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Who is this “generic Republican” person?

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

And when can I start volunteering for him?

A generic Republican candidate now holds a four-point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup. It’s a fifth week in a row that the GOP candidate has been ahead and the widest gap between the candidates to date.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds a generic Republican candidate earns support from 46% of Likely U.S. Voters, while the president picks up 42% of the vote.  Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.

Last week, the Republican held a 45% to 43% advantage.
All joking aside, it’s still too early to put credence into these polls so far out from the election.  But we are getting closer.
The problem for the GOP is that Mr. Generic Republican is not a real candidate and the current field really isn’t setting the faithful on fire.
Somebody needs to cause a spark soon.

Pope Benedict tweets his first tweet

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Housing market looking for a bottom. Still.

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

No end in sight for the decline in the housing market:

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4 percent from April 2010, the biggest drop since November 2009, the group said today in New York. From March to April, prices fell 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the smallest decline since July 2010.

A backlog of foreclosures and falling sales raise the risk that prices will decline further, discouraging builders from taking on new projects. The drop in property values and a jobless rate hovering around 9 percent are holding back consumer sentiment and spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

“There’s no sign of any real recovery in housing yet,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global Inc. in New York, said before the report. “There won’t be a significant turn until the labor market shows sustained improvement. The level of foreclosures is still high and a lot of people are delinquent on their mortgages.”

Anyone needing to sell their home right now is in a world of hurt.

Socialist Greeks running out of other people’s money, “workers” take to the streets

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Paging Margaret Thatcher:

On the eve of a pivotal austerity vote, Greek “workers” are taking to the streets in a national strike:

Police have fired tear gas in running battles with stone-throwing youths in Athens, where a 48-hour general strike is being held against a parliamentary vote on tough austerity measures.

Thousands of protesters have gathered outside parliament in the capital where public transport has ground to a halt.

PM George Papandreou has said that only his 28bn-euro (£25bn) austerity plan would get Greece back on its feet.

If the package is not approved, Greece could run out of money within weeks.

Without a new plan in place, the EU and IMF say they will withhold 12bn euros of loans which Greece needs to repay debts due in mid-July.

Yes, the problem with socialism is, well…

Meanwhile, those who created this mess insist it’s for the country’s own good:

Mr Papandreou has warned that failure to secure the new loans would mean that national coffers could be empty within days.

The new Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, acknowledged that the cuts were “unfair”, but said they were absolutely necessary.

And yet, the people are taking to the streets, insisting that the government help them some more.   As always, be wary of politicians insisting they create programs for the betterment of society, and we should be taking note of this here in the States.  They just about always end up screwing you in the end.

Greek savers rushing to buy gold

June 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Worthless paper:

Greek citizens are emptying savings accounts and buying gold as they brace themselves for the possibility of a sovereign default and a run on the banks.

Pledges by socialist prime minister George Papandreou that his government would “save the country” have been widely discounted by the public. However, parliament gave him a vote of confidence late on Tuesday night. The socialists have a six-seat majority in the 300-member house.

Sales of gold coins have soared as savers seek a safer and fungible source of value.

“When the global financial crisis started, our sales of coins to investors overtook bullion for the first time,” said Harry Krinakis, at Sepheriades, a Greek precious metals trader. “Now the sales ratio has reached five to one.”

Tomas, a computer technician, has exchanged his euro savings for gold coins: “I keep them at home just like my grandmother did in the second world war.”

Andreas, a supermarket manager, transferred the family savings to Munich earlier this year: “The Swiss banks aren’t interested unless you’ve got several hundred thousand euros.”

“We can’t trust the politicians to get us out of this mess [and] have to protect our families,” Sakis, a garage owner, said at an anti-austerity protest in Athens’ Syntagma square. “A bank collapse has got to be on the cards.” He added he had withdrawn his savings and placed them in a bank safe deposit box “for security. Who cares about interest right now?”

Somehow the Greeks are not so thrilled with their government’s insistence that everything will be peachy.

Federal Reserve acknowledges QE measures are a bust

June 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Who would have thought?

The Federal Reserve hoped that its three-year-old economic rescue campaign would reach a climax at the end of June. It hoped that consumers and businesses by now would be spending more and more, and the central bank could start doing less and less.

That peak now looks like a long plateau. The Fed still is expected to announce Wednesday that it will halt the expansion of its aid programs at the end of June, as scheduled, when it completes the purchase of $600 billion in Treasury securities. But growth is sputtering, and economists now expect that the Fed will leave its $2 trillion of bandages, props and crutches untouched until next year.

The pace of economic expansion has repeatedly fallen short of the Fed’s predictions, and the central bank is expected to lower its eyes once again when its releases a new forecast after a two-day meeting of its policy board, the Federal Open Market Committee.

[...]

[A] number of studies have concluded that the Fed’s efforts have had only a modest impact on the economy. Stock prices have climbed. Corporations have rarely been able to borrow money more cheaply. Mortgage loans have seldom been available at such low interest rates. But companies are hiring few new workers, and people are buying few new homes. Almost 25 million Americans cannot find full-time work, a number that is rising again after declining modestly over the last year.

Thanks to the geniuses at the Federal Reserve, the US dollar has the utility value of toilet paper, and our economy is just as bad, maybe even worse, than it was when it first started creating dollars out of thin air.  QE1 and QE2 are failures and the Fed wants to double down on some more.

Awesome.

Huntsman campaign off to a great start

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment

This is hysterically brutal:

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian held a brief conference call just now to welcome “ambassador, governor, Democrat, Republican Jon Huntsman” to the 2012 presidential race.

Huntsman is planning a visit to South Carolina this week and has signaled that the state is a crucial stop in his GOP primary map. That’s good news for him, Harpootlian said, because “we always welcome Obama administration officials in South Carolina.”

The quotable trial lawyer mocked Huntsman as a political “schizophrenic” who’s “very similar to Mitt Romney” in his flexibility on issues such as cap and trade.

“Between Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, we have, actually, four candidates rather than two,” said Harpootlian, who also scoffed at the idea that Huntsman can take the “high road” in 2012 and avoid negative campaigning.

That pledge will last “about two seconds” in South Carolina, Harpootlian predicted: “The high road is the road above the fray and you can’t run for political office in South Carolina without getting in the fray.”

The Huntsman campaign is barely 12 hours old, and it’s already seeing turbulence from a key primary state.  Worth noting is that Huntsman is the media’s choice to be the GOP’s nominee, the candidate that the party “should” nominate for 2012.  

Rule of thumb–when the media picks the candidate for the GOP, find someone else.

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