Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do not struggle

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Ignore Exit Polls

Posted by Randy Barnett:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_11_02-2008_11_08.shtml#1225814335


   From [1]FiveThirtyEight:

     1. Exit polls have a much larger intrinsic margin for error than
     regular polls. This is because of what are known as cluster
     sampling techniques. Exit polls are not conducted at all precincts,
     but only at some fraction thereof. Although these precincts are
     selected at random and are supposed to be reflective of their
     states as a whole, this introduces another opportunity for error to
     occur (say, for instance, that a particular precinct has been
     canvassed especially heavily by one of the campaigns). This makes
     the margins for error somewhere between 50-90% higher than they
     would be for comparable telephone surveys.
     2. Exit polls have consistently overstated the Democratic share of
     the vote. Many of you will recall this happening in 2004, when
     leaked exit polls suggested that John Kerry would have a much
     better day than he actually had. But this phenomenon was hardly
     unique to 2004. In 2000, for instance, exit polls had Al Gore
     winning states like Alabama and Georgia (!). If you go back and
     watch The War Room, you'll find George Stephanopolous and James
     Carville gloating over exit polls showing Bill Clinton winning
     states like Indiana and Texas, which of course he did not win.
     3. Exit polls were particularly bad in this year's primaries. They
     overstated Barack Obama's performance by an average of about 7
     points.
     4. Exit polls challenge the definition of a random sample. Although
     the exit polls have theoretically established procedures to collect
     a random sample -- essentially, having the interviewer approach
     every nth person who leaves the polling place -- in practice this
     is hard to execute at a busy polling place, particularly when the
     pollster may be standing many yards away from the polling place
     itself because of electioneering laws.
     5. Democrats may be more likely to participate in exit polls.
     Related to items #1 and #4 above, Scott Rasmussen has found that
     Democrats supporters are more likely to agree to participate in
     exit polls, probably because they are more enthusiastic about this
     election.
     6. Exit polls may have problems calibrating results from early
     voting. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, exit polls will
     attempt account for people who voted before election day in most
     (although not all) states by means of a random telephone sample of
     such voters. However, this requires the polling firms to guess at
     the ratio of early voters to regular ones, and sometimes they do
     not guess correctly. In Florida in 2000, for instance, there was a
     significant underestimation of the absentee vote, which that year
     was a substantially Republican vote, leading to an overestimation
     of Al Gore's share of the vote, and contributing to the infamous
     miscall of the state.
     7. Exit polls may also miss late voters. By "late" voters I mean
     persons who come to their polling place in the last couple of hours
     of the day, after the exit polls are out of the field. Although
     there is no clear consensus about which types of voters tend to
     vote later rather than earlier, this adds another way in which the
     sample may be nonrandom, particularly in precincts with long lines
     or extended voting hours.
     8. "Leaked" exit poll results may not be the genuine article.
     Sometimes, sources like Matt Drudge and Jim Geraghty have gotten
     their hands on the actual exit polls collected by the network
     pools. At other times, they may be reporting data from "first-wave"
     exit polls, which contain extremely small sample sizes and are not
     calibrated for their demographics. And at other places on the
     Internet (though likely not from Gergahty and Drudge, who actually
     have reasonably good track records), you may see numbers that are
     completely fabricated.
     9. A high-turnout election may make demographic weighting
     difficult. Just as regular, telephone polls are having difficulty
     this cycle estimating turnout demographics -- will younger voters
     and minorities show up in greater numbers? -- the same challenges
     await exit pollsters. Remember, an exit poll is not a definitive
     record of what happened at the polling place; it is at best a
     random sampling.
     10. You'll know the actual results soon enough anyway. Have
     patience, my friends, and consider yourselves lucky: in France, it
     is illegal to conduct a poll of any kind within 48 hours of the
     election. But exit polls are really more trouble than they're
     worth, at least as a predictive tool. An independent panel created
     by CNN in the wake of the Florida disaster in 2000 recommended that
     the network completely ignore exit polls when calling particular
     states. I suggest that you do the same.

References

   1. http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/ten-reasons-why-you-should-ignore-exit.html
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comparing the candidates

 and
  1. Biographical Information
    Age: 53
    Family: Cynthia is the daughter of veteran Georgia State Representative Billy McKinney and Leola McKinney, a nurse of forty years at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Cynthia McKinney is the proud mother of Coy.
    Endorsements: California Peace and Freedom Party, Ecology Party of Florida, Oregon Peace Party, Independent Party of Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, and New Mexico, and the Michigan Natural Law Party.
  2. In light of escalating home foreclosures, a credit crunch and a possible recession, what role, if any, should the federal government play in strengthening the nation's economy?
    Cynthia McKinney: Now that the Federal Reserve has become the lender of last resort, this means that the people are becoming the owners of the primary instruments of U.S. capital and finance. This means that we the people should have a say in how these instruments are to be used and what their priorities ought to be.

