Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Second Thoughts about That 'Libertarian Moment' Thing

Only 57% of people who say they are libertarians know what the word means.

I particularly enjoy that 7% think that “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government” is the definition of a Unitarian.

It seems that saying one is a libertarian has become mildly fashionable* among some – there is currently a bit of a debate among the political cognoscenti about whether we are currently in a 'libertarian moment'. The cool thing about totally vague terms like that is that one can argue either way with equal validity.

In any case, it's not all that fashionable – only 14% of Americans say they are libertarians. Of course, I guess it still could be fashionable if those 14% were the coolest 14% of people in the country. Unfortunately, based on myself and the other libertarians I know, I think that's probably not the case.

Of those who say they are libertarians, 6% think the above definition means Authoritarian, 6% Communist, and 20% Progressive, in addition to those who chose Unitarian, which I guess was thrown in by the pollsters for laughs (though the other answers are also pretty giggle-worthy), or didn't answer.

Besides what this says about peoples' knowledge of politics (we can deride them for this, but we should also be aware that most people simply feel, with some justification, that there are more important things to worry about – like their jobs, or their families, or at which bar they are most likely to find the best-looking members of the opposite sex), this also might offer some lessons for those, of whatever political viewpoint, who are interested in persuading those folks who don't give a damn about politics.

In a newsletter I receive, Jim Geraghty makes the point quite well. The example he chooses is school choice:
Which argument is likely to be most effective? 
A) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the conservative principles that the government that is closest to the people is most likely to make the best decisions, is most accountable for those decisions, and is easiest to correct those decisions [sic]. 
B) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the libertarian principles that the power of the state should be limited and the power of the individual should be maximized. 
C) School choice is a good idea because it puts decisions in the hands of parents, who know what is best for their children.
As a supporter of school choice, I would agree with all three arguments. But, whatever one might believe on this particular issue, I think it is undeniable that C is the one that would motivate the most people.

* For the record, and stealing shamelessly from Barbara Mandrell, I was libertarian before libertarianism was cool.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

About Golfing and Vacations

Over the past year or so, there has been a rising level of criticism of President Obama over the amount of time he spends golfing and about the alleged frequency and lavishness of his vacations. This reached a crescendo a few days back when the President briefly interrupted his vacation to express his outrage about an American photographer, James Foley, being beheaded by ISIS, and then followed up his comments by, uh, going golfing.
President Obama returned to the golf course on Saturday amid mounting Republican criticism that he is spending too much time hitting the links during several international and domestic crises. 
The early criticism came almost entirely from Republicans, it's true, but now Democrats are joining in, as the New York Times (a publication usually solidly in Obama's camp) noted:
But the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error. Ezra Klein, editor in chief of the online news site Vox, who is normally sympathetic to Mr. Obama, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that “golfing today is in bad taste.” The Daily News published a front-page photograph of a grinning president in a golf cart next to a picture of Mr. Foley’s distraught mother and father under the headline, “Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve.” 
And if it's only Republicans, then Maureen Dowd must have switched parties:
FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL. 
I know reporters didn’t get a chance to ask questions, but I had to bounce. I had a 1 p.m. tee time at Vineyard Golf Club with Alonzo Mourning and a part-owner of the Boston Celtics. Hillary and I agreed when we partied with Vernon Jordan up here, hanging out with celebrities and rich folks is fun. 
Now we are engaged in a great civil divide in Ferguson, which does not even have a golf course, and that’s why I had a “logistical” issue with going there. We are testing whether that community, or any community so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure when the nation’s leader wants nothing more than to sink a birdie putt.
There are also, of course, people defending Obama. And if I thought the criticisms of golfing and vacations were really about golfing and vacations, I would agree with the defenders. Hey, it's a tough job and everybody has a right to unwind.

