March 10, 2008

Fox: Eliot Spitzer to May Resign as NY Guv, Possibly to Be Indicted

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:36 pm

The Fox story is about his apparently imminent resignation. The New York Times, AP, and Bloomberg also have coverage. Saturation will certainly follow.

Allah at Hot Air, in the updates, is also saying that “sources tell Fox that Spitzer’s been indicted.”

The short-term well of sympathy for Eliot Spitzer around here is bone dry, but I obviously wish everyone, including Eliot, the best in the long-term, including what comes after this life. The short-and long-term sympathy wells for his family, friends, and others adversely affected, run wide and deep.

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UPDATE, 4PM: If he’s going to resign, he hasn’t said so yet, based on his press announcement. The Fox headline hasn’t changed, but the text notes the non-resignation thus far. My guess: He’s going to gauge public reax first before deciding whether to give it up.

UPDATE 2, 4:10 PM: Per Allah, Neil Cavuto at Fox Business is saying that the resignation will come “later today.”

UPDATE 3, 4:20 PM: His statement’s “progressive values” schtick was way too much for this observer to handle. Lefties should be outraged at that gambit, which I see as telling everyone, in essence, “I’m too important to progressivism to go away, so I need to stay.” Castro’s “la causa,” so to speak.

I hope Spitzer thought that one up on his own, because any adviser who believed that line of argument would be effective should be fired on the spot.

UPDATE 4, 4:30 PM: IIRC, Spitzer did guest stints at Daily Kos in Summer 2007. If I’m right, do you think Kos will scrub Spitzer’s entries? Actually, the entries (here ["Congratulations on a Great Weekend"]and here ["Why I'm Suing the Bush Administration"]) are not as ironic as some of the comments.

UPDATE 5, 10PM: No action on Spitzer’s part yet. I guess they’re focus-grouping the situation to see if they think Spitzer can survive without resigning, and to see if the Democratic Party’s situation will suffer if he stays on.

UPDATE 6, 12:25 a.m.: CBS News is reporting “Spitzer Resignation Expected.” The first video at the link (first of a continuous series) indicates that the state’s GOP, which I believe has a legislative majority is in the minority in Albany (corrected on March 11 — Ed.), is saying it will give Spitzer 24-48 hours before it begins impeachment proceedings. Hang in for the rest of the series for other details relating to the situation.

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Selected Previous Posts:
- Nov. 7, 2007 — Jim Cramer Needs to Get a Grip on What His ‘Friend’ Is Really Up To
- March 23, 2007 — Hank Greenberg Routs Eliot Spitzer; Wall Street Journal Almost Alone in Noting
- Aug. 31, 2006 — Bainbridge: Eliot Spitzer Wants to Be President
- June 14, 2006 — Eliot Spitzer Rolls Over for the NY State Teachers’ Union
- Dec. 22, 2005 — Elliot Spitzer: Sore Loser, Legal Tyrant (Yet Another Update)
- July 8, 2005 — Elliot Spitzer: Sore Loser, Legal Tyrant

Dem Delegate Math (031008)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:34 am

Here is my take on where it stands, and what it would take Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic presidential nomination (anyone with a correction can leave a comment of send an e-mail):

DemNomMath031008

The starting point is the current situation in the first chart, beginning with where it stands according to Real Clear Politics.

The RCP adjustment to Texas is there because, according to press reports like this one, the final Texas delegate tally is 98 for Obama (61 from the election plus 37 from the caucuses) and 95 for Clinton (65+30). RCP currently has it at 92-92, so I have added 6 for Obama and 3 for Clinton. Obama fans have been crowing that they “won” Texas by coming out of the Lone Star State with more delegates.

599 delegates will be contested in the remaining primaries, and there are, according to RCP, still 18 unpledged delegates in states where primaries have already been held (specifically, 10 in CO; 3 in Dems Abroad; 2 in OH; and 1 each in HI, DC, and RI).

The second chart shows that to win outright without gaining any additional superdelegates (“superdels”), Obama would have to win 70% of the remaining primary 617 delegates noted in the previous paragraph; Clinton would have to win 90% of them.

Barring an unanticipated meltdown in one of the campaigns, neither candidate will be able to win without getting more superdels. Mrs. Clinton will in all likelihood be mathematically unable to win without more superdels after Pennsylvania’s primary. The same will most likely happen to Obama after May 6′s North Carolina and Indiana primaries.

The third chart shows that if the two candidates fight to a draw for the remaining primary delegates, Obama will need to get 36% of the 340 unpledged superdelegates to win; Clinton will have to get 72% of them.

The raw math is clearly on Obama’s side. What no one can factor in is:

  • Superdels changing their minds, as has happened at least once already (with John Lewis in Georgia). It appears that any superdel can change his or her mind any time before the first ballot at the convention.
  • What the party does with Michigan and/or Florida, though I’m not sure either candidate will gain a clear majority of both states combined.
  • Pledged delegates changing their minds — something Mrs. Clinton made crystal clear is not off the table in a Newsweek interview:

    How can you win the nomination when the math looks so bleak for you?
    It doesn’t look bleak at all. I have a very close race with Senator Obama. There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they’re all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we’re going to follow the process.

