Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Old Guy Vs. The Change Agent

Ask people to blurt out their first words about the two presidential candidates and one in five say "change" or "outsider" for Barack Obama and "old" for John McCain, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll released Monday. Those are not only the top responses for each man but the ones used most often since January, when fewer than one in 10 volunteered those descriptions.

My money is on the change agent.

If you click on the link above, look at the file with all of the poll results. Some of the more interesting reults:
  • The Democratic Party whips the Republican Party but good in terms of folks having a more favorable impression of them. That is probably due to George W. Bush and his very high unfavorable ranking... but Nancy Pelosi doesn't rank very high either.
  • The "if you were going to vote today" questions make the presidential race look very close... closer than I think it will actually be IMHO.
  • The question that comes closest to who'd you like to have a beer with was who would you "MOST like to have at your summer barbecue?" And Barack Obama soundly trounced John McCain there. Unfortunately for our nation, many people seem to vote on those criteria... I hope so this time around though!


coreydbarbarian said...

it is depressing that "old" and "change/outsider" are the most common responses. depressing but not unexpected.

coreydbarbarian said...

i hope you can all check out the link to the john stewart show at the end of the other link.
good stuff.

Anony Mouse said...

i think by change the responders were referring to Obama's constant changing positions. He is just like any other politican and America is catching on. A very tight race ahead. McCain is old, he admits it but his mother claims he is just a youngin'. I guess old is in the eye of the beholder and a mark of wisdom.

coreydbarbarian said...

old is a mark of wisdom?? where do you come up with this stuff?

as for your "a very tight race ahead" comment, you might want to check here, here, and here.

what you'll find is a close popular vote, but nothing near close in terms of electoral votes.

what've we got, 118 days left? (give or take). this oughta be fun.


I see little fun watching two experianced political actors racing to pander to gaping Americans acting like little hungry baby birds. Feed me, feed me. Wipe my ass. Fill my gas tank with cheap fuel. Keep me safe from foul Muslims. Yuuuuckkk!

Anony Mouse said...

Corey, you and your polls. Talk about young and inexperienced. I have counted about 100 polls some claiming 2% and some claiming 10%Polls are worthless and it is WAY too early to even acknowledge them. Look to Fl and Ohio. They will tell the story.

So you claim McCain has no wisdom now? Is this because he is a Republican or because he is a Christian or maybe former military? As Richard Pryor use to put it "You don't get to be old by being a fool"

Bawdyscot, you strike me as wise. Well put. When America stops looking to the goverment to solve all their problems maybe the government can get back to what it was intended to do,

csm said...

Well, mouse, McCain has NO wisdom to share because he has held no position for long enough to become wise about it.

And your analysis of "old" and "change" was just plain hilarious!


This just came into my view. I suppose the feds have to calculate this, but it sure gives me the willies.

"AP IMPACT: An American life worth less today By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be.

The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May — a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.

The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.

Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences.

When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution.

Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.

Some environmentalists accuse the Bush administration of changing the value to avoid tougher rules — a charge the EPA denies.

"It appears that they're cooking the books in regards to the value of life," said S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local air pollution regulators. "Those decisions are literally a matter of life and death."

Dan Esty, a senior EPA policy official in the administration of the first President Bush and now director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said: "It's hard to imagine that it has other than a political motivation."

Agency officials say they were just following what the science told them.

The EPA figure is not based on people's earning capacity, or their potential contributions to society, or how much they are loved and needed by their friends and family — some of the factors used in insurance claims and wrongful-death lawsuits.

Instead, economists calculate the value based on what people are willing to pay to avoid certain risks, and on how much extra employers pay their workers to take on additional risks. Most of the data is drawn from payroll statistics; some comes from opinion surveys. According to the EPA, people shouldn't think of the number as a price tag on a life.

The EPA made the changes in two steps. First, in 2004, the agency cut the estimated value of a life by 8 percent. Then, in a rule governing train and boat air pollution this May, the agency took away the normal adjustment for one year's inflation. Between the two changes, the value of a life fell 11 percent, based on today's dollar.

