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Archive for March 20th, 2008

Looks Like It Worked

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2008

Despite the best efforts of the press to spin it against him, it looks like Obama’s landmark speech may have reversed the slide caused by the hissy kabuki campaign launched against him using the Reverend Wright:

I noted over the weekend that the Wright controversy had taken a chunk out of Obama’s national numbers in Rasmussen’s tracking poll. Early indicators are that the speech may be sending him back up.

Obama Clinton
March 19: 47 42
March 18: 45 44 -- Obama's speech
March 17: 46 44
March 16: 47 44
March 15: 46 45
March 14: 50 42
March 13: 48 41 -- Wright hits news
March 12: 47 42
March 11: 48 41 -- Mississippi
March 10: 46 44
March 9: 45 47
March 8: 45 46 --Wyoming
March 7: 43 49
March 6: 43 48
March 5: 43 48
March 4: 44 46 -- OH, TX, VT, RI

This is a four-day rolling average, so each day gives us a 25% fresh sample. You can see that in the drop of Obama’s numbers after the Wright controversy hit the scene. It was first reported on last Thursday (13th), got wide airing on Friday (14th), then four days later, on the 18th, it hit its lowest point of the week.

That means that only about a quarter of this sample size is post-speech. We’ll have a much better picture of its impact in the next 3-5 days.

In addition, we have this from TPM:

A new poll from Fox News, the first major poll taken since Barack Obama’s big speech on race relations, shows that the effect of the Jeremiah Wright flap might not be so bad after all.

By a 57%-24% margin, registered votes do not believe that Obama shares Wright’s controversial views. The internals show only 17% of Democrats saying Obama shares Wright’s ideas, along with 20% of independents and 36% of Republicans.

Fox also asked respondents whether they had doubts about Obama because of his association with Wright. The results: 35% Yes, 54% No, with the numbers standing at 26%-66% for Democrats, 27%-61% among independents, and 56%-33% with Republicans.

When a Fox News poll is this kind to Obama, one wonders what polls not commissioned by RNC mouthpieces might look like.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, hissy kabuki, mythmaking, phony scandals | 3 Comments »

Was the Bear “Bailout” Legal?

Posted by Charles II on March 20, 2008

Scott Lanman, Bloomberg:

The Federal Reserve bypassed its own emergency-lending policies to let securities firms borrow at the same interest rate as commercial banks as the central bank sought last weekend to stave off a financial-market meltdown….

“They certainly pushed the limit,” said Brian Sack, a former Fed researcher who is now senior economist at Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in Washington. The law probably has “enough gray area” to allow the decision, he said. …

Not every former Fed employee was as forgiving. The Fed’s haste in setting aside its own guidelines is “troubling,” said Vincent Reinhart, who worked at the central bank between 1983 and 2007 and is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington….

The 2002 guidelines say that non-banks may only receive emergency cash “at a rate above the highest rate in effect for advances to depository institutions.” That means securities firms may normally have to pay more than the current 3 percent rate reserved for banks that are less financially sound.

At this point, for a variety of reasons, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the “bailout” (i.e., looting) fall apart. Then there will be real panic in the markets as uncertainty goes off the charts.

Posted in economy | 7 Comments »

Move Along, Nothin’ Ta See Here

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2008


Funny how the Bush NTSB doesn’t want public hearings because they’d be ‘politicized’, yet their entire ‘investigation’ of the 35W bridge collapse has been politicized out the wazoo:

Inside Minnesota Politics and The UpTake have obtained the written dissenting opinions from NTSB Commissioners Deborah Hersman and Katheryn O’Leary Higgins. The dissent reveals not only displeasure with the other commissioners’ decision not to hold a public hearing on one of the worst bridge collapse disasters in U.S. history, but the document also gives us a glimpse into likely factors of the collapse.

The dissent mentions the design flaw that NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker touted as the “critical factor” at a January press conference, and then quietly backed away from after Congressman Oberstar took him to task. But it also details other factors that should be aired in the public hearing. The two dissenting commissioners wrote:

“The public hearing can then focus on other relevant issues, such as the design approval process at the time the bridge was built and its evolution into the process that exists today; national bridge collapse or failure history; inspection criteria and procedures; corrosion standards; records retention requirements; national, state and local oversight; and other areas that could help us learn how to prevent a similar collapse.”

There’s that word “corrosion” again. Rust is an unavoidable reality for bridges unless you paint and maintain them regularly. The frequency of that maintenance (not just inspection) is where politics comes in. Democrats in Minnesota have been pointing fingers at Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s administration, which has been strangling the budget so the dollars to do maintenance properly have not been there.

More political factors: NTSB Chairman Rosenker has spent a career in Republican politics starting with CREEP, the Nixon Re-Election group, where he was deputy director for radio and TV. He has worked in nearly every Republican campaign from the 1970s to the present. If funding for bridge maintenance turns out to be a factor in the collapse, Republican Governor Pawlenty could end up taking the political fall for it.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, infrastructure, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, secrecy, Silly Republicans, speaking truth to power, Tim Pawlenty | Comments Off on Move Along, Nothin’ Ta See Here

Nice Guys Finish First

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2008

Really and truly, according to a study done at Harvard:

The Harvard University study involved 100 Boston-area college students playing the same game over and over — a punishment-heavy version of the classic one-on-one brinksmanship game of prisoner’s dilemma. The research appears in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

Common game theory has held that punishment makes two equals cooperate. But when people compete in repeated games, punishment fails to deliver, said study author Martin Nowak. He is director of the evolutionary dynamics lab at Harvard where the study was conducted.

“On the individual level, we find that those who use punishments are the losers,” Nowak said his experiments found.

Those who escalate the conflict very often wound up doomed.

Neocons, are you listening?

Posted in getting a clue, Good Things, Law of Unintended Consequences | Comments Off on Nice Guys Finish First

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