SocraticGadfly: 10/12/08 - 10/19/08

October 18, 2008

Missing — Bristol Palin

So, where IS Bristol Palin? All of a sudden, she’s not visible on the campaign trail.

First, she’s not that far along in her pregnancy.

Second, even if she were, Supermom Sarah in her fifth alleged pregnancy, flew to Dallas a day before giving birth allegedly having a baby.

Oh, a hat tip, I got the “milk carton pic” from the Sarah Palin Deception blog .

That said, I don’t believe — unlike many people there — that Bristol is now in hiding because she’s not really pregnant, and her pregnancy, with the exact number of months she is pregnant, being announced at the Republican National Convention in an attempt to use pregnancy timetables to preclude her being Trig’s mom.

I believe Bristol actually is pregnant. It would be too hard to pull off a fake pregnancy now, and, were Bristol not pregnant, the Trig cover story could be tweaked in other ways. (Although the possibility of Sarah Palin making up a pregnancy for political gain wouldn’t surprise me.)

The "five months" I don't believe, though.

With a second pregnancy in a row, Bristol would know sooner, and Sarah could manipulate dates as she pleased.

I have been on this since early September. Here’s my main blog post on the pregnancy.

Per a Ted Rall column I blogged about, Bristol may well never complete high school; she almost certainly won’t complete college. She and Levi will stay married less than a decade, will probably have at least one instance of domestic violence, and will then get divorced.

So, back to the main point — WHY is she in hiding?

Could it be wedding planning? Possible but not likely.

Is it because she is not as far in her pregnancy as claimed? In the spotlight of the presidential campaign, Sarah, Todd et al know this is going to be more tightly scrutinized.

That said, it’s certainly possible high-ups in the Obama campaign have some questions, but I don’t think they’re 100 percent sold on Trig’s pregnancy being faked. And I certainly doubt they have more evidence than does the Enquirer, kind of contra the Palin Deception blog.

Obama and McCain potential presidential styles analyzed

The AP has twin news analysis pieces on how presidents McCain and Obama would govern.

I totally agree with the McCain piece. His temper and impulsiveness quotients would make him Shrub redivivus in style as well as policy.

I strongly disagree with the central theme of the Obama piece, though, that he would be a hands-off CEO in the Reagan style, albeit much better informed.

Rather, I think due to his controlling nature that he would be hands on all the way to the Jimmy Carter level in a way that might not be an unalloyed good.

A strange way to write a headline at the Snooze

Attention, Dallas Morning News copy editors/page designers:

Cars don’t kill people, car drivers do, unless an unattended car has its “Park” lock shear off or something.

And, it takes two people to byline a story that short? Is this make-work before the next layoff ax?

Alaskan belugas get federal protection

Despite Sarah Palin’s continuing attempts to run out the string on protection, Alaskan beluga whales will FINALLY get endangered species protection.

Jerry Jones schadenfreude alert

Boo-hoo for Jerry. The tanking economy, especially among high-dollar financial types, is putting a crimp in his shopping around naming rights for the new Cowboys’ stadium.

Jerry Jones schadenfreude alert

Boo-hoo for Jerry. The tanking economy, especially among high-dollar financial types, is putting a crimp in his shopping around naming rights for the new Cowboys’ stadium.

Bankers push GM-Chrysler deal

For several reasons, both those mentioned in the story and others I can think of.

First, the combined GM, as I assume it would be named, would have both GM’s nshare of 25 billion in federal loans and Chrysler’s. Second, it would reportedly have access to an $11 billion cash horde (via Cerberus, I presume) now in Chrysler’s hands.

Reasons beyond that?

Liquidity for GMAC (which vastly expanded into mortgages from its start in auto financing) to finance auto loans for buyers.

A sense of urgency by the bankers that this needs to be done ASAP, perhaps?

But problems exist. The story notes some, such as corporate culture differences and the need to consolidate dealers.

I can think of more. A combined GM-Chrysler would need to shutter even more plants to have the economies of scale actually produce anything. BUT… that would leave it on the hook for state and local property taxes on even more shuttered buildings.

Arctic temperatures continue to soar

In another indicator of global warming, this year’s Arctic fall temperatures have been 9 degrees above normal.

Third-party presidential candidates debate

All the presidential candidates offering broader options on post-bailout economics issues and more will be at Columbia University at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Well, all but one. Independent Ralph Nader, Green Cynthia McKinney and the Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin will be there, but Libertarian Bob Barr is bailing.

His staff claims a scheduling conflict, but organizers say he wanted a one-on-one with Nader.

It will also be on C-SPAN if you have cable and get it.

It will also be streamed at

Amy Goodman is moderating.

October 17, 2008

Eight years of Bush buck-passing continue

Bush says his successor must reform the financial system.

Excuse me?

You’re doing nothing right now but trying to dream up a final few executive orders to gut environmental protections. Why can’t YOU draft some new regulations for the post-election lame-duck Congress to consider?

Try actually earning your final couple of paychecks.

(Oh, and has been usual the last couple of weeks, the Dow declined the first couple of hours after a Bush speech.)

Meanwhile, speaking of lame duck sessions …

I assume Scooter Libby gets a partdon. Who else?

And, any pre-emptive pardons for anybody?

Cedar Hill-Duncanville football liveblogging

CH 42-17

A likely battle for the District 7-5A title is on tap in Cedar Hill's Longhorn Stadium between two old rivals.

1Q 9:05 -- DV strikes early and first. CH bites on a hook and go fake and Divan Ealy hits Zavian Handy for a 60 yard TD pass.

1Q 4:59 CH marches into DV territory on its opening drive then stalls. But, Eduardo Camara hits a 50-yard field goal, his first 50-yarder of the year.

1Q end of quarter -- still 7-3 DV, with DV driving after a swap of three-and-outs.

2Q 10:02 Duncanville QB Divan Ealy runs 12 yards to daylight. DV up 14-3.

2Q 5:02 Aided by a questionable pass interference call, the Longhorns get their first touchdown of the night. The Panther defense had sniffed out a bubble screen to Ben Malena, so QB Driphus Jackson pulled the ball back down, saw Duncanville had no weakside contain, and ran in 25 yards for the TD.

2Q 1:35 A gamechanger leads to the first Longhorn lead of the game.
Elisha Olabode blocks a DV punt and Aaron Benson recovers. First play, Le'Derian Cockrane takes a counter/inside reverse from the 10 to the 2, gets hit and fumbles. John Coleman recovers in the end zone and its 17-14 CH.

2Q 0:17 Duncanville, after poor field position and a penalty on the kickoff, gets nailed for holding in the end zone for a Longhorn safety.

Halftime and its Cedar Hill, 19-14.

3Q 6:51 CH has a blocked field goal.