But I don't think that golf and vacations are anything more than symbols, being used as stand-ins for a wider but more difficult-to-define complaint – that Barack Obama is distant and out of touch with the American people and, worse, disengaged and even disinterested in being president.
Howard Kurtz stole what I was thinking about and wrote earlier this week:
It started with the ObamaCare debacle and continued through his seeming passivity or slow reaction time in the wake of the VA scandal, the Bowe Bergdahl mess, the military collapse in Iraq and so on …. 
What is striking now is a growing sense, fairly or unfairly, that Obama is not capable of rising to the occasion, that he just doesn’t like politics, that he’s disengaged, that despite his soaring rhetoric in 2008 he has a passion deficit.
I have often thought (and may have written here previously) that Obama resigned a year ago, and just forgot to tell anybody. It seems a lot of people, of both parties, are coming to the same conclusion.

Newspaper Tries Paying People to Subscribe

I went to the website of the Arizona Capitol Times, a weekly Phoenix newspaper dealing with politics and government, because they came up on a Google search as having an article that I was interested in; however, they wouldn't let me read the article because I'm not a subscriber. Fine -- that's absolutely their right, and I have no argument with publishers who take that approach.

I didn't care enough about the article in question to pay their subscription prices, though, so I passed.

But then I looked more closely at their offer.

A digital subscription is $179/year. A digital and print subscription is $149.

Read that again -- I had to do so several times before I was sure I had read it right. They are charging thirty bucks less for both formats than for digital only.

Though this seems on the face of it to be totally insane, the reasoning is not too hard to figure. Publishers can make more selling print ads than they can for online advertising. Therefore, the publisher is willing to give you a thirty buck discount if you'll just pretend to be a print subscriber so that they can charge their advertisers a bit more. "Hey, don't worry, you can just throw it away when it arrives."

Presumably they can, or think they can, sell enough additional ads to more than offset the discount (and to pay printing and delivery costs on the extra papers they're sending to people who don't really want them). But one wonders how long advertisers will keep paying for those ghost readers.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why Nobody Respects the NCAA

This case illustrates why the NCAA is such a joke.
[An assistant coach] sent numerous texts to recruits during a time in the recruiting calendar when he was only allowed to email and fax them.
Given the rotten state of big-time college athletics, why does anyone pay attention to whether recruiters are sending text messages to high school kids? Really – the NCAA thinks this is worthy of attention?

At roughly the same time as these egregious violations, Florida State was apparently covering up a rape case involving its star player, and the NCAA totally ignored it

I know nothing (and care less) about Georgia Tech's athletic programs. I will venture an uninformed guess that they are about as dirty/clean as most college's programs (by which I mean, rather dirty) on things that matter. This doesn't matter.

Friday, August 22, 2014

James B. Shields: Man of Many States

A poll I saw today says that Scott Brown (formerly senator from Massachusetts) has a reasonable chance of winning a US Senate seat from New Hampshire. I wouldn't bet on it, but it got me to thinking about whether anybody has ever held senate seats from two different states.

My first thought was Sam Houston, but I was wrong; he was a senator only from Texas. He did also represent Tennessee in the House, so he was in congress from two states, and he is also the only person to have been elected governor of two states. But still, Sam doesn't quite fill the bill.

And then I found James B. Shields. Never heard of him? Neither had I, but he is the only person to serve in the US Senate from three states. Shields was a general in both the Mexican and Civil wars, and served as a senator from Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri (Missouri apparently was a more or less honorary appointment to fill out the last few weeks of a term).

Shields, who was born in Ireland, was not a US citizen when he was first elected to office (the Illinois legislature), which was perfectly legal at the time, but will probably frost some folks' butts. If it annoys you, though, you can take solace that it was Illinois -- what can one expect?

How the Jayvee Team Is Doing

Speaking at the Pentagon yesterday, here's what Chuck Hagel said about ISIS:
… Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel painted a new and more dangerous picture of the threat that the Islamic State poses to Americans and U.S. interests. 
The group "is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group," Hagel said in response to a question about whether the Islamic State posed a similar threat to the United States as al Qaeda did before Sept. 11, 2001. 
"They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They're tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we've seen," Hagel said, adding that "the sophistication of terrorism and ideology married with resources now poses a whole new dynamic and a new paradigm of threats to this country." 
Hagel's comments added to the mismatch between the Obama administration's increasingly aggressive rhetoric and its current game plan for how to take on the group in Iraq and Syria, which so far involves limited airstrikes and some military assistance to the Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting the militants. 
I don't understand … a high administration official assured us just a few months ago that they were no big deal.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The New Age of Journalism: Media Companies Begging for Funds

