Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why can't Barry close the deal?

Look at how much he's spending on ads. The answer? It contains the letter a,c,i,m,r, and s. Must be RACISM, correct? No. It's MAC IS Right.

And by the way

no more political stuff in the subhead. I started it, I shouldn't have, and now we won't do it.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Effigy. It was inevitable given the incendiary climate. When will McCain/Palin take responsibility for stoking this hatred?

Pro-America, sort of like McCarthy was pro-America

I see the latest Rethug talking point is to divide the nation into those Americans who are pro-America and those who are not:

WaPo: Palin also made a point of mentioning that she loved to visit the "pro-America" areas of the country, of which North Carolina is one. No word on which states she views as unpatriotic.


Your party is evil. I'm seething.

Why did Barry lie about Mac's ads?

100% negative? Really? Like the one that ran during the Dem convention?

More Treacher on Joe

The truth, of course, is that Obama outed himself as a socialist in front of the whole world, McCain called him on it, and now Obama's supporters are terrified because they know most Americans don't want a socialist president. So they're lashing out at Joe.

Treacher Rohter-roots the NYT story on Joe the Plumber

He added, "He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr."

Get the picture, America? That's right: Joe the Plumber just called Obama a Jew.
. . . .

The whole "He's not a licensed plumber!" non sequitur is really fantastic. So, if you happen to be standing in front of Obama when he publicly reveals his socialism, what does the media do? Demands to see your papers. That's just delicious, is what that is.

Fighting back against the "voter fraud" fraud

Here's the full text of the letter from Robert Bauer, General Counsel to Obama for America, to Attorney General Mukasey that ties the current efforts by the Republican Party to suppress voter turnout through the use of investigations of purported, but non-existent, election fraud.

Update: sorry, that wasn't a complete thought. I meant "...that ties the current efforts by the Republican Party to suppress voter turnout through the use of investigations of purported, but non-existent, election fraud to the current investigative mandate of the Special Prosecutor who's currently looking into the inappropriate firing of attorneys general."

Dividing and conquering

Obama always seems to have his eye on a bigger prize farther down the road than the rest of us. My suspicion is that he doesn't merely want to win the Presidency. He's working on dismantling the Republican party and, in the process, re-forming the Democratic constituency.

You Republicans have got three wings in your party: 1) the Evangelicals; 2) the hawks; and 3) the fiscal conservatives. It's sometimes an uncomfortable alliance and perhaps some of you would be willing to jettison yourselves from your counterparts.

There are signs that the evangelical block may be cracking up. Environmental concerns may have finally given at least some evangelicals a reason to peel away. I keep waiting for evangelicals to decide that following Jesus' teachings requires them to lean toward a governance philosophy that does not ignore the needs of the least fortunate. I mean, why do they sometimes want their government to reflect their beliefs (Ten Commandments in courthouses and organized prayer in schools and constitutional bans on gay marriage), but then don't demand it of tax/spending approaches? or of war policy in light of Jesus' prohibition against killing others (with no exception for self defense)? If they were truly consistent, they'd decide they need their own party. Until they do that, Obama is in a position to reach out to faith groups and start to persuade them to consider how believing in Jesus doesn't preclude them from voting for Democrats. He already threw them a bone with his anti-gay-marriage stance.

Obama, I predict, will make every effort to court the fiscal conservatives. For one thing, that really is his true bent; he might like to spend money in different places than Republican fiscal conservatives, and he may not have the same calibration for how much revenue should come from which parts of the payscale, but he is, I firmly believe, dedicated to achieving a balanced budget. My expectation, though, is that these differences aren't going to be anywhere near as huge as you're expecting them to be. He just isn't going to look anything like the Marx that you're anticipating. Balancing the budget, though, is not going to be possible in the next four years, in light of the current disastrous conditions. In fact, these conditions may warrant New Deal-ish spending that would not have been part of Obama's approach in ordinary times. But I think Republicans will be surprised at the degree to which he's a kindred spirit to the fiscal conservatives in their midst. And as a happy byproduct of this, there's the opportunity to divide the fiscal conservatives away from the hawk/god wingnuts who've been front/center for Bush.

If he gets elected, I expect that elections four and eight years from now, will have different lines of fissure, or at least the current lines will be fuzzier, than they have been for the past several elections.

Medical malpractice question

Doctor A at Clinic X is treating you for something. Eight weeks later, your condition hasn't resolved and you'd like a second opinion about treatment. If you go to Doctor B at Clinic X, are you likely to get Doctor B's best advice even if it conflicts with Doctor A's advice? I mean, does Doctor B have more of an incentive to give his/her best advice, or more of an incentive to back up Doctor A?