3Q 4:15 Teddy Coughran hits a DV field goal; 19-17 now.
DV fans can be forgiven for thinking they're playing 11-on-12 football. A holding call forced Duncanville to settle for three points. So far, the penalty yards are DV 62 and CH not a one.

3Q 0:47 The Horns expand their lead just before the end of the quarter. In the first Duncanville defensive breakdown of the night, Ben Malena is able to power just outside left guard, get through the linebackers untouched, and run in a 43-yard touchdown.

4Q 7:39 Turn out the lights, the party's over. DV had a long drive, stalled out inside the Longhorn 10 then tried a FG. But a Longhorn penalty gave them first and goal. DV still couldn't punch it in, and tried the FG again. But, Coughran's kick was blocked, Elisha Olabode picked it up, then lateraled to Gerard Anderson. Some 96 yards later, Anderson was ion the end zone.

Then Horns then picked DV's Divan Early, and we're inside six minutes left.

4Q 4:43 Eduardo Camara hits a 35-yarder and the defense can tee off on the pass rush now.

Why Secret Service has no ‘kill him’ proof at Palin rallies

And what a President Obama should do

Dana Milbank reports the Men in Black have “nobody to blame but themselves for not finding proof.

They’ve started acting more like campaign crowd bouncers than just protecting the candidates. It’s clearly biased behavior, but as this goes back to 2004’s campaign fake allegations against the Clintons in the 1990s, it’s clear the Secret Service is politicized.

The jobs are civil service, so a President Obama wouldn’t be able to fire people. But, I bet he could do a lot of job reassignments.

I might be on TV – on PBS – next Tuesday

PBS’s “Frontline” program has a new episode called “Heat,” which is about global warming and climate change.

Originally scheduled for the day before yesterday, I presume it was pre-empted nationally for the “Frontline” special on the dual biographies of Obama and McCain.

Anyway, a “Frontline” crew was here in Dallas in May for ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting. (The episode is about global warming.)

And, I was outside carrying a sign, protesting ...

And, I was interviewed for about three-four minutes.

So, keep a lookout for me!

Blog post on the protest, with pics, is here.

Tribune Co. bailing on AP

The Tribune Company, parent of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times,, is looking at not renewing its AP contract in 2010.

The Associated Press’ proposed new package of services in 2010 is unpopular with many papers, including controversial new rate structure next year.
Member papers now pay AP for a general news package tailored to their size and location. The new plan will have papers getting all available breaking news dispatches from around the world and other states with premium non-breaking content available at an added cost.

The gist of the complaint is that, even as many newspapers want more local news, the AP is forcing more international news on them.

Editor and Publisher has more:
Under current AP policy, each newspaper buys a package of general news created by AP based on that paper's location and circulation. The package usually includes breaking news, sports, business, and other national, international, and regional news relevant to the client's market, including its state AP wire.

Under the new structure, AP member newspapers will receive all breaking news worldwide (including items from other state wires), as well as breaking sports, business, and entertainment stories. In addition, a package of premium content — made up of five types of non-breaking stories including sports, entertainment, business, lifestyle and analysis — will be available at an additional cost.

The base rate is lower, but the material isn’t targeted by location.

So far, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is the largest paper to officially opt out. Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., is trying to get out at the end of this year, claiming AP’s two-year advance notice doesn’t apply as the new service package is that much different than the old one.

So far, the AP has been indifferent to member newspapers’ complaints, but I don’t see how it can ignore the Trib Co.

But, per E&P, the Trib’s empire also includes: The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The Orlando Sentinel; Red Eye of Chicago; the Hartford Courant; The Baltimore Sun; The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.; and The Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

I just don’t see how the AP can ignore than many newspapers of BIG circulation.

And, the Trib has options. Boost its own internal news service. Partner with Agence France-Presse or Reuters. Partner with someone like Yahoo, which has its own reporters.

The AP just can’t ignore this one.

Racism and general nuttery on the Palin campaign trail continues

It’s not a shock to hear Palin herself continue the terrorism charges. Nor, in terms of social psychology and the need of many, especially people worried about being on some “margin” themselves, for an “enemy.”

But, for the racism to continue to bubble up as part of that is disgusting, even if it too isn’t shocking.

And, John McCain can try to play either innocent or uncomprehending; he knows it’s out there, and his “respectful” call is being ignored.

“Reap the whirlwind,” Schmuck Talk Express™; reap the whirlwind.

Sen. McCain, all it takes is a short, simple statement. One like this:

“I do not want racists supporting my campaign for president. I do not want them at my rallies, or those of Gov. Palin. I do not want them voting for the McCain-Palin ticket.”

That’s all it takes, Sen. McCain. That’s all it takes.

If, in the last two and a half weeks of the campaign, you really want to regain your dignity, if nothing else, you might try making a statement like that.

China guarantees Pakistan loans – price is???

Beijing’s guarantee of Pakistan’s foreign debt has a number of possible ramifications.

Isn't it wonderful China has all that money to, in essence, guarantee Pakistan's foreign debt? Do you kind of think Beijing will want to have a word with Islamabad about cracking down on al-Qaeda and Taliban in the North West Frontier? And, do you supposed Beijing's renbimbi might make Pakistan listen?

The Chinese remain vigilant about unrest among their own Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. And, surely, will be speaking with Islamabad about patrolling the North West Frontier more tightly, both to crack down on native Taliban and to prevent crossovers from Afghanistan.

Of course, Pakistan is itself devolving into chaos. It may be, if not a failing state, a C-minus/D-plus state right now. Whatever Beijing wants, Islamabad may not even be able to deliver.

The world financial situation, combining with inflation already in Pakistan, has sent the economy into free fall. Meanwhile, things like suicide attacks and kidnappings are on the rise. Per the second link, S&P downgraded Pakistan’s financial rating earlier this month, for the second time this year. (Why doesn’t S&P rate OUR government’s financial strength, BTW?)

That said, this is why I, like better known and knowledgeable bloggers like Juan Cole, have blogged repeatedly that Obama is (yes, allowing for political pandering) an idiot for proposing more troops in Afghanistan with the refusal to cooperate from Pakistan. The rising instability just underscores that.

And, unilateral intervention? Pakistan North West Frontier is about as rugged as Afghanistan. And, if Beijing is guaranteeing Pakistan’s foreign loans, they’ll want a say about that anyway.

The real price is, even if Beijing can’t get total order reinstated there, a changing of geopolitics in central Asia.

And, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. And by “we,” I mean “we,” not Bush in particular or D.C. in general.

And, this is beyond a Republican and Democrat issue. Both parties supported the formation of the World Trade Organization with no more environmental, labor rights or human rights protections than mercenary Republicans and sellout Democrats like Dick Gephardt (and Senate-presiding Veep Al Gore) got put into NAFTA.

Beyond that, though, too many Americans too lazy to bother looking beyond the “made in China” labels at Wal-Mart (and Target) as well as dollar stores, have contributed to this.

