Monday, April 14, 2014

Noah... No way!

My good friend David Bradford has a fun blog (David Bradford's Blog ) that he uses to apply lessons from life into a business setting... he was a little generous to assign any worthwhile meaning to the recent movie Noah.  So, I commented on his blog and thought I would share it with you here.

My wife had high expectations for the movie Noah.  Me, less so.  It isn't often that I am impressed with the tone and message of Hollywood's interpretation of the spiritual.  And for those attempting to create a "true" account of the biblical scriptures, the art usually tends to be lacking; Ben Hur not withstanding!
noah the story of one of the most epic biblical figures is about to ...

One of the business lessons to be learned from Noah is, don't assume that the other guy believes the same things you believe.  In business, you may be an ethical, moral capitalist, but the other guy may have no such compass to follow and may be dedicated to a win-lose proposition. 

In the case of Noah, going to a "biblical" movie, directed by an atheist, and based not on the Bible account of Noah but on Gnosticism and Kabbalah (see, ) is a perfect example of setting incorrect expectations.

The problem is, in business one is more inclined to conduct due diligence in these matters, in movie going... let's face it, we're there for an escape, buttered popcorn, and a diet coke...

The most redeeming moment of the movie was Emma Watson's character (who is clearly smarter than Russell Crowe's Noah) who lectured Noah that his "failure" was exactly who God knew him to be, one who would not take the innocent lives of babies.  Oh, and I did quite like the depiction of the Ark... seemed pretty sound to me.


Other than that, it wasn't that good of a movie.  Domestic box office was great the first week, and then word of mouth probably brought it down.  This is a movie that has been "redeemed" financially by its international release... the all-star cast certainly gave it legs overseas.

Take the time to read the link from Dr. Brian Mattson above.  Very interesting essay on the movie and its source material.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hough Family Christmas Greeting and Card

Dear Friends,

Celebrating the holidays are always special for me because it signals a time when my family gathers together in a spirit of love and service.  During this time, many of my friends have celebrated Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, in commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple.  For me and my family, we celebrate the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  But I love the idea of rededication
This is a wonderful time for all of us to rededicate ourselves to serving God, serving our neighbors, friends, and family; and especially serving those who are less fortunate than we are. 
It is also a time to rededicate ourselves to being engaged in good causes to better our community, state, nation and the world we live in.  Many people criticize the political process, and there is often much to criticize.  But I hope as the new year emerges we will be invigorated to make a difference by choosing to be involved and by supporting those who share our convictions and beliefs. 
The phrase, "And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” has in the last two centuries been retranslated as " “[O]n earth peace to men of good will.”  This interpretation makes a good case for being men (and women) of good will.  By acting out of good will towards others we will find peace in our lives as a blessing from God.  Peace may be one of God's most precious gifts.  May we act out of good will towards others, whether we agree or disagree with them. 
May God Bless each of you in the coming year. 

All my best from my family to yours, 

Bruce R. Hough
National Committeeman, Utah


Thursday, October 17, 2013

NASDAQ weighs in on Apple Fail and Obamacare Fail Analogy

I'm not the only who gets the Apple Fail and Obamacare Fail Analogy.  This mornings NASDAQ Briefing had this commentary attached... Note that Apple spent $150,000,000 to develop the iPhone and the Federal Government is up to over $600,000,000 to setup a website to connect to insurance companies... Do you understand why it is a bad idea to continue to rely on the Federal Government to do things best left to the private sector?

Why Government Tech Is So Bad

Just before hobbled online, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, compared the federal health-care exchange to her iPad's new operating system.

If users found a few bugs in their iPads, she argued, most wouldn't consider them a complete disaster. Instead, they'd recognize that technology is complicated, that errors are common, and they'd wait for an update. Apple Inc., she added, has "a few more resources" than her department, so "hopefully [citizens will] give us the same slack they give Apple."

That argument is as clueless as it is misleading. While it's true that Apple is fantastically wealthy, its product-development costs aren't necessarily greater than those of the federal government. As Fred Vogelstein reports in his coming book, Apple spent about $150 million developing the iPhone. The health-insurance exchange--which, let's remember, is merely a website meant to connect citizens to insurance companies, something quite a bit less complex than Apple's groundbreaking miniature computer--so far has cost at least $360 million, and possibly as much as $600 million.

