This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Proper Strategy

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about… things other than Trump! Amazing! Topic include the Senate healthcare bill, Philandro Castile, Charleena Lyles, Grenfell Tower, useless press briefings, escalation in Syria, the special elections in Georgia and South Carolina, layoffs at pollster.com, Uber, Sam’s thoughts on recording candidate forums… and even some movies Ivan watched recently! A lot packed in this week… but relatively Trump light! OK, we couldn’t avoid him entirely. But closer than we have come for awhile!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-06-22
Length this week – 2:29:24

  • (0:00:15-0:34:25) But First
    • Paper
    • Agenda
    • Overshadowed
    • Forum adventures
    • Ivan movie: Interstellar
    • Alex interlude
    • Ivan movie: Sully
  • (0:35:40-1:04:51) But Second
    • Leaks on the Senate healthcare bill
    • Will they get 50 votes?
    • Healthcare cost drivers
    • Repeal or tweak?
    • Cynical ploys
  • (1:06:34-1:34:04) But Third
    • Philando Castile verdict
    • Charleena Lyles shooting
    • Grenfell Tower fire
    • Dealing with emergencies
  • (1:35:24-1:56:40) But Fourth
    • Useless Spicer briefings
    • Critical press, not stenographers
    • Spicy’s future
    • Syrian drones and planes
  • (1:57:19-2:29:04) But Fifth
    • Special election spin
    • Pollster.com layoffs
    • Approval ratings
    • Polling accuracy
    • Uber

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Uninhabited Atoll

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about the Baseball shooting in Virginia and the related issues about the tone of our political discourse these days. Of course they can’t forget the Trump scandal developments of the week too. In between they squeeze in some talk about healthcare, Puerto Rican statehood, the great butter shortage, and a few other things. But most importantly, a very rare but special gift from Ivan. Tune in to hear what it is!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-06-15
Length this week – 1:25:11

  • (0:00:15-0:32:27) But first
    • Agenda
    • Healthcare Own Goal?
    • Not visiting the White House
    • Puerto Rican statehood
    • iTunes U: Lord of the Rings I
    • Weekend Plans
    • But first at the but end?
  • (0:33:07-1:04:34) Baseball Shooting
    • Butter shortage
    • The shooting
    • Heated rhetoric
    • What do you do?
    • Partisan differences?
    • The Trump Wing vs Mainstream R’s
    • Any changes?
    • Trump influence in Europe
    • Polling
  • (1:06:34-1:24:51) Trump Scandals
    • Obstruction investigation
    • Self inflicted wounds
    • Sleepy Ivan
    • Talking points
    • Sleepy Ivan 2
    • Expanding investigations
    • Attacking the investigators
    • Investigative duty

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

May 2017 Update: A look at Trump favorability vs job approval

Back in March I took a look comparing Trump’s favorability rating (% saying they have a favorable opinion minus % saying they have an unfavorable opinion) to his net job approval (% approving of his job performance minus % disapproving of his job performance). This was interesting because these two ways of measuring Trump’s popularity were not really moving together.

I’ve updated those charts through today. (Once again using pollster.com data for the smoothed trends.) Here is what we have:

Net job approval is much more volatile than favorability rating. This makes sense. People are basically answering, “How do I think Trump is doing RIGHT NOW?” vs “How do I like Trump overall?”. Both have been trending down… down meaning worse for Trump… with the job approval swings looking much more impressive than the slow gradual decline for favorability.

I actually think the favorability number is the more critical one to look at though. Job approval going down just means Trump had a bad week or two. It can easily bounce back if the next week goes better. Favorability going down though probably means people who voted for Trump are actually losing faith in him. They are not just saying he didn’t do great recently, they are saying they no longer like him. Big difference. And that has been slowly heading down since the beginning of February, and seems to have accelerated since the second half of April.

