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U.S. Election Recap: Boom. (Updated)

by Drew J Jones Thu Nov 9th, 2006 at 08:51:30 AM EST

A summary and a few admittedly unoriginal thoughts....

Not to toot my own horn, -- and, yes, I was wrong about Missouri deciding the election (my bad) -- but, depending on the final result out of Virginia, did I call this, or what?  Last night, as dvx rightly pointed out, the Democrats smashed the Republicans into the ground, walking away with a margin of victory above 13%.  Even if the Senate ends in a split, which is not likely, this was an election that pundits will be referencing for years to come.

So what happened?  For the last four decades, starting with Barry Goldwater's failed presidential bid in '64, America has been going through an enormous realignment, as the once-solidly-Democratic South became solidly Republican, along with most of the rural areas of the US.  (Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? is required reading for some of the understanding.)  Traditionally economic liberals, -- or dare I use the dreaded "s"-word? -- many Americans who would naturally find themselves aligned with the Democrats on bread-and-butter issues found themselves supporting Republicans on the basis of, among other things, Roe v. Wade, homosexuality and the Civil Rights Act.  The appeal to Americans' libertarian tendencies in rhetoric, regardless of the truly corporatist nature of actual policies, also helped.

Promoted from the diaries. Also check out Captain Future's analysis. --poemless

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One Week Away: Who's Got the Ball?

by Drew J Jones Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 05:30:50 AM EST

It's been incredibly busy around here.  I still haven't put my damned futon together.  But I thought I'd "pop by" to give a quick update on the election.  We seem to have reached a stalemate -- little progress for either side -- in recent weeks.  But a few polls released in recent days suggest that the Dems may finally be seeing some gains in the Senate races as undecideds begin to break.  (Traditionally, the later a person decides on his/her candidate, the less likely he/she is to vote for the incumbent.  Kerry, for instance, took "late-breakers" overwhelmingly in 2004 -- about 65-70% of them, if I'm not mistaken, perhaps even more.)  Should see a lot of movement in the coming days as Americans make up their minds.

By Saturday, we should have a fairly strong idea of what will happen a week from today.

Again, the deciders in the Senate are Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia -- all of which currently show their respective Democrats with a statistically insignificant lead.  A Democratic internal released yesterday has Ford beating Corker, 48-43%.  Both the Democratic poll (43-38%) and a new Rasmussen poll (51-46%) show Webb beating Allen, and, before you say that the Democratic internal cannot be trusted, bear in mind that the Rasmussen one actually shows a result more favorable to Democrats, as Webb finally tops 50% in it.

The House looks like it will go Blue, with Dems seeing the possibility of picking up seats in places like Idaho.  Current projections at Electoral-Vote.com show Dems taking a majority of 226, while the MyDD.com projections have gains of 24 to 29 seats.  Charlie Cook, of the Cook Political Report, -- a must-read, by the way, if you're interested in American elections -- says that there still appears to be a Democratic wave headed for the states, with Dems gaining at least 20 seats and perhaps more than 35, depending on how high the numbers on turnout are for Independents.

Oh, and I'll make my predictions on Monday.

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The October Surprise

by Drew J Jones Sun Oct 15th, 2006 at 04:57:50 AM EST

My father sent me this in an email this morning.  Thought you all would get a kick out of it.

(Jerome links to the original source, Bob Johnson over at dKos, in the comments.)

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American Midterms: Proof of Democratic Landslide Coming? (Updated)

by Drew J Jones Thu Oct 12th, 2006 at 03:12:48 PM EST

Miguel gets his Impeachment Majority.

Massive polling out today: Democrats have the magic 218 seats outside of the margin of error.  Forty-eight districts were polled, and the Dems are currently projected to pick up at least nineteen seats.  The current breakdown is 224 to 205 with these polls, which obviously exclude six seats rated as toss-ups.  Seven additional seats currently held by the GOP that are very competitive were not polled.

Another poll out today shows that voters in the Deep South have turned against the war.  Dixie now matches the national figures.  Further, Gallup has discovered that "Frequent Churchgoers" are now evenly split between the Dems and Reps -- more evidence of what may be an enormous collapse finally arriving in the once-seemingly-indestructible Republican base.

Update: Claire McCaskill is now up, 51-42%, in Missouri. If the Dems hold Tennessee, the Senate is going to flip.

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Nottingham Meetup: Actually, You know, Meeting Up

by Drew J Jones Thu Oct 5th, 2006 at 04:48:40 PM EST

Quickly: Helen commented a while back that it might be preferable to simply meet at the Beer Festival.  I'm fine with this, but if anybody is afraid of running into trouble getting around, please let me know.  Obviously, I'll be more than happy, as I said, to meet you at the train station.

Anything else?