    Here are a few things that we can do to address this crisis:

    1. enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;

    2. elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;

    3. establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;

    4. establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;

    5. redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;

    6. full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;

    7. recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;

    8. full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;

    9. close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners;

    10. fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas, repeal NAFTA.
    Ralph Nader: Nader/Gonzalez has a 10-point plan to cool off the financial markets meltdown: 1. No bailouts without conditions and reciprocity in the form of stock warrants. 2. No more lobbying for any company that is bailed out. 3. No golden parachutes and get out of jail free cards for guilty executives. 4. No bailouts without public hearings. 5. Reduce the moral hazard in U.S. mortgage markets by introducing covered bonds for the majority of mortgage products as they do in Western Europe. That gives institutions that finance mortgages an incentive to be prudent, because they cannot just unload them and wipe their hands clean of the liability, but are instead on the hook if the homeowner defaults. 6. Maintain neighborhood stability and housing security by passing a law with a sunset clause allowing below median-value homeowners facing foreclosure the right to rent-to-own their homes at fair market value rates. 7. Avoid future housing bubbles by removing implicit government guarantees for new mortgages that exceed thresholds of greater than 15-20 times the annual fair market rent value of the home. 8. Make the Federal Reserve a Cabinet Position, so it is accountable to Congress, as well as making sure all Federal Reserve Bank presidents are appointed by the President and answerable to congress. 9. Reduce conflicts of interest by taking away power for auditor and rating agency selection from companies and placing it in the hands of the SEC to be administered on random assignment. 10. Implement a securities speculation tax, starting with derivatives to deter casino-style capitalism.
  3. How do you see the role America plays in the middle east changing during the next two years? How do you see it changing further in the future?
    Cynthia McKinney: Our role will only change once our approach changes. Every day the US tries to meddle in the middle east is a day that things get worse. The first thing to do is remove all American military bases from the area. Any financial aid we offer to the area should be promulgated on the basis of need and creativity, in other words funding programs that truly change the lives of the poor, and help economies by healing ecosystems. Policy focused on Israel and Palestine should be directed towards nonviolence. Nonviolence by American personnel, nonviolence in our trade with and aid to the area. When we stop funding wars and warriors we shall be able to have a much more constructive communication with the people of the middle east.
    Ralph Nader: Nader/Gonzalez would reverse the current policy in the Middle East. The current political strategy of pre-emptive war in the Middle East is a disaster for both the American people and the people of the Middle East. It has bloated the already wasteful military budget and has cost at present over 4,000 American lives, nearly 100,000 American injuries, and over a million Iraqi civilian lives, plus the destruction of their country.

    Nader/Gonzalez propose a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq. A target of withdrawing troops in six months will be set. Fifty-eight percent of Americans want troops withdrawn from Iraq and a January 2006 poll shows that 72 percent of American soldiers in the field in Iraq wanted the U.S. out of Iraq within six to twelve months.

    The war is costing taxpayers nearly $4,600 every second -- and that doesn't include the long-term reconstruction costs. Nader/Gonzalez proposes that a rapid negotiated withdrawal from Iraq, with UN sponsored elections, is the first step toward delivering peace to Middle East.

    On Israel/Palestine, a recent Haaretz poll showed that 64 percent of Israeli people want negotiations for peace between Israel and Hamas, while only 28% oppose it.

    The Israeli people want peace. The Palestinian people want peace. And of course, the majority of the American Jewish community want peace.

    Nader/Gonzalez will continue to speak out about this humanitarian crisis and side with the strong and courageous Israeli/Palestinian peace movements who are working for a peaceful two-state solution.
  4. What are your strategies to address the dual challenges of rising costs and decreasing access to quality healthcare?
    Cynthia McKinney: I support a universal, single-payer "Medicare for all" health-care system in the United States. Even though we spend more than twice as much per capita on health care than most industrialized nations, we are 37th in the world in health care, 18,000 Americans die every year from lack of access to health care, and about half of all bankruptcies are partly due to medical costs. The only thing that will get us out of this high priced mess we call the health care industry is a truly national single payer system without insurance company interference in its operations. In addition to lining the pockets of insurance companies, all levels of government in the US use the health care system as a tool of economic development in the community. There is a fundamental contradiction between using health care as a vehicle for economic growth and providing health care for all. A single payer system will lead to dramatic improvements in community health, saving even more money in the long term.
    Ralph Nader: We need a private delivery, free choice of hospital and doctor, public health insurance system. The United States spends $7,129 per capita on health care—more than twice as much per capita as the rest of the industrialized world. And yet, the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality.

    While other industrialized nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, the United States leaves 47 million completely uninsured and tens of millions more inadequately covered. An Institute of Medicine report states 18,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, and inability to pay for medical bills is the leading cause of bankruptcies – they currently contribute to about half the bankruptcies in the United States.

