Out Of 54 Predictions Made For Election Night…

…though a few days late…..how did I do?  I am late in doing this post as two races are still being counted……so with that in mind…..

First, I made 54 predictions.

Seven Ballot Initiatives.  I was right in five of them.  (How could I know that North Dakota would welcome shooting at animals in fenced in ‘shooter ranches’?)

Three Wisconsin State Legislative races.  I was right for all three.

Six Governor races.   I was right in 6 of them…..unless Dayton somehow has problems in the squeaker than I am down one.

Ten House seats.  I was correct in seven of them.

Nineteen Senate races.  I was correct in seventeen of them.  I need to note that Lisa Murkowski is still being counted in Alaska, so if that one somehow turns then I am down one.

I also made 9 percentage predictions.  I was dead on with Kind House seat in WI, and only one percentage off…..but still wrong with Rubio in FL.  Therefore I call 8 mistakes in my percentages. 

So with 54 predictions, and if my math is correct, I had a 72% rating for being correct. 

However, if I take out the predictions for the percentages from the finals and just calculate the races or ballot measures I called correctly my percentage is 84%.

See you all in 2012.

GOP Leadership Says No To Tea Party Regarding Earmarks

The issue, for me, is not earmarks in and of themselves.  One can argue all sorts of things about this part of governing.  To tangle with that issue here is not my intent.  Rather I want to shine a light again on what I knew would be one of the most delightful shows to watch after the elections were over.

The inside fight on Capital Hill between the GOP who created the Tea Party, and those Tea Party members who are now elected and want to flex their muscles.

Problem is the establishment GOP is not so interested in allowing the simplicity of the campaigns to undermine the process of governing.  Nor should they.

I alway tilt my hand in favor of effective governing. 

Lets see what the new speaker-to-be in the House of Representatives thinks about earmarks, and also what the GOP leader in the Senate has to say about a long-term part of how things get done in the real world of politics.

The Tea Party can not be pleased……..  All that shouting and yelling and now the GOP will not just bend over…..where is my copy of the Constitution?   Mom……they are not playing fair!

In an interview with Fox News last night, presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that his caucus would call for a moratorium on congressional earmarks, but not for an outright ban, as the Tea Party movement has demanded.  “Some things that people call earmarks here,” Boehner told Bret Baier, “wouldn’t classify as an earmark to the American people.”  In other words, despite the rhetoric and perhaps piecemeal reforms of the process, little would change.

BAIER: The guys in line to be Chairman [of the Appropriations Committee], they’re big fans of earmarks.

BOEHNER: There’s gonna be an earmark moratorium, it’s pretty clear.

BAIER: Why not an outright ban?

BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn’t classify as an earmark to the American people.

Boehner isn’t alone in distancing himself from one of the Tea Party’s main legislative goals.  Speaking at the Heritage Foundation yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shrugged off a ban, saying, “You can eliminate every congressional earmark and you would save no money. It’s really an argument about discretion.”

Keith Olbermann Was Wrong About Political Donations

First and foremost I want to state upfront that what Keith Olbermann does on his MSNBC show “Countdown” is no more journalism than what Bill O’Reilly does on FAUX News.  They are both personalities that take a partisan side of an issue and present information and entertainment with it. 

That does not make it a news show. 

Do we learn something along the way? 

Bits and pieces, and since I watch Olberman I can claim some insight from his shows when hearing from reporters who are interviewed.  But this is not a news show aimed for any objectivity.  Nor is the program done by O’Reilly.

We all know that.

So let us not confuse what they do with the work Katie Couric, NPR, or the “Newshour” on PBS achieves.   Real reporters and journalists make up the three just listed.  

There are many steps to the making of a real news show, and no one can seriously claim at either MSNBC or FAUX News they are in that business.  They impart information, but they lack the totality of making what they do top-notched journalism.

Having said that however, comes the rules and regulations that MSNBC had made clear about how far out of the box those on MSNBC could stray with political acts.  All news operations have to have such guidelines.  All the hosts on these networks are big-time enough to understand the need for such rules, and should all be smart enough to follow them.

Everyone knows about the all-out blurring of lines with FAUX News and the Republican Party.  That is what makes the Keith Olbermann story more upsetting.  While FAUX News allows several presidential contenders to be on-air partisan attack dogs on a regular basis, and makes no bones about the money they funnel to the GOP, it is clear why some lines have to be drawn and followed.  When they are not, well……we end up with FAUX News!

