Monday, September 10, 2012

And Away They Go

The political season is now officially begun with the conventions thankfully over and Labor Day behind us.

HOW VOTERS GETS NEWS -- "Voters still tuned in to traditional news media: Traditional news sources on TV and in print also remain more trusted than the burgeoning alternative ecosystem of blogs, late-night comedy shows and social media outlets, the USC Annenberg/Los Angeles Times Poll on Politics and the Press found. The survey confirms a few widely suspected divides: Democrats and the young tend to be more trusting of a variety of media, while Republicans and older news consumers are more skeptical. ... The USC/Times poll found that with a welter of new media alternatives available, there was only one source that a majority of registered voters turned to at least daily: local television news.”

"Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they watched their local TV news that often. That gives local stations considerably more reach than the second-most-common news source: local newspapers ... About 39% of those surveyed said they routinely turned to the local paper. Although younger voters turn increasingly to nontraditional media sources, they make a distinction about trustworthiness. Among those age 18 to 29, almost 1 in 5 said they got news daily or more often from Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But when asked to rate the trustworthiness of news sources, those young viewers rated the two funny men far lower than ... local newspapers and local TV."

PAUL RYAN: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. ... We are a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And in some ways, we are different. There are the songs in his iPod, which I have heard on the campaign bus... (LAUGHTER) ... and I have heard it on many hotel elevators. (LAUGHTER) He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, 'Look, I hope it is not a deal-breaker, Mitt. But my playlist starts with AC/DC and it ends with Zeppelin."

MAUREEN DOWD, "Will They Decipher the Cypher": "The emotion he evokes is pity. Romney slogged and spent his way to the G.O.P. convention his dad craved for himself only to find that his role is not so much leading man as forgotten man. ... When TV cut away to Mitt in the hall [during Christie's speech] to capture what should have been a thrilling moment, he looked as though his jelled skull might burst into flames. ...

"Romney is seen more as maƮtre d' than nominee, ushering the party to a better table in the future. In Politico, conservatives referred to the placeholder Mitt as a transitional figure and 'an ideal segue.' When Mitt awkwardly came out on stage at the end of Ann's speech in what was supposed to be a crescendo, the room went flat. ... Ryan ... brought the zombie convention alive with a zowie speech ... Ryan's deft speech conjured the president's nightmare - that disillusioned voters might decide it's time to try something new."

BEST EMAIL OF THE WEEK - From a St. Lawrence University alumnus following Condoleezza Rice's very presidential sounding address that got a big reaction from the crowd: "Did Condi say no to VP because she would rather be an Augusta member?"

BIDEN on cover of New York mag -  "In filling his V.P. slot with the 42-year-old cheese head chair of the House Budget Committee, ... Romney injected a bracing dose of youth, substantive audacity, political risk, and partisan glamour ... Suddenly, with the spotlight trained on Ryan, ... Biden was bathed in luminescence, too. Suddenly, amazingly, the undercard mattered -- with next month's toe-to-toe between the No. 2's elevated from a sideshow to a marquee event. ... His debate with Palin garnered a larger audience than any of the televised tangles between Obama and John McCain. The task before Biden this time around will be different, though ... With Ryan now providing the ideological and intellectual heft on the GOP ticket, the Democrats intend to spend the next 60 days talking as much about him as about Romney. Yet the vice--presidential debate will be their only opportunity for direct engagement with Ryan...

"Biden will turn 74 in 2016, and his poll numbers have sagged since he took office, but he and his people have been hinting that he might have another presidential bid in him.... [H]is greatest asset, what Obama strategist David Axelrod calls his 'bluntness and ebullience,' is equally his gravest liability; that his old-school m.o. makes him almost uniquely unsuited to this postmodern political-media moment; that in a culture that pines ardently for authenticity and then punishes it cruelly, his utter incapacity for phoniness (and, yes, his grievous inability to control his yap) endows him with enormous charm and guile -- and also renders him a human IED. ...

"What he can't abide is the concept that he has reached the end of the line. In a career riddled with tragedy and disgrace, with episodes of emotional, political, and even physical disaster and defeat, Biden always recovered ... 'My friends are always kidding me about it -- I can't fathom the idea of thinking of retiring,' he declares. 'Hell, man! I can still take ya!'"

THE BUZZ IN CHARLOTTE: Reporters think President Obama's speech was lame - meandering, and sounding like a State of the Union address. People at the after-parties seemed baffled that he didn't lift his game for the big moment. But mostly Republicans watched the Republican convention, and mostly Democrats watched the Democratic convention. So the acceptance speeches weren't as big a moment for talking to swing voters as they were in the past.

BREAKING - "Obama squeaks out Aug. fundraising win over Romney," "President Obama raised more than $114 million in August, while Romney brought in just over $111 million ... It's the first time in four months the Democrats have outraised the Republicans. And it's a sharp increase for the president, who raised $75 million in July. Despite Obama's advantage in August, it's the third straight month Romney has collected more than $100 million, and the figure represents his best one-month fundraising total. And Romney has socked away more money for the general election campaign."

HUGE – Miracles do happen, Carrie L. has changed her political party from Republican to Democrat. Upon learning of the news this morning long-time Republican David Drier of Glendora was quoted, “Who?”

