Saturday, November 08, 2008

Purely anecdotal

Since Dad died I've become a bit of a gun nut. It is a way to kinda keep in touch with something that he loved. I think it started when he was a marksman for the Marine Corps in WWII because he certainly was not a hunter.

I went to gun show today and it was shoulder to shoulder. I got there about 9:15 (a quarter hour after opening and the line was outside the convention center about 100 yards or so. On entry, I noted that 75% or so of the visitors headed straight to the "Ammo" tables to make bulk purchases.

When I asked the ammunition sellers what the deal was the answer was this, "We don't think the guns can be too severely restricted following Heller, but we do think that ammunition taxes will rise sharply."

I didn't buy a thing but noted that a rifle I had seen at a previous show had jumped from $1,200 to $1,700.

Just posting for anecdotal interest. I'm the only nut here.

This is impressive

If you watch closely you'll see it wasn't an accident, it was intentional.

Update: Neighbor, who is a rabid college football fan says it's not. And the kid is signed to Auburn.


Year Dow S&P Nasdaq President elect
2008 -7.08 -7.43 -7.46 Barack Obama
2004 +3.51 +3.15 +2.73 George W. Bush
2000 -3.19 -4.60 -11.32 No decision: G.W. Bush v Al Gore*
1996 +2.28 +2.34 +2.31 William Clinton
1992 -0.38 -0.56 +2.02 William Clinton
1988 -2.84 -2.63 -1.34 George H. W. Bush
1984 -2.02 -1.65 -0.42 Ronald Reagan
1980 -0.51 +0.11 +0.19 Ronald Reagan
1976 -2.38 -2.21 -1.02 James Carter
1972 +1.06 -0.22 -0.34 Richard Nixon
1968 +1.35 +0.82 --- Richard Nixon
1964 +0.16 +0.06 --- Lyndon Johnson
1960 +1.84 +1.38 --- John Kennedy
1956 -2.02 -2.65 --- Dwight Eisenhower
1952 +1.20 +0.73 --- Dwight Eisenhower
1948 -6.00 -7.16 --- Harry Truman
1944 +0.11 +0.31 --- Franklin Roosevelt
1940 +1.06 +0.81 --- Franklin Roosevelt
1936 +2.79 +1.40 --- Franklin Roosevelt
1932 +5.34 +8.02 --- Franklin Roosevelt
1928 +2.13 +1.99 --- Herbert Hoover
1924 +0.93 --- --- Calvin Coolidge
1920 -2.34 --- --- Warren Harding
1916 +0.41 --- --- Woodrow Wilson
1912 +1.13 --- --- Woodrow Wilson
1908 +5.28 --- --- William Taft
1904 +2.75 --- --- Theodore Roosevelt
1900 +7.03 --- --- William McKinley
1896 +5.86 --- --- William McKinley

You know...

Had Mac won, I would have done the get on my knees thing and not given Barry another thought. You people are like a third grader who was in a sack race where you've won because your opponent fell down. and you're standing at the finish line pointing at him and laughing, thinking you have accomplished something grand.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Remembering the Dow in November 2000

Here's a cool dealybob that allows you to look at the performance of the DJI across the time period of your choice. Here's November 2000:

Gloating post of the day

Per CNN, on the Palin infighting:

One source involved in preparing her for interviews and the vice
presidential debate told CNN "she had not paid attention to a single policy debate that's gone on in this country for 10 years."


Out of my league bleg

I have a client who is convinced that USAPeopleSearch is out to get him. If one enters his name on Google then his name pops up on the right in one of those ad thinks that says "Find Scooter."
He has an unlisted number but if you pay the money, they give you his name, number and several recent addresses.

I called last week and could only get to "customer service" and the person on the other end said she couldn’t give me the names of any of the company officers and that I should send a letter addressed to their president. They also wouldn't say how they obtained the unlisted number.

I sent the "cease and desist" letter which the post office reports was received yesterday. Any thoughts as to whether they are doing anything wrong? My client believes it is discrimination of some sort because when other names in similar occupations are entered, those names don't come up.

Irritating phrases

Oxford's top ten irritating phrases:

10. It's not rocket science
9. 24/7
8. shouldn't of
7. it's a nightmare
6. absolutely
5. with all due respect
4. At this moment in time
3. I personally
2. fairly unique
1. at the end of the day

I'd like to see "I'll tell you what" on the list. Obama picked it up somewhere along the way, and I suspect Biden of being his influence.

Blaming a bad economy on Obama

Michael launched the first strike on what we'll see alot from the right: blaming Obama for a bad economy. So let's just take stock today, shall we, so we don't forget where Bush left us or try to rewrite history:
Come January, President Obama will inherit the weakest U.S. economy in 25 years, with output shrinking, unemployment rising, the federal deficit out of control and a financial system on government life-support. The new president will probably spend his first year in office careering from crisis to crisis, throwing lifelines to hard-hit households, local governments, industries and developing countries.
Oh yeah, and an unemployment rate that's at 6.5%.

