When I read the recent column by Roger Lott ’14, a reasonable call for modesty and respect in conversations about sex (“Explicit Signals,” Oct. 28), I did not expect the campus to agree with him. Having written on this subject before, I am all too well aware of people’s inability to see past their passionate preferences for over-sexualized campus culture. Attempts like those made by Lott to invite the campus to reflect a bit on its evangelical sexuality will inevitably fall on deaf ears.
No, it was not the rejection of Lott’s ideas that I found surprising. It was instead the complete and total disregard for his dignity as an individual and the cruel ad hominem attacks made against him merely for having the temerity to express a view contrary to the campus zeitgeist.
Comments on Lott’s article include, “Clearly, Roger Lott needs to get some,” and “Mr. Lott, I pity your future wife or husband.” These, furthermore, are representative only of comments posted on The Dartmouth’s website; I had several friends in Greek organizations tell me that people were blitzing even worse comments to their houses about Lott. . . .
Despite everyone's expectations, getting President Obama and the new Republican majority in the House to work together shouldn't really be that difficult. At least it shouldn't be difficult if both sides just keep their campaign promises.
In his election night remarks, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the leader of the new House Republican majority, promised: "[The Republican agenda] starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it. Reducing the size of government instead of expanding it." Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the same pledge.
Despite the 21.4 percent increase in federal spending during the first two years of his presidency (and that is even excluding spending on TARP, bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and deposit insurance), Obama repeatedly made this same promise during the 2008 campaign. "And what I've proposed, you'll hear Senator McCain say, well, [I'm] proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut," that promise was made during the second presidential debate against John McCain. As if that wasn't clear enough, . . .
This comment on Saturday by the new Senator from Florida is particularly timely.
Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures -- the most in the modern era. To put that number in perspective: In the 1994 GOP wave, Republicans picked up 472 seats. The previous record was in the post-Watergate election of 1974, when Democrats picked up 628 seats. . . .
For details on the NCSL numbers see this. Democrats also picked up 49 seats in the House that year, though that was presumably more difficult in that they already decisively controlled the House before the election with 242 seats. They also picked up a net gain of 3 seats in the Senate.
With the close of the 2010 election campaign, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees reached a new spending record, pouring $87 million into this congressional election. AFSCME's $87 million is greater than the campaign spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million) and American Crossroads ($65 million). Other public-sector unions, such as the Service Employees International Union ($44 million) and the National Education Association ($40 million) also ratcheted up their campaign spending. AFSCME President Gerald McEntee is proud of his union's track record. Quoted in the Wall Street Journal, he declared, "We're spending big. And we're damn happy it's big. And our members are damn happy it's big -- it's their money." . . .
“I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. . . .
True, the president conceded that he had received a “shellacking” at the polls, and that “some election nights are more fun than others.” He accepted that the ultimate responsibility for the disappointment of voters rested with him. He claimed to be ready for compromise with the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, offering to “mix and match” ideas and, where necessary, disagree without being disagreeable. “I’ve got to do a better job, just like everybody else in Washington does,” he said. But the strenuous efforts of the White House press corps to get Mr Obama to say that his policy decisions of the past two years on health care, the stimulus package or anything else might have been mistaken came to naught. . . .
Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink pointed an accusatory finger Friday at what she called a “tone-deaf” Obama White House to explain why she narrowly lost her campaign.
In an interview with POLITICO, Sink said the administration mishandled the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and argued that her GOP opponent’s strategy of tying her to the president did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.
“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink of the White House.
She added: “They just need to be better listeners and be better at reaching out to people who are on the ground to hear about the realities of their policies as well as politics.” . . .
In a move that sounds like their rhetoric that the recession would have been even worse without the stimulus, the Obama administration says this:
White House aides and Democratic National Committee officials, however, say that without the involvement of the national party and Obama’s political arm, Organizing for America, Sink would have fared worse. . . .
It mystifies me how someone who seemed so tuned in to the public pulse during the campaign became so strategically tone-deaf after he was elected. I think he may have badly overestimated the meaning of the 2008 election, particularly with respect to swing independents, who were voting against Bush, more than for Obama, just as yesterday they voted against the economic situation, without understanding its sources or what would remedy it. . . .
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post discusses how Hillary Clinton would have done things differently. Many of the points raised by Milbank would have done real damage to the economy (e.g., the foreclosure moratorium), but Democrats are looking to figure out what went wrong.
What can the new Republican Governors do to stop Obama care
It would be nice if more than half the states ended up joining the suit against Obama care. From the WSJ:
Republicans recaptured at least 11 governors' seats from Democrats in Tuesday's election, winning in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Tennessee, New Mexico, Iowa and Maine. Democrats reclaimed at least two seats from Republicans, in California and Hawaii. . . .
While governors can't avoid much of the law, they can throw sand in its gears and keep states out of involvement in a central part of it—new exchanges for selling insurance policies.
Wisconsin's Republican governor-elect, Scott Walker, met with lawmakers Wednesday to discuss how to minimize the state's participation in the law's expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor. He also wants to lean on private entities to run the insurance exchanges, where lower earners who qualify for tax credits and small businesses will shop for insurance starting in 2014.
Under Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, Wisconsin ambitiously courted early health-law money, including funding for free birth control.
