Posts tagged ‘Culture Wars’

Meet Dean Chambers, The Virginia Republican Who Is ‘Unskewing’ The Polls


Meet Dean Chambers, The Virginia Republican Who Is ‘Unskewing’ The Polls.

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David Taintor September 28, 2012, 4:38 PM 1870

With Republicans up in arms over poll after poll showing President Obama ahead, conservatives have latched on to a new polling site that promises to “unskew” the data, correcting what the site believes are polling samples with too many darn Democrats. Rick Perry has tweeted his approval of the site — which shows Mitt Romney ahead by 7.4 points — and even Stephen Colbert expressed his faux appreciation.

Here’s what the site’s founder, Dean Chambers, does. He changes the baseline assumption on how much of the electorate is Republican and how much is Democratic. Initially, he used Rasmussen’s real numbers on party identification to re-weight various polls. Rasmussen’s numbers break down to 37.6 percent Republican, 33.3 percent Democrat and 29.2 percent Independent. As of Thursday night, Chambers began using party identification numbers from his own web-based poll.

Chambers’ project started in July after he noticed an ABC News/Washington Post poll that “just didn’t look right.” An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted this month showed Obama up over Romney 49 percent to 48 percent. “Unskewed,” however, after applying Rasmussen’s numbers on party ID, Romney leads Obama 52-45 in the poll. It’s like magic. But Chambers insists he isn’t “changing” or “making up” data. “The only thing I’m doing is weighting.”

But that’s exactly what most pollsters don’t do. “We don’t have any preconceived notions about the party breakdown of a poll before we conduct it. The only things we make any adjustments for are gender, race, and age,” Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen told TPM in an email. “It makes sense that as support for Obama increases, more people also identify themselves as Democrats. I know conservatives want to think it’s more Democrats in the poll causing Obama to do better, but it’s actually Obama doing better causing more Democrats in the poll.”

“The reality is that (Republicans are) losing, they can’t accept it, and they’re going to find some reason to dismiss every poll that makes them unhappy no matter what its composition is,” Jensen added. “This isn’t really about Party ID, it’s about hardcore denial.”

In every poll Chambers has reworked — save for a recent “unskewed” Fox News poll that has Obama up 2 points — Romney leads the incumbent. While Chambers, 45, of Duffield, Va., is a Romney supporter and longtime Republican, he said he is simply reporting the numbers “as they are.”

It doesn’t quite work that way, though. Scott Rasmussen told BuzzFeed this week: “you cannot compare partisan weighting from one polling firm to another.” Different firms ask about party identification differently, he explained. It’s not apples to apples. Rasmussen added:

“Some ask how you are registered. Some ask what you consider yourselves. Some push for leaners, others do not. Some ask it at the beginning of a survey which provides a more stable response while others ask it at the end.”

Missing from Chambers’ model is the fact that party identification is not a static metric. The current PollTracker average of party identification, which tracks the broader samples of American adults, shows 33.3 percent of citizens consider themselves Democrats, 22.1 percent Republicans and 34.3 percent independents. In 2010, when Republicans swept the House of Representatives and made gains in statehouses across the country, Republican party identification was much higher, around 31 percent. Based on a web poll he is currently conducting on his site, Chambers found only a 0.4 point spread between Democrats and Republicans today, with Democrats holding a narrow edge.

Still, Chambers said he believes pollsters aren’t skewing the data with malicious intent. They are just operating under faulty assumptions, he said, believing there are many more self-identified Democrats in the country today than Republicans. But the media, Chamber said, are over-reporting the polls showing Obama ahead. “That’s driving the analysis,” he said. “If one were to believe all these polls, you would think (the election is) over. It’s not over.”

Meanwhile, here’s the PollTracker average of where the presidential race stands today:

A Rare Look at Why The Government Won’t Fight Wall Street | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone


A Rare Look at Why The Government Won't Fight Wall Street | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone.

The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial – but there have been very few who’ve come at the issue from the inside.

We get one of those rare inside accounts in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, a new book by Jeff Connaughton, the former aide to Senators Ted Kaufman and Joe Biden. Jeff is well known to reporters like me; during a period when most government officials double-talked or downplayed the Wall Street corruption problem, Jeff was one of the few voices on the Hill who always talked about the subject with appropriate alarm. He shared this quality with his boss Kaufman, the Delaware Senator who took over Biden’s seat and instantly became an irritating (to Wall Street) political force by announcing he wasn’t going to run for re-election. “I later learned from reporters that Wall Street was frustrated that they couldn’t find a way to harness Ted or pull in his reins,” Jeff writes. “There was no obvious way to pressure Ted because he wasn’t running for re-election.”