More practically, is it a better idea to go to a different clinic than to go to a different doc (who by reputation is spectacular) at the same clinic?

Update: And I guess you could look at the other side of the coin and wonder whether a Clinic B would have incentive to suggest something different than Doctor A suggested, regardless of whether they believed Doctor A's treatment was the best approach.

Electoral trivia

Why did the electoral votes of Bush and Kerry in 2004 only add up to 537, rather than the full 538?

Electoral vote predictions

The Princeton Election Consortium provides a meta-analysis of electoral vote predictions. This takes state polling data and applies some heavy-duty math/statistics and comes up with a daily data point reflecting the likely electoral outcome. As of today, this graph looks like this:

The gray band represents the 95% confidence level, and you'll note that the whole gray band has resided above the 270 mark for the lion's share of the race since Obama sewed up the Democratic nomination.

How accurate is their methodology? In 2004, they predicted that Bush would win with 279 electoral vote to Kerry's 259:

The actual result was 286-251: You'll notice that the 95% confidence band (in gray) indicated it could go either way.

Kathleen Parker

votes "Iconoclast."

Video of Obama at the Alfred E. Smith dinner

Here and here.


Woke up this morning expecting to hear Bill Bennett. Instead, it's Mancow.

Please tell me this is only because Bennett is off today.

Video of McCain at Alfred E. Smith dinner

Part 1 and part 2. Funny stuff. Really.

"They came first for

Kurtz, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an investigative reporter;
And then they came for Fredesso, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an author;
And then they came for Joe the Plumber, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a plumber;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

UPDATE: More details here.

Piedmont A-11 offense

makes the front page of NYT. I tried to tell you about it here, but all you wanted to talk about was Ayers and ACORN. (Photo: two quarterbacks in the backfield, three men on the line, and six receivers split.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Live blogging Letterman


More on gas prices...

$2.50 now in Austin. I think oil closed under $70.00 today. Where are the headlines? When will we bail out the oil companies?

Hilzoy says it so well

Hilzoy writing at The Washington Monthly:
There are several ways to end up with socialism. One is to try to bring it about. There is, as I said, no evidence that Obama wants to do that. But another is to govern so disastrously that drastic steps like nationalizing banks look like the least bad option. That was the Bush administration's route. And even though I'm sure that Bush did not intend to nationalize banks and an insurance company, he accomplished it anyways, through sheer ineptitude.

If the people at the Corner are really worried about socialism, they should spend less time trying to conjure evidence of it out of thin air, and more time trying to make sure that their party nominates and elects people who will actually govern competently. Their years of cheerleading for Bush's incompetent leadership have done more to bring about socialism in this country than William Ayers ever did.

Word clouds for Debate 3



Michael is right

Obama's word count:

McCain's word count:

Move over Runyon, Hammett, and Spillane

"North Philly, May 4, 2001. Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a three dollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He’d made fifteen, twenty drug busts in the neighborhood.
Devlin spotted him: a lone man on the corner. Another approached. Quick exchange of words. Cash handed over; small objects handed back. Each man then quickly on his own way. Devlin knew the guy wasn’t buying bus tokens. He radioed a description and Officer Stein picked up thebuyer. Sure enough: three bags of crack in the guy’s pocket. Head downtown and book him. Just another day at the office. "

Guess the author. [Weekly Standard]

Toast. Fork.

New Obama ad.

Debate wrap

From TIME's Amy Sullivan, here:
In politics it is generally not considered a good sign when voters are laughing at you, not with you. And by the end of the third and last presidential debate, the undecided voters who had gathered in Denver for Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg’s focus group were “audibly snickering” at John McCain’s grimaces, eye-bulging, and repeated references to “Joe the Plumber.”

The group of 50 uncommitted voters should have at least been receptive to McCain—Republicans and Independents outnumbered Democrats in the group by almost 4 to 1, and they started the evening with much warmer responses to McCain than to his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama. But by the time it was all over, so few of them had declared their support for McCain that there weren’t enough for Greenberg to separate them into a post-debate focus group. Meanwhile, the Obama supporters had to assemble in two different rooms to keep their discussion groups manageable.

Half of the voters thought that Obama “won” the debate, with 24% giving McCain the victory and 26% seeing no clear winner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I demand

a time of possession analysis. If Barry didn't talk for 66% or more of the time, I'll eat my hat. Did anyone see Barry give the signal to Schieffer to cut McCain off? Schieffer tried to, but McCain didn't let him, at least that time.


