Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Last Call

So, when billionaire CEOs threaten to fire their employees if President Obama gets elected, do we finally get to call it class warfare?

David Siegel is the founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, a huge national timeshare company and one of the largest resort developers in the world. In 2007 he was a billionaire, although he may be only a hundred-millionaire now. He and his wife Jackie were the subjects of the recent documentary "The Queen of Versailles," about their ongoing quest to build the largest house in America, a 90,000 square foot monument to excess. And yesterday, David Siegel sent an email to all of his thousands of employees, in which he—in a veiled way—insinuated that they would be fired of Barack Obama is reelected.

Here's the letter in part:

So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.

So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the "1 percenters" are bad, I'm telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the "1%"; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.

You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

And yes, Siegel has confirmed the e-mail.

Shortly after we posted this letter, we found out, thanks to multiple readers, that it bore suspicious resemblances to a popular chain letter that was circulated just before the 2008 elections. Well, we just got off the phone with David Siegel, who told us the letter below is real, and that it was sent out to all of his employees yesterday. "I did use the letter that had circulated before as a guideline, but I changed it [to fit my circumstances]," he told us. "It speaks the truth and it gives [employees] something to think about when they go to the polls." He also said that its threats of possible layoffs are real, based on his assessment of the political and economic climate. He added that he "hasn't had any negative feedback" on the letter.

So once again, Siegel is proud to say that he freely admits threatening his employees' jobs if President Obama is re-elected, and the Democrats go through with their promise to raise taxes on the ultra-wealthy.

Boy, this guy's a real patriot, isn't he.  "Give me my tax cut, or I help destroy the economy". 

What are you going to do about it, America?

Early Voting Bird Gets The Worms

Ohio's GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted has decided that if "those people" get to vote early, then nobody gets to vote early.

Ohio’s secretary of state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a pair of rulings that will open the polls for all voters on the three days prior to the Nov. 6 election, a time when 105,000 Ohioans cast ballots four years ago.

The election-year emergency appeal could prompt the high court to revisit its Bush vs. Gore ruling of 2000, which said voting standards must be equal across the state.

Now things get pretty serious on this front.  SCOTUS will have to act rather quickly here either way, and Husted figures he's going to win regardless.

“This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America, we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections,” Husted said. “As a swing state, we in Ohio expected to be held to a high standard,” adding the state is offering early voting on all the weekdays leading up to final Friday before election day.

Husted said if his appeal to the Supreme Court fails, he will craft “a directive to set uniform hours” for early voting in Ohio’s 88 counties.

Either way, expect Ohio's early voting hours to be sharply curtailed, if not all but eliminated by Husted's directive.  If early voting means a higher turnout for urban, minority, and poor voters, then by God, Ohio will put an end to that once and for all.

Pot, Meet Kettle

Mitt Romney's son Josh has a few words for the President, and none of them are kind.

Josh Romney, one of Mitt Romney's sons, told a pointed joke Tuesday about President Obama's debate performance, while warming up the crowd for his father at a campaign rally in Van Meter, Iowa.

"I don't know if you guys saw the debate last week," Josh Romney said, as the crowd cheered and applauded. "I take a lot of pride in that, because — I don't know if you noticed, but I was — me and my brothers were responsible for my dad doing so well. We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over. And we'd say the same lie over and over. And my dad learned then, not to believe it. While we didn't go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff.

"So as a father, he learned how to debate an obstinate child. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun watching the debate."

That's some funny stuff.  Team Romney certainly is feeling their oats this week.   Perhaps one should best avoid referring to the President as a child, just a parenting tip there.  Imani over at ABLC has some words for Josh, too.

None of them are kind, either.

Hey Josh — Your dear pappy’s own party knows that he’s lying and flip flopping all over the place like a fish out of water, so you might want to stop cracking stupid ass jokes and tell your dad to find a position and stick with it.

Like I said, the sense of entitlement coming off the entire Romney clan, the feeling of "Why haven't you yokels awarded us the White House already?" is pretty nauseating.  And yet, this is what Mitt the father has taught Josh the son.

Mitt will make a heck of a President, right?

Campus Fatality May Have Been Avoidable

Classmates and friends are questioning why a police officer fatally shot a University of South Alabama freshman who was naked and had been banging on a window at police headquarters.
Campus officials didn't give any indication that Gil Collar, 18, of Wetumpka had a weapon when he was shot. A university spokesman said he was fatally wounded about 1:30 a.m. Saturday after an officer heard a bang on a window and went outside to investigate.
A statement issued by university spokesman Keith Ayers said Collar, who wrestled at Wetumpka High School before enrolling at South Alabama, assumed a "fighting stance" and chased an officer before being shot. The officer tried to retreat numerous times to defuse the situation before opening fire, the school said.
But sophomore Tyler Kendrick said campus authorities haven't provided any satisfying answers about why Collar was killed.
"Really, it just upsets me that there's no other way to apprehend an unarmed student rather than shooting him. I don't understand that," Kendrick said.

I don't understand, either.  Police are resorting to kill shots before trying non-lethal measures.  In this case I do understand why it was unnerving for the officer.  But before he went outside, one would think a trained officer would have armed himself with a variety of tools.