If you argue that many people had to do that, I’ll only partially agree. Many of the trinkets were unnecessary.

Besides, many of the non-poor bought made in China trinkets at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Linens ’n’ Things, etc.

If you’re knowledgeable about foreign policy, look in the mirror a little more when you worry about expanding Chinese influence.

Letterman brings up Liddy – to McCain

Going where the mainstream media hasn’t, and to McCain’s face in his “make-up appearance,” David Letterman brought up McCain’s association with G. Gordon Liddy:
“Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?” asked the host.

”Um, I've met him, uh, you know, I mean, um ...” began McCain.

”Didn’t you attend a fundraiser at his house?” asked Letterman.

“That’s,” sputtered McCain, looking trapped. “That’s, what ... Is ...”

Supposedly, before the cut to commercial, Schmuck Talk Express™ has the total deer in the headlights look.

Will Obama ask for copies?

Speaking of that, there’s video at the link.

"I object, your honor!" shouted Paul Shaffer, Letterman's band leader, only after several seconds of McCain looking like a deer in a car's headlights.

Letterman isn’t Jay Leno when he has politicians on. McCain was an idiot for blowing him off when he about to “suspend” his campaign late last month.

October 16, 2008

Texas Senate debate II liveblogging

Grades and wrap-up at the bottom

First, an apology; I got here late due to having to repair an old, crashing computer at work, but I listened to the radio broadcast on the way home.

I heard some HUGE hypocrisy from Cornyn.

Claiming he is FOR more financial sector legislation, that he wants grand juries looking at Wall Street, etc. Utter bullshit. The rest of the debate was in this same vein, of Cornyn fighting "entrenched Washington" while striving for bipartisanship.

Cornyn apparently pulled up Texas House Dems' flight to Ardmore over the redistricting fracas at some time, too. I heard him reference Ardmore at about 8:20.

He then said Noriega wouldn't do anything re a bailout. And then, he said the bailout brought tax benefits to Texas. Noriega did some instant judo on that, with the pork for wooden arrows, Puerto Rican rum, etc.

For Rick Noriega, at least, he seems more fired up than the first debate.

8:33 Gromer Jeffers asks great question about addressing poverty

Cornyn talks about getting people opportunities to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Noriega: “Some people don’t have boots.”

8:35 Cornyn – nobody likes the way Washington works in a non-bipartisan sense. Another lie. This one coming from Bush’s Texas lapdog, vs. his No. 10 Downing Street lapdog.

8:39 Cornyn opposing TXU’s coal plants now?

8:40 I LOVE the idea of the video clip interview as a debate question set-up.

8:41 Cornyn – Noriega health plan will cause rationing, etc.

Hey, John, we ration healthcare now.

8:44 Paul Burka asks if Cornyn has pushed Perry and Craddick to do more at the state level with S-CHIP.

8:48 Noriega – government as “negotiator” for lower insurance rates. Sounds a bit brreaucratic, and convoluted.

8:52 Interesting final question by KERA’s Shelly Kofler – both candidates asked to pretend being a small businessman themselves, with a crew of illegals showing up.

Noriega tries to dodge, then says, “I don’t look and assume. It’s not a fair question.”
Cornyn agrees system is broken, including the documentation part of it. Rides Noriega's coattails without having to offer up his own dodge.

But, is it broken? Immigration and Customs’ raids on meatpacking plants show the documentation of workers is not a broken part of the system. ICE knew who to arrest, and later, on the "Iowa Kosher" plant, was able to figure out who was underage.

Yes, some aspects of the system may be broken, but the system as a whole is not broken as far as what it's supposed to do. What's broken is the issue of how seriously we want to sanction employers and how seriously we want to monitor the border.

Noriega also whiffed on a shot to look at trade issues and foreign policy in this context.

So, both candidates dodge the question. Or, both lie about it.

Cornyn closing. Thanks, etc., and re-elect me.

Noriega. “This government is in the ditch.” (Earlier, he mentioned lack of trust in the system.) He should have condensed his thank-yous to the bare minimum, though.

Wrap-up: Noriega did better than in the first debate. Seemed somewhat more vigorous, but somewhat overprepped at the same time. He gets a B-minus overall.

Cornyn gets a C-minus. It was a nice attempt of his to try to be "Mr. Outsider," but I think Cornyn pinned enough Bush on him for a bit of it to stick. But, Cornyn may be able to dodge the worst.

Bottom line? It's still Cornyn's election to lose, but the margin for losing tightened at least a little. I still say Dem 527 groups should fund Libertarian Yvonne Schick to bite at Cornyn from the farther right.

With ‘onerous’ union, Wal-Mart closes Canadian tire center

Wal-Mart is shutting down a unionized Tire & Lube Express in Gatineau, Que.

Wal-Mart HQ in Bentonville, Ark., told a John McCain-level lie when it claimed the labor contract an arbitrator imposed would raise operating costs by 30 percent.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union called the closure an "attack" on Wal-Mart workers. Wal-Mart in 2005 closed a store in Jonquiere, Quebec, after workers there agreed to unionize. The union has a Canada Supreme Court case pending over whether those workers' rights were violated.

Craig Herkert, Wal-Mart's chief executive officer for the Americas, said Oct. 6 the contract was “onerous.”

GOP VOTE FRAUD by ‘Joe the Plumber’

“Joe the Plumber”, aka Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, has voted under an incorrect name. Per the NYT:
Wurzelbacher is registered to vote in Lucas County under the name Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher.

“We have his named spelled W-O, instead of W-U,” Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said in a telephone interview. “Handwriting is sometimes hard to read. He has never corrected it in his registration card.”

The records, she said, showed he voted Republican in the March primary.

Will McCain protest about this actual vote fraud, not just possible registration fraud?

‘We are in uncharted waters’

That phrase comes from Brian A. Bethune. an economist at Global Insight. He’s talking about the U.S. housing market.

Part of the problem is something that should have been done long ago — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have increased their various processing fees on more risky loans.

Southwest Airlines drops a dime — it is a recession

If Southwest, which has long boasted of its profitability when compared to “legacy airlines,” is losing money, we’re in a recession.

And, that’s not just hyperbole. The last time Southwest posted a quarterly loss was at the start of the Bush I recession.

That said, if you throw out special accounting charges, the airline still turned a profit.

At the same time, the road ahead may be less than turbulence-free. Wild swings in oil prices may undercut much of the vaunted fuel hedging advantage Southwest has enjoyed in the past.

Neibuhr-TR debate not Obama-McCain

At the British newspaper The Independent, Johann Hari takes a fascinating look at the presidential campaign through Obama’s and McCain’s professed heroes.

First, Hari gets a lick in at McCain’s choice of Teddy Roosevelt:
It is the aggression that he loves in his Teddy, not the reform.

