert Altier, found himself ordered to focus on his charism (effectively banning him from the radio) and then reassigned as a nursing home chaplain by Archbishop Harry Flynn after stirring the pot regarding the archdiocese's implementation of the safety program in response to the priest sex abuse scandal. In that context, that Fr. Tegeder is still doing parish work is pretty indicative of magnanimity on the part of Archbishop Nienstedt. [...]

The Troglodyte Top 12 for the Week of 11/5/12


Both big match-ups went to form (A&M over Mississippi St. and Bama over LSU), so no changes out of the rankings there. However, Texas Tech did fall at home to un-ranked Texas, bouncing them all the way out, including the bubble.

Ranking (Previous)

1. Alabama (1)
2. Kansas St. (2)
3. Notre Dame (3)
4. Florida (4)
5. Oregon (5)
6. LSU (6)
7. Oklahoma (7)
8. South Carolina (8)
9. Texas A&M (10)
10. Mississippi St. (11)
11. Georgia (12)
12. Louisville (Bubble)
Bubble: Stanford (Bubble), Oregon St. (Bubble), Clemson (--), Nebraska (--)
Out: Texas Tech (9), West Virginia (Bubble)

This Week's Big Match-ups

Oregon St. (Bubble) at Stanford (Bubble)
Texas A&M (9) at Alabama (1)
Mississippi St. (10) at LSU (6) (image)

Learning Election Lessons


Image: dfbThere will be much navel-gazing on the right over the coming months as the analysis of the exit polls begins and a new strategy will be formed, much like what the Democrats did in 2004. And 2004 is instructive here.The early steam is that Mitt Romney failed to connect with Latinos. Given how vacuous this election was regarding issues and policy, I am not buying the conventional wisdom that it has much to do with immigration directly--don't forget President Obama's epic failure to deliver immigration reform in his first term and how little play he gave it as a policy goal for his second term.*** SidebarAnybody else notice how we had to pass Obamacare so we could learn what was in it, and now we've had to re-elect the president to learn what his agenda for a second term is?*** End SidebarIn early 2005, Democracy Corps (Carville, Greenberg, and Shrum) issued an analysis regarding how Democrats could win back white Catholic voters that had voted previously for Bill Clinton, but turned away in increasing numbers from Al Gore and John Kerry. The short of it (not summarized quite like this) was:Target heterodox Catholics (those who do not meet their Sunday obligation, or who are open to straying from Church teaching regarding pelvic issues, for example) by watering down the heterodoxy and wrapping it in the broader populist language of solidarity, thereby creating an opportunity for those who are happy to rationalize to make themselves feel good about themselves to employ a moral calculus as justification.Here are a couple examples from the report of how a Democrat candidate seeking the white Catholic vote could position himself as someone who:Wants to repeal President Bush's tax cut for those earning over two hundred thousand dollars a year, in order to increase funding for health care [read: stem cell research] and education, or Is committed to building stronger families by easing the financial burden on parents and promoting prevention [read: contraception] to reduce abortionsThink about it. Isn't this what the president and Democrats effectively have done with Obamacare and so-called gay marriage?Republicans will have to do the same kind of thing with Latinos (and perhaps a percentage of those heterodox non-Hispanic white Catholics), rather than trying to cobble together a cafeteria plate of policy proposals. And they wouldn't have to embrace heterodoxy to do it. The concern is I'm not sure they have it in them.CREATIVE MINORITY REPORT - This one hurt.I advised my followers on Twitter last night that the next time I wrote a post about the polls being wrong, somebody should punch me in the ear. So what does this mean? Many many people, including people smarter than me about these things, expected this to be a turnout election. We expected the turnout to be close to even with either a slight edge to Democrats or a slight edge to Republicans. Either way, most were in a agreement that it wouldn't be anything like 2008. We were wrong. Exit polls have it pegged at D+6, fairly close to 2008.So, what does this mean. It means that Republicans can no longer win national elections by turning out the base alone. They have to start convincing more people that they have the answers. They can no longer continue to write off blacks and Latinos as un-winnable and expect to win. There is just not enough base to do it.Another lesson is that Catholics just don't care in the slightest about the persecution initiated by this President and about the unborn. Every indication[...]

It is Time


I have completed my rosary novena of petition (my novena of thanksgiving begins tomorrow). I am on Day 2 of a three-day fast. I have prayed to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and asked for the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the angels and saints that God's Grace be conferred upon the State of Minnesota and the United States of America. I have researched all the candidates and issues.

