Friday, October 06, 2006

We know you're vulnerable, and we're here to help 


Until I read the article below, I didn't plan on using this picture. I thought it was a cheap shot. But, looking at it again, it got me thinking: "How is it possible that I've come to respect Michael Brown more than the President of the U.S.?" In what possible universe can that sort of thing happen?

I suppose it becomes possible when I read posts like this one from the Carpetbagger Report. The post excerpts a Boston Globe article about the recent passage of the Homeland Security bill (which includes a $1.2 billion fence for our Southern border). Here are the nut graphs:

President Bush this week asserted that he has the executive authority to disobey a new law in which Congress has set minimum qualifications for future heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Congress passed the law last week as a response to FEMA's poor handling of Hurricane Katrina. The agency's slow response to flood victims exposed the fact that Michael Brown, Bush's choice to lead the agency, had been a politically connected hire with no prior experience in emergency management.

To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has "a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and "not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions.

Read the Carpetbagger's entire commentary on this pitiful state of affairs.

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Why does Bush ignore laws saying he must nominate a competent, experienced disaster management professional to head FEMA? Don't potential victims of catastrophe and terrorist strikes deserve better than that?
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Not cautious at all 

Today, the Baton Rouge Advocate has a story titled "La. congressional delegation cautious about Foley scandal". I have a much different opinion. Indeed, I don't see much caution at all on the GOP side in regards to Rodney Alexander's role in all this. (The exception being "Bobby".)

Here are recent statements from our GOP members of the LA delegation:

"I want to emphatically say that (Alexander) took prompt and responsible action." --Rep. Charles Boustany

"Rodney handled this issue as well as anybody could have considering the information he had... He went to the highest authorities in the House and the child's parents. I don't know what else he could have done." -- Sen. David Vitter (Vitty cent also said he was "proud" of the way Alexander handled it.)

"I'm not here to criticize Rodney... I think Rodney had every reasonable expectation that (House) leadership would take more aggressive action." -- Rep. Bobby Jindal (Now that really is cautious. Perhaps Jindal actually read the emails which Alexander wouldn't show to the House Leadership. Bravo, Bobby. You averted a political mine while standing in support of your party. As a political strategist, I admire your response. You avoided saying something you'd really regret next year. Still, substantively, Jindal's response raises questions. Why didn't Alexander demand more aggressive action when it didn't occur? Why didn't he show Hastert the emails in question?)

"[Rodney Alexander] has done everything he thought was appropriate. Rodney is beyond reproach." --Rep. Jim McCrery

"I didn't have any idea about any previous e-mails... I'd heard rumors [Foley] was gay but never anything about inappropriate contact with pages before the ones reported to our office.... I think (Hastert's) response was adequate if all that he knew about was the e-mails we had. I have no way of knowing if they knew anything else." -- Rep. Rodney Alexander

Note the highlighted words in Alexander's quote. They acknowledge the fact that the initial emails contained information on "inappropriate contact with pages before the ones reported to our office". Again note: "Pages", plural. And then "ones". As I've said before, this is the whole point about Alexander. He received emails containing reports of Foley's questionable contact with one page AS WELL AS a report that another page said a Congressman (perhaps Foley, perhaps not) was "hitting on" several other pages. It's clear as day, yet Alexander proceeded to treat this as a matter only involving his page and Foley. He did not show the text of the emails to Hastert, and no investigation was made into the reports of Foley's inappropriate attention lavished upon a page named Will, nor was one made into Kerianna's claims that (another?) Congressman was "hitting on" pages. Alexander had good reason to believe that this was not an isolated incident between his page and Foley, yet he treated it as one. He hid behind the page's parents' wish for "privacy". What about all the other page's parents!? What about Rep. Alexander's duty to them!!? Alexander had a moral obligation to make sure that Kerianna's claims were investigated, and he shirked it. That's disgraceful.

Rodney Alexander's grossly negligent handling of this matter kept other House pages at risk, and he should promptly resign. And, in my view, his very incautious defenders are playing with political fire.

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(I'll have an update about Rep. Robert Baker, soon.)
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Glad the "Politics of the Past" are safely behind us (pt. 3 in an ongoing series) 

Times Picayune:
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who rarely misses an opportunity to tout his efforts to rid City Hall of corruption, said Thursday that he will enthusiastically urge voters to re-elect U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, the target of a sprawling federal bribery probe that has cost the veteran congressman his seat on an influential House committee.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for doing what is best for New Orleans.