Favorability swings can be reversed too of course, it just seems harder to move than job approval. Having said that, these charts are extended back before the election for a reason. Note the huge swing upward in Trump’s favorability that started a couple weeks before the election and peaked in December. That was a big move in Trump’s direction. A big part of that was just an election bump and people “giving him a chance”, or giving him a boost simply for being President Elect. But it just shows that the right events can move things a lot pretty quickly.

And it shows that Trump has still not come anywhere close to losing all of the additional people who started thinking more favorably about him during that time period. Some of them, sure, but he is still looking a lot better now than he was right before the election. To all the folks hoping for Congressional Republicans to turn on Trump, I’m thinking you have to see the blue line above break the October low before you start seeing any of that sort of thing happen.

But we shall see. :-)

A look at Trump favorability vs job approval

With all the hype today about the latest Gallup poll showing Trump’s job approval rating hitting a new low, I thought I’d look at the polls a little further. First of all, the usual advice…  never look at single polls, look at averages. So look at pollster.com job approval trendlines rather than just looking at the Gallup trend. Also though, I’ve been looking at favorability trendlines as well as job approval, because it goes back prior to Inauguration Day. And in both cases, I prefer looking at the “net” numbers (positive ratings minus negative ratings). So time to make my own graphs based on Pollster’s trend lines:

I’ve gone all the way back to the beginning of October to show the last inflection point prior to the election. Trump’s favorability reversed direction and started improving around the middle of October after bottoming out at -25.4%. (Bottoming out for that time period anyway, he was worse than -30% at a couple times prior to winning the nomination.) Roughly speaking this last pre-election reversal came somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd debate.

Then after he won the election the improvement in his favorability accelerated dramatically, moving to by far the best levels he had ever seen. Presumably this comes from people just feeling more positively about him simply because he won the election. Since December 1st, Trump’s net favorability has stayed in a very narrow 1.8% band from -5.6% at the best, to -7.4% at the worst. For all intents and purposes, Trump’s favorability has been flat for over three months now. Now, it has never been positive, but it has not been getting worse for Trump…  or better. Just flat.

As of inauguration day though, there was an additional measure. Job Approval. This actually started out positive, with more people approving of Trump’s performance in the job than disapproving. But this didn’t last long. Aside from a slight bump toward the end of February, the trend has been down. The longer Trump has been President, the lower his net job approval is going. It will be interesting to see how far this trend continues.

The favorability line has been the line I have watched more, leaving me with the impression that the public is so polarized that virtually nobody is changing their mind (in either direction) about Trump. But the job approval numbers tell a different story. This number is indeed shifting, and shifting away from Trump dramatically. Why the difference?

Well, of course, these are different sorts of questions. Favorability essentially measures how the public feels about a person in general. How much they “like” them. Job approval specifically measures how people think the person is doing in the job. It is very possible for someone to feel favorable about Trump (that is, they like him), while still thinking he is doing a bad job.

That is exactly what we seem to be seeing. Quite a few people are shifting toward thinking that they don’t approve of how Trump is actually performing in the job of President… but they still aren’t at the point where they will say they don’t like him.*

My gut feel is that while the job approval number is important, the real signal of a change in Trump’s political fortunes will be if the favorability numbers start to drop as well. We haven’t seen that yet. In fact he is still doing quite a bit better than he was right before the election. But surely if job approval keeps falling, at some point favorability will too… right?

(Meanwhile, I noticed another curiosity, which is that even while all this other stuff has been going on, ever since last summer… so well before the election… right track / wrong track numbers have been been moving dramatically toward right track… although wrong track does still win… What is up with that?)

*This is also where looking at separate trend lines on job approval for approve and disapprove rather than just the net value is interesting despite my preference for the net, because it looks like approve numbers are flat, while disapprove numbers are growing, which means that it isn’t so much people shifting from approve to disapprove, as folks who were undecided picking a side… the disapprove side. But I don’t think this changes the overall picture I’ve described.

