Thursday, November 29, 2012

Romney-Ryan Tattoo Dude

The guy who got the "RR" tattoo on his face apparently is now going to have it removed by laser. He is going to end up with some scarring on his face - but apparently he now views Romney as a sore loser.

He can get the tattoo removed, but he is still going to be mentally challenged.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Susan Rice Actually Said

It is pretty clear that when she went on Meet the Press, she said that there was an FBI investigation and that information was still coming in about the attack in Benghazi. I think any reasonable person can see that there was no effort to cover anything up. When the facts were in and confirmed the government announced it was a terror attack.

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The nonsensical (and probably fake) outrage that McCain and Graham have been expressing makes them look like complete dolts in my opinion. Susan Rice will be confirmed as Secretary of State if the President wants her to be confirmed. If she is derailed by Republicans, it will just be further evidence that they have gone off the deep end and are drowning into oblivion.

The Fiscal "Cliff"

Frankly, the President should just hold his ground and force Republicans to allow the tax cuts on those making more than $250,000 to expire. All it will do is push rates from 36% to 39.6% - what they were under President Clinton. President Obama has all of the leverage and it is the right thing to do for the country.

He is going to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to talk to the American people. If Republicans want to allow taxes to increase for 98 percent of the country and for the severe defense cuts to take place just so they can extend the tax cuts for the wealthy then let the American people decide if that is worth it. They will cave.

Let's say that they don't cave and we go "over the cliff." The President can just hit them over the head every day with the fact that he wants to cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans and that Republicans are putting our national security at risk. That would make them even weaker than they are right now.

We'll see if the Republican leadership in Congress is truly that stupid.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Next Secretary of State

Frankly, the next Secretary of State should be Susan Rice if that is who the President wants to put in place. Dr. Rice has served this country with distinction and has been UN Ambassador for the last several years. She got Russia and China to agree to tough sanctions against Iran. She has been the point person on background discussion about Libya, Pakistan, and issues in the Middle East. She is completely capable and experienced in world affairs to be head of the State Department.

The whole Benghazi discussion is completely trumped up. She just happened to be the person who went on the talk shows initially after the tragedy took place. She used the talking points that were given to her - and which were cleared independently by the intelligence community. However, if you actually go back and look at what she said, she always said that there was an ongoing investigation. She never argued that terrorists were not involved - only that the evidence was not yet clear.

What is irritating is that Republicans who were cheerleaders for President Bush said nothing about General Powell's error-filled testimony to the UN prior to the Iraq invasion. They didn't have any problem with Condi Rice's "mushroom cloud" nonsense before approving her as Secretary of State. Those were far bigger errors - and I will say they were honest errors, not some sort of grand scheme - than what Susan Rice did.

Faux News Ends Interview Abruptly

Faux News has been trying to whip up a controversy about Benghazi for months. Thomas Ricks was on Faux being interviewed about his new book and when he pointed out that plenty of security contractors have been killed before this incident (many during the Bush Administration) and that Faux was propaganda arm of the Republican Party the interview quickly came to an end.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chicago Bears Back on Track

The Bears took care of business against the Vikings. With the Packers losing, the Bears are back in sole possession of first in the North. The D turned in another great performance with three more turnovers. The only downside is that there were a bunch of injuries (Tillman, Forte, Briggs, Hester, Lance Louis). Hopefully none of them are terribly serious.

The 49er game was and odd game and I believe it was an anomaly game that just happens from time to time. We'll see in a couple of weeks if that is true. The Bears play Seattle this week in Chicago. It should be a good matchup, but this is another game they should win. Can't wait. In the end, I would love to see the Bears play the 49ers in the NFC title game - hopefully in Chicago.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chicago Bears Sucked

There is no other way to say it - the Bears were terrible in Frisco. I am not going to do an analysis of the game, but I will say that I am not worried because there are games like this in the NFL. A couple of weeks ago the Ravens lost 43-13 and looked terrible. They have won 3 straight since then. The San Francisco 49ers tied the Rams last week and lost at home 26-3 to the Giants. It happens.

That said, the Bears have some work to do. I think the D will play better this week at home against Minnesota. The question I have is whether the offensive line - particularly the tackles - play better. They have to, no matter who the QB is. I have confidence in Lovie and his staff. We'll see.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Couple of Football Notes

I didn't watch as much football as I normally do this weekend. I was coaching in a soccer tournament (4 games - we won all of them and my team got the big trophy) and we had a lot of social events all weekend. But I did see the end of the Oregon game and the end of the K-State game. I was hoping both teams would end up winning out and playing for the national title. Not having an SEC team would further be proof that the BCS system as it currently stands is a sham. Now it looks like Notre Dame has the inside track at a slot (along with Alabama). I am now hoping that USC knocks off Notre Dame and then chaos ensues as all the one loss teams make a claim to play in the title game.