Org chart

This, for example, is kind of cool. Click on Organization Chart. I learned some things.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Market performance 2000

The market in 2000 in the wake of Bush's election:
Margin-call selling into a collapsing market kept pressuring the Nasdaq index to a bottom of 2332.78 on December 20, just days after the Supreme Court resolved the presidential election in favor of George W. Bush.

In 2001, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.1% more, closing the year at 10021.50, but it could have been far worse. By March of that year, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the economy had slipped into what by historical standards was a shorter-than-average recession, which might have ended sooner if not for the atrocities committed on September 11.


"Those damn Democrats have spayed our pitbull."


seems like a pretty stupid choice. First decision as President-elect. Looking forward to the next big screw-up.

The White House chief of staff is not a chief strategist or a chief advocate. He is a manager of people and of process. Above all else, he sets the tone internally, and shapes the president’s decision process and the feel of the upper tiers of the administration. Obama is especially in need of someone who will lead him to decisions, because he appears to be intensely averse to making difficult choices—which is the essence of what the president does. His inclination is to step back and conceptualize the choice out of existence, looking reasonable but doing nothing. To overcome this, he will need a chief of staff with a sense of the gravity of the choices the president faces, and one capable of moving the staff to decision, keeping big egos satisfied and calm, and resisting the pressure to be purely reactive to momentary distractions. None of this spells Rahm Emanuel. There is definitely a place for a Rahm Emanuel type of brilliant ruthless shark in a White House staff, but not in the Chief’s office. Not a good first sign.

Obama tanks the stock market

Change you can believe in.

Lunchtime Speaker from

Speaker today was Fred Burton of, a private intelligence firm here in Austin. Burton is a former spook and author of Ghost—Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent. He served under Bush the Elder and Clinton and has good and bad to say of both.

Most encouraging thing he said was that “humint” has improved greatly over the last seven years. Most discouraging thing he said? That is difficult.

Was it that the top Al-Q guys now all hang out in London and there are so many that MI5, the Yard, etc. cannot even surveil them constantly? Training still primarily in Pakistan but planning is taking place in London.

Was it that the number three most likely US target after NYC and DC is probably Houston due to it being the energy capital?

Or perhaps was it that the situation in Mexico is getting so bad that if he were president he might even consider abandoning Karzai and Afghanistan to assist Calderon and turn those resources southward?

Can we agree on this?

If it is true that campaign staff learned that Sarah Palin a) believed that Africa was a country, not a continent OR b) that South Africa was a region of Africa rather than a country, OR c) that she could not identify the parties to NAFTA, did they not have a responsibility to the people of this country to replace her on the ticket? Was it OK for them to view this as simply an adversarial process where they had the right to try to win with her?

I say they had a duty to replace her.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kool Aid

Obama cited "Kool Aid" early on:

It was true. [Greg] Craig read Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," which, Craig said, "floored me," and later chanced to ride with Obama on the Washington shuttle. He read Obama's earlier autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," and was "blown away," he recalled. "In my judgment, he showed more insight and maturity than Bill Clinton at the age of 60 in terms of understanding himself." In November 2006, Craig sat next to George Stevens, an old friend of the Robert Kennedy clan, at another Obama speech. Stevens leaned over to Craig and said, "What do you think of this guy for president? I haven't heard anybody like this since Bobby Kennedy." Craig instantly replied, "Sign me up." Stevens and Craig approached Obama coming out of the speech and asked, "What are you doing in 2008?" Obama gave them a big grin and said, "Oh, man, it wasn't that good." But before long Craig and Stevens were raising money for Obama's political-action committee, the Hope Fund. Obama was amused by the devotion of the two old Kennedy hands. After a while, every time he saw the two men he would say, "Here come the Kool-Aid boys."

Election tricks

Did Obama trick McCain into spending resources in Pennsylvania?

Holy cow -- with UPDATE

Watch the video here from O'Reilly. Stunning, if it's true. Scooter, I think you should be able to get your money back. I'm guessing you wouldn't have contributed had you known that she wasn't able to name all three countries in North America. True or not, the party is destroying her by telling these tales.

UPDATE: Michael posts that this story is a hoax.

Republicans in cabinet

I answered "two" in the poll. I expected one of them would be Lugar. But Lugar has said "no thanks" to serving in the cabinet.

Stephanie mentioned a contemplative mood today...

Mom told me this weekend that she couldn't understand how any conservative African-American could possibly vote for the now President-elect Obama. I had to disagree.