So how can the government spend so much more on technology and not get anywhere near equal results? That gets to the larger problem with Ms. Sebelius's iPad argument: When Apple royally screws up, the world doesn't cut it any "slack," and that's a good thing. Note what happened last fall, when Apple replaced Google Inc.'s maps app with its own half-baked version: iPhone users rebelled, the tech press went ape and, within a few days, Chief Executive Tim Cook apologized and eventually fired the company's mobile-software chief.

In consumer tech, performance matters. When things go wrong, customers balk, investors flee, and heads roll. In the government, despite several attempts at reform, few of these consequences seem to apply.

Isn't it time that changed? has been described as a failure by many experts, including supporters of the health law--is only the latest in a series of faulty, overpriced governmental tech launches during administrations of both parties.

It doesn't have to be this way. There's nothing inherent about the phrase "government technology" that should inspire a parade of incompetence; the tech needs of the feds don't have to be vastly more complicated, expensive or legally daunting than the rest of the world's. Instead, the problem is a lack of accountability. As Ms. Sebelius's comments underscore, there's an expectation, bolstered by the historical record, that the government can't do tech well, so we're all expected to forgive its glaring shortcomings.

The truth is that the government could revamp its tech house. For less money than we currently spend on IT, and with a smidgen of political will, we could remake the nation's IT infrastructure using off-the-shelf hardware and software and the best tech practices employed by the world's most admired tech companies. If we do so, dealing with the government--whether for health care, contracting, taxes, or for anything else--could really be as painless as buying a book from Amazon.

Though everything in Washington is partisan these days, this thing doesn't have to be. Both Democrats and Republicans ought to be able to get on board with tech reform; it would improve how we all interact with the government and make the whole system more efficient and affordable.

Tech companies, too, should fight for a new way. Today a small number of insiders are awarded the bulk of federal IT contracts. Reforming the way the government buys and uses tech would open up a vast market to companies such as Apple, Google, Inc., a host of upstarts that are currently revolutionizing every other corner of economic life.

When you examine the follies at the heart of, two important factors stand out, experts say. The first is personnel--like many government IT projects, this was implemented by people who don't understand IT. "There's a lack of technology leadership at the agency level, leading to an inability to execute," said Vivek Kundra, who was appointed the nation's first chief information officer by President Barack Obama in 2009 and who is now an executive at the cloud-services company Inc.

Mr. Kundra said that when he was the nation's CIO, the White House pushed a "cloud-first policy" that encouraged government agencies to avoid creating new server farms every time they had to build new websites, which is how the rest of the world works with tech. "It seems like with, a set of decisions were made at the agency level that aren't in line with how modern technology is deployed," Mr. Kundra said.

Why would the government implement the sort of tech infrastructure that no one else would consider? The answer is the mother all problems in government tech: "procurement." That's jargon for the broken process by which the government buys things.

Today, any company looking to work with the government must navigate an obstacle course of niggling, outdated regulations and arbitrary-seeming requirements. For instance, your technology must be Y2K-compliant just to get in the door. The process locks out all but a tiny handful of full-time contractors--companies who also happen to be big federal lobbyists. (Note how CGI Group Inc., which won the largest contract to build, lobbied on behalf of the health-care law.)

Clay Johnson, a former Presidential Innovation Scholar and the CEO of a reform-minded software company called Department of Better Technology, has written a seven-part manifesto on how to fix procurement, a prescription he says would go far in resolving most of the government's tech issues. His upshot: The government should strive to buy tech like the rest of the world does, opening itself up to vastly more vendors, and aligning price with performance. Logistically, none of the steps he outlines would be very difficult to accomplish. It would just require a full-court press from political leaders to make it happen.

These days, that sounds like reason enough for pessimism, though Mr. Johnson argues that government's tech issues are on the verge of reaching a tipping point that will force action.

"Long term, the government is not able to survive if it keeps using outdated technology, because the gap between last year's technology and this year's technology is always exponentially growing," he said. "You walk into the DMV and the person behind the desk has a CRT monitor and you have an iPhone--that leads to a gap to the perception of confidence. We need to fix that if we want the government to maintain some semblance of confidence, and competence."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Map and Obamacare, two peas in a pod?