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(H/T to Library Chronicles.)
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Royalty screwed 

From the indispensable Dead Pelican, we find this editorial from Alabama's Press Register:

Congress went home last week without passing legislation on offshore drilling. The House and the Senate could resume negotiations on a compromise drilling bill after the Nov. 7 election, but Washington insiders believe the issue is dead for the year -- and, perhaps, for years to come.

The blame for this failure to act on the energy crisis should fall on the shoulders of key members of the House of Representatives. Given a choice between the good but limited bill approved by the Senate and no bill at all, House leaders took nothing. Their constituents will pay the price for their stubbornness, assuming that all the political momentum for drilling is lost after the election.


Last Friday, ever optimistic Rep. Bobby Jindal stated that the congressional leadership "has committed to me that they will pass final legislation this year." During interviews last week I heard him rate the chances for passage as 90%.

Friday, Senator Mary Landrieu made the bizarre comment that she was starting to think that "our bill is too good to pass." Then Senator Vitter said that "I still believe we are closer than ever to enacting legislation". Actually, that's not saying a whole lot. This is hugely important for LA, and "close" doesn't count.

Jindal's estimation seems like a naive, panglossian pipe-dream. I hope I'm dead wrong, but I simply don't trust Jindal's sense about what is legislatively possible. I think he's way too optimistic. We shall see how strong those Congressional "commitments" to him really are. I suspect they'll be forgotten after the elections.

For example, a one cent sales tax for levee and flood control improvements narrowly failed in Terrebone Parish last Saturday. This parish is part of the fastest shrinking land mass in the world, due to coastal erosion. Ten thousand homes flooded in that area during Hurricane RITA. But why should Terrebone voters pay for levee improvements when Reps like Jindal tell them that they are virtually assured of an oil royalty bill being passed that will fund Cat 5 flood protection for South Louisiana?

I'd rate the chances for passage at about 10%, not 90%.
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What about Kerianna's claims? 

Here's an excerpt from a recent Town Talk article on Rep Alexander addressing questions surrounding these emails he received.

[Rep. Rodney] Alexander said he was unaware of previous e-mails Foley sent to other pages that were more lurid than the ones sent to the Monroe page.

"I didn't have any idea about any previous e-mails," Alexander said. "I'd heard rumors he was gay but never anything about inappropriate contact with pages before the ones reported to our office.

Read the initial emails forwarded to Alexander here. The page Alexander sponsored was "freaked out", and thought Foley's requests were "sick sick sick...". The page also reported that Foley "liked" another page named Will, and had commented on his physique. Then the page also stated that he "talked to another page that was here during the school year and first part of summer. Kerianna (her name) said that there was a congressman that did hit on pages. She didn't know his name....".

Isn't that enough for an investigation? Would it be negligent to not address the numerous concerns raised in that email? I think so. Now back to the article, where Alexander continues:

"I think (Hastert's) response was adequate if all that he knew about was the e-mails we had. I have no way of knowing if they knew anything else."

How is DOING NOTHING about the allegations made by Kerianna an "adequate" response? Hastert's office didn't even read these emails, when Alexander notified the Speaker about them. It was Alexander's responsibility not just to protect the page he sponsored, but to protect other pages who might be at risk. He had emails that explicitly stated that "pages" were being "hit on", but he did not think that was worth investigating.

In the 2005 e-mails to the Monroe page, who was 16 at the time, Foley asked the teenager how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and what he wanted for his birthday. The former congressman also asked the boy to send a photo of himself.

"Our office informed both the speaker and the majority leader," Alexander said. "I don't know how much higher I could go than that."

Mr. Alexander, did you "inform" the Speaker about Kerianna's allegations? If not, why not?

Alexander said he believes the e-mails to the Monroe page stopped after House leadership warned Foley.

"The family never told us there were any more e-mails," said Alexander, who has been in contact with the page's family. "I assume they would have let us know if there were more."

Cool. What about all the other page families who continued to be at risk? Did you just "assume" that they were ok, too? Why were they not worth an investigation?

Neither the teenager, who Alexander said has been threatened, nor his family responded to multiple interview requests from The News-Star.

The page's family had U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, come to Alexander's defense on Tuesday, saying he "has done everything he thought was appropriate. Rodney is beyond reproach," McCrery said.


