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    • The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be
      Water. As I’ve said for many years. The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it wi […]
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Wednesday News

Good Day Conflucians!!!

The big news of the day are the election results from yesterdays primaries. So let’s look at a few of those first.

A big upset in the making seems to be Murkowski’s senate seat in Alaska:

A political newcomer with the backing of Sarah Palin has put Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in unexpected danger today, threatening to make her the seventh incumbent to lose a seat in this year’s primary elections.

Joe Miller, a Gulf War veteran, won 51% of the vote, according to unofficial returns this morning. Murkowski, who is in her second term, had 49% of the vote. With 98% of polling places accounted for, the two candidates were separated by 1,960 votes.

Miller told the Anchorage Daily News that Palin’s endorsement was “pivotal.”

Alaskan election officials say they had received 7,600 absentee ballots by Monday – and that number is likely to grow. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by election day, but can be received 10 days after the election. Officials say they plan to begin counting those ballots on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

“Our country does not need another Democrat in the Senate voting for the Obama agenda which is bankrupting us,” Palin, referring to Murkowski, wrote on her Facebook page this week. “Alaska deserves a senator who will not talk one way in the Last Frontier and then vote the opposite way in the Beltway. “

Part of the mix of that election is that Palin beat Murkowski’s father in her governors race in ’06, so there’s a bit of history. I’m sure the faux progressive bloggers will be blowing a gasket; trying to decide if Palin is completely irrelevant somehow anyway, or the most evil human ever in the universe. The general news from many of the elections on the right is that the party regulars are in trouble. Tea Party members are winning. Or more generally, anti-establishment candidates are winning. There’s a big lesson there for the MSM and the established old farts in both parties to not get. LATimes has more on the story as well. The election is not finalized yet, so anything can happen.

Another big race to watch has been the GOP governors race in FL. Here the established candidate, Bill McCollum, lost to the anti-establishment guy Rick Scott. As an example of the feelings out there, McCollum conceded the race but hasn’t endorsed Scott:

Bill McCollum conceded his loss in the Republican governor’s primary early Wednesday morning without endorsing the victor, millionaire Rick Scott.

“The votes today have been tallied and I accept the voters’ decision,” McCollum said. “This race was one for the ages. No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multimillionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.

“While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn’t be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits.”

McCollum’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, said Wednesday morning that McCollum had not spoken to Scott. When asked if he planned to endorse Scott in his race against Democrat Alex Sink, Campbell said that McCollum is focused on helping other Republicans, such as Marco Rubio who is running for U.S. Senate.

“He and Mr. Scott have not talked,” she said.

Poor baby.

And over in Arizona, McCain handily won his primary after Palin’s endorsement:

Conscious of the danger posed by the Tea Party, McCain fought hard to ensure his political survival. Although Hayworth was a weak candidate, McCain took no chances, spending $20m (£13m), much of it on advertising blitzes, to beat him.

There was a political cost to McCain, as he had to shift repeatedly to the right, renouncing previous policy positions, not least immigration reform, which he once championed with the late Democratic senator Ted Kennedy. He even denied he had once taken pride in his label as a “maverick”.

The $20m is an extraordinary amount to spend on a primary in a state with a relatively small population, and Hayworth could not compete, claiming he had been outspent 10 to one.

McCain was helped, too, by a public appearance on his behalf by Sarah Palin, his vice-presidential running mate in 2008. A Tea Party favourite, her support for McCain saw some of Hayworth’s supporters peel away. Some Tea Party activists had been ambivalent about Hayworth anyway, sceptical about his rightwing credentials and his past political performances.

He managed to narrow the polls earlier this year, threatening an upset, but the poll gap was well into double digits on the eve of the primary. In spite of that, Hayworth insisted he was “poised to pull one of the greatest upsets in political history”.

The Arizona battle was the highlight of a night that also saw Republican and Democratic primaries fought in Florida, Alaska, Oklahoma and Vermont. The last of the primaries will be on 14 September.

This was indeed an interesting race. On the one hand McCain was an established candidate and not with the Tea Party movement, on the other hand he got an endorsement and support from Palin. And of course he spent a lot of money. I’m not sure what to take away from this one. McCain clearly moves all over the map when it comes to needing to get elected. It’s like he’s a politician or something. But who is the real John McCain?

