Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Washington Examiner reports:
With projections of a GOP win growing daily, nervousness in Senate committee offices has turned to panic as an army of Democratic staffers braces to be fired, replaced by a Republican majority and their aides.Ouch.
The spoils of political war? Estimates are that 300-600 Democratic committee and personal staff jobs would be on the chopping block if the Republicans pull off the expected victory.
“There will be a mass exodus of Senate Democrat staff from committees,” said one insider.
And Republicans will get to hire hundreds more aides. A loss on Tuesday that keeps the Democrats in charge of the Senate will cost no GOP jobs, other than those working for retiring lawmakers.
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Stuart Rothenberg reports:
Five Senate seats look increasingly like they will be keys to what kind of election the two parties will have this year.The establishment's Stuart Rothenberg speaks.
The GOP looks poised to take over six Democratic seats: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. If they do that and hold all of their own, they will win Senate control for President Barack Obama’s final two years in office.
But five other seats – two of them currently held by Republicans and three by Democrats – should determine control and, if the GOP wins, the size of that party’s majority.
Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina are the Democratic-held seats most worth watching, while Kansas and Georgia are the Republican seats at risk next month. One additional state should be on your radar – New Hampshire. But if Republican Scott Brown knocks off Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the Granite State, you can assume that a huge wave is carrying the GOP to an 8 to 10 seat net gain for the cycle.
The runoff dynamic complicates things for Democrats.
Assuming that Republicans win the five non-runoff states most likely to flip control and lose Kansas, both Louisiana and Georgia, which are expected to go to runoffs, become nationalized battles for control of the Senate.
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In spite of all the media reports which say so, the Federal Reserve did not “end” QE yesterday. QE, the Fed’s massive manipulation of the bond market and credit allocation scheme, will not be at an end as long as the Fed’s balance sheet continues to be bloated. Although the Fed has decided not to increase the bloat further, it has not even stopped new purchases of long-term mortgage-backed securities and government bonds. The Fed wants to maintain the size of its QE bond portfolio, so it intends to make new buys to replace any principal reductions or bond maturities. Thus the $4.5 trillion balance sheet rolls forward.Just a reminder.
In that $4.5 trillion of Fed assets are $1.7 trillion of mortgage-backed securities, funded by short-term deposits, making the Fed the biggest savings and loan in the world. This would have been considered impossible by generations of Fed officials, not to mention the fathers of the Federal Reserve Act. It represents a giant government credit allocation to the housing sector. Likewise, the $2.3 trillion of long-term government bonds in the portfolio represents a giant credit allocation to government deficits. Oh yes, QE lives on, though it may not be growing.
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The Boston Globe reports:
Mobsters from throughout New England gathered at a modest home in Medford on Oct. 29, 1989, to baptize four new soldiers, who pricked their trigger fingers, burned Holy cards and vowed to kill for the Mafia — unaware that the FBI was recording every word.Listen to clip.
New England Mafia Boss Raymond “Junior” Patriarca said he had made peace with a renegade faction that had recently killed the family underboss in Connecticut and wounded another mobster in a shooting outside a Saugus pancake house. It was 25 years ago Wednesday.
Posted by Steve Bartin at 5:24 AM
While many races remain close, it’s just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber.Just a reminder: Larry Sabato is one of the best in the business of making political predictions.
We say eventually because there’s a decent chance we won’t know who wins the Senate on Election Night. Louisiana is guaranteed to go to a runoff, and Georgia seems likelier than not to do the same. The Georgia runoff would be Jan. 6, 2015, three days after the 114th Congress is scheduled to open. Vote-counting in some states, like Alaska, will take days, and other races are close enough to trigger a recount.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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The Washington Post reports:
Republicans have the opportunity to take control of a record number of state legislative chambers across the country this year, as Democrats play defense in unfavorable terrain.Imagine that.
