Monday, November 16, 2009

Last Call

Apparently part of the Hoffman Effect is not knowing when you've been beaten.
Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has "unconceded" in New York's special House election after reports that the vote margin between him and Rep. Bill Owens (D) has narrowed.
Hoffman conceded the race on Election Night after learning he trailed Owens by 5,335 votes. But the Syracuse Post-Standard reported last week that the margin had shrunk to 3,026 votes after recanvassing.

Hoffman appeared on conservative commenatator Glenn Beck's radio show this afternoon. Beck asked the him if he would "unconcede.""Yes, if I knew this information at the election night, I would not have conceded,"

Hoffman said. Beck asked him again if he was "uncondeding" and Hoffman replied "If that’s possible, yes."
Pretty sure the answer to that is going to be no, especially since you conceded and your opponent has been sworn into office.  But hey, the Wingers will just shout AL FRANKEN and GORE IN FLORIDA LOL and demand 164 recounts.

Feel free to try again in 2010 however.  (You know he will.  It's possible the legal stupidity might even be over before the next election.)

Meanwhile I have a cold, and I'm going to bed.

So A Rabbi, A Priest, A Minister And An Imam All Go To Joe F'ckin Lieberman's House...

When a crowd of people shows up outside your house, consisting of multiple faiths, to quietly and personally protest you being an asshole to all of America, you should take it as a hint.
Quietly holding candles, hundreds of clergymen, congregants and reform advocates lined the sidewalks outside Independent U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's Stamford home Sunday night in a show of support for universal health care.
"When we heard not only would he vote against it, but he'd use his power, his position as a swing vote ... to block it from coming to a vote, we had to send a message so he knows people who vote overwhelmingly favor the public option," said Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford.
Gosh, it's almost like the people in Joe F'ckin Lieberman's hometown are trying to tell him something.
The vigil began at Stamford High School, Lieberman's alma mater, and ended at the senator's home, the Hayes House, across the street.
"In some sense, it's poetic," said Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, who attended the vigil. "The place where Sen. Joseph Lieberman received his high school education, the place he visited upon his announcement to seek the vice presidency, a place where his run for the presidency began -- and it just so happens, a place across the street from where he lives."

The crowd -- and a dozen of Lieberman's neighbors from their balconies -- listened quietly as rabbis, ministers, priests and imams spoke from the sidewalk pulpit, "praying for the senator to change his heart and his mind," explained the Rev. Tommie Jackson, of Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Stamford.

Cheers and applause erupted only once during the solemn proceedings, when the Rev. Joshua Pawelek, of the Unitarian Universalist Society, cried out, "Health care is a fundamental human right."

Even the Unis and the Mayor were there, for crying out loud.

It's nice to know that the one thing that can bring together men and women of such widely differing faiths and beliefs is the knowledge that Joe F'ckin Lieberman is being a total douchebag, and that somebody needs to tell him to stop it.

Word Play

Even the New Oxford University Dictionary calls them "teabaggers".
a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)
I actually giggled.  "Birther" made the list too.  Oh, and Malkinvania is pissed.

I may have to unfriend her.

The Mosque Of The Red Neck

Dear Muslims in the state of North Carolina:

Should you happen to see either a guy in an RV or two guys on motorcycles asking really amazingly ignorant questions about your religion, it's probably that charming Dave Gaubatz fellow again.
Muslim Mafia scribe Dave Gaubatz is planning an investigative counterterrorism project in the Sunni mosques of North Carolina, and one lucky donor to the project will be invited to join his crack team of researchers. Needed for the job, according to an "urgent" post on Gaubatz's blog: $25,000, two motorcycles, and use of one class A RV for 30 days.
The project starts Dec. 5 and the "highest donor can travel on team" and "will work alongside Dave Gaubatz the entire 30 days," according to the cached version of the blog post.
Yeah, that's a great way to investigate people: your secret Muslim-investigating RV.  It's like the Mystery Machine, only without the dog.  Or the crime-solving.  Or the weed.  (Well, on second thought, this really does sound  like one of those plans you really do need to be on your fifth joint of the day to come up with, which explains the $25,000.)

Rationing Rational Thought

Will somebody please explain to the wunderkind at the Wall Street Journal editorial page that your health care is already rationed by your ability to pay for it and by your health insurance claims department, and that these rationing decisions are made by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, and that these decisions are made based on the profits of the insurer, not the health of the patient?

Gold Rush, Part 5

Gold has hit the $1,140 mark and continues to climb.
Gold for December delivery jumped $22.50, or 2%, to settle at a record $1,139.20 a troy ounce Monday. That easily trounces the closing price for Friday, when gold settled at its previous record of $1,116.70 an ounce.
After the close, the price continued to move even higher in electronic trading.

While gold prices have been soaring of late, they don't factor in inflationary adjustments. Current prices are actually a far cry from the record set on Jan. 21, 1980, when gold peaked at $825.50 an ounce (in 1980 dollars). That translates to an all-time peak of $2,163.62 an ounce in 2009 dollars.

