Connect with us


Oregon And Oklahoma May Shock Us On Election Day

Oregon And Oklahoma May Shock Us On Election Day

Authored by Bill Scher via RealClear Wire,

Ten states currently have governors who are not…



Oregon And Oklahoma May Shock Us On Election Day

Authored by Bill Scher via RealClear Wire,

Ten states currently have governors who are not from the same party as the person who won that state’s 2020 presidential election. That number could dwindle after November.

Two of those states, Massachusetts and Maryland, will almost surely replace retiring moderate Republican governors with Democrats, as GOP primary voters nominated candidates far to the right of their states’ electorates. In Kansas, Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly is in a tight reelection campaign in a state Joe Biden lost by nearly 15 percentage points. And in Arizona, where the incumbent Republican is retiring, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows that less than a single point separates the margin between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake.

It is also possible that new states will soon join the list of gubernatorial ticket splitters, showing that an appetite for bipartisan state governance can be found, even in places with long partisan histories.

President Biden drew attention to Oregon’s wild gubernatorial race by campaigning Saturday with struggling Democratic nominee Tina Kotek. The Beaver State has elected only Democrats for governor since 1986, and supported Democrats for president since 1988. But frustrations with crime, drugs, and homeless encampments in Portland have frayed the Democratic coalition. Polls show a Democrat-turned-independent candidate Betsy Johnson is threatening to split the vote and allow a socially conservative Republican, former state House minority leader Christine Drazan, to win with a mere plurality.

While Johnson takes swipes at both major party candidates, her harshest attacks target Kotek. Her latest ad features a self-described “diehard Democrat” and mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose. The mother says, “Tina Kotek passed the horrible law to legalize hard drugs like heroin, meth and fentanyl.” Nothing is said about Drazan.

The charge leaves out many details. The spot makes it sound as though Kotek, the state House speaker until recently, shepherded the law legalizing hard drugs through the legislature. Actually, the law was passed by Oregon voters in a 2020 referendum, with a strong 17-point margin. (Also, the law significantly decriminalizes possession of small amounts of hard drugs, but it stops short of legalization, while shifting resources into addiction prevention and treatment.)

Kotek does support the measure, but has criticized implementation of the new public health programs as too slow. Drazan and Johnson want the whole law repealed in a new referendum, though repeal is not necessarily the politically safe position. A September poll by Data for Progress found the current level of support for the decriminalization law still matches the 58% support it received in the referendum.

However, in another September poll from The Oregonian, nearly half of voters said “the most important problem facing Oregon” was either homelessness (32%) or crime (16%). No other issue ranked higher. Tied for fifth place, at 8%, was drugs, but for many, the drug problem is intertwined with crime and homelessness. (Unlike other parts of the country where reproductive freedom is more acutely threatened, in Oregon only 2% of voters named abortion as the state’s most important problem.)

For Drazan to be thwarted, Kotek needs more Democrats to abandon Johnson and come home. Third party candidates do often fade in the stretch. But Johnson’s hard-edged approach to homelessness, crime, and drugs tracks with Drazan, not Kotek. The Democratic nominee’s ad campaign touts a progressive plan to end homelessness by relying on more affordable housing, shelters, and outreach programs.

Kotek’s attempt to portray herself as compassionate and effective does not seem to be protecting her from Johnson’s and Drazan’s broadsides. The Republican’s ads yoke Kotek to the unpopular Democratic incumbent Kate Brown and the problems festering on Democrats’ watch. Drazan also accuses Kotek in ads of blocking a sex abuse investigation of a state legislator, though an Oregonian fact check concluded the charge is “untrue.” Nevertheless, an Emerson poll pegs Kotek’s unfavorable rating at 50%, with only 38% holding a favorable view. Johnson’s numbers are not much better, while Drazan is slightly above water. For Kotek to unify Oregon’s Democratic majority, she will likely need to drive up Drazan’s negatives and argue that a vote for Johnson is effectively a vote for Drazan.

Johnson and Drazan have overlap on crime and other issues (both would rescind the current governor’s executive order capping greenhouse gas emissions). But Johnson is ideologically idiosyncratic, and speaks frequently about melding Democratic and Republican ideas. In contrast, Drazan was known for obstructionist tactics while serving in the state legislature. The word “bipartisan” does not appear on Drazan’s website. However, in a recent debate a softer-edged Drazan argued, "I will be a person who will reach across the aisle. Because we will likely have Democrat majorities in the legislature, the opportunity to force negotiations only exists with a Republican as Governor.”