EPA officials say the adjustment was not significant and was based on better economic studies. The reduction reflects consumer preferences, said Al McGartland, director of EPA's office of policy, economics and innovation.

"It's our best estimate of what consumers are willing to pay to reduce similar risks to their own lives," McGartland said.

But EPA's cut "doesn't make sense," said Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi. EPA partly based its reduction on his work. "As people become more affluent, the value of statistical lives go up as well. It has to." Viscusi also said no study has shown that Americans are less willing to pay to reduce risks.

At the same time that EPA was trimming the value of life, the Department of Transportation twice raised its life value figure. But its number is still lower than the EPA's.

EPA traditionally has put the highest value on life of any government agency and still does, despite efforts by administrations to bring uniformity to that figure among all departments.

Not all of EPA uses the reduced value. The agency's water division never adopted the change and in 2006 used $8.7 million in current dollars.

From 1996 to 2003, EPA kept the value of a statistical life generally around $7.8 million to $7.96 million in current dollars, according to reports analyzed by The AP. In 2004, for a major air pollution rule, the agency lowered the value to $7.15 million in current dollars.

Just how the EPA came up with that figure is complicated and involves two dueling analyses.

Viscusi wrote one of those big studies, coming up with a value of $8.8 million in current dollars. The other study put the number between $2 million and $3.3 million. The co-author of that study, Laura Taylor of North Carolina State University, said her figure was lower because it emphasized differences in pay for various risky jobs, not just risky industries as a whole.

EPA took portions of each study and essentially split the difference — a decision two of the agency's advisory boards faulted or questioned.

"This sort of number-crunching is basically numerology," said Granger Morgan, chairman of EPA's Science Advisory Board and an engineering and public policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "This is not a scientific issue."

Other, similar calculations by the Bush administration have proved politically explosive. In 2002, the EPA decided the value of elderly people was 38 percent less than that of people under 70. After the move became public, the agency reversed itself."

coreydbarbarian said...

i guess it's true: you can lead a mouse to water, but you can't make 'em drink.

had you looked, you might have noticed that all 3 sites compile your 100 polls. ah, but polls are worthless...

by the by, most politicos begin to parse polls after july 4th.

fl & oh, huh? maybe. conventional wisdom also includes pennsylvania. but don't forget, each of those states can be offset by picking up other battleground states, like colorado, new mexico, montana, indiana, michigan, etc.

i'd hoped to key you into analyzing their electoral strategies. i prolly expected too much out of you. happens a lot.

incidentally, mousey, since you're so convinced i am young & inexperienced, how old are you?

Anony Mouse said...

Corey my age is so elementary but to help I would guess you are a atheist single male more than likely in your mid-30s no kids and employed by this blog and leads mice to water(?). Just a little humor there. Assuming I am right, I have kids older than you. Hope that helps.

CSM you analysis is the definition of ironic coming from an Obama supporter.

Keep the Change

Its not mine but I found it clever.

coreydbarbarian said...

believe it or not, that helps immensely.
thank you!

with regard to your guess~pretty close!
it comforts me that somebody thinks i'm in my mid-thirties (i am, but it's rare that anyone believes that without seeing my id).
single? yep. male? yes. no kids? yes, thankfully (i love kids, don't get me wrong, but since my marriage didn't work out, i am glad we had no children).
leads mice to water? what can i say? i like to attempt the impossible. ;)
employed by this (or any) blog? not talented enough. though i do have a knack for unearthing bits of comedy for my bawdier friends..

atheist? nope. possibly agnostic, sometimes deist. i considered myself a jeffersonian christian for the last few years, until that became untenable. mainline protestant prior to that, for thirty-odd years.
i can understand the confusion, though. i often argue that i am christian, buddist, muslim, and atheist. it's a philosophical thing, i suppose.

but back to the "young & inexperienced" comment, which started this all...

i have been enthralled with american politics since 1980. when people ask me what sign i was born under, i usually respond, "i am not a crook!" because nixon was still in office.

i may not be an "expert", but i have been active for more than a few political cycles now.

so, were you born under an "i like ike" sign, or maybe a "give 'em hell, harry" sign? those would be my best guesses, given your political stance(s).

coreydbarbarian said...

what's the matter, mouse? not interested in establishing common ground?

