Monday, October 4, 2010

Last Call

If this is correct, then this is heart-stoppingly bad for the Dems.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's generic ballot for Congress among registered voters currently shows Republicans with 46% of the vote and Democrats with 43%, similar to the 46% to 46% tie reported a week ago. However, in Gallup's first estimates among likely voters, based on polling from Sept. 23-Oct. 3, Republicans have a double-digit advantage under two separate turnout scenarios.
Vote Preferences in 2010 Congressional Elections, Various Turnout Scenarios
These initial estimates are based on interviews with more than 3,000 national adults, including more than 2,700 registered voters, and more than 1,800 adults who demonstrate a high probability of voting this fall, based on their answers to Gallup's standard likely voter questions that probe current voting intentions and past voting behavior.

Long-time poll junkie readers will immediately notice the red alert here:  this is the first time we've seen Gallup's likely voter models as opposed to their registered voter numbers, and both of the scenarios Gallup are showing us are predicting a total Republican asskicking of the Democrats.

Remember Nate Silver's likely voter model back in April?

So, for example, if the House popular vote were exactly tied, we'd expect the Democrats to lose "only" 30 seats on average, which would be enough for them to retain majority control. It would take about a 2.5 point loss in the popular vote for them to be as likely as not to lose control of the chamber. So Democrats probably do have a bit of a cushion: this is the good news for them.

Please note that the numbers Gallup are giving us are R+13 and R+18, which would correspond to about 82 seats under the first model and would actually be off the chart bad in the worst case scenario, but close to 100 seats.

In other words, Gallup is now predicting a complete annihilation in November.  Republicans would end up with more seats in the House than the Democrats have now (253) and in that worst-case R+18 scenario, it would be significantly more (close to 280!)

I'm actually rather speechless, but if this doesn't motivate Dem voters to get out there are vote, faced with Republigeddon in the House, then I don't know what will...but if even a "high-turnout" likely voter model is showing the Republicans picking up 80 seats in the House...

Damn.  That's sobering as hell.  Your vote counts, people.

We Don't Need No Water

...let this muthaf'ka burn.

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late.  They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton.  But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

That's not the best part of the response from the Glibertarian Irregulars at National Review.  This is.

Kevin Williamson pops his head into my office, and as expected makes the compelling anarcho-capitalist case for letting the sucker burn. I don’t want to caricature his arguments, but then again, I didn’t have my tape recorder going, so my best approximation is: “Read your Pareto.” The status quo ante was no fire service for folks outside the city limits. Under that system both the Cranicks’ house and the neighbors’ burn to the ground. Under the current pay-to-spray program, only one house burns (as the department responded when a fee-paying neighbor worried that the fire was spreading). QED.

Resources are scarce, Kevin says. What if there are two house fires on different sides of town — one owned by a fee-payer, the other by a free rider — and only one truck to respond?

To recap, the folks at National Review are complaining that the problem is Mr. Cranick offered to pay the firefighters when they showed up and they said no dice, when any American with a functional frontal lobe would tell you the problem is that this "pay-for-spray" operation has been in place for twenty years and nobody in the state of Tennessee could find a better way to handle the situation of rural firefighting.

Gotta love the free market.  Government should apparently only be involved in telling women what they can do with their uterus.  Bonus Yglesias:  Isn't letting the house burn more expensive to the county?

Also, isn't Williamson's rather mercenary approach all, you know, "death panel"-y and stuff?

Double also, hey look, it's our old friend Pareto again.  I'm telling you, understand your Pareto 80-20 rule, and you will understand your Glibertarian-Galtie-Andrew Ryan wannabe Republicans completely.

Chart Time Again

If you correlate the Dow of March 1937 to the Dow of April 2010 by percentage below post crash highs, you get a really, really ugly chart:


Just saying, with the whole foreclosure paperwork mess (the Village cool kids are calling it "Robosigning") that we're juuuust about due for a hideous little meltdown here.  40% below our post-recovery high would put us into Dow 6300 territory by the end of the year if this thing continues to hold true.

Have a nice day.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter, Part 7

Gee, this mortgage paperwork thing is starting to get a mite bit out of control here, isn't it?