Want proof? Hari quotes McCain:, speaking about Teddy’s charge up San Juan Hill:
‘He surveyed the awful carnage, the torn earth, the trenches filled with enemy dead, and pronounced himself delighted with the day.”

Indeed he did.

Hari then notes that Reinhold Neibuhr, by temperament and more, has some close parallels to Obama.
(A)s you probe Niebuhr's thought, you see that his contradictions and complexities intriguingly mirror Obama’s.

Read the full column for more of this insight.

Bretton Woods to come under review?

There’s indications that a special world financial summit this weekend could do just that. France, Germany and Britain are all calling for the world’s 64-year-old system of financial architecture to be reviewed.

Whether much change is made or not, that call for change would underscore this is indeed the biggest financial crisis since the Depression. The size of it as a general economic crisis is another issue, however.

Drug court – the saner alternative

The sane alternative to locking up mild drug offenders, that is. And, drug courts work in at least some instances.

The biggest issue, it seems, is how knowledgeable a drug court judge is about addiction in general, and about the different behavioral specifics of alcoholics vs. crack cocaine users vs. powder snorters vs. meth smokers, etc.

Goat – what SHOULD BE for dinner

With half the fat of chicken and no lamb tallow, who can resist its healthfulness? (And, if you’re into ethnic foods, like Jamaican jerk or Mexican cabrito, you know it’s good.

If that’s not enough for you, perhaps Bill Niman is.

The founder of the Niman Ranch branded gourmet beef, having walked away from his corporate-controlled namesake, is now breeding humanely-raised, healthily-raised, tasty goats.

October 15, 2008

Presidential debate III – candidate grades and final overall thoughts

“Game-changer” opportunity for McCain; sales pitch “closer” chance for Obama; grades below

And, was Obama too scripted?

My liveblogging of the debate is here, and my initial wrap-up on pundit analysis, etc, is here.

I’m putting a little more thought into this one, since it was the last of the three debates, and since this is the closest a debate has been to Election Day since Reagan-Carter in 1980. Between the two, this debate had the potential to be a game-changer.

And, it needed to be a game-changer for McCain.

But, it was also an opportunity for Obama to “close the sale,” and not just a time to play rope-a-dope.

How did each one do?

For McCain to have a game-changer, he either needed to energize the GOP “base,” particularly the social conservative side, to the moon, or else make a serious bid for independents. Other than his “no litmus test” claim for SCOTUS nominees, he clearly went for the base, not the center.

The $42,000 tax bottom line was swatted down before, and Obama addressed it more carefully this time. Besides, that’s not red meat for the base, although taxes are a big enough issue.

But, that led into McCain’s “redistribution” line. Obama deflected that by reminding listeners McCain voted for the bailout; I doubt that got much traction.

The Ayers connection? McCain could have done more with that, maybe pulling up some of the grants that the He had enough time to do that, and he didn’t. Bad debate prep, or was McCain indeed pulling back from the brink when it came to eye-to-eye time? A bit of both, I suspect.

Could he have done something? Yes; to many Americans, some of the grants might be questionable. Not to agree with truth value of all of Sol Stern’s claims, but questions about what Bill Ayers is doing today with Annenberg money and afterward might have.

But, I suspect the nation is indeed that tired of what might be perceived as negative campaigning that it would be tough to sell this to independents.

But, McCain had no problem being a junior Alan Keyes with his accusation that Obama let babies die. That was definite “red meat” to the base, but the “mother’s health” scare quotes is almost universally seen outside of diehard social conservatives, I think, as potentially being hugely off-putting to independents.

McCain gets a C.

He did a pretty good job in his goal of firing up the winger base, but it was the wrong choice, especially when done in a way that will be off-putting to independents.

Obama, as I said before, primarily needed to do rope-a-dope. He did that pretty well, with some good counterpunching. That said, he was fortunate, and he also missed a couple of blows. On Joe the Plumber, oe Wurzelbacher, he could have called McCain out for confusing or conflating total business earnings of $250K or so with individual income. He kept his cool, but, didn’t do as well as he could with this.

The Ayers issue? Got lucky McCain didn’t really go trolling there. As I indicated, I think that was the one area where McCain could have had his red meat for the base and ate it with independents as well.

The abortion issue? Worries, actual or alleged, about “angry black man” aside, a little more fire from Obama would have been nice.

And, that leads to the conclusion.

While not quite at Mike Dukakis level, that was definitely worse than McCain’s closing.

And, since Obama had the second close, it was a big whiff.

In answer to my rhetorical question above, I think Obama WAS too scripted, and nowhere did it show more than here.

This was his golden platter opportunity to close the deal, especially having the second closing. He knows that the kitchen sink is coming back out from the McCain campaign; he had a good chance to almost put his campaign beyond reach.

And, he didn’t.

If I were an undecided independent voter, I wouldn’t be wondering about his qualifications for the office. I might still be unsold on either his fire in the belly or his big-picture view.

Obama gets a C, too.

Barring a mistake, the election is his. But probably for only one term.

(Oh, Bob Schieffer did not appear in the tank for McCain; I would give him a decent B overall.)

Post-debate III pundit wrap

See this post for my liveblogging of the debate.

Candidate grades are here, in a look not just at this debate, but in context of the looming election deadline.

“Obama did not sit on his lead; it was not a game-changer … for McCain,” Mark Shields says on PBS. Both he and Brooks note Obama’s coolness.

Wonder “what will move him.”

Brooks: “McCain seemed tight.”

Both note little new ground, and neither had much of a big picture.

Clarence Page: Both came out stronger.

Michael Beschloss: McCain hurt himself with the negative attacks. Bush I and Dole diminished themselves against Bill Clinton, he said. Beschloss says the roundtable format makes it worse.

Jim Lehrer: But, Schieffer brought it up.

Page: The issue has largely been put to rest, on Ayers.

Brooks: Palin actually a negative factor. Boy, the rats are deserting the ship.

Looking a bit at other blogs, etc. --

TPM? I don't think McCain looked "seething," but being on the phone and leading an online meeting at the same time as the second half of the meeting, I'm not sure.

FiveThirtyEight says focus groups lean Obama:
CNN poll: Obama 58, McCain 31.
CBS undecideds: Obama 53, McCain 22.

Joan Walsh: Palin is driving away more people than she’s bringing in, and McCain didn’t counter that, especially on abortion.

Well, put a fork in Schmuck Talk, he's done.

On the right wing, over at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru, perhaps one of few National Review people with a semi-objective brain, says McCain was “spluttering.” Everybody else there is on a McCain tire swing. Will they boot Ramesh just like Christopher Buckley?

As for V.D. Hansen’s complaint that nobody knows who Obama will be… he’ll be a cooler, smoother Bill Clinton neoliberal. Unfortunately.

Presidential debate blogging - Debate III

Candidate grades are here.