The Eagles really stink. Andy Reid needs to move on. I am sure he will coach somewhere else, but that team has given up.

Atlanta and Houston had real struggles against lesser opponents. That is the reality of the NFL. But you just have to find ways to win and they did. The Bears, 49ers, Packers, Denver, and the hard charging Saints (although I really don't like their defense) look like legitimate teams. I really like the Ravens - but they are very inconsistent and their D struggles and I am not as high on the Patriots, especially without Gronkowski. A lot of football left to play and I am sure injuries will play a major factor down the stretch. Hopefully the Bears will remain relatively healthy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

McCain Has Truly Lost It

He missed a classified briefing on Benghazi to hold a press conference to complain that there wasn't enough information on Benghazi.

Republicans Unhinged

Faux News cannot understand how the President was re-elected and it is apparently seeping into a portion of the Republican base. I am just amazed at how unhinged some folks are getting.

The secessionists are a pretty small group. There isn't a serious or credible effort to have any state secede. Less than 0.5 percent of the population has signed a petition for secession but they are out there. The funny thing is that with the exception of Texas, most of the states with larger numbers of apparent secessionists - Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alaska all get more federal dollars back than the tax dollars they send from their state to the U.S. Treasury. These rubes who are actually serious about secession would just make their states poorer - even if they could figure out how their government would work.

It appears that Republicans are again starting to fixate on Benghazi again. John McCain and Lindsay Graham are calling for Watergate-type hearings and think that Dr. Susan Rice (UN Ambassador) is not qualified to serve as Secretary of State because she went on the Sunday talk shows a few days after the attack and gave some information that we now know was incorrect. If you actually watch what she said it is pretty clear that she was always careful to say that we were still gathering facts.

However, there are a bunch of right wing conspiracy theories about Patraeus being forced out to silence him about Benghazi. It is just completely inane. Patraeus is still going to testify - he didn't die. I still have yet to understand what people think is being covered up. Were there mistakes? Sure. But there is nothing to suggest that Benghazi was anything more than that. Having a Watergate-type hearing is supposed to do what? I really have no idea.

If these Republicans want to continue to put on their tinfoil hats and act like fools that is fine. I don't see how either of these things is anything more that a distraction that wastes time and money. It certainly doesn't move the country forward and I don't see how it helps build the base of the Party. This is what happens when there is a total vacuum of leadership. You end up with a lot of fringe folks getting noticed - often to the detriment of the broader Party.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Texas Secession?

There are petitions in a number of states to have those states secede from the United States. Texas has gotten the most signatures to date, but it is still just over 25,000 - not a truly serious effort. It is not going to happen, but I think it would be a very interesting experiment if we did allow a state like Texas to secede. I am sure the internal squabbling and divisions within the state would tear it up.

It is easy to complain and criticize, but governing is difficult and messy. The moment Texas (or any other state) became responsible for itself there would be all kinds of new problems.

Wife Runs Over Husband for Not Voting

A 28-year old Arizona woman was enraged that President Obama was re-elected, but then went crazy when she found out her husband hadn't voted. She decided to run him over with their car!

Patraeus Scandal

I wasn't going to post anything about this whole embarrassing scandal. It is pathetic that you have these high level folks engaging in such childish and reckless behavior. Patraeus was right to resign - frankly, he had a responsibility to do so much earlier when he first was contacted by the FBI. I'm not sure why he didn't contact the President right away and resign, but I suppose it just fits with the pattern of recklessness of his behavior.

Again, Faux News and Limbaugh and other right wing hacks are trying to argue that there was some political motive for this whole investigation. You have some people arguing that Patraeus is being railroaded unfairly. Related to this, there are silly arguments that the Administration wants to discredit him so that they can hush him up on Benghazi. Foolish nonsense.

Patraeus is going to have to testify to Congress about Benghazi. He has resigned - he is not dead! The simple fact is that the nation cannot have a CIA Director who is as much of an idiot as Patraeus seemed to be. His personal moral failings make him susceptible to blackmail, but on top of that, he seems to have engaged in a lot of deception with his email "system" of using draft emails that were never sent to communicate with his lover without leaving an electronic trail. In addition, he just seemed to be wasting a lot of time with his mistress that should have been spent doing work for the American people. The other general and the Florida socialite are just side stories that make the whole sordid mess even more ridiculous. How is Patraeus supposed to be taken seriously when you know all of his middle school type antics?

