We are 6 days out, and here are the latest “odds” from some of the pundits and betting sites:
InTrade – 63.9% chance of Obama re-election
Princeton Election Consortium – 93%
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight – 77.4%
Betfair – 71.4%
Iowa Electronic Markets – 62.5%
In short…all showing more movement to Obama. Margins are still tight in individual state polls, but Obama consistent outpolls Romney in enough of the swing states to reach the magic 270 mark. Romney is simply running out of time to change the direction of the race, and Hurricane Sandy certainly doesn’t help him. For one, it takes the election off the front pages for at least a few days. Secondly, it puts Obama in the spotlight. Images are sure to come out today of Obama and N.J. Governor Chris Christie touring damaged areas in New Jersey. A “presidential” moment, and a situation where Obama has already been praised by multiple political enemies for the Federal response to Sandy.
Posted in Politics
Tagged 538, bet, Betfair, betting, blog, Chris Christie, consortium, election, Electronic, FiveThirtyEight, hurricane, InTrade, Iowa, Market, Nate Silver, obama, odds, percentage, poll, polling, presidential, Princeton, Romney, Sandy
Who would you rather have deal with disaster relief after something as devastating as Hurricane Sandy? The Federal Government? Or for-profit private industry? Government obviously has important roles to play in society, despite what one side will have you believe in this election.
Sandy has certainly proven to be the superstorm it was labeled, with massive flooding and damage as it slammed ashore in New Jersey last night. There’s certainly plenty of coverage on Sandy in the media, and I won’t focus on the storm or storm damage itself. I will comment though on a peripheral effect of Sandy…helping to clarify what this election is all about.
The New York Times today has a very nice editorial on the role of government in times like this. As they state a “bit storm requires big government”. Response to a disaster is of course one of many important roles the government plays. However, to Romney and Republicans, ANY Federal government task, outside of making sure we have 10 times as many weapons as the next guy, is better relegated to states, or better yet, the private sector. Romney was asked about the role of FEMA in a Republican debate late last year, and stated that it was “immoral” to provide disaster relief, given the effects on the debt. He goes on to say that FEMA tasks should be given to states themselves, or better yet, to private industry.
Mr. Romney, do you think the victims of Katrina thought it was “immoral” for the government to provide assistance in the face of a horrible disaster? They probably thought Bush’s handling of the disaster was “immoral”, especially given how the Bush administration weakened FEMA during his administration. But I guarantee you that victims of a national disaster such as Katrina or Sandy would NOT feel more comfortable having states handle such situations. As much of a Obama basher as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is, ask him if he thinks his state can handle this situation on their own.
An even WORSE idea is Romney’s suggestion that such disaster relief be placed in the hands of private industry. JUST what is needed in times of natural disaster…a capitalistic approach, and an opportunity to make a buck off of other people’s misery.
I’m not even surprised any more at how incredibly short people’s memories are, or how they understand basic political, economic, and social events in this country. The Bush administration did everything they could to lessen government regulation, to let capitalism run unfettered by government restraint…and helped to lead us straight into the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Four short years later, when a recovery has taken hold, when housing prices are rising, when unemployment is falling…and there’s a significant chance that Americans will be voting in another Republican administration who wants to cut government regulation, and privatize a government function as critical as FEMA and disaster response.
I wish those in the Northeast all the best as they try to recover from this storm. It certainly is going to make life a lot harder for a lot of folks over the next several weeks and months. But as an underfunded FEMA attempts to handle one of the largest natural disasters to hit the U.S., I hope that one tiny silver lining to the event is that it clarifies for many just what is on the line in this election.
Posted in Politics
Tagged Chris Christie, damage, death, disaster, election, FEMA, government, hurricane, New England, New Jersey, New York, Northeast, obama, private, privatize, relief, response, role, Romney, Sandy, state, storm, superstorm
If there were such a thing as karma, this would be Eric Cantor's house floating down river.
What good is a disaster if you can’t use it to further your own political agenda? The East Coast has been hit by an earthquake and a very damaging hurricane in the past week, and Eric Cantor is out on Fox (where else?) saying that disaster relief shouldn’t be given unless there are budget cuts elsewhere. Cantor said his support to fund $1 billion more in disaster relief is tied to the 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security…which contains FEMA operational cuts of 6%, and slashes funding for emergency first responders by a whopping 40%.
Good ol’ GOP logic! Pay for a disaster by…worsening our ability to respond to future disasters! Well, I shouldn’t say this is just GOP logic. It’s the same kick-the-can down the road strategy Congress as a whole deals with most issues that confront them. I do find this particularly distasteful though. FEMA is already running low on disaster funding and is temporarily pulling funding from the Joplin tornado and other previous disasters to help respond to Hurricane Irene damage. But despite the government’s growing inability to help citizens affected by disasters, Cantor goes on Fox News and says disaster funding needs to be balanced by budget cuts elsewhere. I’m sure that’s very comforting to folks in Vermont and elsewhere who have had their homes and businesses swept away by flood waters.
