Tuesday, October 7, 2008


In tonight's town hall debate, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will join moderator Tom Brokaw and an audience of 100-150 uncommitted voters on stage at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. The questions will focus on the economy and foreign policy and will come from the audience and from online submissions.

Today, the Online100 was asked which candidate would emerge stronger from the town hall-style debate. 51% of respondents said Barack Obama will gain, 34% said will be McCain who benefits most. One panelist wrote,"Although it (town hall) is McCain's forte, the economy is his weakest policy point."

Who do you expect to emerge stronger from tonight's townhall-style debate?

Party-affiliated panel members were divided almost evenly along party lines; 65% of the right believe McCain will win, while 62% of the left think it will be Obama. An overwhelming number of unaffiliated panelists, 73%, chose Obama

Retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion

From the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
12:15 PM PDT, October 7, 2008
WASHINGTON -- Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months, Congress' top budget analyst estimated today.

The upheaval that has engulfed the financial industry and sent the stock market plummeting is devastating workers' savings, forcing people to hold off on major purchases and consider delaying their retirement, said Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office.

  • Full coverage: Financial crisis
As Congress investigates the causes and effects of the financial meltdown, the House Education and Labor Committee was hearing from retirement savings and budget analysts on how the housing, credit and other financial troubles have battered pensions and other retirement funds, which are among the most common forms of savings in the United States.

"Unlike Wall Street executives, America's families don't have a golden parachute to fall back on," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the panel chairman. "It's clear that their retirement security may be one of the greatest casualties of this financial crisis."

More than half the people surveyed in an Associated Press-GfK poll taken Sept. 27-30 said they worry they will have to work longer because the value of their retirement savings has declined.

Orszag indicated the fear is well-founded. Public and private pension funds and employees' private retirement savings accounts -- like 401(k)'s -- have lost some 20 percent overall since mid-2007, he estimated. Private retirement plans may have suffered slightly more because those holdings are more heavily skewed toward stocks, Orszag added.

"Some people will delay their retirement. In particular, those on the verge of retirement may decide they can no longer afford to retire and will continue working," Orszag said.

A new AARP study found that because of the economic downturn, one in five workers 45 and older has stopped putting money into a 401(k), IRA or other retirement savings account during the past year, and nearly one in four has increased the number of hours he works.

80 million year old fossil found

80 million year old fossil found by New England Secession.
After analysing it, Dr Jarzembowski confirmed it was a fossil, and was "virtually indestructible" as it was preserved in flint, rather than chalk. He said it dated from the Cretaceous Period - between 145m and 65m years ago.

He said: "Quite simply it is priceless. I have shown it to other geologists and they are certain that it is absolutely a fossil. It's not a sculpture.


Obama Up in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota

by: Christopher Stern, Bloomberg

Barack Obama shakes hands at a rally at Abington High School in Abington, Pennsylvania, Friday, October 3, 2008. (Photo: Matt Rourke / AP)

Democrat Barack Obama leads Republican presidential nominee John McCain in battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, according to new polls.

Obama, an Illinois senator, leads 49 percent to 42 percent among Ohio voters, according to a Columbus Dispatch poll of 2,262 likely voters released yesterday.

The survey, conducted Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, shows a change from a poll by the newspaper before the parties' nominating conventions, when McCain had a single percentage-point advantage. The state is crucial to the Arizona senator's campaign, because no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

Polls in Ohio "are showing increased support for Barack Obama," because voters are paying attention to McCain's support for privatizing Social Security, backing "job-killing trade agreements," and his backing of deregulation of the banking system, Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said on ABC's "This Week" program yesterday.

A Minnesota poll of 1,084 likely voters published by the Star Tribune newspaper shows Obama leading 55-37 percent over McCain. The poll was conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota said the Star Tribune poll is "notoriously not accurate," and said a separate earlier poll found McCain favored by 1 percentage point.

