ThinkFast: November 3, 2008

On Tuesday, millions of voters “will use paper ballots rather than the touch-screen machines that have caused concern among voting experts.” However, “the change does not guarantee a smooth election day.” Voting experts are predicting machine and ballot shortages in several swing states and late tallies on election night.”

Except for Alaska, every state in the country is either in a recession or “dangerously close” to one, according to Moody’s In March, just five states were in recession, but that number expanded to 30 by the end of September. 19 other states are at risk of falling into recession.

Former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin and EPI’s Jared Berstein write: “With the current financial crisis, our joint view is that for the short term, our economy needs a large fiscal stimulus that generates substantial economic demand.”

CQ reports that Washington DC’s lobbying firms are enjoying a business boom in the midst of a bear market. Due in part to the financial bailout, Washington lobbying firms signed up more than 500 new clients last month. “The annual cost of Washington lobbying will probably hit $3 billion for the first time ever.”


One day to go: Barack Obama will hold rallies in Florida, North Carolina, and then Virginia. Joe Biden will campaign in Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. John McCain begins his day in Florida, then travels to Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona. Sarah Palin will attend rallies in Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. Both McCain and Obama taped interviews that will air during halftime of tonight’s Redskins-Steelers football game.

“Nearly one in five U.S. mortgage borrowers owe more to lenders than their homes are worth, and the rate may soon approach one in four as housing prices fall and the economy weakens.” A report released Friday showed “7.63 million properties, or 18 percent, had negative equity in September, and another 2.1 million will follow if home prices fall another 5 percent.”

Dozens of the roughly 225 detainees who remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay “are said by military and intelligence agencies…to have connections to top leaders of Al Qaeda or to have other serious terrorism credentials,” including 20 said to be Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards. The profiles of the detainees will make it difficult for the next president to close the facility, the New York Times concludes.

Though he will likely end his tenure with one of the lowest job-approval ratings in history, President Bush is earning praise for “engineering what may be the most carefully considered and potentially successful presidential transition in modern times.”

And finally: How to crank call Sarah Palin. Canadian radio DJ Marc-Antoine Audette caused a stir this weekend when he called Sarah Palin and successfully duped her into believing that he was French President Nicolas Sarkozy. How did he pull it off? “We started by calling the governor’s office in Alaska, and after that, we were transferred from one person to another. It took us about four days, we spoke to about a dozen people, and that’s how we were able to speak to her,” Audette said. “Call it luck, call it perseverance, call it what you want — but I never thought we would be able to do it.”

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