I now set out with clear eyes and a full heart.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to everlasting life.

Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all the Americas, pray for us.
St. Thomas More, patron of religious liberty, pray for us.
St. Jude, my patron, pray for us.

God Bless America!(image)

Fatherhood Takes Its Toll


Look-alikes now?Last night at a soccer banquet for Troglotyke #3, one of the varsity players walked up to me while I was standing in the buffet line and asked, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Mitt Romney?" So, yes, what first started a year ago is still happening and on a pretty regular basis these days.Now, I don't have a problem with people saying I resemble Mr. Romney, after all, there are plenty worse people to be compared to. What is a little distressing, however, is that 25 years ago people used to tell me I looked like Tom Cruise. When I had my hair cut short I could kinda see it. And I can't just dismiss it. It's not like the only time was that smokin' hottie in Panama City trying to make her Division I boyfriend jealous while I was shooting pool one night in a bar during our spring baseball trip. To be clear, I'm talking about the Top Gun Tom Cruise, not the Legend Tom Cruise, or the Color of Money Tom Cruise. Hey, I was a college athlete and benching 275 pounds as part of my regular work-out and squatting 400. A beach volleyball scene was not a ridiculous proposition. This happened a lot. Seriously. All. The. Time. My look-alike 25 years ago?Image: Paramount PicturesHere's the thing. I was 20-21 years old when this was happening and Cruise was like 23 years old when Top Gun was filmed. So early 20's to early 20's. I'm in my mid-40's now and Mitt Romney is 65. So in less than 25 years I appear to have aged 45 years. Nice.Back then I was dating the woman who is now my wife. And I was interning at the company where I am still currently employed. So what's different? Why have I aged 45 years in 25 years? I have to pin this one on the kids. [...]

Poll Watching


In the aftermath of the 2000 election, I did a detailed analysis of the Florida recount that was in process and determined that there was an exceedingly high probability that George W. Bush would be declared the victor if Al Gore in fact was allowed a recount in every county he requested.I sent my analysis to several newspapers and talk show hosts around the nation. It turns out that about a dozen, or so, other people did the same thing and the idea that we (George W. Bush supporters) needn't fear a transparent recount. In the end, my projection absolutely nailed the end result.If it had been 4 years later, I probably would have started a blog and would be living a different life right now. Well, maybe.Why do I mention this? I'm a bit of a stats guy with pretty extensive industrial experience, so I do pay attention to things like polling data, and the modeling method I used in 2000 was essentially the same as what Nate Silver uses at FiveThirtyEight . His expected value model methodology for the electoral college is rock solid.But... and you know there was one... the devil is in the details. The thing I had in 2000, was that there was quite a bit of data showing that manual recount corrections, under/overvotes, "hanging chads," etc. all followed the original distribution, so it was very straightforward to calculate the probability that Al Gore would pick up enough votes to overtake the certified result with Bush in the lead.As of this writing, the Real Clear Politics national average has the president up by 0.7% and the average of the states would give President Obama 303 electoral votes (with no toss-ups). Nate Silver has the president at 313 electoral votes with >90% chance of winning (this is approaching statistical certainty).Now with any Monte Carlo-based model, the key is in how representative the data are to the underlying populations. If the state polls are correct, then Mitt Romney has very little chance of winning. If they are not correct... Nate Silver may go the way of John Zogby.There is and have been a lot of concerns discussed freely about the accuracy of various state polls, most of which are centered on the turn-out assumption by party that I won't rehash here. I do want to touch on a few things that give me pause in the accuracy of the state polls.Caution 1. Regarding the sample adjustments that many polls make. It is a common technique to apply corrective factors to the samples in establishing a likely voter turn-out model (here is an example of an analysis done this way regarding Minnesota's Marriage Protection Amendment back in September). The problem with such an approach is that any adjustments applied based on the poll internals, no longer carry the confidence interval of the top line poll question; the error is increased and is dependent upon the sample sizes of the internal categories used for the adjustments. The accuracy is improved, but at the expense of precision, and I have never seen this explicated consistently in published results, particularly at the state level. Caution 2. There has been a growing problem in polling regarding response rate of telephone polls since the advent of caller ID. I consider this a potential hidden wild card to create the next Literary Digest event,  i.e., where many of these polls in swing states would in effect be unscientific.Caution 3. While probabilistic estimates like FiveThirtyEight's for an Obama vict[...]