Mr. Walker is worried that the Medicaid expansion, initially paid for by the federal government, will be too costly once states must begin paying for a portion of it in 2017.
"Free money is not free," he said in an interview. "If we can't afford it, it doesn't matter how much of it is free."
Mr. Walker, along with new GOP governors in Wyoming and Oklahoma, said they planned to join in the legal fights against the law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a fine.
Plaintiffs in the largest suit, a 20-state effort led by Florida's Republican attorney general, plan to reach out to as many as six states with newly elected Republicans to join the effort, according to a person familiar with the case, though it may be too late to join. . . .
Here are the unofficial results from Tuesday's voting. Oklahoma voters approved their state's measure, State Question 756, by a margin of 65% to 35% -- not quite the 70% margin by which Missouri voters approved their "healthcare freedom" initiative in August but still resounding. Arizona voters, who defeated the proposal in 2008, approved this year's version (Proposition 106) by a margin of 55% to 45%. . . .
AARP's endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now the seniors' lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law. In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs. And AARP adds that it's changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax. . . .
The U.S. Senate’s failure to act before today’s 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut has put seniors at grave risk of reduced access to health care and choice of physician.
“The Senate had over a year to repeal the flawed formula that causes the annual payment cut and instead they abandoned America’s seniors, making them collateral damage to their procedural games,” said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D. “Physicians are outraged because the cut, combined with the continued instability in the system, will force them to make difficult practice changes including limiting the number of Medicare patients they can treat.”
The reason for pointing this out is that it is interesting to see Democrats argue how they are the ones to protect Medicare and that these arbitrary cuts in payments will only remove waste and inefficiency.
This makes it believable that Democrats were able to game the ranking of news stories during the campaign to move up the ranking of negative stories about Republican candidates. The Daily Kos tried it here, here, and here.
Red Label News is not exactly a household name. But yesterday afternoon, it was one of the top news sources on Google News for stories about Apple's iTunes song previews. How'd that happen? Red Label News, it appears, is a cleverly designed collection of links and headlines meant to game Google News rankings. CNET stumbled upon Red Label News after doing one of the most basic Google searches: the vanity search. In this case, we were attempting to figure out how many news outlets were writing about Apple's decision to extend iTunes song previews to 90 seconds, news my colleague Greg Sandoval first reported in August and further revealed yesterday in a letter that was part of an effort to gain the upper hand in negotiations with small record labels. The first Google News cluster was home to reports from some of the usual tech industry suspects: CNET, BetaNews, PC Magazine, and others grouped within the "all articles" section. But underneath that cluster was a second, more interesting grouping, comprised solely of stories from Red Label News all with slightly different headlines based around the iTunes news. . . .
The same company that was spamming Google news last week is back with a new site using the same techniques. It didn't take very long for 70 Holdings--and a similar site tied to a Los Angeles-based search-engine optimization company--to start spamming Google News again. Last week, after CNET pointed out that a company called 70 Holdings Inc. was spamming Google News under the moniker of Red Label News, Google pulled that content from its site. However, over the weekend 70 Holdings popped back up using one of the 44 domains it owns to once again flood Google News with the same type of nearly empty stories tied to search-friendly keywords and advertising. . . .
A coalition of 13 states has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold an Arizona law penalizing businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court is to hear arguments next month on the 2007 Arizona law, which allows business licenses to be revoked or suspended when employers are found to have knowingly hired illegal immigrants. Similar laws are in place in several states. Businesses and civil rights groups have challenged the Arizona law by contending it infringes on federal immigration powers - an argument rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008. A coalition led by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released court documents Thursday arguing that states have long had the authority to license and regulate businesses. The states contend Congress specifically exempted state licensing laws in a 1986 federal law that prevents states from imposing civil or criminal penalties on businesses for illegal hirings. "Those state laws complement, rather than replace, federal enforcement" of immigration laws, Koster wrote in the document filed Oct. 28 with the Supreme Court. "Indeed, absent this complementary approach between federal and state law, a significant deterrent to employing `unauthorized aliens' would be missing." Other states joining Missouri's argument are Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. The states are not parties to the lawsuit, but rather filed their legal brief as a suggestion to the court. . . .
The list included: Larry Gonzales (House District 52), John Garza (House District 117), Jose Aliseda (House District 35), Raul Torres (House District 33), and Eva Guzman (Supreme Court Justice). Other Hispanic Republican winners included: Carlos Cascos (Cameron County Judge), Mary Louis Garcia (Tarrant County Clerk), Carlos “Charlie” Garza (State Board of Education, District 1), Angelica Hernandez (105th District Judge), Dee Margo (House District 78), Amanda Torres (Nueces County Justice of the Peace), and Lori Valenzuela (437the District Judge – Bexar County). . . .
Republican Bill Flores, a former oil and gas executive and political newcomer, handily defeated Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards, a 20-year veteran legislator who had long been a GOP target because his district generally favors Republicans. Hispanics make up more than 15% of the population in the Central Texas district.
Mr. Edwards tried to hang on to his seat by distancing himself from President Barack Obama’s polices, but ended up with only 37% of the vote to Mr. Flores’s 62%.
