Category Archives: Politics

Salacious?

Today’s Miami Herald leads with a big article about Jeb! Bush’s $570,000 haul as a director and consultant with InnoVida. The gig lasted until shortly before the firm’s CEO got arrested and eventually sent away for almost 13 years.

On the one hand, Jeb! clearly was being (over?)paid to lend his name to InnoVida’s credibility and to make introductions. On the other hand, so what? Like lots of former office-holders Jeb! tried to cash in on his connections.  It’s not like he went to work for a firm he’d done favors for as Governor, nor is it a classic revolving door story.  It does seem from the article that Jeb! made some significant efforts to look into the company’s bona fides before signing on, even visiting its factory in Dubai. And plenty of folks got fooled including Chris Korge, who invested millions.  On the Richter scale of sleaze in these corrupted times, this story rates about a 2.9.

Thus, why exactly this story merits top placement on page one and consumes all of page two is slightly baffling. But even more baffling is the second of these two paragraphs which appeared near the start:

Bush, who also served on InnoVida’s board, was never accused of wrongdoing in Osorio’s Ponzi-like swindle that prosecutors said netted him and other co-conspirators about $50 million. But InnoVida occupies noteworthy real estate in the broad landscape of Bush’s business dealings, since it’s the only one to have ended in the kind of full-blown scandal that occurs when a CEO is led away in handcuffs.

InnoVida’s salacious finale is drawing renewed attention as Bush readies for a presidential run. The Republican touting the power of free enterprise in his “Right to Rise” campaign served on a corporate board that presided over a venture fraught with bogus accounting statements and fictional business deals.

Salacious? As in “arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination“? I know sojeb!me people find money sexy and all that, but even so.

Very odd word choice if you ask me.

(Note: “Jeb!” is not a typo. It’s reference to his old bumper stickers when he ran for President in 2008.)

Posted in 2016 Election | Leave a comment

Dynasty Fatigue

When half a dozen voters in a conversation say they would back a law that would ban any Bush or Clinton from running, it makes you sit up and take notice.

Bush, Clinton and the Fatigue Factor – NationalJournal.com (via Political Animal).

The prospect of HRC (her royal Clintonness?) being the Democratic party’s nominee fills me with no joy and some dread due to her foreign policy views (too much support for invasions). The Wall St. stuff is bad too, but it’s possible that there might be a populist turn during the campaign…although how much that would translate into governing is a question.

Posted in 2016 Election | Leave a comment

Herald Buries the Lede

Deep in a Herald puff piece about how Coral Gables homeboy Jeb! Bush likes to play fast golf, we find this gem:

One reason Bush can play golf so quickly on Sundays is that there is nobody ahead of him slowing things down. Citing privacy concerns, Biltmore executives declined to say how the former governor ended up with the premiere tee time, followed by Miami-Dade’s top elected official. Owned by Coral Gables, the Biltmore course is public but also includes a membership option that the website says gives early access to tee-time reservations.

Such a mystery….

[Originally posted 1/12/15, reposted after my hosting service crashed and then restored (most of) the site from backup.]

Posted in 2016 Election, Coral Gables | Leave a comment

Oy Vey

The only candidate I voted for who got elected was the Property Appraiser?

Posted in 2014 Election, Miami | 3 Comments

Propensity to ‘Disgust’ Defines Political Beliefs?

Here’s a thought for this election week: If you are more disgusted by mucus and maggots, you’re a conservative. So says Nonpolitical Images Evoke Neural Predictors of Political Ideology, a recent article in Current Biology:

We carried out a passive picture-viewing experiment to test the hypothesis that nonpolitical but affectively evocative images elicit brain responses that predict political ideology as assessed by a standard political ideology measure. …

Accumulating evidence suggests that cognition and emotion are deeply intertwined, and a view of segregating cognition and emotion is becoming obsolete. People tend to think that their political views are purely cognitive (i.e., rational). However, our results further support the notion that emotional processes are tightly coupled to complex and high-dimensional human belief systems, and such emotional processes might play a much larger role than we currently believe, possibly outside our awareness of its influence. …

We proposed that conservatives, compared to liberals, have greater negativity bias, which includes both disgusting and threatening conditions in our study. Our finding that only disgusting pictures, especially in the animal-reminder category, differentiate conservatives from liberals might be indicative of a primacy for disgust in the pantheon of human aversions, but it is also possible that this result is due to the fact that, compared to threat, disgust is much easier to evoke with visual images on a computer screen.

Lastly, this study raises several important but unaddressed questions. First, while political ideology has effects on many forms of behavior (including, but not limited to, voting behavior), it is unknown whether it does so thanks to the neural differences in affective processing that we measured. Second, and relatedly, it is important also to know how individual differences in the capacity to regulate emotion, and the neural bases of that capacity, are related to political ideology. A third set of questions concerns the bearing of the present study on the development of biological measures of political ideology. While it is of use in a variety of settings to measure political ideology (political polls, for instance, typically include some measurement of it), it remains an open question whether biological measures could become more accurate, or more useful, than the tools (such as self-report measures) currently employed.

… The more we learn about the sensitivity of political ideology to subtle differences in affective response and their neural bases, the more we will know about the feasibility of useful and portable tools for ideology’s biological measurement. This would then raise a further and difficult ethical question about the circumstances, if any, in which it is appropriate to use such tools. And, finally, the present study raises important questions about the possibility of, and obstacles to, understanding and cooperation across divides in political ideology. Would the recognition that those with different political beliefs from our own also exhibit different disgust responses from our own help us or hinder us in our ability to embrace them as coequals in democratic governance? Future work will be necessary to answer these important questions.

(Via Slashdot, where the comments were even more inane than usual.)

Personally, I’m disgusted by people who want to block healthcare for the poor. Apparently that makes me a liberal. I’m unwilling to suggest that makes them maggots, but science?

Posted in Politics, Science/Medicine | Leave a comment

Election Vitriol is Nothing New

Back in 1800 they really knew how to sling it:

Posted in 2014 Election | Leave a comment

Links to My Miami-Dade Voter’s Guide

(Sticky until election day).

Posted in 2014 Election, Miami | 1 Comment