NDN Blog

10/22 Roundup: Obama Rising, Blue Hoosiers, Clotheshorse Palin

Leader: Obama Rising

- Just when you thought McCain might be making a run, the polls have broken back in Obama's direction. A WSJ/NBC pollhas Obama up 10, an NYT/CBS poll shows how the public has warmed toObama while cooling toward McCain, and a Pew poll favors Obama by 14 (if it smells like an outlier...).CNN's poll of polls has Obama up 9, and RCP puts it at 7.6. As Simon wrote this morning, this could end up in an historically huge win for Obama.

- Old Man McCain is struggling to make a come back, flubbing the attack lines in his stump speeches. Sunday's NY Times Magazine will have an in-depth piece on the McCain campaign, which, frankly, isn't likely to help him either.


- An NY Times editorial makes the continued call to keep people in their homes. Without efforts to fix the mortgages themselves, we'll only have half a bailout. Nevertheless, as Rob Shapiro was quoted as saying yesterday, The Times writes that bailing out homeowners is more complicated than it seems.

- David Rothkopf, who spoke at an NDN event last week, wrote in yesterday's FT about  competition faced by the IMF.  

Election '08

- The NYT writes on this year's surge in early voting. The votes are tending to break toward Obama. Washington Wire reports that early voting is particularly big in North Carolina.

- Barney Smith isn't the only Indianan behind Obama... Salon reports on how the Dems might score an upset in the Hoosier state.

- In a WaPo OpEd, Ruth Marcus writes on McCain's uncivil campaign, particularly his encouragement of the notion that Obama is a socialist. Salon lampooned that idea yesterday.

- Jonathan Alter at Newsweek writes on the grim possibility of a bin Laden endorsement of Obama, and how the campaign might respond.


- Simon Robinson reports from Islamabad for Time, covering the ill will in the Pakistani military toward American incursions over the border.

- India is putting an unmanned craft on the moon.

One More Thing

- The RNC has spend $150 thousand dollars on  Sarah Palin's wardrobe in the past few months.  But it's not so much. The Obama campaign raises about $150k in an average hour.

- Joe the Plumber? Meh.  How about Eric the CEO of Google? I'd take the latter.

- Rep. Hayes of North Carolina believes that liberals hate real Americans. So the question returns... where are the unreal Americans? Do they reside exclusively in unreal parts of America like Arlingon, Virginia?

- Last, one of the upsides of the financial crisis has been greatly increased airtime for Barney Frank.  Here he is arguing for deficit spending to support the second stimulus:



10/21 Roundup: Happy Bankers, Unhappy Homeowners, Talking Moose

Leader: Economy Still Broken

- The credit markets looked up yesterday for the first time in a while. And the dollar is as high as it has been against the Euro in a year and a half.
But things are still not getting any better for average families. The lead story from USA Today covers the rising number of homeless families with children.  This is likely due to the high rates of foreclosure.  The LA Times, meanwhile, has the first in a 3-part series on the dismal state of our health care system.

- The Treasury is pressing for more bank mergers, but Rob Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative, is quoted in an article running in both the NYT and the IHT bringing the focus back on homeowners: “There’s no inexpensive, easy way to address the terms of people’s mortgages. I think that’s why they haven’t addressed it.”

Election '08

- The McCain campaign has all but written off Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico, and is grasping for a way to win without them.

- Barack Obama has seized the endorsements of 26 newspapers that went for Bush in 2004.

- Obama will take a couple days off from campaigning to be with his grandmother, whose health has recently taken a turn for the worse.

- According to a recent Zogby poll, likely Hispanic voters favor Obama in ever-increasing numbers.

- As presciently forecasted yesterday, Joe Biden released his medical records yesterday.  Old Man McCain still has not.


- Locking up "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay was a huge mistake, write Ken Ballen and Peter Bergen for Foreign Policy.

- India and Pakistan have opened up a trade route in the contested Kashmir region for the first time since the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.

One More Thing

- Yesterday, NDN President Simon Rosenberg was featured on NPR affiliate WAMU during their daily "Power Breakfast." To Listen, click here:

- Last, the talking moose contingent of the electorate is in the bag for Obama:

10/20 Roundup: Obama Wins the Weekend, Cindy Got Whacked, Early Voting

PowellLeader: Obama Wins the Weekend

- Barack Obama keeps swatting 'em out of the park. As previously featured on this blog, he attracted 100,000 people to a rally in Saint Louis, and another 75,000 in Kansas City. Colin Powell gave a ringing endorsement of Obama on Meet the Press-- a great tactical victory for Obama, writes Mark Halperin of Time. Perhaps mot significantly, Obama raised a whopping $150 million in the month of September- divided among 3.1 million donors, that comes out to an average of just under $50 per donation.