In the article below, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus quotes the Washington Post suggesting that if Apple Computer had the kind of failure on a new product roll out that Obamacare has had, that heads would roll. 
The reality is, Apple did launch a major new product that functioned badly… the Apple Map program which was a dismal failure at launch.  Apple did two things correctly that we should take a lesson from.  First, CEO Tim Cook immediately apologized for the flawed program and recommended other map programs for their customers to use; and second, they fired the executive and team that was in charge of this colossal failure.  Such a novel idea, serving the best interests of their customers by recommending other programs until they had fixed theirs.  
The difference is, Apple will figure it out.  They have a track record of innovation and performance.  The Federal Government has a record of performance too... Unfortunately, we just keep ignoring it.
The analogy between Apple Maps and the Federal Government's roll-out of Obamacare is astounding.  The problem is big government thinkers simply don’t get it.

It's time to fire Secretary Sebelius
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
October 15, 2013

“If Apple launched a major new product that functioned as badly as ObamaCare’s online insurance marketplace, the tech world would be calling for [CEO] Tim Cook’s head.”

That searing indictment of Obamacare didn’t come from a conservative. Those were the words of the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein — yes, liberal Ezra Klein —and Evan Soltas in a blog post on Oct. 4, just three days after the online Obamacare marketplace opened. They were right.

Now, two full weeks since its launch, the website still isn’t functioning. One CNN reporter began trying to sign up on Oct. 1. As of the morning of Oct. 14, she still hadn’t been able to. A researcher who works for the New York Times has tried and failed to sign up for Obamacare 40 times since the website launched. But the Obama administration continues making excuses for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the people who spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a site that does not work.

How much more money will her department waste — and how much time will Americans waste on the website — before the administration admits they have a problem? In a business, someone would be held accountable for such a large-scale disaster.

When pressed on her failures, Sebelius repeats her favorite line: “We had some early glitches.” A glitch, says Merriam-Webster, is “temporary” and “minor.” For two weeks, the Obamacare website has hardly functioned. That’s not minor or temporary. That’s not a glitch; that’s a systemic failure.

HHS had over three years to build the system, and the launch date still caught them entirely off guard—though not for a lack of warning signs.

The New York Times — yes, the liberal New York Times  documented the many red flags.

ObamaCare’s “chief digital architect” worried the site would be a “third-world experience.” The firm contracted to build the site didn’t start writing code until this past spring. “As late as the last week of September, officials were still changing features of the Web site,” reports the Times. Back in February one insurance executive said he foresaw “a train wreck.” He was right.

It’s bad enough that Sebelius and company produced a terrible taxpayer-funded product. It’s even worse that they didn’t heed the warnings or spot the red flags. They put on a smile, flipped the switch, and sat by as it crashed.

Now there is a very simple way that the Obama administration could prove their critics wrong — a way to back up their claim that this really is all about a few “glitches” and that the site has worked for people. They could release the number of Americans who have enrolled for coverage. But they won’t, saying they don’t know the numbers yet and will only report them monthly.

Think about that for a second. This is not an administration that misses an opportunity to brag. They’ve even leaked sensitive national security information to burnish their image. They could release the numbers if they wanted. The truth, most likely, is that the numbers would prove their many critics right.

Then again, maybe they did such a terrible job building the system that it’s impossible even to do something as simple as count enrollees.

The website is only part of the Obamacare story. The law continues to wreck the economy and endanger the healthcare of Americans. More and more families who already have insurance are now receiving the kind of letters that many Americans dread. They’re being dropped from their current plan.

Writing for US News and World Report, Peter Roff shared an excerpt of the letter he received from his insurance company.

“Among other things, these (Affordable Care Act) requirements will cause your benefits to change to include federally-mandated Essential Health Benefits. Since your current benefit plan does not conform to these new mandates, your current health plan will cease upon your anniversary date,” it said.

Again and again and again, President Obama promised that if you like your plan you could keep it. He lied.

And now what are these families without insurance supposed to do?

Find a new plan on the exchanges.

What a train wreck. Even former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs says, “This was bungled badly,” adding “I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure this thing was supposed to work.”

I agree. And the first person fired should be Secretary Sebelius.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hope for the Republic, the House is doing what it is supposed to do, Finally!

It is hard to comprehend that the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and an MSNBC Reporter, Thomas Roberts could be so clueless about how our Constitutional Republic is supposed to work.

First, Reid asks what give the House the right to "pick and choose" what they will fund. 

Really?  That is EXACTLY what the House is SUPPOSED TO DO!  They are finally doing it, rather than passing huge omnibus bills while most members hold their nose at the inane projects, pork barrel, and unnecessary "necessities" included within.  Click the link to see Harry make the point on why Washington just doesn't get it.

