Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Dollar falling

A weaker economy is causing the dollar to fall. The virtuous circle was rising price of assets attracts investment into the U.S. which keeps the dollar high. The wicked circle is falling asset prices cause investment to move out of the country which brings down the value of the dollar and further discourages investment in the US. The upside is lower prices for foreign goods which counters inflation. But inflation is not really our problem, deflation is. Falling prices will not help an economy that is overleveraged. Understanding the effect of debt on individuals and the economy is key to understanding what is happening in the economy.

We are in for a very different kind of recession because our debt levels are very high. Lower interest rates will mean little if Americans hold more debt than can be adequately serviced by there income. The only solution is for lower asset prices to meet rising income. The worst case being falling prices spiralling lower as fear keeps people from buying. You see it is really about psychology.

Also, a summary of real estate news from Illinois.

Update:

One thing I meant to add, a falling dollar helps curb inflation but that might not mean falling interest rates. If the dollar starts falling far enough it could keep interest rates from falling. Fear of a crashing dollar might force the Fed to keep from cutting rates. No sign of this in the short or long term interest rate markets but it is something to keep in mind. So far the interest rate markets are jumping on the recession bandwagon which raises the question: Will lower rates bail out the housing market? I am doubtful for the reason I stated above. We are running out of asset markets to inflate. What will be the next bubble? (I would be surprised if the stock market was up next year but I am would not be shocked. I am beyond the capacity to be gobsmackingly thunderstruck by the American capacity to believe in the dream of ever increasing asset prices.) The other thing is the beautiful trend in the stock market appears to be over. Whether this is a pause or a reversal is not apparent. It should be in the next week or so. Exciting times!

 

Psychotic Voters Prefer Bush?

Someone claims to have proved it:
A collective “I told you so” will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse’s study gets out.

Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.
--------
“Bush supporters had significantly less knowledge about current issues, government and politics than those who supported Kerry,” the study says.

Lohse says the trend isn’t unique to Bush: A 1977 study by Frumkin & Ibrahim found psychiatric patients preferred Nixon over McGovern in the 1972 election.
Why is this so? Because psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader. And what criteria do the study's authors use to establish Bush and Nixon as authoritative leaders? The fact they were the President and their challengers weren't? The article doesn't say, though I suspect I know.

Via Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters, who reminds us who the true authoritarians are:
“Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you,” Sen. Clinton said. “We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
Dr Sanity points out those among us who are truly psychotic:
At this very moment, every issue supported by the Left, and almost all of the behavior exhibited by the Left is completely antithetical to classical liberal philosophies. There is no longer a commitment to personal liberty or to freedom. The Left is far too busy to promote freedom for the common man or woman, because their time is taken up advocating freedom for tyrants who oppress the common man; terrorists who kill the common man; and religious fanatics who subjugate the common woman.

The intellectuals who once promoted the IDEA of freedom, now are ensnared in an IDEOLOGY that depends for its very existence on the silencing of speech; the suppression of ideas; and the persecution of those who dare to refute its tenets.

Patriotism and love of one’s country is mocked by those who once fought to bring the American Dream to all American citizens; and who once championed those who were prevented from sharing in that Dream. Slowly and inexorably those idealists who once shouted, “we shall overcome,” morphed into a toxic culture promoting a never-ending victimhood that cannot possibly be overcome. Love of American ideals and values was transformed into the most perverse and vile anti-Americanism –where all things originating or “tainted” as American are uniquely bad; and where America became the source of all evil in the world.

The classical liberal tradition is now almost exclusively upheld by what are called “conservatives”. Once “liberal” was synonymous with the “left”. No longer.

What we have witnessed over the 30- 45 years since the Left ascended to dominate political thought in the mid 20th century, is its rapid and unprecedented decline into wholesale intellectual and moral bankruptcy. The noble values and ideals they once stood for have been abandoned; and almost as if a surreal cosmic joke was being played on them, they have—without even noticing!-- embraced the exact opposite of what they once stood for.

Where once they stood for freedom; they now enable dictatorships and apologize for tyrants. Where once they sought to bring justice to the world; they now defend horrific acts of mass murder and enslavement. Where once they rightly demanded equal opportunity, they have embraced all kinds of racial quotas and discriminatory practices and demand equality of outcome. Where once they sought to empower the weak; they are now instrumental in maintaining and expanding their victimhood.

After all, how can you be a “champion of the oppressed” unless you maintain and nurture an oppressed class that will always require your services to help them?
Its worth remembering that fate which has befallen the Left is no accident.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Former AIG boss eyeing NY Times takeover: CNBC

Should you be excited about this? I think you should.

The devastation of the MSM continues...

Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Bobbie Steele's Retirement

Cook County Board Comissioner Bobbie Steele has decided to retire, annointing her son Robert to succeed her. The Chicago Tribune comments:
Steele, who was just re-elected to another term as a county commissioner, told WLS-TV on Thanksgiving that she's going to retire now. That will allow her to collect a fat $136,000-a-year pension. She'll collect far more in retirement than she was ever paid in salary (currently $85,000 a year) as a commissioner.

How's that?

