Friday, July 30, 2010

Republican Presidential contenders

Obviously Photoshopped, but still funny...

Former House Speaker and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994, Newt Gingrich, publicly sized up the potential Republican Presidential contenders for 2012 recently. Collectively the Republicans are chomping at the bit to take on Obama. No surprise, given his lackluster performance so far.

Gingrich sees a field that may be as many as nine deep, if one includes Gingrich, which he, himself, did not. Who else then? Besides the obvious never stopped running trio of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and the woman who can see Alaska from her front door, Gingrich also listed Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Representative Ron Paul of Texas.

Sizing up their chances at the Republican nomination: Representative Paul is an outsider who has a better chance at making a solo flight to Mars than winning the nomination. Governor Pawlenty is too moderate when the base is frothing at the mouth. Gingrich, himself, is guaranteed to say or do something that is so outrageous it disqualifies him. Governor Barbour is an insider's insider, but to the Clarion Content he feels more like a Karl Rove than a George Bush the I. Governor Huckabee's aw shucks routine is one of the few ways the Republicans could set up an Obama landslide.

That leaves a much narrower field: the early favorite from last time, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a strong dark horse candidate, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a weak dark horse candidate, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and the 800 pound gorilla in the room, former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin.

In the Clarion Content's uber-early reckoning, we would be hard pressed to see any of these folks derail the Palin train. She is coming for us all.


Special thanks to The Hill for steering us to Gingrich's remarks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not yet or Nyet for the economy

The Nation's Restaurant News posted a gloomy impression of the outlook for casual restaurant chains, considered by some to be a bellwether of consumer confidence. It reported that Ruby Tuesday, The Cheesecake Factory, and BJ’s Restaurants each said same-store sales increased for their latest quarters.

However, the NRN's expert said, "We continue to believe a rapid consumer ‘rebound’ is unlikely, and even if the consumer strengthens more quickly than we expect, we do not believe they are likely to immediately trade back up to casual dining. We believe the high-water mark for customer traffic will take years to recapture, if it is even possible, unless the supply of units in the marketplace has a much more substantial correction than we are currently seeing." This dark cloud provided to you by Steve West at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

In their view, these restaurant captured customers from other restaurants, but did not add business to the total pool. What Mr. West means by a substantial correction in the supply of units in the marketplace is a lot of restaurants closing and a lot of folks losing their jobs. Ugly.

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

No surprise

This tidbit from Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter, should come as no surprise, "Obama has spent all or part of 65 days on vacation, including days at Camp David. At this point in his tenure, George W. Bush had logged 120 days [vacation]. That included 13 trips to his Texas ranch."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Durham refinances

While cities and municipalities across the county are in heaps of financial trouble, things are not so bad here in Durham, North Carolina. Earlier this month the city received approval from Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's, the three big credit ratings agencies, to refinance up to $60 million in bonds at an AA+ credit rating. This will save Durham approximately $2.1 million in interest charges on bonds and other loans original made to the city in 1998, 2001 and 2008.

Thanks to the Durham Herald Sun for this note.