I love that the congress is finally passing funding on a "piecemeal" basis.  That means they KNOW what they are passing out of the house!  Senator Reid you asked, "What gives them the right...?"  Well, to help you out, see what the constitution says about who has the right.

This is what the Constitution defines as the "power of the purse".

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, clause 1

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 9, clause 7

You know, that "balance of power" thing... 

Oh wait, Thomas Roberts thinks that electing the president means there is a "mandate" for whatever he wants and Congress should just rubber stamp his agenda... because after all they are only "1/3 of the power in Washington".  

Guess what, we don't care about the power in Washington, we care about our congressmen and senators doing what we elected them to do and for them to fulfill, uphold, and not abuse their constitutional responsibilities...

Good grief... Roberts can't even make a decent argument reading the White House talking points... GOP Chairman Reince Priebus utterly destroyed Roberts' logic on "majority rules"! 

I recommend that Roberts watch this exchange, apologize to Priebus and take a personal oath to go back and study Journalism before ever conducting another interview.  Hmmm, maybe he is just doing what he was taught... I wonder what liberal University taught him how to do his job.  (remember, he wasn't specifically opining or editorializing which would have carried some kind of disclaimer, he was purportedly "reporting" the news and doing a news interview.) 

All in all, I hope the Congress continues to piece meal funding legislation, until as Harry Reid as properly concluded, "only Obamacare is unfunded!" 

Monday, August 19, 2013

RNC Takes a Stand Against Media Bias

I just returned from a couple of days in Boston for the Republican National Committee summer meetings.  Thematically, we are looking ahead to 2014 and 2016 and are choosing not, as Governor Christy colorfully declared, "looking at our navels".  We do not need to litigate over and over why we lost in 2016 (though there are a lot of people who voted Democrat who are asking themselves how they got snookered into that last year...), but we do need to learn from the past and not repeat the mistakes that were made.

Mostly, we have learned that you cannot run an 8 month campaign and expect to win.  We have entered the era of the perpetual campaign.  And with that realization the RNC is doing all of the right things to produce better results.  One of those things is to not be the media's punching bag... the time of  "Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel” are gone.  Because today, ink is free.  At least the written word now available universally through the internet, is free... and it is now a companion, if not a replacement for the traditional mainstream media, especially newspapers.  Do you think for minute that Jeff Bezos of fame will follow anything even remotely traditional with his purchase of the Washington Post?  He is the king of on-line and believe me he knows that paper and ink are not the delivery system of the future.

And guess what, certain mainstream networks and even cable news networks are not the only choices anymore... No one has a lock on communications media, and as a party, if a network is going to be blatantly biased, there is no obligation or need to acquiesce to the assumption that they have a "right" to participate in the Party's responsibility to conduct its primary debates.  There are plenty of choices. got this right... see the article below about RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his stand against media bias.  I was proud to vote unanimously with my colleagues to "inform" those media outlets who are blatantly using their networks to promote other candidates that they can do so without including our candidates' debates in their schedule of programming...
August 19, 2013

Priebus Hits a Home Run
Bruce Bialosky

Finally the Republicans have someone in charge that is not afraid of his own shadow. Republicans are always cowering to the mainstream press while they mutter about the corrosiveness of it. If he keeps it up, the Republicans might actually win the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the Presidency in 2016. We are referring, of course, to Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

You probably have heard that two television operations announced they were doing projects about Hillary Clinton. NBC has plans to produce and air a four hour mini-series about Hillary Clinton and CNN has plans for a documentary. Diane Lane has been attached to the NBC mini-series to play Ms. Clinton which speaks to the evenhandedness of that program. That is equivalent to a film about my life story with Brad Pitt in the starring role.

In a previous world, we would not even be having this discussion. These projects would never ever have been brought forward because even my dogs know Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016, and the appearance of a potential conflict of interest would be killed by the news divisions. But that does not happen any longer. When CBS’s Les Moonves, head of TV’s most successful network, stated while attending a Barack Obama fundraiser that “ultimately journalism has changed… partisanship is very much a part of journalism now,” why would anyone believe that NBC and CNN would be even-handed?

They have defended their respective decisions by stating that the entertainment departments were planning these programs. NBC can at least attempt this ploy since they have an entertainment division (their ratings for the past decade notwithstanding). CNN, which last time anyone checked, is solely a news network. Their argument is that CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, is doing the film. One wonders if CNN Sports is next.