Attorneys general in at least six states, including Massachusetts, Iowa, Florida and Illinois, are investigating improper foreclosure practices. Last week, Jennifer Brunner, the secretary of state of Ohio, referred examples of what her office considers possible notary abuse by Chase Home Mortgage to federal prosecutors for investigation.

The implications are not yet clear for borrowers who have been evicted from their homes as a result of improper filings. But legal experts say that courts may impose sanctions on lenders or their representatives or may force banks to pay borrowers’ legal costs in these cases.

Judges may dismiss the foreclosures altogether, barring lenders from refiling and awarding the home to the borrower. That would create a loss for the lender or investor holding the note underlying the property. Almost certainly, lawyers say, lawsuits on behalf of borrowers will multiply

Ding ding ding!  Here's your nightmare scenario for the banks.  Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of foreclosures are dismissed and the borrower is awarded the deed to the home.  Banks lose billions in real estate assets on the books.  That huge flushing sound you hear is the banking industry testing those new too big to fail regs.

In Florida, problems with foreclosure cases are especially acute. A recent sample of foreclosure cases in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida showed that 20 percent of those set for summary judgment involved deficient documents, according to chief judge Lee E. Haworth.

“We have sent repeated notices to law firms saying, ‘You are not following the rules, and if you don’t clean up your act, we are going to impose sanctions on you,’ ” Mr. Haworth said in an interview. “They say, ‘We’ll fix it, we’ll fix it, we’ll fix it.’ But they don’t.”

As a result, Mr. Haworth said, on Sept. 17, Harry Rapkin, a judge overseeing foreclosures in the district, dismissed 61 foreclosure cases. The plaintiffs can refile but they need to pay new filing fees, Mr. Haworth said. 

This is just one judge in one state.  How many more lawsuits and foreclosure changes will the industry go through?  What bank in their right mind is going to risk foreclosure proceedings now?  Who is going to risk buying a foreclosed property if you can't be sure the bank really is able to foreclose and sell to you?  That entire sector of the housing market vanishes overnight.

The almost-dead housing market is now deep into corpse territory from this.  That's going to lead to a massive drop in housing buyers.  Can't be sure if the seller actually has the deed anymore, so you can't risk buying.  Game over.

Now the press is starting to get wind of how lethal this is going to be to the economy, and a month before the midterm elections to boot.

Strap in, kids.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Jim "Gateway Pundit" Hoft believes he's discovered proof of insidious socialism in schools over the weekend.

High School kids are forced to attend the one Nation rally in order to graduate. SSL (Student Service Learning) hours are required by many state governments to graduate High School, so kids must attend these rallies. Apparently, the organizers were willing to use any means to bring thousands to the rally.

Yes, because the only possible way they could have gotten credit for these hours that teachers would have accepted is this rally and this rally only, therefore they were forced to come to Washington DC in order to graduate.

Well, let's see what nearby Montgomery County, Maryland's school district web site says you need to do to earn these Student Service Learning hours, shall we?

Consider things that interest you, activities you enjoy, areas you are curious about or a specific organization you want to work with. All SSL must be done with nonprofit, tax exempt organizations.

Oh wait, I thought they were forced to come to the One Nation Rally.

Check organizations that are tagged, "Approved SSL MCPS" and opportunities that are tagged, "MCPS SSL Approved" at this website.

Aha, so, the only activity is the One Nation Rally, right? What if the activity I want to perform isn't tagged, huh? HUH, YOU COMMIE PINKOS?!?!

Learn what is expected from the organization, complete a Request for SSL Pre approval and submit it to your school SSL Coordinator PRIOR TO BEGINNING service.

Oh. So you mean I can have to school look over a new activity with a non-profit of my choice then to get credit then...well gosh that's pretty fair and everything.

I guess that means Jim Hoft is full of crap then, huh.

There's a shocker. This isn't even bad Obama Derangement Syndrome, it's just...stupid.

Megster's Millions

Digby is convinced that Meg Whitman spending $104 million of her own money on her campaign for Governor of California is disastrous.

It's not like we're exactly living in good times here in California. I think this is a deadly strategy. The optics are just terrible and I suspect that subliminally people find it horrific that she's spending like a drunken sailor in the middle of a terrible recession. 