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American Midterm Election (Updated)

by Drew J Jones Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 04:00:53 AM EST

In case some of you -- or, for that matter, all of you -- have not heard the news out of Washington this week, a prominent Republican congressman, Mark Foley of Florida, whose district begins roughly two and a half miles North of my parents' home in Palm Beach County, has resigned after sending emails to under-18 pages that apparently lead us to conclude -- along with the resignation -- that he may be a pedophile.  The Republican leadership in the House, as we now know, has been aware of this for years and did nothing.  Foley, for you lovers of irony, was the chairman of the Committee on Missing & Exploited Children.  The Religious Right, already severely depressed, is sitting in silence, of course.  The FBI is now investigating.

That's one more seat that just went from "Toss-Up" to "Likely Democratic".  Daily Kos's sister website, MyDD, is now also producing projections (House here, Senate here) for the two chambers.  The probability of Democratic control in the House is now up to 90%, and that comes prior to the Foley case turning potentially into a massive scandal.  (Investigations are being launched.)  The Senate story isn't as strong, but it looks like we'll end up with a tie at this point, depending on how you count Lieberman: 50 Republicans, 48 Dems, Lieberman, and Bernie Sanders (who is an independent socialist from Vermont).  But, if the Dems can close the deals in Missouri and Virginia, as seems increasingly likely, you can toss another two into the Dem column at the GOP's expense.

All in all, good news. Oh, and the NYT has a profile on Howard Dean and the 50-State Strategy.

Update: The NRCC Chairman's Chief of Staff apparently tried to convince ABC News, which broke the story, to cover up the more hideous conversations between Foley and a sixteen-year-old. The Speaker of the House now refuses to answer questions. This is exploding.

New poll shows Democrat Tim Mahoney has already cleared the 50% mark in the race for Foley's seat. The fat lady may not be singing, but that's only because she's late to work.

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Nottingham Beer Festival Meetup

by Drew J Jones Fri Sep 22nd, 2006 at 08:01:24 AM EST

Finally, the desk arrived shortly after the boardband was hooked up, so I set right to work putting it together.  IKEA certainly beats the hell out of Wal-Mart and Target as far as the ease of assembly is concerned -- to say nothing of price.

Alright, so Helen brought up the annual Nottingham Beer & Cider Festival, which runs from 19 October to 22 October, and I suggested that this might make for a good meetup opportunity.  My suggestion was seconded by Metatone, and Helen and Miguel have expressed an interest in attending.  That Saturday would be the 21st, which I'm guessing would be the best date, but, if you'd like to attend, feel free to make suggestions.

Full details of the event, including prices and times, can be found here.  The cost on Saturday is £2 for the whole day (10AM-11PM).  It doesn't look like it would be a terrible walk from the train station, but if we were to all head to the festival from my flat, it might be wise to hop on the bus, depending on how people feel about forty-five minute walks.  If you would be arriving from London, train tickets from St. Pancras are, depending on the time, £6 to £12.

The first thing to do, if we're going to have the meetup, is to establish who would be coming.  Thus far, unless anything has changed, the crowd would include Miguel, Metatone, Helen, and I.

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DMEA, II.: Of Spiders, Newspapers & the Slowest Company Ever

by Drew J Jones Fri Sep 22nd, 2006 at 05:08:00 AM EST

Voila!  The internet is finally up and running, and it only took BT two weeks to get the equipment here.

So, when they're not guzzling beer "down the pub," or saying "Cheers" for no apparent reason (although I think it's said in place of "Thanks"), the English presumably spend hours upon hours ridding their homes of spiders.  Big friggin' spiders, too.  I've killed no less than twenty, but I think the tide is finally turning in my favor after yesterday's battle.  (This is your Stalingrad, my eight-legged friends.)  How the slob who lived here before me was able to let it become so out-of-hand, I don't know.

No furniture beyond a bed and small wardrobe.  I'm using luggage and my one-foot-tall pile of newspapers for chairs.  But my desk (ultra-cheap at £11.99) should be arriving from IKEA later today.  The Nottingham IKEA -- which is not actually in Nottingham but rather halfway between Derby and Mansfield, about forty-five minutes outside of the city centre -- was fun to visit, although I sympathize with any poor soul trying to make his or her way backwards through the place.  I still have to go back, unless I can order online (which I don't seem to beallowed to do), and grab a futon and perhaps a table lamp.

Anyway, I'm back.  What'd I miss?

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Quick US Election Update

by Drew J Jones Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 10:11:02 AM EST

The news appears to be getting better and better: Watching "The Chris Matthews Show" last night, the roundtable made its predictions for the House and Senate based on recent polls.  The verdict was unanimous: The GOP has lost the House of Representatives.  At this point, my reading of the figures points to a Republican collapse in the Northeast, -- Bush is in the mid-20s there and candidates are suffering -- South Florida, and the Midwest/Rustbelt.  The Dems need fifteen seats to take the chamber.  It looks like they may well get those seats and perhaps much more.