 

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Not talking about that

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about the latest developments on Trump’s immigration policies, but after that, they do something they haven’t done in a while. Lightning rounds! And ones that include some non-political things too! They can’t avoid SOME additional political talk, but they also discuss wireless headphones, the new discovery of 7 potentially Earth-like planets, Cloudbleed, and more!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-02-24
Length this week – 2:03:03

  • (0:01:30-0:09:17) But First
    • Shouting at customers
    • Agenda
  • (0:10:33-0:43:27) Immigration
    • New travel ban planning
    • Prioritization changes
    • Roundups and escalations
    • Role of laws and congress
    • Scared people
    • Only some countries matter
    • Relations with Mexico
  • (0:45:27-1:17:52) Lightning Round 1
    • Cab accident
    • Movie: Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
    • Movie: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
    • Flagged for abusing Trump
    • Wireless headphones
    • New Earth-like planets
    • Republican town halls
    • Obamacare
  • (1:18:56-) Lightning Round 2
    • Cloudbleed
    • Trump infosec
    • Trump polls
    • What might move polls?
    • Choices for Democrats
    • IC trying to bring down Trump?

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Head in a Vat

It isn’t going to slow down, it is? Ivan and Sam take on Week 2 of the Trump presidency, which was just as nuts as the first week. They cover the immigration executive order and the reaction to it, the NSC shuffle and Trump’s contentious calls with Mexico and Australia, the riots in Berkley, the SCOTUS nomination and the Democratic response, what Republicans are planning on Obamacare, 25th amendment possibilities… and a lot more! Oh, and it was Ivan’s birthday. Happy Birthday Ivan!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-02-03
Length this week – 2:16:23

  • (0:00:36-0:20:22) But First
    • Happy Birthday Ivan
    • Agenda
    • Busy week
    • Ivan’s campaigns
    • Attending protests
    • Opinions changing?
  • (0:22:21-1:00:45) Immigration Order (mostly)
    • Was it a Muslim ban?
    • What the order did
    • Incompetence or cunning?
    • Process and purpose of EOs
    • Polling on the Order
    • Impacted people
    • Spontaneous demonstrations
    • Defying court orders?
    • Monday Night Massacre
  • (1:01:54-1:31:01) International Issues (mostly)
    • NSC shuffle
    • Russia call
    • Mexico call
    • Australia call
    • Yemen raid
    • Berkley riot
    • Quebec attack
  • (1:31:50-2:16:03) Domestic Stuff (mostly)
    • SCOTUS Nominee
    • Democratic Response
    • Trump vs Republicans
    • Bowling Green Massacre
    • Obamacare
    • 25th Amendment
    • How will the Trump presidency end?
    • Retreating from the news

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Under the Thumb

Election 2016 is done! Trump won! Everybody is surprised! So of course we have a super-long election wrap up! Darryl joins Sam and Ivan to discuss the Election Graphs and Horsesass electoral college models, what went right, what went wrong, and what we can learn for next time. Then all three discuss the reaction to and ramifications of Trump’s victory. For maybe the last time for a few years, it is an all election, all politics show!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2016-11-11
Length this week – 2:24:32

  • (0:00:10-1:05:00) Polling Post Mortem
    • Surprise!
    • Darryl’s Final Projections
    • Suspicious Polls
    • Where polls went wrong
    • Sources of poll uncertainty
    • Last minute Trump surge?
    • Actually very very close
    • National polls
    • Sam’s post mortem
    • Problems with the odds
    • Turnout
  • (1:06:10-2:24:12) The Aftermath
    • Our reactions
    • Reactions from the right
    • Trump’s appeal to the white working class
    • Clinton’s weaknesses
    • Republican Obstruction strategy
    • Would Sanders have won?
    • Should Democrats obstruct?
    • The Republican agenda
    • Anti-Trump protests
    • Which Trump do we get?
    • Future of the parties
    • Bold Predictions
    • Calling Trump voters racist
    • Radicalization

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Covered in Butter

We’ve almost made it! Election 2016 is finally here. In this last episode before the actual votes are tallied, Sam and Ivan start out with some updates from the Republicans Sam interviewed in May and some feedback from a listener, then jump into the campaign events of the last week, before finally discussing faithless electors and final thoughts on what is likely to happen when the votes are counted. This is it folks. We’ve made it to the end. Almost.