How much of THESE:

did we see tonight?

I think it's a no-brainer that Obama simply needs to be Muhammad Ali and play rope-a-dope by leaning back, absorbing blows without letting them tell, and counterpunching when the time is right.

In the "knights of the round table" format, Obama may have a chance of bringing out Mad Jack, especially since McCain is the one who has to come out swinging.

8:02 McCain makes at least an effort at eye contact. (Obama looks more sincere later).

8:04 McCain attacking Paulson, going for “maverick” stance.

8:06 Obama reminds audience that McCain voted FOR bailout.
Then does a good “I agree but I disagree” with McCain’s mortgage plan. And says his plan is broader.

8:11 McCain trying to pin "socialist radical" label on Obama. I would guess it might have a bit of effect, but not much.

8:13 Schieffer is right... good question. We do not have the money.

8:17 Obama does good job of rejecting idea of “across the board freeze” and scalpel vs. hatchet.

8:20 McCain lie No. 1 – state-level “across-the-board freezes” are NOT across-the-board freezes. They exempt many actual and alleged “essential services.”

8:21 McCain – I’m not Bush… can Obama provoke McCain at some point?

8:22 Obama stakes himself as also a “maverick.” And says even Fox News agrees with him on tax issue. Obama seems lighter but yet serious.

8:24 Schieffer asks about campaign nastiness issue – and the “look him in the eye” moment.

8:25ff McCain goes back to “town hall” idea and blames Obama’s rejecting that.

Lie No. 2 McCai goes back to whacking at John Lewis statements, and claims he has always repudiated GOP negativity. NOT TRUE, per the Virginia GOP chair’s unrepudiated statements.

8:28 Obama’s turn – Cites polls thast 2/3 vs. 1/3 on who thinks has the negative campaign. Rejects the town hall idea, and calls up McCain campaign quote about economic policy being a political loser.

8:31 Obama shows just how he DID repudiate Lewis.

8:33 McCain "a few people like that" at every campaign event? I can't think that will fly well with independents. Then, repeats Lie No. 2 about "repudiating everything."

8:33 Three more McCain lies. McCain throws “Hail Mary” with Ayers and ACORN. “Worst voter fraud in history”? Count Ayers as Lie 3, and ACORN as lies 4-5, both for what ACORN is NOT doing and for Obama’s association with them.

8:37 Obama does good counterpunch on Ayers. Then, on ACORN, good distancing.

8:39 McCain – “all the issues.”
Then, “my campaign is about the issues.” Obama laughs… chuckles in the background.

I know time was an issue, but I wonder why Obama didn't bring up Keating Five ... or Gordon Liddy. Forget? Think not important? Or want to hold that for ads only?

8:40 Veep question – excellent!

8:42 Biden defended for policy issues;

8:43 Palin a “role model to women”? Gas pipeline? Even as Russian oil bigwigs are in Alaska as we speak? Old boy network and cronyism?

8:44 Obama’s non-judgmentalism on Palin good, then does a bit more judo.

8:46 Schieffer asks about energy

Duplicity by both by focusing on “Middle East and Venezuela” for oil. Oil is fungible.

8:47 McCain has a bit of a NAFTA comment, but today’s state of the economy prevents him from going down that road. McCain then laundry-lists alt energy sources.

8:49 Obama: “We can’t drill our way out of the problem.” Justifies govt “investment” in Big Three.

Obama then: BushCo with McCain support – “Any trade agreement is a good trade agreement.” Mentions lack of enviro and labor standards. Cites South Korea deal.

8:51 McCain “Obama has never traveled south of our border.” Not even with Bill Ayers?

That said, McCain voted for NAFTA and WTO; Obama gets a pass from not being in the Senate.

8:52 GOOD for Obama on assassinated Columbian labor leaders.
“We have to stand for human rights and make sure people aren’t being targeted for exercising their human rights.”
Then notes he voted FOR Peru deal.

And, that said, I disagree with Big Three loan guarantees. NO, Obama. They’ve been irresponsible for 35 years.

8:55 McCain.. Obama is Herbert Hoover?? Will that play well with Florida seniors, or will it make McCain look old?

8:56 Schieffer on healthcare

8:57ff Obama doing his best to explain a complicated issue in the format of a time-challenged debate. That said, his lack of a mandate means his program won’t work.

8:58 McCain… says Obama will penalize small businesses.

9:03 McCain ... mandates, big government, etc.

9:065 Schieffer on courts, etc.

9;06 McCain says no litmus test. His one possible real appeal to independents, but not believable in light of the debate as a whole.

9:09 Obama – right to privacy should not be subject to state referendum. Other good comments on this issue. "Nobody favors abortion."

Sorry, I’ve been a bit distracted… in an online chatroom and talking to my best friend on the phone. But, catching up from other blogs, I see McCain basically jumped the shark on the abortion issue. Far more than he did with Ayers, even more than he did with ACORN...

Accusing Obama of letting babies die. Sure, that will play to the base, but I think that has to turn off independents who aren't dyed-in-the-wool pro-lifers.

Here’s the background to the McCain bomb-throwing. And, when McCain is borrowing a page from Alan Keyes, it’s not very good.

FactCheck, while broadly agreeing with the NYT on the 2001 and 2002 versions of the Illinois bills, is a bit more critical of Obama’s 2003 vote explanation.


McCain – ultimately goes with “service” and riffing on military record.

Obama “Can’t afford failed policies and politics.”
After that, though? Too wonky…. And not passionate enough at the close. Especially with him having the last word.

McCain did look much more personable during this debate, especially the post-debate handshake, than the first two. And, he was more angry than Obama, but I don't think quite as angry as some bloggers claim.

CNN first MSM outlet to put Obama over 270

I read a complaint on a blog earlier this week that, unlike FiveThirtyEight, Electoral-Vote, Real Clear Politics, etc, that mainstream media outlets refused to credit Obama with more than 270 electoral votes.

Well, that’s changed; CNN now says the election is Obama’s to lose.

Why Barry Goldwater loathed the Religious Right

His own daughter had an abortion, among other things — when they were still illegal. And Barry arranged for it.

GOP behind Texas vote scam?

I guess Texas House races are the driver

An apparent mass-blast e-mail is claming a straight Dem vote won’t record an Obama vote.

Not true. In fact, Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto said it’s just the opposite.

With eSlate, punching the button for Obama after punching the straight-ticket button will actually cancel the straight-ticket vote.

So, I’d say this is a way to try to negate Democratic votes for down-ballot races, and a sign the GOP is running scared on the Texas House flipping as a result of this election.

Anybody wanna check Tom Craddick’s computer?

Schieffer promises to be debate bulldog

CBS’s Bob Schieffer, tonight’s debate moderator, has indicated he will call out McCain and Obama if they don’t sufficiently answer debate questions.

