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Friday, October 22, 2010

 

Early Voting Under way

We have talked about early voting before, and it is under way in a number of states, which means it is already too late to change the momentum in many races. Dems have taken heart because some races seemed to be tightening up, but in reality, the momentum in the last week will shift away from incumbents since the undecided vote often breaks for the challenger. Where incumbents have not reached the magic 50% mark, they are likely to lose. This could be bad news for Barbara Boxer, Patti Murray, Harry Reid, and even Barney Frank. Even if they don't all lose, some big timber is sure to fall.

Maenwhile, the campaigner in chief is spending an awful lot of somebody's money touring the country on behalf of desperate Dems. One can only hope that Dems will be paying some of these bills and that the public is not funding the entirety of this campaign effort. If we are, something is wrong with that.

Maybe Obama should also be returning his salary for the last few months too, since again, he hasn't been concentrating on the people's business. That would bother me more if I didn't think things are a lot worse when he's actually woking.

I loved the Ohio poll that asked voters who they would vote for in a mythical Presidential race between Obama and Bush 43. Of course, George W. won. His rehabilitation is going faster than I thought it would.

I also don't really think that Obama's campaign efforts are having any positive effect, except perhaps for Republican opponents. All the photos of Sen. Murray smiling broadly alongside the President can only be helping Rossi. As for the cheering crowds, anybody going to see a Murray rally was going to show up election day for her anyway. The Dems might as well try to get their base out, though they can forget about the student vote if you ask me. No student is coming home to vote and most apparently were not interested enough to request an absentee ballot on a timely basis.

The only thing keeping this from being the rout of the century is that the GOP again has quite a few inept candidates, and they aren't exactly a popular party either. So Latino's continue to be turned off by Republicans, a crime since culturally, they are a better fit for the Republican party than they are as Democrats.

Dems hated the Supreme Court decision that opened up campaign financing for corporations and other private associations, but that still hasn't stopped the public employees union AFSCME from topping all contributors this cycle (exclusively to Dems, of course). This is a reward for the conveyance of the stimulus money to states to fund programs paying salaries to AFSCME members. Deficit or no deficit, the public is right to be outraged by the scandalous cycling of taxpayer money from the administration to union members and then to Democratic campaigns, which is what the stimulus program amounted to.

Incidentally fourth on the list of top contributors is the SEIU and fifth the teachers union, NEA. Can you imagine the imbalance that would have existed had the court not found a way for business and conservatives to participate meaningfully?

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Sorry for the delay in getting this post out and the missed week, but I have been on the road 10 of the last 11 days, first to Richmond, then Orlando, and without a handy computer. We'll be posting a little more frequently in the runup to Independence, er, Election Day.

In Orlando, I got to see the NAIC, following hours of closed door wrangling, pass their formula for calculating mimnimum loss ratios (mandated by the Health Reform Law) on to HHS. They did this knowing that the formula, requiring claim costs to be about 80% of premium or more, will inevitably drive more carriers and virtually all agents from the market. Driving doctors to the wall is the role of other parts of the bill, particularly the medicare cuts that have already forced doctors to limit their medicare participation.

Some wonder how the administration and Congress could be so stupid to pass a bill that it is now clear to all but the most devoted lefties will never work. But they are not stupid. Failing to obtain single payor, they wanted to put in provisions that would render the health system dead. As private insurers and providers exit, the only alternative will be the public option - single payor. This is absolutely by design.

The truest words spoken in Congress this year were by the then pilloried Joe Wilson, who in the middle of Obama's speech to a joint session, interrupted, no doubt unable to control his own honesty: "You lie!"

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No one should be surprised by the firing of Juan Williams, the outstanding moderate liberal commentator, by NPR, for his remarks about his true feelings of concern when flying with passengers wearing Muslim garb. I don't consider this firing a free speech violation. Mr. Williams is being fired, not arrested. I believe in the right to fire at will, without cause, as long as it is not discrimination along the lines that are forbidden by the civil rights act, and where there is no such pattern. I would certainly give NPR the benefit of the doubt here, not believing for a second that Mr. Williams was fired for being black.

However, there is an issue here, and that is that NPR, like PBS is significantly taxpayer funded. The reasons for this have long since become separated from the stations' mission, which has morphed from (allegedly) an educational one to one that seems to promote various left leaning positions. If anything, NPR has been more flagrant in this respect than even PBS. The explanation provided by an NPR spokesperson was that an NPR news analyst is not a commentator and may not take personal public positions on controversial issues. That one had to set off gales of laughter even in the hallways of NPR. Do these people ever listen to their own station?

The truth, of course, is that you are aloud to express such positions, as long as they conform to what the management promotes as politically correct.

To its credit, Fox News (not really a news organization according to Dems) announced that they will be increasing Mr. Williams' air time on that network, where he has been a consistently excellent spokesman for the moderate left point of view and helps to actually provide a little of the "fair and balanced" programming that organization claims.

Full disclosure: Mr. Williams is a graduate of my alma mater, Haverford College, and one of whom we are justifiably proud.
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On 10/8, we bought 20 shares in the Gold Trust (GLD) at 130.80 for the IRA. In effect, two more ounces. On 10/14, the cash came in for our 1000 shares of Tomkins at 20.53 per share, bought at various times for various prices, which I will break down in the next post. I do believe we wound up with a nice gain from this takeover when all was said and done, mainly due to a nice average down buy in 2009. Details in the next post. On 10/11, we sold 100 shares of Dover (DOV)from the IRA at 54.54, for which we paid 49 on 6/14/00. On 10/15, we bought 100 shares of Lowes (LOW) at 21.84.

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Comments:
15 days between postings simply will not do. In case you haven't heard they now have lap top computers and ipod touches which allow you to post while on the road. Get with it Redwaver!
A devoted fan,
Egbert J Sousse (accent de goo over the e)
 
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