In completely irrelevant election news, Meeks wins the Democratic primary for Florida’s open senate seat:

Representative Kendrick Meek won Florida’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary on Tuesday and will square off against Governor Charlie Crist and conservative Republican Marco Rubio in the closely watched Nov. 2 election.

As you can see by the quote above, the reason this is irrelevant is because the real race will be between the formerly Republican now Independent candidate Crist and Republican candidate Rubio. That will be an interesting race to watch. Republican’s will be pulling out all the stops to help Rubio win. Interestingly, many Democrats and typically Democratic affiliated organizations are backing Crist:

Democrat Kendrick Meek has the support of Florida’s AFL-CIO and SEIU, but independent Charlie Crist is rolling out a labor endorsement of his own today, from a coalition of Florida Teamsers locals.

In other election news, a transgender candidate for a GOP house seat got 22% of the GOP vote:

As Senate and gubernatorial races dominated political headlines Tuesday night, here’s a result that was easy to overlook: transgender candidate Donna Milo received 22 percent of the vote in her Republican primary for Florida’s 20th congressional district.

Milo placed third in a three-way race, finishing behind winner Karen Harrington (40 percent) and runner-up Robert Lowry (38 percent). Milo received over 4,100 votes out of more than 18,400 cast.

The district, which surrounds Ft. Lauderdale, is strongly Democratic. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a deputy Democratic whip, currently represents it.

Sadly she’s the typical pro life, anti gay marriage very conservative Republican. But the better than expected showing is worth note.

In non election news, the housing market looks pretty bad

The annualized rate of new homes sales fell 12.4% in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 276,600 a year, the US Commerce Department said.

That makes it the slowest rate since records began in 1963.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors also reported a sharp drop in sales of existing homes.

Analysts fear the data could reflect the weakness in the US economy.

The annualized rate represents what the total number of sales would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months.

Although most analysts had expected a fall in sales, the number was even weaker than expected.

“There is nothing good you can say about the number,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities in New York.

“The odds of the dreaded double-dip [recession] are increasing.”

NYTimes has a more in depth article on the subject and also includes some about durable goods bad news:

The Commerce Department report said that orders to American factories for durable goods rose 0.3 percent last month, much less than the 3 percent growth that was forecast. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders dropped 3.8 percent. Orders for machinery dropped 15 percent, while those for capital goods dropped 8 percent.

“July’s durable goods report adds to the recent evidence from numerous activity surveys that the manufacturing recovery has lost nearly all of the considerable momentum it had,” economists from Capital Economics in a research note said.

“The rebound in manufacturing was one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing recovery, the research note said. “Take it away, throw in a renewed collapse in housing, and you don’t have much left.”

But the important news of the day is that Obama is “having a good time” on his vacation. Yep, another vacation:

On Day 6 of President Obama’s summer sojourn on Martha’s Vineyard, it is Day 4 of wind-whipped rain here. So what if the clouds have followed him here, metaphorically and figuratively? The First Vacationer says he is a happy camper.

“I’m having a great time – doing a lot of reading,” a smiling Mr. Obama told reporters waiting outside the popular restaurant where he had a leisurely dinner on Tuesday night, near the farm property he is renting.

With the president were his wife, Michelle; his Chicago friends Valerie Jarrett, who is a senior White House adviser, and Eric and Cheryl Whitaker; and the Washington establishment figures Vernon and Ann Jordan, longtime summer visitors to the island who frequently socialized with President Clinton during his seven vacations here in the 1990s but did not see the Obamas during their stay last year. Mrs. Jordan and Ms. Jarrett are cousins; Mrs. Jordan’s mother and Ms. Jarrett’s grandfather were siblings.

The group spent almost three hours inside the State Road restaurant. Reporters outside knew the president and his party were finally leaving by the sound of cheers and clapping and the flash of cameras from the other diners inside.

So that’s some of what’s happening today. What are you seeing today in the news? Chime in with any other news.

Corzine: “She would have been able to handle this Congress”

Corzine knew better

So, the former governor of New Jersey attended a birthday party for the Big Dawg and in one sentence managed to sum up everything that is wrong with the Democratic party right now:

“…Susan and Alan Patricof watched the slenderized and beaming couple kick it up to “You’re Still the One” as former New Jersey Senator John Corzine looked on wistfully. “I just wish,” Corzine said shaking his head, “I mean I knew — she would have been able to handle this Congress… but it was just Obama’s time.”