Thanks to pension laws that politicians designed to make politicians happy, Steele can draw a pension based on her salary during her four months as County Board president. The president makes a lot more than the part-time commissioners make. So Steele gets to cash in.

"I don't want anyone to think I'm a bandit and I'm taking something and running," Steele told WLS. "That's not me. I did not make the law, and if I become the beneficiary of it, it's by no doing of my own."

That's not me? Nonsense.
The outrages abound:But the biggest outrage of all is that moves like this are so common in Illinois that they hardly seem outrageous anymore.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

37 Percent of U.S. Births Out of Wedlock

Marriage Strike Spreads.

But just because a mother is not married does not mean the father isn't around, Ventura noted. She noted 2002 statistics that showed that about 20 percent of all new mothers under 20 were unmarried but living with the father at the time of the birth. That same was true of about 13 percent of all new mothers ages 20 to 24.

According to census figures, the median age at first marriage was 27 for men and 25 for women last year, up from 23 and 20 in 1950. Meanwhile, the number of unmarried-couple households with children has been climbing, hitting more than 1.7 million last year, up from under 200,000 in 1970. [Emphasis added.]


Cohabitation has become more attractive as the benefits of marriage have been eroded.


 

The Deepest Pool

Forget the flying car, I want one of these.

Europeans, rejoice! At just over 100 feet deep, Belgium's Némo33 may be the world's coolest pool. Filled with heated, drinkable, unchlorinated spring water, the Némo33 is ideal for the leisure diver who wants to practice, improve, or acquire new skills in a safe, warm, accessible area. While the 660,000-gallon pool may be a bit overwhelming for the beginner diver, the year-round temperature of 30°C (86° F), may help soothe their fears. Featuring 3 permanent, underwater bells of airs (a.k.a., "under pressure water caves") so instructors and students can compare notes at depth, 250 anchor points, and 12 portholes allowing visitors to watch divers clear their flooded masks, the facility also features heated changing rooms, a clubhouse, an on-site restaurant, exotic gardens, and rooms for "happenings." Although the website doesn't feature photos of the "happenings" rooms, it does boast some majorly cool shots of the pool, itself.


Hey Bill O! Do you still have that water filter for the salt water tank? We might need a few of them. Check out the pictures. Sure is a much better way to learn how to scuba dive than in a Wisconsin quarry in March. Brrrrr. Via Instapundit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

 

PS3 was launched

...and, no, I don't have one.

I did stop by the Bucktown Best Buy last Wednesday and talked with the people waiting in a line which already took up the meager 20 units allotted to the store. It looked orderly and the people seemed in good spirits. The gamer to speculator ratio was 3:2 according to them. I had thought of camping out but the only person I thought might camp with me was busy entertaining a young lady on vacation from CA. Another consideration was my fear of crowds and the realization that carrying around a fragile piece of technology which is apparently worth its weight in gold is the kind of danger I normally avoid. For those who have a low opinion of humanity, you were not disappointed.

So I will wait until, most likely, next year. I have no intention of paying more than the retail price. Besides, the games I am looking forward to will not arrive until then.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

 

Rockin' Robin


Over the past several years I've been attending the occasional social gathering and bringing some alcoholic beverages to share with other guests, my favorite being Samuel Adams but I've also brought a bottle of wine now and then or perhaps some vodka for mixed drinks. Depending on the venue I've made it a point to quietly bring along a fine malt liquor (such as a 40 oz. bottle of Colt 45) and leaving it in the refrigerator or cooler and then keeping an ear out for a little "Who brought that?!" from someone in the crowd. It's been amusing at times though I'm not always around to see what becomes of the bottle.

I got a good laugh at this years Halloween party when I spotted someone consuming the bottle of Colt 45 that I had left in the back of the fridge. Nothing wrong with that, I just had not yet found it to be someone's beverage of choice.

Monday, November 13, 2006

 

The Democrat and the frog

On the banks of a river met a Democrat and a frog. The Democrat wanted to cross the river so he asked the frog, "Let me ride on your back when you cross the river."

The frog said, "No, you are a Democrat and you will raise my taxes and be weak on defense."

"Why would I do that? If I do that I will not get reelected." Said the Democrat.

So the frog let the Democrat climb aboard his back and the frog started swimming across the river. In the middle of the river the Democrat started shouting, "Bush is a criminal, we will raise your taxes, universal health care, out of Iraq now..."

The frog said, "What are you doing? You will sink your chances in '08."

The Democrat said, "I can't help it. I'm a Democrat."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

The conservative A-Team

I pity the fool that opposes this team.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

 

Senator-elect Webb stuns his supporters

I got a good chuckle out of this. I think it is illustrative of why the Democrats won and why the leftists are going to be disappointed.

They had to run that clip because the much of the rest of his speech was an absolute riot.
He started off by mentioning that "tomorrow is an extremely important day for America," and the crowd went wild, thinking he was talking about taking power. But of course, he launched into his praise of the Marine Corps, and the crowd cheered a little less loudly. Then he thanked all the brave veterans and brave men still fighting, and the crowd cheered a little less loudly again.
Then he mentioned that he received a call from Sen. Allen, and the crowd went nuts again. Then he mentioned how pleasant and dignified Allen was, and the crowd grew quiet. Then he said he was having lunch next week with Allen — and the crowd was dead silent. Finally he told the audience that they should all thank Sen./Gov. Allen for his many years of dedicated service to the people of Virginia — and you could almost hear the people gathered looking at each other asking, "What the $#@! did we just do?"
It was priceless.

