November 08, 2008

Credit crunch silver lining

And, that is less junk mail in moths ahead. In fact, due to postal increases, catalogue mailers have already cut back.

What’s in Wells Fargo’s wallet?

More than 10 percent of U.S. banking assets, violating Federal regulations. You know BushCo will do nothing about WF, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Joe Stiglitz (and, why isn’t he getting mentions for Treasury, OMB or CEA?) says banking consolidation is “a very serious problem.”

But, what about an Obama Administration? Will it do more than Bush?

And, will it address other concerns raised in the story about the dysfunctionality level of much modern American banking?

Given that Obama’s top choices for Treasury are anti-regulatory neolibs, likely answer is nothing.

The enviro agenda Obama should consider

All seven of the item’s on Salon’s punch list are no-brainers – but still worth a look as to how much President Obama will actually do about them?

Five of the seven (see the list) I expect no trouble in Obama meeting them.

But – clean energy? I don’t expect him to back away from clean coal and ethanol, so that will be one failure. Serious, really serious, work on global warming will probably get kicked down the road.

Wally World, Mckey D’s go green

First, I disagree with some of the critics cited in this story – a green building is a green building, period, no matter who owns it, what they sell there and whether the parking lot is full or not. What, you want stores with fewer customers?

At the same time, these critics miss the boat by focusing on environmental issues only, rather than saying something like:

How do we use this as leverage to work on getting Wal-Mart to be more labor friendly?

What to REALLY expect from Obama – Counterpunch

Not a whole lot

Counterpunch gives us a full laundry list of why Obamiac Kool-Aid drinkers will soon find out (but probably not admit for much, much longer) that Joe the Plumber was not just wrong, he was incredibly wrong.

AP speculates on Obama Cabinet

And the AP list makes more sense than whoever got HuffPost to believe that Pete Domenici was on the short list for energy secretary.

Within mainstreamism, here's my take, within each Cabinet post, of which of the AP's speculations makes the most sense as far as Obama's centrist political reality, and which is the most or least acceptable in some cases.

1. Tony Knowles makes the most sense at Interior. Obama's not like to "sacrifice" a sitting swing-state senator in Ken Salazar. Kitzhaber would be OK too.

2. Sebelius might make more sense at EPA, given her stance against Sunflower's proposed Kansas coal plants, than at Energy.

3. Howard Dean at HHS? If the DNC ain't broke, why break it? Unless the good doctor wants out or Obama really feels the need to push him out. If that is the case, then, yes, this is a no-brainer position.

4. Rendell at Transportation is about the right level of political payoff. He brings nothing to Energy, which badly needs a non-politico, between global warming and Peak Oil.

5. Daschle at HHS? No, he'd want higher on the pecking order.

6. Richardson at State? I've said before, I doubt Biden wants him there. He can maybe get Interior, or else hope Jeff Bingaman doesn't run for another Senate term.

7. James Lee Witt or Bratton would be good at Homeland. NO to Tom Kean; too weaselly on 9/11. If you must see this as a "bipartisanship" post, Obama, go looking for a libertarian Republican. Hell, Bob Barr would be better than Kean. He'd be better than Jane Harman, for that matter.

8. I expect Susan Rice at NSA, whether that's good or not.

9. Powell has said he's not interested in ANY Cabinet slot; I hugely doubt he'd take something as "low" as Education.

10. Tom Buis, a non-politico, could be a creative choice for Agriculture.

11. Yuccck on both Gene Sperling and Jason Furman at OMB. More Summers-Rubin-Paulson neoliberalism running amok.

12. NO, NO, NO, to corporate suck-up Andy Stern at Labor. Obama would have to have a political tin ear to make that choice, or else really be in the neolib tank on non-fiscal domestic issues. Bonior could be a good choice.

November 07, 2008

Feingold would be GREAT at Foreign Relations

Progressive Democrat Russ Feingold could be And the next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Current chair Joe Biden will be moving into new digs. Chris Dodd is next in line, but wants to keep his Banking Committee chairmanship. John Kery is No. 3, but is angling like a addicted trout fly-fisher to be named Secretary of State.

Next is Feingold.

This possibility is so stupendous it's driving a neocon like Dan Senor batshit crazy. Of course, the trade-off would be this happens because John Kerry, aka Warren Christopher Jr., is Secretary of State.

Line up the Yahoo shareholder lawsuits

First, Google backed away from an ad-sharing deal due to regulatory fears. Now, even with Yahoo’s price in the tank compared to the time it was in talks, Microsoft (via Steve Ballmer) says it’s not interested, period.

After Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang walked away from a $33/share offer, his company is now at $12/share on this news. How can you NOT sue him, if you’re a major shareholder?

GM going broke

Chrysler talks over

GM’s merger talks with Chrysler are over because it’s close to running out of money.

The General, falling in ranks as we speak (Col. Motors? 1st Lt. Motors?) says its liquidity will fall below minimums sometime in the first half of next year.

Friday night lights, Friday night high jinks

As you perhaps prepare to head to your local high school football game, here’s a few of my reflections from this year’s high school football, and specifically from games I’ve covered here in the state of Tejas.

At Irving Oct. 10, the homecoming queen candidate said she enjoys “texting”; an underclassman prince candidate said he enjoys “eating.” Ahh, the future of American education. May she can text him on her Chinese-made cell phone to meet her for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, for them to keep each other blithely unaware of America’s future being sold out to… China.

Has any high stadium scoreboard ever sold out its ads? Why don’t school boards refuse to buy scoreboards unless they sell out spaces? And, does that video scoreboard really necessary for media students to learn? I think not. I think the Cedar Hill School Board probably did blow $500K this summer because boardmembers didn’t ask themselves Questions No. 1 as a rhetorical question, didn’t even consider Question No. 2 (has any school board, or do boards now have “scoreboard envy”?), and didn’t ask themselves Questions No. 3 as a rhetorical question either.

Does a high school halftime ever get over on time at a homecoming game? Of course not.

How many band parents would stroke out if only the home team’s band played at halftime? (“Billions and billions,” to quote Carl Sagan.) But, in New Mexico, in my high school youth (band member as a freshman), we stayed home on Friday nights the Gallup High School Bengals football team was on the road. What was it like in Texas about 30 years ago?


Leave it to Ted Rall to provide a bracing dose of realism on the Obama election.

You know you’re in for fun with a column that has the subhead of “Obama Win More Hysterical Than Historical.”

If that’s not enough, here’s more meat for you:
Don’t be fooled by the electoral college rout. The popular vote reveals that United States remains a deeply divided country. Bush got 51 percent of the vote in 2004; Kerry drew 48 percent. Obama defeated McCain 51-48. A surge of newly registered voters, including many African-Americans energized by Obama’s candidacy, accounts for the 3 percent difference.

No one’s mind has changed. People who voted for Bush in 2004 voted for McCain. If everyone who voted for Obama had shown up at the polls four years ago, John Kerry would be president. Obama’s victory is the triumph of retail fundraising, computer metrics, and a team of smart, focused advisors who knew how to exploit them.