The "page's family had McCrery come to Alexander's defense". Oh lordie. There are so, so, so many angles one could take here. I'll avoid the low-hanging blog fruit, so to speak, and just say that "No", Representative Alexander IS NOT beyond reproach. He is not beyond disapproval. Maybe he was negligent. Maybe Alexander doing "everything he thought was appropriate" wasn't nearly enough. By all appearances, it seems that in order to protect one page, Alexander kept many more at risk, and now he hides behind the "privacy concerns" of the teenage page's family* as if those absolve him from failing to follow up on the disturbing claims made in those emails.
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Update: The Lousiana Republican leaders have rallied in support of Alexander. This article has all the details. Here's one snippet:

"Rodney handled this issue as well as anybody could have considering the information he had," said U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Metairie. "He went to the highest authorities in the House and the child's parents. I don't know what else he could have done."

During a press conference scheduled to talk about Second Amendment legislation, Vitter came forward to say he was "proud of the way Rodney handled it" and was greeted with applause from those there.

Vitty-cent, just to clarify: you are "PROUD" that Rodney didn't show the emails to the House Speaker? You "don't know what else" Alexander could have done?!? How about showing the emails to the bloody House Leadership!! How about alerting House Leaders to the fact that he possessed emails containing MULTIPLE reports of inappropriate conduct!

Again: read the emails. Do they not raise larger issues that should be investigated? How can Vitter and Boustany (and Jindal, sorta) defend and praise Alexander's negligent acts which kept young people under their care at risk?

Especially Vitter. How could he let me down like that?
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Update #2: WaPo:

A chronology issued Saturday by Hastert's office stated that Trandahl "asked to see the text of the e-mail." It continued: "Congressman Alexander's office declined, citing the fact that the family wished to maintain as much privacy as possible and simply wanted the contact to stop." The chronology says that Trandahl then "immediately" summoned Shimkus and that the two men sat down with Foley, who convinced them that his exchanges with the Louisiana boy were innocent. The account strongly implies that neither Shimkus nor Trandahl knew the exact language in the e-mails when the two men met with Foley.



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* Conservative blogs have shamelessly promoted the victim's identity. The victim already had been getting threats, which the FBI is now investigating.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rep. Rodney Alexander should resign 

Update: Welcome Dead Pelicans!

The more I think about it, the more I think Ramesh Ponnuru's point is central and devastating to La Cage aux Foley. (Thanks to Boyd at After the Levees for the heads up.)

About the initial emails that were brought to Rodney Alexander's attention, Ponnuru writes:

[There's this], which hasn't gotten much attention, from the former page to Rep. Alexander: "I talked to another page that was here during the school year and first part of summer. Kerianna (her name) said that there was a congressman that did hit on pages. She didn't know his name. . ."

Note: pages, plural. You've got one page reporting a level of contact he considered inappropriate, another page receiving attention that seems inappropriate, and a third page reporting that a congressman was "hit[ting] on pages." Alexander's staff nonetheless said that the only issue was their page's wish to have no further contact with Foley. Alexander's staff thought that their page's wish for privacy should be the overriding concern. So Hastert's staff didn't press even to see the content of the emails. Nor, apparently, did the former House clerk, Shimkus, or Shimkus's staff press to see it.

The initial emails weren't just "overly friendly" conversations from a Congressman, they were also a document containing multiple reports of inappropriate "attention" as well as alleged advances by a Congressman "hitting on" pages.

As Boyd Blundell rightly asks, "Multiple firsthand reports of inappropriate behavior and secondhand reports of it being a pattern, and [Alexander's and Hastert's] first instinct is to accede to the supposed wishes of one page's parents?"

Boyd also says that more questions need to be asked of Alexander. I would agree, but I see NO GOOD explanation for his decision to not ensure that there was a full investigation of the allegations contained in the initial emails which he brought to the GOP leadership's attention. What good is it to protect your page's family at the expense of all the others? That's moral cowardice. How many more disgusting emails and personal overtures was Foley responsible for after Alexander and Hastert evaded their responsibilities to protect the youths in the Congressional Page program? Were there other Reps misbehaving as well?

In 2004, Rodney Alexander switched parties and said he just felt more "comfortable" in the Republican party than the Democratic one.

Neither party should tolerate this fecklessness.

Rep. Alexander should resign.
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Yet again, GOP leaders blame Katrina for their problems 

Larry Kudlow reports:

In his Hugh Hewitt radio interview, [House Majority Leader Dennis] Hastert said he was too busy with Katrina, deficit reduction, and Tom DeLay a year ago to pay any attention to the Foley emails.

