Sunday, October 31, 2004

Packers Win One For Kerry

Packers Win One For Kerry

"Ever since 1936, the last home game before the election has predicted the winner. If the Redskins win, so does the incumbent party in the White House; if not, not. This rule has held good for 17 straight elections."

The Green Bay Packers won for the third straight week Sunday, going on the road to beat the Washington Redskins 28-14...

Ahman Green scored two touchdowns on the ground, scoring on runs of one and 11 yards. He ran for 70 yards on 24 carries and also caught four passes for 73 yards.

Brett Favre completed 20 of 33 throws on the day for 289 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. His nine-yard TD pass to Javon Walker extended his consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 33 games...

Candidates look to makepop-culture connection

Candidates look to makepop-culture connection

It may be, though, that all the pop-culture hoopla in the world isn't going to have much effect without a populist candidate to ride the wave. Riding a Harley-Davidson onto the ''Tonight Show" stage notwithstanding, Kerry may not be the man to do that, given that his persona is more patrician than populist...

Springsteen has been at the forefront of mobilizing rock stars touring the battleground states in support of Kerry. Some of the singers, such as Bonnie Raitt and Keb' Mo', probably have a disproportionate number of Kerry fans to begin with. Others, including John Mellencamp and the Dixie Chicks, have had a more diverse fan base.

Springsteen, a Will Rogers figure if ever there was one, has been trying his best to pass the populism on to Kerry...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The voter suppression drive comes into clear view

The voter suppression drive comes into clear view

"Citing a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, the state Republican Party demanded Saturday that Milwaukee city officials require identification from all of those voters Tuesday.
If the city doesn't, the party says it is prepared to have volunteers challenge each individual - including thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration - at the polls."

Hm. Wondering how many of those are on the North Side?

Remember, it's not just the vote of the challenged voter: it's the delay, it's the people behind the challenged voter in line. It's the Election Dayequivalent of a filbuster.

And you only filibuster when you don't have the votes...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

High Turnout: Advantage Democrats

High Turnout: Advantage Democrats

"Here are two things we can safely say about this election:
1. It will be a high-turnout election.
2. High turnout will benefit the Democrats."

The great demographer Ruy Teixeira looks at the politics of high turnout. Meanwhile, tomorrow, in the most Democratic county in my swing state, we'll hand out our 30,000th early ballot...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004



"No more curse and no doubt about it.

Ridiculed and reviled through decades of defeat, the Red Sox didn't just beat the St. Louis Cardinals, owners of the best record in baseball, they swept them for their first crown since 1918.

Gone was the heartbreak of four Game 7 losses since their last title, a drought - some insist it was a curse - that really began after they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920..."

World Champion Red Sox, 20 wins in a row for the Patriots... NOW all we need is one MORE Boston win. On Tuesday.

The Incredibly Decideds

The Incredibly Decideds

"While the campaigns have been fixated on the undecideds, this election may go down as one that is really about the incredibly decideds. A whole lot of absentee minded people made their choice easily and early.

The number of absentee ballots that have already been sent in is so high that some reports suggest more than 11% of voters have already voted..."

and I swear all of them are here in Johnson County Iowa...

Students Decry Registration Problems

Students Decry Registration Problems

Our standards are better, though not as good as same-day registration:

Reports of college students being discouraged from registering by local officials in a host of college towns are growing more common in the Granite State, where Kerry and President Bush are locked in a tight race. The issue of student eligibility has also been a source of contention in other states, including Virginia, Texas and Maine.

Democrats allege a systematic program of "scare tactics" designed to suppress turnout among one of their key constituencies. Republicans say they will be monitoring out-of-staters at the polls on Nov. 2 to ensure that state election laws designed to prevent voter fraud are enforced.

As timely as you can get

As timely as you can get:

Eminem's new single.

"Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us,
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying
we're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,
How could we allow something like this, Without pumping our fist
Now this is our, final hour
Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify the times it, and multiply it by six
Teen million people are equal of this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Quaida through my speech
Let the President answer on high anarchy
Strap him with AK-47, let him go
Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil
No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes
They've been swiped, washed out and wiped,
And Replaced with his own face, mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you'll know why, because I told you to fight."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Vote Supression Watch

Vote Supression Watch

And of course it took the BBC (!) to run with this story:

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

The hanging chad of 2004

The hanging chad of 2004

One week from this moment, all of you will know the acronym HAVA, which has been hanging over the heads of election offices suspended by fraying threads. One week from this moment, the acromym HAVA will replace "chad" and "Florida" as the punchline to all jokes about screwed up elections.

