Saturday, February 09, 2008

Primary predictions 

Fwiw, as I write this, I haven't read or seen any news coverage about turnout or exit polls.

From anecdotal evidence after visiting several precinct locations today, I'm going to say that Obama takes 73 percent of the Orleans vote, and beats Hillary statewide 57 to 41. I predict that the Secretary of State will say that statewide turnout was even lower than 15 percent (although I'm skeptical about how turnout has been assessed, post-Katrina). Also, I think a lot of provisional ballots were collected that would (or will?) have gone to Obama. There was a large envelope stuffed with cast provisional ballots at the precinct table where I voted. Unfortunately, the Dem Party State Committee controls a number of delegates, and I'm not sure how the regional apportionments work, so it's possible that Obama might not gain many net delegates with his victory.

Timshel has a more conservative estimate. He says Obama by nine.

I also predict that Mark Moseley's grassroot (singular) campaign for Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee will miss the cut, but I expect many superior candidates to be elected.

Update: After quickly scanning some news reports about LA turnout and demographics, everything I have seen points to a much much closer contest than I predicted. (Original post was edited slightly after initial publication.)
Update #2: Final results, 100 percent of LA precincts reporting:

Obama: 57%
Clinton: 36%

Orleans Parish: 75% Obama

Congratulations to all of tonight's winners.

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The revolution will be reaganized 

Mike Stagg at the Daily Kingfish writes:

Jindal brought his ethics campaign road show to Lafayette on Thursday. The new governor made an impassioned plea against "special interests" and others who drown out the voices of ordinary people in the political process.

Standing at Jindal's right hand in a Baton Rouge Advocate photo in Friday's edition was none other than Republican District 31 Rep. Don Trahan who, it has been revealed, used more than $23,000 in illegal contributions from political action committees (PACs) to secure his 33-vote win in the October primary.

Jindal has studiously avoided making substantive campaign finance reform part of the special session on ethics that he called and which will begin on Sunday. He gets downright antsy when the discussion turns towards campaign finance reform, probably owing to the fact that his own campaign has admitted to violations of state campaign finance laws.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Quotes of the weakest 

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius... He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

-- Time Magazine's 2004 blog of the year, whose stated purpose is to "bring people closer to reality".

"[Dick Cheney] is the best Vice President in history."

-- Pres. George W. Bush

"Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had."

-- VP Dick Cheney

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

-- lying Sec. of State Colin Powell


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I wholeheartedly agree with Adrastos and Jeffrey's election recommendations.

Please go out and vote.

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PCD makes the case for Hillary 

His endorsement at Cenlamar can be found here.

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Rush Limbaugh: "Jindal is the next Ronald Reagan" 

He just said it on his radio show about three times. "Jindal is the next Ronald Reagan". Then he said he would "jump for joy" if McCain picked Bobby for Veep, but then lamented that Jindal is "probably too conservative for McCain".

Update: Here's the quote from today's transcript of Rush Limbaugh's radio show (during a discussion about McCain's Veep):

I'll tell you.... I'm going to give you a name that would make me jump for joy. It's not going to happen because he's not been...

Bobby Jindal. I did an interview with Bobby Jindal. He is the next Ronald Reagan, if he doesn't change. Bobby Jindal, the new governor of Louisiana is the next Ronald Reagan. He's young. He was just sworn in for his first term. He's the guy that beat the liberal Democrat machine throughout Louisiana. He did it on 100% conservatism.
... This guy could be the next Ronald Reagan. If McCain chose him, here's a southern state; this is Louisiana, but I think he may be too conservative for McCain. That depends on who they think McCain will need or want, but Jindal is very young, and he's only in his first year as governor and doesn't really have... He came from the House of Representatives.

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The proof is in the falafel 

Bill O'Reilly can suck my left mud flap.

Timshel has posted an excellent video in response to O'Reilly's latest lie.