And, while he doesn’t go into Naderland and call Obama an uncle Tom, he does add this:
Obama had a white upbringing. A product of the elite, he went to an Ivy League college (the same as mine, at the same time). If we were looking at President-Elect Sharpton, I’d believe in this change. (Too scary? Exactly.) As things stand, the rich white people who own and run the country have little to fear.

Read Ted Rall – if you dare.

A pilot suggests aviation reforms to Obama

Commercial pilot Patrick Smith suggests five areas of needed reforms and improvements – air traffic control and runway ground control; congestion and delays; regulatory burdens; keeping foreign airlines out of domestic routes; and airport security. Read the full Salon article for details in each area.

Harper proposes North America climate deal

With Barack Obama’s election, newly re-elected Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is suggesting a continential climate deal.

I won’t be cynical, nor even so harshly skeptical to say I smell a rat.

I will predict, without Harper yet revealing any details, that a sine qua non for him is some sort of “amnesty,” or “bracketing” or something else to take the carbon dioxide from Alberta’s oil sands “off budget.” And, he’s going to argue that this is only fair, since Canada experts so much of that oil to the U.S.

What that argument would actually do is highlight the glaring environmental weakness of NAFTA, as well as raise the issue of whether one country can impose a carbon tax on another country’s exports.

Until and unless Harper would agree to talk about that issue seriously, not just at the NAFTA level, but supporting such a dialogue a the WTO level, I’d advise Obama to say “no deal.”

Yuccck at Yucca Mountain

The Energy Department says we need to do one of two things – either expand it or start a second one.

And, we haven’t even opened the original Yucca Mountain yet.

And, if President Obama believes YM isn’t sufficient, and we need other options, presumably his new Energy Department won’t be dilatory in coughing them up?

One other option is doing some judo on NIMBYism and telling people if they want nuclear as part of an electric power future, they’re going to get mini-Yucca Mountains all over the country.

We’ve agreed to something with Iraq

Unfortunately, our own BushCo government won’t tell us WHAT changes it has accepted in its status of forces agreement with Iraq.

It WILL tell us, though, that it’s through negotiating changes on the SOFA:
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said “there may be requests for clarifications (from the Iraqis) but as far as we're concerned that process of negotiating has come to an end.”

Don’t worry, though; Arab-language Asharq Al-Awsat fills in what BushCo won’t tell us.

Among other things, BushCo reportedly dropped a clause authorizing Washington and Baghdad to seek an extension for retaining troops in the cities beyond 2009 and in the country beyond 2011.

Michael Lind – first winner in the Obama hagiography watch

Michael Lind has made an early and bold bid to grasp the brass ring, to climb to the rarified air, to officially become an Obama hagiographer.

What the hell kind of purple prose is this? (His, not my lead-in to the link to him.):
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency may signal more than the end of an era of Republican presidential dominance and conservative ideology. It may mark the beginning of a Fourth Republic of the United States.

What next? Obama walking on the Potomac? Obama feeding the masses at the Lincoln Memorial with loaves and fishes?

Obama hagiography, like Punxsutawney Phil, raised its head briefly during the end of the Democratic primary campaign, saw its shadow under the bright sun of the summer doldrums, and went back underground for about four or five months.

Well, it’s apparently safe for it to come out again in post-election fall.

Now, to be halfway fair, I should note that Lind defines his three previous American Republics:
The First Republic of the United States, assembled following the American Revolution, lasted from 1788 to 1860. The Second Republic, assembled following the Civil War and Reconstruction (that is, the Second American Revolution) lasted from 1860 to 1932. And the Third American Republic, assembled during the New Deal and the civil rights eras (the Third American Revolution), lasted from 1932 until 2004.

Fair in citing his definition for the purpose of demolishing it.

The second and third 72-year divisions are arbitrary, though the first one certainly isn’t. The second one is the most arbitrary. There is no overriding philosophy running through it, unlike the “America of the Founders” for the first one, and, just perhaps, the “New Deal and its aftermath” for the third.

Plus the third segment is artificial in that Lind arbitrarily makes it 72 years instead of 76.

He does that to prop up a weird and weak claim that each “republic” can be subdivided into 36-year halves. He protests he’s not about astrology, which I’m not claiming.

He does seem to be about numerology, though.

And, on the second page, Lind further undercuts himself by saying the 2004 election was a fluke.

What if Kerry had been a marginally better candidate? And won?

Don’t tell me, Michael Lind, you’d be honoring John Kerry for starting the Fourth Republic.

Michael, there's not enough bat guano in all the South Pacific for you to fertilize the idea that you'd have written this same story about Kerry.

This is about Obama hagiography first, history second. (Or pseudohistory in the service of Obama hagiography.)

November 06, 2008

Excellent Obama Cabinet advice from Tim Noah

The Slate columnist has some brilliantly simple cabinet advice.

He says don't appoint Larry Summers or his former boss, Robert Rubin, to anything.

Do not carry over Robert Gates at Defense. (And Noah's right that Gates probably has Iran-Contra dirt he's still hiding, and since Iran will remain a major foreign policy issue ... )

Do NOT appoint RFK Jr. to anything. Totally agreed there.

Here's the rest of the common-sense insight.

Good, bad and ugly in early regulatory talk

A “systemic risk regulator” sounds like a great idea, Barney Frank, but would have sounded even better oh, about 10 years ago.

Where were folks like you and Chuck Schumer then? Listening to Robert Rubin too much?

Merging the Securities and Exchange Commission with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission? Good idea, as long as the stricter set of regulations, in cases where overlapping regulations are merging, always takes precedence.

Oh, and letting any one bank hold more than 10 percent of U.S. deposits, on the other hand?

Does NOT sound like such a good idea.

Elba Garcia vs Ken Mayfield

I would love to see Garcia challenge Mayfield for his District 4 Dallas County Commissioners Court seat in 2010 elections. If Ken only beat Rose “Rosita” (Puhleeze) Renfroe by709 votes in 2006, he’ll be vulnerable in 2010.

Here in the south suburbs, much of Grand Prairie, most of Duncanville and the east side of Cedar Hill all voted Democratic this year, showing the county’s shift.

In Mayfield’s district, Garcia would run well in west Dallas. Mayfield would do well in northwest suburbs, leaving Irving and Grand Prairie as keys.

DC is still DC

At least on Lobbyist Gulch, K Street.

What else can you say, vis-a-vis the duopoly, when a top GOP lobby shop buys out a major Democratic firm purely for access?

Sayonara for Kid CraddicK?

We can only hope — right, Helen Giddings?

With Democrats gaining a minimum of two seats in the Texas House and possibly even the four seats necessary to knot the House at 75-all, Tom Craddick’s days as Speaker might be numbered.

Unlike 2006, no “name” Republicans have filed for the seat, but Longview’s Tommy Merritt has thrown in his hat.

Numerous Democrats are interested:
Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, and Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, both filed for the speaker contest Wednesday.