One week from this moment, everyone will know what I've known for two years:

"Definitions in the federal law are vague, and voter eligibility ultimately turns on an interpretation of state law that may differ from judge to judge. Analysts say that is a recipe for bare-knuckled legal tactics that could swing the election one way or the other in a close race..."

Monday, October 25, 2004

We absolutely HAVE to win this election

We absolutely HAVE to win this election

"Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist has thyroid cancer and has undergone an operation on his trachea in the course of treatment, the Supreme Court announced today..."

What Nina Totenberg was saying between the lines on NPR was: a tracheotomy for thyroid cancer is, in non-medical terms, BAD...

More thoughts on this from someone with more time to write intelligently...

Kerry vs Bush, graphs, close, tied, & overtime likely

Kerry vs Bush, graphs, close, tied, & overtime likely

It's beginning to look like we can count on it coming down to at least 5-10 states not being called on election night, and probably 1-3 states determining the outcome days thereafter (a sytematic study of those 10 states counting and certification of the ballot available anywhere?).

Given it's so close, even if John Kerry by all reasonable accounts looks to be the winner, the Republicans will, at the least, want to tarnish Kerry's victory by creating a sense that it was manufactured, stolen, and what not. So don't expect it to be over 9 days from now, it won't be...

Not again... not again... pity us poor election workers... I need to do laundry sometime before December...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Deja vu all over again?

Deja vu all over again?

I had enough Reagan nostalgia last summer!

President (sic) Bush's campaign, using powerful imagery of prowling wolves, suggests the country under John Kerry would be vulnerable to terrorists in a new television ad that says "weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.''

The ad, reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's "Bear'' ad that was credited with framing the 1984 race...

I've always though Bush Junior combined the worst traits of Reagan and Nixon.

GOP leaves Keyes off its team ad

GOP leaves Keyes off its team ad

Ah, I haven't kicked at Mosh Pit Al lately. With Senator Obama out campaigning for the 2012 or so presidential nomination, it's easy to forget that Keyes still has to be dispensed with.

The glossy promotion, which doubles as an absentee ballot application, is zoned for specific regions in the state and touts "Your 2004 Republican Team." The team roster includes President (sic) Bush, Vice President (sic) Dick Cheney and various congressional and legislative candidates.

But there is no mention of Keyes, whose archconservative views and strident manner have embarrassed many Republicans since he entered the race.

This problem popped up once when I was a staffer. Candidate gets unwanted nomination in no-chance race and becomes an embarrassing albatross. It's messy and it goofs up your straight-ticket pitch. Any answers, however, close the system and can be seen as worse than the original problem...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Red Sox stun Yankees 10-3 to reach World Series

Red Sox stun Yankees 10-3 to reach World Series

"There is no torture this time, no hour of humiliation. Better yet to Boston fans, it's the Yankees left to suffer the memory of a historic collapse..."

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Q. What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War"

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Oh, like I have any time to blog

Oh, like I have any time to blog

Sorry, dear readers, for the relative lack of original content. It's too bad that at the very time I should have lots of interesting things to say, I can barely string two sentences together.

Presidential season is the Super Bowl of my ball game. And like the Super Bowl, it's the one ball game everyone tunes in for, whether they have a clue about football or not. That sounds sort of elitist, I suppose. But my thoughts on the minor arcana of local-style politics are probably less important to a Super Bowl audience ("When they move the yellow stripe it's called a first down and... HEY! What the hell happened to Janet Jackson's top?!?")

John Edwards is in town Thursday - I'm working. To extend the sports analogy, I feel like I'm AT the game - but I have the beer concession for the Cleveland Browns' Dawg Pound, and Drew Carey just ordered a round for the whole end zone. I'm so busy passing out brewskis I can't watch the game or even check the scoreboard...

My analysis of this election stays stuck on a few key points: High new registrations among young voters leading to unusually high turnout among a group that has a Bush = Draft perception. The undecideds breaking against Bush. The collapse of Nader into insignificance. The debates making Kerry seem like a plausible President.

All this looks good for Kerry. But I still think Howard Dean would be ten points ahead...

From the Too Old To Be Cool Department:

The Happy Days theory holds that the nostalgia curve always runs about 20 years back - roughly one generation. This means it has now caught up with me: My daughter just introduced me to "1985" by Bowling For Soup.

