Knock Knock, Anybody Out There?

Not for nothing, and yeah, highly doubtful Donkin’ in the Rockies is even in anyone’s blog feed anymore, but looks like I may have been talked into bringing this here lil’ blog back from the dead.

Of course, it clearly won’t be about online poker anymore…this here donkey cashed out nearly a year ago and, while I’ve been actively keeping up with developments from Black Friday and beyond, I’ve got no horse in that race, and I’m still pretty certain we’re at least 2-3 years away, minimum, from the post-post-UIGEA world.

No, no, no, this blog will be about something else, here’s a hint:

Early fall in Colorado? Perfect day to drive. Fast.

Okay, that’s not all it’s going to be about…but as The Good Doctor Mondo has suggested to me many, many times (backed up by our dearest old car-collecting friend), there may be a bit of room out there for a decent blog whose subject is one’s first sports car ownership experience.  And wow, we have certainly experienced our share of the unexpected and otherwise, these last few months, beginning from our original decision to jump into the world of classic sports car ownership, through our summer purchase, and even up to the present day.
 
Yes, I will continue to write about many things music, politics, the Colorado Rockies… I may even write about poker on rare occasion.  But mostly, this reimagined blog out here shall attempt to be a bit of a diary on the
 
Also, I’ve moved on from Blogger as a platform, and have jumped ship to WordPress.  Blogger, you were once an attractive young thing, and I’d like to think we gave of ourselves to each other in roughly equal measure, but you’re just no longer what I need.  No, no, no, it’s not you, it’s me.  I promise.  Let’s stay friends, though.
 
Of course, I’m still going to need to bring over as much of my old blogroll as is still active, and maybe add a few new ones, perhaps a bit of decorating around site, etc.  Very much a work in progress, as am I.  As we all are, I should hope.  So grab a seat and a beverage, stick around a bit.  We’ll be showing LeMans in HD once the sun goes down…

Checking Out

And here is how my final online experiences ended:

(all in on the flop)

(all in on the turn)

(all in preflop)

Cashed out 95% of my roll a few weeks ago, and just played the rest. My last three $24+2 took my account to zero (Stars and Bodog already zeroed out). No regrets. No deposits since 2007, and I withdrew in the very very low four figures. My time is worth more per hour than what I ever got out of online poker, and frankly, when 80% hands play as 40% hands in reality, and a coinflip means you’re actually a 6:1 dog, I just don’t see the point.

It’s simply not fun getting it in repeatedly ahead and loving almost every time, while having to read about the more successful exploits of others, who all to often seem to simply benefit more from living on the anointed side of variance.

So I leave it to the rest of you, I’ve got better things to do in 2011 and beyond. I’ll leave the blog up for a bit, but I doubt I’ll be writing here any further.

Take care.

Workin’ On Da Cash Money Tip

I must say, this has really been an up and down year for me, poker-wise. I’ve had some fairly decent successes (well, given my low buyin levels), and I’ve had at least my share of failure. But it’s been an interesting year, to be certain.

Not too long ago, I took a look back at all of my records, those I’ve kept at home, as well as those from events recorded over at OPR and the like. As it turns out, I learned something I found interesting, and a bit unexpected. Of all of the best poker sites to make money over the long run, over all of the sites I’ve played on over the years, I’ve actually made more profit over at Full Tilt than at any other site.

I credit a lot of that to that long old chestnut of taking 2nd in a $16k guarantee ages and ages and ages and ages ago, (such that it doesn’t even appear on OPR). Does my lack of ability to exceed that cash in the intervening time mean anything? I don’t know, maybe I just got completely balls out of my skull lucky back then. But there were successes afterward, just not as much.

Which brings me to today…my tilt issues this year have been legendary, at least in my own home. So, I’ve taken a bit of time off of poker, and cashed out a nice chuck of what I had, in order to make The Good Doctor Mondo’s birthday a lovely event. There’s zero risk of tilt in that.

The most pleasant aspect of the whole deal was how fast the checks came in, especially given UIGEA. Of course, only one of them was in the four figures…and low four figures, at that, which probably helped.

Good luck on the felt, ya’ll.