"Minnesota is a Democrat-leaning state, but not so much that it's implausible for a Republican to win here," Pawlenty said on "This Week."

Pennsylvania Poll

In Pennsylvania, Obama has a 50 percent to 40 percent lead over McCain, according to a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College tracking poll.

The Muhlenberg College poll surveyed 597 likely voters and was conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. The results of the three state polls were outside the margin for error.

The presidential race in Colorado remains a tie, according to a poll released by the Denver Post yesterday.

National polls also show that Obama is maintaining a lead over McCain.

Obama led McCain 49 percent to 42 percent among registered voters surveyed Sept. 27-29 by the Pew Research Center. In a mid- September poll, the candidates were in a statistical dead heat.

In a CBS News poll conducted Sept. 27-30, Obama led 50 percent to 41 percent among likely voters. The margin increased 4 percentage points from a CBS/New York Times survey a week earlier.


Written by Mark Drucker

The problem with democrats is that they can't imagine winning. They torture themselves when they're alone, and they torture everyone else with their negativity at dinner parties. The Willie Horton ad - when used by Bush against Dukakis in 88' - was a new phenomenon....today it's just another boring swift boat tactic. It was a dirty trick played on the public at the time. The public hadn't witnessed it in the past, was caught off guard and capitulated to the "doubt" it cast on Dukakis. We're a wiser people now - at least when it comes to being fooled in political campaigns. We're probably the same old fools we've always been when it comes to anything else, like paying 30% on credit card debt!! Here's the point: Obama is winning where we'd expect him to win; he's losing where we'd expect him to lose; and he's had to fight like a dog in every battleground state to get the polls where they are today. Many of the battlegrounds were leaning red - or were gray - two weeks ago. Today they're blue/leaning blue, and some of the strong reds, like Missouri, are tinted some shade of blue. No one seemed to mind telling pollsters they'd go for McCain when they believed they would. If they were racist in other words, they weren't ashamed. The current polls, however, are an exact reflection of the tenor of each campaign in the context of what's going on in the country overall...essentially, its one huge crisis. Red states are redder (they're more racist), blue states are about the same, and gray states are slowly turning blue as the crisis become more ugly and as McCain reveals himself to be the ugly candidate...with an ugly running mate and no ideas. I believe Obama will win because he deserves to win, and I'm not afraid to say it.



If she's gonna sling the mud, its coming right back at her.

Today's Polls, 10/6

Posted from today's fivethirtyeight.com.

As McCain goes negative, the outlook grows ever more positive for Obama. The only thing that could bring Obama down would be a proven revelation that he's linked to Al Quieda. McCain is trying with these Ayer's attacks, but ironically, it looks like McCain is the terrorist - on the campaign trail, on the Keating Trail and now with the revelations of his ties to a radical group in the early 80's - the US Council for World Freedom, a group linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right wing death squads in Central America. Obama is playing war with McCain and he's winning....it's a beautiful war to watch. Mark

Are John McCain's negative attacks succeeding in eating into some of Barack Obama's support? They certainly aren't yet. In fact, Barack Obama has had perhaps his strongest individual polling day of the year:

You can read these numbers as well as I can. Obama leads by 6 in North Carolina? 12 in Virginia? 7 in Florida? 3 in Missouri? Obviously, I am cherrypicking some of the more pro-Obama results here ... but the point is, there are a lot of favorable results these days for Barack Obama.

The larger Obama's margin in the popular vote becomes (and over the course of the past several weeks, he's been gaining a full a point on McCain roughly every three days) the less the relative positioning of the states matters. For John McCain to get back into this race, he is going to need some dramatic events to occur, and we don't know in which types of states such events might have a differential impact; something like an outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East could make a very different electoral footprint than new revelations about Barack Obama and William Ayers.

For that reason, the proper strategy is probably now to play a fairly large map; Obama in particular wants to keep as many doors open as possible if and when something bad happens to his campaign.

For the time being, however, John McCain is facing third and long -- and appears that he's about to get sacked.