Over in Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is in trouble. On October 8, the Sooner Poll gave his Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister a four-point lead. Don't believe it? Yesterday, a poll from a Republican political consulting firm, Ascend Action, gave Hofmeister a seven-point lead. And a poll from KOCO-TV gave her a 0.6 point lead. Stitt’s campaign appears rattled by the new numbers. A few days after the Sooner Poll’s release, negative ads appeared attacking Hofmeister. 

Why the ultra-conservative Stitt is straining to win reelection in a deep red state may be a surprise to those living outside Oklahoma. He is following a culture warrior model that is working for other Republican governors like Texas’ Greg Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis. Stitt has banned nearly all abortions, fought pandemic restrictions, and withheld money from hospitals that provide hormone therapies and surgeries to transgender minors.

Yet Stitt may get tripped up by some old-fashioned corruption. As The Oklahoman reported, “Hofmeister has regularly accused Stitt of running a ‘corrupt’ office, pointing to an [Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation inquiry] into state park restaurant contracts that resulted in the resignation of the governor-appointed Tourism and Recreation Department director, and a federal investigation into Stitt's use of pandemic relief funds for education.”

Hofmeister is also a proven vote-getter, having won two terms as Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction, running as a Republican. She only switched parties last year, and her gubernatorial ads don’t stress her new affiliation.

In a recent debate she described herself as “aggressively moderate” while tagging Stitt as “pitting neighbor against neighbor.” She says in ads “I’m tired of the extremism” without citing specific examples of Stitt’s extremism, lest she step on a political land mine. Her ads do not even mention abortion. (Her website carefully defines her as “personally pro-life" yet believing abortion “is a healthcare decision between a woman and her doctor.”) When it comes to issues, she generally sticks to bread-and-butter matters like education and health care; Hofmeister opposes Stitt’s moves towards privatization in both areas.

Of course, partisan loyalties may well snap into place in both Oregon and Oklahoma on Election Day. But regardless of the final outcome, the apparent closeness of the two races is a reminder that even in deep red and blue states, bipartisanship is not a dirty word.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/19/2022 - 20:25

Read More

Continue Reading


Stock Market Today: Stocks turn lower as Treasury yield rise mutes earnings gains

A mixed set of big tech earnings, alongside modestly higher Treasury yields, has stocks moving lower into the start of the Wednesday session.



Updated at 10:07 am EDT U.S. turned lower Wednesday, while Treasury yields crept higher and the dollar building gains against its global peers as investors reacted to the first wave of mega-cap tech earnings while continuing to track movements in the bond market. Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report and Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report kicked-off this week's run of earnings from the so-called 'magnificent seven' late Tuesday with a mixed set of September quarter results, reflecting both the power for AI technologies to boost near-term profits and the impact of surging interest rates on corporate spending. Microsoft's revenue growth in cloud computing, driven in part by its early investments in AI, lifted shares in the tech giant firmly higher in pre-market trading as it looks to add around 85 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the opening bell. Google, meanwhile, slumped 6.6% following a mixed set of third quarter earnings that showed slowing cloud computing growth overshadowing record ad revenues of $59.65 billion. Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report posts its third quarter earnings after the bell later today, with magnificent seven stalwart Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report following on Thursday. In the bond market, a muted auction of $51 billion in 2-year notes yesterday, which drew softer demand from both foreign and domestic investors, drew a line under the recent Treasury market rally, which was also tested by a faster-than-expected reading for business activity by S&P Global over the month of October. Benchmark 10-year notes yields were last marked 5 basis points higher in the early New York trading at 4.901% while 2-year notes were pegged at 5.091%, 3 basis points higher than yesterday's auction levels, ahead of a $52 billion sale of 5-year notes later in the session. The U.S. dollar index, meanwhile, was marked 0.14% higher against a basket of six global currency peers and trading at 106.41 heading into the morning session. In other markets, global oil prices drifted modestly higher in early New York trading ahead of Energy Department data on domestic stockpiles and international exports later this morning. Brent crude contracts for December delivery were marked 23 cents higher at $88.31 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month edged 13 cents higher to $83.87 per barrel. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was marked 42 points lower, or 0.99%, in the opening hour of trading while the Dow was down 133 points despite the impact of Microsoft's advance. The tech-focused Nasdaq, meanwhile, was down 186 points, or 1.43%, as the slump in Google shares offset a smaller gain for Microsoft. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.28% higher in late-day Frankfurt trading amid another busy earnings session while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.02% lower in London. Overnight in Asia, reports of a new trillion-yuan bond sale from the Chinese government, worth around $137 billion in U.S. dollar terms and aimed at adding further stimulus to the moribund economy, boosted sentiment and helped regional stocks eek out a modest 0.09% gain heading into the close of trading.
  • Action Alerts PLUS offers expert portfolio guidance to help you make informed investing decisions. Sign up now.

