Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

Bristol Palin on Teen Pregnancy: “Learn from My Example”

May 6, 2009

Yesterday on NBC’s Today, Bristol Palin, the daughter of former VP candidate and Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) said something that I’ve been saying for a long time: “Abstinence is the only 100% foolproof way to prevent teen pregnancy.”  This comes after her comments on FOX News’s On the Record earlier this year when she said, “I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all. … Because it’s [sex is] more and more accepted now.”

Go ahead and watch the full interview from the Today show, courtesy of MSNBC and NBC:

I agree with Bristol here.  Abstinence is the ONLY way to ensure that you don’t get pregnant.  It’s just that simple.  There is no other guaranteed way to avoid getting pregnant.  It’s just that simple.  But Bristol is right in what she said on FOX earlier this year – teens being sexually active is becoming more common and more accepted.  That doesn’t mean that this is an excuse for teens having sex.  In my opinion, it’s not that hard not to have sex.  Others may disagree, but there are plenty of people out there who will back me up in saying that saying, “No” isn’t as hard as some people would make you think it is.

Personally, I think that we need to emphasize abstinence as the only way to guarantee against pregnancy, but for teens who are sexually active, they need to use some sort of method of birth control.  Whether or not that will help, I don’t know.  I wouldn’t think that 16- and 17-year-olds would need to be taught about condoms and other forms of birth control – I think there’s enough mention of that in the media already, but apparently I’m wrong (either that or people just figure that they won’t get pregnant because “it won’t happen to me”).

I think Bristol’s story is a great testimony to other teens.  While some may view her as a hypocrite, I think many will view her as someone who went through a lot of hard times and doesn’t want to see other people go through what she went through.

As always, I wish Bristol and Tripp the very best, and to Bristol: good luck on sharing your story with other teens.  I hope people listen – God bless both of you and your family.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Bristol Palin and Fiancé Levi Johnston Split Up

March 13, 2009

bristol-palin-levi-bWell, it’s a sad love story coming out of Alaska.  Earlier in the week, the tabloid magazine Star reported that the daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol, had broken up with her fiancé, Levi Johnston.  As you probably remember, Bristol and Levi had a little boy recently, and they named him Tripp.

The Star reported the following as coming from Levi Johnston’s sister, Mercede:

“Levi tries to visit Tripp every single day, but Bristol makes it nearly impossible. She tells him he can’t take the baby to our house because she doesn’t want him around ‘white trash’!” Bristol won’t even allow him to watch the baby for a few hours — unless he’s babysitting!

The worst part, Mercede continues, is that the former vice presidential candidate supports Bristol’s treatment of Levi, 19. “I used to love Sarah,” Mercede says sadly. “But I’ve lost lots of respect for her.”

According to Star, Mercede also said, “Bristol’s just crazy.  That’s the nicest way I can put it.  She and Levi actually broke up a while ago!”

Bristol then released the following statement through her mom’s political action committee, SarahPAC: “Unfortunately, my family has seen many people say and do things to ‘cash in’ on the Palin name.  Sometimes that greed clouds good judgment and the truth.”

The only quote that we have from Levi is that they mutually decided to end their relationship “a while ago.”  That was said outside of  his home in Wasilla, Alaska.

As I said when I learned of the pregnancy, I wish both Bristol and Levi the best.  Teenage pregnancy isn’t an easy thing to go through.  I will say that this all could have been avoided through abstinence.  Sure, Bristol said she thinks that it is “not realistic at all,” but I know plenty of people who are doing it (or rather not “doing it”) just fine, including myself (then again, I am single at the moment, so that does make it a tad easier).

Again though, I wish Levi and Bristol, and especially Tripp the best.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Some Republican Governors Break Party Ranks and Support Stimulus Bill

February 6, 2009

Alright, this news article is a few days old, but since the Senate hasn’t voted on the stimulus package yet, it’s still applicable.  I read an AP article that a friend showed me, and while I won’t post the whole thing, I’ll highlight some key points.  The article talks about Republican Governors who are urging Congress to pass the stimulus bill.  The full article can be read here.  Then I went looking for more positions on the bill and found a few other governors’ positions.

Here’s what some of the Republican Governors have said:

  • Vermont Governor Jim Douglas went to Washington, D.C. earlier this week to push the Senate to pass the bill.  His deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey told the AP, “As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, Governor Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans.”  On another occasion, Douglas said that he “believes that the federal government should pass some form of federal recovery to assist states that are struggling right now.”
  • Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said, “States have to balance their budgets.  So if we’re going to go down this path, we are entitled to ask for our share of the money.”  He did go on to say later though, “I’m quite concerned about the federal government spending money it doesn’t have.  We’re on an unsustainable path of deficit spending and borrowing.”  A spokesman for Pawlenty also said, “Governor Pawlenty has serious concerns about the stimulus package passed by the House.  He believes the bill should focus more on tax cuts and addressing the housing crisis and not the buffet of Democrat spending initiatives the bill now contains.If a bill does pass, Minnesota will accept its share of the money because we are a significant net contributor to the federal government.  A study shows Minnesota receives about 72 cents for every $1 sent to Washington – so we’re paying more than our fair share.”
  • Alaska Governor Sarah Palin released a statement saying that she “has asked the nation’s leaders to look at these issues to ensure fairness in the stimulus package and that the package does not harm the long-term fiscal health of the nation.  Contrary to some news reports, she looks forward to continuing to work with Alaska’s congressional delegation to accomplish the state’s goals.”
  • Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons’s spokesman told reporters, “The state of Nevada’s economy is in a deep financial crisis and any financial assistance, including the stimulus package, would be welcome.”
  • Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell “supports the idea of a federal stimulus intended to help states create jobs and help states pay for soaring health care costs.  She has written Congressional leaders as well as the state’s delegation on several occasions advocating for such a package; in fact, as far back as Senator Lieberman’s Subcommittee hearing last March on corn, ethanol prices and the food supply, she mentioned in written testimony provided to the Subcommittee that some form of second stimulus package was needed.”
  • Florida Governor Charlie Crist  also backed the plan, saying, “If it passes, which I believe and I hope that it will, I want to make sure that Florida gets her fair share.  I know it’s important in terms of infrastructure, education, making sure that we have good roads that are stable and strong, bridges that are secure, that we have an education system that is second to none.”
  • 19 governors sent a letter to President Obama supporting the stimulus package, including 4 Republican governors: Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Jodi Rell, Charlie Crist, and Jim Douglas.