Kaufman for some time was a go-to guy in the Senate for reform activists and reporters who wanted to find out what was really going on with corruption issues. He was a leader in a number of areas, attempting to push through (often simple) fixes to issues like high-frequency trading (his advocacy here looked prescient after the “flash crash” of 2010), naked short-selling, and, perhaps most importantly, the Too-Big-To-Fail issue. What’s fascinating about Connaughton’s book is that we now get to hear a behind-the-scenes account of who exactly was knocking down simple reform ideas, how they were knocked down, and in some cases we even find out why good ideas were rejected, although some element of mystery certainly remains here.

There are some damning revelations in this book, and overall it’s not a flattering portrait of key Obama administration officials like SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami, Department of Justice honchos Eric Holder (who once worked at the same law firm, Covington and Burling, as Connaughton) and Lanny Breuer, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Most damningly, Connaughton writes about something he calls “The Blob,” a kind of catchall term describing an oozy pile of Hill insiders who are all incestuously interconnected, sometimes by financial or political ties, sometimes by marriage, sometimes by all three. And what Connaughton and Kaufman found is that taking on Wall Street even with the aim of imposing simple, logical fixes often inspired immediate hostile responses from The Blob; you’d never know where it was coming from.

In one amazing example described in the book, Kaufman decided he wanted to try to re-instate the so-called “uptick rule,” which had existed for seventy years before being rescinded by the SEC in 2007. The rule prevents investors from shorting a stock until the stock had ticked up in price. “Forcing short sellers to wait for the price to tick up before they sell more shares gives a breather to a stock in decline and helps prevent bear raids,” Connaughton writes.

The uptick rule is controversial on Wall Street – I’ve had some people literally scream at me that it doesn’t do anything, while others have told me that it does help prevent bear attacks of the sort that appeared to help finally topple already-mortally-wounded companies like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers – but what’s inarguable is that Wall Street hates the rule. Hedge fund types or employees of really any company that engages in short-selling will tend to be most venomous in their opinions of the uptick rule.

Anyway, Connaughton and Kaufman were under the impression that new SEC chief Mary Schapiro would re-instate the uptick rule after taking office. When she didn’t, Kaufman wrote her a letter, asking her to take action. When that didn’t do the trick, he co-sponsored (with Republican Johnny Isakson) a bill that would have required the SEC to take action.

Nothing happened, and months later, Kaufman gave a grumbling interview to Politico about the issue. One June 30, the paper’s headline read: “Ted Kaufman to SEC; Do Your Job.”

The next day, the Blob bit back. Connaughton was in the basement of the Russell building when a Senate staffer whose wife worked for Shapiro shouted at him. From the book:

“Hey, Jeff, you’re in the doghouse.” He meant: with his wife.

“Why?” I asked.

“That Politico piece by your boss.”

I was taken aback but tried to downplay the matter. “We just want the SEC to get its work done.”

“Remember,” he said. “We all wear blue jerseys and play for the Blue Team. I just don’t think that helps.”

When Connaughton told Kaufman over the phone what the staffer said, Kaufman exploded. “You call him back right now and tell him I said to go fuck himself in his ear,” Kaufman said.

Similarly, when Kaufman tried to advocate for rules that would have prevented naked short-selling, Connaughton was warned by a lobbyist that it would be “bad for my career” if he went after the issue and that “Ted and I looked like deranged conspiracy theorists” for asking if naked short-selling had played a role in the final collapse of Lehman Brothers. Naked short-selling is another controversial practice. Essentially, when you short a stock, you’re supposed to locate shares of that stock before you go out and sell it short. But what hedge funds and banks have discovered is that the rules provide “leeway” – you can go out and sell shares in a stock without actually having it, provided you have a “reasonable belief” that you can locate the shares.

This leads to the obvious possibility of companies creating false supply in a stock by selling shares they don’t have. Without getting too much into the weeds here, there is an obvious solution to the problem, which essentially would be forcing companies to actually locate shares before selling them. In their attempt to change the system, Kaufman and Connaughton discovered that the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation, the massive quasi-private organization that clears most all stock trades in America, had come up with just such a fix on their own. Kaufman recruited some other senators to endorse the idea, and as late as 2009, Connaughton and Kaufman were convinced they were going to get the form. “I said to Ted, ‘We’re going to change the way stocks are traded in this country.'”