Another Republican Hispanic, Francisco “Quico” Canseco, unseated Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the sprawling 23rd congressional district, which includes part of San Antonio. More than half of the district’s residents are Latino, and Mr. Rodriguez had counted on their support during his six-term tenure. But he ended up with only 45% of the vote to Mr. Canseco’s 49%.
A heavily Hispanic House district in South Texas that includes Corpus Christie appears to have voted out Democrat Solomon Ortiz, who has been in office since 1982 and was considered relatively safe. R. Blake Farenthold, a Republican, was leading by less than a percentage point Wednesday with all precincts reporting; Mr. Ortiz has not conceded the race or contested its results. . . .
On the congressional side, Jamie Herrera will become the first Latino congressman from Washington state, while Raul Labrador will be the first from Idaho. House Democrats were defeated by Latino Republicans such as Francisco Canseco, who beat Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, an 11-year House veteran. Also in Florida, state representative David Rivera beat Democrat Joe Garcia, a former Obama administration energy official, to capture an open House seat — one of the few nationwide that Democrats had hoped to pick up. . . . .
Fourteen black Republicans were on House ballots nationwide, almost double the number in 2008. Insurance company owner Tim Scott will be the first black Republican to represent South Carolina in the U.S. House since Reconstruction, and in Florida, veteran Allen West ousted a two-term Democrat to a House seat. He will become Florida's first black Republican in Congress since the 1870s. . . .
AHSA notes: "And, the truth is that NRA has been selling out hunters on conservation interests for years. The organization that I head, the American Hunters and Shooters Association put out a comprehensive report showing that the NRA has support Members of Congress with the worst conservation records (Read the report at: www.realhuntersrealconservation.org). Our report showed that the NRA has stood with George Bush, John McCain, and the corporate lobbyists instead of standing up for hunters and shooters' interest in protecting our forests and public lands."
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said that Malloy won by an unofficial margin of 3,100 votes — and that state law allows recounts in statewide races only when the margin is lower than 2,000 votes.
But the Associated Press said late Wednesday night that its vote count now shows Foley with a lead of 8,424 votes over Malloy, with all but 1.5 percent of the precincts counted. Based on that count, the AP said, it was withdrawing its call of Malloy as the winner.
Bysiewicz did not reveal the exact totals for the candidates in each town, saying they would not be available until today.
Adding to the controversy, Foley said Wednesday that he was forming a transition team to smooth the way for taking office — on the same day Malloy announced his own transition team.
Despite Foley's actions, Malloy told reporters several times at the state Capitol that he is confident he will be sworn in as the next governor on Jan. 5.
"I'm standing by those numbers," Malloy said, adding that he believes he won by more than 11,000 votes. "I'm confident that will stand up."
Casting further doubt on the numbers, political insiders said Wednesday night that the vote counts for Malloy in Bridgeport and New Haven could have been too high by thousands of votes — meaning that Foley could have scored better in those Democratic-dominated cities than previously believed.
Malloy campaign manager Dan Kelly responded to the AP numbers late Wednesday: "We are aware what the AP is reporting, and we're confident they're wrong. Their numbers for New Haven are wrong, and they're leaving out a significant number of votes in Bridgeport." . . .
UPDATE: More chaos in Connecticut. it is interesting that Democrats warned Republicans about these found ballots. It doesn't sound as if all the Democrats were happy with this possible cheating.
In what has become one of the stranger twists in an already bizarre Governor's race, a bag of uncounted ballots was found in Bridgeport Thursday night.
Republican officials were approached by Democratic operatives and told about the surprise ballot bag, according to Bridgeport GOP Chairman Marc Delmonico.
Delmonico said Democrats asked to have several people deputized to count the uncounted ballots, but Republicans objected, claiming that wasn't proper procedure in the vote-counting process.
Instead the GOP asked police to take custody of the bag of ballots until the matter could be sorted out. . . .
Repeal of the ACA before 2013 is unlikely. Both houses of Congress would have to enact repeal legislation, which President Barack Obama would surely veto. Then, two thirds of both houses would have to vote to override that veto. After 2012, however, repeal could occur if Republicans win the White House and both houses of Congress and stick by their pledge. A more serious possibility is that ACA opponents could deliver on another pledge: to cut off fund ing for implementation. Here is how such a process could work. Customarily, substantive legis lation “authorizes” spending, but the funds to be spent must be separately “appropriated.” The ACA contains 64 specific authoriza tions to spend up to $105.6 billion and 51 general authorizations to spend “such sums as are neces sary” over the period between 2010 and 2019. None of these funds will flow, however, unless Congress enacts specific appro priation bills. In addition, section 1005 of the ACA appropriated $1 billion to support the cost of implementation in the Depart ment of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This sum is a small fraction of the $5 billion to $10 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the fed eral government will require between 2010 and 2019 to im plement the ACA. The ACA ap propriated nothing for the Inter nal Revenue Service, which must collect the information needed to compute subsidies and pay them. The ACA also provides unlimited funding for grants to states to support the creation of health in surance exchanges (section 1311). But states will also incur sub stantially increased administrative costs to enroll millions of newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. Without large additional appropriations, implementation will be crippled. If ACA opponents gain a ma jority in either house of Congress, they could not only withhold needed appropriations but also bar the use of whatever funds are appropriated for ACA imple mentation, including the imple mentation of the provisions re quiring individual people to buy insurance or businesses to offer it. They could bar the use of staff time for designing rules for implementation or for paying sub sidies to support the purchase of insurance. They could even bar the DHHS from writing or issu ing regulations or engaging in any other federal activity related to the creation of health insur ance exchanges, even though the ACA provides funds for the DHHS to make grants to the states to set up those exchanges. That would set the stage for a highstakes game of political “chicken.” The president could veto an appropriation bill containing such language. Congress could refuse to pass appropria tion bills without such language. . . .