As a middle-aged white guy from the South who can still remember the time in my grandfather's hometown in Oklahoma when my brother and I begged my grandfather to allow us to swim in the "mixed swim" hour at the city pool, I can't imagine how yesterday must have felt.

It was the sixties, the second half of the sixties.

2:00-3:00 White Swim
3:00-4:00 Colored Swim
4:00-5:00 Mixed Swim

Thankfully, I was too young to appreciate what that meant or to be aware of any violence being perpetrated against African-Americans (or other rights being violated). I was kid who just wanted to swim.

I know this must be a day of phenomenal pride for African-Americans, whether liberal, moderate or conservative. Heck, in that respect, it is a day of pride for me, too.

Why isn't it Flavor Ade?

I'm sure I grew up on some kind of cheap generic substitute for Flavor Aid or Kool Aid.

More than one way to be a socialist

Here's a quick take on competing "liberal" economic philosophies.

Coleman is classless

All ballots have been counted and Coleman is ahead of Franken by 462 votes in our Minnesota Senate race. Nearly 3 million votes were cast. Coleman, like the jerk that he is, has claimed victory and proclaimed that if he were in Franken's shoes, he would concede so that we can begin our healing. This is in spite of the fact that the slim margin triggers an automatic recount. Thanks, Norm. Thanks for reminding me why I can't stand you and making me feel better about voting for Franken, which I did yesterday while cursing the Minnesota DFL for delivering such a miserable candidate.


It's a day for thinking and feeling big things about Obama's election. Maybe I'll write something later.

I thought McCain's speech last night was excellent. Besides the content being pitch perfect, I thought it was well-delivered. If the campaigning McCain had sounded like the conceding McCain, I think it could have gone differently.

I've read the WaPo and the NYT behind-the-scenes stories. (The NYT story is lame.) Looking forward to the Newsweek story. If you come across good ones, please point them out.

On another note, I've been wondering what it was like for the brand manager for Kool Aid the day the Jim Jones et al story broke: "Why oh why didn't they use Tang instead?!" But I see from Wikipedia that they didn't use Kool Aid; it was Flavor Aid.

Polling was pretty accurate (except for ND)

Steve Benin at Washington Monthly sums it up: And speaking of polls and impressive showings, how did Nate Silver and fivethirtyeight do? Nate's final projections showed Obama winning with 348 electoral votes and 52.3% of the popular vote. As of this morning's count, Obama has 349 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote.

I'll look at RCP averages later, if they don't do it themselves.

Franken and Coleman

Our Senate race isn't decided. Coleman is ahead by 800 votes with 99% of precincts reporting. There'll be a recount.

I woke up this morning...

and the sky seemed a bit bluer, the sun shinning a bit brighter, the air a bit crisper, the grass a bit greener. There aren't many important moments in world history that any of us can say we witnessed. Last night we all did.

But now a different, and even harder chapter begins. For many reasons I believe that our new President will be held to a higher standard to accomplish things, to change things, to heal the divide. He'll also get a longer grace period. I heard last night that his team has studied the 1st 2 years of the Clinton administration, to learn from their mistakes for over-reaching. All say they have (his team), and he has, learned those lessons. Let's hope so.

My Most Fervent Prayer for the Obama Administration

Judges? Nope. That ship has sailed.

Taxes and the Economy? Nope. The Economy is far too strong and big to remain sluggish for too long. And, as stated earlier, I’ll trust the 95% assurance on taxes for now. Policies can hinder growth or slow recovery, but we run the economy.

The War? Yep. Islamic Radicalism is still the greatest challenge facing this country. May God grant President-elect Obama Solomon-like wisdom and David-like strength in his decisions and actions.


I'm trying to teach my son to be a graceful loser. He's not very good at it and neither is the old man apparently. It is a historic day and the old lefty in me can still feel what you people must be experiencing. I just fervently hope and pray that I've been wrong on several counts suggesting who the President-elect is and what he'll do. I saw several analysts (on the right) last night saying Obama just can't and won't be the radical we feared. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama

Of course I'm disappointed. Senator McCain was never my first choice but thought I could trust him on the War, taxes and judges. If I take President-elect Obama's promises (and Stephanie's assurances) on taxes at face value, at least I have one out of three.

Re: Hope for Michael

Jonah Goldberg echoes Stephanie here. He's skeptical, too, but for a different reason.

Good Grief

An otherwise sane and very bright young lawyer in my office just said, "If Senator Obama loses there should be blood in the street because it will be crystal clear that the fix is in."

Hope for Michael

I'm being barraged with emails and phone calls from the Obama campaigning asking for get-out-the-vote help this afternoon, saying that they have indications the race here in MN is tighter than they expected.

Time will tell, but I wonder if this is more about the MN Senate seat than about Obama.