Personally, I am ASHAMED of those Republican governors!  Just because they can’t get their state to balance their budget doesn’t mean that MY tax dollars should go toward stimulating their state.  Heck! I’m from Michigan – we probably need the money more than any other state, but you don’t see me going around saying, my state deserves YOUR tax dollars.  And the fact is, my state doesn’t deserve your tax dollars.  We got ourselves into this, we need to get ourselves out.  Spending money through some pork bill is NOT going to stimulate the economy!

Stand up to this wasteful spending.  I encourage all of you to call up your Senators and Governors and express concern over this bill.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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A Michigander’s Perspective: The Goverment Should Not Bail Out the Auto Industry

November 13, 2008

As rumors fly that a $25 billion bailout of the auto industry may actually come to a vote in the Congress, I figured that I, a citizen of Metro Detroit and Michigan should weigh in.

First, the facts:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called for “emergency and limited financial assistance” for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler where legislation would be passed that would make the automakers eligible for financial support under the $700 billion bailout bill that was passed in October.

This comes after a $25-billion loan program bill specifically for automakers that was passed in September.  The problem with that program was intended to loan money to the Big 3 only to help refit plants across the country in order to assist automakers in making tougher fuel economy standards.  Now the automakers are saying that they need loans just to keep overall operations continuing.

Republicans in Congress are expected to push for the restrictions on the $25 billion to be dropped, before any other optionss are considered.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already started advocating for this plan; however, it is expected that Democrats will oppose dropping any of the restrictions on the $25 billion.

Now, what is my opinion?

Well, I have a lot to gain if the auto industry bounces back.  I have 2,500 shares of Delphi, an auto parts supplier for General Motors.  If it goes back up to $10 a share, I’ll have made a little under around $24,650 on my investment.

Plus, it’ll bring jobs back to Michigan if the automakers do bounce back.  And that’ll help the economy of my state, which is in a pretty sad condition right now.

But, I still oppose the bailout.

First, I’m tired of Michiganders saying, “I support the bailout because it’ll bring jobs back to Michigan.”  Well, my fellow Michiganders, when it’s YOUR tax dollars being spent outside of the state, would you support a bailout?

If the technology sector all of a sudden began failing, would you support a bailout of Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Adobe, Atari, Microsoft, Sony, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, etc…?  I wouldn’t!  And as Governor Granholm is advocating for this bailout, mayors of major cities all over the nation are asking for their piece of the bailout?  And did I not predict that as we bail out more companies, more people would ask for their piece of the bailout pie?

This attitude is the same attitude as many people have with earmarks.  Ask most voters and they’ll tell you that they oppose earmarks, but then they’ll go and vote for the Representative “who brought so much money back to the district” through earmarks.  Examples of this are my representative, Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI13), who brags about the earmarked money she’s brought to the Detroit area, and more famously, Representative John Murtha (D-PA12) and Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).

Second, the fact that the United Auto Worker’s Union (UAW) is backing this bailout scares me.  A LARGE PORTION OF THIS PROBLEM IS THE UAW’s FAULT!  The UAW bullied GM, Delphi, and Chrysler into giving workers benefits and wages that the companies couldn’t afford.  How?  By threatening to strike when the companies were suffering.  (I don’t remember the UAW ever threatening Ford with a strike in recent years, but I could be wrong).  Let me give the UAW a little lesson in business management: When your company is losing money, the LAST thing you want to do is cost your company more money by not showing up to work and going on strike.  If the government is going to step in and do anything about the auto industry crisis, it should be to reduce the choke-hold that the UAW has had on auto companies.  Instead of complaining about getting your benefits or wages cut, be thankful that you have JOBS.  Because when you go on strike, that means products aren’t being made, which means that less products will be sold, which means that less money comes in to the company, which means that either A) you lose your job or B) you lose wages/benefits.  Striking during a time of CRISIS only furthers the problem, and the fact that the UAW leadership (and at least 51% of the membership) refuses to acknowledge this (or are just too stupid to realize it), really angers me.  Obviously you can’t see me right now, but I’m actually getting angry just talking about the sheer stupidity of the UAW (and a lot of unions, such as the unions that struck during Northwest Airline’s financial problems and eventual bankruptcy).

And that leads me to my next point: Bankruptcy court.  We have them for a reason folks.  Let the automakers use them.  We shouldn’t be looking at bailouts at all until the companies file for Chapter 11 (and even after that, I will still be opposed to bailouts).

Lastly: I don’t think that the bailouts will work with the auto industry.  Some have cited (as they did for the bailout bill passed in October) that the government successfully bailed out Chrysler in the 1970s by guaranteeing a $1.5 billion loan.  The problem with equating the 2 situations is that in the 1970s, we weren’t establishing a pattern of bailing out company after company who came to the government looking for help.  In addition, that was a bailout of one company, not the auto industry.  Honestly, if one of the Big 3 fail, that will probably be enough to give the other 2 enough business to recover.  It’s not ideal, or anywhere CLOSE to ideal (heck, I have friends and family members who work in all 3 companies), but it’s better than this general industry bailout plan.  I think that an industry bailout will help the Big 3 for a while, but that won’t be enough for them to recover, so 1 or 2 of them may fail (I honestly think GM would be the first to go, and I don’t see Ford going under).