Fortunately Mr. Priebus saw through this charade and finally drew a line that should have been drawn years ago. Priebus must have been watching in 1992 when Carole Simpson of ABC News hosted a debate that was so slanted against President George H.W. Bush you would have thought she was on the Clinton payroll. He certainly was watching as Candy Crowley of CNN injected herself in the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney with an absolutely wrong answer regarding what Obama said September 12, 2012, about Benghazi and terrorism, thus ending Romney’s attempt to unsettle Obama on a critical issue.

Priebus came out and stated the obvious; that if these two operations went forth with their Hillary projects the Republicans would not play ball with them during the 2016 election cycle. That means the Republican primary debates would be held on networks other than NBC, MSNBC or CNN. One has to wonder why Republicans would have debates on these networks in the first place -- as if they would be fair and even-handed. Envision Lawrence O’Donnell asking Marco Rubio why his policies encourage the starvation of young children.

When Priebus appeared on Fox News’ Special Report, he misspoke when being interviewed by Bret Baier by stating the RNC would want to approve the moderators for debates. Baier jumped on that, but Priebus is not far off. Maybe the RNC should not approve moderators, but they certainly should be able to veto moderators who they have every reason to believe would be less than fair in critical moments of debates.

Priebus appears to be on firm ground. Chuck Todd of NBC News came out and said that the proposed mini-series would be a nightmare for the news division. Andrea Mitchell followed up criticizing the project. It is nice to see that the network of Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor and Brokaw still has a modicum of integrity. Unfortunately voices have been silent at CNN. How NBC can go forward with their political reporters in open revolt will be fascinating to watch.

Kudos to Priebus for coming forth and saying we aren’t going to take it any longer. This follows on the heels of some other common-sense decisions that sources say are coming down the pipeline. These decisions include actual full-blown outreach to minorities, moving the national convention to June and limiting the endless string of primary debates to a set number that will only protect all candidates from the supercilious situation that occurred in 2012. Next thing you know, the RNC will be establishing integrated candidate development from the grassroots through the national level – actual cooperation for all levels of the Republican Party.

If the mainstream media revamps how they operate to recognize the new reality that was clearly enunciated by CBS President Les Moonves, then Republicans need to confront that new reality and adjust how they operate. Priebus took the first step and it was a Crush Davis grand slam.
Priebus Hits a Homerun

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter - A Time of Rebirth and Renewal

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebrating Easter... the Foundation of my Faith

(Note: to those friends of mine who are not Christian, I hope you have enjoyed your traditions, religious or otherwise, at this time of year.  Though our religious beliefs may differ, our friendship may endure under the God who made us all.  My best wishes to you and your families during this season of spring and new life.)

In this season of rebirth and renewal, as buds reappear on the trees after a long winter, and the blades of grass green, and the plants push through the once frozen soil, we are reminded of He who was dead and yet now lives, even Jesus Christ. But this wondrous event of the resurrection was necessarily preceded by the sacrifice of our Redeemer and as the hymn reflects my own thoughts,
"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
that for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To RESCUE a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
that he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt:
such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I iwll praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"
(Charles H. Gabriel 1856-1932)

Know that the promise of the Atonement, begun in Gethsemane and culminating on Golgotha, is for us all, if we will but repent of our transgressions and accept Christ's redeeming power.  Christ has felt every pain, every anguish, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.

It is Christ's suffering that satisfies the law of justice that all sins must be punished, and through his mercy, grace and love, he tempers that law for each of us. How unloving would we be if we allow Him to have suffered on our behalf, having already paid the price, and we do nothing? All he asks, is that we love Him and love our neighbor, and we do that by obeying His word and abandoning sin. By doing so we show our love for all He has done for us and we make effective in our lives His Atonement. This is the road to Eternal Life.

And now on this Easter day we celebrate the gift given to all mankind by the Savior. The Resurrection; the promise that all will live again with a body perfected and immortal.