I do get SOME cool points for laughing at the song and myself, and for being smart enough to know how to download it.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Conference to analyze legacy of Godzilla

Conference to analyze legacy of Godzilla

The University of Kansas plans to pay homage to the giant lizard later this month, organizing a three-day scholarly conference for the 50th anniversary of his first film.

“I would like people to take Godzilla more seriously,” said Bill Tsutsui, a history professor at the University of Kansas and author of the book “Godzilla on My Mind,” which discusses the history of the monster’s movies...

Jeb Bush Ignored Felon List Advice

Jeb Bush Ignored Felon List Advice

AH, but they have new EQUIPMENT, so all our problems are solved!

The e-mail said state election officials "weren't comfortable with the felon matching program they've got," but added, "The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug, so they're 'going live' with it this weekend."

A software program matched data on felons with voter registration rolls to create the list of 48,000 names. Secretary of State Glenda Hood junked the database in July after acknowledging that 2,500 ex-felons on the list had had their voting rights restored.

Most were Democrats, and many were black. Hispanics, who often vote Republican in Florida, were almost entirely absent from the list due to a technical error.

The key act in The Stealing Of The Presidency 2000 seems set to repeat itself.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

They can't ask me if they can't find me

They can't ask me if they can't find me

Hey, I'm a hidden factor in the polls: the wireless-only voter:

Wireless-only adults are certainly younger than other adults. But beware of concluding that all of the missing respondents are college age. In fact, less than a third (29%) of wireless-only adults are 18-24 - most are either age 25-44 (52%) and many are 45 or older (19%).

We do not have data on the political attitudes of wireless only adults, but their demographic profile suggests a Democratic skew...

In a landslide the missed sample wouldn't matter. But in a squeaker like this...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Poland Has Just Been Liberated

Poland Has Just Been Liberated

Transcript of Presidential Debate, October 13, 2004:

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those ex-a-gger-ations.

Transcript of Bush press conference March 13, 2002:

Q: Mr. President (sic), in your speeches now, you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that?

BUSH: So I don't know where he is. Nor -- you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you...

Q: Do you believe the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead of alive?

BUSH: As I say, we hadn't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, you know, again, I don't know where he is.

I'll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him.

Meanwhile, Kerry pulls off the first ever Tony Soprano reference in presidential debate history. But they both booted the "strong women" question at the end and tried to joke it away...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hundreds of Iowa voter forms rejected

Looks like we're in the papers again:

With time running out, Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett sent letters to 400 voters, telling them their applications were rejected because information they provided could not be verified. He said one way to fix the problem is to register in person, which does not require the same verification according to federal election law.

"These people are very frustrated because they had done what they were required by law to do," Slockett said. "Students feel this is an intentional effort to make it difficult for them to vote. The elderly, some who are handicapped, are angered because they're unable to leave the house. We feel very bad about it."

All this is thanks to HAVE, The Law To Fix All The Florida Problems. So we get a cure that's worse than the disease. And we're just stuck having to follow this law.

Folks, you need to know about this. It's awkward, it's incomvenient, but if you're registering for the first time, wherever you are, the best thing to do is do it in person.

Sky and Telescope - October's Ideal Lunar Eclipse

October's Ideal Lunar Eclipse

We'll miss today's partial solar eclipse here in the midwest, but with good luck and no clouds, we get this in two weeks:

On October 27, 2004, the full Moon will undergo a deep total eclipse lasting for 1 hour 22 minutes, when it will be high in the eastern sky after dark...

time to dust off my telescope.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Hey, isn't this that impeachment jerk?

Hey, isn't this that impeachment jerk?

W seems to be having some trouble keeping his own people on the ranch:

Bush's problem is that true conservatives remember their history. They recall that in recent years when the nation enjoyed the fruits of actual conservative fiscal and security policies, a Democrat occupied the White House and Congress was controlled by a Republican majority that actually fought for a substantive conservative agenda.

History's a troublesome thing for presidents. Even though most voters don't take much of a historical perspective into the voting booth with them, true conservatives do.

Hmmm. Who's the Libertarian candidate again?

The writer? None other than former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, archconservative wingnut of House Impeachment Committee infamy.

(Shameful trivia: the guy was actually born in of all places IOWA CITY - dad was in Army Pre-Flight school back in WWII)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

And you though Kerry and Bush hated each other...

And you though Kerry and Bush hated each other...

A big home run by Ruben Sierra, a clutch 11th-inning hit by Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees are playing the Boston Red Sox for the AL pennant.

The grudges and hostilities of politics are nothing compared to The Curse Of The Babe and Bucky Freakin' Dent...