Friday, November 10, 2006

 

Our German Overlords

'Universal jurisdiction' is an intolerable assault on our Constitution

As I previously noted, a German procecuter may bring war crimes charges against outgoing Secetary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other current and former US officials:
Along with Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Tenet, the other defendants in the case are Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; former deputy assisant attorney general John Yoo; General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II; and David S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Senior military officers named in the filing are General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top Army official in Iraq; Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of Guantanamo; senior Iraq commander, Major General Walter Wojdakowski; and Col. Thomas Pappas, the one-time head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world. Indeed, a similar, but narrower, legal action was brought in Germany in 2004, which also sought the prosecution of Rumsfeld. The case provoked an angry response from Pentagon, and Rumsfeld himself was reportedly upset. Rumsfeld's spokesman at the time, Lawrence DiRita, called the case a "a big, big problem." U.S. officials made clear the case could adversely impact U.S.-Germany relations, and Rumsfeld indicated he would not attend a major security conference in Munich, where he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, unless Germany disposed of the case. The day before the conference, a German prosecutor announced he would not pursue the matter, saying there was no indication that U.S. authorities and courts would not deal with allegations in the complaint.

In bringing the new case, however, the plaintiffs argue that circumstances have changed in two important ways. Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials. Moreover, the plaintiffs argue that the German prosecutor's reasoning for rejecting the previous case — that U.S. authorities were dealing with the issue — has been proven wrong.
Michele Malkin comments:
The German government isn't filing the lawsuit. It's 11 Iraqis and a Saudi who went court-shopping and filed in Germany because the country "provides 'universal jurisdiction' allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world." A previous lawsuit was filed on similar grounds and was dismissed. Yes, Germany has its share of weasels. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't one of them and outrage at the country is premature.
Why? Because the German PM is friendly to the US? What kind of logic that? Since when is American soveriegnty dependent on the benevolence of foreign leaders?

Outrage at Germany isn't premature at all. On the contrary, its long overdue. The arrogance of 'universal jurisdiction' is stunning. Just who do the Germans think they are? No foreign entity has the right to forcably interfere -- or even threaten to forcibly interfere -- in how we conduct this war or in how we Americans govern ourselves. Not Germany, not the UN, not the ICC. Nobody! THIS KIND OF THREAT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND THE LIBERTY OF AMERICAN CITIZENS SHOULD NOT EXIST AND MUST NOT BE TOLERATED!!! Our government simply MUST respond accordingly.

 

A beautiful trend


The stock market has been trending so nicely since this rally began in mid-July. Like all beautiful trends, this one will end and the beauty of it, to me, is that movement outside of the trend channel will clue us into the time when we should start paying attention. Until then, I am going to enjoy the beauty. (Sigh.) I am strange.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

 

The base

A great explanation for the 2006 election from Tim Blair's blog, via Bill Whittle, via Instapundit:

Over in Tim Blair's comment section, a guy named Dave S. said this:

"The Republicans lost and the Democrats won for the same reason -- they distanced themselves from their base. "

That's the sentence of the year, in my opinion.

Couldn't agree more.

 

Mike Pence for Minority Leader!

Getting back to Republican principles.

Dear Republican Colleague,

I am writing to announce my candidacy for Republican Leader in the 110th Congress and to ask for your support. I will make every effort to speak with you about this personally before our leadership elections, and I am anxious to hear your thoughts and counsel.

Like all of you, I was deeply disappointed with the outcome of Election Day 2006. I am saddened to think of the men and women who will leave our ranks and cannot reflect on the names without emotion or ask, as Gideon did in defeat, "why has all this happened to us?"

I urge you to consider this specific question as we return to the Capitol to choose the men and women who will lead us back to the Majority. I look forward to your analysis but, as Sen. Phil Gramm once said, "I've got an open mind, but not an empty mind." Here is my take.

I am running for Republican leader, because I believe that we did not just lose our Majority-we lost our way. We are in the wilderness because we walked away from the limited government principles that minted the Republican Congress. But there is a way out. "The way out of the wilderness," author Mark Helprin wrote, "is the truth; recognizing it, stating it, defending it, living by it." Here is the truth as I see it.

The Truth:

After 1994, we were a Majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and the principles of a limited federal government. We delivered on balanced federal budgets, welfare reform and responded to a national emergency with defense spending, homeland security and tax cuts that put our economy back on its feet.

However, in recent years, to the chagrin of millions of Republicans, our Majority also voted to expand the federal government's role in education by nearly 100% and created the largest new entitlement in 40 years. We also pursued domestic spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and earmark spending that has embarrassed us and caused many Americans to question our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

This was not in the Contract with America.

Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people did not quit on the Contract with America, we did. In so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters.

As we choose who will lead us in the days ahead, it is essential that we learn from the lessons of 2006. It is more important that we move forward with a renewed commitment to our principles and the vigor to do our duty.