Update: More lunacy here.
Big thanks to Just Tell Me Where the Bridge Is for shooting and posting this video.
Update #2: And more.

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Woody Jenkins on the Issues 

In comparison to this, the vaguest Obama campaign platitude seems like a granular explication of deep-policy wonk.

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"How Wall Street Ate Main Street" 

"It's interesting that the [banking] industry has invented new ways to lose money when the old ways seemed to work just fine." --Wells Fargo President John Stumpf

In a November 4 post, I wrote some dismal things (the Dow was around 13,600):

At best, we're marking the end of the beginning of the reckoning. You can't expect to keep a "guns and butter" economy humming along on a credit bubble, and then cleanly dump that bubble on ...foreigners without a recession, or inflation, or both... or worse.

... others can be "very clever" too, and ...counter-responses by aggrieved parties to unwelcome American "cleverness" might be rather untidy.

Commenter EC responded:

You cannot have inflation and recession at the same time.
The current housing crisis will not result in landing any of us in a recession. Watch for a Dow close at or around 14,500 by year end. Follow the money and sleep well. [Oy notes: on 12/31/07, the Dow closed at 13,264.82]

Well, then. Good night, sweet prince. Don't let the bear bugs bite.

In that same post, I also wrote:

Comeuppances are coming, greedheads. So, whether your corruption is "sophisticated" or quite obvious, you might want to wipe that smile off your faces.


The woes in the U.S. financial sector are "poetic justice" for bankers who designed and sold complex investments that have since gone sour, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Wednesday.
"It's sort of a little poetic justice, in that the people that brewed this toxic Kool-Aid found themselves drinking a lot of it in the end," he said.


New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants ratings firms to go further in their efforts to fix their processes for rating mortgage bonds.
Mr. Cuomo's office is investigating the rating firms to ascertain how culpable they are for assigning ratings that were far too high for various bonds backed by subprime mortgages. Many collateralized debt obligations, or CDO's, that heavily invested in mortgage instruments were also highly rated, but many have now been downgraded, forcing billions in writeoffs at financial firms. The New York office has subpoenaed both S&P and Moody's in an effort to find out how much each knew about flaws in the mortgage products that they rated triple-A.


At 11 a.m. on Jan. 23, more than 30 top Wall Street executives gathered for an emergency meeting called by New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo, who wanted to cobble together a rescue plan for troubled bond insurers.

Mr. Dinallo left no doubt who he thought was responsible for the mortgage meltdown that has caused securities guaranteed by the insurers to fall in value as the housing market weakens. "You people created this mess," he told senior officials of Wall Street's top firms, including Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley. "And the headline on this is going to be: 'How Wall Street Ate Main Street.'"
After last month's meeting, some participants who were alarmed by the aggressive tone of Mr. Dinallo's remarks called senior officials at the Treasury Department and the New York Federal Reserve, appealing for them to take a substantial role in any rescue effort.

I'm sure all this regulatory "meddling" will be seen by some as impeding the sacred free market's random walking invisible hand of benevolence. "Stop Gov. Spitzer's boys before they overreach! Free people need free markets to lift their boats!" (As long as "free" markets are defined as artificially-goosed bubble capitalism.)

Item! Jim Grant, of The Interest Rate Observer, states:

Capitalism without financial failure is not capitalism at all, but a kind of socialism for the rich.

Item! Philly Fed President Charles I. Plosser recently said:

Unfortunately, I expect little progress to be made in reducing core inflation this year or next, and I am skeptical that slower economic growth will help.
There are those who have expressed the view that in times of economic weakness, the Fed must not worry about inflation and should focus its entire effort on restoring economic growth by dramatically driving interest rates down as far and as rapidly as possible. To borrow a line attributed to that famous, or perhaps infamous, Union Admiral David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay, it is sort of a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to policy. But the Fed has a dual mandate for a reason. Price stability is a necessary component for achieving sustained economic growth. Ignoring price stability during times of economic weakness risks undermining our ability to achieve economic growth over the long run. It fuels higher inflation down the road and risks inappropriate risk taking and recurring boom/bust cycles. This would be counterproductive.