From time to time we get new measures of how low the media biz has fallen, but here's a particularly interesting one, as reported by Advertising Age:
Last night The Huffington Post sent out a press release with the highfalutin title "The Huffington Post Is Not Leaving Ferguson." It contained the text of a HuffingtonPost.com article by Ryan Grim, HuffPo's Washington bureau chief, that begins: 
"What happens in Ferguson and the St. Louis metro area the day after everybody leaves? It's a question on the minds of nearly every resident, who know the camera crews will eventually fold up their sticks and pack up their vans .... We plan to be there as it all unfolds. For The Huffington Post, this'll involve a first-of-its-kind collaboration with readers, the local community and the Beacon Reader to create what we're calling the Ferguson Fellowship." 
Sounds good, right? Then there's the next sentence: 
"With reader support, we'll hire a local citizen journalist who's been covering the turmoil and train her to become a professional journalist ... " 
Uh, what? 
Yes, AOL's HuffPo is raising funds to allow one Mariah Stewart to continue what she's already been doing as a "citizen journalist." With your support, Grim continues, Stewart will be able to "work directly with HuffPost's criminal justice reporter Ryan Reilly to cover the ongoing story of Ferguson ….” 
So, you see, HuffPo is actually going to be leaving Ferguson after all -- despite that headline -- but it wants you to pony up so local resident Stewart can create content for HuffPo.
One could reasonably argue that it is a good thing for media companies to train 'citizen journalists', but it seems strange that AOL thinks its readers should give it the cash to do so.

Some journalists, including this one from The Guardian, are a bit bemused by the spectacle.

Ad Age thinks HuffPo ought to expand the program to getting readers to pay for their celebrity boob page:
I look forward to HuffPo crowdfunding some of its other essential journalism. 
Readers, won't you make a donation today to support HuffPo's nip-slip coverage? If you've ever gone to HuffPo's Wardrobe Malfunctions department page -- where, this morning, you can find headlines like "NSFW PHOTOS: Model Has Nip Slip On 'Arbitrage' Red Carpet" and "Maria Menounos On Her 'Bikini Malfunction': 'Oh No, My Vagina's Out'" -- then you owe it to HuffPo to cough up some cash, you cheapskate pervert.
But, while I have no objection to boob reports, I think I see other possibilities.

For example, at one time it was considered the role of local media, especially major metro newspapers, to provide polling on local elections.

Arizona, for example, has a very hot Republican primary for governor featuring six candidates, three of whom are believed to be tightly bunched for the lead. You'd think there would be lots of polls. But if you go to RealClearPolitics, you'll see that there are very few, and none are by the state's leading newspaper, The Arizona Republic, or any other state media outlet.

This is not peculiar to Arizona. I clicked on several other states that have tight gubernatorial elections – Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida. In none are there any local media polls. I did see a Sun-Times poll on the Illinois race, and one by The Albuquerque Journal (really -- an Albuquerque paper has the resources to do polls, but The Arizona Republic and The Miami Herald don't? Seriously?)

Of course, the Republic's cash is probably tied up in paying severance packages to all the reporters it's laying off. And now that its parent company, Gannett, has kicked it to the curb (“Hey, kid, you've got thirty days to find a job and move out of the basement, or I'm dumping your clothes on the street”), things are probably even tighter.

But maybe newspapers could take their cue from AOL and beg enough from their readers to fund a poll or two. If that works, they could try funding layoffs the same way:
Dear readers:  
Which of our reporters and columnists annoy you the most?  
Each reader making a $20 contribution to the Republic Layoff Fund gets a vote, and the biggest votegetters get the sack! 
What could be fairer?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wherein I (Mostly) Praise President Obama

I have never hesitated to say nasty things about Barack Obama.