Blake Robben, a senior market strategist at Chicago-based commodities brokerage firm Lind-Waldock, said the distinction is a key one because it provides the only real barometer by which to measure a potential ceiling for gold prices.

Robben said the surge is being driven, in part, by the Chinese and Indian governments, which are stockpiling gold. The U.S. government is still the biggest hoarder, with 261.5 million ounces of gold in its reserves, much of it in Fort Knox in Kentucky and the New York Federal Reserve in Manhattan.

"Until the Fed reverses course on monetary policy and this government of ours can get their financial house in order," there is no indication that gold prices will stop climbing, he said.

Hedge your bets. Joe Foster, portfolio manager for the Van Eck Global International Investors Gold Fund, said the rise is being driven by investors who "are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Fed policies and all the liquidity sloshing around in the global economy."
It jumped $25 an ounce today on the news that Helicopter Ben is keeping rates low low low and dollar keeps crashing.
How high will gold go?

You Cannot See The Beast That Gnaws Within

Via Balloon Juice comes this:
The number of Americans who lack dependable access to adequate food shot up last year to 49 million, the largest number since the government has been keeping track, according to a federal report released Monday that shows particularly steep increases in food scarcity among families with children.
In 2008, the report found, nearly 17 million children -- more than one in five across the United States -- were living in households in which food at times ran short, up from slightly more than 12 million youngsters the year before. And the number of children who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million.

Among people of all ages, nearly 15 percent last year did not consistently have adequate food, compared with about 11 percent in 2007, the greatest deterioration in access to food during a single year in the history of the report.

Taken together, the findings provide the latest glimpse into the toll that the weak economy has taken on the well-being of the nation's residents. The findings are from a snapshot of food in America that the U.S. Agriculture Department has issued every year since 1995, based on Census Bureau surveys. It documents both Americans who are scrounging for adequate food -- people living with some amount of "food insecurity" in the lexicon of experts -- and those whose food shortages are so severe that they are hungry.

"These numbers are a wake-up call . . . for us to get very serious about food security and hunger, about nutrition and food safety in this country," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a briefing of reporters.
The greatest country on Earth has one in six people scrounging for food between paychecks.  Oh, but the problem must be these horrible leeches on society are all unemployed and living off the government teat, right?
The report's main author at USDA, Mark Nord, noted that other recent research by the agency has found that most families in which food is scarce contain at least one adult with a full-time job, suggesting that the problem lies at least partly in wages, not just an absence of work.
You mean how wage stagnation, pay cuts, unpaid furloughs, loss of overtime and hourly cuts have occurred dropping the average American workweek to 33 hours, the lowest in history?
We're at the point where people aren't even earning enough to feed their families working full-time.

The Oldest Profession

What Blue Girl said.
That is the sort of economist the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is looking for, according to a fundraising blast email that was sent out, asking for donations to hire a "respected economist" to study the healthcare proposals that are before Congress right now.   So far so good, but the second part of the job description reads like an add for a hooker-wanted on Craig's List.
"The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document."
So in short...they know what they want the answer to be, now they just have to find the economist from the old joke and hope he's "respected." At least in the short term. After affixing his or her name to whatever POS "study" the Chamber churns out, all those bets are off. 
About time somebody called that what it is.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Somebody give Walter Shapiro a signed picture of Sister Sarah and a small towel.
If Palin launches a 2012 race – and survives the South Carolina primary with her aura intact – she could theoretically sweep the winner-take-all states without ever winning a majority anywhere. The Republican establishment (the congressional leadership, the governors, the major donors and national consultants) could all agree that Palin would be an electoral disaster against Obama in November and still be powerless to halt her juggernaut.
Also, why isn't Sarah Palin in the New Moon movie?

Dragon Brawl, See?

Over at the UK Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard sees the next big bubble coming:  Chinese manufacturing capacity.
The reality is that much of Beijing's $600bn stimulus has been spent building yet more plant and infrastructure so that China can ship yet more goods, or has leaked into property and stocks.

Credit has exploded. Allocated by Maoist bosses for political purposes, it has become absurd. China is rolling as much steel as the next eight producers combined. It is churning more cement than the rest of the world. Fixed investment is up 53pc this year. Once you know that Hunan authorities have torn down two miles of modern flyway so that they can soak up stimulus by building it again, or that the newly-built city of Ordos is sitting empty in Inner Mongolia, you know what must come next.

Pivot Asset Management said lending has touched 140pc of GDP, "well beyond" levels that have led to crises in the past. With the revolution's 60th birthday out of the way, the central bank has begun to tighten. New yuan loans halved in October. So be careful. Pivot said a hard-landing in China could prove as traumatic for world markets as the US sub-prime crash.

The world economy is still skating on thin ice. The West is sated with debt, the East with plant. The crisis has been contained (or masked) by zero rates and a fiscal blast, trashing sovereign balance sheets. But the core problem remains. The Anglo-sphere and Club Med are tightening belts, yet Asia is not adding enough demand to compensate. It is adding supply.

