Saturday, January 23, 2010

Forbes: Cut Discretionary Spending 10% per Year for 5 Years

Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-4) has an interesting guest post over at Bearing Drift where he lays out a plan to cut discretionary (not mandatory) spending by 10% per year for the next 5 years. This would cut billions of dollars from the budget, which would help close the deficit gap without raising taxes or even touching some of Washington's most sacred programs (Medicare/Social Security for the Dems, Defense for the GOP).

This would be an interesting start to really getting back to some kind of fiscally responsible budgeting. Plus, it forces the government to look at some of the "smaller" things it is involved in, and makes them ask "do we really need this?" If successful, it would move Washington's overall budget philosophy into a different direction.

It's worth looking into.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Air America...Bankrupt

Surprising that they lasted this long, considering how much their ratings stunk. Other than Lionel, they really did not have much to offer. Though they made it through Chapter 11 in 2006, they're filing Chapter 7 and have ceased broadcasting as of yesterday.

The lesson learned is simple...if the people wanted leftist talk radio, they would've tuned in. However, I'll just sit back and watch the accusations of "a vast right-wing conspiracy" get thrown out there.

(h/t Michelle Malkin)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bob McDonnell to Give Response to State of the Union Address

3rd time since 2006 that a Virginia politician has given the response (Tim Kaine in 2006, Jim Webb in 2007)...further proof that Virginia is not only the mother of Presidents, but it is the epicenter of American politics ;)

At least, we like to think so.

Mixed Thoughts on Today's Supreme Court Ruling

Look, I'm all for free speech and I believe that it was a good thing for the 1st Amendment that corporations, unions, and businesses have the ability to participate in donating and advertising for political campaigns. We already knew they were doing things behind the scenes anyway, so now we have it all out in the open as to which business supports which candidate.

My problem is not with the ruling, it's with how irresponsible I believe that these corporations and unions will be with their advertising. Bigger budgets equal more advertising, and I'm not looking forward to spending the fall of 2012 watching commercial after commercial after commercial, over and over and over. I have a feeling this will become the norm for a while.

However, as I said, at least now we'll know who supports what (without the disclaimer of speculation). At least we'll have some transparency on this matter. It will also lead to some interesting posturing in future elections, as a big corporation or industry who supports one candidate may find themselves being targeted if the opposing candidate wins...or if that industry's union supports the opposition.

Should be interesting...

Sabato Predicts Big GOP Gains in November

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has been very timid about predicting any kind of GOP wave in November...until now.

They predict that the GOP will pick up 3 to 5 seats, and would favor even better if the election were held now instead of November...they believe the GOP would whittle the Dems down to 52 seats if the general elections were held today. This makes sense, as the GOP has strong momentum at the moment.

Though the magic number for the GOP is "10" to gain a majority (a 50-50 tie goes to the Dems due to to VP Joe Biden's affiliation, naturally). However, Sabato believes that it could be possible that if the Republicans get 9 seats (still theoretically possible, enough seats are in play), that they could woo Joe Lieberman to their side (or at least to caucus with them), and then hold the majority. Here are your races to watch going forward in the Senate...

Arkansas - Blanche Lincoln has lost all kinds of popularity in her state due to her vote on health care. 3 Republicans are battling to challenge her, and Sabato has this seat as a Leans GOP.

Illnois - Barack Obama's old seat is up for grabs, and is rated a Toss-Up. However, if the election were held today, Rep. Mark Kirk would probably win the seat. Given the troubles the Democrats are facing in this state due to scandals, and the wild primary they are going to have, this one may go red...which would be a little embarrassing to the President.

Indiana - Evan Bayh is up for reelection, and as it stands, this seat would be a Likely Dem hold. However, if popular Rep. Mike Pence gets into the race, as he is currently considering, that would greatly change the dynamics of this race.

Kentucky - Considered a Toss-Up because it is an open seat in a reddish-purple state. Both parties have primaries going, and the Podium has endorsed Rand Paul for this seat. This will be one of the more interesting races of 2010. If the election were held today, though, the Republicans would hold this seat.

Missouri - Another open GOP seat (Kit Bond's) that, if held today, would be a GOP hold. However, it's currently a Toss-Up. Roy Blunt has spent many years in the House and is a high-profile figure in the Republican Party. He is going up against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, of the famous Missouri political family (her father was Governor, her mother was a Senator). This is one of those "all-star" matchups that has a lot of support lining up on both sides for a big fight.

Nevada - Harry "The Weasel" Reid has become so unpopular here that this is now rated as a Leans R by Sabato, and the GOP still has to settle their primary. Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian (son of the famous UNLV coach) are both polling ahead of the current Senate Majority Leader, and the GOP would love nothing more than to take this seat.

New Hampshire - Another open seat (Judd Gregg is not running for reelection) that the GOP would hold today, but looking towards November is still a Toss-Up. One advantage for the Dems is that they do not have to worry about a primary at this point, while the GOP has 3 candidates slugging it out. However, if the current frontrunner Kelly Ayote wins, the Dems will have a lot of trouble as she has a fairly good-sized lead over the Dem candidate, Rep. Paul Hodes.