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Heidi Bravo ...famous animal advocate, Harry Connick  Jr. (45), Prince Harry (28), Tommy Lee Jones (66), B. B. King (87), Sam Neill (65), Arnold Palmer (83), Rachel Ward (55).

CONGRATS – To an old friend of Rink Rats on his retirement. Kevin G. after serving on the New York City Fire Department and then representing his fellow fire fighters in union work, we wish him well. Now turning to consulting and of course being a Grandpa we raise our glass to a long and healthy retirement. Let us know when you are in Vegas next!

ECONOMY MUDDLES ALONG - "Government data released Wednesday suggested the economy continued to muddle along at a subdued pace, highlighting the pressure on Ben S. Bernanke ... to come up with bolder policy prescriptions Friday when he delivers a widely anticipated speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo. With the economy looming as the leading issue in the presidential race, Mr. Bernanke faces a delicate decision. Though economic growth remained weak by historical standards, fears that the United States is slipping back into a recession have abated ...

More aggressive steps to stimulate the economy will also draw criticism from Republicans, who have demanded that Mr. Bernanke forswear additional monetary moves for now. The Commerce Department revised upward its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter to an annual rate of 1.7 percent, from an earlier estimate of 1.5 percent. That growth still represents a deceleration from the 2 percent pace in the first quarter. The economy needs to grow at 2.5 percent to 3 percent a year to substantially reduce unemployment, which is at 8.3 percent."

DELINQUENCIES DROP - Per NY Fed release: "In its latest Quarterly Report ... delinquency rates for mortgages (6.3%), credit cards (10.9%), and auto loans (4.2%) decreased from the previous quarter. However, rates for student loans (8.9%) and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) (4.9%) increased from March. Household indebtedness declined to $11.38 trillion, a $53 billion decline from the first quarter of 2012. Outstanding household debt has decreased $1.3 trillion since its peak in Q3 2008. The reduction was led by a decline in real estate-related debt."

MEET CHINA'S NEW RICHES MAN - Per Bloomberg: "China has a new richest man (and he only spends $20 a day) according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. ... Zong Qinghou, head of China's third-largest beverage maker, is the country's richest man after unveiling that his stake in closely held Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. is more than double previously estimated. The 66-year-old soda and juice tycoon owns more than 80 percent of Wahaha , the company's spokesman Shan Qining said in an interview on Sept. 3. That stake elevates Zong's net worth to $21.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now $13.4 billion wealthier than Robin Li , founder of the nation's biggest search engine.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/15, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) visit #10 Michigan State Spartans (2-0). The Spartans are the Big Tens’ last legitimate hope at a BCS title team for 2012, led by Junior Quarterback Andrew Maxwell from Midland, Michigan. Maxwell is making East Lansing fans forget quickly Kirk Cousins. MSU 28 The Domers 10.    Season to date (1-1).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/15, 12:00 PM ET, The Cooking Channel: #4 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (1-0) visit #3 Wesley Wolverines (2-0). Texas barbeque travels to Dover, Delaware for this inter-conference matchup. The Crusaders win a tight one 21 to 20 over the Wolverines.     Season to date (2-0).

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/16, 8:00 PM ET, NBC: The Detroit Lions (1-0) visit the San Francisco 49er’s (1-0) in a HUGE early season test for the playoff hungry Lions. But too bad they run into the 49er defense which will easily put the Lions into a cage. San Francisco 32 Detroit 17.  Season to Date (1-0).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Michigan State 28 Notre Dame 10, Mary Hardin 21 Wesley 20, La Verne 28 Whitworth 24, San Francisco 32 Detroit 17   Season to Date (5-2).

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama appears to have widened his lead over Mitt Romney a bit but we will see where the numbers shake out after the dismal Friday jobs report. None of the post-convention numbers matter much anyway. Wait for mid-September tracking before making judgments on the state of play heading down the stretch ... Obama campaigns in Las Vegas on Wednesday and Denver on Thursday ... Romney campaigns in Mansfield, Ohio today as well as in Obama's home town of Chicago (presumably for money) ... VP Biden is in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday and Wisconsin on Thursday ... Former President Bill Clinton, fresh off his boffo convention speech, campaigns in Miami on Tuesday and Orlando on Wednesday ...

Congress is back in DC this week but is not expected to do much of anything expect pass a CR to keep the government running past Oct. 1. Only question is whether anything gets larded onto the CR such as a delay in the sequester impact ... R.R. spoke with a member of Congress on Friday who said there was no real reason to have members back in the Capitol, beyond the CR, until after Election Day ...

House OGR has a hearing on the JOBS act at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday ... Consumer credit out today at 3:00 p.m. EDT expected to come in at $9.6B ... Main event is end of Fed meeting on Thursday with rate announcement at 12:30 p.m. EDT and Bernanke presser at 2:00 p.m. in which markets expect him to announce a new campaign of assets purchases. Expect Romney to criticize the move after it happens (and Dems to criticize Bernanke if it doesn't) ... Big German court ruling expected Wednesday on whether euro bailout funds are legal.

Next week, movie of the month and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 10, 2012

#III-20, 125

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