October 18, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 4:03 PM


Posted by orrinj at 3:59 PM


Obama Won the Debate but Is Losing the Argument : On the essential question of who would be better at handling the economy, CNN found Mitt Romney ahead by 58% to 40%. (KARL ROVE, 10/18/12, WSJ)

The president and his advisers have been so intent on disqualifying Mr. Romney that they have done a miserable job defending the president's record and virtually nothing to frame a second-term agenda. Meanwhile, according to Pew Research Center polls conducted in mid-September and early October, the president's favorability ratings among all voters have declined to 49% from 55%.

The apparent boomerang of the attack ads may explain the sudden disappearance this week of the Obama television ads smashing Mr. Romney. They've been replaced with gauzy spots heralding Mr. Obama's great success in restoring prosperity and jobs. These claims are so at odds with reality that even Morgan Freeman's sonorous voice-over can't rescue these "Morning in America" wannabe ads.

Gallup reported on Sept. 9 that only 30% of the public is "satisfied" with the condition of the country. The Oct. 13 Washington Post/ABC poll found that 56% think the country is "off on the wrong track." The rates of unemployment, second-quarter GDP growth and labor-force participation are all worse than they were three weeks before any modern presidential re-election. Mr. Obama's status-quo, stay-the-course campaign will be a hard sell with a public that wants change.

That's reflected in polling data. Mr. Obama led 49.1% to 45% in an average of national polls conducted about one week before the candidates' first debate. In national surveys taken since then, Mr. Romney averages 47.4% to Mr. Obama's 46.9%. The Republican candidate continues to lead among independent voters. In eight recent national polls, an average 49% of the likely independent voters say they support Mr. Romney, while 37% favor Mr. Obama.

On Monday Mr. Romney reached 50% in Gallup's daily tracking of likely voters--something Mr. Obama has not yet been able to do. No other presidential candidate has been at 50% or higher at this point in the race in this survey and lost.

The movement in the race is reflected by rising poll numbers for Mr. Romney in at least 20 states, including the battlegrounds of Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Mr. Romney is now ahead in the first three.

Posted by orrinj at 1:38 PM


Will Conservatives Keep Tolerating Mitt's New Moderation? (Alec MacGillis, October 17, 2012, New Republic)

1. Talking up the taxpayer-funded scholarship program he oversaw in Massachusetts and vowing to increase Pell Grants (a reversal of Romney's campaign plank to cut less needy students from the grant rolls): "When I was governor of Massachusetts, to get a high school degree, you had to pass an exam. If you graduated in the top quarter of your class, we gave you a John and Abigail Adams scholarship, four years tuition free in the college of your choice in Massachusetts, it's a public institution. I want to make sure we keep our Pell grant program growing."

2. Talking up the affirmative action he practiced as governor. "And--and so we--we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks,' and they brought us whole binders full of women. I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America." Leave aside the comedic potential of "binders full of women," or the fact that Romney did not in fact go to the women's groups, as he describes (they came to him)--what he was doing in this riff is giving a full-throated endorsement of the sort of diversity-in-the-workplace policies many conservatives deride.

3. Framing his stance in the contraception debate defensively, without the "war on religion" line from earlier in the campaign: "I'd just note that I don't believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And the president's statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong."

4. Seeming to endorse something along the lines of the American Dream Act for young people in the country illegally: "The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident." In the past, Romney has held out this pathway only for people in the military; here, he stated it much more broadly.

Posted by orrinj at 1:35 PM


Housing industry recovering faster than many economists expected (Alejandro Lazo and Jim Puzzanghera, 10/17/12, Los Angeles Times)

Housing is snapping back faster than many economists had expected, with home builders stepping up production of new homes nationally and fresh foreclosures in California falling to their lowest level since the early days of the bust.

Demand for housing has surged as interest rates have plummeted and home prices in many markets appear to have bottomed, particularly in states such as California where inventories of foreclosures and other lower-priced homes have sunk. The turnaround in prices and record-low supply of newly built homes also are luring builders back after six years of pain.