    As Rich Lowry at the Corner says, it “Depends on What ‘Pledged’ Means.”

  • What John Edwards does. Even with only 26 delegates, he has the potential to be a kingmaker/queenmaker in the right set of circumstances.
  • Any other potential un-democratic Democratic tactics beyond what we’ve seen carried out or considered already.

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UPDATE: For all the hoopla over Hillary Clinton’s “resurgence,” the net result from OH, TX, RI, VT, and WY this past weekend is that, with three delegates pending in those states, she has cut Obama’s deficit by all of five delegates.

UPDATE 2: I’ll revise the above after Missisippi’s primary on Tuesday, and, thankfully, will be able to leave it alone for six weeks after that until Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary.

UPDATE 3: Hillary has three ideas for beating Obama — “….. win the popular vote, secure reruns in Florida and Michigan and undermine Obama’s credibility as the candidate to beat McCain.”

Context: French vs. U.S. Jobs Situation

According to this AP report, French unemployment is at its lowest level in 24 years — 7.8%. This story at Expatica.com from AFP has it lower:

he French jobless rate fell to 7.5 percent of the working population in the last quarter of 2007, according to official figures Thursday which the government hailed as the lowest level since 1983.

The data, from the statistics office INSEE, give an unemployment rate for France of 8.0 percent last year, down from 8.8 percent in 2006.

“This is historically the lowest figure since 1983,” Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said, citing the creation of 340,000 jobs last year.

Unemployment at 7.5% is good news in France. In the US, it would probably generate calls for impeachment.

Meanwhile, our unemployment rate drops to 4.8%, the second straight monthly decline, only 0.9% higher than the lowest reading in the 1990s, and 0.4% lower than the 1993-2000 average of 5.2%. Oh, and 284,000 fewer people were unemployed in February vs. December.

But because a more-imprecise measurement tells us that an estimated 105,000 fewer people were working at the end of February vs. thought to be working at the end of January (63,000 plus prior-month downward revisions, i.e., 0.07% of the workforce), the markets, giving in to months of opportunistic Old Media frenzy, and helped along by a patently false “workers are giving up” meme (see related links below), think the sky is falling. Zheesh.

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Related links:
- March 7 — February’s Employment Report (Updated for Media Mangling)
- March 7 (at NewsBusters) — AP Highlights Fewer Jobs, Ignores Steep Drop in Unemployed
- March 9 — AP’s ‘Workers Giving Up’ Claim Goes from ‘Perhaps’ to ‘Fact’ in 24 Hours, with No Credible Support

2008 Car Sales So Far, and Chrysler’s ‘Strategy’

Filed under: Business Moves,Corporate Outrage — Tom @ 6:06 am

Since I’ve been blogging, the foreign transplant car companies’ sales performance has consistently outperformed Detroit’s Big Three.

The first two months of this year of 2008 continued that trend. Here are the six largest companies’ January (Big Three; other three) and February sales results –
- General Motors: +2.8%, -12.9%
- Ford: -4.1%, -6.6%
- Chrysler: -12.1%, -14.0%
- Toyota: -2.3%, -2.8%
- Honda: -2.3, +4.9%
- Nissan: -7.3%, +1.2%

Every company is clearly struggling to make headway in the current economic environment. But as usual, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are having the toughest time.

GM clearly has serious challenges. Ford continues to court corporate suicide by ignoring a boycott that is cutting the company off from 10%-15% of its US customers. The fact that its sales are “only” down by a little bit more than GM’s during the first two months of this year is scant cause for comfort. Because Ford’s sales have declined in 21 of the past 24 months, its base, which was already smaller, has shrunk considerably more than has GM’s during that time.

But it appears that Chrysler may be quickly turning into the Big Three’s biggest problem child.

I wonder why?

Well, no surprise here. Home Depot plunderer Bob Nardelli, who took over Chrysler in August, has been getting congratulatory write-ups such as this one for bullying, cutting costs — and, from all appearances, doing nothing else. Big whoop, Bob. That course of action, and doing nothing else, is what caused Home Depot to underperform while you were there.

Where’s the innovation and creativity? The answer is in the linked Fortune article — absolutely nowhere:

Chrysler’s New York-based owners should also be pleased. Nardelli’s unspoken mission all along has been to get Chrysler in shape for sale to another buyer – likely another auto company. With its strongest brands and models all for sale under one roof – and hopefully profitable – Chrysler will look a lot more attractive to potential suitors.

Here we go again. I see another massive severance payment in Bob Nardelli’s future. But his slash and burn strategy is on a collision course with cratering sales. If January and February are harbingers for where Chrysler is heading this year, Chrysler’s private-equity owners are going to have to sell in a hurry before the deterioration becomes too obvious.