On the other hand, how much of all of this is about getting the candidates to provide more information, and how much is about debate moderators looking good to their peers?

Jeff Greenfield weighs in on the benefits of the “Knights of the Round Table” format, which will be used tonight.

Tim Mahoney had TWO affairs

The second one was at the same time as the alleged first affair with former aide Patricia Allen.

If the GOP pushes on this further, Pelosi should say she’s ready to have the toughest sanctions against him, should he be re-elected.

SF and STL Fed heads – we’re in recession

Now that San Francisco Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said it, it’s going to be hard for Bush – or McCain or Obama – to deny.

St Louis Fed Chairman James Bullard Now that San Francisco Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen agrees on the recession, but is more worried about inflation in the future than Yellen.

Related to this, the Dow is down more than 500 in mid-afternoon trading.

Advantage theoretically to Obama, but, it’s going to increase the “talk in specifics” pressure on him about his plans to address it.

And, I would guess it will be in a debate question tonight.

McCain unfavorable poll numbers top favorables

That’s the most notable thing I took away from the latest CBS poll, the one showing Obama with the 14-point lead.

It had McCain’s ratings at 36 percent positive, 41 percent negative. That’s pretty serious.

Be doubly scared of NSA

Oh, and thanks again, Obama and other Democratic FISA 45 percenters

If James Bamford, the man who has written the books three books on the secret dealings of the National Security Agency, was caught off guard by last week’s news of spying on Americans overseas by the NSA, you should be scared indeed:
Wired’s Noah Shachtman: It sounds like there were lots of people in the NSA that were spying on Americans.

Bamford: Well, I assume that they were. I mean, I don't think I managed to find the only two in the whole U.S. government that were doing it. No, I think I found two that were outraged enough to speak publicly about it. And I did actually interview other people, too — but they wouldn't go on the record or anything.

Shorter takes from Bamford:
• NSA director Michael Hayden has no backbone against Cheney et al;
• Hayden has compartmentalized the NSA to an extreme;
• TSP is just an umbrella name for a whole range of spy programs.

Here’s more about Operation Highlander, the illegal NSA spying on Americans run out of Fort Gordon, Ga.

Go surfing and sharpen your brain

Brain scans with fMRIs appear to show that surfing the Internet can sharpen up middle-aged and older brains.

Canada election produces a muddle

It sounds like it’s going to be the worst of both worlds up in Ottawa – the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper retain power, but still only with a minority government.

It looks like the Liberals, dropping about two dozen seats, are the big losers; expect party leader Stephane Dion to be booted. However, he claims the Canadian people have selected him to be the official opposition leader, given that the Liberals (a centrist party), still have more seats than either the New Democratic Party or Bloc (neé Parti) Quebecois. Two independents are also listed as getting seats; the Greens didn’t take any ridings, apparently.

October 14, 2008

Pro-life Catholics move to Obama

I don’t know whether Newsweek is tire-swinging for McCain on this or not, but, it seems like it may be trying to soft-pedal its own story.

Specific example? George Weigel, in the story, calls Douglas Kmiec, probably the most prominent pro-life Catholic to support Obama, “a minor official in the Justice Departments of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”

Uhh, George? Kmiec headed the Office of Legal Council, previously done by people such as William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Ted Olsen and Nicholas Katzenbach. It’s one of the top jobs in DOJ, not a “minor” position.

Weigel is right, in that this will likely only up the politicization of pro-life issues inside the Roman Catholic Church.

The argument of Kmiec et al is that the legal battle over Roe is history; it’s time for “harm reduction.”

Read the full story for more.

Morning News tells Palin to stop spinning

Let’s see who the Snooze endorses

In a house editorial, THE Dallas Morning News politely tells Sarah Palin to stop lying a momentum shift has occurred.
Ms. Palin would be wise to quit trying to spin her way out of this mess. It would be far more plausible if she admitted error but said she and her husband acted out of fear – perhaps misplaced – for the family's safety. But to claim vindication when the report is actually fairly damning should give even McCain-Palin supporters pause.

Pause indeed, even at the DMN …

Even “crunchy con” (otherwise known as “granola for brains” Snooze assistant editorial page editor Rod Dreher is “getting tired of Palin:
As someone who initially loved the Sarah Palin pick, her degeneration into a jingo robot is sickening.

Rod, you’re still tire-swinging for the McCain-Palin ticket, though.

Although, he may be softening up on that, too:
Mind you, Barack Obama/s rhetoric is also about emotional manipulation of a different kind, but at least there’s policy substance behind the rhetoric. With Palin, it all seems to be about “vote for us if you love America, vote for them if you don’t.” If the GOP must lose in November, I hope it loses hard. We need to be slapped silly to come to our senses again.

Well, Rod, we’ll see what you Keven Ann Willey have to say on the op-ed page in the way of an endorsement.

Why would Hillary Clinton talk sexism on Fox and Friends?

Specifically, why would she talk about sexism and even claim Sarah Palin is facing the same sexism she faced?

It’s stuff like this that makes people skeptical of just how much the Clintons are on board the Obama bus.

And, did Clinton document any sexism Palin has faced? Has any Democrat asked Palin to “iron his shirt,” as a surely-Republican heckler did at one of Clinton’s speeches?

Assuming Barack Obama is elected president, will Hillary Clinton get cut out of the loop about five minutes after Joe Lieberman?

Wall Street will have its five stages of grief

That’s how Jim Jubak breaks out the next 12-18 months on Wall Street.

His five stages?
• An early rally, starting now;
• The rally falters and ends in early 2009 (Read the story for possible reasons why;
• Deepening pessimism by mid-2009;
• A new bottom at the end of 2009, as Jubak expects the world’s central banks will be withdrawing money from the system around this time.
• Recovery, theoretically deeper and sounder, in 2010 and beyond.

That sounds about right to me.

Jubak has a few investment tips with the story, and promises more in two upcoming columns. Stay tuned.

Sarah Palin hypocrisy alert No. 944

ACORN vs. “kill him” or nobody

Palin hypocritically claims Obama has a responsibility to “rein in” ACORN.

Really? And you don’t think you have a responsibility to “rein in” your more hysterical camp followers after we heard “kill him” yelled the second time in a week at one of your events?

Update: The Secret Service is seriously investigating.

Obama’s Ohio jobs speech sounds great, doesn’t add up

First, to lessen the blow, he had some great points.

A moratorium on foreclosures, for example. Too bad neither House nor Senate included this, along with the more “posturing” issue of CEO pay caps that will be largely unenforceable, in the bailout bill.

VERY GOOD to include people on Main Street as well as Wall Street as living on greed.

Very good rhetoric about the challenges ahead, and how the American response will reflect on American character.

We just don’t have the money to do everything Obama promises. Seems to me that, after he gets in the White House, Obama needs to put on Jimmy Carter’s sweater and turn down the thermostat.