Senate news below.

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Apple Battery Recall

by Drew J Jones Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 01:21:07 PM EST

Thought I'd post this since quite a few of us use Apple notebooks.  The recall is for notebook batteries in iBook and PowerBook G4s sold from October of '03 through last month.

Quick Update. The website for battery exchanges can be found here: https://depot.info.apple.com/batteryexchange/index.html. It's only affecting batteries with certain serial numbers, so check to your computer against the numbers listed at the website. It must match both the model number and the serial number.

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EuroTrib Trade Discussion Summary

by Drew J Jones Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 03:43:21 PM EST

So I thought it was time, much later than I promised, to finally write up a summary I promised Colman on our debate over trade, which rapidly, in the great EuroTrib tradition, expanded into various mini-debates regarding fairness in the global economy, Pareto vs. Kaldor-Hicks optimality, and the like.

In the interest of appeasement, let me start by saying that, as we all know, economics is one of the social sciences (along with those other, lesser ones that shall remain nameless) and, as such, there is nothing resembling the levels of certainty found in (say) physics or one of the other hard sciences.  Economists study people, and people are different.  Some prefer organic food, while others don't care.  Some watch television on large LCDs, while others don't even own televisions.  And, if you hadn't gathered this fact by now from watching five years of the Bush administration, I'm here to tell you that people are not always rational, let alone perfectly rational.

And, before I forget, here is David Ricardo's original book in its entirety, from McMaster University in Canada.

Below the fold we go.  As always, add on in the comments anything I might have missed.

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Political Economy (with Cows)

by Drew J Jones Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 07:19:29 PM EST

Received this from Jen by email.  Just a bit of fun.


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

More below.

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UK Spin-Off: A Few Thoughts

by Drew J Jones Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 10:32:58 AM EST

Miguel, TBG, Jerome, Colman, and others had a discussion about a possible EuroTrib spin-off focusing on UK politics, and what it might mean for the site.  Prior to coming to ET last fall, I had been involved in blogging on US politics for a couple of years, so I thought I'd add in my two cents on such a site, or any other country-specific site.

I gather, based upon the fact that we're all here on most days discussing the world and how we'd like to change it, that the goal is to eventually exercise at least some political influence, as sites like Daily Kos and MyDD have in America.  Many of sites have been the result of just those two, and, on the whole, I think there's more to gain than to lose.

Here's why.

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Drew's Most Excellent Adventures, Part I

by Drew J Jones Wed Aug 2nd, 2006 at 09:24:35 AM EST

So the English drink...a lot.  And they never pronounce words properly.  I'll give you an example: As a Yank, I read the name "Nottingham" as "Not-ting-HAM" but quickly discovered that the English will supply foreigners with very odd looks for doing this.  Silly me, I should've known that it would be pronounced "Notting'm".  "Shire" is also pronounced "sheer" rather than "shy-er".

More below.

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Rebuild The Iron Curtain, I'll Even Pay For It

by Drew J Jones Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 04:15:30 PM EST

A few minutes ago, I received an email from my father with a photo that left me, literally, feeling sick to my stomach.  Here it is:

Now I'm sure you're thinking, "Damn Hezbollah.  How could they warp the minds of children to follow this disgusting culture of destruction."  Because, after all, you've seen these sorts of pictures before in Palestinian territories, as well as areas dominated by the likes of Hezbollah, haven't you?

The only problem with what that thought is that these are Israeli children.  The West may suffer from hyper-consumerism, but this is so sick that I can't find the words to express my outrage.  Another picture shows a girl writing, "From Israel and Danielle," with a smiling face drawn underneath.  Thank you, Mr. Bush.  Glad to know my tax dollars are going to worthy causes, you drunken sack of Texas shit.

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Quick Update on 2006 Races in America

by Drew J Jones Thu Jul 13th, 2006 at 01:58:06 PM EST

Now that I've unpacked from the recent move, I'm working on a diary summarising a recent EuroTrib discussion of comparative advantage (almost done, Colman, I promise), but I thought I'd throw in a quick update for Europeans interested in this year's congressional and senatorial elections in the US.  A new survey from Gallup, one of the two major polling firms in the country (the other being Zogby), shows Democrats, nationwide, ahead of the GOP, 54% to 38%, which marks a fairly steady increase in Democratic support over the last several months.  The last time the Dems enjoyed a lead this large, they made significant gains, if I'm not mistaken -- the year of those gains being 1998 when the GOP faced a backlash over its obsession with Bill Clinton's sex life.

What separates the two mid-terms is this: The Pew Research Center also states that Americans are paying unusually close attention to the races this year, and it would appear that, the more attention a voter pays, the more likely he or she is to vote for Democrats.  As is, I'm sure, obvious, mid-term elections are usually decided on excitement within the two parties.  On that, Democrats have a staggering edge, with GOP voters standing out as being unusually apathetic.  Pew mentions that, the last time "voter enthusiasm" gave such an advantage to one party was 1994, when the GOP slaughtered the Dems in mid-terms to take both houses.