"The default narrative is that Obama had to be a hard identity-politics leftist to start out in Chicago; had to gain street crediblity by suffering through Wright's racist diatribes; then had to be a liberal team-player as a rookie Senator from progressive Illinois, had to run to the left of Hillary in the primaries, and had to zig again in the general, but when elected will revert to his natural ease with bipartisanship and centrist leadership. All that is a bit of a stretch."

Origins of the FAIL meme


D--n the luck!

We’re having our first real rain of any sort here is Austin in, oh, about forever. Tomorrow the constable loads up the trucks for my LL client who has evicted his innkeeper T.

OK I give up, we are doomed

"Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

Poll fraud?

McCain is claiming that vote fraud may cause him to lose Florida. How does he explain Obama's lead in polls in Florida? Does he think there's polling fraud going on?

Art Levine at The American Prospect was all over this voter fraud malarky back in April:
In October 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft launched an intensive "Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative" that required all U.S. attorney offices to coordinate with local officials in combating voter fraud. Yet even after the Justice Department declared the war against voter fraud a "high priority," only 24 people were convicted of illegal voting in federal elections between 2002 and 2005 -- and nobody was even charged by Justice with impersonating another voter. (The Justice Department declined to answer questions about more recent fraud prosecutions.) And despite the anti-immigrant frenzy fueling photo-ID laws, only 14 noncitizens were convicted of illegally voting in federal elections from 2002 through 2005 -- mostly because of their ignorance of election law.

ACORN operates on a shoe-string budget and has some lazy employees who have defrauded ACORN by taking a paycheck and not doing their jobs. (By all means, root them out and charge those folks with crimes.) Republicans are trying to use this to delegitimize Obama's win. Here's hoping for victories so resounding that this ploy won't work.

Who would have guessed

Cheney has a heart.

New poll -->

You may vote for more than one category.


"You have to pinch yourself – a Marxisant radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so." [Corner]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

traded sex for drugs.

Something fun

here for election history buffs. Pick the year and see how things went.

A small symbol

of what a competent campaign looks like.

On the record

Here are Scooter's state predictions:

Here are mine:

Too bad, so sad

Florida, Michigan and Colorado go dark blue.

"ACORN makes America special"

Oh, man. Worst campaign in the history of campaigns. Check it out.

If Americans had to pick a single word to sum up the Bush administration, I suspect it would be INCOMPETENT. And it's incompetence, more than anything else, that they want to avoid with the next pick.

Update: fixed the link.

I still think the SEC is the best conference but...

It is a bit hard to dismiss UT's schedule this year which includes

#1 OK (10-11)
#5 Tech (11-1)
#10 OK State (10-25)
#12 Mizzou (10-18)
#15 Kansas (11-15)

Will Barry's FCC apply New Fairness Doctrine to blogs?

Stephen Green :

If (when?) Obama is elected, by my estimation there’s an at least even chance that the newly-reconstructed FCC will reverse course and attempt to apply the New Fairness Doctrine to blogs.

If (when?) it happens, I’ll break that law. I will break it with all due malice and in full knowledge of the possible consequences. I’ll shout “Fire Obama!” in a crowded theater. And then, for the first time ever, I’ll ask for reader donations. Because I’ll going to need them, lots of them, to pay for the lawyers.

But that law, should it pass, will not stand.

Was the pirate ship

a dirty bomb intended for Israel? [Vodkapundit, Blackfive]

Monday, October 13, 2008

Florida goes dark blue and ND yellow

From Pollster, late evening today:
No wonder Charlie Crist has abandoned McCain, saying he may not have time to campaign for McCain since he's busy being governor.

Palin's house - Updated

If we're going to give pixels to the Ayers-wrote-Obama's-memoir nonsense, then we should give pixels to this, which strikes me as more plausable than memoir-gate.

The writer speculates that Palin got her house built for less than the going rate by the same contractors who were building the Wasilla Sports Complex. Key points that raise suspicions:
1) the house was built just a mile from the Complex;
2) the house was built at the same time as the Complex;
3) Seems like slightly odd timing for the Palin's to take on the expense of the new house, with her time as mayor coming to an end;
4) Mayor Palin got rid of requirements for building permits in time for there to be no records of building activities on her house (as Church Lady would say, "How conveeeeeenient!");
5) I think I understood a reporter from the Village Voice on Oberman to say he tracked down the contractors on the Complex project and the main one said he helped Todd build the house (I may have misheard that, though, so I'm not sure I got that right).