Chreezus! First Claude Allen blames his shoplifting on Katrina stress, and now Dennis Hastert blames Katrina for making him "too busy" to properly investigate multiple reports of inappropriate behavior around minors? How terribly unfortunate!

How is it that with so many powerful Republicans "busily" consumed with helping Katrina victims, the Gulf South recovery isn't moving any faster? I never knew there were so many wonderful, industrious souls in D.C. working on our behalf-- did you? And they had the modesty to disguise their selfless dedication to this "part of the world" until they ran into a political rough patch!

We forgive you Claude and Dennis! You're our Knights of Hope. Keep fighting the good fight!

I mean, the Speaker had to focus on the greatest good for the greatest number, right? He couldn't be bothered with "naughty" in-House distractions, right? And if his laser-like focus on Katrina meant that some House pages were left exposed to creepy predators, then, well, so be it. Those young boys would just have to "take one for the team".

Obviously, we, the good folks of the Gulf South, understand the Speaker's priorities. And we darn well BETTER understand them, because if we weren't so damn needy, Hastert might've had time to catch Mark Foley having internet sex in the House cloakroom.

If you think about it, Katrina victims are partially responsible for this whole mess. Our problems are creating "lapses" in judgment among our overworked GOP public servants... and that's just not fair to the rest of the country. Most of all, it's not fair to the precious children.

Right?

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So, let's review: what Katrina-related activities was Hastert consumed with last September?

Oh yeah, he was busily raising "questions about a long-term rebuilding effort" in New Orleans (T-P), and wondering whether it was "too daunting" a task to rebuild the city (NYT).

I read those reports a few days after broken federal levees had flooded my family's home, and I responded to the Speaker's statement by calling him "a filthy canine vulva". It was a graphic description said in the heat of the moment.

A year later, as Hastert blames Katrina for his moral evasions, YRHT now feels that "filthy canine vulva" was far, far too kind a term for this cowardly sack of shame.
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Vote with your comments! 

I invite my treasured and esteemed readers to "vote with their comments" and tell me which of the following Louisiana political topics they would like to hear me discuss next.

1. The rise of conservative "alternative media" in Louisiana (Moon Griffon, LPNS/Dead Pelican/Bayou Buzz) and its effect on issue framing and upcoming elections.

2. Senator David "Vitty cent" Vitter's decision to not include an amendment in a pending Water Resources bill that would have opened up wetlands for Cypress logging.

3. The Terrebone parish electorate's decision to not raise local sales tax by a penny to pay for levee improvements and flood protection infrastructure.

4. Calls for Rodney Alexander and Dennis Hastert to resign over their handling of Mark Foley's disturbing emails to an underage former House page. (The page has since been threatened, and the FBI is now investigating that as well.)

5. The Louisiana Recovery Authority's outrageously slow disbursement of federal "make whole" funds to stricken catastrophe victims. Thousands have applied and only a dozen or so have received checks.

6. Saturday's election results. Every amendment passed, even the ones that were incorrectly written. Orleans parish voted for levee board reform (amendment #3) by about 15 to 1.

7. St Bernard Parish's controversial (and perhaps illegal) ordinance to prohibit homes from being rented to anyone who is "not a blood relative" of the owner.

8. The failure of the U.S. Congress to pass an energy bill which would include oil royalties for Louisiana to rebuild its receding coast, and the chances for passage in the "lame duck" sessions after the November elections. Jindal, Vitter and Landrieu all seem optimistic that a compromise will be reached and that legislation will pass.

9. Any other Louisiana political topic you'd like to suggest.

So, please tell me in the comments what you'd like for me to discuss next. Turnout is expected to be low, so every "vote" counts.
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Paul Morphy 

Matthew Fleischer has a fine post linking to Michael Tisserand's Gambit story on the revival of chess in New Orleans. Our fair city used to be the "Chess Capital of the World", in case you didn't know. (..."Used to be" a lot of things.)

Naturally, the Gambit has a side article on Paul Morphy, New Orleans' legendary chess champion. Longtime YRHT devotees might recall that I have exalted and defended Morphy on various occasions.

Bobby Fischer described him as the "greatest genius of them all". And like Bobby, he became mentally ill.


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More here.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

1993 

Rick Santorum:


You probably remember well when Bill Clinton and the Democrats passed the largest single tax increase in our nation's history in 1993, $293 billion. That sent our nation into an economic slump.

President Bush:


If they get control of the House of Representatives, they'll raise your taxes, it will hurt our economy, and that's why we're not going to let them get control of the House of Representatives...