World's Least Portable Laptop

World's Least Portable Laptop

The slow painful decline of the loyal laptop took another sad step today. A couple months ago the screen crapped out. In order to keep flying I plugged in a monitor. This was OK. I replaced laptopping at noon with bike riding , lost a few spare pounds, gained a few spare minutes of a clear head each day.

Then the left click half of the mouse pad stuck. Plugged in a mouse. This was ergonomically awkward, as I was typing under a half-opened dead laptop screen. I may not have been flying, but at least I was GLIDING through the last weeks of the election and looked like I could at least stay in the air till November 2.

Well, this morning the KEYBOARD died. I was spiraling in. crashing and burning 24 days out...

19.99 for a connecter and I plugged a spare keyboard in.

External monitor. External mouse. External keyboard... I now have either a very small desktop computer or the world's least portable laptop.

Unless you count this one.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Reclusive Amish could be thrown into election battleground

Reclusive Amish could be thrown into election battleground

And the All Important Amish Vote story resurfaces:

Republicans like to think Bush can tap into the sect's conservative values. But the Iraq war has been a sensitive topic for the Amish who are pacifists and conscientious objectors...

Youth Tie Bush, Draft Reinstatement

Youth Tie Bush, Draft Reinstatement

The National Annenberg Election Survey found that 51 percent of adults age 18 to 29 believe Bush wants to reinstate the draft. Eight percent said Kerry supports bring back the draft, and 7 percent said both want to. A fourth of those polled said neither candidate favors the idea..

I look at that number and at the record pace of registration here in my college town, and come up with two words of analysis:

President Kerry.

2004 Poll Watcher

2004 Poll Watcher

Check this out, daily poll updates state by state

Right now it's showing Kerry up 295-243...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Oh, I would SO get fired for this

Oh, I would SO get fired for this

"Earlier today, the AP pushed a story to its affiliates with the headline Bush wins election, Republicans keep House/Senate. The story appeared briefly on the WBAY-TV website before it was taken down..."

Those election returns don't just magically appear, you know. Someone has to MAKE them. And TEST them.

And make sure that while TESTING them they don't RELEASE them...

It's the same thing with the Obituary File that every big news organization has. Those glowing Reagan tributes didn't get written in a day. In fact, I remember them getting leaked once...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

It's one really big tree

It's one really big tree

I've had remarkably little to say about this election, given my front row seat.

What's happened is the old forest for the trees problem. I'm so deep in the woods that all I can see is one tree. And it's a really BIG tree. And it's being chopped down and turned into paper, and all of that paper is flying into our office...

The sheer BASIC-ness of the questions I'm hearing makes me think this year is a big one. The Big Ones bring out the least engaged people, who naturally have the most basic questions. 1996 was dry as toast because no one ever believed Dole had a chance. 2000 wasn't interesting until AFTER Election day. This feels like 1992.

Except in 1992 there was a different vibe. There was the whole Clinton-change thing, the end of the Cold War, and there was the anti-politics thing that Perot represented. It wa smore volatile, less predictable. This thing has been dead-heat standoff (with minor variation) from the day Kerry clinched the nomination, and I STILL think it's going to come down to the kind of turnout-absentee gruntwork we locals do.

Too good to be true?

Too good to be true?

"Word on the Hill is that Tom DeLay is finished. A downfall that couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. He's always struck me as an evil character from a David Lynch movie..."

So what's waiting in the (right) wings? Sad thing is, not much better... Are there even 218 winnable Democratic districts?

Election Day Anti-Terrorism Plans Draw Criticism

Election Day Anti-Terrorism Plans Draw Criticism

"An elevated national threat warning -- and any actions in response -- could scare away voters, intentionally or not, especially in cities, which tend to vote Democratic. Voting rights advocates worry that fear of terrorism could lead to federal agents and local police being posted at polling places, a tactic that has historically been used in some places to intimidate minority citizens. . . "

Will be interesting to see how many random road blocks and knock-and-taks happen in Florida November 2...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Blue State, Gray State

Blue State, Gray State

We know that since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965 that the Republican Party consciously and with malice redrew the Free State/Slave State divide. Lee Atwater bragged about it. Karl Rove's perfected its exploitation...

Hm. So why not just let 'em go?

Friday, October 01, 2004

S.C. H.S. Removes 3 Topics From Debate

SC High School Removes 3 Topics From Debate

Administrators at Fort Mill High School decided to remove gay marriage, abortion and stem cell research from the agenda of a planned student debate out of concern that they might clash with a state law on sex education...