Read More

Continue Reading


People in Europe ate seaweed for thousands of years before it largely disappeared from their diets – we wonder why?

The decline of seaweed as part of the staple diet in Europe remains a mystery.



Seaweed isn’t something that generally features today in European recipe books, even though it is widely eaten in Asia. But our team has discovered molecular evidence that shows this wasn’t always the case. People in Europe ate seaweed and freshwater aquatic plants from the Stone Age right up until the Middle Ages before it disappeared from our plates. Our evidence came from skeletal remains, namely the calculus (hardened dental plaque) that built up around the teeth of these people when they were alive. Many centuries later, this calculus still contains molecules that record the food that people ingested. We analysed the calculus from 74 skeletal remains from 28 archaeological sites across Europe. The sites span a period of several thousand years starting in the Mesolithic, when people hunted and gathered their food, through to the earliest farming societies (a stage called the Neolithic) all the way up to the Middle Ages. Our results suggest that seaweed was a habitual part of the diet for the time periods we studied, and became a marginal food only relatively recently. Unsurprisingly, most of the sites where we detected the consumption of seaweed are coastal. But we also found evidence from inland sites that people were ingesting freshwater aquatic plants, including lilies and pondweed. We also found an example of people consuming sea kale.

How are we sure people ate seaweed?

We identified several types of molecules in the dental calculus that collectively are characteristic of seaweed. We refer to these as “biomarkers”. They include a set of chemical compounds called alkylpyrroles. When we detect these compounds together in calculus, we can be fairly sure where they came from. The same goes for other compounds characteristic of seaweed and freshwater plants. To have become embedded in dental calculus, the seaweed and freshwater plants had to have been in the mouth and most probably chewed. Biomarkers do not survive in all our samples, but where they do, they’re found consistently across many individuals we analysed from different places. This suggests seaweed was probably a routine part of the diet.

Perceptions of seaweed

Today, seaweed is often seen as the scourge of beaches. It accumulates at the high-water mark where it can create a slippery and sometimes smelly barrier to the sea. But it is a wondrous world of its own. There are over 10,000 species of seaweed worldwide living in the intertidal zone (where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides) and the subtidal zone (a region below the intertidal zone that is continuously covered by water). Around 145 of these species are eaten today and in parts of Asia it is commonplace. Seaweed is edible, nutritious, sometimes medicinal, abundant and local. Although overconsumption can cause iodine toxicity, there are no poisonous intertidal species in Europe. It is also available all year round, which would have been particularly useful in the past, when food supplies were less reliable.

Reconstructing ancient diets

Reconstructing ancient diets is challenging and is generally more difficult as you go back in time. This helps explain why we’ve only just realised how much seaweed was being eaten by ancient Europeans. In archaeology, evidence for ancient diets often comes from physical remains: animal bones, fish bones and the hard parts of shellfish. Evidence for plants as part of the diet before farming, however, is rare. Techniques to study molecules from archaeological remains have been around for some time. A key method is known as carbon/nitrogen (C and N) stable isotope analysis. This is widely used to reconstruct ancient human and animal diets based on the relative proportions of these elements in bone collagen. But the presence of plants has been difficult to identify, due to their low nitrogen content. Their presence is masked by an overwhelming signal for animals and fish.

Hiding in plain sight

The evidence for seaweed had been present all along, but unrecognised. Our discovery provides a perfect example of how perceptions of what we regard as food influence interpretations of ancient practices. Seaweed was detected in chunks that had been chewed (and presumably spat out) at the 12,000-year-old site of Monte Verde, Chile. But when it is found at archaeological sites, it is more commonly interpreted as having been used for things other than food, such as fuel and food wrappings. In European archaeology, there is a longstanding perception that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers ate lots of seafood, but that when people started farming, they focused on food sourced from land, such as their livestock. Our findings hammer another nail into the coffin of this theory. Today, only a few traditional recipes remain, such as laverbread made from the seaweed species Porphyra umbilicalis in Wales. It’s still not clear why seaweed declined as a staple source of food in Europe after the Middle Ages.