Where Do We Go From Here? – Part Deux

Continuing from my previous post on the impending Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives, if you haven’t heard by now, there is one issue of great importance, and near-immediate salience to the Tea Party movement, that will surely make its presence known very shortly into the 112th Congress, and it is this:

The current statutory debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion will be reached some time between February and June 2011. At that point, if the debt ceiling is not raised, the federal government can no longer borrow any money, and can no longer pay its bills or service its existing debt, the government will be in financial default.

And on top of that, the government will reach that ceiling based on already passed current spending and debt service, meaning that no band-aid of cutting a few programs of discretionary spending here and there will prevent the ceiling from being reached. It could postpone it by a few weeks, hence the somewhat wide range of expected target dates.

Think about that for a moment.

There’s a whole metric assload of brand new freshly minted Republicans and tea partiers storming in to Washington on a platform of “NO MORE DEBT”, “STOP THE SPENDING”, “CUT TAXES FOR THE MILLIONAIRES”, etc., etc., etc., who will soon be forced to take a stand on a bill that will either allow the government to take on another trillion or two in debt, or cause all government borrowing to stop, the government to default on its existing loans, and immediately push the world banking system into panic, likely sending stock markets down 50% overnight.

There’s no middle ground there, it will have to be one or the other.

To paraphrase, Whatcha Gonna Do when Debt-a-mania runs wild on you?

This brings us to a fascinating dilemma for Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell, as well as the entire new incoming class of Republicans, and their likeminded predecessors (Demint, Bachmann, Ron Paul, Issa, etc.). No extension to the debt limit can pass in 2011 without significant Republican votes. Same goes for the Senate.

Here we have an entire subset of Congress who adamantly refuses to add on to the debt. Well, here comes your chance to prove it. And just to add to the intrigue, to see how tightly you’ll cling to those principles, a smart House minority leader (it won’t be Pelosi) will tell his caucus to vote against it, thereby forcing the new House majority’s hand. The Democrats may have learned a lot from watching two years of the Party of No…perhaps they put those lessons to use, putting the new far right on the ultimate spot.

So, you’re the Republican-led House of Representatives. Do you want to be the party responsible for plunging the free world into an instant depression and worldwide bank panic when the United States defaults on its debt? Or were all those Tea Party friendly sentiments just more of the same common campaign lies, with you willing to sell out all those who believed you when you were preaching your “END THE SPEND” in front of your grassroots gatherings of a couple dozen folks? Are you willing to put yourself on the 2012 Tea Party hitlist like Scott Brown has already done? Are you willing to turn your back so quickly on those who got you there? Or, do you dance with who brung ya and stand by your principles and shut down the entire free world economy to prove a point?

If you’re Rand Paul, you’re already declaring “no compromise” in your victory speeches. Okay….goody gumdrops.

If you’re Harry Reid (or the next Senate Majority Leader, please), let’s put Rand to the test. No raise in the debt ceiling can pass without a lot of Democratic votes, but one can pass with the votes of all Republicans and a wee couple of Democrats. First thing you do is, you don’t even schedule a vote on it until after the House votes. If the tea partiers in the House do show their backbone and vote down the higher ceiling, then you don’t even have to risk anything….but if it passes the House and comes to you, just make sure you get about 46 “no” votes, and there you have it. The Senate Tea Partiers will be held to the ultimate test…and America will be able to see in very short order how strongly they hold their alleged core values.

I, for one, can’t wait to watch this play out.

Now, this is true, even if the most hard core Tea Party members all vote “no”, and the Democrats in the House vote no, a “yes” vote by the remaining Republicans in the House could still put such a bill at the 218 votes necessary for it to pass. Maybe. Depends on how you define “hard core”. But then that makes vulnerable all of those who do vote for it to being put on the Tea Party 2012 hit list, as well, and there are plenty who won their 2010 races by slim enough margins that they won’t take that chance.

From an Associated Press article via Huffington Post today:

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, planning to take over as speaker now that Republicans have won the House, said that over the next few months he’ll look at ways to work with his new tea party caucus to pass legislation they will oppose like increasing the debt limit.

Of course, there are already plenty of indications of how this is going to work out, given how some of the Tea Party stars are already showing their stripes. After having campaigned as the ultimate Washington outsider, who does Rand Paul hire as his chief of staff? From the same article:

Tea Party hero Rand Paul moved immediately to name an insider as chief of staff for his Senate office. Doug Stafford, a longtime GOP operative in Washington, has been his top political consultant and is vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and as a consultant to the Campaign for Liberty.