I disagree completely for the simple reason that what Whitman is doing can easily sold as the ultimate Galtie frontier.  What's more glibertarian than using your own fortune to finance your own campaign?  If a Democrat does it, it's the moneyed elite.  If Meg Whitman does it, is she not entitled to the sweat of her own brow?

It's the fact that Meggy here has a hundred million bucks to spend.  She got that money from being CEO of eBay.  That makes her like the smartest Galtie in the world.

Now if she was former CEO of Goldman Sachs, things would be different.  But the media has been talking about Megster's Millions for the entire campaign, and nobody seems to care in California.  She's spending her own money.  That's not a crime unless you're a Democrat.

Your Even A Stopped Clock Can Be Right Alert Of The Day

Ross Douthat pulls his head out of his ass just long enough to actually pen an insightful column on Obama.

The party’s centrists, from Blue Dog Democrats to Wall Street, insist that he’s turned out to be far more liberal than they expected. The health care bill was too expensive. The deficits are too big. He’s been too hard on business interests, and on Israel. And what happened to bipartisanship?

On the left, meanwhile, Obama is deemed a disappointment for all the things he hasn’t done. The stimulus should have been bigger. The financial reforms should have been tougher. He should have withdrawn from Afghanistan. He should have taken the fight to the Republicans, instead of letting them obstruct.

Both these arguments are self-serving, of course — a way for activists on both sides to imply, none too subtly, that the Democrats’ dispiriting poll numbers are all the other faction’s fault

He's got that pegged correctly.  Who knew?  It gets better, however:

Can Obama rebuild his coalition? Perhaps, but not the way he did the first time. He won the White House by being all things to all Democrats (and quite a few independents and even Republicans as well), by making each faction see its own values reflected in his candidacy.

But the days of soaring above the grubbiness of politics are over. If Obama wants to save his presidency, he may have to do it the old-fashioned way: not by transcending his party’s divisions, but by uniting his supporters around their common fears

And sadly, that's exactly what we've become.  Not the party of Hope and Change, but the party of "Dear God, don't let these Republican assholes destroy our country!"

That has been the real Republican victory, getting Democrats themselves to lead the way in reducing the Obama agenda to "I don't care for what he has done but at least he's not insane!"

And as much as it grinds my gears, Ross Douthat is completely right.  We're cowering, sniveling, broken people who are pleading for sanity in the middle of Bedlam.

Wage Slaves

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon raised the possibility of lowering or eliminating the minimum wage last week in Connecticut if elected, and now Alaska Republican Senate Candidate Joe Miller is going all in, adding the minimum wage to his long lost of things that are "illegal under the Constitution" and should be solely up to states.

Over the weekend, extremist Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) of Alaska went even further in an interview with ABC News.
We asked him, for example, if there should be a federally mandated minimum wage, something that has existed since Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.
"That is clearly up to the states," Miller said. "The state of Alaska has a minimum wage which is higher than the federal level because our state leaders have made that determination. The minimum level again should be the state's decision."
So there should not be a federal minimum wage?
"There should not be," Miller answered.
This is, of course, the same Miller who also believes that federal unemployment benefits, Medicare, and Social Security should all be eliminated. He justifies all of this with a radical "Tenther" worldview that's popular in fringe circles.

And yet plenty of people would agree with Miller here.  Without the protection of a federal minimum wage, why wouldn't state Republicans then wove to eliminate it in state after state?  If you really wanted to draw companies to your state, why not play "How low can you go?" with a state minimum wage?

If Alaska then mandated a lower minimum wage, oh well.  I could certainly see Arizona getting rid of its minimum wage in order to try to drive illegals away.  Yes, there are states with minimum wages that are higher than the federal rate.  But under that logic, why eliminate the federal minimum?

The fact that this is catching on with Tea Party Republicans, especially in states that do have a higher state minimum wage, is no accident.  After all, laying the groundwork for "that job isn't worth $7.25 an hour" and "If we cut wages we could hire more people and lower the unemployment rate!" is important stuff if you're a Republican.

If you think $15K a year is just too much to pay people to live on, that is.  There's no reason to get rid of the federal minimum unless you plan to put your state's wages lower.