It’s not a good situation, but a bailout will only make it worse.  Michiganders and Detroiters need to stop being selfish and start thinking about the good of the country as a whole.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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1 Day to Go: Final Senate Prediction: Democrats Gain 7 Seats

November 3, 2008

Here’s my Senate prediction. I already did my Presidential election prediction as well as my gubernatorial elections prediction.  The colors ARE switched from what the normal media colors, so sorry about that, but that’s the way the website I use does it.  The maps are courtesy of Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas, and my most current prediction can always be found here.  On to the predictions…

* = Pickup via defeat of incumbent; ^ = Pickup of an open seat

Democrats: 19 (+7)
Republicans: 14 (-7)
Light gray indicates states with no Senate races

First, a note about Wyoming and Mississippi:

  • Wyoming has 2 races, Michael Enzi (R) against Chris Rothfuss (D) and John Barasso (R) against Nick Carter (D).  I expect both Republicans to win with results around 63%.
  • Mississippi has 2 races.  The maps are predictions for Thad Cochran (R) against Erik Fleming (D). In the election between Roger Wicker (R) and Ronnie Musgrove (D), I expect Wicker to win with around 55%, a much closer race than the other.

Alright, so let’s look at the states where people may disagree with me:

  • Arkansas: Mark Pryor is unopposed by a Republican. Rebekah Kennedy (Green) is the only opponent, so that’s why I have it so high. It’s not a mistake.
  • Alaska: 2 predictions ago, I had it going to “Uncle Ted” Stevens. Then, the jury found him guilty. I changed my prediction on the U.S. Election Atlas website, but didn’t repost a prediction here (although I did write a blog post saying that Mark Begich would win). Then, I started thinking, and I think Stevens will pull it off. Then, last prediction, I said, “I know the polls disagree (but the Research 2000 poll showing him down 22% is just wrong), but I don’t see Alaskans voting out Uncle Ted.”  Well, I just can’t justify keeping it in Uncle Ted’s column anymore.  I think it’s going to go to Mark Begich, but I’m not confident enough to put it in the “Strong” column.
  • Minnesota: I’m now confident enough in my call for Coleman, and he has been slightly leading in the polls.
  • North Carolina: I think Elizabeth Dole’s attack ad on Kay Hagan gave Hagan the edge she’ll need to win, but still I’m not confident enough to put it in the “Strong” column.

Now, the map indicating the confidence that I have that my prediction is right:

Democrats: 19 (+7)
Republicans: 14 (-7)
Tossup: 3
Light gray indicates states with no Senate races

Alright, so what changes did I make since last time, and why? Here they are:

State

Previous

Current

Reasoning

AK

R50T

D50L

I think the guilty verdict finally did it in for him.  Although I’m not going to mark it as “Strong” because those Alaskan’s sure love their Uncle Ted, and weirder things have happened.

MN

R40T

R40L

I think I’m confident enough to take it out of the Toss-Up category now.

NC

D50T

D50L

Again, I’m confident enough to make this a “Lean” instead of “Toss-Up.”

Well, there you have it – my Senatorial prediction.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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4 Days to Go: Senate Prediction: Democrats Gain 6 Seats

October 31, 2008

Here’s my Senate prediction.  I already did my Presidential election prediction as well as the Gubernatorial Elections prediction.  The colors ARE switched from what the normal media colors, so sorry about that, but that’s the way the website I use does it.  The maps are courtesy of Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas, and my most current prediction can always be found here.  On to the predictions…

* = Pickup via defeat of incumbent; ^ = Pickup of an open seat

Democrats: 16 (+6)
Republicans: 19 (-6)
Light gray indicates states with no Senate races

First, a note about Wyoming and Mississippi:

  • Wyoming has 2 races, Michael Enzi (R) against Chris Rothfuss (D) and John Barasso (R) against Nick Carter (D). I expect both Republicans to win with results around 63%.
  • Mississippi has 2 races. The maps are predictions for Thad Cochran (R) against Erik Fleming (D). In the election between Roger Wicker (R) and Ronnie Musgrove (D), I expect Wicker to win with around 51%, a much closer race than the other.

Alright, so let’s look at the states where people may disagree with me:

  • Arkansas: Mark Pryor is unopposed by a Republican.  Rebekah Kennedy (Green) is the only opponent, so that’s why I have it so high.  It’s not a mistake.
  • Alaska: Last prediction, I had it going to “Uncle Ted” Stevens.  Then, the jury found him guilty.  I changed my prediction on the U.S. Election Atlas website, but didn’t repost a prediction here (although I did write a blog post saying that Mark Begich would win).  Then, I started thinking, and I think Stevens will pull it off.  I know the polls disagree (but the Research 2000 poll showing him down 22% is just wrong), but I don’t see Alaskans voting out Uncle Ted.
  • Minnesota: Again, like last time, for every poll that comes out showing Franken ahead, a poll comes out showing Coleman ahead by the same amount.  Right now, it’s just too close to call, so I’ll keep it where I had it last week.

Now, the map indicating the confidence that I have that my prediction is right:

Democrats: 16 (+5)
Republicans: 19 (-5)
Tossup: 3
Light gray indicates states with no Senate races

Alright, so what changes did I make since last time, and why?  Here they are:

State

Previous

Current

Reasoning

AK

D50L

R50T

I don’t think they’ll vote “Uncle Ted” out.