Posted by orrinj at 5:37 AM


Moore's Law: The rule that really matters in tech : In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore foresaw an inexorable rise in chip power that eventually delivered the computer to your pocket. While long in the tooth, Moore's prediction still has plenty of life in it. Here's why. (Stephen Shankland  October 15, 2012, C-Net)

[M]oore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who 47 years ago predicted a steady, two-year cadence of chip improvements, keeps defying the pessimists because a brigade of materials scientists like Mayberry continue to find ways of stretching today's silicon transistor technology even as they dig into alternatives. (Such as, for instance, super-thin sheets of carbon graphene.)

Oh, and don't forget the money that's driving that hunt for improvement. IDC predicts chip sales will rise from $315 billion this year to $380 billion in 2016. For decades, that revenue has successfully drawn semiconductor research out of academia, through factories, and into chips that have powered everything from a 1960s mainframe to a 2012 iPhone 5.

The result: Moore's Law has long passed being mere prognostication. It's the marching order for a vast, well-funded industry with a record of overcoming naysayers' doubts. Researchers keep finding ways to maintain a tradition that two generations ago would have been science fiction: That computers will continue to get smaller even as they get more powerful.

"If you're only using the same technology, then in principle you run into limits. The truth is we've been modifying the technology every five or seven years for 40 years, and there's no end in sight for being able to do that," said Mayberry, vice president of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group.

Better machines. More wealth. Less work.
Posted by orrinj at 5:33 AM


Demographic Dead End? Barack Obama's Single Nation (Joel Kotkin Oct 18, 2012, Daily Beast)

[E]ven as the president has slipped in the polls, the fast-growing Single Nation has stayed behind him. Unmarried women prefer Obama by nearly 20 points (56 to 39 percent), according to Gallup, while those who are married prefer Romney by a similarly large margin. 

Unmarried women (along with ethnic minorities, the poor and the workers in the public bureaucracy) are rapidly becoming a core constituency of the Democratic party, in a sense replacing the ethnic white working class.

And while single women have long been ignored (or at least not courted directly) by national politicians, Democrats are now taking direct aim--as in the Life of Julia campaign, where every milestone in her life is marked by the government benefit she'd receive under President Obama's hubby state. Democratic strategists such as Stanley Greenberg also urge targeting singles, particularly "single women," whom he calls "the largest progressive voting bloc in the country."

They aren't progressive, just dependent.  Sadly, the future of the Second Way depends on keeping them that way.

Posted by orrinj at 5:21 AM


Romney Following Reagan's Lead: Two Down, One To Go For The Presidency (Thomas Del Beccaro, 10/17/2012, Forbes)

For a challenger to win, most often, at least two and preferably three things must occur:

people must believe the current conditions, economic or otherwise, are not good enough (a must),

the challenger must appear voter friendly and up to the job (nearly a must), and

the challenger should provide a viable alternative to the incumbent (preferably so, especially if the challenger wants a mandate).

In this election, the public believes the current situation is not good enough by a wide margin. [...]

Romney then used the first two debate just as Reagan did in his only debate appearance with Carter in 1980. Reagan was likeable, confident, in command and proved he belonged on the stage. Romney has done the same.  In other words, Romney completed two out of the three key steps Reagan took to beat an incumbent.

Posted by orrinj at 5:18 AM


Moderate Mitt wins conservatives' blessings (Dana Milbank, October 17, 2012, Washington Post)

Key to the success of Romney's Etch a Sketch movement has been the cooperation of conservatives, who have been unusually docile in the face of the candidate's heresies: pledging not to enact a tax cut that adds to the deficit, promising not to decrease the share of taxes paid by the wealthy, vowing not to slash education funding, praising financial regulations, insisting that he would make health insurers cover preexisting conditions and disavowing his earlier claim that 47 percent of Americans are parasites living off of the government.

At Tuesday night's debate, Romney continued his sprint to the center. He took pains to say he is "so different" from George W. Bush. He asserted that "every woman in America should have access to contraceptives," and, on immigration, he said the children of illegal immigrants "should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States." After a primary battle in which GOP candidates tried to out-tough each other on immigration, Romney said that he was in agreement with President Obama and that "I'm not in favor of rounding up people."