Our mission has now changed. Our mission in the Majority was to pass legislation reflecting Republican principles. The duty of the Republican Minority in the 110th Congress is to defeat the liberal agenda of the Democrat Party and become the majority in Congress again. We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new Majority.

New Vision:

To renew our Majority, we must offer this nation a compelling vision of fiscal discipline and reform. It is written "without a vision, the people perish." What is true of a people is also true of any political movement. Our new Republican minority must rededicate itself to the ideals and standards that minted our majority in 1994. Only by renewing the promises of the Republican Revolution will we attain Majority status again. Now, as then, we must pledge ourselves to promote and defend the agenda the American people elect Republicans to advance; defend our nation, our treasury and our values. We must again embrace the notion that Republicans seek the Majority not simply to govern but to change government for the better. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision.

New Voices:

I have great respect and appreciation for the hard work and leadership provided by our current leadership. Like most members of our conference, I have stood behind our leaders through good times and challenging times. However, in this new time of challenge also comes opportunity. I believe we must confront this moment with new leadership and new voices. We must take a page from the playbook of President Ronald Reagan who taught us that it is not enough to believe great things, we must effectively communicate great things to the American people.

In various roles, over the past six years, I have worked to provide a credible and persuasive voice for the Reagan agenda. Credibility will be essential for our primary task these next two years-to expose, dismantle and defeat the Democrat agenda. Without the votes necessary to stop the advance of their liberal priorities, our mission will be one of persuasion and tactics. Each of us must commit ourselves to using our voices and areas of expertise to dismantle Democrat arguments and expose their liberal, big government agenda at every turn. I see every Republican member as a leader, with unique gifts and talents, and I am asking for the privilege of serving this team of leaders.

These are anxious times, and we all feel the pain of opportunity lost. I encourage you to act without fear or inhibition, to be bold in your choices, and return this conference to the ideals and standards that created our national governing Majority. To retake our Majority, we must "be strong and courageous and do the work." We must renew our commitment to the agenda of the Majority of the American people, and defend our nation, our treasury and our values for ourselves and our posterity.

I am ready to work with you to restore and renew the Republican Congress. I ask for your support to serve you as Republican Leader in the 110th Congress.

Most sincerely,

Rep. Mike Pence


Endorsed by Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. Heck, that's good enough for me. Then I saw this.

Representatives Mike Pence (R--Ind.) and Eric Cantor (R--Va.) have introduced legislation that would tie the cost basis of an asset to the GDP deflator. Thus, if the index doubled over ten years, so would the tax basis of this asset: A share bought today for $10 would have an adjusted cost of $20.

"If this feckless Congress doesn't enact Pence-Cantor soon, the White House should be bold and institute indexing by executive order. After all, it was a Treasury ruling, not congressional legislation, that in 1913 decreed the cost basis of an asset would be 'historic' rather than 'real.' (That was not an unreasonable ruling at the time, given that the dollar was fixed to gold.) Democrats will howl and the issue will go to the courts--but the point will have been manifestly made."
My first reaction is awesome. My second is why hasn't this been done by the Bush administration?

We need to return to good, small gov't principles that were discarded after 9/11. A guy like Mike Pence is a great choice to lead the House and return us to these principles. Red State is all over this. I don't agree with their choices in the Senate but the truth is that matters little right now. The House is where the tone for 2008 will be set. We need to give conservatives a reason to vote in 2008. Fiscal discipline and smaller gov't have always worked in the past.

I am excited about this! The first time I can say that I am happy about the direction of the Republican party in awhile. A few others seem to agree.

 

Woman confesses to murder on radio

She thought she was anonymous but she did not consider caller ID.

Sue, a nurse, and the baby’s father both worked at the same hospital. The father refused to pay child support, so she had family court garnish his hospital wages. He didn’t like that, so he quit his job. Sue approached him privately for “under the table” money. He refused to pay her that, too. What else could she do but take his 9mm pistol and shoot him in the heart (she bragged about knowing exactly where in the heart to shoot because of her nursing background).

When the police arrived, Sue, while blubbering for effect, gave them the standard VAWA-speak: “He was beating and threatening me. He was drunk. He shot himself.” Of course, the police AUTOMATICALLY believed her. Why? She’s a woman.


Here is a link to the Tom Leykis show to which that call was placed. Now the police in Arizona are looking for this woman. As you can hear on her call she thought she was safe from discovery since she was calling from a friends phone and because the man she confessed to killing had been cremated.

I don't know if they will catch her and if her story is a prank. She sounded sincere to me. What this does illustrate is the glaring difference in the way our society handles crimes perpetrated by women vs. men. The paradigm in domestic violence is that the man is always the initiator. That is not true. Women are much more likely to be hurt but domestic partners are almost equally likely to attack each other.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

Dare I Hope...

Now that the dems have finally won something I predict that Cindy Sheehan's 15 minutes are finally over, and Michael Moore won't find himself the toast of the democratic party much longer.

It's kinda like- once you become respectable you have to be more careful about whom you hang-out with.

Bill C adds:

And the nutroots are none too happy about the centrist tone that the House Democrats want to take. The stage is being set for a Republican victory in 2008.