Knowing that Christ lives is my testimony. And more, He has provided a way back to live with him and our Father in Heaven through His atoning sacrifice, for which "I Stand All Amazed!"
This hymn summarizes well my testimony:
"I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever living Head. He lives to bless me with his love. he lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need.
He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to guide me with his eye. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul's complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. he lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend. He lives and loves me to the end. He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King. He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death. He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there
He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!" He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
(Text: Samuel Medley, 1738-1799; Music: Lewis D. Edwards, 1858-1921)

  May God bless you, your family and friends.  And, may we be worthy to receive His blessings.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Deborah, but Borah to all who knew her... RIP

Not only did this come unexpectedly but causes us great sadness to not have Borah with us.  She was an accomplished and outstanding human being and an outspoken proponent of our constitutional freedoms.  It was a wonderful pleasure to be around her and her wonderful attitude and spirit.  Our association on the Republican National Committee was our gain... and now our loss.  My deepest condolences to Borah's family, may God bless them in this time of loss; may He give solace by the fact that her good life is a witness to His glory.  Now she joins Him who is the maker of us all.  (see the message sent by the Republican Party of Texas)


Rest In Peace, Borah Van Dormolen
BorahThe Texas Federation of Republican Women and the Republican Party of Texas, together, with heavy hearts, have been asked by the family to inform those in Borah’s Republican family of the tragic passing of our beloved friend, Lt. Col. Borah Van Dormolen.  Borah passed away at 2:00 pm this afternoon as the result of a serious heart attack she suffered last week.  All of us who are members of the TFRW and are active within the RPT are devastated by the loss of such a wonderful woman who devoted so much of her life to the betterment of her country. 
After serving her country in the US Army and achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel, Borah continued to commit her life to promoting the values of liberty and freedom when others might have retired quietly. In 2010 she was honored as the “Distinguished Military Retiree” for Texas for her outstanding contributions to both active duty and retired service members and their families. She also held a gubernatorial appointment to the Texas State Cemetery Commission.
 As of today, Borah was serving her second term as Republican National Committeewoman from Texas and had recently been elected to represent the Lone Star State on the Rules Committee of the RNC.  She also served as President of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, and dedicated her many talents to different board positions within the TFRW for many years.  She also served on the Executive Committee of Maggie’s List, a political action committee focused on recruiting, training and supporting women running for congressional office.  Borah was not only a servant but also a mentor for candidates and volunteers and was responsible for hosting candidate trainings across the state of Texas.  Borah has been active in hundreds of campaigns, organizing and leading volunteers in critical voter identification and Get Out the Vote efforts. Through all of her volunteer work, Borah found time to be a loving wife. She and her husband, Rich Castle, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on a cruise through the Pacific
Republican leaders and friends across the state and nation today mourn her loss.
From Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri, “One of the great privileges of my life is to get to know and work with someone whom I consider to be an amazing woman, Borah Van Dormolen.  Over the past several years I have had a chance to personally observe her tireless work on behalf of the Republican Party of Texas but more importantly on behalf of the country she loved dearly and served so well for so long. It is hard to believe that she is gone, having just been with her at last weekend’s SREC meeting when she was her usual, passionate, energetic and inspiring self. What always impressed me the most about Borah was her kind hearted spirit and how she always treated other people with dignity and respect.  There will never be another Borah and we will miss her deeply.  On behalf of the RPT family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to her husband, Rich, and to her family.”
From Texas Federation of Republican Women President, Carolyn Hodges, “TFRW mourns the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Borah Van Dormolen.  Borah was an inspiration to me as I began my path as a Republican Woman.  Her leadership in the Texas Federation of Republican Women was bold and decisive.  Her common sense, her sense of humor, intelligence, and caring for Republicans set her apart from others.  She was a dynamic and enthusiastic leader who was respected and loved across our state and nation.  Borah traveled tirelessly across Texas giving her all.  Everyone who met and heard Borah immediately began to share her enthusiasm and vision.  Let us all carry on as Borah would want us to do and be the Republicans she would be proud of - focusing on unity.”
At this time, memorial arrangements are pending.  The RPT and TFRW will inform you of the details as soon as we have them.
Borah Multi

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester... a Fabricated Disaster

It is incredibly disengenuous of the POTUS to be playing the blame game on something that he created...  As his former chief of staff was fond of saying, "Never let a crisis go to waste..."; why should you if you can leverage it with the media and the public to marginalize your opposition and ultimately get what you want.  Remember, only in Washington D.C. is a "Cut" defined as a reduction in next years "Increase"!  That is what we are talking about.  What it really does is take everyone's attention away from the really important work of tax reform, entitlement reform, energy costs, a failing foreign policy, and more.  The master of deflection and misdirection has done it again... we are talking about "crumbs" when we need to be talking about the pie.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"These are the times that try men's souls..."