- Regardless, as Simon predicted, and Ezra Klein quoted, McCain has picked up a few points in the race, getting to the middle forties. This is likely exogenous to recent events-- just a natural shift of a few undecided voters into the McCain column. McCain loves being the underdog anyway, so he'd prefer to be behind right now, anyway. For his part, Joe Biden thinks the Powell endorsement should just about wrap things up.

- Obama is now in Florida with Hillary Clinton, promoting early voting. As many as one-third of voters may cast their ballots early, and most of them are going Democratic.


- As NDN has advocated, a consensus is emerging around the need for deficit spending. In that vein, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has suggested he supports the idea of a second economic stimulus, providing it is "well-targeted."

- China, meanwhile, is planning a stimulus of their own.

Election '08

- The latest argument of the McCain campaign is that, given the potential filibuster-proof majority Democrats will enjoy in the Senate, the American electorate cannot afford to elect a Democratic president, for the sake of divided government.  Weak sauce, I say, and Political Scientist Morris Fiorina, interviewed by Andrew Romano of Newsweek agrees.

- Watching the party disintegrate, John Heilemann wonders if the eggheads and the Joe Six-Packs of the Republican party can continue to get along.

- Candidates are still making a secret of their health. Joe Biden has said he will release his health records before the election.  Will John McCain do the same?

- Cindy McCain got whacked by the Grey Lady on Saturday. McCain isn't reading the Times' "gutter journalism," and is advising his wife to do the same. 

- The Chicago Tribune endorsed Obama this weekend.  That's the first time they've ever backed a Democrat.


- Foreign Policy has seven questions for Jeff Sachs about the prospects for the poor in the dismal economy.

- Iran is facing trouble stemming from the recent drop in oil prices.

- Presidents Bush, Sarkozy and others are planning a series of global summits to reconsider the foundation of the global economy.

One More Thing

- It's over! So says an Irish bookie, who's already making payments for bets on Obama.

- Sarah Palin favors the systematic execution of whales. Or something like that.

- Well, it happened. The Real Sarah Palin went on SNL. The show netted its best ratings in fourteen years. But it wasn't really that funny.

- Speaking of things that are real, McCain operative Nancy Pfotenhauer doesn't think Northern Virginia is real.  Marc Ambinder gives her the benefit of the doubt, and suggests that she, along with Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, are blessed with the ability to see in ten dimensions, and have a deeper understanding of what is real than the rest of us. This breakthrough in physics should have them up for the Nobel Prize.

- Last, early voting starts today in Florida. Here's a fun new ad from Obama urging you, yes YOU, good citizen, to go out and pull that lever.

Ad Wars: It Gets Worse

The Obama campaign goes after the elder vote with this new ad, waging an ever-more intense attack on the McCain health care plan. If I were dependent on Medicare or Medicaid, I'd be spooked.

10/17 Roundup: Poll Crazy, Sam the Not-Plumber, Obama Makes it Funny

Sam the Not-Plumber

Leader: Poll Crazy

- The Wall Street Journal runs the headline "Surveys Split on Who Has Lead in Presidential Race," which is odd, because, as the article mentions in paragraph four, "Sen. Obama leads in every national poll."  Their point, basically, is that nobody knows how much to trust the polls.

-  The polls are governing the strategies of both campaigns. "West Virginia is real," says Obama campaign chairman David Plouffe, but stepped back slightly to say that Virginia and Colorado were the once-red states that Obama had the best chance of winning.

- Simon wrote this morning that we should expect McCain to gain some ground in the polls over the next few weeks.  Things may be tightening up already.


- OPEC has called an emergency meeting as oil prices slipped below $70/barrel. Prices have dropped thanks to the global economic slowdown, which has led to a reduction in demand. If prices stabilize around $70 or $80/barrel, as seems likely, economists suggest the effect would be like a big economic stimulus all by itself. Still, such a stimulus would not likely jump-start the economy, as people would be more likely to shore up savings accounts than to spend it all.

- Paul Krugman advises the federal government not to worry about the deficit right now. Maggie made a similar case here for deficit spending last week. Likewise, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative Rob Shapiro is quoted on the front page of today's Washington Times, talking about the necessity of deficit spending.

Election '08

- I wanted to devote this entire post to Joe the Plumber. But I refrained. Still, some important developments in the saga: He is neither a plumber, nor is his name Joe.  He does not make more than $250,000/year, and it is not likely he will any time soon. He's been delinquent in paying the taxes he does owe. And did I mention that he "hates" social security?

- Writing for the Washington Post, Dan Balz wonders what more McCain can do. NDN President Simon Rosenberg is quoted talking about what the American people see in the candidates: "In Senator Obama, they've decided they see a future president. In Senator McCain, they see an admirable but aging politician who seems a little out of step with the moment."