Monday, November 12, 2012

What a Nut!

This dude really is pretty dumb. He got a tattoo on his face of the RR symbol for Romney-Ryan. He had to have been drunk when he made that mistake.

Republican Foolishness On Taxes

The Fiscal Cliff is looming, but it will be averted. The thing that is so odd is that Republicans in the House are already arguing that they won't accept any deal that raises taxes on the rich.

Last week, the President said let's extend the Bush tax cuts and freeze taxes on those individuals making less than $250,000/year - that is 98 percent of the country. Then, they can look at the top 2 percent separately. Republicans say, no way. They are apparently willing to allow taxes to rise for everyone because they want to protect the 2 percent from a 3.6 percent increase in taxes that would put the income tax rate back to where it was when Clinton was in office. That is a totally insane position that will alienate 98 percent of America. Forget about the 47 percent that Romney wrote off, the Republicans want to go for 98 percent!

Chicago Bears Lose

Disappointing game last night. The weather played a part, but both teams have to deal with the same weather and the Bears are supposed to be the tough outdoor team while Houston plays in a dome. That said, I am not really concerned about the loss itself. Losing 13-6 in a driving rain storm against a very good Texan team is not terrible.

The Bear defense was great as usual. They gave up some rushing yards in the first half, but clamped down in the second half. Matt Schaub did not have a great night because of the weather and the good defensive play of the Bears.

What I am concerned about is Jay Cutler's health (he was concussed) and the play calling. On a night like last night, the Bears should be focusing more on trying to get Forte and Bush the ball. When you look at the play calling the Bears had way more passes than runs and the Texans were just the opposite. The offensive coaching should have adjusted - especially without Jay Cutler in the second half.

I'm not really going to go into a ton of details about the game. I think almost all of it fell on the play calling. Next week the Bears go to San Francisco for a Monday night matchup, and both teams are likely to be missing their starting quarterbacks because of concussions. I just hope the Bears stay committed to the running game.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff

Now that the election is over there is talk about "The Fiscal Cliff." The Fiscal Cliff is the term for the combination of automatic tax increases for all Americans when the Bush tax cuts and 2 percent payroll tax holiday expire, the millions of Americans who will be hit with the alternative minimum tax (AMT) if nothing is done, the automatic spending cuts that affect across the board government programs - everything from Defense to food stamps. These spending cuts were put in place when the debt ceiling was raised last year. Something needs to be done before January 1 or there we will go over the cliff.

Should we go over the cliff, there is little doubt that we will go into a recession. However, it is unlikely that we will go over the cliff. I believe the Republican Congress won't be so stubborn about allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on wealthy individuals now that President Obama has won re-election. Spending cuts, tax increases, and closing of tax loopholes are all needed to put the fiscal house in order. President Obama offered $3 in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases and the Republican Party bailed out of discussions. During the presidential primary race, the Republican candidates refused to even allow $1 in tax increases for $10 in spending cuts. If the Republican Party takes that position nothing will get done.

Frankly, the solution is fairly simple.

1. Allow the payroll tax holiday to expire. That will shore up Social Security and Medicare with the 2 percent FICA increase (back to normal levels).

2. Increase the cap on taxable income that gets hit by FICA from about $110,000 to $200,000 (right now, anyone making over $110,000 pays the same as those making $110,000. This will further shore up Social Security and Medicare and create larger surpluses in these programs that can be applied to the budget deficit.

3. Allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on those making over $250,000/year. This will bring billions into the U.S. Treasury. Adding the 3 percent income tax to wealthy Americans won't really have any major impact on their lifestyles.

4. Cut defense spending by about $100 billion/year over the next 3 years. Most of this could be done by ending the war in Afghanistan and no longer having to replace worn out fighting equipment at such a fast pace.

5. Implement a 10 percent cut in spending to all agencies that are funded with more than $30 billion/year. This could be phased in over 3 years also. This would force agencies to try to work to become more efficient.

