November 1st, 2010

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Tomorrow will be painful

Mostly because I am finding the coverage so annoying. For myself, it will be something of a mixed bag, I expect.

Not sure how it will all come out, but the fact that most of the late breaking news is leaning R is less than encouraging for Ds. Prediction seems to have settled on approx 55 seats for Rs, with variation from 40-80 depending on which model you use. There is a good deal of unfairness in that outcome, from my perspective, as the biggest obstacles from a progressive point of view were in the Senate, not the House. I will feel bad for a number of my friends on Hill staff looking for new jobs.

OTOH, I expect extremely little policy action for the next two years, which -- as Krugman pointed out recently -- is likely to be disastrous for us as a country. The Republican wave of 1994 had an aggressive policy agenda which led them to cooperate on a number of pieces of legislation. From a D perspective, this was not necessarily a good thing (welfare reform, Telecom Act of 1996, and repeal of Glass-Stegal being major accomplishments of the period). But the incoming class of Republican freshman are being elected explicitly on a "no to 'big government' platform.

So the determining factor for movement will be the extent to which the Obama administration chooses to roll over. The biggest test on this will be -- surprise -- the Bush era tax cuts, where the Obama administration is already signaling that it may rethink its current opposition to extending the cuts for the top 1% because it fears blame for an increase in middle class tax rate. But even if the Obama administration is willing to give on most issues, there are simply not a lot of things that the incoming R freshmen plan to do. There are no big dereg prizes to be had. The only thing they can push for, consistent with their agenda, is massive cuts in discretionary spending -- which they can achieve by refusal to pass expenditure bills.

From a policy perspective, therefore, much depends on how the Executive Branch decides to react. If the "lesson learned" by the Obama people is they need to stoke their base, then we will see significant new action from Executive Branch agencies along more progressive lines. While this seems unlikely in light of the history of the Administration, I do not rule it out entirely. For one thing, the Obama people will need something to run on in 2012. OTOH, if the lesson learned is to be even more "centrist," then we can look forward to total inaction on any front over the next two years.

In any event, I shall avoid election coverage tomorrow and simply view the aftermath of the train crash on Wed.
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Link Harvest: Charities and Text Messaging

This article is another that falls into the basic fallacy of "assume how the world works is a product of natural law."

The problem is that the short code system by which organizations are generally required to do 1-to-many texting is severely broken. I used to think it was broken because the major carriers wanted to screen for potentially competitive services. That is true, and was part of the problem at formation. But it's only part of the story.

The reality is more scary. We are seeing problems with text messaging and short codes that resemble the inability of the DNS system to scale up with demand in the late 1990s. But whereas the DNS system had room for decentralized solutions, such as NAT boxes, and freedom of action on the engineering side to do things like restructure at least some of the problems with routing tables, that freedom does not exist in short code management. It is simply too unwieldy and with too many adverse economic interests.

Short codes should be run like 800 numbers. But they aren't. They aren't even run as well as domain name registrars. I will, hopefully, get to blog on this at some point.
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Interesting on cell phone polling

Comm Daily reported that PEW found an overall 4-6 point "house effect" toward Rs for landline only polls v. polls that included cell phones. Generally consensus among polling experts is that this is probably not significant, since "cell only" population is in less likely to vote pool. But if that were case, would expect much less variation between the "likely voter" polls and the "all registered voter" polls for those (like Rasmussen) that are landline only.

I do not think it matters much at the moment, but if Rs do much worse than anticipated tomorrow expect this to be one of reasons cited polling was significantly off.
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Ummmm . . . well, I guess they have the money

Americans for Prosperity decided to make a video mocking the Rally to Restore sanity as narcissistic and elitist.

Which was, of course, immediately mocked by the Indecision Forever blog:

It's all part of the Circle of Life.

"Rain is not ironic on your wedding day unless your name is 'Sunny' and you're marrying into the Sunsen family."
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If you live in MD VOTE YES ON QUESTION 1.

Every 20 years, Maryland is required to ask voters if we want to redraft our state constitution. This is the year. Vote yes on Question 1 and we will have a state constitutional convention. It will be HUGE! I will have tons of totally cool amendments.