 

Some Post Election Observations

From The Anchoress:

Bush should have done a more thorough housecleaning when he took office - he left too many media-palsy Clintonistas in positions of influence when he came in. (What was the first thing Hillary said when she got into the WH the first time? “We need to get their people out and our people in…” If nothing else, that woman is clear about keeping her flank covered.)

And Michelle Malkin:

The GOP lost. Conservatism prevailed. "San Francisco values" may control the gavels in Congress, but they do not control America.

Property rights won out in several states, racial discrimination lost in Michigan, and prop-87 lost in California.

I think the big question the media will ask Speaker Pelosi is what is she going to do to try and unite the country? Now that the Democrats control the House (and most likely the Senate) don't they need to reach out to Republicans rather than play partisan politics? Don't they need to be uniters and not dividers?

 

Rumsfeld Replaced by Robert Gates

...former head of the CIA.

John O adds:

Will he be charged with war crimes?

 

Heads, They Win. Tails, We Lose.

There was no way to win this election.

I could not pull for a victory for the Democrats but I couldn't find much reason to rejoice over a Republican victory either. There was just not much to root for.

There were scandals for both parties and some nasty campaign tactics but I recall thinking earlier this year when House Speaker Dennis Hastert defended Rep. William Jefferson who's office was searched by the FBI for evidence in a bribery probe that Congress is a bipartisan den of thieves first and a legislative body second.

Nancy Pelosi said, "The gavel of the speaker of the House is in the hands of special interests, and now it will be in the hands of America's children."

Pelosi was wise to be silent and not get Kerry'd away in the days prior to the election. Like it or not we will hear a lot more from her now but it would be better for us if these children were to be seen and not heard.

Bill C adds:

We lost this election, they did not win it. As you know, in sports there is a big difference from beating an opponent that has given their best effort and winning because they screwed up. This victory cannot be very sweet to the Democrats which is why they are trying to spin this as the voters choosing them. That is simply not true.

I am optimistic about the next two years and beyond. We can screw this up but look at this election for what conservatives gained. We cleaned house the House of corruption. We kicked out the stale leadership of Denny Hastert et al. which had grown complacent with power, mired in the quest for holding that power versus pressing conservative values. Not the best way to accomplish a change in our party but, arguably, the only way this was going to happen.

Conservatives have two years in which to highlight the Democratic agenda which America has rejected since 1994. Thankfully the Democrats have already started to overreach. Does anyone think that hearings chaired by the most liberal members of Congress will be a bad thing? Subpoenas? Yes, yes, yes. Hearings? Alright! The majority of Americans support our surviellance efforts. They will not take kindly to harassment of people who are trying to protect the USA.

And what happens if the Democrats don't behave like the rabid moonbats want? Then they disappoint the rabid moonbats. Let them go into the next election angry that their representatives are not representing their interests.

Bottom line, we are a country that leans to the right. That truth was swamped by disappointment in politicians who lost their way. The next election will be a new slate of candidates. Republicans will be choosing new leadership and the thinned ranks are decidedly conservatives who have heard the message. We have no where to go but up.

 

The Cook County Board Presidency

Mystery. Intrigue. High comedy.

Vote counting mysteriously stopped in the race for the Cook County Board Presidency more than 3 hours ago. The current tally shows Democrat Todd Stroger with a 57-43 lead over Republican Tony Peraica. Ninety percent of heavily Democratic Chicago has been counted. Fifty percent or less of suburban Cook has been counted. No reliable figures are available as I write this. Peracia claims that the votes from townships that voted heavily for him simply aren't being counted. The local news media tend to support this claim.

Stroger delivered an odd (in more ways than one) end of the night speech encouraging his supporters to relax, go home, and get some sleep. He exuded confidence that it'd all be over by morning. Peraica has decided to march on 69 W Washington, which houses both the Chicago Election Commission and the County Election Commission. Dozens of his supporters are marching through the streets of Chicago as I write this. He claims he wants volunteers to secure the integrity of the vote and that to ensure all of ballots are counted. The local news media have been derisive of his efforts and emphasizing that 'Stoger has been ahead all night' and that Peracia's supporters have been drinking.

Peraica and his supporters are now at 69 W Washington. Its a chaotic scene. The media reports that Peraica has stormed into the City's Board of Elections (or is it the County? Or is it the basement of the building?) and tampered with ballots. Video seems to support this. One of the employees could be heard on TV yelling that those are "Stroger ballots."

Though I was trading (and thus paying exclusive attention to) the national elections, I did hear a report that gave a partial vote count from Chicago of 180k votes for Blagojevich and 120k for Stroger. I was surprised at this and it told me that Stroger was probably in trouble. Could the vote counting have stopped simply to leave the impression, aided by a clueless/sympathetic media that Stroger was the winner? (Several media commentators have emphasized that Stroger has had the lead for several hours -- as if that matters when counting has been all but halted!) Or is it incompetence on the part of county officials? Quite a spectacle.

UPDATE: I missed local broadcast media coverage of the election this morning. I think Peraica should be ashamed of his antics last night. What a disgrace.

