Electoral vote predictions

Picking up on a comment by nova, here’s a link to a website where you can design your own electoral map. Then you can copy the URL into your comment for everyone else to see. Overall vote percentages, including minor party candidates, can be used as a tiebreaker.

If someone finds a better site to link, please add it into this post (or replace my link above).

Post Romney Options

To start the Romney campaign postmortems a little early, I’ll throw this out:

Romney was a horrible candidate for small government conservatives because everything he targeted in the budget for cuts was either insignificant symbolism (PBS) or what a majority of people consider a core government function (FEMA). That coupled with holding entitlements sacrosanct and increasing defense made his plans implausible to begin with.

No where in a Romney campaign speech was the fact that the average senior takes out three times as much as they have paid in to the entitlement system (here meaning Medicare & Social Security combined) and that is unsustainable. This campaign was not about making tough budget choices.

How Lifetime Benefits and Contributions Point the Way Toward Reforming Our Senior Entitlement Programs

However, the Republicans do have a candidate available to make this argument, and it’s Chris Christie. This piece from the NYTimes magazine is worth a reread:

“How Chris Christie Did His Homework
Mark Peterson for The New York Times
By MATT BAI
Published: February 24, 2011”

How Chris Christie Did His Homework

If anyone can sell entitlment reform, he can:

“Christie, it turns out, has a preternatural gift for making the complex seem deceptively simple. Last month I saw him hold forth at a town-hall meeting in Chesilhurst, a South Jersey borough of about 1,600. Chesilhurst is about half African-American, and I sensed more curiosity than enthusiasm among the racially mixed crowd as it flowed into the little community-center gymnasium. An unusually large number of folding chairs were empty. About 20 minutes after the program was supposed to start, there came over the loudspeakers the kind of melodramatic instrumental that might introduce a local newscast, or maybe an Atlantic City magic show, and in came Christie, taking his position in the center of the crowd. The theme of the week was pension-and-benefits reform, and in his introductory remarks, Christie explained the inefficiency in the state’s health care costs not by wielding a stack of damning statistics, as some politicians might, but by relating a story.

When he was a federal prosecutor, Christie told the audience, he got to choose from about 100 health-insurance plans, ranging from cheap to quite expensive. But as soon as he became governor, the “benefits lady” told him he had only three state plans from which to choose, Goldilocks-style; one was great, one was modestly generous and one was rather miserly. And any of the three would cost him exactly 1.5 percent of his salary.

“ ‘You’re telling me,’ ” Christie said he told the woman, feigning befuddlement, “ ‘that no matter which one I pick, the good one or the O.K. one or the bad one, I’m going to pay 1½ percent of my salary?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’

“And I said, ‘Then everyone picks the really good one, right?’ And she said, ‘Ninety-six percent of state employees pick the really good one.’

“Which led me to have two reactions,” Christie told the crowd. “First, bring those other 4 percent to me! Because when I have to start laying people off, they’re the first ones!” His audience burst into near hysterics. “And the second reaction was, of course I would choose the best plan,” Christie said, “and so would you.

“Now listen, I don’t think this is groundbreaking stuff,” Christie added. “I don’t think this means that instead of being governor, you know, I should be at NASA, working on the space shuttle. I’m no genius. Just seems to me that if you give people an option to get something for nothing, they’ll take it.” Scanning the nodding faces around me, it seemed there wasn’t a person in the gymnasium, at that point, who wouldn’t have voted to make state workers and teachers pay more for the better plan.”

What the @$%?! Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas

Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 4:37 PM

LOS ANGELES — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/disney-says-it-is-buying-star-wars-maker-lucasfilm-for-405-billion-from-george-lucas/2012/10/30/dc0ace18-22cc-11e2-92f8-7f9c4daf276a_story.html?hpid=z4

Storm Fallout

Here in Maryland we seem to have escaped the brunt of Hurricane Sandy but with New Jersey and New York taking the greatest damage. I was living in West Palm Beach when Hurricane Andrew sliced through south Dade County, making it twice that I have been on the fringe of major storms.

Whenever I hear of hurricanes heading for New York I always think of the cautionary tale of the Citicorp Building where the structural engineer, through a series of propitious events, discovered that the building was susceptible to collapse under certain wind conditions. The New Yorker has one of the most succinct and lucid accounts of the event.

This resulted in a crash program to remediate the building’s structure which was successfully completed before any major storm struck the building. This one example is a cautionary tale about engineering professionalism. One should always do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

And no discussion of wind and structures is complete without a reference to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse which is shown in about every freshman engineering class ever.

Open post for storm and disaster stories:

Monday Open Thread 10/29/2012

On the off chance that Brent can’t do the morning report today due to the hurricane, here’s an open thread. Also, for those who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the PBS Frontline episode on the 2012 election:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/choice-2012/

YouTube:

[A Woefully Inadequate] Saturday Football Thread (Week 9)

Ah, apparently Michi is not posting a football thread, and apparently I did not fully credit how much I enjoyed them.  Not sure which teams need to be tracked here, but if everybody would insert their teams into the post it would be appreciated.  For the ones I know about:

Not to play favorites, I think the top game this week is ND at OU.  It should be quite a game, although I don’t really get the spread (OU by 12) unless the perception is that Jones is getting in the groove at qb and the offense finally is gelling for OU.  Boomer Sooner!

UT is at KS.  KS is living by itself in the Big 12 cellar, so have to assume UT was favored but don’t have a spread.  KS was ahead much of the game but UT pulled it out in the last minute 21-17.  Tough year for the Horns.  Mark, any insight on what’s going on here?

MSU is at #25 WI (spread WI by 5.5).  Michi, this could be a big win for your guys.

USF hosts Syracuse this evening (spread USF by 3).  Mike, is this “your” team?

BYU will play soon at GT (spread GT by 2.5).

osu is favored by 1.5 at PSU.  Hope I’m wrong, but I think this one might be a snoozer.

#22 Michigan is at NE (spread NE by 1).  This might be a pretty good game.

Not sure who among us is an MN fan, but they host Purdue which is favored by 2.

In some other Top 25 games, #2 FL at #10 GA (spread FL by 6.5) and #14 Texas Tech at #3 Kansas State (spread KSU by 7.5) might be worth a watch.  And of course unbeatens #11 Miss St at #1 AL (spread Bama by 22.5); don’t think Miss St is the one destined to pull off the upset.

So who did I miss?

And who has a World Series report?

Morning Report 10/26/12

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1403.7 -4.5 -0.32%
Eurostoxx Index 2481.1 -2.3 -0.09%
Oil (WTI) 86.11 0.1 0.07%
LIBOR 0.313 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.18 0.138 0.17%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.78% -0.04%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 193.9 -0.1  

Markets are flat after a better than expected GDP report offset the earnings miss from Apple. Surprisingly, bonds and MBS are rallying on the GDP number. Not sure what to make of that.

3Q GDP came in at +2%, higher than the +1.8% expectation.  This is the “advance estimate,” which means the source data are still incomplete, so the number will be subject to two revisions.  Increases in consumption and government spending were offset by a drop in nonresidential fixed investment. 

The NAR is forecasting that home prices will increase by 3.25% in 2013 based on its survey of 50,000 real estate practitioners.  

If Obama wins re-election, Ed DeMarco’s days at FHFA are probably numbered. To overcome Republican opposition, he will probably be fired and replaced while Congress is in recess. He has continued to butt heads with the Administration over principal reductions for GSE loans.

The MR may be a casualty of Sandy next week.  Hopefully not.

 

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