So much for bringing a fresh outsider’s perspective to Washington. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Personally, I’m banking on the Tea Partiers caving in to Boehner and McConnell’s demands, for the most part, in exchange for some really sweet committee assignments and earmarks. You know, business as usual. Much like how Rick Scott led one of the greatest Medicare frauds in history and now runs on a “cut government spending” platform. Ambitious folk will say anything to get elected. But when the rubber meets the road, the newly minted members of Congress will lose their moral bearings the very moment the Armey/Koch troops come in to demand legislative repayment for all the attack ad funding that got them their seats in the first place. And so it goes.

Really, it’s no different than their insistence on maintaining the unpaid-for Bush tax cuts for the top 2% wealthiest Americans, who are anything but middle class, and eliminating the estate tax which already affects less than 1% of the entire United States population, both of which scenarios are unpaid for and add to the federal debt precisely because they are unpaid for. But it’s what the deep pockets that funded Crossroads GPS and the Tea Party Express wanted, so those are the positions you get.

This is not to dimish the serious nature of our rising debt at all. It is a major issue, and it needs to be tackled. We can start be eliminating all existing loopholes in the tax codes…you know, the ones that let companies shift all their costs to U.S. subsidiaries while shifting all their assets to subsidiaries in tax haven countries, so they can pretend they’re not profitable here for tax purposes while they continue to make money hand over fist. There’s a recent wonderful article about the phenomenon here.

We can also start by ending all farm subsidies now. Why the hell should your tax dollars (and mine) go to a direct handout, right? Sure, that will drive up the cost of food products, and probably put some U.S. farms out of business. But hey, no more government handouts, right? Though it’s rather ironic how much of tea party country is in rural, farming America, ain’t it. But I digress….

We can also stop with all these science and technology grants to companies where, you know, you build your 30 person design shop here, we’ll waive all of your taxes and pay your infrastructure improvements with local tax dollars while you offshore the 1,000 employee factory that actually builds what you design, but in India. We can also stop buying future ultra tech weapon programs that we don’t need today and aren’t effective against small mountain terrorist insurgencies. Those are all places to start. I’m sure there’s more. Beyond, of course, bringing back our entire expeditionary military from Iraq and Afghanistan and South Korea right now. That will save hundreds of billions per year.

But then, even if all of the previous two paragraphs were to come true in the next few months, none of it will prevent us from hitting that dreaded debt ceiling in spring of 2011, which brings us right back to the impending dilemma.

Time to go buy some microwave popcorn. In bulk.

Where Do We Go From Here?

So the 2010 elections are pretty much in the books, pending a few likely recounts, and what did it all mean? What did we learn, and what lies ahead of us now?

Well, the most obvious takeaway is that the Democrats got their hats and asses handed to them on a paper plate. Nationally, the Republicans pretty much wiped the floor with the Democrats on every level, from U.S. House and Senate races, to governor races, and certainly in state legislative races. I wouldn’t be surprised if electoral earthquakes were felt at the county dog catcher level.

The Democrats lost the narrative, and they very clearly lost the outside expenditure battle by a factor of about 37452 to 1. More notably, they failed to accurately portray the obstructionist nature of the minority party in the 111th United States Congress. The filibuster tactic was employed in the U.S. Senate more times since January 2008 than in any other Congress ever. Ever. The Republicans managed to filibuster more judicial appointments (and continue to do so) than at any time in previous history, and have acted in a manner completely contrary to their own position five years ago that holding up presidential judicial appointments is unconstitutional.

However, Harry Reid has also been an abject failure as Majority Leader, in my opinion. Faced with such a record number of threatened filibusters, he failed to actually require the Republicans to go through with their threatened filibusters by actually filibustering a bill. You know, by actually having to get up on their feet and prattle on for 96 hours straight about nothing in particular until you either give up or convince the majority to withdraw the bill. This candy ass tactic of pulling bills back without actually making the minority filibuster the old fashioned way allowed and further encouraged McDonnell in his obstructionist game.