EV Meta Analysis


My last day predictions

Could be better for Obama than this, but it won't be worse (from RCP's create-your-own-map thing-a-ma-jig):

The downside of early voting

I feel powerless.

Today's video courtesy Michelle Barry 346.5

Fancy computer odds? Bah.

Intrade at 91.7 Barry

Collective wisdom backed by real money? Bah.

Rove calls it 338-220

Washed-up trickster? Bah. [Hot Air]

Monday, November 03, 2008

She's healthy

No news in Palin's medical summary. Why not release this earlier?

Steph would have posted this

in the interest of "fairness" since she posted the first report*, but I beat her to it:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A report has cleared Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner.
The report, released Monday, said: "There is no probable cause to believe that the governor, or any other state official, violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with these matters."

*Semi-correction: I can't find it, but I know Steph raised it somewhere. Unless she didn't.

Geraghty says Barry, unless PA goes red

"Going down the list, state by state, I come up with a 286-252 electoral vote victory for Obama. If Pennsylvania flips to red, it would actually be a 273-265 McCain victory."

More science shows Ayers wrote Barry's book

When, however, Yavelow compared Obama’s Dreams with Bill Ayers’ memoir, Fugitive Days, he found the similarity of the two books “striking.” He then quickly corrects himself: “’Striking’ is an understatement for the relationship FictionFixer uncovered between Fugitive Days and Dreams From My Father.”
For instance, Dreams averages 17.61 words and 26.48 syllables for non-dialogue sentences. Fugitive Days averages 17.62 words and 26.27 syllables.
Another example is what Yavelow calls “attributions”—e.g., he “asked,” she “said,” they “wondered.” Some authors use as few as three. Many use fewer than twenty. Dreams, however, uses 36; Fugitive Days 34, and with only four exceptions—three of these used only once—the two books use the very same attributions.


Friends on the Radio

Years ago a gal from my high school on whom I had a huge crush (way above my pay grade in high school) and with whom I was pretty good friends used to be the "Black Thunder" traffic reporter for a radio station in Dallas flying around in that station's black helicopter. That was pretty cool at the time though she was destined for much greater things.

Recently, a fellow member of my Lions Club and friend has begun doing the news on the half hour for Austin's biggest AM radio station KLBJ. She has a great voice and is perfect for this job. Still, for some reason, rather than it being "cool," I'm somewhat disturbed every time I hear her on the air. I have no idea why I feel that way.

Re: Beldar's being the better man...

As I mentioned last week, I'd have rather lost to OSU than TT. Coach Leach is just too weird and the TT fans too obnoxious. Having said that, I reiterate that TT just plain beat us and the game shouldn't have been as close as it ended up. I was heartened by the effort in the second half and there does not appear to be any giving up in these kids.

After the Mizzou game, I started to drink the Kool-Aid but the closeness of the OSU game brought me back to reality. I'd have said as little as two and as many as four losses at the season's start with this year being one to teach and provide experience for young running backs and defensive secondary. With this defense and the loss of our only legitimate tight end, this season has been a bubble waiting to burst.

At No. 4, we're still likely to play in a BCS bowl if we avoid another loss.

Oh for Pete's sake

On the stinking birth certificate. I'm not looking for the other stuff. (Re did he really go to Columbia: You're thinking Harvard admitted him without obtaining a certified transcript from Columbia?! Even my third rate law school needed a certified transcript from my college.)

Update: More on the birth certificate nonsense.


What's with Palin's medical records?

They were promised, but haven't yet been provided. Strikes me as odd.

It’s getting a little scarier around here.

Lawyer in my section just got the ax.

Then I get a robo-email in which the first two sentences read:

As you are no doubt aware, with the current fluctuations in the economy, the legal market is beginning to slow quite dramatically. Especially hard hit are attorneys working in the securities and real estate sectors.

Underwear change I can believe in

"Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants." Here.


That's what I paid for a gallon of gas in Waco on Saturday.

Ipod bleg

I'm unplugging from talk radio after Tuesday to listen to books and other things on my commute. Anyone up on Ipods and similar devices?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Beldar is a better man than I am

But then you knew that.

Even if Ayers didn't write Barry's book:

And from where I’m sitting, all of these charges, brought about by another
explanation for the similarities in the Ayers and Obama tomes, are every bit as
revealing: Obama may not have had his book ghostwritten. But it is possible, if
the science is to be believed, that Obama had so internalized Ayers’ style — and
was so taken by his method of argumentation and the force of his ideology — that
he wrote a derivative work that, in a number of passages, bordered on
Hardly what one would expect from someone who didn’t know of
Ayers’ past, and who considered him “just some guy from the neighborhood.”

Jeff G. asks a question

"So answer me this, somebody: Did Barack Obama really attend Columbia? And if so, where’s the proof?"