However, he seems to be being criticized by some for having known in advance that James Foley might be executed, and doing nothing about it, which seems to me to be exactly the right thing to do.
President Barack Obama denounced the Islamist terror group ISIS on Wednesday after it released a gruesome video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. 
But news emerged just hours later that the White House knew Foley's captors threatened to kill him if American fighter jets and drones continued airstrikes against them in Iraq. 
Foley's family received an emailed threat a week ago warning 'that they would execute Jim,' and made the White House aware of it right away, according to Philip Balboni, who founded the Global Post – a Boston news outlet that published Foley's photographs. 
[ … ] 
A senior administration official confirmed to ABC News Wednesday afternoon that the White House knew of the threat in advance of the video's release. 
Balboni said the threat was made directly to Foley's family, and that the White House was made aware of it. WCVB-TV reported that the administration did not engage in any negotiations for his release.
So … what was he supposed to do? Stop the air attacks? Pay a ransom?

Any such response would merely encourage further kidnappings and further threats, and thus multiply a tragedy.

One wonders, though, if ISIS was reacting to Obama's willingness to negotiate for Sgt. Bergdahl's release. If so, this could be an encouraging sign that Obama is capable of learning from his mistakes, something I've doubted.

(Okay, I admit it, I can't get through an entire post about Obama without including at least one bit of criticism).

Why Won't Those Guys Compromise and Do as I Say?

I always enjoy the tactic, used almost universally by both parties to any political impasse (e.g., Obama and the US House), of saying that everything could be resolved quite simply if only the people on the other side would do the reasonable thing, which is of course whatever I'm telling them to do).

Ecuador a couple years ago gave asylum to the head guy of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, in their London embassy (he's under court order to be extradited to Sweden where there are sexual assault charges possibly awaiting him; he claims he might be extradited from there to the US for Wikileaks' activities in releasing US documents, and therefore he is entitled to political asylum).

Yesterday Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, said the solution was simple.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Tuesday that Britain had the power to resolve the Julian Assange standoff "tomorrow," after the WikiLeaks founder voiced hope he would soon leave Ecuador's embassy in London. 
"This could be resolved tomorrow if the United Kingdom gave him the safe-conduct," said Correa, referring to the pass Assange would need to leave the embassy without being arrested to face extradition.
Translation: “Hey, what's the big problem here? Just do things my way and we'll all get along fine.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Execution of James Foley

At some point it will be necessary for the west to recognize that we are dealing with totally uncivilized people.

As long as we keep pretending that Islam, in its radical form, is a legitimate religion worthy of respect, we will be unable to respond to the fanatics in any way that will get their attention.

Right now, they have only contempt for us, and from their perspective that's a reasonable attitude. How many such attacks have there been, without meaningful response?

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Democrats Surrender in Montana

The Democrats' appointee to the Senate in Montana and their candidate in the election, a guy named Walsh, got caught for having plagiarized a paper for a degree (I should probably say 'allegedly', but it seems pretty clear, and I'm not into playing games of that sort). So they replaced him with a one-term state legislator named Amanda Curtis, who does video selfies like these:

Anybody care to guess the Republican margin? I say they get 65%, but that's based on the assumption that she keeps her mouth shut from now to Election Day. If she keeps on with this kind of talk, the sky's the limit (well, 100% is the limit, but you get my point, right?)

It's not that I disagree with everything she says, it's just that I can't see this sort of platform going over real big in Montana, but the big problem is the way she says it -- her condescending attitude will be a huge turn-off on the campaign trail.

It probably doesn't make much difference since the Republicans were always favored in this race, even before Walsh imploded. This lightweight just makes the seat a total lock. The only benefit for the Republicans is that they can ignore Montana and concentrate their attention elsewhere. On the other hand, nominating her indicates that the Democrats have already done the same -- can you imagine the national party giving her any campaign money?

Great Moments in BS – III

As you might tell from the title, this is an ongoing personal obsession series. Recent previous entries (in the unlikely case that you're interested) can be found by clicking on 'Words' in the Labels column to the right.

'Gaming' is one of those euphemisms that really annoy me, because it's an obvious attempt to make an activity respectable by changing the word that describes it. “Hey, guys, 'Gambling' has a negative connotation with the public, so we'll call it 'gaming' and then everything will be okay.”

Sorry, the proper word is 'gambling', and that's the one I will continue to use.