My concern is that Obamacare is a disaster, but that Obama and Democrats will claim that it just didn't work because of this lack of funding. The program itself will then escape the disapproval that it deserves.
the effort to repeal the bill will not succeed, but the tactic of crippling imple mentation will. The nation would then be left with zombie legisla tion, a program that lives on but works badly . . .
Worried about when you might get dumped? Facebook knows. That's according to a graphic making the rounds online that uses Facebook status updates to chart what time of year people are splitting up. British journalist and graphic designer David McCandless, who specializes in showcasing data in visual ways, compiled the chart. He showed off the graphic at a TED conference last July in Oxford, England. In the talk, McCandless said he and a colleague scraped 10,000 Facebook status updates for the phrases "breakup" and "broken up." They found two big spikes on the calendar for breakups. The first was after Valentine's Day -- that holiday has a way of defining relationships, for better or worse -- and in the weeks leading up to spring break. Maybe spring fever makes people restless, or maybe college students just don't want to be tied down when they're partying in Cancun. . . .
Mondays seem like an obvious day to put up the information about a breakup.
Democrats may not want to believe that Obamacare cost them seats, but the exit polls show something quite different. From the WSj's Political Diary:
Surveys of voters taken as they left their polling place found that 48% favored wholesale repeal of ObamaCare, including nearly a quarter of Democrats. A full 36% of those Democrats broke against their party and voted for GOP candidates. "To a lot of folks, it was a symbol of government [out of control]," said Jack Beattie, a Florida-based pollster for Democrats.
Bailouts also proved both unpopular and a drag on Democrats. When asked who they primarily blamed for the financial crisis, the three out of ten voters who blamed the Bush administration overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates (85% to 13%). The quarter of voters who blamed President Obama voted 91% for Republicans. Republicans also carried a 56% majority of the 35% of voters who primarily faulted Wall Street.
The Yemen terrorist plots that broke last week made an impression on the electorate. A full 9% of those questioned by exit pollsters said it was the most important issue determining their vote. They broke 55% to 42% in favor of Democratic candidates, a rallying-around-the-flag response that often benefits the party in power. Without the terror incident, Democrats might have taken an even bigger beating yesterday. . . .
A Democrat Pollster saying how Obama could benefit generally from a terrorist attack.
one of 77 "yes" vote seats in play Tuesday evening. . . .
Within hours, a dozen members had lost reelection, including four freshmen elected in the 2008 Democratic wave: Reps. Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye of Virgina and Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson of Florida.
They weren't alone: Democratic Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) and Allen Boyd (Fla.) quickly joined them. So did Pennsylvania Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper, Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski, all of whom were main targets of the anti-abortion-rights group the Susan B. Anthony List.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who voted for the bill when her vote was crucial but later voted no on reconciliation, was also defeated.
The trend is even worse when factoring in yes votes who weren't running for reelection.
Retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.) left Democratic candidate Brett Carter to get pulverized by Republican Diane Black, 29.3 percent to 67.5.
Democrats did, however, pick up Republican Rep. Joseph Cao's seat in Louisiana. Cao had voted yes on the bill in November — the only Republican to do so — but changed his vote when the bill returned before the House in March.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Quinn was leading Brady by just 8,400 votes out of more than 3.6 million cast. However, the Quinn campaign said most of the outstanding ballots were from the Democratic-leaning Cook County. . . .
Republicans made huge gains in state legislative races and are at their highest point since 1928. The Alabama House and Senate, Indiana House, Iowa House, Maine House and Senate, Michigan House, Minnesota House and Senate, Montana House, New Hampshire House and Senate, North Carolina House and Senate, Ohio House--a big redistricting win--the Pennsylvania House, and the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate all have flipped from Democrat to Republican. This is the first time in Alabama that Republicans have controlled the legislature since reconstruction. The North Carolina Senate has not been Republican since 1870. And Republicans have reportedly taken over 100 seats in the New Hampshire House. For the first time in history, the Minnesota Senate will be controlled by the GOP. . . .
GOPAC pegs the party's chamber pickups at about 23. . . . The party picked up 20 chambers in the 1994 election . . . Overall, more than 6,100 state legislative seats were up for grabs in 46 states. Republican state legislative candidates made a net gain of more than 500 seats on Tuesday, giving them more seats than at any time since 1928, according to the NCSL. . . .
By my rough count the Republicans control the state legislatures and governorship in 20 states (including Nebraska where the state legislature is technically nonpartisan). As of this moment, there look to be only six states where Democrats clearly control the state legislatures and governorships in states, though that could increase will Illinois and Washington. It also depends on how one counts Rhode Island with Calfee. There will be a lot of reforms that will now get passed. For example, it seems likely that Wisconsin will pass a right-to-carry law.