Yes, yet:


White House officials have told us that President Bush intervened forcibly to convince an initially reluctant Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates. "There were some telephone calls from the White House to the Fed in which some very crude language was used."

Goddammit, Helicopter Ben! This is serious. Reality is about to discredit my supply-side policy myths, and we can't let that happen on my watch. You need to cut cut cut till the cows come home! And I can tell ya one thing-- you Federal Preserve eggheads aren't gonna do me like you did my daddy. Y'all didn't cut enough for him and that brough us eight years of Clinton (and 23 million jobs created). Do you really want history to repeat itself like that? I've got an economic legacy to protect, Bernie, built on a credit bubble, war, wild deficit spending, and unsustainable tax cuts. During the past eight years, we've almost created as many new jobs as Jimmy Carter did in four. So, I'll be damned if you're gonna jeopardize that record with some pansy-ass concern over future stagflation during Hillary's term.


Faced with growing risks of recession, the Federal Reserve made its second deep interest-rate cut in a week and slashed a key short-term rate by a half-percentage point Wednesday.
The Fed also appeared to hint that it will keep cutting rates if the economy shows more signs of decline.
But economists who are concerned about inflation criticized the Fed move, and its apparent lack of attention to price pressures.

"Higher prices are coming, even if the economy slows to a crawl," said Rich Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research. "We've seen price increases in company announcements, in our grocery bills and in the economic data. The Fed is telling you they're going to watch it because that's in their mandate. But I think they'll turn a blind eye to that."

Looming stagflation is bad, but at least the housing market was supposed to have bottomed out last year, according to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

Yeah... right.


More later.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008




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Were you at the O-vent? 

An excerpt from Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign speech in New Orleans, today:

[I]t's time for America to rebuild trust with the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

When I am President, I will start by restoring that most basic trust - that your government will do what it takes to keep you safe.

The words "never again" - spoken so often in those weeks after Katrina - must not fade to a whisper. The Army Corps of Engineers has rebuilt levees that were most damaged by the storm, but funding has sometimes stalled, and New Orleans remains unprotected.

We can't gamble every hurricane season. And that's why when I am President, we will finish building a system of levees that can withstand a 100-year storm by 2011, with the goal of expanding that protection to defend against a Category 5 storm. Enough talk, let's get it done!... We also have to restore nature's barriers - the wetlands, marshes and barrier islands that can take the first blows and protect the people in the Gulf Coast.

If catastrophe comes, the American people must be able to call on a competent government. When I am President, the days of dysfunction and cronyism in Washington will be over. No more Brownie. No more Heads of the Arabian Horses Association, in charge of FEMA. The director of FEMA will report to me. He or she will have the highest qualifications in emergency management. And I won't just tell you that I'll insulate that office from politics - I'll guarantee it, by giving my FEMA director a fixed term like the director of the Federal Reserve. So that they will outlast the time that I'm in office. I don't want FEMA to be thinking for one minute about the politics of a crisis. I want FEMA to do its job, which is protecting the American people - not protecting a President's political future. That's a promise I'll make...

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Should've seen the writing on the wall 

Just days after learning he secured Rep. Rodney Alexander's (R-Quitman!) endorsement, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney realized he was doomed, and suspended his campaign.

Rodney Alexander: impeccable timing, fearsome intelligence.

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Seems like the misuse of the word "literally" has dramatically increased over the past year, especially on tv.

Why is this, and does it irk you, too?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Duper thoughts 

Obama seems to have won the most states and the most delegates last night, but failed to overcome the early voting in CA, and Hillary's support from SoCal Latinos. The rest of February should be very good for Obama, starting with Louisiana this Saturday (plus WA, NE, ME and then VA, MD, DC, WI). After that it gets tougher for Barack, with Texas and Ohio in March. Note: Tejas is a mixed primary/caucus system.