- Joe Klein of Time agrees with Simon, writing that McCain's campaign sounds anachronistic.

- In Newsweek, Howard Fineman wonders whether the Bradley effect or the Facebook effect will be more powerful.


- The suddenly-popular Gordon Brown has an op-ed in today's Washington Post, arguing in favor of new rules for the global economy. Nicolas Sarkozy will be in Washington today, to discuss the topic with President Bush.

- Pakistan is facing a financial crisis of its own, and it has turned to China for help. True, the two states have a long history of cooperation, but Kevin Drum notes that this could be seen as a small canary in the coal mine-- a harbinger of China's future power in the international economic system.

- Writing in the New York Review of Books, Bill McKibben calls Tom Friedman's new book, Hot Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution-- and How It Can Renew America, his best yet. It's a good "snapshot of current dilemmas," if not the "oracle" it aspires to be.

One More Thing

- It's true! Sarah Palin will be on SNL.

- McCain confessed and apologized to David Letterman.

- Last, Obama makes it funny at the Al Smith dinner:

Ad Wars: Fight

This new ad from the McCain campaign has a lot in common with Splenda. It has no substance, no power, no weight. It is sickly sweet, yet there's something faintly evil about it. And the only people who will like it are people who can't handle the real thing.

His patronizing statement "Your savings? We'll rebuild them. Your investments? They'll grow again" is about as convincing and reassuring as a doctor saying your tumors will probably go away on their own.


10/16 Roundup: Joe the Plumber, Joe the Plumber, Joe the Plumber

McCain Makes a Grab for the LeadLeader: Debating the Debate

- Does he know Joe Six-Pack?  Is he Joe Six-Pack? It's hard to say, but the clear winner of last night's presidential debate was neither Barack Obama nor John McCain, but Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who, after disagreeing with Obama last week, has become the centerpiece and touchstone of McCain's economic argument. Katie Couric got an interview with Joe. 

- McCain was on the attack last night, and by general consensus, was at his best. Also by general consensus, his performance still wasn't enough to beat Obama, and certainly not enough to have an impact on the election. Cool-as-a-Moose Obama was, as usual, imperturbable. Even Joe the Plumber can't fix a busted campaign, writes E.J. Dionne in the Post.

- As Karen Tumulty writes, it's not a good sign when the focus group is laughing at you. The CNN and FOX focus groups both went for Obama last night. Similar returns came back from national post-debate polls.


- Wall Street was mired in doom and gloom yesterday, with the Dow taking its worst drop in 21 years, just days after one of its biggest gains in history.

- Markets are already down again this morning.

- Switzerland's two biggest banks will be getting support from outside investors.

Election '08

- Matt Bai has an article in the New York Times Magazine chronicling Obama's quest to court the working class. While in the New York Review of Books, Mark Danner comments on Obama's stump style.

- Obama's bold and unprecedented buy of a half-hour of airtime on the major networks the week before the election just got its wow-factor boosted:  As Melissa wrote yesterday, FOX has agreed to push back a potential Game 6 of the World Series to make room for Barack's ad.

- Younger (millenial) households are more likely to be cell-phone only, and tend to skew Democratic. Mark Blumenthal thinks these people are underrepresented in polls.

- Want to talk swing states? Forget Florida.  Joe Biden wants West Virginia. It increasingly looks like McCain will be playing "Red State Hold 'em."

- Ben Smith publishes a wild letter from a Republican Field Operative, describing people who plain old don't like Obama, but are voting for him anyway.


- In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is mocking "Comrade Bush for his left turn.

- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is seeking a more robust force in Afghanistan, and General David Petraeus is launching a major review of U.S. military strategy across the Middle East.

One More Thing

- The PBS documentary Latinos '08, featuring NDN President Simon Rosenberg, among others, got a glowing review in today's Washington Post.

- Last, Barack's original conversation with Joe the Plumber:


10/15 Roundup: McCain's Mountain, Reality Bites, God's Reputation

Obama's LeadLeader: Looking up a Cliff

- The last of the presidential debates will be held tonight on Long Island. Going into it, John McCain is facing an increasingly massive deficit in the polls, and a host of strategic challenges. A NYT/CBS poll has Obama up 53%-39%-- a whopping 14 percentage points. An LA Times/Bloomberg poll has Obama up 9, and DemFromCT reports that these big numbers have held steady for Obama over the past few days.

- So what can McCain do tonight to save himself? It's a dicey situation, because, as some of these same polls note, Obama's debate performances have helped him a great deal, and McCain's negative attacks have become self-inflicted wounds. Obama has delivered two debate performances characterized by his preternatural calm and has given the American people the impression of someone who has kept a clear head through this financial storm. As Adam Nagourney writes, the only thing holding Obama back before was the American voters' unfamiliarity with him, and now that people are getting a good sense of him, they like what they see.