UPDATE: A number of state legislators have switched parties since the election, at least 18 in the South and one each in Maine and South Dakota.
Voters say the economy eclipses any other issue. About a third say their household suffered a job loss in the past two years, but that didn't give a clear direction to their voting. They divided over which party to support in Tuesday's House races. About four in 10 say they are worse off financially than they were two years ago. More than 80 percent said they were worried about the direction of the economy over the next year. Only about a quarter of voters in Tuesday's House races blamed Obama for the nation's economic troubles. But about half think Obama's policies will hurt the country. About four out of 10 voters said they support the tea party movement, and they overwhelmingly voted Republican. The preliminary results are from interviews that Edison Research conducted for The Associated Press and television networks with more than 11,000 voters nationwide. This included 9,525 interviews Tuesday in a random sample of 268 precincts nationally. In addition, landline and cellular telephone interviews were conducted Oct. 22-31 with 1,600 people who voted early or absentee. . . .
Preliminary exit poll results underscore the economic distress defining the 2010 election. Eighty-eight percent of voters today say the national economy's in bad shape, nearly as many as the record 92 percent who said so two years ago. Only 14 percent say their own family's financial situation has improved since 2008. And few see much respite: Compounding the political impact of the long downturn, 86 percent remain worried about the economy's direction in the next year, including half who are "very" worried.
Indeed 29 percent say someone in their own household has lost a job in the last two years.
The economy has deeply affected the broader public mood. Sixty-two percent say the country is seriously headed on the wrong track (a record 74 percent said so in 2008, as the economy fell into the abyss). More broadly, 39 percent expect life for the next generation of Americans to be worse than it is today, vs. just 32 percent who expect it to be better. . . .
General Motors Co. won't have to pay up to $50 billion in taxes under an unusual provision of its government-funded bailout, giving the car maker an added boost as it prepares to return to the stock market this month.
GM may use so-called tax-loss carry-forwards to shield its profit from taxes for up to 20 years, according to people familiar with the situation. The benefit is based on losses that GM incurred in years prior to when it entered bankruptcy.
Usually, companies that undergo a significant change in ownership risk having major restrictions put on their tax-loss carry-forwards. The U.S. bailout of GM, in which the Treasury took a 61% stake in the car maker, ordinarily would have resulted in GM having such limits put on its tax benefit, according to tax experts.
But the federal government decided that companies that received U.S. bailout money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program won't fall under that rule. . . .
The most recent numbers available, through Friday, showed that Democratic candidates and their allies spent $142 million on television advertising across all House races in the general election, compared with $119 million by Republican candidates and their backers. In the Senate, Republican candidates and their allies outspent Democrats, $159 million to $120 million.
The Democratic advantage on television spending in House races was something of a revelation, given all the attention that has been garnered this year by the staggering expenditures by Republican-oriented independent groups after a Supreme Court ruling in January that lifted restrictions on corporate political spending.
But it appears that the Republican-leaning groups were able to make a significant impact in many House races by leveling the playing field for underfinanced Republican challengers, who in previous elections might have had little chance against Democratic incumbents. . . .
Total according to the NY Times is $262 million for Democrats versus $278 million for Republicans. Republicans thus had 6 percent more to spend.
From the Daily Beast (somehow this gets classified as news on Yahoo):
As the Tea Party gears up for big wins on Tuesday, Adam Winkler sounds the alarm on an overlooked part of their radical agenda to overturn gun control laws in America—and their ties to revolutionary militia. A traditionally hot topic in election season, gun control has been conspicuously absent from the recent candidate debates. This would not be of note if the candidates themselves had no designs on changing the nation’s gun laws. Yet many of the Tea Party candidates, who portray themselves as focused on economic issues like excessive government bailouts and lower taxes, have a radical gun agenda. They seek an extreme roll back of the nation’s gun laws. In state after state, Tea Party candidates like Rand Paul in Kentucky and Joe Miller in Alaska advocate for the adoption of radical “Firearms Freedom Acts.” These laws, which declare that the federal government has exceeded its constitutional authority by regulating gun sales, are intended to nullify the federal Brady Act, which requires background checks for most gun purchases. Eight states in the throes of Tea Party fervor, including Arizona, Utah, and South Dakota, have already enacted such laws—even though, as a federal court held last month, these laws are clearly unconstitutional. . . .
As a new Congress looms, we suggest lawmakers travel to Washington by way of West Virginia and an obscure federal building called the National Tracing Center. There they can see workers laboring through unmanageably high backlogs of handwritten paper records submitted by the nation’s gun dealers. This is Congress’s handiwork — at the behest of the gun lobby and to the detriment of public safety. . . .
Meanwhile, one Virginia Republican candidate gets pummeled by the media for suggesting something quite reasonable: "I think that at Virginia Tech, if one of those kids in those classrooms was packing heat, I think that would not have happened." While he has backed away from his position, I truly hopes that he wins just so that other politicians aren't scared away from this discussion.
Recoveries from deep recessions are usually robust. Once the recession of 1981-82 finally ended, the economy boomed in 1983 and 1984. During one stretch, GDP grew at an annual rate of 8 percent or more for four straight quarters. The economy generated 3.5 million jobs in 1983 and 3.9 million in 1984. The unemployment rate fell by a third in just two years, from 10.8 percent to 7.2 percent.