Here's the Tribune's account. The Sun-Times account is here. AP election results are here. Stroger is ahead 56 - 44 with 78% of precincts reporting. It's interesting to note that Stroger's vote total is 180,000 less than the next lowest vote total among Democrats running county races. By my rough estimates Peraica needs 73% of the remaining votes cast to come out ahead. His campaign mangager said during a tv interview last night that they projected the uncounted precincts would run 3-1 for Peraica. Local commentators seem to think Stroger has won. I'm not sure what to make of all this. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

 

The big winner tonight

I'll give you a hint. His slogan will be "I won the House for you in 1994. Now we will win it all back."

Not that I need any more reason to be pessimistic about the market but now would be a delicious time for the market to fall apart. To be fair, this is what I thought in 1992. Bill Clinton would get elected and run the gov't like a typical liberal. He did for awhile but 1994 sobered him up. Damn you Dick Morris. If you don't remember the stock market was sideways throughout much of 1994 but took off after the Republican sweep. And Bill Clinton got the credit.

If the market does go down it won't be the Democrats fault. Well not totally. That won't stop Republicans like me from blaming them.

Repeat after me, "Do nothing congress. Obstructionists. Fiddling while America burns. Surrenderists." And again.

Update:

US stock market futures are down a few tenths of a percent in Hong Kong trading on the news of a Dem takeover of the House. However, Japanese stocks are down 180 points or more than 1% on the US political news. My hunch is that Japan fears a dovish shift in US foreign policy on the global terror war. Any US weakness in Iraq will reverberate very poorly in Japan as it might affect N. Korean policy expectations. If the Dems take the Senate, look for a major stock sell-off worldwide and in US.
From Kudlow's keyboard to G_d's ears.

 

Dems retake House of Representatives


 

Tradesports election markets post

Just the Tradesports.com markets.

2.23pm

GOP Senate hold-- 71.2 - 73.4 House hold-- 16.2 - 17

Dem seats over 19.5-- 65.1 - 71.4
over 24.5-- 42.0 - 46.2

4.33 pm

GOP Senate hold-- 69.5 - 71.0 House hold-- 14.4 - 15.0

Dem seats over 19.5-- 70.1 - 75.0
over 24.5-- 39.3 - 48.5

It looks like it is coalescing around a loss of between 20 to 24 seats for the Republicans. The Senate holding solid for the Republicans.

John O adds:

I'm still a bit skeptical Democrats will do this well. Like I told you and Bill O I've been getting around 8/1 on the proposition that Democrats will win between 5 and 14 seats. I still think this is an excellent bet. I would place the odds of a Republican House at somewhere between 2 and 3 to 1; as such this is where I've committed some of my election day dollars.

I also took small election day flyers on GOP victories in NJ (17/1), MI (20/1) and VA (2/1). I think those are good bets even if they are likely losers. Especially Allen. The only other Senate race I had a position in was Steele in MD @ 6/1. I committed the balance of my account on Steele at just worse than 4/1 earlier today. I rate Steele as a 3/2 dog, though I have a hunch he's going to win.

6.15 pm

GOP Senate hold-- 51.1 - 55.0 House hold-- 9.2 - 9.6

Dem seats over 19.5-- 61.7 - 80.0 Last 84.4
over 24.5-- 46.0 - 60.0 Last 56.5

Markets are wide on the number of seats so I added the last trade. If you think the Republicans are going to pull out a victory pyrrhic victory and hold the house then now is the time to bet it.

6.37 pm

Someone is bidding 9.0 for 100 contracts on the Dems win 44.5 House seats. That is a optimistic and would seem to be a bid that needs to get hit. George Allen is trading down, offered at 40. Webb traded at 70.0 at some point, offered there now. Update 7.00 pm: GOP trade below 20.0 and Dem control trade above 80.0 in Virginia. With 23% of the precincts in Webb has lead by less than 1%. OMG!

7.25 pm

GOP Senate hold-- 60.2 - 62.5 House hold-- 5.2 - 6.0

Dem seats over 19.5-- 61.7 - 89.5 Last 84.4
over 24.5-- 41.2 - 56.8 Last 56.8

Breathing into paper bag.) Ok, I am calm. We are going to lose the house but whether we lose 25 or more seats is a coin flip. I am inclined to agree with John about the media influencing how we view the election during the election and that things will not be as bad as our worst fears. I am just a bit less optimistic. The House is gone so keeping the Senate is very important. We are not out of the woods but if people's opinions are skewed Democratic by the MSM then we are in a good position. BTW, Allen is polling 10% behind the Virginia marriage amendment. Consensus is Allen's dirty campaign after the Macaca incident really hurt him. Once again if Conservatives want to win they must run on the issues as Conservatives. How many time must Republicans relearn this lesson?

8.25 pm

GOP Senate hold-- 65.2 - 66.9 House hold-- 8.1 - 9.9

Dem seats over 19.5-- 62.0 - 79.2 Last 61.8
over 24.5-- 45.0 - 50.0 Last 50.0

Fox called NJ for Menendez and Maryland for Steele. Not surprises but it makes the lose of Ohio and PA. sting. Virginia has completely reversed. Now 58.0 bid for Allen. The jerk doesn't deserve it. The pre-poll closing bet on the Republicans continues to be the biggest no brainer in political gambling.