But before the change could be made, Goldman, Sachs issued “data” showing that there was “no correlation” between naked short selling and price movements. When Connaughton asked an Isakson staffer what the data said, the staffer, intimidated by Goldman, replied, “The data proves we’re full of shit.” Connaughton looked at the data and realized instantly that it was a bunch of irrelevant gobbledygook, even firing off an angry letter to Goldman telling them the tactic was beneath even them.

But Goldman’s tactic worked. A roundtable to discuss the idea was scheduled by the SEC on September 24, 2009. Of the nine invited participants, “all but one” were for the status quo. Connaughton expected the DTCC representatives to unveil their reform idea, but they didn’t:

Afterwards, I went over to [the DTCC representatives] and asked, “What happened?” Sheepishly, and to their credit, they admitted: “We got pulled back.” They meant: by their board, by the Wall Street powers-that-be.

Essentially the same thing happened in Kaufman’s biggest reform attempt, the amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill he co-sponsored with Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, which would have broken up the Too-Big-To-Fail banks. But the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which was really the meatiest thing in the original Dodd-Frank bill, the one reform that really would have made a difference if it had passed, just died in the suffocating mass of the Blob. The key Democrats one after another failed to line up behind it, and in the end it was defeated soundly, with Dick Durbin, the number two man in the Democratic leadership, giving it this epitaph: “a bridge too far.”

Again, those interested in understanding the mindset of the people who should be leading the anti-corruption charge ought to read this book. It’s the weird lack of concern that shines through, like Khuzami’s comment that he’s “not losing sleep” over judges reprimanding his soft-touch settlements with banks, or then Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Ray Lohier’s comment that the thing that most concerned him – this is the period of 2008-2009, the middle of a historic crimewave on Wall Street – was “cyber crime.”

On the outside we can only deduce the mindset from actions and non-actions, but Connaughton’s actually seen it, and with the book you get to see it too. It’s scary and definitely worth a read.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/a-rare-look-at-why-the-government-wont-fight-wall-street-20120918#ixzz26sqMxULA

They Only Help The Rich But What About Us The 99 Percent; we’re the invisible people.


The Fed steps in, and stocks soar: Dow climbs 206 – Yahoo! News.

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market staged a huge rally Thursday after investors got the aggressive economic help they wanted from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones industrial average spiked more than 200 points and cleared 13,500 for the first time since the beginning of the Great Recession. The average is within 625 points of its all-time high.

The Fed said it would buy $40 billion of mortgage securities a month until the economy improves. It left open the possibilities of buying other assets and of buying long after the recovery picks up.

The central bank also extended its pledge of super-low short-term interest rates into 2015, and extended a program to drive down long-term rates.

It was the package known as QE3 — a third round of quantitative easing, in market-speak. And it was just what investors were hoping for.

“They’re saying that the punch bowl, the fuel for the economy, isn’t going away — it’s going to be here as long as you need it,” said Tony Fratto, a former aide to President George W. Bush and managing partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy consulting firm in Washington.

The Dow closed up 206.51 points, the seventh-biggest gain this year, at 13,539.86, its highest close since the last days of December 2007, the first month of the recession.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 23.43 points at 1,459.99, also its highest since December 2007. The Nasdaq composite index, which has been trading at its highest levels since 2000, was up 41.52 at 3,155.83.

David Abuaf, chief investment officer at Hefty Wealth Partners, said he expects investors to keep shifting from safer assets like government bonds to stocks. That could push stock prices higher and start a cycle of increased wealth and spending.

“People will feel more confident, consumers will buy more goods, and GDP growth will increase,” he said, referring to the gross domestic product, or economic output.

The stock market had already enjoyed a summer rally, in part because investors were betting on more Fed action. The Dow has climbed more than 1,100 points since the start of June.

Still, stocks spiked Thursday in industries across the economy. Materials companies, which tend to do well when the economy picks up, enjoyed the biggest gain — 2.6 percent as a group. Bank stocks also surged.

This is the third round of bond-buying by the Fed since the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008. The goal is to lower long-term interest rates, get people to borrow and spend more and push investors into stocks.

If history is any guide, stocks could rally a bit more. In the three months following March 2009, when the Fed said it would expand its first round of buying, the S&P 500 rose 18 percent. In the three months after the central bank hinted at a second round of buying in August 2010, the S&P rose 14 percent.

Some economists and investors have warned that the bond-buying will have a limited impact because interest rates are already near record lows.

Critics of the stock rally say investors should focus on why the Fed is acting in the first place: The U.S. economy is weak. Economic growth in China is also slowing, and much of Europe is in recession and struggling with high debt.

Earlier this month, Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, said the central bank would buy the debt of countries that use the euro and are desperate to keep their borrowing costs down.