By contrast, since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the economy has lost a net 439,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in June last year. Now, it's 9.6 percent. . . .
This Great Recession discussion without even quote marks around the claims is really getting bothersome.
tomorrow Republicans will send more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the past 80 years. . . . Central to the Democrats' electoral woes was the debate on health-care reform. From the moment in May 2009 when the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's plan would cost a trillion dollars, most voters opposed it. Today 53% want to repeal it. Opposition was always more intense than support, and opposition was especially high among senior citizens, who vote in high numbers in midterm elections.
Gallup models the number of seats a party will control based on that party's share of the national two-party vote for the House of Representatives, using historical voting data in midterm elections from 1946 to 2006. The model takes into account the majority party in Congress entering the elections.
Gallup's historical model suggests that a party needs at least a two-point advantage in the national House vote to win a majority of the 435 seats. The Republicans' current likely voter margin suggests that this scenario is highly probable, making the question of interest this election not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much. Taking Gallup's final survey's margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible.
It should be noted, however, that this year's 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.
Additionally, efforts by state legislatures in recent years have attempted to insulate incumbent members of Congress from strong partisan tides such as are in force this year. Congressional district lines have been drawn to make them safe for specific parties, which may reduce the impact of national trends on election outcomes. . . .
In the 18 years that he has been a police officer in Bangor, James Dearing couldn’t think of a single time when someone has asked him to turn over his firearm.
Until last Friday.
Dearing, who was patrolling his assigned beat near the Bangor Civic Center, decided to stop in and cast an early vote. He walked into the polling place in full uniform and stood in a short line with other voters.
One of the election officials told Dearing he couldn’t bring his gun inside. The officer said he thought it was a joke.
Election warden Wayne Mallar then approached Dearing and reiterated the request: Turn over your weapon to another officer or we can’t let you vote.
“I would never relinquish my weapon,” the officer said later. . . .
“Now the Republicans are saying that I'm calling them enemies,” Obama said during a get-out-the-vote to The Michael Baisden Show. “What I'm saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.”
In the earlier interview, Obama said: "If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' — if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election — then I think it's going to be harder. And that's why I think it's so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd."
In remarks prepared for delivery at an election-eve rally in Cincinnati, Boehner seized on the “enemies” passage: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as 'our enemies.' … Mr. President, there's a word for people who have the audacity to speak up in defense of freedom, the Constitution, and the values of limited government that made our country great. We don't call them 'enemies.' We call them 'patriots.'" . . .
In Prince George’s County in Maryland, a teacher uses the school computer to send an email to fellow teachers, encouraging them and others to work the polls in support Gov. Martin O’Malley.
In California, Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office sends a letter to "Government and Social Studies teachers throughout Los Angeles" asking them to recruit students "to earn extra credit or fulfill class volunteer hours" by becoming volunteers in her campaign.
In Cincinnati, three busloads of voting-age students are taken to the local board of elections so they can vote. Once there, they're given sample ballots that contain only names on the Democratic ticket. And once they're finished voting, they're taken out for ice cream.
For the most part, these and other instances of teachers and other public servants using government time and equipment for political purposes -- and sometimes on behalf of a candidate -- have been met with howls of protest, local indignation and occasionally a civil suit.
But according to Hans Von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and now a Heritage Foundation specialist in voting issues, these small acts may actually be federal crimes. . . .
AOL giving Obama free space on its home page on election day to push for voter turnout
So does this count as a campaign donation? Of course not, but what is the logic here between AOL doing this and AOL taking out an ad on another website for a statement by Obama?
Barack Obama, US president will appear on AOL.com on Tuesday, part of the president’s get out the vote effort on election day, and a relaunch of the beleaguered website.
Mr Obama pre-recorded a segment called “You’ve Got,” a one minute slot that will now air on AOL’s redesigned home page. It is part of AOL’s video-heavy approach, which it hopes will revive the fortunes of its website and lure back advertisers. . . .
On top of everything else, it turns out the stimulus was an invitation to tax fraud: J. Russell George, the Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, just reported that he'd identified more than 125,000 individuals who got $111.4 million in undeserved tax-credit refunds, thanks to the 2009 Recovery Act. We already knew that the stimulus failed to produce the miracles that President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had promised -- the unemployment numbers alone are proof of that. Much of the cash went to the states, to roll back welfare reform and to allow states to avoid cutting their spending. Now George's audit of the IRS's handling of the 16 new or increased "refundable" tax credits has exposed yet another mess: * 10,581 people got $65.6 million in Homebuyer Credits they didn't qualify for. * 109,665 individuals got $29.7 million in Making Work Pay and Government Retiree credits they didn't qualify for. * 5,345 people wrongly received $15.6 million in Plug-in Vehicle credits. * 171 got $453,220 in erroneous Nonbusiness Energy Property credits. * 2,933 received more than $95.8 million in excessive Qualified Motor Vehicle Tax deductions. Democrats rushed the massive "stimulus" package through Congress within a month of Obama's taking office. More than one in every three dollars of "stimulus" -- $252 billion worth -- took the form of "refundable tax credits" (many to "taxpayers" who paid no taxes). . . .
So why do younger people view Obama so positively?