"These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Thomas Paine wrote those words when it looked like we might lose the American Revolution.  There were many who were simply walking away from the battlefield and the army.  It was a difficult time and Paine was challenging those who despaired to reflect on their own character, to ask the question if they were "fair weather" (sunshine) patriots or had the spirit of perseverance regardless of obstacles and set-backs.

We find ourselves needing to ask ourselves the same questions.  We still love our country.  We still have a duty to defend the constitution and its principles.  We still have wonderful leaders who will fight for our cause.  We need to carry on.

There is no question that as the election data is collected, sliced, diced, and analyzed, we will find chinks in our armor.  We already know that we have work to do to reach out better to women, youth, and minorities.  But we need not, nor should not despair.  Let's take a moment... a brief moment to lick our wounds of defeat and to rejoice in our victories (yes, we did have some of those too!) and then "let us not shrink from the service of (our) country".  Let's welcome the feeling of vitality and energy and face with courage, the challenge before us.

President Obama did not receive a mandate from the electorate.  And though we must stand by our principles, we must also do as our nominee encouraged us last night, and pray for our president and our country.  I like the old saying that we must "Pray like everything depends on God, and work like everything depends on us".

I am by design an optimistic person but I do not see through "rose colored" glasses either.  I do have hope, which overcomes discouragement and I do have faith that we can affect those around us in a positive way.  But it does depend on each of us.  I hope and pray that we can "stand by it now" and work together to accomplish what is necessary to preserve our country for our children and grandchildren.

This morning my friend Pete Ricketts from Nebraska reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill,

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

Bruce R. Hough
National Committeeman, Utah

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Mitt Wins Ohio

Some really great analysis on why Mitt wins Ohio!

by Trevor Antley and Calvin Roberts.
Forecast: Mitt Romney Will Likely Win Ohio
Abstract: Actual reported early voting data requires that early voting will represent no more than 32% of total vote in Ohio, while virtually every poll was weighted for early voting to occupy ~35-40% of total votes cast. The smaller-than-expected number of early votes means one of two things: 1) 2012 will see historically low voter turnout in Ohio; or 2) Mitt Romney has a much better chance at Ohio than polls assumed.

Late Monday night the Ohio Secretary of State released the “final” early voting results from Ohio’s counties. The results got the attention — and slight consternation — of the New York Times’ Nate Silver. Dave Wasserman kindly put the data into a spreadsheet here, which tabulates early voting results by county and compares that data to early voting results from 2008. Wasserman’s spreadsheet also notes Kerry’s 2004 margins and Obama’s 2008 margins, allowing one to effectively deduce the partisan-leanings of each county.

In a discussion on Twitter, Silver and Wasserman focused largely on the surprise changes in turnout in many of Ohio’s counties. While total early voting in Ohio only increased by 2.44% from 2008, early voting in counties that voted heavily for Kerry/Obama declined 4.1% while counties that voted heavily Bush/McCain increased their early voting by a shocking 14.39%. Wasserman, while still predicting an Obama victory, suggested that trend meant a tighter race in Ohio than expected and suggested it might undercut Nate Silver’s famous forecast. Nate Silver’s response: “I’ll stick with the 538 forecast in OH. I disagree that the early voting data there provides much reason to doubt the polls.”