Stand back, Myiq, I can handle this.

Dear Jon, this statement exemplifies why you aren’t the Governor of New Jersey any more.  I voted for you for Senator and Governor.   After Christie Whitman left, I thought it was time for a Democrat to take control of the state and work on property tax reform.  You remember property taxes?  Those things that increase mortgage payments by roughly 50%?  Yeah, the voters of NJ expected you to do something about that, like adopt a more Pennsylvania like tax system.  You know, spread the responsibility, move towards a more equitable income tax solution, or hit your buds to pony up more, maybe consolidate some municipalities so they shared services, work with the teacher’s unions to make sure teachers proved themselves before they got tenure.  You know, stuff like that.  But you examined the problem only briefly, threw up your hands and declared yourself powerless and expected us to just kind of suck it up and vote for you again.

It reminds me of some of Obama’s legislative “victories”.  His supporters say he’s powerless to influence the big bad, nasty, wasty Republicans so his proposals are weak tea and do nothing to alleviate the suffering of millions of Americans.  But, Golly!, he certainly has a record of legislative accomplishments, doesn’t he?  No one since FDR has dones so much.  I guess all that Civil Rights legislation and Great Society stuff and Medicare doesn’t count.  LBJ must be rolling in his grave.  But isn’t Reagan delicious??

But I digress.  Let’s look at what your statement actually says.  We’ll break it down for the slow witted.

1.) “I knew — she would have been able to handle this Congress”.  That’s a very interesting admission, Jon.  Presumably, you had insight into Hillary’s capacity to govern because you had seen her in action.  You were in the Senate at roughly the same time.  You worked with her.  And she would have had a very powerful mentor at her side at all times who she could have asked for advice.  Initially, you were a Clinton Superdelegate.  That’s because even you could see that after eight years of George Bush’s devastating disaster of a presidency, the country was going to need a responsible, capable, experienced leader to clean up.  It would have been a thankless job too.  Because avoiding a financial crisis like the one we have now wouldn’t have the same impact as fixing it now that the economy is totally broken.  If Hillary had been elected and structured the TARP in such a way that the big banks had been taken over, that homeowners had been able to keep their houses and paid the banks on time and real, ready-to-go infrastructure projects had put people back to work, she would have just looked like a good president.  If we elect her in 2012 and she does all of these things, she will look absolutely Rooseveltesque!  Obama might not like that much but, trust me, the American people will love it.

2.) “…but it was just Obama’s time.”  No, Jon, it was OUR time.  That is, the American people’s time.  It was time for us to stop being terrified of scary Muslims.  It was our time to stop the slide of the middle class towards destitution.  It was our time to invest in infrastructure and our future.  We needed a leader who was ready and able to help us do that.  It wasn’t feminists’ time or African Americans’ time.  The prize of the presidency of the United States was not a personal accomplishment for Barack Obama.  He wasn’t ready for a commitment as big as this one.  And this is where you made your fatal mistake.

Where the hell do you get off substituting your opinion for expressed wishes of the voters of your state?  As a superdelegate, you can do whatever fool thing you want with your vote.  But you don’t have the right to take the primary results of millions of people of the state you govern and dump them in nearest waste paper receptacle because you are dazzled by a Wall Street shmoozer who thinks it is his destiny to rule the world.  You may have thought the local Democratic machine wouldn’t stand in your way if you did it anyway but the voters had the right to hold you accountable for your lack of effort and your bad judgment.  That’s why you’re not Governor anymore.

If there’s anyone to blame for Chris Christie’s win in NJ, it’s YOU, Jon.  All you had to do was act like you actually cared about the voters in your state.  Instead, you behaved with arrogance, detachment and wrong headed stupidity.  You saddled a lot of New Jersey residents with taxes they struggle to pay and you deprived them of a voice in the most crucial election of their lifetimes.  And for that, the voters held you personally responsible.

And that’s going to happen to Congress this fall.

Thanks for nothing.

BTW, Happy Belated Birthday, Bill.

(And so’s your wife)