10.10 pm

CNN projects that the Democrats take the House. Fox is doing the math and pretty much says the same thing. I stopped watching MSNBC because Matthews and Olberdouche are insufferable.

GOP Senate hold-- 87.5 - 90.5 House hold-- 0.9 - 1.0

Dem seats over 19.5-- 96.0 - 96.5 Last 96.2
over 24.5-- 79.0 - 86.0 Last 86.0

Allen has a 86.0 bid. Lots on hand wringing on Fox and joyous celebration on CNN so we'll see. But I doubt the Dems can pick up both Missouri and Tennesee.

John O adds:

Soon after I posted above I realized that I was wrong. I wound up shorting a GOP House, dumping Steele (at a 70% loss) and the two longshots I'd taken a flyer on and buying more Allen at just better than even money. Trading on the VA Senate race has been wild (as I write this the bid/offer is 10.1/25.9 with Allen trailing by a few thousand in the vote count.) I was able to unload everything I bought at 90, which has salvaged my night. (Though I wish I'd waited to unload Steele. Not long after I sold my position the contract spiked back up to the average of where I'd bought it on the news that he had refused to concede.) Overall, I wound up with 80% of the money I started with. Not bad all things considered.

Also, I don't share Bill C's optimism on MO. Or on MT for that matter. It looks like the Democrats will control the Senate, too.

Bill C:

John, Allen claims that some numbers were transposed and that he is actually up by a few thousand. What a wild night. I heard this and checked Tradesports and assumed Allen was right because the market showed Allen winning. Then you post this and Allen is losing. Jeesh. Talk about whipsaw.

Final:

I didn't think I would end up the optimist this evening. : P

Damn. Losing the Senate sucks. Looks like Harriet Miers will get another shot.

 

The Danger of Silly Hats


HotAir has photos of Harold Ford wearing a couple of different hats to convey a message to the voters. That's a dangerous game in politics.

I know should have added the thumbs up but this was done on the fly.

 

Voter ID

I like the fact that they are checking in some places:

Even the governor needs the right ID to vote in South Carolina.

Gov. Mark Sanford learned that lesson the hard way Tuesday _ he had to make a second trip to his Sullivans Island polling place because he forgot his voter identification card the first time. The poll workers, following the rules, had turned him away.

I've been contested twice while voting in Chicago before. I've no problem with that. And it was easy for me to provide ID and get on with voting.

Today I walked in, stated my name and address and voted. They did not ask for my exact address, just the street I lived on. I gave the number but I'm not so sure they were going to ask for it. It was a good experience though as the poll workers were friendly and there was no line at 7:20 AM.

 

And When Will There Be Four?

Calling Peter Gabriel...Genesis regroups for tour.

I know it is election day but this story is a nice distraction from the coverage and a heads up if you care so you can start saving your money for a late summer/fall 2007 U.S. tour.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

 

Dolphins Bear Down



A great day for football in Chicago. Brats, steaks, and potatoes on the grill, some beer, and a big Dolphin victory made for a fun afternoon. The Dolphins did their part in helping to preserve the '72 Dolphins perfect record by handing the Bears their first loss of the season. The Colts are unbeaten but play at New England later tonight.

 

let 'em hang!

from WSJ:
Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity and murder, in a verdict that could further polarize the country along sectarian lines and inflame the unrelenting anti-American insurgency.


Now let's watch as the nutroots wail and complain about the 'timing' of the sentencing rather than focus on the successful U.S. led prosecution of a murderous tyrant.

Friday, November 03, 2006

 

NYT: Saddam had a nuke program that was dangerous

No I am not making this up.

The NYT was trying to be too clever. They wanted to blame the Bush administration for putting dangerous nuke documents on the internet but they could not do this without first acknowledging that Saddam had dangerous nuke documents.

The November surprise is that the NYT has handed us a gift. Will the Republicans be smart enough to exploit it? (Me turning blue and passing out.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

 

Elite Opinion & The Democrats

Contemptable

Patterico catches New York Times reporter Kate Zernike in a blatent lie in paragraph eighteen of the article about the controversy:
Mr. Kerry’s prepared remarks to California students on Monday called for him to say, "Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush." In his delivery, he dropped the word "us."
This is Kerry's actual quote:
You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
It seems the New York Times is about as honest as it is patriotic.

I don't believe Kerry's explaination, either. Why was he defiant at first? What's with the differing explainations? Why did he take two days to release the text of his intended comment? Also, consider this:
In 1972, as he ran for the House, he was less apologetic in his comments about the merits of a volunteer army. He declared in the questionnaire that he opposed the draft but considered a volunteer army "a greater anathema."

"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown," Kerry wrote. "We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.'