This would just be the start. I would look to end all tax subsidies and tax breaks for companies making more than $500 million in profit and consider changes to capital gains taxes (some higher, some lower). We just need people of good faith and common sense to come together. The other thing is that none of the changes has to be permanent. If something doesn't work you go back and change it, we just need to have significant change.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Top 5 Reasons President Obama Won

Contrary to what many conservatives think - particularly the hard right wingers - President Obama is not a socialist Hell bent on enslaving the people into a some sort of evil collective. Most Americans know that and were more in line with his positions on the issues which is why he won. However, beyond the difference in world views and the birther/socialist/secret Muslim silliness that gripped a significant portion of the Republican electorate, there are a number of reasons why Mitt Romney could not beat the President.

1. The demographics of the nation are changing. The number of white male voters may be increasing, but not as fast as other segments of the population. As a percentage of the population, this bloc is shrinking rapidly and the Republican Party has done nothing to attract women and minorities to the Party. In fact, the Party did its best to alienate itself from women with candidates like Mourdock and Akin, as well as the extreme women's health positions of Paul Ryan. Hispanics have been turned off by all of the anti-Hispanic positions of the Party and the constant coded race-baiting have turned off African-Americans and Hispanics.

2. Paul Ryan was a horrible choice for VP. Ryan's views on abortion didn't help with women, but his position on voucherizing Medicare and Social Security killed any chance of racking up big percentages of older voters. This killed any chance of winning Florida (assuming it does go to Obama), Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He didn't help in his home state of Wisconsin - so there really was no gain from having Ryan on the ticket. He was just as bad a pick as Sarah Palin four years ago.

3. Mitt's op-ed on allowing GM and U.S. automaking to go backrupt. I don't completely disagree with Mitt's view. Frankly, both President Bush and President Obama should have pushed GM and Chrysler into federal bankruptcy court sooner. However, I can understand that with so much falling apart in the economy, it was probably better for both Presidents to push off the bankruptcy proceedings back in order to deal with other problems first. However, Mitt took an extreme view that the private sector would have solved the problem. There is no way that private sector investors were going to sweep in to save U.S. automaking and literally hundreds of thousands of jobs would have been lost. Voters in the manufacturing sector knew it also and it basically locked up Ohio for the President.

4. Mitt's constant flip flopping. He was a flawed candidate who kept showing people his flaws with major flip flops every week. It just kept killing any momentum he might build, but it also made him untrustworthy.

5. Mitt is a Mormon who was not fully accepted by the Republican base. Mitt got more than 2 million fewer votes than McCain. I think a lot of this has to do with Evangelicals not fully getting behind Mitt. He tried to play to the base but in the end it hurt him with independents. Then, he didn't even get the base to fully support him. That was enough to ensure defeat.

Victory!


Not a surprising result at all. The race has been over for months and it just wasn't that close. As I predicted, President Obama won by 2+ million votes in the national popular vote and easily won the Electoral College. I projected a 303-235 vote. It looks like it will be at least 330-208 because it looks like Florida went to the President also (there are 2 individual Electoral College votes that also need to be determined).

I also did not think it was going to be that late a night. I thought it would be decided by 11:30 and I was pretty much dead on with that. In fact, at about 10:30 I called my mother-in-law and told her it was over. I had out my iPad and was looking at the county-by-county data that was coming in for Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. It was very clear that Ohio was going to Obama and I could see that Florida and Virginia were going to be closer but they were moving toward Obama. It was all but over by 10:30 and anyone who looked at the data could easily see it.

Nate Silver really nailed it with his statistical analysis as did RCP. Larry Sabato missed on Virginia and if Florida is declared for Obama then he would have missed that race also.

There are idiot Republicans like Trump who don't accept the will of the people and actually think the election was stolen. These are the same fools who think Obama is a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya. Ignorant dolts! The outcome of the election was very clear leading up to election day and the win was decisive. It was not a close election and now my hope is that President Obama will be more aggressive with the Republicans and they will be more willing to work with him. Whether they do or not, we will see continued economic improvement and significant reduction in the federal budget deficit. It is a great day for America.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Cutler Supports Mitt

I meant to post something up about this. Cutler was on the radio in Chicago and was asked who he was voting for. He said he was going for Mitt. In Chicago that is not a great pick, but he is perfectly entitled to his opinion. To be fair, President Obama talked highly of Aaron Rodgers when the Packers won the Super Bowl.

The Trib asked if Cutler's choice changed readers' opinions about him. About 32 percent of the 3000+ respondents said it did. Some probably love him, some probably hate him. I'm with the majority of folks who don't really care.

Election Day is Here!

Nate Silver's latest update puts the President's chances for re-election at 91 percent. I watched Silver last night on Colbert and could not agree with him more - the presidential race is not a toss-up. That said, it is going to be interesting to see how good his prediction model is. If he is wrong - and certainly it is possible (although unlikely) - and Romney wins the his credibility will be totally shot. I suspect that he will get one or two states wrong and have to make adjustments to his statistical model - but that is just good science.