Since I'm into quoting myself these days, I'll refer to a previous post in which I discussed the obfuscatory use of 'Children in Conflict with the Law'.
One of the really hilarious things about do-gooders is that they seem to honestly think that changing words changes reality; that if a thing or situation or group is negatively perceived by the public, that changing the name will change the perception and solve all the problems associated with the thing/situation/group.
This instance (gambling/gaming) is a reminder that this practice is not peculiar to do-gooders.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sinister Buttocks

I have some friends who are interested in the book and movie series, Left Behind.

I haven't read the books or seen the movies. I have, however, an interest in words and how they are used or misused.

Believe it or not, there is a connection (of sorts) between these two subjects. I receive a weekly newsletter called World Wide Words. This week it contains the following item, which I will quote in its entirety:
Synonymising fallacy. An article dated 7 August in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) introduced me to the new word Rogetism. Its creator is Chris Sadler, a lecturer at Middlesex University. 
He had wondered about mysterious out-of-context phrases such as tarry forth of the conquest, modern store guides, bequest mazes and Herculean personalised liturgies, which kept appearing in student essays. Eventually he twigged that they were plagiarising online material but trying to hide it by changing some of the words using a thesaurus. Unfortunately, they were using what they’d looked up without caring about its meaning. 
The phrases above resulted from applying this process to, respectively, stay ahead of the competition, new market leaders, legacy networks and powerful personalised services. 
Sadler’s favourite Rogetism (coined, of course, from the most famous of all thesauruses, that created by Peter Mark Roget) is sinister buttocks, which he has entered for this year’s THES exam howlers competition. The original was left behind.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

I started thinking about these dangers because of chatter among Ecuadorian expats following yesterday's earthquake in Quito.

People get really worked up over the danger of volcanoes, but most seem to take earthquakes at least somewhat more in stride. I think this might be because we (meaning Americans and Europeans) see volcanoes as an 'exotic' thing; we have few volcanoes, but earthquakes, while frightening, are at least somewhat familiar.

Since Ecuador and my previous place of residence, the Philippines, are both part of the 'Ring of Fire', I have lived in some proximity to volcanoes (thankfully, peaceful ones); and any place that has volcanoes also is prone to earthquakes.

I find earthquakes much more frightening, since volcanoes are reasonably predictable and give plenty of warning before major eruptions.

Killing the 'Living Wage' with Robotics

I have often wondered why employees at QSRs (quick-service restaurants -- the industry's euphemism for fast food places) think demanding pay of $15 per hour won't result in the disappearance of their jobs.

Actually, that's not true. I'm pretty sure I know why:
  • They have never received any education in economics, since it's not required in US high schools (and the schools probably botch it anyway);
  • They are, by definition, low-level employees who have never held a management position where they are encouraged/required/incentivized to hold costs down;
  • They don't give any thought to the subject beyond, “Hey, fifteen bucks an hour sounds really good” and "I need more money".
It's probably all of the above, plus of course that the unions and activists using them are unlikely to give them any sensible advice.

Last year, I posted this item about White Castle trying out automated ordering kiosks to eliminate their counter employees enhance the customer experience.

Here are a couple things I noted back then:
A store that is open sixteen hours a day would save $7,500 per month for each $15/hour counter employee displaced. I don't know what such machines cost, but it shouldn't take long to amortize them at that rate. 
Today I read this item that discusses a restaurant in China that is using robots to (mostly) cook the food and to deliver it to tables, and tells us that the robots cost $6500 each. Assuming the White Castle kiosks are of similar cost, and that two robots or kiosks (the battery life is only five hours, though that will no doubt improve) would be needed to replace each shift worker laid off, the investment in machines could be amortized in the first quarter. This is without figuring in the cost of benefits, though such jobs don't have a lot. It's also without hiring and training costs and payroll taxes.

If I owned a few QSRs, I'd be booking a flight to China to check this place out first-hand.

My post back then also asked, “... how tough can it be to robot-ize flipping a burger?” The answer, apparently is, “Not tough at all.” The article says:
The cooking robots -- which have a fixed repertoire -- exhibit limited artificial intelligence, and are loaded with ingredients by human staff, who also help to make some dishes.
Given that the menus are very limited at McDonalds or KFC, a 'fixed repertoire' should be no problem.