The Democrats have made their position clear... I want you to remember the last time they had control of the United States Congress back in 1993, they passed a massive tax increase.

You want us to remember the scary Dem Congress from '93, Mr President?

Okay.

In 1994, the year after Congress passed its "massive" tax increase, FOUR MILLION net jobs were created. (3 million total net jobs have been created during George W Bush's 5.75 years.)

Government spending SHRANK as a % of GDP when the Dems had control of Congress back in 93 and 94. (It has risen markedly under George W. Bush and his GOP Congress. More here.)

The deficit shrank.

The Stock Market rose.

It was a "Goldi-locks economy". Not too hot, not too cold.

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Tax cuts mean nothing if you're not prepared to control spending also. They are simply a means of borrowing from the next generation.

So, yes, by all means "remember 1993". It was at the dawn of one of the greatest economic expansions in human history, yet all the supply side voodooists were predicting impending economic ruin. They were all wrong then, and they CONTINUE to be all wrong today. Senators like Ricky Santorum are craven enough to lie about recent history in an effort to scare voters.

In ten years, I wonder how the GOP's 2006 Congress will be remembered... fondly, I'm sure.
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"Gay bashing" 

Ten years ago a GOP friend of mine told me about Foley's sexual orientation, and rattled off four or five more highly-placed GOP reps who were similarly "trapped in the closet". These are just some of the many "open secrets" in D.C.. Nothing new, really.

But now, comically, GOP talking heads are saying that the oppressive atmosphere of political correctness prevented GOP House Leaders from investigating the troubling emails Foley sent to Rep. Rodney Alexander's (R-LA) page.

Indeed, on Fox News, Newt Gingrich said: "...I think had [House Leaders] overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would also have been accused of gay bashing."

And Tony Perkins of the FRC said virtually the same thing in a CNN interview: "[House Leaders were] fearful of being seen as 'gay-bashing'..."

Let's get this straight (no pun intended): they're saying that GOP Congressional leaders were so worried about being "accused of gay bashing" that they declined to investigate suspicious emails from a Rep who is still in the closet!? Does that make any sense? And who exactly are they talking about, anyway? Precisely who would be making these scary "gay bashing" claims?

Other Reps? No.

Media talking heads? No. (Because the audience didn't know Foley was gay.)

Who, then? Bloggers? That's all I can possibly think of: liberal bloggers. No one else would make that claim, because it hadn't been publicly established that Foley was gay; thus, there's no political value. It would have been seen as an investigation into why a Rep was "over-friendly" to a page, not an investigation into why a GAY Rep was being "over-friendly". People won't call you a "Gay basher" if the person you are "bashing" isn't a KNOWN GAY. Barney Frank would have qualified, because he is "out". Mark Foley doesn't qualify because he was in the closet. (Sure, old rumors about Foley would be revived, but so what?)

So, the "gay-bashing" claims are patently absurd. They make no sense, but let's indulge Newt and Perkins and assume they're true. Quite simply: if Dennis Hastert won't zealously protect the young people under the care of the House of Representatives for fear of potential P.C. criticisms, then he shouldn't be House Leader anyway. Right?

Denny should resign.

UPDATE: I see that the Washington Times has called for Hastert's resignation. Good. For all their (many) faults, the Moonie Times has been out front on these sorts of scandals in the past.

Update 2: Whoops. I should've just linked to digby, who made these points yesterday . (I didn't have home internet yesterday). Digby asks "Since when has the GOP been afraid to be called homophobic or gay bashers? They positively revel in it.... And if they were so afraid of being called anti-gay that they allowed a 52 year old congressman to stalk 16 year old boys on the internet, then they are much too timorous to be running the government. "

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Here's an aside: I'm sickened by Foley's vile overtures, of course, but I do want to recognize that Foley was one of the VERY FEW stand-up GOP pols after Katrina. He represented a district that had been hit by three hurricanes in 2004, and he refused to repeat the false White House talking points that FEMA had done a great job in Florida in '04, and that the "dysfunction" in Louisiana accounted for all the problems after Katrina. Here's an excerpt from a Novak column:

Politics aside, however, GOP lawmakers were unhappy with their administration's performance [during the Katrina aftermath]. Rep. Mark Foley of West Palm Beach, Fla., was especially critical. Contrary to claims that FEMA's Brown was doing just fine until Katrina struck, Foley has been at odds with Brown over the government's handling of hurricanes that have hit his Florida district. Foley has stories of Brown's denial of reality and FEMA's inherent bureaucratic sluggishness.