IA

D50S

D60S

It looks like Tom Harkin will reach 60% here.

KY

R50L

R50S

Mitch McConnell seems to be making a stronger comeback, back from when it was looking like a close race.  I think he’s now safe for sure.

NE

R60S

R50S

I think this an oversight the first time I did the predictions.

NM

D60S

D50S

I think Steve Pearce (R) has gained enough support that he’ll keep Tom Udall (D) from getting above 60%.

NC

R50T

D50T

Elizabeth Dole’s “Godless” attack ad against Kay Hagan was found out to be less than true.  I think there’ll be big backlash against Dole, and I think it’ll go to Hagan, but it is still a little bit too close to call in my opinion.

OR

R40T

D50S

Like I said last week, if Gordon Smith (R) didn’t pull ahead (as he was looking like he might), I was going to slide it over to Jeff Merkley, and that’s what I did.

By Monday, when I do my final update, I should be able to take North Carolina out of the toss-up category, and if more polls come out with Begich leading by a huge margin in Alaska, I’ll switch it back to Begich.  I don’t think I’ll be able to take Minnesota out of the toss-up category, but Al Franken’s latest campaign ad controversy may help Coleman, and I may be able to slide it to the “Lean” category.

Come back here on Monday for my final prediction.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

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4 Days to Go: My Presidential Election Prediction: Obama 291, McCain 247

October 31, 2008

Alright, so last Tuesday, I did a prediction for the Presidential election, predicting an Obama with victory of 286-252, and said I’d update it this Tuesday.  Well, I got a little busy, but here’s my updated prediction.  I’ve also done a prediction for the Senate and Gubernatorial elections.

The maps are provided courtesy of Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas (and you can find the most updated version of my prediction on that website here).  The colors on this website are switched from the normal colors (and I’m too lazy to switch them back to the normal colors – but back in the 1980s, these colors were the colors that the  media used). 

Alright, on to the predictions…

Obama – 291
McCain – 247

So, the states where you might disagree with my position:

  • Ohio: As the current trand of the past week keeps up, it’ll come out right about tied.  I think McCain’s last minute blitz campaigning will help him pull out just BARELY on top.
  • Misssouri, McCain has been leading recently, baring a few polls.
  • North Carolina: I was unsure last week, and I’m still unsure this week.  I really haven’t changed my opinion on this.  I’ll make a hopefully more final decision when I do my final prediction on Monday.  As of now, I think it’ll just barely go to McCain.
  • Florida: Despite Obama’s recent lead in the polls, I think McCain will come back and win here, but if Obama continues to increase his lead, I’ll switch it over to him.

Now, the map indicating the confidence that I have that my prediction is right:

Obama – 291
McCain – 185
Tossup – 62

Now, how has this map changed since my last map? Here’s a chart of the changes:

State

Previous

Current

Reasoning

AK

R60S

R50S

Doesn’t look like McCain will reach 60%.

AZ

R60S

R50S

Doesn’t look like McCain will reach 60%

CA

D50S

D60S

Looks like Obama will manage to reach 60% here.

DE

D50S

D60S

Looks like Obama will manage to reach 60% here.

IN

R50S

D40L

More and more polls are coming out showing that Indiana is going to go to Obama.  I’m not exactly 100% sure yet, but it’s looking like it’ll be decently hard for McCain to come back and be able to win here.

NV

R40T

D50L

Again, like Indiana, the polls just don’t look like McCain will win here.  Originally, I was predicting a declaration of Obama’s victory early in the night and thought that less Obama supporters in Nevada would show up, but Obama has now garnered enough support here in Nevada, that an early victory declaration won’t give McCain a victory in Nevada.

PA

D50S

D50L

Originally, this looked really strong for Obama, but then all 4 candidates (President and VP) headed to Pennsylvania to campaign, which made me suspicious as to Obama’s strength there.  Combined with a blitz of campaigning here on McCain’s part plus Representative John Murtha’s comments about West Pennsylvania, I’m switching this over to the “Lean” category, but I’m still confident that Obama will win.

TN

R60S

R50S

Doesn’t look like McCain will reach 60%.

ME CD1

D50S

D60S

Based on recent polls that broke down demographic areas of the state, it looks like Obama will reach 60% here, but I don’t think he will in District 2 or on a statewide level.

So, at this point, I think it’ll take a small miracle for McCain to win.  All of the states that are toss-ups, I have going to McCain, so, in theory, if the toss-up states go to Obama, Obama would win 353-185.

I’ll do a final prediction on Monday, so check back for my final prediction.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Found Guilty on All Counts of Making False Statements; Hello Senator Mark Begich

October 27, 2008
Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) leaves the court after hearing the guilty verdict.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) leaves the court after hearing the guilty verdict.

Well, the jury of 8 women and 4 men has deliberated and has come back to find Senator Stevens (R-AK) guilty on all 7 counts of making false statements (lying on U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms for 1999-2006).

Before entering the courtroom, Stevens told reporters, “Put this down.  I am not stepping down.  I’m going to run through, and I’m going to win this election.”  After hearing the verdict, he allegedly told his wife, Catherine, “It’s not over yet.”

Patti Higgins, the chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party released a statement, saying, “He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway and lied to Alaskans about it.  Alaskans deserve better from their public officials.  It’s time for us to elect an ethical and honest senator who will move this state forward.”

Judge Emmet Sullivan has not yet set a date for sentencing, but said that it would be after February.  He will then face up to 5 years in prison for each charge; however, it is not expected that he will receive that harsh of a sentence.  Senator Stevens is expected to appeal the verdict, and I honestly think he’ll win his appeal.  I’m surprised that the prosecution was able to pull off a comeback after making numerous mistakes, including a typo in their indictment where their evidence clearly contradicted their accusation.