When NPR released Juan Williams for his anti-muslim remarks a few weeks ago I was in agreement with the action as the highly regarded news operation needed to insure that the work they do retains both objectivity and credibility.  To the degree that MSNBC needs to rise to the level they aspire to should not be undermined by an anchor, who though topped rated, thought he could do whatever he desired.

No on is surprised that Keith Olbermann is a liberal Democrat. 

I am however surprised how Keith Olbermann thinks he can bend rules that are in place for a reason.

A Fall Pumpkin Soup Recipe From Our Home To Yours

A guest chef does my blog today.  But first a quick introduction.

Today was the final outdoor Dane County Farmers’ Market of the season.  Sunshine galore, but chilly winds made me think of hot soup. 

It is that time of year when hearty foods again appear so tantalizing as the seasons change.   One recipe that continues to provide fantastic aromas in the kitchen, plenty of carbs for energy, and loads of flavor when freshly made or placed in the freezer, is the soup that James makes many times every year. Give it a try…..you will be in love.

Now lets head to the kitchen.

pumpkin-soup-fixings1.jpg

Savory Pumpkin Soup
From the Kitchen of James

I visited Naples, Italy in 1996 and came home ready to recreate several of the dishes that I had tasted there.  This is a hearty Italian soup that is great for any time of year.  It is full of vitamins and minerals, great for building healthy hearts and bones-pumpkin is low calorie, excellent source of beta-carotene and zinc for a healthy immune system and youthful glow.  It only takes about an hour (maybe ninety minutes) to make, roughly 30 minutes on each of two days.  This soup is well-worth the effort!

Going Shopping:

*2 pounds Mild Italian Sausage meat:  (You can buy it in the casing as links or without the casing these days.  Often, the meat in casings is ground more finely and tends to be more tender in the soup, but you do have to cut the casing and remove the meat first, adding an extra step.  To be honest, I generally avoid the step and buy the meat without the casing-just let it gently simmer instead of boiling and it will be just fine!)

*3 large Apples:  Select a nice apple that holds its texture after cooking.  I like a nice Granny Smith apple, but a Gala, Braeburn, or Cortland would also be nice.  A Macintosh will fall apart and is not the most flavorful.

*2 quarts Soup Stock:  You can buy in cans now a vegetable stock or chicken stock which are very good.  Some versions are even low sodium (good for the heart healthy).  Or, you can cheat and use a couple of bouillon cubes of your choice.

Preparation Day One:
Soup Base Ingredients:
2 pounds Mild Italian Sausage Meat
2 Quarts soup stock

*Warm the 2 quarts of soup stock over medium high heat.
*Add to the stock as it heats, the mild Italian sausage meat bit by bit (taking the raw meat, chunk it up in little bite sized pieces by hand, dropping the pieces in the water as you go; this will prevent it from sticking together and making a patty at the bottom).
*Stir occasionally; simmer gently and avoid a rolling boil, which will just make the meat tough, for about 15 minutes (start timing after the last chunk of meat is in the water) or until the meat is cooked thoroughly.
*Let cool in the refrigerator over night.  

Preparation Day Two:
Remaining Ingredients:
2 large or 3 medium Apples, peeled, cored, chopped
3 large Carrots, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped finely (even better with some celery leaves)
1 pie-sized Pumpkin
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

*Begin by removing the meat and soup stock combination from the refrigerator.  With a spoon, scoop out the layer of rendered pork fat that has congealed on the top.  You will be left with the start to a great soup and there will be very little saturated fat in it.
*Reheat in stock pot over medium high heat this soup base.
*Peel, core and chop the apples; peel carrots and chop; wash and chop celery stalks.  Add to soup base.
*Cut open pumpkin; remove seeds (can be toasted in oven by themselves for yummy snack); peel pumpkin and cut into small bite-sized bits.  Add to soup base.
*Add water if necessary-soup should be liquid, and not so thick as a stew.
*Simmer for about 15 minutes or until carrots and pumpkin pieces are no longer hard-the pumpkin will fall apart a bit when pricked with a fork, while the carrots will remain more consistent.
*Add salt and pepper to taste; garnish with some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro.
*Serve piping hot and enjoy!

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Saturday Song: Bobby Darin “Help Me Make It Through The Night “