Anony Mouse said...

Doubt we have much common ground barb. You tend to be an attacker. By that I mean one who scorns any who doesn't follow their political candidate. I have always voted for the candidate not the party as much as possible.

You seem to know my political stances so I would be interested to see what you observe them to be. I didn’t develop any political stances until much later in life when we were allowed to vote so Harry & Ike probably will not help much.

Harry didn't give us much and Ike didn't like the black man much back in the day so I don't see myself under any of these banners. I was known as a janitor in a drum.

We have made a lot of progress in my lifetime


And may the progress of liberty and justice for all never stop. This country has it's share of mistakes on it's hands, even in regards to it's own citizens, but I believe it is difficult to fault our original mandates, just the people installed to carry them out.

coreydbarbarian said...

oh, mousey, we have so very much in common! we're both made of stardust, carbon-based, we breath the same air, sleep beneath the same starry sky, rise to the same sun, we share 99% of the same dna, we both love our country and want what's best for it, we were born equal, and share the same potential in life...i could go on for days listing what we have in common. all you have to do is look.

i see myself as a defender, not an attacker. by that i mean one who defends what i believe to be truth, or justice, or those who aren't available to mount their own defense (like in our first tango about gays).

also, i asked what political sign you'd been born under, not which one you became politically active under. it doesn't matter so much, but you seem to have misunderstood my intent.

and finally, in harry and ike's defense, truman beat dewey in part on a pledge to secure civil rights for all (it was part of his "fair deal") and ike began the process of desegregation, federalizing the national guard.

to be fair, though, you're right that harry didn't give ya much - the mess in korea kinda stymied his domestic agenda. and you may be correct in saying ike didn't like the black man, but (thank goodness) he respected the constitution enough to step up on brown vs. board of education.

so was it johnson's domestic agenda that got you involved in the political process? i'll admit, i've always been amazed at lbj's domestic ambitions. almost makes ya forget about vietnam.

Anony Mouse said...

Barb you really miss the point. Somehow you still think we were born equal and from star dust. Not sure what the star dust is all about but for my people our biggest issues and obstacles revolved around local government and local white police departments and of course the Sheets. When the Feds attempted to make things better in their typical weak way, it just made our existence that much more painful. Necessary in the long run but very much a painful process for most including my family.

coreydbarbarian said...

mousey, m'dear, thanks for clarifying your point. you most certainly were born into a different set of circumstances than i.

i fear you miss my point, too. i believe we are more alike than different, even if our circumstances differ. i believe some common ground can be found between the most different of individuals, if we only look for it.

just to clear up the confusion, we both came into this world in the same way, and we are all composed of the same stuff. stardust comes into the picture when you consider that ALL matter is derived from expired stars, including you & me.


Anony Mouse said...

If you say so barby m'boy.

csm said...

The Brick Wall... as our friend Bawdy would say.

coreydbarbarian said...

is it just me, csm, or are the conservatives getting even more bitter and/or pessimistic? i think it started between hurricane katrina and the harriet myers scotus nomination, but it's really coming to a head as the november elections draw near...

csm said...

I don't think it is you, Corey. I think many conservatives are deeply disappointed that John McCain is the candidate. They don't see his recent conversion (that is, flip flopping) as a core McCain set of "beliefs." And it is very hard to knock Obama or disparage him the way they did Kerry four years ago.

Couple all of that with the looming prospect of the Democrats gaining in the Senate and the House and things don't look to rosy in conservative-ville.

However, if the worst happens, and McCain somehow beats Obama, I shudder to think what the Supreme Court will look like come 2012.