It looks to me like Florida will go to Romney, Ohio will go to President Obama, and now Virginia is looking more and more like it will go to Obama. Romney has to have all three to win. The only other state that I see as being in play is Colorado. But that state is not enough to overcome a loss in Ohio or Virginia for Romney.

If I were to make a case for Romney winning, I would say that the early voting advantage that the President got this year was not as great as in 2008, so Republicans improved their ground game. Also, young people may not be as engaged as they were 4 years ago. But then, the percentage of white working class voters shrank again and the gap between Romney and Obama with Hispanic voters is significantly larger than it was between McCain and Obama. Combining all of this means not much has changed in terms of the expected outcome.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Eve Thoughts

The election is not really that close. Nate Silver and Paul Krugman called their own newspaper's (the New York Times) reporting on the election "lazy" and "stupid" for saying it is close. I totally agree with that assessment. People think the election is close, when in fact it is pretty much an Obama win by a comfortable Electoral College margin. Sure the national polls are close and the national popular vote will probably end up as a 2 percent difference in favor of Obama (I suppose the 2+ million advantage that Obama will have is close). But when you look at the Electoral College map, not much has changed since earlier this year and it looks like President Obama will cruise to a second term.

Real Clear Politics has it 303-235 Obama in the Electoral College.

Intrade puts the President's re-election at 67 percent.

On the strength of Betfair's 80 percent chance of re-election. Predictwise puts re-election at 73 percent.

Nate Silver now put the election at an 86 percent chance of re-election for President Obama.

As I pointed out yesterday, I was really looking forward to Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball prediction for tomorrow. He projects a solid re-election for President Obama 290-248 in the Electoral College. The only real question seems to be how Virginia will go. Silver and RCP and many polls show Obama winning the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sabato says it will go to Romney (although it is probably the state he is least confident in). I think it will go to Obama because of the strength of Northern Virginia, but Sabato probably knows better.

My prediction is 303-235 for Obama and the race will be over when either Virginia or Ohio are called for Obama - which may be later in the night because the networks will want to get them right. I think by 11:30 tomorrow night we will know that President Obama has been re-elected.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Chicago Bears Dominate Again

The D was awesome. The Special Teams made two big plays in the first quarter and the offense shook off a weak first quarter to explode to a big and very complete Bear team win.

The Bears blocked a punt and got a TD. Tennessee got a safety on a penalty in the end zone, but after the Bears' D stopped Tennessee on the ensuing drive, Devin Hester broke free for 44 yard punt return to the Tennessee 8. Forte rushed it in for a 14-2 lead. Urlacher intercepted Hasselbeck for a 46 yard pick-6, then the next Tennessee drive ended after one play with a CJ fumble at the Tennessee 16 yard line. The Bears offense punched it in for a 28-2 first quarter lead.

The Bears rolled from there - no problem. Next up is Houston at home in Chicago. Should be a great game next Sunday night.

Prediction Markets and Election

As I mentioned yesterday, there are ways to manipulate the prediction markets - and it is not that expensive to do that. Intrade is the most commonly cited prediction market. But, one of the other major prediction markets is Betfair. At Predictwise, they average Betfair and Intrade in their prediction of what will happen in the presidential election.

There is an enormous gap between Betfair and Intrade. Betfair puts the President's chance at re-election at 78 percent, but Intrade puts it at 65 percent. This suggests that their is a concerted effort to manipulate the Intrade market. If you are willing to bet on Obama's re-election, you should bet on Intrades market because your payout would be better. For the same reason, if you want to bet on Romney, you should bet on Betfair because the payout would be far better. There are some rules about U.S. betters using Betfair, but there still should be convergence - not divergence. Given the state-by-state polls and the Electoral College map it is pretty clear the Romney's path to election is pretty limited. Spending tens of thousands of dollars to control the Intrade number isn't necessarily a bad strategy, but it won't make any difference in the end.