President Bush could also pardon Senator Stevens.

Although I think he’ll (unfortunately) win his court battle, I think he has lost his chances at retaining his Senate seat.  Say hello to Senator Mark Begich.  Now, if by some weird chance he does win, and then is removed, or the Senate expels him before the election, or he resigns (right – like that’ll happen), Governor Palin would replace him (if he left before Inauguration Day.  If she won the VP seat and he left after that, the new Governor would appoint the next Senator).

I’m sad to see Senator Stevens go like this, but he was a crook, and he got caught, and it’s time for him to go now.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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2 Weeks Away: Senate Prediction: Democrats Gain 4 Seats

October 21, 2008

Well, just like the Presidential prediction, here are my predictions for the Senate races (percentages is the first map, with confidence being the second map).  The colors ARE switched from what the normal media colors, so sorry about that, but that’s the way the website I use does it.  The maps are courtesy of Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas, and my most current prediction can always be found here.  On to the predictions…

* = Pickup via defeat of incumbent; ^ = Pickup of an open seat

Democrats: 16 (+4)
Republicans: 19 (-4)
Light gray indicates states with no Senate races

First, a note about Wyoming and Mississippi:

  • Wyoming has 2 races, Michael Enzi (R) against Chris Rothfuss (D) and John Barasso (R) against Nick Carter (D).  I expect both Republicans to win with results around 63%.
  • Mississippi has 2 races.  The maps are predictions for Thad Cochran (R) against Erik Fleming (D).  In the election between Roger Wicker (R) and Ronnie Musgrove (D), I expect Wicker to win with around 51%, a much closer race than the other.

So, let’s have a little discussion about the states that some people might disagree with me over:

  • Arkansas: Mark Pryor is unopposed by a Republican.  Rebekah Kennedy (Green) is the only opponent.
  • Alaska: As much as I dislike him, and as much as he’s done wrong, I don’t see Alaskans voting “Uncle Ted” out of office.
  • Minnesota: Had it not been for recent polls showing Norm Coleman ahead again, I would’ve given this to Al Franken.  It could easily go back before the election though.
  • North Carolina: I don’t see voters voting Elizabeth Dole out.  They may say so in the polls now, but I think she’ll win.
  • Oregon: Probably the toughest call I had to make.  I only gave it to Gordon Smith because he’s been trending upward in the polls, but by next week, if he’s not ahead, I’ll be switching this over to Jeff Merkley.

Now, my confidence map:

So, again, like my Presidential prediction, I’ll be updating this one next Tuesday, if not before.

The Democrats could win as many as 8 new seats, but I don’t see them winning any more than maybe 6.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the Final Presidential Debate

October 15, 2008

Alright, we’re moments away from the beginning of the debate.  As always, I’ll be watching CNN, who will have a focus group (undecided voters in Ohio) with a tracking rating of how people like what they’re hearing (broken up by men and women).  WordPress just added an option to add polls, so I’ll see if I can get that working after the debate is over and post a poll about who won.

Tonight’s debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer (CBS’s Face the Nation).

We’re about 2 minutes away.

Schieffer: Why is your plan better than your opponents?

McCain: Thanks to everybody, my prayers go out to Nancy Reagan.  “Americans are hurting and angry.”  They’re innocent victims of greed.  “They have every reason to be angry.”  We have to have a short term fix and long term fixes.  Short term fix: Fannie and Freddie cause the sub-prime lending situation, that caused the housing market to collapse.  We need to reverse the decline in home ownership.  People need to know that they can stay in there homes.  Let’s take $300 billion of the $750 billion and buy mortgages so that people can stay in their homes.  What about people who could already afford to stay in their homes?  It’ll drive home value down if there are abandoned houses.  I didn’t like the answer (because I’m staunchly against any of the bailout), but it’ll go over well with voters, and the focus group liked it.

Obama: I think this’ll take some time to work itself out.  We need an economic package for the middle class.  The fundamentals of the economy were weak before this crisis (it depends what you’re defining fundamentals of the economy as).  Tax cut for people making less than $200,000.  Buying mortgages could be a bailout to banks, so I disagree with McCain there, but we do need to help homeowners.  Need to fix energy and health care.

McCain: Obama had an encounter with a plumber, Joe (somebody) Wurzelbacher.  Joe wants to buy the business that he’s worked in, and  he looked at Obama’s plan, and he saw that he’d be put in a higher tax bracket, and that’d cause him to not be able to employ people.  Joe, I’ll not only help you buy that business and keep your taxes low, and provide a way for you to provide health care to your employees.  You want to increase people’s taxes, like Joe the plumber’s.  And he’s right there – he’ll kill small businesses if he raises taxes.  The  focus group liked that.

Obama: McCain wants to give tax breaks to some of the wealthiest companies, including oil companies.  I want to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans.  Income tax, capital gains tax.  THAT’S A LIE ABOUT CAPITAL GAINS!!!  He wants to take capital gains taxes back to levels before Clinton lowered them!  I want to give small businesses tax breaks.  He lies here – 11.5% of Americans don’t even PAY income taxes, because they don’t make enough money!

McCain: Obama says, “We need to spread the wealth around.”  “I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around.”  Why would you want to raise taxes?

Obama: I want to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.  Not true!  I want to cut taxes for Joe the plumber before he was able to make $250,000.  I want to give families with kids going to college a break.  I’d prefer that nobody pay taxes, but we have to pay for the core of the economy to remain strong.

McCain: Companies will go overseas if we raise our business tax rates.  “Of all times in America, we need to cut taxes and encourage business, not spread the wealth around.”  Great answer – McCain actually did better with the focus group there than McCain, and that surprised me.