Now that the “unspoken” has been spoken, I’m sure Chrysler’s rank and file employees are soooo motivated to keep up appearances until that day comes.(/sarc)

Couldn’t Help But Notice (031008)

“3AM Phone Call” blowback (HT Ace):

Pundits gave credit for her win in Texas to the “3 AM” ad, but its beneficial effects for Hillary have been short-lived. She only has a nine-point advantage among Democrats on the phone-call-in-the-middle-of-the-night question, but she has put both herself and Barack Obama at a serious disadvantage with regards to John McCain. The question appears to have awakened the electorate to the fact that Presidents do more than talk about hope, change, and handshaking.

It’s as if Hillary decided to start campaigning for John McCain.

Nice reax vid from JS3M3 (John Sidney the Mad Maverick McCain III).

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Bush Derangement Syndrome from the bench that makes me clench:

Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching “Full Metal Jacket” last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.

But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen’s hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,000 signing bonus.

In denying the Royal High School student delayed entry into the Marine Corps, Children’s Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told Sage and a recruiter that she didn’t approve of the Iraq war, didn’t trust recruiters and didn’t support the military.

I agree with the California assemblyman who considers this an abuse of power — something Ms. Mackel would surely accuse the current administration of.

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I didn’t know inkjet printers were so versatile.

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Another James “A Million Little Pieces” Frey has been caught making up her life story, this time a bit earlier in the process.

Positivity: ‘I was told I’d never have children, now I have two’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Wales, UK:

Feb 28 2008

EVERY mother thinks their children are little miracles but Ellen Petts knows that her son and daughter really are.
When she was just 24, Ellen was diagnosed as having acute lymphoid leukaemia which had attacked 95 per cent of her cells and was told she only had a week to live.

She was warned that the life-saving treatment she needed would probably mean she could never have children.

But as her children, Yasmin, five, and Calum, two, spoil her on Mother’s Day this Sunday, the reality of being a “medical miracle” is all the more poignant.

Ellen, like many young people in their 20s, had not thought about settling down. She was travelling around the world when she first fell ill.

“I had been travelling around for a year and was near the end of the trip in Thailand when I first started feeling unwell,” said the 37-year-old, from Pentyrch.

“It was just that I felt a bit off colour and run down. We were there for three weeks and I found it a real struggle. We went on a three-day elephant trek but I was feeling dreadful.

“I was so pleased to get off the plane when we got home. But I started getting these pains in my legs. I went to the doctor and even the chiropractor because it felt like it was muscular. One time when I was massaged, I threw up.”

Ellen did not realise how seriously ill she was and returned to London to carry on her studies. She was breathless, suffering from horrendous night sweats and could hardly walk from her flat to college across the park.

“I was basically just staggering around the place,” she said. “The doctor said it was probably flu but they took a blood test anyway. Then I got a message at college saying I had to contact the doctors straight away. They had got the blood tests back and thought I was suffering from typhoid. I was told to get to a hospital at King’s Cross.

When I got off the Tube I had to walk a really short distance, but it took me an hour.

“When I got there they put me in an isolation ward.”

But it wasn’t typhoid and it was down to a young doctor to break the terrible news to Ellen. It was a moment that is etched in her mind.
“It was shocking. I had not seen it coming at all. It was just not on my horizon. I had always been so well. Three weeks before I had been travelling the world and now here I was bed-bound. I was told later that I only had a week to live.”

Ellen was transferred to University College Hospital in London, where she stayed for the next six months. Ellen signed up for a special trial of a new drug to treat the leukaemia that involved an intensive regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which left her seriously ill.

She was one of the first people to take part in the long-term clinical trial, UK12, and Ellen was told that it would probably affect her fertility.

She was asked by doctors to consider freezing her fertilised eggs, but opted not to do this as she wasn’t in a long-term relationship and was overwhelmed with thinking about her future.

The treatment left Ellen in intensive care and, on one occasion, her family were called to her bedside. “It was actually a good sign I was so ill, “ explains Ellen. “It meant that while the chemotherapy was killing the good cells, it was attacking and killing the bad cells too.

“I woke up to find my family around the bed so I knew it must have been bad. But I did get out of intensive care and I remember looking at myself in the mirror.

“A nurse told me it was good to see me looking better but I was so shocked. Because if that was me looking better then I must have looked absolutely terrible. My eyes were black and my face was just one big, red ball.”

Ellen had been warned that the treatment would be likely to mean that she would never be able to have children. But as Ellen put it, “I was too busy dealing with God to worry too much about it.”

After leaving hospital, Ellen found it difficult to adjust to her new life. She still had to go to the hospital every day for treatment, was too ill to work or go out much and felt very isolated from friends and family.

But gradually Ellen started to get better. She got a part-time job in a hotel and then a full-time one at a hotel in Cardiff. And it was in the city’s Kiwi’s bar on a night out that she met her future husband, Magnus.

She warned him from the start that she would probably never be able to have children but that didn’t stop them marrying six years ago. Not long after, their first miracle happened. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.