I think this thing is going to the convention, and I also yearn for Adrastos' "dream ticket".

Superdelegates suck. Louisiana's superdelegates include Dollar Bill Jefferson, Renee Gill Pratt, and LA Democratic Chair Chris Wittington. Rep. Karen Carter is one of the organizational leaders of the Obama effort in LA, which makes me cynically assume that Dollar Bill and RGP will find some elaborate reasoning to support Hillary if/when their support is needed, just to spite Carter.

Tomorrow Obama will speak at a community event at Tulane's Fogelman arena. Here's Obama's 20 minute speech from last night:

We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
We are the hope of the woman who hears that her city will not be rebuilt. That she cannot somehow claim the life that was swept away in a terrible storm. Yes she can.

Please vote for change on Saturday.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

O'Reilly: king of douchemooks 

Keith Olbermann takes Bill O'Reilly to task for challenging John Edwards' claim that homeless encampments exist under Claiborne avenue. Olbermann points to a T-P article from January 11th, describing the scene. I'll just add that nolabloggers like Laureen Lentz were reporting on the camps back in December. If Billy O was willing to do even a modicum of research, he could've found this information.

O'Reilly said he asked the Edwards campaign to identify where the homeless were in New Orleans, so that he could "help them". Exactly how O'Reilly wanted to help the homeless is unclear. Perhaps he meant providing, among other things, free showers with complimentary loofa mitt service.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Duper Mardis Gras... and beyond 

Several weeks ago in January T-P Columnist Stephanie Grace's head froze, and she wrote:

January will be rounded by a handful more primaries, leading up to 23 contests on Super Tuesday Feb. 5, which around here is better known as Mardi Gras. If things haven't sorted themselves out by then, the race will be in such chaos that candidates are unlikely to bother with Louisiana, where the primary falls four days later.

Huh? What's the idea here? If things "haven't sorted themselves out" on Super Duper Tuesday... the candidates would suddenly forget how to campaign in upcoming primary states?

Many who don't observe Mardis Gras will vote tomorrow. However, I fully expect Barack Obama (and perhaps Hillary) to campaign in da gret stet between Ash Wednesday and this Saturday's elections.

Cenlamar feels similarly, and doesn't believe Louisiana will be overlooked. Cenlamar notes that that "today, Barack Obama’s campaign website reminded visitors about this video":

Meanwhile, Michael notes that Bob DeNiro made a surprise appearance at an Obama rally in New Jersey today. DeNiro made what he claimed was his "first political speech". In the NYT story's comments, Liam dryly observes: "umm, the last political rally I saw deniro at was in Taxi Driver. didn’t work out great."

Heh. Nice one.

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Levees Not War salutes Edwards, will vote for Obama 


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What an incredible ending to Super Bowl XLII. When you find yourself cheering for teams and players whom you normally dislike, you know something special is happening. Congratulations to Eli, the NY Giants, and Archie's gonads.

I noticed that at the end of the 2nd Quarter, Bud Light ran a Super Bowl ad starring Carlos Mencia. Mencia, as you may recall, had mocked the rebuilding effort in New Orleans as part of his comedy routine ("Why are we rebuilding New Orleans? Whose idea was this, Aquaman?" and "I'm glad Hurricane Katrina happened. It taught us an important lesson: black people can't swim.").

So what's he wearing in his lucrative Super Bowl ad? A sweatshirt with a fleur-de-lis on it*. Is this a sign of belated solidarity? Perhaps the mind of Mencia has changed. Here's the ad:

Bud Light Super Bowl Ad: Immigrants with Carlos Mencia

Update: In the comments, Ashley links to his emailed conversation with Carlos in 2006. (Thx for the link.)

* And it appears as if there is a black strip of tape over part of the fleur de lis.

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