Nate Silver puts the President's re-election at 85.5 percent. The upward adjustment is due to the new state polls that came in over the weekend that favor the President and the fact that there is even less time for Romney to turn things around.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow's prediction for the election by Larry Sabato and the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Nate Silver got 49 of the 50 state results correct in 2008 (he was off on Indiana which went to McCain by less than 1 percent). Sabato was 50 for 50 in 2008. Sabato is a good friend of George Allen (they went to UVA at the same time) and is conservative - but he is very fair and he is very good with his predictions.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Elections and Prediction Markets

PredictWise provides and updates the results from three of the major prediction markets for the Presidential race. They show Intrade and Betfair - which base their trades on Electoral College victory. They also show the Iowa markets (IEM), which predicts the national population results - which are important for maintaining legitimacy. It stinks when you get an Electoral College victory, but the national popular vote goes the other way - as it did when Gore conceded to Bush (notice I did not say Bush defeated Gore - but there is no need to re-litigate that fiasco).

The predictive value of the prediction markets is really, really good. When people have to put money on a winner it is different than just giving an opinion. That said, Nate Silver gave a great discussion of the value of his statistics. Clearly his statistical analysis shows a clear Obama re-election. However, as he points out that does not mean Obama will win. He discussed what it meant for his model to show a 79 percent chance of an Obama re-election in terms of a football game. When there are 3 minutes left in a game and a team is up by 3 points, there is a 79 percent chance that the team that is aheas will win. Certainly there are teams that are able to come back and win (21 percent of the time it happens). Thus, Romney still has a shot, but the every day the odds are becoming longer and longer.

We will see an Obama re-election, just as I have been saying for months. Today's solid job numbers locked it up for the President. That is why the prediction markets are so heavily tilted toward a second term for President Obama.

Prediction Markets

There was an initial drop this morning on Intrade that dropped the President from about 65 percent to 63 percent. But now it is up to almost 67 percent. I would be willing to bet that there was an effort to try to manipulate Intrade to blunt the momentum of the jobs report. I heard that it takes about $7000 to move Intrade a point one way or another - I'm not sure if that is true, but it was mentioned on CNBC.

The reason that the prediction markets work so well is that people bet real money. So if you have manipulation it is quickly corrected as people take advantage of faulty prices.

One other note, Nate Silver now puts that re-election at 81 percent. I suspect this will go up today as the jobs number came in so strong - well above expectations.

Good October Jobs Numbers

Unemployment ticked up to 7.9 percent, but the economy added a very solid 171,000 jobs last month. There was also an upward job revision for September from 114,000 to 148,000 jobs. Government jobs was the only sector that fell, it was good to see that even manufacturing rose.

The Dow futures jumped more than 40 points. This is just another number that supports the fact that we are in recovery. The housing market has been increasing, consumer confidence and GDP has been rising, and the last two weeks' unemployment claims have been falling, so the jobs number is in line with expectations.

This report is a good one for the President and for the country. What we can see is that even with increasing jobs we saw unemployment tick up - that is actually a good sign. What it says is that there are people who were out of the work force who are coming back in.

The President will be re-elected and once the "fiscal cliff" is averted - and it will be averted - the economy will really roar. Private sector investment is likely to be under pressure because of the uncertainty with Congress' ability to avert sequestration and the fiscal cliff. Once the President is re-elected, there won't be any reason for Republicans to remain stubborn about not working with the President.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Chicago Bears Thoughts

The Bears are now 6-1 and they look great defensively and OK offensively. Special teams have been fine, but not spectacular. Defensively, the Bears have scored 6 touchdowns - fantastic. Charles Tillman is probably playing the best football of his career (he was named NFC defensive player of the month), as is Tim Jennings on the other side. The mix of youth and vets on the front 4 has really worked. Conte and Wright are very good safeties. I have some concerns about Urlacher's ability to play the entire season. He does look like he has lost a step at times, but he is still a great middle linebacker. Briggs and Roach have been solid.

Special teams have been solid, but no return TDs and Robbie Gould missed a 33 yard field goal last week. He redeemed himself with a 41-yard game winner as time expired. Still, I don't feel like the special teams units have been their usual awesome selves. We'll see what happens in coming weeks.

The Bears offense has been up and down. At times they look unstoppable. Brandon Marshall can dominate, Cutler can zing the ball, and Forte can run. But other times they look pedestrian. A lot of it has to do with play calling and the offensive line. Carolina sacked Jay Cutler 6 times in the first half. Then in the second half the O-line and play calling were much better and Jay went 14 of 16 to close out the game with a TD and two drives that led to field goals attempts (including the game winner). I'd like to see more of a commitment to Forte and the running game. This will take pressure of the O-line to pass protect all the time and will tire out the defensive linemen.

Playing Tennessee on the road will be a good game, but one the Bears should manage. It could turn into a very special season if the Bears can keep up the defensive pressure and get a bit more consistent on offense.