What are the implications?

Our unexpected discovery changes the way we understand past people. It also alters our perceptions of how they understood the landscape and how they exploited local resources. It suggests, not for the first time, that we vastly underestimate ancient people. They had a knowledge, particularly about the natural world, that is difficult for us to imagine today. The finding also reminds us that archaeological remains are minute windows into the past, reinforcing the care required when developing theories based on limited evidence. The consumption of plants, upon which our world depends, has been habitually left out of dietary theories from our pre-agrarian past. Rigid theories have sometimes forgotten that humans were behind these archaeological cultures – and that they were probably similar to us in their curiosity and needs. Today seaweed sits, largely unused as food, on our doorstep. Making the edible species a bigger component of our diets could even contribute to making our food supplies more sustainable. The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Read More

Continue Reading


EUR/AUD bearish breakdown supported by additional China fiscal stimulus and AU inflation

Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent…



  • Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent bearish sentiment loop in EUR/AUD.
  • Watch the key short-term resistance at 1.6700 for EUR/AUD.
  • A break below 1.6250 key medium-term support on the EUR/AUD may trigger a multi-week bearish impulsive down move.

The Euro (EUR) tumbled overnight throughout the US session as it erased its prior gains against the US dollar recorded on Monday, 23 October; the EUR/USD shed -104 pips from yesterday’s intraday high of 1.0695 to close the US session at 1.0591, its weakest performance in the past seven sessions.

Yesterday’s resurgence of the USD dollar strength has been attributed to a robust set of October flash manufacturing and services PMI data from the US in contrast with weak readings seen in the UK and Eurozone that represented stagflation risks.

Interestingly, the Aussie dollar (AUD) has outperformed the US dollar where the AUD/USD managed to squeeze out a minor daily gain of 21 pips by the close of yesterday’s US session. The resilient movement of the AUD/USD has been impacted by positive news flow out from China, Australia’s key trading partner.

China’s national legislature has just approved a budgetary plan to raise the fiscal deficit ratio for 2023 to around 3.8% of its GDP which was above the initial 3% set in March and set to issue additional sovereign debt worth 1 trillion yuan in Q4. This latest round of additional fiscal stimulus suggests that China’s top policymakers are expanding their initial targeted measures to address the ongoing severe liquidity crunch in the domestic property market as well as to reverse the persistent weak sentiment inherent in the stock market.

In addition, the latest set of Australia’s inflation data surpassed expectations has also reinforced another layer of positive feedback loop in the Aussie dollar which in turn may put Australia’s central bank, RBA on a “hawkish guard” against cutting its policy cash rate too soon.

The less lagging monthly CPI Indicator has risen to an annualized rate of 5.6% in September, above consensus estimates of 5.4%, and surpassed August’s reading of 5.2% which has translated into a second consecutive month of uptick in inflationary growth.

In the lens of technical analysis, a potential bearish configuration setup has emerged in the EUR/AUD cross pair from a short to medium-term perspective.

Major uptrend phase of EUR/AUD is weakening


Fig 1: EUR/AUD medium-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

Even though the price actions of the EUR/AUD have been oscillating within a major ascending channel since its 25 August 2023 low of 1.4285 and traded above the key 200-day moving average so far, the momentum of this up movement is showing signs of bullish exhaustion.

Yesterday (24 October) price action ended with a daily bearish reversal “Marubozu” candlestick coupled with the daily RSI momentum indicator that retreated right at a significant parallel resistance in place since March 2023 at the 65 level which suggests a revival of medium-term bearish momentum.

EUR/AUD bears are now attacking the minor ascending support

Fig 2: EUR/AUD minor short-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

The EUR/AUD has now staged a bearish price action follow-through via the breakdown of its minor ascending support from its 29 September 2023 low after a momentum bearish breakdown that was flashed earlier yesterday (24 October) during the European session as seen from the 4-hour RSI momentum indicator.

Watch the 1.6700 key short-term pivotal resistance (also the 50-day moving average) for a further potential slide toward the intermediate supports of 1.6460 and 1.6320 in the first step.

On the other hand, a clearance above 1.6700 invalidates the bearish tone to see the next intermediate resistance coming in at 1.6890.

Read More

Continue Reading