It seems obvious that the restaurant in China is mostly a curiosity. Diners at restaurants with tablecloths will continue to expect service from human beings. But nobody goes to a QSR for the ambiance or the service.

Given the costs cited in the article, together with White Castle already experimenting, it would not surprise me at all to see robotics introduced at QSRs even without 'living wage' legislation. If my calculations above are at all close to reality, then costs could be recovered quickly even at current minimum wage levels. An employee striking for higher wages for this sort of work is simply asking to be laid off sooner, and those urging ill-informed workers to strike are utterly cynical in the way they are playing with peoples' lives.

OK, I'll be kind: Maybe they are just equally ill-informed.

I'll quote myself again in closing:
And so youth unemployment will increase. Crappy as such jobs are, they are often the only thing unskilled workers can qualify for, and they can teach valuable life skills that such employees may never have learned in their broken homes or broken schools – e.g., the importance of dressing properly, treating customers and co-workers respectfully, punctuality, etc. 
Not having the opportunity to learn these skills at White Castle, McDonald's, or Taco Bell, they will be unable to move on to marginally better jobs, as they now can. 
Update 15 April 2015: They're at it again.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Don't Blame Me, I'm Just the President

One of the hallmarks of the Obama presidency has been his refusal to accept blame for anything that goes wrong. Recently, things have gone very, very wrong in Iraq, particularly in regard to ISIS taking over a large part of the country, starting not long after President dismissed them as no big deal. 
The president,who has been under harsh media criticism for likening ISIS to an Al-Qaeda JV basketball team in January said, "There is no doubt that their advance their movement over the last several of months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the the expectation of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq." 
In short: “Hey, I wasn't wrong – they were.” Who constitutes 'they' changes each time the guy blows something, but there's always somebody else he holds accountable. Never himself.

One of the things I learned very quickly after stepping into my first management role (like most things, I learned it the hard way), was that I was accountable for any of the errors of my subordinates. Barack Obama might be aware of that if he had ever held done any management before becoming president, but a majority of Americans twice decided that being cool was more important than having relevant experience.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Dumb Sport Engages in Dumb Politics

Disclaimer: I am not a hockey fan, to put it mildly.

The National Hockey League, custodians of the dying sport, have decided to sign on to global warming hysteria:
... the NHL released its first sustainability report, part of the league's effort to get a handle on the energy and environmental aspects of pro hockey. One of the conclusions? By leading to shorter winters, thinner ice, and truncated outdoor skating seasons, global warming could choke the game's future lifeline and keep potential Gretzkys and Lemieuxs cooling their heels. 
"Before many of our players took their first stride on NHL ice, they honed their skills on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and Europe," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the report. "Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors."
There is, of course, little evidence in the real world (meaning other than in computer models) of any shortage of winter ice, and the computer models are showing up as pretty consistently wrong.

This appears to be little more than an attempt by the NHL to be politically correct.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Doug Ducey for Governor

The Arizona Republic endorsed Doug Ducey for governor a few days ago, which is perhaps the best argument I've heard for supporting Christine Jones. Unfortunately, it's also pretty much the only argument, so I'll continue to go with Ducey and assign the paper's endorsement to the 'broken clock' category.

Actually, the Rep's endorsement is only the second-best reason for supporting Jones (or any of the other candidates except Andrew Thomas) -- Joe Arpaio has also endorsed Ducey, which for me would normally be pretty much the kiss of death. However, one of the best things about Ducey is that he seems to be capable of attracting support from both the Tea Party and Establishment wings of the Republican Party, which is an important quality; another example (besides in-state endorsements ranging from Arpaio on the Tea Party side to the Establishment's Republic) is that his outside endorsements include both Ted Cruz and Scott Walker.

So I suggest that people vote for Ducey, unless voters go nutso and Thomas starts looking like he has a chance. This so far, thankfully, hasn't happened -- he's in the low single digits in every poll I've seen, as even the farthest of the far right seems to be fed up with him, or at least to recognize that he can't win. If, however, Thomas starts to gain support as primary day nears, still a possibility with a lot of the electorate undecided, then I suggest voting for whichever candidate seems most likely to stop him (which is still probably Ducey).