- Mike Madden at Salon wonders which John McCain will show up to the debate tonight, 


- Reality came home to roost yesterday, and stocks pulled back from Monday's big gains.  Early news says the same is happening today in Europe and Asia. The NY Times reports that the outlook for profits and jobs is still grim. 

Election '08

- Early voting is catching on, and Georgia is a prime example, where already, more people have cast their ballots than voted early in 2004.

- Nate Silver at 538 looks at  the returns on early voters (they favor Obama), and suggests that pollsters are vastly underestimating the way young and minority voters could swing this election.

- Emily Yoffe at Slate writes that the odious mortgage market could turn Florida for Obama.

- The ever incisive Christopher Hitchens endorses Obama in Slate.

- Jonathan Raban has a character profile of Sarah Palin in the London Review of Books.  It gives a better picture of her pre-VP days than anything else I've read.


- A new intelligence report says that Pakistan-- the world's scariest nuclear state-- is "on the edge," and describes it as a state with "no money, no energy, no government.

- An NY Times editorial warns that Afghanistan-- the real front in the war on terror-- is in a downward spiral, and that the U.S. needs to send additional troops, pronto.

One More Thing

- NDN President Simon Rosenberg is quoted in the New York Observer talking about Obama's (electoral) nuclear weapons.

- Last, a pastor reminds God that his reputation is at stake in this election:


9/14 Roundup: Bipolar Markets, McCain Lost at Sea, Levi Johnston was Like Whatever

Leader: How the Dow got its Points Back

- The S&P 500 rose 11.6% yesterday-- the biggest single-day rise since 1939-- on news that the government would buy minority stakes in the major banks. $250 billion will go to buy stock in America's banks-- half to be divided among the nine largest, and the other half for everyone else. There was apparently some reluctance among the representatives of the Big Nine, but as Secretary Paulson told them, they didn't really have much choice in the matter.

Election '08

- Kos' DemFromCT poll analysis has Obama above 50% in nearly every poll. He's pulling away in the battleground states, and in Pennsylvania, McCain's unfavorables are higher than his favorable ratings.

- According to the Hill, McCain has been alienating his base on the economy.  According to the Wall Street Journal, he's been alienating his major donors. According to Washington Wire, he's alienating the people who show up to his rallies.  And according to just about everyone, he's alienating the press. Politico wants to know: Who's running the show here?

Warning Level- As things get crazier for McCain, likelihood of campaign stunts rises.  538's Nate Silver has given us a system to know the threat.  I'd say we're a solid yellow right now.

- McCain's campaign raised eyebrows yesterday when it announced he would release new economic plans, and then didn't.  Today, he's got the plans: Tax cuts.

- Obama released an updated plan of his own yesterday. It includes tax credits to encourage job creation, allowing people to borrow from retirement
savings without a tax penalty, elimination of income taxes on
unemployment benefits, and a doubling of
loan guarantees for automakers. He's also called for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.

- Hillary summed the plan up well with her new line: "Jobs, baby, jobs."

- House Democrats, meanwhile, are cooking up a plan for a big stimulus package.  NDN's Michael Moynihan has called for a stimulus that invests in clean infrastructure.

- Despite it all, Adam Nagourney reminds us that it's not over 'til it's over. Dan Balz, likewise, still has questions for Obama.

One Last Thing

- The AP has a profile on the season's most unlikely political celebrity: Levi Johnston. Going to the RNC, at first he was nervous, but then he was, like, whatever.

- BarackObama.com now lets you calculate (and fantasize about) the tax cut you'll receive under his administration.

- The San Fran. Chronicle reports on how the candidates have avoided the immigration issue, but NDN President Simon Rosenberg is quoted as saying it's "not a third rail."

- Chair of the NDN Globalization Initiative Rob Shapiro is quoted talking about America's flood insurance debt in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

- Last, though he's hammered Acorn lately, turns out McCain didn't oppose the group back when it was politically expedient:



Black Holes and Time Bombs: Derivatives and Credit Default Swaps

The Dow and the S&P 500 are both up about 8% today, so if you really need a sigh of relief, we'll let you take one now.

But don't enjoy it too much, because there are still serious holes in the global economy, and nobody knows how deep they are. As I mentioned this morning, the Independent had a story yesterday about the derivitive market. Worth about ten times the value of the entire world's output, it's called a "time-bomb," a "black hole" and a "weapon of mass destruction." The scariest part about them is that so few people, if any, really understand their full complexity.

Fortune focuses on the most volitile piece of the derivatives market: Credit default swaps. A couple of really excellent charts lay plain just how quickly the ubiquity of these instruments has grown, and the dramatic volume they have reached over just the past decade. Both articles are well-worth reading.

Syndicate content