A few more details below.

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For Amber Waves of Grain: Are Americans Really Poorer?

by Drew J Jones Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 06:39:09 PM EST

There has been a good bit of discussion in recent months and years about the alleged falling in wealth for America's working class.  I, for one, bought into it, although I have said that the portrayal of workers in America as increasingly being trapped in a system that benefits only the rich to be, for lack of a better word, bullshit.  My uncle, a moderate libertarian and a fairly well known sociologist (now retired but see writings here), sent me a book -- Olaf Gersemann's Cowboy Capitalism -- which attacks some myths that have been pushed over the last twenty five years about life in America.  The book, at just over two hundred pages, is a quick read, and I highly recommend it for discussion, as it addresses much of what we've discussed about comparisons between America and Europe.

I should stress here that my point is not to attack Europe or Europeans for their social model.  But the questions we have tried to address over the last few months cannot be answered without a greater understanding of the facts, and, in this diary, I'll try to provide the other side of the story.  Truth comes only with enormous effort.

And, in truth, America is not a crumbling nation.  Quite the contrary, Americans, even at the lower end of the income scale, are better off today than they were in 1980.  Just as GDP per capita can be a misleading measure of economic performance, especially when trying to seriously discuss how Joe American's well being has evolved, so too is it misleading to look only at, for example, the wage index.  It's time to clear a few things up, and then open the floor for criticism and debate.

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Note to Our Friends in Red: Mercantilism Still Doesn't Work

by Drew J Jones Wed Apr 5th, 2006 at 07:02:48 AM EST

Months and months of telling my fellow Americans -- liberal and conservative -- to stop getting their panties in a twist over China's artificially low yuan.  "They're stealing our wealth!"  No, not really.  Today's edition of The New York Times comes with a headline on labor shortages in China -- a lovely reminder that, as Newton famously wrote, for every action, there is a reaction.  To be fair, I used to be angry about Chinese currency manipulation.  But then my father, a brilliant accountant (and also an economist), reminded me that markets have a way of kicking stupid policy-makers in the ass.

SHENZHEN, China -- Persistent labor shortages at hundreds of Chinese factories have led experts to conclude that the economy is undergoing a profound change that will ripple through the global market for manufactured goods.

The shortage of workers is pushing up wages and swelling the ranks of the country's middle class, and it could make Chinese-made products less of a bargain worldwide. International manufacturers are already talking about moving factories to lower-cost countries like Vietnam.

Yes, Virginia, artificially propping up your export market by playing games with your currency value is a great idea, until, of course, you start running out of workers to fill the low-wage positions and have to begin raising wages and providing better benefits in order to compete.  Another victim of the Law of Unintended Consequences. More below (with picture!).

From the diaries - whataboutbob

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Closing Abu Ghraib Won't Solve Anything

by Drew J Jones Tue Mar 14th, 2006 at 12:39:06 PM EST

The press has been making a big show out of the Bush administration's apparent decision to close the famous Abu Ghraib prison, as though it were some necessary symbolic step towards a peaceful Iraq and a new, "Greeted-as-Liberators" period for American troops.  Give the Republicans one thing: They know their symbolism strategies.  The problem is that symbolism is just that -- symbolism.  But, not even a week after the media began running more stories than one can shake a stick at on closing it, ghandi has a diary up with Pentagon-delivered information, stating that there is no timetable for the prison's closure.

Well, you know, the Bush administration hates timetables, anyway.  (And the Democrats are too chickenshit to demand one.)  After all, "if we set a timetable, they'll wait us out."  Because that line of reasoning clearly worked during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.  That's another issue, though.  I, for one, do not support closing Abu Ghraib.  It's not the prison, itself, that is responsible for what happened.  It's the fault of the immoral behavior of the Bush administration and the Pentagon.  And the idea of closing Abu Ghraib is simply useless propaganda that the Iraqis are smart enough to see through.

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Briefly: Dems to Win or Tie in Senate

by Drew J Jones Sat Feb 25th, 2006 at 12:11:44 PM EST

This is a European blog, obviously, but, since Bush administration actions are relevant to everyone, I thought I'd bring up a bit of very good news.  Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid gave a bit of information from what I assume are internal polls:

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that if midterm elections were held today Democrats would win the five seats they need to draw even in the Senate, due largely to the Bush administration's "general incompetence" at home and abroad. [...]

Reid said polls show Democrats winning Republican-held seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, Missouri and Rhode Island.

"And we have good shots in Arizona and Tennessee," he said. "If elections were held today, we'd pick up five seats. The Senate would be 50-50. "

Article here.

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