The Republican landslide in 2010 and the subsequent redistricting process in 2012 gave the GOP control of a nearly unprecedented number of legislative chambers. Today, the party controls 59 of the 98 partisan chambers in 49 states, while Democrats control only 39 chambers (One legislature, Nebraska’s is officially nonpartisan).
Once election results are tabulated in the 6,049 legislative races on the ballot in 46 states this year, Republicans could find themselves running even more.
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Iowa's Senate race remains tight as the campaign heads into its final days, with Republican Joni Ernst at 49 percent and Democrat Bruce Braley at 45 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows.Joni.
Just 5 percent of likely voters remain undecided in a race that will help determine control of the Senate. The results show a slightly larger lead for Ernst than in a poll the university released Oct. 23, although it's still just outside the survey's 3.4 percentage point margin of error.
The university's latest survey shows independent voters, the state's largest voting bloc, backing Ernst over Braley, 50 percent to 41 percent.
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Hot Air reports:
A month ago, Wisconsin’s most respected pollster showed Walker at 50 percent and leading by nearly six percentage points. Two weeks ago, the race tightened considerably, with Democrat Mary Burke pulling into a tie with the incumbent — thanks in large measure to some puzzling shifts in the internals. Marquette Law School’s final poll of the race shows dramatic movement back toward Walker.This could be the story of the election.
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Illinois Political Guru Russ Stewart Predicts Two Key Republican Victories Next Tuesday: Bruce Rauner and Robert Dold
He correct most of the time. Few people are better at predicting Illinois elections than him. He's Illinois political guru Russ Stewart, who's predicting GOP candidates Bruce Rauner and Robert Dold are going to win-the Governor's race and IL-10.
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The Huffington Post reports:
Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's international technology conference Monday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook came clean about why the company discontinued the iPod Classic.The best Ipod.
"We couldn’t get the parts anymore, not anywhere on Earth," Cook said. "It wasn’t a matter of me swinging the ax, saying, 'What can I kill today.'"
The iPod Classic was quietly pulled from the online Apple Store in September, during the release of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. And while the company maybe could have redesigned the device, it turns out that the iconic Classic didn't attract enough interest to keep it on the market.
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Green billionaire Tom Steyer vowed to make the November congressional elections about climate change. Now he's talking about abortion and the economy to get his candidates across the finish line.Abortion and green groups: imagine that.
Steyer, a hedge fund manager turned environmentalist, launched a state-of-the-art operation to push voters to elect governors and senators willing to confront global warming. His NextGen Climate Action political committee is on track to spend more than $55 million in this election - an unprecedented amount for an environmentalist group.
But NextGen and other green groups are not talking about climate change as much as one would expect.
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The Sacramento Bee reports:
Elton John called Pope Francis "my hero" for his compassion and push to accept gays in the Catholic church, at his annual AIDS benefit.Sir Elton speaks.
John hosted the event, "An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation," Tuesday night in New York City. He said Francis is pushing boundaries in the church and told the crowd: "Make this man a saint now, OK?"
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Beauprez Pulls Ahead In Colorado Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Republican Up 21 Points Among Men
Quinnipiac University reports:
Men are going Republican in a big way in the Colorado governor's race, giving former U. S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger a 45 - 40 percent likely voter lead over Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Democratic incumbent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian candidate Matthew Hess has 4 percent, with 2 percent for Green Party candidate Harry Hempy. Another 9 percent are undecided.Gender gap.
This compares to an October 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University showing 45 percent for Gov. Hickenlooper and 44 percent for Beauprez.
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538 on the battle for the Senate and the media coverage:
You might be hearing that Democrats or Republicans have “momentum” heading into the final week of the 2014 campaign. On Tuesday, for example, a Washington Post headline asserted “Midterm momentum belongs to GOP.” That was based on a generic ballot poll showing a 6 percentage point Republican lead. But later in the day, a Fox News generic ballot poll came out showing Democrats up by 1 point instead — Fox had previously shown Republicans ahead.Just a reminder.
This pattern — or rather, this lack of a pattern — has been typical throughout this election cycle. Whenever one party seems to be gaining an advantage, the other party has countered it with some good news of their own.
