Hurricane Sandy’s butcher’s bill

Hurricane Sandy hit last week, but the regions most affected–especially New Jersey, New York, and particularly Staten Island–are still struggling with the devastation.  That includes shortages of food and fuel.

Living conditions remained severe for tens of thousands of people unable to return to their homes, and some 1.4 million homes and businesses were due to endure another night of near-freezing temperatures without power or heat.

The devastation could also send ripples through Tuesday’s presidential election, with President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney locked in a close race.

An exhausted region now faces the prospect of a new storm. A strong “Nor’easter” was forecast to bring freezing temperatures and more rain and wind by the middle of the week, possibly flooding coastal areas that have yet to recover from Sandy.

The U.S. death toll rose to at least 113 and thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged by the gigantic storm, which slammed into the U.S. East Coast a week ago, bringing a record surge that flooded low-lying areas with seawater.

via Sandy still causing nightmare commute, housing crisis | Reuters.

Victims have been complaining about relief efforts, from the Red Cross to FEMA.

Your endorsements

We here at the Cranach Institute endorse no political candidates.  Hey, we even shot down the mythological Wise Turk.  But you can make endorsements of your own.   Who gets your vote tomorrow on election day?  Give your endorsement and your reasoning in the comments.  Maybe you can sway someone who is undecided or who is still at this late date persuadable, thereby turning the election in the event of another one so close that it will hinge on a hanging chad.

Your predictions

I made my prediction for the election a long time ago, back when Obama was approaching his lowest point in popularity and when the economy was seeming to sink all incumbents.  I predicted that Obama would win re-election.  Later, I predicted further that he would win handily.   I also said that I hope I was wrong, although I almost never am.  I don’t think that prediction sounds as silly as it did back then, so I’m sticking to it.   I’ll say, with a heavy heart, that Obama will win re-election with at least 20 electoral votes to spare.  It takes 271 to elect, so I’m predicting he’ll get 291.

Now it’s your turn to go out on a limb, with everybody being able to find out if you are right or wrong in the next day or so.  Who do you think will win?  What will be the total electoral vote?

The winner will receive our accolades and admiration.   (What should be the consequences if I win or if I lose?)




The final word on the election

From Abigael Evans, age 4, on behalf of the entire nation:

Comparing the platforms

Back during the Democratic National Convention, we did a post on the Democratic platform, promising that we would do the same for the Republican platform.  I never quite got around to that at the time, and we just have a few days before the election, so I realize I had better get that done.  I know that people say party platforms don’t really matter, but I do think they show us something about the parties and their ideology, as well as what tenets the wide range of party members can agree to.

So here is the  Republican Platform, entitled We Believe in America.  It defies excerpting, but here are the major headings, which you can read via the links.

The Democratic Platform is entitled Moving America Forward.  It has the following headings:

I present both of these platforms as a public service to aid in your voting decisions.

How would you characterize the underlying assumptions of each document?  What does each platform tell us about the ideology and the preoccupations of each party?

I would just like to observe that, whatever the merits of each governing philosophy, both platforms are depressingly utopian.  Whether government will solve all of our problems or whether the free market will solve all of our problems, both assertions are way too optimistic.  I wish a party would put forward more modest promises and agendas (e.g., No one in our administration will go to jail for misuse of public funds.  We will follow the law.  We will acknowledge our limitations.)  Both platforms are just different variations on Pedro’s platform for student body president in Napoleon Dynamite:  “Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true.”


Good quotations

George Will is among the most learned of today’s pundits, and he has the habit of lacing his columns with big words, arcane references, and scholarly quotations.  I urge you to read his latest column, a trenchant criticism of President Barack Obama, linked below.  But what I’d like to draw your attention to are some really good, widely-applicable quotations that the column contains.  I will cherry pick them for your edification:

“It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man.”— Calvin Coolidge

“To remain silent is the most useful service that a mediocre speaker can render to the public good.”–Alexis de Tocqueville:

’Tis said two things not worth running after are a bus or an economic panacea, because another will come along soon.

“For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back — that’s an earthquake.”–Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman  [Actually, this was a character commenting about Willy Loman, not Willy Loman himself, but we’ll give Mr. Will a pass out of gratitude for the Calvin Coolidge quote.]

via George Will: Obama’s empty, strident campaign – The Washington Post.