Update: And of course, it's not just speculation that labor wandered over to help with Palin's house, it's that materials found their way to Palin's house. Oh, and the contractor mentioned in #5 was Steven's contractor.


My husband buys everything at Sears, including clothes. He just bought a pair for jeans for $14.

Is it possible that the full cost of producing a pair of jeans can be less than $14? I know, I know. Economies of scale etc. But $14?! Someone prepared a field, planted cotton, tended cotton plants for a season, picked it, transported it to a processor, processed it into thread, wove it into denim, dyed it, transported the cloth to a manufacturer, cut the denim and sewed it into a pair of jeans with added metal hardware, attached labels, transported them to stores, had a worker unpack them and display them on shelves and a worker to attend to checkout lane. And all along the way, there was inventory tracking and software and data entry to keep track of materials and accounting systems. There was probably a trip or two across an ocean and a pass or two through Customs, not to mention miles traveled on our freeways and a bunch of packing, loading, unloading and unpacking. There's all kinds of electricity for lights and fossil fuels for boats and trucks.

It just doesn't seem possible to me. It looks to me like not all the costs incurred are paid by those reaping profit from this pair of jeans.

Gas prices...

In Austin, we can look around a bit here.

Taylor, Texas always has the cheapest prices so when I visit Mom, I always drive that way.

Update: the map feature is really helpful if you're traveling. Here's the link to the master site Gasbuddy.

Stephanie's link.

LJ's link (sort of).

Michael's link.

Michael here: Actually when you go to Clear Lake, prices are much higher.

Well said

From a writer named Frooze writing at TPM:
This notion of perfection and American infallibility is one of the most dangerous, misguided notions out there and it is to our serious detriment as Americans. In truth, it is a tool of oppression that has been used by radical dictatorial regimes in the past and is now being used by the right wing politicians in the present in America. It is an oppressive tool that equates and conflates this ridiculous and demonstrably false notion of perfection with Patriotism and then tries to bully, ostracize, and suppress anyone that dares question this thinking or the policies of America's leaders as unpatriotic. In this world, everything is simplified and painted in a "you're with us or against us" or "good guys v. bad guys" picture. If you question or assign fault to anything that the country has done or any policy that the country has implemented, you're being unpatriotic, emboldening enemies, and questioning America.

This is the kind of radical notion that oppresses critical thinking and progress, that enables, rationalizes and tacitly approves misguided or unjustified wars, hideous acts of torture, abandonment of communal or global principles and treaties.


America is not perfect in practice, and history has boundless examples of things we've done wrong - whether it be slavery, torture, camps in WWII, female suppression, etc. But the beauty and the perfection in America lies in that its democratic structure and its ideals of free speech enable us to question our policies, denounce bad practices, and ultimately change direction toward a more perfect democratic union.

"We're going to spread the wealth around."

Everybody happy with that?

Dow closes up 900

That's good since my MFs are down 35% from their highs.

Just a guy in my neighborhood

who wrote my book for me.

Pot vs. Speed

I found this surprising:

From the Hennepin County (where Minneapolis is located) schedule of select fines.


I suffer withdrawal symptoms on these pseudo-holiday days. All my news/editorial sites move in super slo-mo.

I know we've all seen it

but I'd like to know if this bothers you at all.

A presidential candidate

I can support without reservation.

Pants on Fire

McCain gets a Pants On Fire rating from Politifact for his ad about Obama and Ayers and CAC. Their analysis debunks the idea that Ayers and Obama ran the Challenge together and debunks the claim that CAC had a "radical" mission (yes, it sought "radical" reform of schools, but I think before this campaign a sensible person would understand what that meant and agree that radical change of poorly performing schools was a good thing), debunks the insinuation that there was anything sinister about the indirect funding arrangement.
But Ayers' views on education, though certainly reform-oriented and left-of-center, are not considered anywhere near as radical as his Vietnam-era views on war. And even if they were, there was a long list of individuals involved with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge whose positions provided them far more authority over its direction than Ayers' advisory role gave him.

Let's look at a few, starting with the funder. Annenberg was a lifelong Republican and former ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Richard Nixon. His widow, Leonore, has endorsed McCain. Kurtz might just as plausibly have accused Obama and the foundation of "translating Annenberg's conservatism into practice."