Republicans have maintained a narrow overall edge in their quest for a Senate majority, but the magnitude of their advantage hasn’t changed much throughout the campaign. When the FiveThirtyEight model launched Sept. 2, it gave Republicans a 64 percent chance of winning Senate control. In our latest forecast, their chances are 62 percent. They’ve never been higher than 66 percent or lower than 53 percent.
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The Hill reports:
Democrats’ path to holding their Senate majority has narrowed, with Republicans pulling ahead in critical states and on the cusp of upsets in several others.Ouch.
Even some within the party are starting to say their midterm prognosis isn’t good.
Posted by Steve Bartin at 8:35 AM
Check out Randall Hansen and Desmond King in their book Sterilized By The State. On page 46 and 47 they quote feminist/eugenics icon Margaret Sanger:
Birth Control opens the way for the eugenicist and preserves his work. By freeing reproduction from its present chains it makes a better race.Just a reminder the next time you hear a politician defend Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood.
Posted by Steve Bartin at 8:23 AM
Not just another day in Illinois. The election is coming up, so open your wallets to fund the pork. Here’s what we got today:The disaster of Crony Capitalism.
Cronus will build a fertilizer plant downstate employing 175, and 25 jobs will be created in Chicago. Cost: $52 million for just 200 permanent jobs!
Posted by Steve Bartin at 8:13 AM
It's the end of Q.E., and financial markets feel fine.Is it really the end of Fed manipulation??? We highly doubt it.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce on Wednesday the end of its latest bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, or Q.E. Fed officials say the purchases served to strengthen job growth, and the economic recovery no longer needs quite so much of the central bank's support.
Investors panicked and markets convulsed in the summer of 2013 when the Fed first hinted that this day was coming. But the Fed has since avoided all the drama by loudly announcing a schedule for the retreat and then adhering to it with absolute fidelity.
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The New York Times reports:
When the executives who distribute 5-Hour Energy, the popular caffeinated drinks, learned that attorneys general in more than 30 states were investigating allegations of deceptive advertising — a serious financial threat to the company — they moved quickly to shut the investigations down, one state at a time.Imagine that.
But success did not come in court or at a negotiating table.
Instead, it came at the opulent Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California, with its panoramic ocean views, where more than a dozen state attorneys general had gathered last year for cocktails, dinners and fund-raisers organized by the Democratic Attorneys General Association. A lawyer for 5-Hour Energy roamed the event, setting her sights on Attorney General Chris Koster of Missouri, whose office was one of those investigating the company.
“My client just received notification that Missouri is on this,” the lawyer, Lori Kalani, told him.
Ms. Kalani’s firm, Dickstein Shapiro, had courted the attorney general at dinners and conferences and with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Mr. Koster told Ms. Kalani that he was unaware of the investigation, and he reached for his phone and called his office. By the end of the weekend, he had ordered his staff to pull out of the inquiry, a clear victory for 5-Hour Energy.
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The New York Times reports:
How small is the field of competitive House races? So narrow that just 25 contests account for 80 percent of all reported outside spending in the general election.The great moments of politics .
The Cook Political Report rates 38 seats either as tossups or leaning toward one party or the other, but among groups operating outside the district like super PACs, the concentration is even tighter: Half of all independent spending reported to the Federal Election Commission for general election races has gone to just a dozen seats, with two apiece in Arizona and Illinois.
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The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
A Northwestern University professor accused in a lawsuit of attempting to sexually assault a former student is now suing his accuser for defamation, claiming she made false accusations that invaded his privacy and hindered his career prospects.Shouldn't the Chicago Sun-Times name the accuser since she is being sued in court???
Peter Ludlow, a philosophy professor at the Evanston university, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Ludlow alleges the student’s claims that he got her drunk and attempted to sexually assault her are “provably false.”
The allegations stem from a night in February 2012 when the student accompanied Ludlow to an interactive art show in the Loop.
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