If the Democrats learn anything from yesterday’s elections, I hope it’s that Harry Reid has no business continuing to serve as majority leader, because he sucks at it. His and Pelosi’s lack of congressional leadership have at least as much to do with yesterday’s failure as the Obama administration’s failure to highlight the things they actually accomplished, that a majority of Americans would consider as good things (and yes, those accomplishments actually do exist).

I would have rooted for Reid’s electoral defeat entirely, had Nevada Republicans not nominated such a batshit crazy basket case to represent them. Which brings me to my next subject: What of Sarah Palin, and what was the real value of her endorsement?

Patient Zero Mama Grizzly handed out endorsements to a few dozen candidates nationwide, in U.S. and statewide races. And how did things turn out? Well, approximately half of her endorsees won their electoral battles. This doesn’t sound too shabby, right? But think again. This was an election Sarah Barracuda called an “earthquake”. A greater number of House seats changed hands than at any time in the last 62 years. The Democrats were running scared and dropping like flies on the side of the road. This was the most encouraging environment for Republican candidates in decades, and yet Sarah’s preferred candidates won only about half their races.

More notably, some of her highest profile endorsees (Christine O’Donnell, Tom Tancredo, Sharron Angle, Carly Fiorina) all went down hard. And it appears Joe Miller’s candidacy is crashing, as well, though results won’t be official there for a while. What does this all mean, other than the fact that she can’t even get a candidate elected in her own home state?

It’s instructive to take a look at her actual endorsees, some of whom ran effective campaigns and stayed away from some of the most outrageous sentiments expounded by those who lost. Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Marco Rubio…in each case, these individuals managed to present themselves as thoughtful, bright candidates without a history of hypocrisy, and they campaigned on platforms of conservative-friendly policies, but without the most extreme rhetoric, without the most extreme positions, and without Palinesque levels of vitriol and vindictiveness.

In other words, people such as Haley, Martinez, and Rubio were just plain old-fashioned good candidates and most likely candidates who, in the current electoral climate, were perfectly capable of winning their races with or without Palin’s endorsement and did not even need it. And those candidates who probably “benefited” the most from Palin’s endorsements (O’Donnell, Miller, Angle) still lost either in spite of, or because of, those endorsements. Why? Because they were bad candidates. Either their own actions betrayed their candidacies, or they simply proved their own lack of qualifications. Ultimately, Sarah Palin will likely pay a higher price for those misplaced endorsements, as she as seen as even less unqualified as a presidential candidate than she was viewed in 2008.

That said, my contention all along is that she actually has little to no interest in (or stomach for) the two year presidential election process. Rather, the entire “will she or won’t she” narrative is about keeping her in the public eye while the speaking engagement checks continue to roll in. It’s all about the filthy lucre for Clan Palin. But hey, that’s the New American way…prove your lack of job qualifications, but get yourself on TV and quoted often enough, and there’s a seven-figure commentating gig for you on FNC. The ink’s probably already being laid to O’Donnell’s new daytime talker as I write this. The 2008 presidential campaign was the most financially successful reality show starring role. Lauren Conrad probably wishes she’d thought of it first.

So….okay. Given the jobless nature of this nascent, teetering economic recovery, and given the nature of midterm elections, the Democrats were likely going to lose a lot of seats. And they deserved to.

And now?

The next two years are going to require actual Republican contributions to any and all legislation that passes. They no longer get to be the Party of No. After all, they’ll have the majority in the House, and no legislation can pass the Senate without the support of at least, at a minimum, no less than four members of the party not driving the bill, and that’s just to get to 51 votes. It will take at least nine Republicans to get to a filibuster-proof majority on Dem-sponsered bills, and thirteen Democrats to get to a filibuster-proof majority on McDonnell-approved legislation.

This means Obama will not be dictating any sort of congressional agenda for the next two years (and given the watered-down nature of both the health care law and the Wall Street regulatory law, it’s arguable how much he ultimately dictated those bills). It also means the Republicans have to actually be productive members of Congress and no mere procedural obstructionist roadblocks.

You wanted a chance to come off the bench and swing the bat? Now’s your chance. Batter up. Prove you can actually legislate and not just bloviate. We’re waiting. But beware, there’s some pretty big traps out there, the biggest and baddest of which I’ll address in my next post….