New York - Wow, this one has disintegrated quickly for the Democrats. While it's still Likely Dem, this should've been a safe seat. Incumbent Kristen Gillibrand has failed to impress party leaders, so they thought they had a winner in Harold Ford, Jr., but now he has failed to ingratiate himself to the voters of the state with some of his recent comments that were less-than-flattering to New York City. However, the GOP does not have any official candidates for this seat as of yet. Rep. Peter King and former Gov. George Pataki have expressed some interest, as has Marc Mukasey. Recent polling suggests that if either Pataki or Rudy Guiliani (who has denied interest in the seat) ran, they would defeat Gillibrand.

North Dakota - Byron Dorgan's now-open seat is considered to be a Safe GOP, with Gov. John Hoeven carrying strong popularity and statewide name recognition in a state that is very red, despite Dorgan's status as a Democrat.

Ohio - George Voinovich's now-open seat is currently a Toss-Up, with the GOP holding the current edge if the elections were held today. The GOP is set with Rep. Rob Portman facing minimal competition in the primary. The Democrats have Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher both running. While this race also has a lot of "star power" in terms of the visibility of who is running, the primary may become very tough, which will only benefit the GOP.

Pennsylvania - Arlen "Turncoat" Specter is facing a strong primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak. However, party machinery in the state is not behind Sestak, which means that all he can do is seriously damage Specter, unless he can pull of an upset (which does not appear likely, according to recent polls). The GOP has rallied around Rep. Pat Toomey, who faces only token opposition. Polls are steadily showing more and more support for Toomey over Specter. This makes this seat a Leans GOP.

Texas - Nobody knows what is going on here, so we'll go with Toss-Up. However, it's probably going to be a GOP hold, because this IS Texas we are talking about here.

All things considered, if the elections were held today, the GOP would stand to gain 7 seats. What a difference a year makes.

(h/t Shad Plank)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How Quickly the Landscape and Mood Changes

Paradigm shifts can be felt in many ways, and sometimes there is no better thermometer than the blogosphere. A quick glance around shows these things...

- Virginia Virtucon reports that MSNBC had it's highest ratings ever. I know that I probably watched more consecutive minutes of that channel than ever before (though I do tune in regularly to take the pulse of the opposition). I watched a bit of that channel last night to simply see the left's reactions, and it appears that many conservatives did the same. From what I saw, Howard Dean was gracious in his admission of party screw-ups all around in Mass. Rachel Maddow was fiery and clearly angry. So angry that even Chris Matthews was taken aback by some of her commentary.

- Many left bloggers think that this is because they did not pass health care "reform". If people are against what you are proposing (which they seem to dismissively admit to), why would they support you if you had already passed said reform? If anything, passing health care reform is like pushing the self-destruct button on all of Congress.

- Bearing Drift is hearing rumors that Rep. Rick Boucher (VA-9) is reconsidering running for reelection (something many Dems are doing, especially after last night's win for the GOP). Given that he is a bit of an oddity in terms of political affiliation vs. district demographics, he would be the only Dem that would really stand a chance in the "Fighting 9th" this year. If Boucher goes, the Dem control of that seat goes with it. Given the vulnerability of Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello in the 2nd and 5th Districts, respectively, and the possibility of a hard fight in the 11th (Gerry Connolly's district), the Dems cannot afford to have to pump a lot of money into a 4th fight in this state, as it will really spread party resources thin.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Early Brown/Coakley Results In, and I'm Calling It...

Current results have Brown up 53-46-1 with 57 percent of precincts in. It seems a lot of moderate and Republican districts haven't reported their results yet Thus, The Podium is calling the Massachusetts special election for the Podium-endorsed Scott Brown, who will become the newest member of the United States Senate.

I predicted on one of the Virginia blogs that the final vote would break down as follows...

Brown 52%
Coakley 47%
Kennedy 1%

Looks like I actually nailed this one :) Congratulations Senator-elect Brown!

UPDATE: 9:06 pm

Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD) stated that Brown's surge shows how upset voters are with Republicans...huh?

UPDATE: 10:16 pm

Back to 52-47-1 with 97% of precincts in, definitely one of my better calls ;)

Boston Globe Calls Race for Coakley...8 Hours Before Polls Close!

Wishful thinking?

They had the race at 50%-49%-1% earlier today, with Coakley winning by about 21,000 votes. They have since taken the "results" down. Maybe it was a test page for posting the results later tonight, but if the "results" look like this come 10 or 11 pm tonight, we'll know that the fix is in.

Images from the Boston Globe website found at Virginia Virtucon. Good catch!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Bible May Be Older Than Originally Thought

An ancient tablet that has been discovered is dated around the 10th century, B.C. and is written in Hebrew. This is during King David's reign. It has been thought that the earliest forms of the Bible were written in an ancient form of Hebrew, and that Hebrew as we know it did not originate until the 6th century, B.C. (or 400 years later).

The text on the tablet also bears some resemblance to Biblical passages, but does not copy any one particular passage.

Interesting stuff.


Yours truly, proprietor of The Podium, turns 27 today. Ok, technically not until 9:27 pm, but is my birthday.

However, given that the wife and I took in a tasty and filling meal at Kyoto in Harrisonburg and a good movie ("Sherlock Holmes", I do recommend it highly) I have no clue what (if anything) is in store for me today.

Nonetheless, Happy Birthday to me!