The DQYDJ Weekender (Week of 2/6/12)

TGIS!  (The ‘S’ stands for Saturday…)  You’ve made it to another edition of the DQYDJ weekender.  Of course, we reserve the right to post this post whenever we please…

Batting leadoff this week?  A plug for my buddy’s Android App!

He wrote an application which leverages Yelp! and your GPS to plan out your date night for you.  Newlywed?  In the doghouse?  Either way it can help you plan a night you’ll never forget (and put/keep you on the right path!).  Download it here (it’s free… and again, it’s for Android devices).

It must be the apocalypse, because we were the target of two separate sites this week!

On Monday, our friends at The Free Financial Adviser had a series that featured us in a prominent position.  As our expertise dictates, we created two graphs for the Joes (and the other guy).  In the first, we used all of the devious tricks at our disposal to show a trend line headed to 6.8% unemployment at election time.  Newsflash – if unemployment is 6.8% at election time, it had nothing to do with the graph!  (Also check out Joe’s comment – he fingered us as a secret member of the Obama reelection campaign!)

Of course, all good lies (and statistics…) must come to an end, so our fake mea culpa came in the second part of the series, where the unemployment graph for the entire Obama Presidency was revealed.

On Wednesday, we found ourselves in the crosshairs of our friend Shaun at Smart Family Finance.  Shaun admires our ability to shift blame for our faulty S&P 500 predictions to nebulous entities like ‘The Market‘.  With his input we’re going to try to pull in the bounds for the next edition of the S&P 500 predictions – just wait for the third Friday of the month, options expiration day!

We appreciate the attention, and we fully expect our readers to keep us honest – so whether you want us to create fake graphs like Joe, or you don’t like our ‘real’ graphs like Sean, keep it coming!  Also, read the sites I linked…

Carnivals and Featured Links

And much love to the sites that picked us out of the whole internet to send links our way!  As always, click through and check out awesome sites…

Featured Links

And as always, we use our king-making abilities to pick out some of the most interesting stuff around the web…

On Campaign Finance Reform, Ron Paul, and Third Parties

Surely you heard this week about President Obama’s reversal on accepting Super PAC funding.  We here at DQYDJ think he is making a good move.

In the recent past (2008..), Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain decided to accept public funding rules in his general election matchup with Barack Obama… when Obama already had a massive campaign war chest.  That miscalculation allowed then-Candidate Obama to outmaneuver him, decline public funds (making a huge show of it), yet still outspending Mr. McCain in the General.  We’d say the mistakes of Mr. McCain will only be made once, and it was only a matter of time before Mr. Obama embraced the Super PAC.

So, here we are in 2012 with these huge entities which can accept unlimited donations.  Personally, I think Super PACs are a horrendous Rube Goldberg political spending contraption.  Money will always find a way in politics, and a preferable solution to this whole ‘lack of transparency’ issue would be to allow unlimited donations directly to candidates.  When a Super PAC allied with Mitt Romney attacks in the Republican Primary, only keen political observers know who is funding the attack.  With names like “Saving the Future PAC”, it is impossible to see  exactly where the attacks are coming from – at least not without a trip to your computer to search.

Candidate spending, on the other hand, has to be ‘owned’ by the candidates.  After a commercial airs, you’ll hear “This message was approved by <insert candidate here>”.  Instead of wishy washy debate lines about candidates not being able to directly control Super PAC spending (legally, this is true), you would force candidates to confront the ads that are aired on their behalf.

Remember, political speech is still speech, and the First Amendment clearly states we have a right to free speech.  Missives have been written about the corruption of speech for money.  The Constitution may outline the right to free speech, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee that everyone can reach the same audience (an apt comparison might be “not everyone can speak at the same volume”).

Limiting campaign donations to candidates also have an unintended (well, maybe it’s intended) consequence of freezing out third parties for President.  With individual donations limited, a third party candidate doesn’t really have much of a choice to advertise – yes, they have to self-fund.  Basically, to be a serious candidate for President in 2012, you can:

  1. Be a Democrat
  2. Be a Republican
  3. Be so wealthy you don’t care that you have to self-fund (See Perot, Ross and possibly Bloomberg, Michael)

(Prepare yourselves… staccato sentences ahead…) So no, I don’t think Ron Paul is going to run as a third party candidate.  I believe that any changing of the Republican guard is going to be done within the Republican camp.  If not from Ron Paul?  Whomever is his ideological heir will get a run.  Yes, it might be Rand Paul.  No, I haven’t written a full article yet.  Bear with me, I’ll get to it!

And now, an incisive quote from a cartoon from 1996!  (Text based, for SOPA/PIPA purposes)

From The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII:

Kodos: It’s true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system… you have to vote for one of us!
Man 1: He’s right, this is a two-party system…
Man 2: Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate!
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Absolutely great Simpsons quote.  I agree that there is no way Obama could have competed without a Super PAC going forward.  Did you see the whole Colbert-Jon Stewart mockery of the Super PAC legalities?  Thanks for linking to our Carnival.

    • says

      Thank you sir!

      Yes, the Super PAC mockery is grand, and pretty hilarious in my eyes. However, this cycle it’s Super PACs that allow people to put their money where their mouth is, so we’ll continue to see massive spending. Of course, transparency will still be weak, so this middling PF writer can continue to dream about truly uncapped political spending – and its effects on the two party system.

    • says

      Great, I hope it’s useful! You need to let me (or him) know if his App lives up to my glorious description, haha.

  2. says

    Thanks for all of your help with our two part piece. That might have been the best thing we’ve done on my site so far. You tell some awesome lies, PK!

    • says

      No problem Joe… I love making the graphs. I’ll probably have to be extra careful the next few times so I don’t break the rules!

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