Among the other board members who served with Obama were: Stanley Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois; Arnold Weber, former president of Northwestern University and assistant secretary of labor in the Nixon administration; Scott Smith, then publisher of the Chicago Tribune; venture capitalist Edward Bottum; John McCarter, president of the Field Museum; Patricia Albjerg Graham, former dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Journalism, and a host of other mainstream folks.

"The whole idea of it being radical when it was this tie of blue-chip, white-collar, CEOs and civic leaders is just ridiculous," said the foundation's former development director, Marianne Philbin.


This attack is false, but it's more than that – it's malicious.

Scapegoating CRA

In 2006, 24 out of the top 25 subprime lenders were not subject to CRA.
Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.


Fannie and Freddie, however, didn't pressure lenders to sell them more loans; they struggled to keep pace with their private sector competitors. In fact, their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, imposed new restrictions in 2006 that led to Fannie and Freddie losing even more market share in the booming subprime market.

What's more, only commercial banks and thrifts must follow CRA rules. The investment banks don't, nor did the now-bankrupt non-bank lenders such as New Century Financial Corp. and Ameriquest that underwrote most of the subprime loans.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Undecided voters

Ezra Klein has a commentary today in the LATimes on undecided voters:
This election has dominated every form of American news media for the better part of two years. Newspapers, magazines, networks, cable, radio, blogs, people on street corners with signs -- it's really been rather hard to miss. Further, it pits two extremely different candidates against each other. Whether your metric is age, ideology, temperament, race, funding sources, healthcare plans or Iraq strategies, it would be hard to imagine two men presenting a starker contrast.

But despite this, the Undecided Voter wakes up each morning and says, in effect, "I dunno." And the political system panders to him.
A provocative paper from James Campbell, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, comes to a different conclusion. Examining nine presidential elections, Campbell compared the size of the swing vote (defined here as voters with weak leanings before the heat of the campaign) with the size of the non-swing vote. Swing voters are known to be a minority of the population, but it turns out that they're not a particularly decisive minority. "In only one of the nine elections, the 1976 race between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter," writes Campbell, "did the swing vote majority override an opposite majority among non-swing voters."

In other words, in eight of the last nine elections, the winner could have lost swing voters but won the race. In a second test, which examined voters who were undecided at a later point in the race, Campbell found that the last campaign in which they were decisive was 1960.

A new link has been added...

...just for Michael. Enjoy.

Re: Past Presidents

Best - any affiliated with ACORN.
Worst - any not affiliated with ACORN

Gas price in Grapevine

$2.86!!!! I couldn't believe it when I saw the price.

Obama's representation of ACORN

I'm going to post this, so we have these facts in mind as we hear about nothing but ACORN this week:

While Mr. Obama did represent Acorn in a lawsuit in 1995, Acorn was on the same side as the Justice Department. The training events involved two hours of work.

In 1995, Mr. Obama was on a team of lawyers that represented Acorn in a lawsuit to compel Illinois to comply with federal laws intended to enhance access to the polls. The team also represented Equip for Equality, a group that promotes the rights of the disabled, and four individuals.

Mr. Davis said that as their lawyer, Mr. Obama had “an intimate relationship” with Acorn “against the State of Illinois and the federal government.”

In fact, the Justice Department was on the same side as Acorn in the lawsuit, as were other organizations, including the League of Women Voters. Those plaintiffs won the case.

On the same side as the U.S. Justice Department. Traitor.

To further complicate...

the diagram. I was once associated with an organization that, heaven help me, "organizes" a community. My political future on the right is doomed.

UT leapfrogs to No. 1

I know it's only October but the AP and the coaches say so. We (don't you hate it when fans refer to themselves as we, as if the fan were part of the team?) were definitely the beneficiary of some bad calls resulting in points. I'm glad the margin was 10.

Congrats to the Hogs beating Auburn.


I fear the California contagion may have spread to its neighbor and to Colorado. So many Californians in both states now. One would hope they'd realize why they ended up having to leave the Golden State but my experience in Denver and Austin tells me no.

Re: Past Presidents

I have to cheat little because one was elected two years before I reached voting age but RR best and JC worst.

Interestingly, I could make the conservative case of GWB for both by unfairly giving emphasis to different things at differing times and say first term best and second term worst.

Past Presidents

All play: Of the Presidents that have been elected since you were of voting age, who do you regard as the best President? And who do you regard as the worst President?

I'm going with best = Clinton and worst = GWB.

October surprises?

Ace hears rumors of this and this.

Barry promises that ACORN will "help shape agenda"

of his administration. Does that bother you? [Ace]

UPDATE: Allah thinks it's not as strong as it appears.