Both are popular moderates, considered able to work with Republicans. Other Democrats in the race are Houston Reps. Sylvester Turner, a friend of Mr. Craddick, and Senfronia Thompson, a popular liberal member.

But, “Craddick Democrats” like DeSoto’s Helen Giddings are going to have to break their addiction, stop claiming they can deliver more for their districts by siding with Craddick, and do the right thing.

Especially if Dems get four seats and Craddick Democrats like Giddings remain stubborn, they could end on the wrong side of the vote and wind up in the political wilderness.

Pete Sessions gets Boehner support for No. 4 House GOP slot

Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions got a boost in his bid to head the Republican National Congressional Committee - an endorsement from House Minority Leader John Boehner:
“Tom Cole has guided the NRCC through a difficult time for our party, and I’m sincerely grateful for his service to our team. But I believe having Pete Sessions at the helm of the NRCC in the next cycle will give House Republicans our best shot at rebuilding a majority coalition,” Boehner said in a statement. “Pete has the skills needed to recruit top-tier candidates and give them the support they need to challenge a Democratic Congress. ... We need Pete Sessions at the leadership table as the next chairman of the NRCC.”

Coming from a metropolitan district that has suburban as well as central-city areas, and in a long-time GOP area trending more Democratic, perhaps Boehner believes Sessions has some demographic-related insights.

Asian-Americans want spot at Obama hog trough

Look, I can understand any interest group, ethnic or otherwise, wanting a slice of the pie from a new presidential administration.

But, the argument that Asian-Americans were a “deciding factor” in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia, Nevada and Minnesota is a bit specious.

First, all those states except Washington state were relatively close.

In Minnesota, I could cite American Indians being a deciding factor, with a straight face. In Nevada, with a semi-straight face, I could cite Basque sheepherders.

Ditto for gay Navy service personnel in Virginia.

And, with tongue firmly in cheek, could talk about:
• Gay “Joe the Plumbers” in Ohio;
• Fifth cousins of Joe Biden in Pennsylvania;
• Gamblers Anonymous members in Nevada;
• Left-handed atheists in Minnesota.

Etc., etc

RNC lawyers investigating Palin spending

Beyond the cluelessness level of calling Africa a country (which alone should disqualify her from a future in GOP politics), Sarah Palin also apparently learned the art of the politics-based fiscal shakedown from her mentor, Sen. Ted Stevens, all too well.

Republican National Committee lawyers are on their way to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, the NYT says.

Beyond that, though, we have more evidence of the flyweight knowledge level, combined with the opposition to doing any mental heavy lifting, like lack of interview preparation, which reinforces the idea that she would make W. look rational and thoughtful.

Future Treasury Secretaries laid off!

A full 3,200 of them got the ax at Goldman Sachs. Oh, the schadenfreude of it all!

Renteria back with the Birds?

Hmm, he would be a definite offensive upgrade over Cesar Izturis. And, he appears to be available.

I’d throw out something like two years/$6 mil per and see if that lands him. Yes, he’s slowed, but Izturis wasn’t a Gold Glove and Renteria brings more bat, still.

Otherwise, it sounds like John Mozeliak is looking to move an outfielder as part of a pitching deal, still, as well as trade Adam Kennedy.

Obama the biracial president – and the moderate president

Over at Salon, James Hannaham takes a good look at the full details of the racial background of Obama.

But, that’s secondary to his noting this – Oama is a moderate president. Without saying so, in today’s Democratic Party, from the way Hannaham spells it out, that means he’s a neoliberal.

For an earlier Hannaham take on Obama’s ethnic background as a political and socilological lens, read his multiracial Obama column from February. It's interesting to read it in light of his new column.

Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama

Without dissing Robinson’s groundbreaking presence, King Kaufman does a good job of putting black sports pioneers in proper perspective to President-elect Obama.

Josh Marshall doesn’t like the Obama Kool-Aid

It’s the bitter Summer(s) aftertaste

Josh Marshall at TPM is getting a sudden revelation of concern about Clinton retread Larry Summers returning to the Treasury?

Hey, Josh, did the Obama Kool-Aid have some Valium in it? The Summers-to-Treasury story has been around more than a month, although keeping Henry Paulson on was the leading idea at that time. More Clinton retreads, plus John Kerry, were mentioned for other posts two weeks ago.

Of course, a MSLBer like Josh thinks I’m too radical, or that I haven’t known what I’ve been talking about earlier this year. But, you mixed your Kool-Aid, so now you’ll have to drink it.

November 05, 2008

HuffPost hopefully is wrong on Obama Cabinet

First, though, if it’s right? WTF, Obama, if Pete Domenici is on your short list as Energy Secretary, as Huff Post rumors. Or James Woolsey?

Pete Domenici is not bipartisanship, he’s surrender.

And a Kennedy in the cabinet?

Anyway, the HuffPost is inaccurate already. Powell has turned down any position. (And what could he have above Secretary of State?) And Janet Napolitano, not Deval Patrick, appears to have the inside track to AG.

Beyond that, Domenici didn’t run for re-election due to health issues.

So, does the HuffPost have that crappy of sources, or is somebody there getting punked, or what?

Medvedev does some missile-rattling at Obama

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is deploying short-range missiles in Kaliningrad, a part of the old USSR between Lithuania and Poland.

Medvedev made clear it was in part due to U.S. backing of Georgia in recent Caucasus tiffs, which candidate Obama also backed.

It’s also a warning not to get happy about expanding NATO to Ukraine.

Another heads-up to Obama.

The crystal ball for top Republicans says …

Just as Hillary Clinton’s Democratic primary campaign failure can be reduced to one event – deciding to campaign in Iowa – so McCain’s failure in the general election can largely be reduced to one event.

In this case, Sarah Palin was McCain’s Achilles heel.

And, it’s not just me; 59 percent of Americans, which has to include at least a few Republicans, find her a drag on the ticket.

I don’t think he ever totally got over the petulance he had at being told by Karl Rove that he couldn’t pick Joe Lieberman as his Veep. (And, some “maverick,” eh? If he really were a maverick, he would have told Rove and Steve Schmidt where to get off.)

Another turning point? McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” line. But, I think he could have done more to overcome that without the Palin baggage.

That said, what’s ahead for McCain?

He’s a 72-year-old senator whose one signature piece of legislation was passed in the face of massive opposition from senators in his own party. And, for the next two years, he’ll be in a Senate with shrunken GOP membership and, on many issues, an inability to filibuster. On other issues, Harry Reid, assuming he stays as majority leader, is likely to call Republican filibuster bluffs.

If you thought McCain was in danger of melting down during this year’s election, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

He’s up for re-election in 2010, and there’s already plenty of speculation popular Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who has shown she can stand up to the GOP, will run for his seat.

I actually hope he doesn’t retire in 2010; I’d like to see him get another beatdown.

Meanwhile, here’s what happens to some other top Republicans.