Schieffer: Talking about reducing the budget deficit.  Won’t some of the programs you’re proposing have to be trimmed or eliminated?

Obama: If the $750 billion works as it’s supposed to, taxpayers will get their money back.  I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go.  Some of the cuts we’ll need are subsidies to insurance companies.  “It’s just a giveaway.”  I’ll go through the federal budget line-by-line, and eliminate what’s unnecessary.  We need to invest in the American people.  We need to prevent diseases when they’re young, so they won’t spend as much Medicare money.  The same with college – they’ll drive up the economy.  He’s getting very high ratings right now – he’s appealing to the average American people.

McCain: Back to home-ownership.  During the depression, we bought homes and home values went back up.  This was a plan that Senator Clinton proposed.  We need to become energy independent.  I need an across-the-board spending freeze.  I oppose subsidies for ethanol.  Sorry – got interrupted there.  I will veto earmarks.  Senator Obama put in an earmark for a projector in a planetarium in his hometown.

Obama: An across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we need a scalpel.  Senator McCain talks about earmarks, but they account for 0.5% of the federal budget.  Eliminating them will help, but it won’t solve the problem.  When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus, and now we have a deficit.  Pursuing Bush-esque budgets will worsen the situation, and McCain voted for Bush’s budgets, 4 out of 5 times.

McCain: I will give a new direction to this economy.  I’m not President Bush.  If he wanted to oppose him, he should’ve run 4 years ago.  Mayor Bloomberg just put in a spending freeze in New York, so it can be done.  I’ll eliminate spending.  Obama voted for the last 2 budgets that Bush proposed (the only 2 that came up since he’s been in office!).  I have fought against spending and special interest.  When have you stood up to your party?  He’s getting good ratings, and I really think that he’s appealing to American people.

Obama: The first major bill I voted on was against tort reform.  I support charter schools.  I support clean coal technology.  I have a history of reaching across the aisle.  If I mistaken your policies for President Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues, taxes, spending, etc…, you’ve been a supporter of President Bush.  You’re been against him on stuff like torture, and I commend that, but for the majority, you want 8 more years of the same thing.

McCain: It’s been clear that I’ve disagreed with Bush and my party: climate change, opposition to earmarks, torture, conduct of the War in Iraq, Medicare prescription drugs, HMO patients’ bill of rights.  I have stood up to my party’s leadership.

Schieffer: Both of you promised to take the high road, but both campaigns have turned nasty.

McCain: This has been a very tough campaign.  If Obama had responded to my request to do town hall meetings, like he originally said, the tone of this campaign could’ve been better.  The tone of this campaign has taken a nasty turn.  I apologize for some of the negativity that has come out of my campaign.  I hope OBama will repudiate the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis.  Obama didn’t keep his word about taking public financing.  He’s getting high ratings from men here, but average ratings from women.

Obama: 2/3 of the American people think McCain’s running a negative campaign, versus 1/3 of the American people thinking that of mine.  100% of your ads have been negative (BULL CRAP!).  There’s nothing wrong with having a vigorous debate like we’re having now, but not having town hall meetings doesn’t justify the ads that have come out from your campaign and 527s.  I don’t mind being attacked for 3 weeks, but we can’t afford 4 more years of failed economic policies.  He’s actually getting negative ratings from women, and average from men here.  He’s really attacking McCain during a question about negativity in campaigns, and I think he’s really making himself look bad here.

McCain: If you turn on the television, every other ad was an attack ad on my health care policy, saying that I oppose federal funding for stem cells.  I don’t.  Obama is spending unprecedented amounts of money in negative attack ads on me.  Of course we’re talking about Joe the plumber and restoring jobs to America.  That’s what my campaign is all about.  Again, I didn’t hear a repudiation of Congressman Lewis.

Obama: Lewis, made a statement with what he was troubled with hearing some of the rallies that your running mate was holding.  People were yelling “terrorist” and “kill him,” and your running mate didn’t stop them.  I do think that he gave a good comparison between what’s happening now and the civil right’s movement.  What the Americans want is for us to focus on the challenges that we have now.  We have serious differences on health care.  When people bring up me being with terrorists, that’s not the issues.

McCain: Whenever you have big rallies, you’ll have fringe people, and that’s not appropriate.  But for the majority of people, they’re not saying anything negative.  These people are the most patriotic people in this nation (veterans and wives of veterans).  There’ve been thingsat your rallies that I’m not happy with either.  I have always repudiated out of line statements, and I will continue to do that, but we cannot stand for the things that have been going on.  I haven’t.

Schieffer: Do you take issue with that?

Obama: What I think is most important is that we recognize that in order to solve 2 wars, a financial crisis, creating jobs, then we all need to be able to work together.  “We need to disagree without being disagreeable.  What we can’t do is try to characterize each other as bad people.”

McCain: We need to know the full extent of Obama’s relationships with Ayers and ACORN.  If there’s nothing there, I don’t care about it, but we need to know what all went on there.

Obama: Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of McCain’s campaign.  Bill Ayers is a professor in Chicago.  40 years ago, he engaged in despicable acts.  “I have … condemned those acts.”  I served on a school board with him 10 years ago.  “Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign … and he will not advise me in the White House.”  ACORN: Apparently, they were paying people to get people registered to vote.  The only thing I did with them was represent them with some thing in Illinois – I didn’t catch it all.  I associate with Warren Buffet on economics.  On foreign policy, it’s Joe Biden or Dick Lugar, or General Jim Jones.  “Those are the people who have shaped my ideas and will be surrounding me in the White House.”

