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: Implosive Growth

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Ivan makes his triumphant return, once again joining Sam to talk about the issues of the day. The main topics this time: The healthcare debacle, the future Republican agenda, and the Gorsuch confirmation process. Rounding it out, a little discussion of the intersection of politics and ideology, fiscal responsibility, and Sam discusses a book he read. Fun stuff!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-03-29
Length this week – 1:44:02

  • (0:00:10-0:24:08) But First
  • (0:25:50-0:50:18) Healthcare Debacle
  • (0:51:38-1:29:01) The Republican Agenda
  • (1:30:04-1:43:42) Gorsuch Confirmation

 

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: That list is big!

Once again Ed and Bruce join Sam on Curmudgeon’s Corner. This week we have both Trump and non-Trump topics! On the Trump side, with Ed: Trump/Russia, the healthcare debate, and America’s wars. On the non-Trump side, with Bruce: Hyperloop technology, old school retail, terrorism, and Internet privacy. And as an extra bonus, everybody talks about their favorite podcasts. Other than this one. This is of course everybody’s favorite podcast. That doesn’t have to be said.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-03-24
Length this week – 2:55:55

  • (0:00:10-0:06:04) Intro
    • Ivan still out
    • Agenda
  • (0:06:41-0:41:57) Ed from Pennsylvania Part 1
    • Fitness
    • Favorite Podcasts
    • Russia Stuff
  • (0:42:36-1:08:34) Ed from Pennsylvania Part 2
    • Healthcare
    • Distractions
    • Fighting the last war
  • (1:10:34-1:46:03) Bruce from Washington Part 1
    • Facebook Discussion
    • Small World!
    • TV Update
    • Favorite Podcasts
    • Hyperloop
    • Old School Retail
  • (1:47:18-2:19:56) Bruce from Washington Part 2
    • Last week’s guilt
    • London attack and terrorism
    • US making things worse
    • Alex Interlude
    • Internet Privacy
  • (2:21:17-2:55:16) Sam on Podcasts
    • Favorite podcasts with Alex help
    • The rest of the favorites on my own
    • News update podcasts

 

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.

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: Two Way Split

This week on the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast Sam is joined by guest co-hosts Ed and Bruce. Ed’s segment is mostly about the healthcare debate, with a touch of budget talk and a note on the Ides of Trump. Then Bruce joins the show to provide a Libertarian perspective on Trump’s first eight weeks in office. And even though he is out this week, Ivan wasn’t going to be left out completely, so he sent in a letter with his thoughts for the week.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-03-18
Length this week – 2:35:38

  • (0:00:11-0:09:45) But First
    • Agenda
    • Letter from Ivan
    • Sam’s Guilt
  • (0:10:24-1:18:10) Ed from Pennsylvania
    • Pennsylvania Weather
    • Ides of Trump
    • Healthcare Debate
    • Trump Budget
  • (1:18:49-2:30:44) Bruce from Washington
    • Television Woes
    • Election Night Schadenfreude
    • A Libertarian view of Trump
    • Better than Hillary?
    • Ineffective vs Dangerous Trump?
    • Russia Hype
    • Surveillance
  • (2:32:26-2:35:17) Wrap Up

 

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: The Red Button is Bad

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan hit three big issues: Trump’s accusation that Obama ordered wiretaps, the new Executive Order on immigration, and the plan to replace Obamacare. Along the way we also touch on an odd constitutional edge case, how Priebus is doing as Chief of Staff, and the usual weekly Russia updates.

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-03-08
Length this week – 1:49:16

  • (0:00:42-0:13:15) But First
    • Agenda
    • Material
    • Sam Sick Kid
    • Ivan Travels
  • (0:14:58-0:54:53) Trump Wiretap / Russia
    • The Accusation
    • Not Defending Trump
    • Trusting Trump
    • Trump Attention Span
    • Russia Connections Again
    • Trump vs Pence
    • Constitutional Edge Case
  • (0:55:57-1:14:53) Immigration
    • New Executive Order
    • Does it get struck down again?
    • Knives out for Priebus
  • (1:16:53-1:48:56) Healthcare
    • Summary of Republican Plan
    • Objections from the Left
    • Objections from the Right
    • Motives of plan supporters
    • Politics of the plan
    • Why not actually repeal first?
    • Prospects of the plan

 

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: The Russia Trump Show

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner… well… Trump and Russia again. We had no choice! It just keeps coming up! In any case, we also talk about the “deconstruction of the administrative state” as a goal of the Trump presidency on the politics side. But we take non-political detours into cleanliness and tidiness, Windows 10, Elon Musk’s Moon plans, and cord cutting too. So a nice well rounded show!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-03-03
Length this week – 1:48:32

  • (0:01:05-0:19:40) But First
    • Agenda
    • Cleaning and Tidiness
    • Windows 10
  • (0:21:24-0:53:24) Russia Again
    • The Best Interpretation
    • Unforced Errors
    • Dems overplaying?
    • Smoke implies fire?
    • More coming?
    • Will Sessions resign?
    • Recusal enough?
  • (0:54:40-1:20:38) Deconstruction
    • Goals of the administration?
    • Destroy from within?
    • Unfilled spots
    • Plan? What is a plan?
    • Regulations
    • Deconstructing repsonsibly
    • Aimless agencies
    • War on experts
  • (1:21:58-1:48:13) Two Bolts
    • Trip to the Moon
    • Cord Cutting

 

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: 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!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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 View Podcast in iTunes
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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: Not a Round Number

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner Ivan is back, joining Sam to talk about the issues of the day. On the agenda… Russia, Russia, Russia… for some reason Russia keeps coming up when we talk about Trump. Also, the disfunction and incompetence in the Trump administration have been on display again, and they spend some time talking about the ramifications to Trump and the rest of the Republicans. And they celebrate an anniversary… sorta! Oh, yeah, and Ivan’s voice was going, so he sounds like a frog. Enjoy!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-02-18
Length this week – 2:09:09

  • (0:00:00-0:08:13) Retrospective
  • (0:08:30-0:23:36) But First
    • Sick Ivan
    • GPS Mishap
    • Milestone
  • (0:24:51-1:08:05) Russia Russia Russia
    • Mike Flynn
    • Broader Russia contacts
    • The craziest conspiracy theories
    • Trump approach to Russia
  • (1:09:25-2:08:50) Incompetence
    • List of fails
    • Agenda stalled
    • Republican tradeoffs
    • What if Trump was liberal?
    • Weak ineffective Trump?
    • 25th Amendment math
    • Trump pool
    • Unhinged presser

 

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: Roundtable

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner… something different! Sam, Ed, Jenn, and Matt host this week. They discuss Elizabeth Warren persisting, Donald Trump’s adventures in foreign policy, and Trump’s court battles. Finally they step back a bit and talk about the lack of civility in politics today. With Ivan out dealing with family issues this week, you get to hear a different range of perspectives than usual. Check it out!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-02-11
Length this week – 1:32:42

  • (0:00:12-0:04:35) Introductions
  • (0:06:17-0:25:06) Jenn’s Topic: Nevertheless, she persisted
  • (0:25:42-0:55:50) Sam’s Topic: Trump and foreign policy
  • (0:56:59-1:12:54) Matt’s Topic: Trump and the judiciary
  • (1:13:58-1:32:22) Ed’s Topic: Vitriol in politics

 

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!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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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.