Sarah Palin? Well, her future has taken yet another twist in the last week or so, with Ted Stevens’ conviction followed by his re-election. Assuming his appeals fail and he finally gets the boot from the Senate, she has to be eyeing his seat.

If not? I expect she’ll face both a primary challenge and a three-way general election race for governor in 2010. That’s unless she decides to run for Lisa Murkowski’s Senate seat, in which case she’ll have her head handed back to her in a hat. She may try to run for president in 2012, in which case she’d better have a hat ready for her head again. After that, the Peter principle kicks in and she goes to Fox News.

Meanwhile, Newsweek delivers more of the goods on the horribleness of Campaign Barbie, from the Secret Service seeing her incitements raise the threat level against Obama to just what a clothes horse she really is.

Somehow, I don’t think her and First Dumbass Todd being seen as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast” helps her image unless Alaskans are even more down with political corruption and cynicism than say, Louisiana voters.

Mitt Romney? He’d like to bid to be the “kinder, gentler” Religious Right-focused candidate. But, especially if GOP bloodletting after this convention pushes the part further right, there’s no chance of that. Beyond general reasons, his Mormonism will remain unacceptable to many. On the flip side, the way Mormon money pushed Prop. 8 over the top, he has to be looking at 2012.

Mike Huckabee? He could be the Religious Right front-runner, but I won’t say “should be”; he’ll have to keep himself in the public eye enough in the next four years.

Tim Pawlenty? If re-elected in 2010, he could be the “sensible conservative” alternative. Obama’s victory aside, governors still have many advantages over senators in running for the presidency. (Don’t forget that before Obama, the last Senator-cum-President, Jack Kennedy, had been in the Senate less than a decade.)

Mitch Daniels, re-elected in Indiana, is a possible up-and-comer. He raised taxes there despite protests from Grover Norquist and his ilk.

Rudy Giuliani? He’ll continue to get rich off 9/11 legends of his involvement. At the same time, he misses the game. I think he has to be tempted to run against Patterson for gov in 2010, but only if he has a pretty clear GOP field. With Mike Bloomberg apparently wanting another term as mayor of the Big Apple, one potential opponent is out of the way.

Mike Bloomberg? He’ll be the Hamlet of Gracie Mansion on another third-party bid.

Arnold Schwarzenegger? I’m really not sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t run for re-election. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did and lost. Or won. Or ran for the Senate in 2010 against Dianne Feinstein. She’s going to be 75-plus, and I don’t doubt age will be an issue. That all said, his “No on 8” stance has probably ended what remains of his love affair with the California GOP. I think he could win a primary for the Senate as easily as he could for his current spot, if not more so.

Charlie Crist? If the GOP bloodletting turns out not to make the party into a Constitution Religious Right party writ large, Crist has to be considered a front-runner for the nomination. His dignified, quiet distancing of himself from McCain’s more nutbar attacks on Obama, ACORN, etc., stand him in good stead.

The Republican Party? McCain’s loss will probably be interpreted through the lens of Prop. 8 success in California. That said, a pro-life issue in Colorado lost, so Religious Righters could push the GOP into further trouble if they insist their view is the correct one.

Meanwhile, let the infighting begin.

Outgoing National Republican Senatorial Conference Chairman John Ensign says the GOP needs a bigger social tent, while Grover Norquist and Tony Perkins are gathering a meeting of ’wingers tomorrow.

I think the choice to head the RNC in the future will be a “tell.”

LATER – some leading Democrats.

Gay rights hopes not yet dead in California???

Legal filings offer ray of hope or nobody

Three legal groups, led by Equality California, are petitioning the California Supreme Court to throw out Prop. 8.

On what grounds?

They claim the measure revised, rather than amended state law. Therefore, the petitions argue, voters did not have the authority to make such a dramatic change in state law; it first should have been submitted to the state Legislature.

Stay tuned. This battle is far from over. Assuming the California high court agrees with petitioners, we get to the Legislature, which probably would be pressured to approve a new version of Prop. 8 for the voters to consider.

Then, a new election with at least $100 million, not just $74 million, in the fight pool.

If gay-rights supporters can put a cork in Gavin Newsom's mouth, and perhaps get this scheduled on a special election date or otherwise finess President-elect Obama's anti-gay marriage comments and black ticket splitters, a new Prop. 8 could be defeated.

Stay tuned. And read this full story.

Reid already in 2010 GOP headlights

I had no idea his Nevada favorability was polling as low as 30 percent, but yes, that would make Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid an inviting target for the GOP in 2010.

Reid’s already trying to bolster his image. Obama winning Nevada, and Reid pushing the “western strategy “ that got the early Nevada Democratic presidential caucus.

Keep an eye on Roll Call in days, even hours, ahead for other Congressional news.

Waxman to challenge Dingell

Rep. Henry Waxman will challenge House Methuselah John Dingell for chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

A Waxman chairmanship would make a HUGE difference on greenhouse gas matters vis-à-vis the auto industry. Go, Waxman!

Other potential changes in Congressional leadership are Keep an eye on already shaping up. Among House Democrats, the possible move to the White House by Rahm Emanuel is inspiriing much of this.

Keep an eye on Roll Call in days, even hours, ahead for other Congressional news.

Cornyn waits on Coleman race results for GOP insider move

John Cornyn is waiting on recount results from the Norm Coleman-Al Franken Senate race in Minnesota before launching a bid to replace Nevada Sen. John Ensign as the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2010 cycle.

Other potential changes in Congressional leadership are Keep an eye on already shaping up. Besides Cornyn, amongst Texas Republicans, Rep. Jeb Hensarling is eyeing the House Republican Conference chairmanship.

Keep an eye on Roll Call in days, even hours, ahead for other Congressional news.

Obama gets first foreign policy test on Pakistan

U.S. warned to drop unilateralism, but will he?

From President Asif Ali Zardari through Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar on down, Pakistan’s government is delivering an unambiguous message to Gen. David Petraeus, the new head of Central Command:

Stop the air strikes.

And, if Afghanistan, often known as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, couldn’t lead us to our own Vietnam 2.0 in the area, listen to Zardari’s language:
“Continuing drone attacks on our territory, which result in loss of precious lives and property, are counterproductive and difficult to explain by a democratically elected government. It is creating a credibility gap.”

Credibility gap, eh? Did we just roll the clock back 40 years?

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military is giving Petraeus “a glimpse of the Tora Bora from the other side,” in an attempt to show him just what it faces.

And, while the warning is putatively for Petraeus, given that Barack Obama has announced his support for unilateral incursions of all kinds, not just air strikes, into Pakistan, we know who is the ultimate target of this message.

Per the WaPost, here’s further warning that Obama’s foreign policy honeymoon could be short in this area if he gets too hawkish:
The Pakistani Defense Ministry said in a statement released shortly after the meeting that frequent attacks inside Pakistan by U.S. Predator drones “could generate anti-American sentiments” and “create outrage and uproar” among Pakistanis.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is trying a “North West Frontier Awakening,” its twist on the “Anbar Awakening” Petraeus oversaw in Iraq.