McCain: While you and Ayers were on that board, you gave money to ACORN, and you launched your campaign from Ayers living room.  In 2001, he said he’d wished he’d have bombed more.  We need to know all the details here.  And my (not McCain) view is that with Ayers – it’s no big deal if Obama’s honest.  With ACORN, there are some serious problems there – ACORN has supported Obama, and Obama has supported ACORN, and ACORN has shown to have some serious legal problems.

Schieffer: Why is your running mate better than his?

Obama: He’s been there a while – he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy.  Biden has never forgotten where he came from.  He fights for the little guy.  He has always been fighting for working families.  “After 8 years of failed policies [we] will have to reprioritize … give tax cuts to small businesses … and individuals who are struggling.”  We need to become energy independent, and make sure that our kids afford can go to college.  Biden has always been on the right side of the issues.

McCain: Palin is a reformer.  She took on the old governor, who was part of her party.  She’s given money back to taxpayers and cut the size of the government.  “She is a reformer through and through, and it’s time that we have that breath of fresh air and sweep out” the old politics of Washington.  “She understand special needs families, and understands that autism is on the rise.”  She has united people all over America, and I’m proud of her.

Schieffer: Is she qualified to be President?

Obama: That’ll be up to the American people to decide.  Her work on special needs kids has been commendable.  He didn’t answer the question!  If we have an across-the-board spending freeze, special needs kids will suffer.

McCain (on Biden): Biden is experienced, but he’s had some bad foreign policy ideas, such as dividing Iraq into different countries, and we’ve seen Iraq become united as one country.  Every time Obama says we need to spend more.  Why can’t we have transparency of these government organizations.

Schieffer: Energy and climate control.  Presidents have said that we need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Give us a number of how much you believe we can reduce foreign oil during your first term.

McCain: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle East countries and Venezuela.  Canadian oil is fine.  We need nuclear power plants, and that’ll be how we eliminate those 2 sources of foreign oil.  We need wind, tide, solar, gas, clean coal.  He’s getting huge ratings, and for good reason – it’s a good energy plan.  Especially the nuclear part!!!!

Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence so we don’t have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela.  “Nothing is more important than us borrowing … money from China and sending it to Venezuela.”  We need to expand domestic production, by telling oil companies, “Use them or lose them” in terms of oil fields being leased here in the U.S.  We need to drill offshore, but that won’t solve the problem.  We need wind, solar, biofuel.  We need efficient cars built here in America, not in Japan.  And he’s got good ideas too, but I WISH he would’ve said he wants nuclear power - nuclear power is safe (we use it on subs) and VERY efficient.  NAFTA didn’t have enforceable environmental agreements, and we should’ve included those.  When it comes to South Korea, we have an agreement with them, and they’re sending more cars here than we are to them.  That’s not free trade.

McCain: “Obama said, ‘We will look at offshore drilling.’  Did you catch that?  ‘Look at.’”  We need to do more than look at it, we need to do it.  AGREED!  Our businesses are paying money into Columbia, but because of previous agreements, they’re getting their goods into here for free.  We need a free trade agreement with Columbia, which Obama has opposed.  Obama hasn’t even travelled down there, and he doesn’t understand Columbia.

Obama: I understand it.  Labor leaders have been persecuted, and we need to stand for human rights.  Workers who are trying to organize for rights shouldn’t be persecuted, and that’s why I supported a free trade agreement with Peru.  When I talked about automakers, they’re getting hammered right now, not only because of gas prices, but with the financial crisis.  People can’t get car loans, so we need to get loan guarantees.  We need more efficient cars and cars of the future.  That’ll help create new jobs.  He’s getting VERY high ratings – he’s maxed out with women, and men are rating him high too.

McCain: Obama doesn’t want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region, but wants to sit down with Hugo Chavez without preconditions.  Jobs and businesses will be created if we open up those markets.  Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes, and the last President who did that was Hoover.  We went from a deep recession to a depression.  I won’t let that happen.

Schieffer: Would you first lower health care costs, instead of providing more health care?

Obama: We need to do both.  My plan will allow you to keep your plan if you have health insurance.  We will lower costs so that cost savings are brought back to you.  If you don’t have insurance, you can buy into the same kind of federal pool that federal employees enjoy.  Insurance companies won’t be able to discriminate against people with preconditions.  Drugs will be lower, and we need to look at preventative care.  This will require more money up front, but will lower costs in the long run.  VERY high ratings at the end there.

McCain: Premiums and copays are going up, and health care costs are going up and inflicting pain on Americans.  We need walk in clinics and community health care centers.  We need nutrition and physical fitness programs in schools to keep kids healthy.  I want to give all American families a $5,000 tax credit.  Under Obama’s plan, if you have employees and they have kids, if you don’t have a health care plan, Obama will fine you.  I still haven’t heard what that fine will be.

Obama: Your fine will be $0.  I exempt small businesses for the requirement that large businesses have to provide health care.  Well, Senator Obama, what do you consider a small business???  The average family is paying higher premiums because of the uninsured.  I’ll give small businesses a 50% credit so they can afford it.  If not, you can buy into the plan I have.  McCain will give you the tax credit, but what will happen to older folks who can’t afford the health care plan?  McCain will tax the health care benefits you have from your employer, the first time in history this has ever happened.  Insurers right now are restricted statewide.  Those rules would be stripped away, and you’d see companies excluding people.

McCain: People like Joe are rich, because Obama said about him that we need to “spread the wealth,” so he’s rich enough that he would be fined.  Under my plan, people will be able to go across the country, giving them the chance to choose their futures.  “Senator Government–Senator Obama wants government to do the job.”  Senator Obama and the Democrats have been in charge the last 2 years, and things have gotten worse.

Obama: Under McCain’s plan, there’s a strong risk that you will lose your health care from your employer.  All I want to do is lower costs.