"Equally as important, a volunteer army with our present constitutional crisis takes accountability away from the president and put the people further from control over military activities," he wrote.
In his excellent analysis, Victor Davis Hanson correctly characterizes Kerry's gaffe as 'one of those rare glimpses into an entire troubled ideology.' Hanson concludes:
The Democrats should use this occasion to have an autopsy of Kerryism, or this strange new tony liberalism, that has turned noblisse oblige on its head. It used to be that millionaire FDRs and JFKs felt sympathy for those of the lower classes and wished to ensure that the hoi polloi had some shot at the American dream. But today's elite liberals-a Howard Dean, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, George Soros, Ted Turner-love the high life and playact at being leftists simply because they are already insulated from the effects of their own nostrums that always come at someone poorer's expense while providing them some sort of psychological relief from guilt. Poor Harry Truman must be turning over in his grave-from bourbon, cigars, and poker to wind-surfing and L.L. Bean costume of the day says it all.
I also agree with Mark Steyn:
I find the Derb/Jay line, agreeing that Senator Kerry was making a joke about Bush, highly implausible. If you talk to Democrats of the middle-class and upper-middle-class and (in John Heinz Kerry’s case) the neo-Gulf-emir-class, you’ll have heard the same thing a thousand times: these poor fellows in Iraq, they’re only there because they’re too poverty-stricken and ill-educated so they couldn’t become Senators and New York Times reporters and tenured Queer Studies professors like normal Americans do. That is, in fact, what they mean by the claim that they "support our troops": they want to bring them home and retrain them so they’re not forced into taking jobs as Bush’s torturers and thugs. It’s part of the same condescension as describing soldiers as “our children”. If a 22-year old intern wants to drop to the Oval Office broadloom, she’s a grown woman exercising her freedom of choice. But, if a 28-year old guy wants to serve in Iraq, he’s a poor wee misguided Grade Six drop-out who doesn’t know any better. John Kerry’s soundbite is interesting not because it’s the umpteenth self-inflicted wound by Mister Nuance but because it gets right to the heart of the Democrats’ "support" for the troops
Kerry's gaffe -- that he revealed his true feelings -- is emblematic of why, unlike Bill C, I DO fear the Democrats: They are party of elites who have absolute contempt for the common man, expecially with regard to his opinions.

In his review of David Lebedoff's book The Uncivil War: How a New Elite is Destroying Our Democracy, Stanley Kurtz wrote:
Deep down, these sophisticates take their intelligence and success as proof that their anti-traditionalist world-view is right—and that those who see things differently are both ignorant and mistaken.

A laudable democratic desire to ensure equality of opportunity prompted us to make tests like the SAT a decisive determinant of success; an unintended consequence of this change has been to create an elite that is suspicious of democracy itself. Democracy depends on majority rule, but—without quite admitting it—our elites have lost faith in the wisdom of the majority. They think they're smart enough to decide what's right for all of us. These elites don't realize that most political decisions depend on values, not intelligence. Their unshakable faith in their own intelligence leads them to mistake their own imperfect preferences for the truth.
This sums up John Kerry and Democratic Party pretty well. This country's elites, predominantly Leftist in orientation, have indeed lost faith in the wisdom of the majority. One need look no further than their use of the judicial system -- thus circumventing the democratic process -- to enact their agenda for an example of this.

Which is why I disagree with a couple of my blogmates about whether or not Democratic control of the House or Senate would be good for the country. It would not be. Simply put, the Democrats are the party of tyranny; they cannot be trusted with power.

 

Scientists Censored

According to this AP report the White House censored a scientists report on global warming.

Carbon dioxide and other gases primarily from fossil fuel-burning that scientists say trap heat in the atmosphere have warmed the Earth's surface an average 1 degree over the past century.

Emphasis mine. So who is being censored?

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said he was informed that the inspectors general for the Commerce Department and NASA had begun "coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration's censorship and suppression" of federal research into global warming.
I'm not in favor of any censorship here and understand claims of the government politicizing a scientific issue but I must also take into consideration scientists and media joining in on the politicizing and the censorship.

From CO2 Science:

there is no compelling reason to believe that the rise in temperature was caused by the rise in CO2.
A weak short-term correlation between CO2 and temperature proves nothing about causation...
The observation that two things have risen together for a period of time says nothing about one trend being the cause of the other.


And this appeal for fairness and debate on the issue of global warming:

Please study carefully, therefore, the materials that each side produces and decide for yourself which seems to be the more correct, based upon real-world data and logical reasoning;

I can see the logic and supporting data produced by CO2 Science on their web site but I never seem to find it anywhere in the old media outlets. I'm not sure I'd label that censorship but it is not good for only one side of an issue to get all the attention.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 

Halp Jon Carry


A message from our stupid troops in Irak.

The RNC ad asking Kerry to apologize.

Bush calling Kerry comment shameful.

Soldiers turn on Kerry, again.

(Via HotAir.)

Democrats turn on Kerry.

Scott Ott of Scrappleface salutes Kerry.

Who can John Kerry turn to while being a truculent idiot? Yup, the nutroots.

It seems to me that Kerry is fighting this battle the way he wished he had fought the Swift Boat Vets. The sterling advice from Bob Shrum to ignore the SBVs hurt Kerry badly. However, the best way to handle this is to sheepishly apologize, not angrily half apologize. I was listening to Kerry's positively scalding response to his gaffe yesterday on the Rush Limbaugh Show. Rush cut into it and the whole while was repeating over Kerry's speech, "Say my name." When Kerry did Rush cracked up. Blaming others for his misspoken joke was the worst thing Kerry could have done. To paraphrase, it is not the poorly told joke that got him in trouble, it was his response to criticism of the poorly told joke.

Honestly, you Democrats are making it very hard to fear you.

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