A short-term success, the jury is still out on the Anbar Awakening, with it likely to lead to some sort of Iraqi civil war in the long term.

From Pakistan, Petraeus has said he will, essentially, take the complaints under advisement.

Dick Cheney and Laura Bush fight over Shrub’s legacy bid

Darth Vader is last-ditch opposing President Bush’s plan to create two new massive marine sanctuaries in the Pacific. Even James Connaughton favors both, although some officials of the Northern Mariana Islands oppose the one off their shores.

But, Cheney is running into a protective wildcat buzzsaw named Laura Bush. Read the full story for what she’s doing to stand by her man, and her man’s bid for a “legacy.”

‘The decency of George W. Bush’

Ladies and gentlemen, for your post-election humor – Michael Gerson!

No word yet if Gerson has been nominated to serve as Secretary of Legacy.

Some sarcastic applause for ‘Gang Green’ in California

Thanks to the Sierra Club, NRDC and other insider/establishmentarian environmental groups, and their Big Utility allies such as Pacific Gas and Electric, it looks like a California alt-energy bill has been shot down, even though the bill had the support of multiple Nobel laureates.

The proposition would have required that half of California’s energy come from alternative sources by 2025.

Big Utilities don’t have a dog in wind or solar to speak of, and would rather have a captive market. “Gang Green” environmental groups, NRDC above all, supported California electric dereg a decade ago, hoping to use pricing to force conservation. So, they’ve been hand in hand.

That said, some opponents claimed loopholes in the proposition would actually stunt solar power.

California has an alt-energy requirement on the books already, but it exempts municipal utilities, which provide a fair amount of the state’s electricity.

The L.A. Times’s vote No editorial gives an overview of the issues involved. The only one that would have concerned me, were I out there, was the rigidity against amendment.

I think the current standard has its own loopholes, namely, not covering municipal utilities, and is weaker in benchmarks.

And, if there were problems with the ballot language, why didn’t Gang Green groups talk with the sponsors, John and Peter Sperling?

EU backing off on financial regulatory toughness?

In advance of a Nov. 15 meeting of the world’s leading economic nations, the European Union is backing off the idea of trying to make the International Monetary Fund a true global bank.

Of course, a President-elect Obama may have different thoughts on that than a President Bush, on this side of the pond.

And, do we not already have a global bank called the World Bank?

I’m not sure how much of the partial stand-down on muscle flexing is a squabble between the continent and Britain, as PM Gordon Brown has been the biggest pusher for a more muscular IMF, and how much is due to other factors.

Maybe the continent is afraid of the responsibility, or the pressure on the Euro, that an IMF rivaling the World Bank would cause.

Can you say Sen. Palin?

Convicted felon Ted Stevens appears to be on his way to re-election as Alaska’s senior dinosaur senator.

I had halfway wondered if this might happen. Basically, a way for Alaskans to say “eff you” to Washington.

Per Alaskan law, it requires a special election to fill a Senate vacancy. So, that rules out the scenario of Sarah Palin resigning as governor, with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell then appointing Palin to the Stevens seat.

Here’s another Anchorage Daily News story, which both explains the relevant law and says, contrary to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Stevens isn’t likely to get the boot while on appeal.

Meanwhile, Newsweek delivers more of the goods on the horribleness of Campaign Barbie, from the Secret Service seeing her incitements raise the threat level against Obama to just what a clothes horse she really is.

Meanwhile, Newsweek delivers more of the goods on the horribleness of Campaign Barbie, from the Secret Service seeing her incitements raise the threat level against Obama to just what a clothes horse she really is.

Somehow, I don’t think her and First Dumbass Todd being seen as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast” helps her image unless Alaskans are even more down with political corruption and cynicism than say, Louisiana voters.

Back to Stevens.

Even if he thought about it Reid can’t, or can’t only, give Stevens the boot in the lame-duck session — at last, I don’t think so.

January, the new Senate will be governed by his new election; he currently would be governed by his 2002 election.

So, if Reid boots him this year, I think he’ll have to boot him again in January. Most senators might accept the one boot in their butts, but Stevens won’t, I’m sure.

But, because of that, he won’t be booted in November. That said, let’s hope that Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell do the Senatorial equivalent of an amicus brief for a speedy hearing of his appeal.

Should Stevens lose his appeals, there’s nothing stopping Palin from running for the position herself that I’m aware of. I’m sure, given the nature of Alaskan politics, there’s no requirement for her to resign as governor if she should run.

Republicans threaten voting machine fraud suit?

Make me laugh, then make me puke, at this bit of hypocrisy — including citing Oprah Winfrey’s voting machine problem as evidence.

Prop. 8 leading as time runs out

L.A. late break falling short; Sacramento vote as state bellwether?

Update, 5 a.m. Central – Hope is fading; all the Bay Area counties but Santa Clara are 100 percent reported and we’re still at about 52-48 yes; for the last hour, it's been 51.7-51.8 on the yes side. Late vote reporting in L.A. is narrowing the gap, but I don’t think it’s enough.

We have 97 percent of L.A. now reporting, with the gap down to just over 300,000 voters.

And, there’s a lot of San Diego and a fair amount of Riverside votes still out; by precincts, San Bernardino has even more out. (What’s up with the Southland?) But, all of those are solidly “yes” counties, unless San Diego, especially has some late precincts breaking No like in L.A.

The outstanding votes in L.A. and Contra Costa could reasonably, maybe optimisticly, cut that gap to 250K.

Maybe San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders swayed some of those San Diegans.

Here’s the L.A. Times coverage, with a comprehensive county by county state map with auto-refresh.

A. L.A. County is coming in slowly. Contra Costa and Alameda are about the same. LAC is voting slightly “Yes” so far, though. And, per the L.A. Times, however it affects Prop. 8, more than 82 percent of those eligible voted in L.A. County.

And with it running about 54-46 in favor of Prop. 8, that could spell trouble. I’m curious on the final exits — how many minorities in the Southland voted Yes. It all depends on what parts of L.A. are still out.

B. As of 2:20 a.m. Central time, all of Marin County was in, all of San Francisco County and all of San Mateo. But Santa Clara (South Bay) and Contra Costa and Alameda (East Bay) were still slow. But, especially in light of the 82 percent turnout in L.A. County, the entire Bay Area population doesn’t stack up to LA’s votes. Beyond that, I have no idea why LA is reporting so slowly.

C. At 1 a.m. Central, CNN said exit polls predicted it would lose by the 53-47 margin that was actually reported at that time.

BUT… this may be another case where exits are wrong. Normally, exit polls have a strong Democratic bias, strong enough to make them very unreliable. And, later reports are that exits have been tweaked.

Also here, Yes on 8 forces may have wanted to proclaim something, reversing the normal exit poll bias.

D. Sacramento County may be a bellwether. It split 50-50 on Bush-Kerry and has a demographic profile that fairly closely parallels the state average.

This year, Obama is getting nearly 60 percent of the vote, but Prop. 8 is still wining with most the county in.