Schieffer: Could either of you nominate a Supreme Court Justice who disagrees with your view on Roe v. Wade.

McCain: I have never had a litmus test.  I think the Court decided incorrectly there, but I’m a Federalist – it should be left up to the states.  We need to nominate people based on qualifications, not if I agree with their ideology.  There should be no litmus test.  These nominees should be picked based on qualifications, who adhere to the Constitution, not people who legislate from the bench.  (But people who stick to the Constitution would oppose Roe v. Wade).  I’ll have no litmus test.

Obama: I’d agree that we shouldn’t have a litmus test.  Fairness and justice should be given to the American people.  It’s very likely that one of us will be making 1 or more appointments, and Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance.  I support the decision in Roe v. Wade.  I believe that women are in the best position to make this decision.  The Constitution has privacy built into it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum or popular vote.  “I will look for those judges who have an outstanding record … intellect.”  McCain and I disagreed when the S.C. made it harder for some woman to bring suit for equal pay for women.  The Court said that she waited too long.  If a woman is being treated unfairly, the Court needs to stand up if nobody will.

McCain: You can’t waive the statute of limitation 20 to 30 years.  Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide medical attention to babies who were not successfully aborted (essentially passive infanticide).  Then he voted present on the floor.  He did the same with partial birth abortion.  Men are liking this, but women not so much.

Obama: That’s not true.  There was a bill put forward that said that you need life saving treatment that would undermine Roe v. Wade, but there was a law alreay on the books.  On partial birth abortion: I’m supportive of a ban on late term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the safety of the woman’s life.    Both men and women are rating him a bit above average now.  Surely there is some common ground, when both sides can come together and prevent unintended pregnancies.  Communicate that sex shouldn’t be engaged in carelessly.  Adoption choices should be out there.  Those things are now in the Democratic platform, for the first time ever.

McCain: “Health of the mother” has been stretched to mean almost anything (such as mental health in some cases).  Cindy and I are adoptive parents.  We need to promote adoption and protect the rights of the unborn.

Schieffer: A question about education and national security - I missed what all it was.

Obama: No nation has had a bad economy and a good military.  Education is a huge part of this.  We need better pay for teachers.  We need college to be more affordable.  We’ll offer an exchange of community/military service with money for college.  We can’t do this just in schools.  Parents need to show responsibility too – encourage thirst for knowledge.  And he’s absolutely right here.  It starts at home.  People rated him as high as they could.

McCain: Choice and competition among schools are some of the key elements – New York and New Orleans – where we find bad teachers another line of work.  We need to give parents a choice in sending kids to good schools.  Charter schools are one option.

Schieffer: Should the federal government play a larger role?

Obama: The states need to be in control, but the federal government needs to step in and help struggling local school districts.  Bush did this with No Child Left Behind, “but unfortunately, he left the money behind.”  That was a good line.  McCain and I agree on charter schools.  I think we need to encourage competition between schools.  Bad teachers need to be replaced.  “Our kids need to have the best future.”  We disagree on vouchers, and we disagree on college accessibility.  McCain doesn’t have programs that help college groups.  (That’s because he’ll simplify the tax code to make finding tax credits for college easier to find).

McCain: Vouchers need to be provided, because parents WANT vouchers.  They wanted to chose the schools where their children go (this was in Washington, D.C.).  As far as NCLB, it had its flaws and problems, but it’s the first time we looked at this from the national perspective.  Head Start is a great program.  It’s not doing what it should do, so we need to reform it and fund it.  We can’t just give more money, we need to reform it too.  We need transparency, rewards, and funding.  We’ll find and spend money to find the cause of autism, but to have a situation that the most expensive education is in America means that we also need reform.  We can’t throw money at a problem without reform.  Vouchers work.

Obama: On vouchers in D.C.  The D.C. school system is in terrible shape.  The superintendent there is doing a great job (McCain interjected that she supports vouchers).  There’s not proof that vouchers solve the problem.  We need a President who will tackle this head on.

McCain: Obama said that because there’s not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t have any.  That’s wrong.

Schieffer: Closing statements.

McCain: Thank you.  We need a new direction.  “We cannot be satisfied with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years.”  I’ve been a reformer.  I’ve opposed my party.  I’ve been a good steward of your tax dollars.  We need to make health care and education affordable to all.  We need to stop this wild spending.  All of these promises made tonight will be made based on whether you trust us or not.  I ask you to examine both my record as well as my proposals for this country.  I’ve put my country first.  “It’s been a great honor of my life, and I’ve been proud to serve, and I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve again.  I’ll be honored, and humbled.”

Obama: Washington has been unwilling to address the problems.  We cannot adopt the policies of the last 8 years.  We need change.  You’ve invited me into your homes.  “Our brighter days are still ahead, but we have to invest in the American people.”  College needs to be more affordable.  Wages need to be higher, and we need to grow the middle class.  “It’s not gonna be easy.  It’s not gonna be quick.”  Republicans and Democrats will have to come together.  “If you give me the … honor of being President, I will work tireously and  honorably to ensure the future of our children.”

Bob Schieffer: As my mother would say: “Go vote now.  It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

McCain/Obama: Thank you (to each other).

Alright, overall, I think this was BY FAR the best debate we had.  I commend Bob Schieffer.  He was by far the best moderator we had.

Overall, I think McCain won this won.  This is the first time I’ve called a debate (other than the VP debate, where I called Biden the winner), and I think McCain won.  He was VERY strong toward the beginning.  I think Obama was weak at the beginning, but picked it up toward the end, but overall, I think that McCain was the winner.

Again, I think McCain was definitely stronger here.  I think Obama was too weak.  This was definitely the debate McCain needed, but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to recover.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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