This kid could have been on bath salts, or he may have just gotten really drunk for the first time.  It's hard to know until the autopsy report is complete, but it doesn't look like anything besides retreating was done before killing a young man.

Expect updates as they come. There is plenty of room for us to learn what caused this tragedy and maybe how to avoid future ones.

Color Me Skeptical

Whitney Houston's mother Cissy is deathly afraid Bobbi Kristina will die like just the singer -- in a haze of drugs and other bad influences -- which is why she wants to withhold Bobbi's multi-million-dollar inheritance, sources tell TMZ.

Sources close to Cissy tell us, Cissy feels Bobbi is currently surrounded by numerous negative influences -- including her boyfriend Nick Gordon and father Bobby Brown -- who will drain Bobbi's fortune given half the chance.

We're told Cissy also feels 19-year-old Bobbi is still extremely impressionable right now -- and if left unchecked with millions of dollars, Bobbi could end up going off the rails ... eventually dying just like Whitney.

According to sources, Cissy wants to wait until Bobbi has matured significantly more before she gets her money ... an estate estimated at $20 million ... though it's unclear how long she wants her to wait.

As for allegations Cissy is trying to withhold Bobbi's fortune to hoard the money for herself -- Cissy is telling friends that's total BS ... that's it's about protecting her family.
It makes sense to worry about Bobbi Kristina's mental health.  She should be in counseling (I only assume she is) and I can even see the court asking for an independent assessment to make sure she is capable of handling the facts of her mother's death and making reasonable choices.  But in the end, this was Whitney's final wishes and they should be carried out.  There's barely a point in making a will or end of life decision now, as families seem to enjoy dragging out in court what has been legally signed, sealed and approved.

As for withholding it to keep her control of both Bobbi Kristina and the money being purely for the family good... yeah, right.  Pardon me if I seem skeptical, but I've seen this play out several times in this crazy world and that has never been true yet.

Lyin Ryan, Cryin' Foul

Can you imagine the crapstorm President Obama would get if he walked out of an interview like Paul Ryan did on Monday?

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck tells BuzzFeed: “The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts. Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.” 

Sure.  And if Paul Ryan can't handle a local reporter, how can he handle Joe Biden on Thursday, or the job of Vice-President?

Once again, if President Obama had done this, it would be over for the Obama campaign.  "Thin-skinned.  Arrogant.  Uppity.  Ni-CLANG."

But it's perfectly okay for Paul Ryan to do it.

Best Possible Romney Scenario Is Still Tied

It looks like Monday's Pew Research poll was conducted at just the right time to maximize Mitt Romney's debate bounce, and it puts him in a statistically significant lead over President Obama.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama by 4 percentage points among likely voters in a Pew Research Center poll that shows the Republican challenger getting a bounce from last week’s debate.

The survey taken Oct. 4-7, following the Oct. 3 presidential debate in Denver, gave the former Massachusetts governor 49 percent among likely voters and Obama 45 percent. Among registered voters, 66 percent said Romney won the debate and 20 percent said Obama did.

A Pew poll of likely voters taken Sept. 12-16 gave Obama a 51 percent to 43 percent lead, the widest margin of any nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996.

The latest Pew poll showed Romney even with Obama among women likely voters at 47 percent apiece, while leading among men, 51 percent to 43 percent. Last month, Obama held an 18- point edge among women, 56 percent to 38 percent, and trailed by 2 points among men, with 48 percent backing Romney and 46 supporting the president. Independent likely voters backed Romney, 46 percent to 42 percent; they split 45 percent to 44 percent for Obama in September. 

The crosstabs -- especially Mitt Romney erasing the President's lead among women -- is pretty sobering news.  Pew is not Rasmussen or a GOP outfit.  The poll also shows a big jump in Republicans among survey participants:

Among the likely voters, 36 percent identified as Republican, 31 percent as Democratic and 30 percent as independent. The September poll was 39 percent Democratic and 29 percent Republican

And finally, the crosstabs show that Romney now has higher favorability numbers than the President.

The edge in favorability ratings that Barack Obama had enjoyed throughout the campaign has now been erased, as voters’ impressions of Romney have continued to improve while Obama’s ratings have returned to levels seen earlier in the summer. Currently, voters are about evenly divided in their overall opinions of both Obama (49% favorable, 48% unfavorable) and Romney (50% favorable, 46% unfavorable).

So it depends on what you think of Pew's likely voter model.  It's one that heavily favors the GOP in turnout, and gives Romney the win at the national level, at least this week.  It's not something that should be ignored.  It's also not something I completely buy, but we'll see what all of the other polls say.

I'd like to see how the state polls are shaking out however.  A 12 point turnaround, if lasting and stable, will very quickly be reflected in equally big swings in the state polling.  So far that's not happening yet.

Here's the thing however.  Look deeper into the crosstabs.

Two-thirds of the people Pew surveyed were over 50.   A third were over 65, and they favor Romney by 17 points.

If you believe that two-thirds of voters will be over 50, then yes, Romney will win easily.  I don't think that will be the case.

Also, check out the racial makeup.

Seems Latino voters were left out of the poll entirely.  Sure, that's representative of the population.  No Latino voters actually vote, you know.

It's up to the President to make the most of these last four weeks...and up to us to vote.


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