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2016-11-05
Length this week – 1:53:34

  • (0:00:10-0:46:14) Updates and Feedback
    • Agenda
    • Update from Matthew
    • Update from Bruce
    • Feedback from Lenny
  • (0:047:17-1:24:20) Election 2016 – The Last Week
    • Comey Letter
    • Illegal Melania / Trump Affair
    • Secret Trump Server? (No.)
    • Russia DNC Hack
    • Last minute Trump baiting?
    • Trump on Obama heckler
    • Trump rape case
  • (1:24:59-1:53:14) Election 2016 – The Election Itself
    • Faithless WA Elector
    • Polling Update
    • House and Senate
    • Ground Game, Early Vote, Hispanic Vote
    • Clinton beating the polls?

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Just Use Bleach

With less than two weeks until the election, Curmudgeon’s Corner this week is of course fully election themed. We discuss the campaign developments of the last week, but also look at larger themes of the divisions in today’s America, what may happen after the elections, how Trump took over the Republican party, and… oh… Ivan got polled!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2016-10-28
Length this week – 1:27:44

  • (0:01:37-0:49:36) Election 2016 Part 1
    • Ivan’s cold
    • Divisions in America
    • Trump’s Republican takeover
    • After the election?
    • Polls and odds
    • Does Trump know he is going to lose?
    • Ivan got polled by Gravis!
    • Polling methods
    • Voting logistics
    • Yard signs
    • Trump black support
  • (0:50:45-1:27:24) Election 2016 Part 2
    • Cooking curry
    • Things we aren’t talking about
    • Quiet campaign week
    • Clinton Foundation
    • Pence’s plane
    • Biden for Secretary of State
    • Filibusters
    • Scott Adams analysis
    • Trump in the primaries
    • Newt and Kelly
    • Flat race
    • Bill Weld for Clinton?

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Topping the First One

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner… what else? Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump. After a short bit on Hurricane Matthew, we dive into Trump’s taxes, then the Veep debate. We had originally ended the show there, but after the big Trump news Friday, we came back and recorded a bonus segment on the 2005 tape and the beginnings of the aftermath. The situation is still unfolding, but we had to stop and actually get the show out!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
 View Podcast in iTunes
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Download MP3 File
Follow the podcast on Facebook
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Show Details:

Recorded 2016-10-07
Length this week – 2:06:16

  • (0:01:26-0:21:11) But First
    • Agenda
    • Curmudgeon’s Corner Mug
    • Hurricane Matthew
  • (0:22:15-0:54:38) Trump Taxes
    • Background
    • How did he lose the billion?
    • Lying Trump
    • Political impact
    • Sam’s polling frustrations
    • Polling update
    • Undecided and 3P votes
  • (0:55:42-1:24:36) Veep Debate and More
    • The debate was boring
    • Kaine’s annoying interruptions
    • Pence pretends Trump doesn’t exist
    • Pence 2020?
    • Hidden voters?
    • Impact of the VP debate
    • The next debate
    • Bringing up Bill?
    • False Goodbye
  • (1:24:50-2:06:16) Bonus Segment!
    • Trump tape
    • Who is surprised?
    • Crude comments
    • Juana scolds Ivan
    • How much does this hurt Trump?
    • Clinton speech transcripts
    • Trump meltdown coming?
    • Republican damage control
    • Straight party ticket
    • 3rd party voters
    • Defections begin
    • Too late to dump Trump?
    • Long term damage from 2016
    • False goodbye 2
    • Final update

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.