YES, we need to balance our budget. But we also need to help OUR OWN CITIZENS when they are most in need of assistance. This kind of inflexibility that seems to be the new stance of the GOP is what would cripple our ability to respond to future disasters, wars, or economic emergency, especially if they are able to shove through a strict balanced budget amendment. GOP, if you INSIST on cutting something to balance disaster funding, how about starting with your own salaries? Oh wait, that’s right…some members of congress right now aren’t happy with how “little” they are being paid, so we can’t cut their salaries. How about cutting defense spending? No, we can’t do that…we have to continue funding training for first responders in Afghanistan…at SIX TIMES as much annual funding as provided to first responders in our own country.
I wonder why Congress is polling at its lowest approval rating in history right now?
When life gives you lemons...birders make the most of a weather disaster
A follow up on an earlier post about “hurricane birding”. According to this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer, birders in the Northeast evidently did indeed see a number of rarities blown in by Hurricane Irene.
I’ve seen general estimates on the economic impact of birding. It would be neat to try and estimate local economic impacts when rarities are spotted. In South Dakota, we had a VERY out of place Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush appear in the Black Hills last year. Birders from around South Dakota flocked to see it, since it was the only live bird of this tropical species ever spotted in the United States (and in South Dakota!!). But there were also birders from all around the country who flew or drove in to see the bird. With rental cars, hotels, restaurants, gas, and other expenses for all of these birders, I’m sure the economic dollar amount attached to this one bird was quite substantial!
Hurricane Irene, harbinger of...good birding opportunities?
You have to love the one-track mind birders often have. A hurricane is roaring up the East Coast? Terrific! Birding opportunities galore!!
There’s a page on eBird that is providing updates and tips on birding opportunities brought by Hurricane Irene. I love how the “Breaking News” section is first, where I presume sightings of rare birds blown in by the storm will be posted. It’s only after that, that eBird reminds birders about safety.
I can’t say as we get many wayward birds blown in by hurricanes here in South Dakota, so I can’t speak from a position of experience. I also do know the heartache Hurricane Irene is likely to cause this weekend, and I feel for folks being impacted. But, if you’re on the East Coast, and you’re a birder, maybe this is some (VERY SMALL!) silver lining! (Stay safe…)
Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…
Merriam-Webster adds “Tweet”, other new words - It certainly tells you a lot about today’s culture when you see the new words that have been added. Helicopter Parents? Boomerang Child? Bromance? I can honestly say that while these are now words or phrases listed in Merriam-Webster, I truly doubt I will ever find a situation where I will use these words in casual conversation. And BTW, my spell checker is really choking over the term Bromance.
Top 100 Most Powerful Women - Oh c’mon. Michelle Bachmann? 22nd most powerful woman in the world? She’s gotten attention to this point for what…acting like a complete buffoon? Sure, the media has paid attention to her because wackiness sells, but sorry Michelle, you’re being out-wacko’d by Rick Perry now. Your 15 minutes of fame have lasted far too long already, and it would come as a complete shock to me if you are ever ranked this high again. And don’t get me started on Palin being #34 on this list. Please tell me WHAT she has accomplished the last 2 years to deserve that ranking?
Dorothy Burlingham’s Twins - Ah, if only my parents would have read this before I was born! You see, I am a twin. And I am scarred for life, after being forced to wear matching twin cloths as a young child. Twins need independence, says Burlingham!!! My twin brother and I have never been close, a situation that hasn’t really changed since we’ve gotten older. I blame matching outfits worn as a 2-year old. We may be the only twins on earth who sometimes forget each other’s birthdays (sad, but true!!).
Irene Rare, Dangerous Hurricane - First an earthquake, and now the East Coast is going to get brushed with a hurricane. As one who lived in D.C. for a couple of years and witnessed the entire area completely shut down if 2 inches of snow fell, I can only imagine the apocalyptic images going through the minds of folks living there! Hopefully it turns a little further east than expected.
Vaccines Generally Safe – The National Academy of Sciences says vaccines are safe. Jenny McCarthy says they cause autism. Guess who many people believe? Damn scientists…we’re always lying. It’s those checks we always get to keep participating in conspiracies such as these. Buw-wah-ha-ha-ha (he cackles evilly).
87% in U.S. Disapprove of Congress – This is one of those rare cases where I actually agree with the majority of the American public.
Posted in Perusin' & Musin', Politics, Scientific Awareness
Tagged autism, Congress, Dorothy Burlingham, Forbes, hurricane, irene, Jenny McCarthy, merriam-webster, Michelle Bachmann, sarah Palin, twins, vaccine