First, zero income tax for seniors making less than $50K? Well, by age group, senior citizens are the lowest-poverty group in America.

Making college affordable? I’m all for that, but only if it’s done, somehow, through federal tuition caps. You through more federal grant money in the mix, and universities, being run on the big biz model today, will just raise rates.

Renewable energy research is great, but won’t create close to five million jobs.

Jobs and Growth Fund? Jobs tax credit? What’s the price tag?

And, no, if you’re honest, you can’t talk about “all the savings” from getting out of Iraq, since that’s an off-budget war. And, before the election, at least, Obama refuses to talk about getting out of Afghanistan.

My god is bigger than your god in politics

Nutbarrery like this is argument No. 1 for an atheist president.

It’s also empirical warrant No. 1 for why more people say they’d vote for “even” a gay for president than an atheist.

Palin not off Troopergate hook

Personnel board will not be a free ride

And, why won’t Palin get a free ride from the board to whom she reported herself in an attempt to downplay the state legislative board? In two words, Timothy Petumenos.

He’s the investigative lawyer the State Personnel Board has hired. He’s a known Democrat who contributed to Tony Knowles’ campaign two years ago.
“We took a gamble when we went to the personnel board,” said a McCain aide who asked not to be identified discussing strategy. While the McCain camp still insists Palin “has nothing to hide,” it acknowledges a critical finding by Petumenos would be even harder to dismiss.

The Anchorage Daily News has more.
Two other ethics complaints involving Palin are known. One, by activist Andree McLeod, alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter. The case is not related to Monegan's firing. The other, by the Public Safety Employees Association, alleges that trooper Mike Wooten's personnel file was illegally breached by state officials.

Petumenos has requested a copy of last week’s legislative report, including confidential backup material. The legislative committee will decide Thursday what to give him.

That said, there’s no telling what the timetable is on the personnel board’s process, and no guarantee its findings will become public.

Bonobos busted making war as well as love

Many researchers (Frans de Waal comes immediately to mind) have long suspected that frequent bonobo copulation in zoos was a stress response as much as anything else. Well, bonobos making war — even females certainly provides indirect confirmation to that idea.

Now, I don’t doubt that bonobos are nonetheless, more peaceful than common chimpanzees, on whom they were found hunting. But, the “free love primate” is dead.

A new era in textual criticism — Presidential linguistics

Having taken a graduate school class in textual criticism — heck, having started a petition drive to get my divinity school to offer it — I find stories like this just fascinating.

It’s about James W. Pennebaker and some of his groundbreaking work. For example, he analyzed the communications of Osama bin Laden vs. his putative No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, and finds shifts in vocabulary by Zawahiri indicating he might be trying to reposition his relationship with bin Laden.

At his blog, Pennebaker examines linguistics and the current presidential race.

That said, scientifically, those ruminations have to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Because this isn’t even a single-blinded study of two unknown orators, but the known speeches and statements of McCain and Obama, whatever political bias Pennebaker has is theoretically being infused into his blog observations.

And, I make that statement without seeing what political leanings he might have.

Now, this isn’t quite in the realm of bad science. But, to the degree that Pennebaker may project his findings as having some sort of scientific sheen, it does approach being shoddy science.

UK and Eurozone leaders again outpace US

Great Britain and six Eurozone countries have ponied up more than 3 times as much to backstop their banks as the $7 billion Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has sought here.

Of the $2.3 trillion in pledged actions, about $341 billion was earmarked to be spent on recapitalizing banks by buying stakes. And that’s from countries with a smaller total population and total economy than the US.

Once again in this financial crisis, the US appears hesitant, halt and bumbling. Much of Wall Street’s Monday energy was in response to European events, not American ones.

And, I don’t know what the eurozone is doing, but Henry Blodget is right: U.S. banks need to be forced their assets ALL the way down to reality. Per Blodget, this would:
* Improve the banks' capital ratios, so they can start lending again
* Persuade private investors to invest in banks again
* Flush all the crap so we can start fresh...unlike Japan.

That said, speaking of relative economy sizes, the eurozone as a whole is now bigger than the US. So, if Paulson doesn’t get in gear, it won’t be the European tail wagging the American dog, but the European dog biting the American tail.

October 13, 2008

Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill gets a black mark?

I can think of only one church in Cedar Hill big enough to be called a “megachurch” by a professional church shopper.

Yep, there are now “mystery worshippers,” just like mystery shoppers.

And, the one who came to Cedar Hill sounds a bit persnickety.

Hindus persecute Christians — fundamentalism in ‘tolerant’ Eastern religion

In India, Hindu fundamentalists are forcing Christian conversions.

So much for lies about tolerant Eastern religions.

Reverse Bradley effect

University of Washington researchers say Obama could get as much as a 3-4 point bump in some strongly Republican states.

The reverse Bradley effect is biggest in Georgia. Pollsters show Georgia in the McCain camp, but by less than a 10 percent margin.

With a fairly strong reverse Bradley in North Carolina, that pushes this state into the Obama camp and means Liddy Dole’s re-election bid is toast.

Will McCain can Steve Schmidt?

Playing off Drudge, that’s Nate Silver’s guess at He expects a “reboot” of McCain’s campaign sometime before Wednesday.

I see a big tire swing potential for the MSM.

First, McCain won’t actually can or demote him; see Hillary Clinton and Mark Penn for a good example of a pseudo-demotion.

Second, even if he were serious, things like this don’t change elections anyway. The typical voter doesn’t pay that much attention to inside baseball.
Third, Schmuck Talk will fly some other stuff under the radar at the same time.

Third, this will let Schmukie be “all positive” in the debate, then go negative for the last 2.75 weeks of campaigning.
Playing off Drudge, that’s Nate Silver’s guess at He expects a “reboot” of McCain’s campaign sometime before Wednesday.

I see a big tire swing potential for the MSM.

First, Schmidt will be as fired, in reality, as McCain’s campaign was suspended 2.5 weeks ago.

Second, Schmuck Talk will fly some other stuff under the radar at the same time.

Third, this will let Schmukie be “all positive” in the debate, then go negative for the last 2.75 weeks of campaigning.

Forum for the Future unveils carbon-climate future of world

Forum for the Future, a British NGO, unveils five possible futures of the world and how it adapts to climate change and the use of hydrocarbons and coal.

They are, as renamed and shortened by me:
• Rosy scenario
• A new way of doing business
• Simplify life (after a decade-long depression)
• Environmental war
• Green protectionism.

Read the full story.

A real recession — even the drug dealer is struggling

That’s the word from the streets of Detroit, as Salon’s Dan Hoyle takes a look at the economic fallout from the Bush Administration’s economic idiocies, ending at the still growing Reno tent city.

The drug dealer? He's seen the richer white folks cut back on their buys to just nickel and dime bags. Wall Street types stiffing "the little guy"?