Wrap-up and analysis, 5:10 a.m.:

Based on the Sacto returns, I’d say that, sadly, Prop. 8 will win.

And why? In a phrase, black ticket-splitters. I’m sure Obama’s mug in the Yes on 8 ads at the end did nothing but add to that, despite him cutting a No on 8 spot.

Beyond that, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is probably Reason No. 2, if Prop. 8 wins, as far as self-inflicted wounds.

And, is there a gay-rights equivalent of the Bradley effect? Prop. 8 strategist Jeff Flint certainly thinks so.

Obama and McCain speech thoughts and highlights

Poignancy in Chicago; graciousness in Phoenix

Stylistically, Obama struck a perfect balance a near-perfect balance between loftier flights of rhetoric and a focus on reality.

The focus on reality:
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term.

Throw in his riffs on Lincoln, including the direct quote:
As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

Don’t you just know that he’s looking forward to returning to Springfield, Ill. Feb. 12, 2009?

Add the comment on his grandmother’s death, and you have a very poignant, poignant speech on the emotional side.

That said, back to the realism side — specifically, to the the “we” he spoke about again.

All those e-mail addresses he has? Will he use them as a cyber-bully pulpit? A Woodrow Wilson for the early 21st century?

I will agree with him on condemning cynicism. But, President-elect Obama, left-liberal skepticism will remain alive and well in this and a few other, albeit small for now, corners of the blogosphere and punditry.

Overall grade? A/A-minus.

The McCain speech? He touched on the historic occasion with his Booker T. Washington reference, referenced Obama’s family loss, and indicated his willingness to help in any way.

With the allowance of having to wait for hindsight to see how much help he offers, McCain’s speech gets a solid B/B-plus.

The world weighs in on Obama

Many people in the sampling of current and former world leaders look forward to the new president. One worrier on free trade, and one on his sabewr-rattling toward Pakistan.

November 04, 2008

Other national election tidbits

Updated 1:35 a.m. – Alaska Senate race

It looks like Senate Democrats may be in danger of counting a chicken before it hatched. Stevens is ahead of Begich with 45 percent of precincts reporting.

Updated 12:05 a.m. Nov. 5 – More on Prop. 8

Down 56-44 with 18 percent of precincts reporting, but there's plenty of hope.

A. L.A. County is coming in very slowly. Contra Costa and Alameda are even slower.

B. At the same time, 25 percent of SF is "yes" in reports so far?? And almost a third of Santa Cruz?

1. Marilyn Musgrave getting smoked in Colorado in her House re-election bid.

2. Arizona's House delegation looks to be 5-3 Democrat. Lord can't quite make it 6-2.

3. New Mexico Dems win all three House races plus Udall's Senate bid. The Land of Enchantment may be the second-largest state after Massachusetts where one party controls the governor's mansion, both houses of the state legislature, and all Senate and House seats.

4. No word yet on Prop. 8; this, unlike Obama for president in California, probably won't be called for some time. Early voting, with 18 percent of precincts in, showed it winning 54-46. Let's hope late-reporting urban precincts change that.

5. No call yet on Franken in Minnesota, who could be the last Democratic Senate pickup, not counting Begich in Alaska. (Saxby Chambliss looks to avoid a runoff in Georgia.)

6. Chris Shays loses in Connecticut. No more GOP from New England in the House.

7. In other state ballot issues, Arkansas banned same-sex parental adoptions, Arizona banned same-sex marriage, and Washington state approved a right-to-die issue.


And the "surge" is on!

Update 10:30 p.m. – In addition to the three West Coast states being called as soon as polls closed, Florida and Virginia have been called for Obama. Nevada now, too. Throw in Colorado, and he's over 330. Still has a shot at 350 EVs.

Obama takes the slightest of leads in Indiana. If anything refutes the Bradley effect, a possible Obama win in Indiana does.

McCain looks like he will pull out Missouri, and with enough of a lead to seriously tatter its "bellwether state" image.

North Carolina so close we could have a recount – 50-50 and just 5K votes to McCain's favor with 94 percent of precincts in, although Obama is pulling back ahead a bit.

Arizona now called for Obama.

Google News’ election page has detailed updates.

Or – look at the map.

Indiana still not called for – whom? The fact that it's not yet called for McCain reinforces that Obama has indeed won Ohio. North Carolina still not called.

Speaking of that, Google returns to date have Colorado Obama +10 with 10 percent in on precincts. Looks good. 8:55 Central – Rocky Mountain News calling Colorado for Obama.

This is history-making. Even though I didn't vote for Obama, but a candidate attempting to make double-groundbreaking history in Cynthia McKinney, I'm still choked up.

'Body' language at election parties

First, Obama is having a public party outdoors in Chicago, while McCain is having a private indoor party in balmy Arizona.

Plus, with McCain and Palin there together? Boy, wouldn't you like to be a fly on THAT wall!

Ohio AND Colorado called – election really over

Updated 9:50 p.m. Central — A bit of Obama gravy. Looks like the Omaha, Neb. House district electoral vote is going Obama.

Why is Arizona too close to call even with McCain showing a 10+ lead right now? A combination of the very urban metro Phoenix still reporting, and the very rural Big Rez (that's Navajo Reservation to you) being slow to report just because of its isolation.

Obama up 3 in Florida with more than 80 percent reporting. Virginia less than a percentage point for McCain with 91 percent of precincts reporting. It probably won't be called until after 1 a.m. Eastern time, IMO. And, McCain still has his suit over military ballots, though if Obama wins Florida or North Carolina to make that more than irrelevant, we'll see if McCain "graciously" drops the suit.

North Carolina now with the slightest of McCain leads — less than half a percentage point — with 86 percent of precincts reporting.

Updated 9:25 p.m. — Virginia looks like it has a lot of ticket-splitters – Warner for Senate, but McCain for Prez. Guessing some might be from the hinterlands, but many might be from Virginia's many Navy bases – not just "military" but Navy – and perhaps Navy-loyal.

Rocky Mountain News called Colorado at about 8:50 Central.

Google News’ election page has detailed updates.

Or – look at the map.

Indiana still not called for – whom? The fact that it's not yet called for McCain reinforces that Obama has indeed won Ohio.

Latest from Virginia has Obama closing to a virtual tie with 71 percent of precincts in. Suburban Richmond leaning Obama there, in more good news for him. Obama up three percentage points in North Carolina, with 50 percent of precincts reporting. New Mexico has been called early. Arizona still not callable, which says something about Obama's likely success in Colorado and Nevada.

Speaking of that, Google returns to date have Colorado Obama +10 with 10 percent in on precincts. Looks good. 8:55 Central – Rocky Mountain News calling Colorado for Obama.

Florida a little tighter, but Obama +3 with 57 percent of precincts reporting.

(Note: with states that had early voting, not sure how much of the early vote totals are in the mix. But, remember, N.C. had 70 percent early voting. And, each state that has early voting is different on how early voting results are reported.