On issues such as Social Security reform, on labor market regulations, and what he is going to do on the national debt, one would think that younger voters would actually oppose Obama. While he is less popular among young people than he was a couple of years ago when he was running on an agenda of cutting government spending, he is still quite popular.
Meetings of the College Democrats that attracted 200 people in 2008 now pull in a dozen. New voter registration is way down, too, and free posters of President Obama — once “the Michael Jordan” of politics, as one freshman put it — are now refused by students. . . .
This was not what Generation O expected Mr. Obama won two years ago with 66 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old vote, a historic proportion. Americans under 30 also worked on campaigns at a greater rate than the general population did for the first time since 1952, or possibly even earlier, according to the National Election Studies. . . . .
While most of them still view him more favorably than their parents or grandparents do, various polls show that the youthful passion that led to action has not been sustained. . . .
More research needs to be done on this point in bold.
While few will say so on the record for fear of alienating party officials or depressing turnout, every one of nearly a dozen Democratic House consultants and political strategists surveyed expect a GOP majority to be elected Tuesday — the consensus was that Democrats would lose somewhere between 50 and 60 seats.
A senior party consultant who was on the low end with his predictions said the party would lose between 40 and 50 seats. On the high end, one Democratic consultant said losses could number around 70 seats. . . .
“Everybody that is tied will lose, and everyone that is ahead by a few points will lose because of the GOP wave,” said one party media consultant who is involved in a wide array of House races. “There are going to be some surprises.” . . .
But others say the electoral map hardened this spring, after the House passed a health care bill that remains deeply unpopular among voters. Democratic campaign officials say it is no accident that there are few Democrats in moderate-to-conservative districts who have promoted their support for the health care measure on the campaign trail, and most don’t even acknowledge it. . . .
Something to remember next time campaign finance reformers talk about a Presidential candidate spending a $100 million
From Bob Cringely, who often comments on the technology industry:
But is it just me or are you, too, having a hard time seeing the $400 million that Microsoft claims to be spending on this product launch? Redmond spent $100 million launching Windows 95, a number that set something of a record for its time and stood for long as the standard amount to spend if big companies were trying to make a point based mainly on the depth of their pockets. For Windows 7 (not Windows 7 Phone) I recall Microsoft set a new record, blowing-through $200 million. So when I read that they’d be spending $400 million on Windows Phone 7 — now this was something I had to see. I expected to find a Microsoft billboard on my garage door. Not yet. Given inflation (remember that?) $400 million doesn’t buy what it used to, but I still expected Windows Phone 7 to be as omnipresent as Windows 95 or Windows 7. And it’s out there, but the effort simply doesn’t feel like $400 million worth of marketing oomph. . . .
GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller is smart and actually understands the constitution. Yet, the attacks on him have been as vicious as any by the media on any candidate. If this tape between two CBS reporters had gotten out a week ago, it could have made a big difference in the race, but I am not sure whether this has enough time to really sink in.
Employees at a CBS affiliate in Anchorage left an accidental voicemail for an aide to GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller in which they discussed and laughed about the possibility of reporting on the appearance of sex offenders at a Miller rally. And they chatted about responding with a Twitter alert to “any sort of chaos whatsoever” including the candidate being “punched.”
Jerry Bever, general manager for KTVA, said in a statement that a call to Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto to discuss the candidate’s planned appearance on a newscast wasn’t disconnected after the conversation ended. The call took place during a KTVA staff meeting to plan coverage of that evening’s Miller rally in downtown Anchorage. . . .
On Sunday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fumed about the KTVA recording during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. She told host Chris Wallace that Mr. Miller “has had to put up with up against the GOP machine and the Democrats and the liberal media in Alaska. It’s no wonder that the numbers are tightening in that race.” She also said, “We have the tape, Chris, and I can’t wait till it busts out all over the nation to show what it is that we — kind of what I put up with for two years now with the media — but what Joe Miller is faced with in dealing with somebody who feels — Lisa Murkowski – so entitled to that seat that she and some of her people, including some complicits in the media, will do anything. They will stop at nothing…” . . .
“The perception that this garbled, out of context recording may leave is unfortunate, but to allege that our staff was discussing or planning to create or fabricate stories regarding candidate Miller is absurd,” he said. “The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do.”
OK, people will have to listen to this over a minute discussion actually implies, but 1) the male reporter is recorded as saying "We need to find that one person" referring to them finding a child molester at the campaign event, 2) the female reporter says "The one thing we can do is . . . ," and 3) they never once mention someone else doing this. This is clearing the media talking about what they can do to create a story to harm Miller.
The economic outlook is bleak. Businesses aren't hiring and the economy has lost 400,000 jobs since May. Unemployment has remained at least at 9.5 percent for 14 months, A record length of high unemployment not encountered since the Great Depression. GDP is growing but the growth is slowing. Consumer confidence is falling; the dollar is falling; the real estate market remains in a slump. And the Obama administration has overseen the 2009 and 2010 deficits at unprecedented levels, accumulating over $2.7 trillion during just two years.
Still, investors sense a glimmer of hope, reflected in rising stock prices. Stock prices have much more to do with long-term expectations of profitability than short-run results. This new optimism likely reflects the rapidly changing political outlook. Stockholders have already been anticipating higher taxes and health care regulations under an Obama administration with basically free rein to adopt whatever economic policy that they want. Now, with Republican victories likely on Tuesday, particularly in the House, predictions are for a more favorable business environment and better economy.
