Marin Cogan

Bum Rush

Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other friends have spent the past year screaming about the horrors of Barack Obama. And, while it's true that they talked ad nauseam about socialism and the Weathermen and Jeremiah Wright, careful listeners would have noticed a recurring theme of anxiety: that Obama was going to use the newly acquired levers of government to destroy them.

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Bum Rush

Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other friends have spent the past year screaming about the horrors of Barack Obama. And, while it's true that they talked ad nauseam about socialism and the Weathermen and Jeremiah Wright, careful listeners would have noticed a recurring theme of anxiety: that Obama was going to use the newly acquired levers of government to destroy them.

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Rooms For Rent

Washington is full of entrepreneurs trying to cash in on Obama’s victory. Walk the streets downtown, and you’ll see vendors selling special editions of Election Day newspapers and bootleg hats, hokey t-shirts and commemorative buttons. But the biggest racket is on Craigslist, where DC residents are offering up their homes as lodging for the 4 million people expected to swarm the Mall on Inauguration Day. Many are offering nightly rates that would likely cover their rent for the month.

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It’s now perfectly clear that it was a fool’s errand for McCain to place all of his electoral hopes on winning the keystone state. Obama cleaned up last night with more than 10 percent of the vote, the largest margin of victory by a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater in 1964. Much of that margin came from the suburbs around Philadelphia, which have been trending Democratic as an influx of minorities and young professionals from the eastern corridor shifts the region’s demographics.

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We asked a few politicos if they have any Election Day rituals or superstitions that they adhere to. Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis didn’t so much answer that question. But he wrote this, which is super endearing.   Kitty and I vote early--we arrived at our polling place at 6:40 this morning, and the lines were already so long that we didn't emerge until an hour later.

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Change, of a Sort

DUNMORE, PENNSYLVANIA--With just two weeks left until the election, Democratic Representative Paul Kanjorski is in the back room of Ragnacci’s, a cozy sports bar just outside of Scranton, doing his best to fire up a crowd of mostly elderly voters. “Obama’s going to win big in northeastern Pennsylvania,” the 71-year-old lawmaker declares. “And I’m going to win”--here he pauses--“reasonably big in northeastern Pennsylvania!” It was not the gentleman from Nanticoke’s most inspired rhetoric.

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I mean the $89 billion bailout of AIG (plus some out of other baskets here and there). The FT reports this morning that, despite the huge and unprecedented bailout by the feds, the humungous insurance group will continue its spending on lobbying the feds. So the American tax-payer will be not subsidizing, but actually shelling out millions of dollars to finance AIG's efforts to drag more cash out of the system -and perhaps also to have another half million dollar retreat at a swish and swank resort as it did right after receiving its bundle of cash relief. Are there no limits?

The State of California, according to the Times online, is out of cash. Plain down in the ditch. It may have to borrow $7 billion from the U.S. government to pay its bills. Will Henry Paulson loan the terminator the cash? I suppose he will, if the Treasury still has it to loan. Another surprise was reported on yesterday in the Times. Nearly 1000 colleges that had $9.3 billion deposited in a short term fund of which the trustee was Wachovia Bank. Of course, Wachovia is...well, just about bankrupt.  Well, not quite. First, Citigroup made an offer for it.

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It turns out that the Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian ship loaded with $30 million worth of weapons last Thursday are—like their compatriots who captured two boats earlier this year—environmentalists of a sort: In a 45-minute interview, Mr. Sugule spoke on everything from what the pirates wanted (“just money”) to why they were doing this (“to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters”) to what they had to eat on board (rice, meat, bread, spaghetti, “you know, normal human-being food”). He said that so far, in the eyes of the world, the pirates had been misunderstood.

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As long as we're talking about meat consumption, I wanted to mention the (controversial) recommendation made a couple of weeks back by IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri, who suggested that everyone give up meat one day each week in an effort to curb the massive impact of livestock farming on global warming.

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