My view is that markets are still in denial about the structural wreckage of the credit bubble. There are two more boils to lance: China's investment bubble; and Europe's banking cover-up. I fear that only then can we clear the rubble and, very slowly, start a fresh cycle.
So in other words,when this particular bubble pops, cheap Chinese goods sold in America go away.  That will kill spending in the US, leading to protectionism of what's left of our manufacturing, leading to China's economy self-destructing...and then things get really, really bad.
The only question is what pops first, China's supply bubble or our demand bubble.  2010 is going to be even worse.

What Atrios Said

For it's one of those microcosm things I keep talking about, complete with swirly microcosm bits (all microcosms have swirly microcosm bits.  Ask Dr. Steven Hawking.)
Chris Cillizza really wrote this:
Among women, who, theoretically, should form the base of Palin's support, nearly four in ten (39 percent) have a strongly unfavorable impression of her while just 20 percent were strongly favorable. Overall 39 percent of women had a favorable impression of Palin while 57 percent had an unfavorable one.
Yes, women dream of being represented by someone as incompetent as Palin.
See, it has Sarah Palin in it.  I told you it had swirly microcosm bits.

[UPDATE 11:45 AM] And speaking of Sarah Palin, at least one advance review of her book is already being leaked...
“For many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime.”
Is it really "lowering the bar" when the bar is buried 3 miles underground in concrete and people above can walk over it without even knowing the bar is there, blissfully unaware in fact that the bar ever existed?

[UPDATE 2 11:56 AM]  It gets even better:
Elsewhere in this volume, she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.”
Yeah.  A President that doesn't believe in evolution.  That's just what we need!

(More update after the jump...)

Your ODI Update

Rasmussen's number is -10,'s Favorable average for Obama is at 56.4%, meaning your ODI is - 16.4% today.

Just so you know.

TARP O' The Mornin' To Ya

Turns out all those banks that took TARP money?  A fair number are going to fail anyway.
On Nov. 6, United Commercial Bank of San Francisco failed, becoming the first recipient of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, to collapse. The cost to taxpayers: $299 million.

Analysts expect more bailed-out firms to fail in the months ahead. Others may survive but will struggle to repay the government. Steven Rattner, the former head of the government's efforts to bail out the auto industry, said recently that the full public investment in GM is unlikely to be repaid. Meanwhile, AIG is dismantling itself, selling healthy subsidiaries at what critics say are bargain prices in an all-out effort to get cash to repay the government.

About $400 billion of federal investments remain in the corporate sector, much of it channeled through TARP. Critics of the program say losses were inevitable, in many cases.

Bankers, lawmakers, state banking regulators and oversight committees have faulted federal officials for providing funds to firms that were so sick that they couldn't recover and for failing to be open about how recipients were chosen. Some critics have also attacked the government for the types of investments they made.
Gosh, you mean we should have taken over and nationalized the sick banks instead of pretending they were solvent and having to take them over now, having wasted hundreds of billions in propping up banks for short-term political gain in the process?

Gee, I wonder who was advocating that position in early 2009.

The Count Of Charlie Crist, Oh! Part 4

GOP gadfly David Frum forsees the Hoffmanization of the Florida Senate primary, but he still misses the problem.
The battle in Florida pits Gov. Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. Both men claim to be conservative, pro-life, tax cutters. On the issues, they would seem to agree far more than they disagree.
But on one issue they have disagreed passionately: President Obama's fiscal stimulus. Squeezed by his state's desperate fiscal condition, Crist endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus. Inspired by his conservative ideology, Rubio opposed stimulus.

Now Rubio is the darling of conservatives nationwide. Just this week it was announced that he would keynote next year's annual CPAC conference in Washington. He has been profiled on the cover of National Review, endorsed by the Club for Growth, and feted by radio talk show hosts.

 (More after the jump...)

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

In the movies at least, Americans seem to be very keenly interested in the theory that the world will explode just after the 2012 elections.

Just saying.

Afghanistan Explained By Dean Broder

Other things I missed over the weekend:  Dean Broder writing stuff like this:
It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right.
And I wonder to myself, "Self, why are we still in Afghanistan after eight friggin' years?"

And the answer is simple, and I finally get it thanks to David Broder:  The people in charge have urgently been making decisions about Afghanistan whether or not they were the right ones.

David Broder and the Villagers have been in charge of our Afghanistan policy all this time.  That explains everything.

Like A Masochist In Rockford, We're Illinois Bound

Illinois Dems want to move Gitmo detainees to the empty maximum security Thomson Correctional Facility in Thomson, Illinois. Via BooMan, we learn that Illinois Republicans however are too busy urinating themselves in fear to respond.
Top Illinois Democrats on Sunday wholeheartedly embraced the idea of sending terrorism suspects from Guantánamo Bay to a maximum-security prison about 150 miles west of Chicago, raising the possibility of a major breakthrough in the Obama administration’s efforts to close the military detention facility in Cuba.

But while Gov. Patrick J. Quinn and Senator Richard J. Durbin endorsed housing the detainees at the Thomson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in a rural area, other local leaders were drumming up opposition to the idea, which could still face considerable opposition in Congress.
(More after the jump...)


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