Also, whether states have early voting or not, "precincts reporting" is not the same as "precincts final.")

Dallas-Texas results

Update 11:15 p.m. – Snooze says it could weel be a wash on state House races statewide.

Update 10:25 p.m. – Sheriff's race called for Valdez.

Update 9:45 p.m. – Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie says he thinks Texas should have 2 to 5 more Dems in the state House and that he's being conservative.

Lupe Valdez well ahead of Lowell Cannaday in early returns for Dallas County sheriff.

Kim Brimer behind early in his Senate District 10 re-election bid against Wendy Davis.

Carol Kent up on Tony Goolsby in House 102.

Republican Linda Harper-Brown also trailing. And in another Republican-held seat, Democrat Robert Miklos leads Mike Anderson.

Parkland bond is passing easily. Good.

Unfortunately, the near-dead, near-comatose Ralph Hall is still leading in re-election to U.S. House District 4 so far.

Info per Dallas Morning News and its Trailblazers blog.

Ohio called for Obama - election over

Updated 9 p.m.

I just heard NBC make the call. I say it's unofficially officially over.

Google News’ election page gives Obama a big lead.

Indiana still not called for – whom? The fact that it's not yet called for McCain reinforces that Obama has indeed won Ohio.

Latest from Virginia has Obama closing to a virtual tie with 71 percent of precincts in. Suburban Richmond leaning Obama there, in more good news for him. Obama up three percentage points in North Carolina, with 50 percent of precincts reporting. New Mexico has been called early. Arizona still not callable, which says something about Obama's likely success in Colorado and Nevada.

Speaking of that, Google returns to date have Colorado Obama +10 with 10 percent in on precincts. Looks good. 8:55 Central – Rocky Mountain News calling Colorado for Obama.

Florida a little tighter, but Obama +3 with 57 percent of precincts reporting.

(Note: with states that had early voting, not sure how much of the early vote totals are in the mix. But, remember, N.C. had 70 percent early voting. And, each state that has early voting is different on how early voting results are reported.

Also, whether states have early voting or not, "precincts reporting" is not the same as "precincts final.")

Indiana looks good for Obama early

Obama is behind, but only by 1 percentage point with more than 250,000 votes in. (Use the Google drawbar to get state-by-state results.)

Or, use the map! (Note -- the map seems to be less current on Indiana, to the tune of half the vote numbers as of 6:15 Central time.)

That means that, even if he loses, he's very competitive in a solidly GOP state. It's good news for his possibilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

One last Trig Palin coverup

Sarah Palin, in her "I'm healthy" letter from likely pregnancy deceptionist Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, had one-third of the letter devoted to issues related to her alleged pregnancy with Trig Palin.

Here's the bullshit line, re why Palin allegedly gave birth at a Mat-Su Regional Medical Center that still has no record of Trig Palin's birth:
Palin underwent "follow-up perinatology evaluations to ensure there was no significant congenital heart disease or other condition of the baby that would preclude delivery at her home community hospital."

Yeah, right.

Election Day whazzup news 1 - freebies included

Free goodies, long lines, voting machine problems

First, do you need to numb out from Election Day? Here's a list of all the freebies you can get.

If donuts and ice cream don't give you a free sugar high, hit Starbucks. In Baltimore, there's even free beer.

And, if you get up to SoHo, it's a free vibrator or penis sleeve.

On the serious side, we do have voting problems. The L.A. Times notes some Florida optiical-scan machines are jamming.

Virginia has had machine problems, long lines, and reports of people being turned away.

The Virginia Board of Elections rejected an NAACP appeal to extend voting hours and provide more machines, then won the case when the NAACP sued.

And, this one isn't a case of vote caging or disbarring. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is a Democrat, and the head of the Board of Elections, Nancy Rodrigues, is a Kaine appointee.

That said, what does this say about Kaine's congressional or senatorial future? He is surely interested in something beyond the governor's mansion in the future.

The Brad Blog has a full roundup of voting problems.

In Ohio, Toledo police have riot gear at the ready.

In suburban Indy, two GOP election workers were bounced from an election site for illegally challenging voter ID.

Obama – the new ‘Straight Talk Express’ of media lore?

I know, I know, when you spend several months on a plane with a presidential candidate, you can get close to him or her. But, Obama offering a birthday kiss?

Has Obama’s distanced, hard-to-get status with the media increased his press appeal?

Brainwashing lib professors another winger canard

Despite conservative foaming at the mouth about how liberal professors are brainwashing malleable young minds, A. Lee Fritschler, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, it simply ain’t so. He should know; he wrote a book on the subject.

Matthew Woessner and April Kelly-Woessner, a husband-and-wife team of political scientists, agree.

Studies by all of the above show that student peers in a collegiate atmosphere can be huge indeed, but not profs.

Foxes and financial henhouses

Is it such a good idea to have Bear Stearns’ former chief risk assessment officer holding a similar job with the Fed?

Farm salmon killing orcas

That’s the claim of Alexandra Hubbard. Now, many researchers have been developing more and more evidence that large salmon farms pass sea lice on to wild salmon, but Hubbard is taking the idea a step further. A whale researcher in British Columbia, she claims salmon farms are doing the same to her killer whale research subjects.

Election watching tips

Yes, this one would definitely be a good one. Indiana’s polls close at 6 Eastern. If the race is tightly fought, it’s good for Obama. If the state is being called for Obama, election over! Next, if Virginia is called early for Obama, election over.

Salon has more tips — are undecideds breaking for Obama? How strong the youth vote?

And the gray-haired lady has its own checklist, done to the theme of a seven-course meal.

Finally, the Dallas Morning News has a time-scheduled watch list for both state and national elections.

Overstuffed by election news? Salon has movie recommendations.

November 03, 2008

Bush gets another Yellowstone smackdown

Once again, a federal judge has said that Bush's Yellowstone snowmobile policy will not pass environmental muster.

The Bush admin has agreed to a 40 percent cutback in its proposal as a short-term measure. With a new, Democratic administration in place, a long-term solution that's even less intrusive should be on the way.

More discussion on Obama Cabinet and staff

And more financial neolibs

In addition to the oft-bruited name of Larry Summers, other Clinton neolibs that could make an Obama cabinet include Laura Tyson, Gene Sperling and Robert Rubin.

Yep, that all spells “change” in my book. NOT.

Daschle as Chief of Staff? Sen. Milquetoast? I doubt Daschle would want it anyway. But, if Obama feels he must reward him, fob him off with the U.N. ambassadorship?

Penny Pritzker? If she actually gets in the Obama administration, and not just a GOP-style bought-and-sold ambassadorship, that will be a sign of the Obama Administration’s political hackery.

Susan Rice would be a semi-new voice on foreign policy, but unless Obama pulls back from the idea of pounding more sand down the Afghanistan rathole, we won’t get much change there either.

GM really craters – Ford stumbles, Toyota slumps

GM sales for October were off nearly 50 percent from a year ago.