While it is all very intuitively plausible, hard numbers also back up this discussion. . . .
A note on Intrade probabilities for the control of the House and Senate
For the Senate, Intrade predicts that there is a better than even chance that Republicans will at least get tied control -- that means they are expected to pick up at least 9 seats. As of 5 PM, there is a 43.5 percent probability that Republicans will get 50 seats. There was also a 12.8 percent chance of them getting more than 50 seats. Taken together and adjusting for the fact that the probabilities add up to more than 100 percent, there is a 53.5 percent probability of Republicans picking up at least 9 seats. In the House, there is a 47 percent probability that the Republicans will pick up at least 60 seats and a 69 percent probability of picking up at least 55 seats.
Over the past six months, that number has actually risen. Banks managed to pare down the shadow inventory, but largely by taking possession of foreclosed homes. As of September, they owned nearly 994,000 foreclosed homes, up 21% from a year earlier. The shadow inventory stood at 5.2 million homes, down 7% from a year earlier. Grand total: 107 months of inventory. . . .
Lately, though, a new wave of defaults appears to be coming in, in part related to the high rate of failures on government modifications. As of September, some 1.9 million homeowners had missed one payment on their mortgages, up 14% from March. Meanwhile, home sales have slowed sharply with the end of government stimulus. . . .
Woman fatally shots ex-husband who broke into her house
Another case where a restraining order had already been violated. What else was this women supposed to do?
New Castle County police say a woman shot and killed her ex-husband after he broke into her home and beat her. Fifty-seven-year-old Gregory Thompson of New Castle was found dead at the unidentified woman’s home. It happened Thursday about 11:30 p.m., when police received a 911 call from the woman. Police say Thompson, who was wanted for violating a protective order his ex-wife had against him, used a ladder to get into the victim’s third-floor bedroom. Police say Thompson entered the home through a window and began punching the woman in the head she was in her bed. The woman got a gun and shot Thompson. No charges have been filed . . .
Guess how many airplanes it will take for Obama to travel to India
This really seems absurd. Suppose that one is talking about Air Force One, several other large aircraft, and a small squadron of military planes offering protection. How much more do they need given that there is already a US Embassy with its staff and resources in India? What can you possibly put on 40 different airplanes?
The presidential entourage will have 40 aircraft, including the Air Force One that will ferry the president. There will be six armoured cars, including the Barack Mobile, a Cadillac. . . .
Three Marine One choppers will be reassembled in India to ferry Obama and his family. These helicopters will also assist in evacuation in case of an emergency. . . .
He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.. . . .
A top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit has reckoned that a whopping $ 200 million (Rs 900 crore approx) per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama's two-day stay in the city. "A huge amount of around $ 200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," the official said in Mumbai. About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany the President. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments. Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New delhi.
But as well as the usual security measures that come with welcoming a a visiting dignitary, Indian authorities have decided to go one step further, by removing all natural threats to the president as well. All coconuts around the city's Gandhi museum, one of Mr Obama's stops in the city, are being taken down. Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his freedom struggle against the British, is among five places the US president is visiting in Mumbai. "We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building. Why take a chance?" Mani Bhavan's executive secretary, Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, told the BBC. Last week American security officers inspected Mani Bhavan and its surroundings along with other places the president is likely to visit. . . .
Commercial flights are likely to be delayed by at least an hour when Air Force One, with an escort of three aircraft and five helicopters, touches down at Mumbai airport on Saturday morning. Though officials have yet to receive communication on air-space closure, protocol calls for a gap six minutes during a VVIP visit.
No commercial or civil flight is allowed to land or take off three minutes prior to and after the scheduled time of arrival. In the US Presidents case, a longer hiatus between his aircraft and other flights is expected. TOI has learned that the Centre is considering extending it to ten minutes in order to secure the airport and the skies.
Even if the closure is for six minutes, one has to take into account the sheer number of aircraft in Obamas entourage, said an airport official. With nine aircraft, helicopters and planes, scheduled to land on Nov 6, air-space closure may last for at least 54 minutes.
After arriving at Mumbai airport, Obama is expected to fly to the air-base INS Shikra. "This means that we will have air-space closure for each VVIP aircraft that is landing and taking off. During this span, the movement of commercial flights will be highly restricted," said a source. . . . .
American warships to patrol off Mumbai during visit Coconuts removed from trees as a precaution 250 U.S. business executives with Obama on 'biggest ever trade mission' $200million Asia trip cost denied but the President will have huge entourage . . .
In 2010, Republicans will need a net gain of three seats to take back the majority, and they have reason to believe they could achieve that goal. Democrats are mostly playing defense but have targeted a few Republican districts as well, in the hopes of adding to their majority.
Terry Madonna, a pollster and professor of political science at Franklin and Marshall College, said Republicans are looking to make gains in the southeast corner of the state, targeting several seats in the Philadelphia suburbs in Chester and Montgomery counties.
"In those suburban seats, many of them have a slight Republican registration advantage, but they swung to the Democrats in the wave elections in 2006 and 2008," said Mr. Madonna.
He gave the Republicans a 60 percent chance of capturing the net gain of three seats needed to take the majority in the House. . . .