Black is white in Alaska

Sarah Palin: Troopergate report exonerates me!
Asked “Governor, did you abuse your power?” she said, “No, and if you read the report you’ll see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member. You gotta read the report, sir.”

Reality? not even close. In the report:
“I find that Governor Sarah Palin Abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act ... Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional.”

I think Palin is an Alaskan, perhaps a Religious Right, version of a Leo Strauss neoconservative —

She believes lies are OK if in the service of a higher good.

McCain and Biden screwed old folks in 1983

When both (McCain in the House at the time) voted for the big Social Security rescue in 1983, they voted for a bill that didn’t index Social Security income subject to taxation. (This was after one of the good things of the Reagan Administration, indexing regular income for taxation, so "not thinking of it" isn't very plausible.)

Eighty percent of GOP hacks agree — it’s Obama

A National Journal poll of Democratic and Republican operatives

A full 80 percent of GOP operatives queried list it as highly probable Obama will win.

Their explanations why, their debate takes and more, at the story.

British bank action boosts stocks — Paulson on sidelines in U.S.

Britain’s FTSE 100 stock index was up nearly 5 percent; markets elsewhere in Europe were up even more, Asian markets closed the books on a strong Monday and the Dow is off to a good early start.

All courtesy of the British government announcing a £37 billion (about $80 billion) bank injection and Eurozone leaders completing work on a bank rescue.

Both British and Eurozone actions have three main elements — liquidity support, inter-bank lending guarantees and recapitalization of distressed banks.

Maybe Henry Paulson will get on board now.

And, interesting that even though this is above all a U.S.-caused problem, we couldn’t get the right fix, and the markets didn’t respond.

Today, Paul Krugman agrees;
(British Prime Minister Gordon) Brown and Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to our Treasury secretary) defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up.

the Brown government has shown itself willing to think clearly about the financial crisis, and act quickly on its conclusions. And this combination of clarity and decisiveness hasn’t been matched by any other Western government, least of all our own. ..

(A) sort of temporary part-nationalization, which is often referred to as an “equity injection,” is the crisis solution advocated by many economists — and sources told The Times that it was also the solution privately favored by Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman.

But … Henry Paulson … rejected this obvious path, saying, “That’s what you do when you have failure.”

Your friends caused this in the first place, Henry!

The Bradley effect parsed

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post offer up in-depth stories about the Bradley effect.

The Times story ponders the following issues about the Bradley effect:

• Does it exist?
• If so, how much might it be worth, this election, in percentage points?
• Is there a reverse Bradley effect?
• Is it diminishing?

Answers? Yes, not too much, yes, yes. In general, halfway good news for the American democratic project.

The WP story is more generic, but Obama campaign manager David Plouffe did say he expects increasing black turnout, and vote percentage for Obama, will more than offset any possible Bradley effect.

Here’s his take on the issue:
“The Bradley race was 26 years ago, OK?” Plouffe countered. “That’s before the Internet, before cellphones. It's ridiculous.”

But, the Post notes that Hillary Clinton is doing surrogate campaigning in the most possible Bradley effect areas.

That said, I don’t think the “that one” comment by McCain in the second debate was racist. It was condescending, but that’s not necessarily a race-based emotion.

October 12, 2008

Ten times the chocolate fun

How’s that? Well, biologists have discovered that cacao actually has 10 different species, not just the three that was once believed. They’ve also determined that the plant’s forerunners came from South America, not Central America.

Read the whole story for more.

Sean at FiveThirtyEight drinks Noriega Kool-Aid

Sean Quinn at says Rick Noriega is “a credible candidate in the Lone Star State.”

Either Sean is uninformed, he’s delusional, or he’s right, in the sense that Texas Dems have a fairly low “credibility bar” for statewide office. Here’s what I told Sean:
Sean, has Noriega been selling you some cheap crack? He’s NOT that credible; he’s a bland and relatively uninspiring speaker/campaigner, he ran too hard too long on his “I’m a war veteran” shtick, has been an indifferent fundraiser (Mikal Watts and his private war chest would have been a MUCH better choice.) And, it ‘s not just Noriega; can the Texas Dems as a party not raise money?

Hell, he just barely avoided a primary runoff against a teacher (halfway legitimate opponent), a security guard and the “other” Gene Kelly.

As for “winners,” by her not acting too bat crazy, I said Libertarian Yvonne Schick won the first Senate debate. Maybe Noriega would be more likely to win if liberal 527s would back-door Schick some money, especially (and, I’m not joking) if she could get a Kinky Friedman endorsement.

Beyond that let’s not forget Noriega barely avoided a primary runoff against a halfway credible schoolteacher, a security guard and the “other” Gene Kelly.

Noriega can still "sell" me if he does a hell of a lot better in the second debate.

Some conservatives really ARE really, really crazy

The latest proof the “secular apocalypse” is here? Parents believing the Fisher-Price Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo doll says “Islam is the light.”

Other people claim it says “Satan is King.”

I think I’ll go to my nearest Target and see if one says: “Sarah Palin is smart.”

Then, I’ll KNOW it’s a plot.

This is just the aural equivalent of pareidolia.

Next: Face of Sarah Palin seen in a tortilla.

Tony Gonzalez to Arizona?

The Kansas City Chiefs want to trade the NFL’s career-leading tight end; the NFL trade deadline, in a league where mid-season deals of importance are slim and none, is Tuesday.

Gonzalez has said he’d prefer to end his career in KC, but if he’s to be traded, wants to go to a contender?

The Giants reportedly have talked, not offered enough. Cowboys and Redskins are set. So are Saints, and somewhat Carolina. In AFC, Colts and Steelers are set for sure, as are Chargers and Broncos. Dnb’t think Pats would pay much. Dunno about Jags. Titans are fine.

Why not the Cards? Warner would make good use of him, I think. He’d bolster the whole offense.

GM-Chrysler merger talks — show me the money

As I predicted when I blogged about the GM-Chrysler merger yesterday, GM would need a LOT of money it doesn’t currently have to buy Chrysler from Cerberus Capital.

And, analysts say that by the time economies of scale kick in, it could be too late for both companies.

I’ll go further — two American carmakers merging with each other like this would likely hasten the demise of both.

(Standard & Poor’s analyst Robert Schulz said Friday all three of the formerly-Big Three could be forced into bankruptcy.)

And, we the public would be on the hook for a huge portion of those $25 bil in guaranteed formerly-Big Three loans.

If I were a private investment bank, I wouldn’t lend GM a plugged nickel, let alone real money.

Gail Collins gives GOP election nonsense a royal smackdown

Can we just clone Collins and have the NYT replace MoJo Dowd with the second Collins?

Starting with comparing John McCain to Gollum through pining for Mitt Romney to wondering about “the real Sarah Palin,” it’s a string of hits.