You Can Still Follow The Money

Because the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision made it legal to give nearly unlimited cash in elections and not have to disclose where that money is coming from.  But you can see where they money's going, and that's overwhelmingly to Republicans as we enter the last 30 days of the campaign season.

Interest groups are spending five times as much on the 2010 congressional elections as they did on the last midterms, and they are more secretive than ever about where that money is coming from.

The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money - more than 90 percent - was disclosed along with donors' identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.

The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks. The wave of spending is made possible in part by a series of Supreme Court rulings unleashing the ability of corporations and interest groups to spend money on politics. Conservative operatives also say they are riding the support of donors upset with Democratic policies they perceive as anti-business.

"The outside group spending is primarily being driven by the political climate," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College who studies campaign finance. "Organized groups are looking at great opportunity, and therefore there's great interest to spend money to influence the election. You've got the possibility of a change in the control of Congress." 

Unlimited funds, unlimited attack ads, and no disclosure of campaign money.  Big Wall Street interests can literally spend a few million in order to buy elections, swamping the kind of small donations that made Obama's campaign possible in 2008.  $16 million spent in 2006, $80 million spent so far, and now with unlimited corporate money able to go to the last 30 days of an election who know how many millions more will flow to Republican campaign coffers.

This is the world of politics we now live in.  No matter what happens, America has already lost.


This made me giggle.

Ahh, but there's an important lesson here. There are a lot of folks out there in Donald's position here, and the Obama administration still isn't doing everything it can be to help them.

Yes, a lot of that is being blocked by the Republicans. They've shown that they are more than willing to kill thousands of jobs at election time just to try to ruin the Democrats in this election. These are the people you should be angry at.

There's more Obama should be doing, however.

One Is All You Need

Jack Kelly of Real Clear Politics takes a look at black Republicans running this year and declares it a "resurgence".  To me, it proves just how far African-Americans have to go in the Republican Party.

I bet you haven't heard of Tim Scott, Allen West or Ryan Frazier. If they were Democrats, I might lose that bet.

But they're not. Mr. Scott, Mr. West and Mr. Frazier are three of the 14 black candidates running for Congress as Republicans this November. Thirty-two black Republicans ran in the primaries.

Most of the 14 are running all-but-hopeless races against black Democratic incumbents in black majority districts. But Mr. Scott, running in South Carolina, is a virtual cinch to win. Mr. West (Florida) and Mr. Frazier (Colorado) are in races that are judged tossups.

If all three win, that would be a post-Reconstruction record. The largest number of black Republicans to serve together in the House in the last century is two, J.C. Watts (Oklahoma) and Gary Franks (Connecticut) between 1995 and 1997. There haven't been any since Mr. Watts retired in 2003.

One might think the resurgence of black Republicans, coming as it does at a time when a black Democrat is president, would rate more than a feature story or two in the national media. But that would conflict with the liberal meme that Republicans are racist.

Tim Scott is indeed in a strong position to win.  Kelly also goes on to talk about gains Latinos have made in the Republican Party, especially in Florida.  But the first black Republican in Congress in eight years doesn't bring the GOP absolution any more than it makes a junkie cured when quitting after eight years of drug abuse, and the rest of Kelly's story shows it.

Accusations of racism against Republicans are a staple of Democratic politics because Democrats need to keep blacks on the plantation to remain viable nationally. "Young people and minorities are all the president has left," the National Journal headlined its story on a poll released Wednesday.

Barack Obama got 96 percent of the black vote in 2008. If "only" 80 percent of blacks routinely voted Democratic, it's hard to see how Democrats could win in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, North Carolina or Florida.

Here's a hint, Jack.  When you assume that African-Americans are as a whole too stupid to do anything but vote for Democrats, and attribute their loyalty to the Democrats as enslavement and being kept "on a plantation", it doesn't make African-Americans want to vote for Republicans, dig?

In fact, it makes us think Republicans are racists.  I've voted for Republicans before, too.  There are times when they are the better candidate.  But that seems like a lifetime ago.  When you weigh the pros and cons of the party in 2010 and continue to come up with Democrats as your preferred candidate, it doesn't make me a plantation slave, it makes me exercising my right to vote as an American.

But hey, what would I know.  I'm just a po' house boy.


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