“I’m not buying anything,” Gary Flam of Bel Air Investment Advisors said as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at a press conference.

Flam added, referring to Draghi and Bernanke: “These two guys are propping up market in the hope it will trickle down to the economy, but after several years of this we haven’t seen a sustainable impact. The underlying problems of debt and deficits remain.”

The Fed also lowered its outlook for economic growth this year to no stronger than 2 percent. That’s down from its forecast of 2.4 percent in June.

In Treasury trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell slightly to 1.73 percent from 1.79 percent late Wednesday. It had spiked to 1.84 percent as investors sold bonds after the Fed announcement.

The dollar fell slightly against major currencies. It tumbled almost a penny against the euro, which rose to a hair under $1.30.

The price of gold climbed to its highest level since February — $1,772 an ounce, a gain of $38, or 2 percent. When the Fed buys bonds, gold often rises, both because investors fear inflation and because a weaker dollar makes gold more expensive.

The trading day didn’t begin well. European markets were falling and U.S. futures slid, suggesting stocks might fall when U.S. markets opened.

In addition to worries about what the Fed might do, investors were rattled by turmoil in the Middle East. Protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital earlier in the day, and there was violence around the U.S. mission in Cairo. The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed Tuesday.

Stocks rose after the open but barely. Then the Fed released a statement about its moves shortly after 12:30 p.m., and prices began to climb steadily. Some Fed watchers homed in on a pledge to keep stimulating the economy for a “considerable” time “after” it appears to have strengthened. That is stronger language than the central bank had used before.

Then Bernanke started speaking at the press conference at around 2:15, and stocks shot up. A few minutes into the conference, the Dow was up nearly 240 points.

“We are looking for ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market,” Bernanke told reporters. “There’s not a specific number in mind. But what we’ve seen in the last six months isn’t it.”

In other news Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in two months, though the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac.

The figures come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, far below the average 226,000 a month added in the January-March quarter.

The government also said that wholesale prices rose 1.7 percent in August, the most in three years. They were driven up by higher costs for gas and food. Removing the impact of energy and food, however, the increase in prices has been mild.

Among stocks making moves, Pall Corp. rose $4.63, or 8 percent, to $62.80. The company, which makes filtration equipment, posted net income that beat Wall Street predictions.

Apple climbed $13.19, or 2 percent, to $682.98. On Wednesday, the company unveiled an iPhone with a bigger screen and faster download speeds.

On Wednesday, the Dow rose to a four-year high after Germany’s highest court rejected calls to block the creation of Europe’s rescue fund for indebted governments.

The Fed action combined with the Middle East turmoil pushed crude prices up to above $98 a barrel of the first time in more than four months. Oil rose $1.30 to close at $98.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

There were nearly four stocks rising for every one falling. Volume was high, 4.5 billion shares.

___

AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode contributed to this report.

The Movie ELA


With 50 million Mexicans Americans in the US; I want to produce a movie about the way it was in East Los Angeles in the 1960s. The football games Roosevelt vs. Garfield. Bring back the oldies, the cruising, the Imperials Car Club, and other car clubs from that time. The storyline will be the tragic auto accident of Alex and Lil Mike in August 1968 on Pacific Coast Hwy. The Beach Party was held by the Imperial’s Car Club in Huntington Beach. Alex was a Lincoln High Student leaving the beach party with his girlfriend Cathy. Lil Mike was coming to the beach party with his girl friend Vivian who was a Roosevelt High student; Both Alex and Vivian died as result of the accident. Cathy suffered brain damage, and Lil Mike spent 4 months in the accident. They were both just 17 years old.

PS. I need financing for this project; can you give me some suggestions. Or call me at: 760-540-8864

Thank You,

Armando Olmos

Critical Race Theory : Cases, Materials, and Problems (2ND 07 Edition) by Dorothy Brown – Powell’s Books


by Dorothy Brown

 

Critical Race Theory : Cases, Materials, and Problems (2ND 07 Edition) Cover

ISBN13: 9780314166333
ISBN10: 0314166335
Condition: Student Owned
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780314166333
Author:
Brown, Dorothy
Publisher:
Thomson West
Author:
Brown, Dorothy A.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
Race discrimination
Subject:
United States Race relations.
Subject:
Race discrimination — Law and legislation.
Subject:
Law : General
Edition Number:
2
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
American Casebook
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
343
Dimensions:
9.98×7.37x.65 in. 1.56 lbs.

 

 

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Critical Race Theory : Cases, Materials, and Problems (2ND 07 Edition) by Dorothy Brown – Powell’s Books.