At least that was one important 'reality' you didn't deny, Mr. Foley. Good luck with your treatment for being an "alcoholic". Any other "alcoholics" want to come outta the closet? Any Reps from Louisiana or California have any "problems" they wish to disclose?
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This is cute 

NYT:

Mr. [George] Tenet resigned as director of central intelligence in the summer of 2004 and was honored that December with a Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony....

Mr. Tenet is now completing work on a memoir that is scheduled to be published early next year. It is unclear how much he will use the book to settle old scores, although recent books have portrayed him both as dubious about the need to invade Iraq and angry that the White House has made the C.I.A. the primary scapegoat for the war.

In his book "The One Percent Doctrine," the journalist and author Ron Suskind quotes Mr. Tenet's former deputy at the C.I.A., John McLaughlin, as saying Mr. Tenet "wishes he could give that damn medal back."

What's preventing you from giving it back, Mr. Tenet? Just return it! Tell them you are not deserving of such a high honor.

Hell, why not make it into a political statement? "Slam dunk" the medal into a White House urinal. Or do like Cassius and hurl it into the Potomac.

You have options, sir. Don't let your Medal of Freedom become a burden to you.
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Monday, October 02, 2006

"Arrest this man, he talks in maths" 

Far too early in the day for math problems, and photos of bloggers... but luckily some of the "long division" seems so unnecessary right now. Perhaps we found a shortcut. Perhaps, for a minute there, we found ourselves. We found ourselves.

An SD comic has formally explained the "Greatest Football Game Ever" and its "indescribable psychological boost" to the city (according to Clancy Dubos of the Gambit Weekly).

Even franchise vultures have recognized: "this is what you get, when you mess with us." (H/T Ashley)

Here's a thought: use the Saints as a recovery model, not just a source of weekly inspiration. Run your business like Coach Sean Payton runs his team. Make decisions like Quarterback Drew "Cool" Brees does when he's in the pocket. Persevere like Deuce. Be a professional like Hollywood Horn. Dance (occasionally) like Bush. And overachieve like everyone else on that team.

Last week the city was given a game ball. Let's run with it!

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"Would the Dow be surging if we were losing the War on Terror?" 

On a comment thread at Atrios' blog, The Kenosha Kid wrote that "Fox News just had up a graphic that said, 'Would the Dow be surging if we were losing the War on Terror?'".

I just gotta laugh at the construction of that question.

Sadly, some-- not all-- Fox hosts have been trying that stupid linkage for years! Dems are hindering the war on terror (read: the war in Iraq), and that is effecting your stocks.

Now if there is one thing that is incontrovertible, it's that the Stock Market performs far better under Democratic administrations than Republican ones. I repeat: the Stock Market performs far better under Democratic Presidents than Republican ones. I'd love to be able to explain the enormous performance gap with some over-arching political theory-- but it's such a huge difference over such a long period of time that I'm at a loss. I would just say, trend is your friend, America. If you prefer upward-rising markets, elect Democratic Presidents.

Speaking of the stock market, last week YRHT analysts noticed several worrisome indicators.

Barry Ritholtz reported that: "James K. Glassman, the author of the book Dow 36,000 was on CNBC just now, credibly discussing his 36,000 forecast".

And then the Ace of Spades started writing more anticipatory stock market posts like this and this. When you see things like that, you know you're likely at a market "top". If you had used Ace's May optimism as a "sell short" indicator, you would've made quick money in the following weeks-- the Dow proceeded to dive from 11,700 to 10,700. (Ace is very clever, btw. He references the SNL "cowbell" skit whenever he hears good economic data. What a rapier wit....) Anyhoo, Ace basically thinks the Clinton boom can be explained by the media's use of "money images" that accompanied news reports. I'm serious. He thinks that seeing sheets of $100 bills being printed helps explain the Clinton Boom. To him, the economy that created 22 million jobs in eight years was a media-driven phenomenon.

People should have to pay for reliable negative indicators like Ace and Glassman. Wake up, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux, these are signs!

Unless you think the mighty Dow eagle will soar up past 12,000 and never look back, I would urge caution. There is much more downside risk than upside potential right now. But don't listen to me. What do I know? Check Ritholtz (who sez the Dow will go up in the short term) or someone else who knows wall street. (This blog is for entertainment purposes only. Consult your trusty financial advisor before making any investment decisions.)
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