Ford was bad enough, down 30 percent. And Toyota’s bid to pass GM as the top auto company in the U.S. faltered; it had an October drop-off of 23 percent and couldn’t catch the General. Toyota is about 10 percent behind in U.S. sales.

And, even Honda, less reliant on trucks and SUVs than Toyota, let alone the formerly Big Three, had a 20 percent decline

The reasons? Tight credit, primarily, followed by consumer woes and worries.

Meanwhile, Treasury told GM no dice on getting bailout funds, presumably to fund a Chrysler takeover.

However, it may only be temporary. Reportedly, Treasury didn’t want to make a decision that might go counter to an Obama or McCain administration.

Knowing what Obama has said about the U.S. auto industry so far, and looking at poll numbers, I expect a new GM request in a week.

Intrade - Texas House

Sunday, The Dallas Morning News had wrap-up/overview articles on north Texas state House races in tighter contests. (Sorry, I didn't save half a dozen links.)

From what I read, I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats don't have a couple of pickups here. Statewide, I'm still not thinking they'll have enough for a majority, but they will have enough for some Republican to consider challenging Kid Craddick again, and know he doesn't have to find as much support from Craddick Democrats.

Whether anybody will make that effort or not is, of course, another issue.

18-game NFL season?

I like this idea.

Supposdly8 the commish, Roger Goodell, wants to expand the regular season to 18 games, and do so by junking two of the four preseason games.

But, money has the players’ union crying foul. Goodell says teams charge regular season prices for the preseason turkeys anyway, so the revenue sharing should stay at 60 percent, with that 60 percent including whatever extra TV money comes in for a new 18-game contract.

I think interim NFLPA exec Richard Berthelsen is all wet on saying the players should get a bigger percentage now.

Beyond having TV $$ in his eyes, though, this makes good sense in other ways:
• Two fewer games of preseason injuries;
• A longer season screens out flukes better.

That said, if Goodell wanted to throw a bone to players, maybe up the percentage to 60.5, while adding one or two players to teams’ roster caps. In fact, this is already covered in the current collective bargaining agreement:
If there is an increase from 16 regular season games, then it is required there is "negotiating with the NFLPA with regard to additional compensation to be paid to players for additional regular season games.”

Calendar logistics?

The season would start at the same time and end either two or three weeks later. (There might be a week off between the two exhibition games and the start of the regular season.)

That said, how would the NBA feel about the NFL creeping into its schedule more?

Would Goodell schedule a second London game, or a Berlin game, with an 18-week season?

Your state-by-state election prediction rundown

Over at MSNBC, Chuck Todd has all the tips on what to look aut for in each state.

And, its troubles started before the May employment raid.

Well, maybe its because he’s too much of a political wuss and Paulson is too corrupt to have bought voting stakes in those banks in the first place.

Chile running out of water

The glacier that supplies Chile’s capital, Santiago, with 70 percent of its water, will be gone within 50 years. The Echuarren glacier is receding 40 feet a year.

I’d guess by hierarchy, she means Steve Schmidt, at least, though she may be pointing directly at Rove.

This is DEFINITELY not kosher

Child-labor exploiting, illegal-immigrant hirint Agriprocessors has defaulted on a $35 million loan.

And, its troubles started before the May employment raid.

November 02, 2008

Naïveté watch – Steve Benen and Kevin Drum

Two deluded people on voter registration reform

At Washington Monthly, Steve Benen believes the GOP would willingly sign off on the federal government registering voters.

At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum things we should make a national ID card part of this.

My response to both of them, in order:

Boy, are you naive if you think the GOP would sign off on this, Steve.

The last thing it wants to do is depoliticize this.

Ditto for Dems on certain issues.

Some 20 months ago, I and many other real progressives begged Pelosi to attach a COLA to the min-wage increase. Wasn't done.

But, Steve isn't half as naive as Kevin is.

As for “national ID,” there’s going to have to be decades of trust-building before I’d accept a national ID card, given what the current administration would have done with one.

And, given his status as a FISA 45 percenter, the “that one” from Illinois hasn’t raised the cockles of trust inside me very much on civil liberties issues.

Geez, with MSLBers like this, no wonder Kool-Aid sellers can get elected as “agents of change.”

Nissan tells Chrysler no thanks

How the once-mighty have fallen, to get a brush-off like this.

That said, I was reading a story yesterday and forgot to bookmark it, where an American auto analyst blamed Daimler-Benz for allowing poor quality at Chrysler during its ownership period as part of the reason for Chrysler’s current woes.

Yes, the world’s best mass-market carmaker willfully let Chrysler build crap. Where was this same analyst when everybody was lauding the 300D five years ago?

As for a GM takeover? Half of Chrysler’s plants will be shuttered, and the jobs that go with them.

Bailout petard-hosting time

Barney Frank joins Henry Paulson in boo-hooing how banks are using bailout funds.

Well, maybe its because he’s too much of a political wuss and Paulson is too corrupt to have bought voting stakes in those banks in the first place.

This is DEFINITELY not kosher

Child-labor exploiting, illegal-immigrant hiring Agriprocessors has defaulted on a $35 million loan.

And, its troubles started before the May employment raid.

Veterans not in McCain’s pocket

According to AFP, McCain had 56 percent of veterans’ votes in August and has surely slipped since then. The story cites the degree of Obama’s veterans’ outreach programs as part of how he is likely closing the gap.

And, on a sidebar, this just underscores further the idiocy of Kos, other MSLBs and their Texas division, of “anointing” Rick Noriega to run against John Cornyn just because he was called up to active duty to serve in the Army in Afghanistan.

EU pushes autos CO2 timeline back three years

European carmakers and sellers now have until 2015 to meet European Union emissions standards on carbon dioxide.

That sound you heard here in the U.S. was three years of pre-emptive foot-dragging by the formerly Big Three.

That said, the EU did add a more stringent Phase II target for 2020.

Palin – it’s the GOP hierarchy’s fault

That’s the latest person/entity she’s throwing under the bus, this time courtesy of something the WSJ charitably calls an “interview.” “Gospel,” or something like that, comes more to mind.

I’d guess by hierarchy, she means Steve Schmidt, at least, though she may be pointing directly at Rove.

Get on the wahhmbulance; line forms (as it always does for the GOP) at the Right.

Bolivia President Morales — DEA is spying on us

Accusing Drug Enforcement Administration operatives of spying on Bolivians for political espionage, President Evo Morales has suspended their anti-cocaine operations in his country indefinitely.

Washington laughed it off as ridiculous. Oh?

Let’s ask Jacobo Arbenz, Salvador Allende, Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and many other Latin American leaders just how “ridiculous” such an idea might be.

Or, better yet, let’s just ask Ecuador right now; where President Rafael Correa accuses the CIA of infiltrating his country’s army earlier this year.

Bailout petard-hosting time

Barney Frank joins Henry Paulson in boo-hooing how banks are using bailout funds.

Well, maybe its because he’s too much of a political wuss and Paulson is too corrupt to have bought voting stakes in those banks in the first place.