Seemingly overlooked by Silver, however, during the discussion of county-by-county results was the simple number of total reported early votes: a meager 1,787,346. As stated above, this number shows a 2.44% increase in early voting from 2008 — but the number is still surprisingly low. Virtually every Ohio poll this cycle was weighted on the basis that early voting would occupy a massive chunk of the total Ohio vote. Rasmussen’s final poll ceded 40% of the total vote to early voters (EVs). PPP gave EV’s a more reasonable 35%. The Columbus Dispatch calculated early voting to take up an astounding 47% of the total Ohio vote. Almost every other Ohio poll seems to have weighted early voting between 35% and 45% of the total vote.
The reported early voting numbers, however, show that virtually every single Ohio poll overestimated the amount of early votes cast. If early voting is calculated at 1,787,346, in order for total voter turnout to rival 2004 numbers, early voting cannot occupy more than 32% of the total votes cast — and even in that scenario, that high of a percentage means that total voter turnout will be lower than it was in 2008. In order for turnout to match 2008 levels, early voting can only account for 31% of total votes cast.
The next important piece of data is what the polls consistently report: Obama leads by huge margins among early voters but trails Romney among those who say they will vote on election day. This inverse in voting segments is why the proportion of early votes in the total votes — and that virtually every poll overestimated this proportion — is so tantamount. In most polls (which usually only have Obama leading by a small margin, although some give him a more comfortable ~+5%), lowering the percentage of early votes in the polling sample means lowering Obama’s lead drastically. And when Obama’s lead is only one or two percentage points, that can mean handing the election to Mitt Romney.
Our forecast is based largely on the reported margins between Romney and Obama among early voters and election day voters as reported by the Columbus Dispatch, Rasmussen, and other polls (all polling data considered is represented in the graphic below). The Columbus Dispatch gives Obama +15% among early voters; Rasmussen gives him a much wider 23%. Other polls for Ohio EVs: CNN/Opinion Research, Obama +28; Gravis Marketing, Obama +13; PPP, Obama +21. For our forecast we assumed a more conservative Obama +18 among EVs, averaging Rasmussen and the Columbus Dispatch.
In 2008 Obama won 58% of early voting against John McCain, who had virtually no get-out-the-vote infrastructure in Ohio; our model, giving Obama a 18% lead, again assumes he will win that 58% of early voters despite the fact that Mitt Romney is putting forth a much more competitive get-out-the-vote campaign and disregarding the GOP-leaning trend in early voting results of individual Ohio counties. When one considers the results from individual Ohio counties this cycle, Obama’s actual margin among EVs may actually be much lower (although without specific partisan data, it’s also possible that Obama’s margins have actually increased — although this seems extraordinarily more unlikely). But because this is impossible to determine without actual breakdowns of the early vote, which are not yet available, those implications are not included in this model.
In determining the margin among election day voters, the same polls were considered. For election day voters, Rasmussen has Romney +15; Columbus Dispatch, Romney +11; and CNN/Opinion Research, Romney +13. PPP and Gravis Marketing both had Romney’s election day margins at a much smaller +3. For our forecast, we assume Romney’s election day voter margins at 13%, an average of the first three polls. The consistency and disparity between the first three and the latter two polls made it difficult to average them since margins of error do not explain such a clear discrepancy between the two groups.

In this scenario — which seems to be supported by the majority of polls and early voting trends (but is notably not supported by all polls, as seen in the previous paragraph) — Romney should win Ohio. Based on these assumptions — which in turn are based on a combination of polling data and the state’s actual reported early vote — if early voting accounts for 32% of the vote (a very conservative number which would place total voter turnout slightly below that of 2004), Romney wins by a whopping 50.9% to Obama’s 47.8%. The higher voter turnout is — and therefore the lower the percentage of early votes in total votes — the higher Romney’s margin becomes.

In this scenario, even if we assume our model’s margins between Obama and Romney among early voters and election day voters are somehow skewed in Romney’s favor, Romney still has padding that those margins could be reduced and he still wins. If early voting is only 31% of the total vote — putting Ohio’s total vote at just above 2008 levels — Romney has incredibly more wiggle room.

The lower-than-anticipated turnout among early voters suggests the Obama campaign’s lead in Ohio was largely hot air. And this does not even seriously consider the county-by-county early voting results, which appear to be even more damaging to Obama. 
Reasons Why This Projection May Turn Out to be Wrong
·         In the case that the final early voting numbers reported by the Ohio secretary of state are incorrect and the final early voting results will include statistically significant additions, obviously this projection will have no meaning.

·         As seen above, some of the polling data used in the projection (such as Romney’s margin among election day voters) is supported by several independent polling organizations but not by some others. If it turns out that the fewer polls’ results were right, then obviously our entire model is skewed too heavily towards Romney.

·         Some have raised the possibility that effects from Hurricane Sandy stifled early voting in the final days and these early voters will simply vote for Obama on election day, increasing his election day margins beyond what polls indicated. In this scenario the polls are essentially still correct; Obama’s early voting margin was simply reallocated to his election day margin. There is no solid data to show that this is the case, but it is certainly possible.

·         There is always the chance that the government and electorate will decide simply to defer to Nate Silver’s forecast and forget this whole voting nonsense. Since our forecast is based largely on actual votes, not subjectively weighted aggregates of polls, this would make our projection essentially meaningless.