    In our current system, there are thousands of different payers of health care fees. This system is a bureaucratic nightmare, wasting $350 billion—close to a third of all health care spending on things that have nothing to do with care—overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments, huge profits and exorbitant executive pay.

    In addition, there is over $200 billion in computerized billing fraud and abuse. A single payer system would save that $350 billion and apply those savings to comprehensively cover everyone without paying more than we already do.
  5. How do you propose to keep Americans safe both at home and abroad?
    Cynthia McKinney: The best way for the U.S. to become a safe place is to practice nonviolence. I support a peaceful foreign policy based on human rights. This includes complete withdrawal of U.S. forces and bases worldwide; an end to U.S. military intervention, and an end to U.S. military sales, on the basis of Green values and principles. To stop practicing empire and military occupation, to stop selling weapons, building nukes, studying war and turning much of our economy towards it. When we stop acting the bully and occupying other people's countries or demanding that their economy allow Coca Cola or United Fruit to dictate the rules, and using the marines to back that up, then people will quit wishing us harm. We can only feel safe if our neighbors feel safe.
    Ralph Nader: The best way to keep Americans safe at home and abroad is to work on repairing our tarnished international image. We would do this by halting our unilateral, interventionist actions, and working with the global community toward common goals on things like climate change, instead of being adversarial. In doing so, we could reduce our military budget and increase our humanitarian spending. Work to decrease worldwide poverty with fair trade, not free trade. People who are happy, healthy, and secure are less likely to take up arms against other nations. People who feel as if they are treated justly are unlikely to harm others. Further, if we increase international beneficial affairs, other nations will not be rooting for our downfall. We need to realize that we all share one world. We're in this together.
  6. Americans are concerned about rising energy prices, dependence on foreign energy and the potential damage of fossil fuels. How would you prioritize those concerns and what, if any, are your strategies to address them?
    Cynthia McKinney: I am calling for a "New Deal"-scale program for sustainable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation, to eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels and combat global warming. My policy is to "leave the oil in the soil", with the goal to be carbon-free and nuclear-free. This is not only necessary for life on the planet; it is also essential for economic recovery and health. The promotion of solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy will create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing, construction and service jobs, sited in under-served communities. U.S. policy in the area of energy/foreign relations has been focused on maintaining access to oil for U.S. consumers, but even more access for U.S. mega corporations who drill for it. We must stop the use of military force to control oil markets and supplies, and direct our focus towards clean fuels and relocalized economies that take much better care of their communities.
    Ralph Nader: We urge a new clean energy policy that no longer subsidizes entrenched oil, nuclear, electric and coal mining interests -- an energy policy that is efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly. We need to invest in a diversified energy policy including renewable energy like wind and other forms of solar power, more efficient automobiles, homes and businesses one that breaks our addiction to oil, coal and atomic power. A new clean energy paradigm means more jobs, more efficiency, greater security, environmental protection and increased health.

    Ralph Nader praises the Apollo Alliance's "Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence," an overdue agenda for the country's energy future, as a welcome contrast to the shortsighted policies of the Bush Administration. By increasing the diversity of the United States' energy portfolio, aggressively investing in the industries of tomorrow, facilitating the construction and retrofitting of high performance buildings, and working in cooperation with public servants at the state and local level to rehabilitate our urban infrastructures, the Apollo Project promises to revitalize the engine of the American economy. As the Alliance illustrates in its report, New Energy for America, the Apollo Project's design articulates a new paradigm for setting America's energy woes aright and serves up an authoritative refutation to the irresponsible policies of the entrenched fossil fuel and nuclear energy lobbies.
  7. Is America's educational system working? If not, what should the federal government do to improve it?
    Cynthia McKinney: By eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy and obscene spending on militarism, war and prisons, we can afford to invest in quality education for all. I would use this money to decrease class sizes, modernize schools, and bridge the digital divide. I do not support using vouchers for parochial or private schools, but I do support federal funding for charter schools, if they are accountable to the public. I would maintain Title IX so that girls and women have equal access to participation in sports. I support free higher education for all, so no student leaves college saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
    Ralph Nader: Education is primarily the responsibility of state and local governments. The federal government has a critical supporting role to play in ensuring that all children -- irrespective of the income of their parents, or their race -- are provided with rich learning environments, equal educational opportunities, and upgraded and repaired school buildings.

    The government has an important role to play in keeping undermining influences out of the public schools -- among them, commercialism and private school voucher programs. The federal government must not impose an overemphasis on high-stakes standardized tests. Such testing has a negative impact on student learning, curriculum, and teaching, by resulting in excessive time devoted to narrow test participation, de-enrichment of the curriculum, false accountability, equity and cultural bias, and excessive use of financial resources for testing, among other problems. Federal law should be transformed to one that supports teachers and students -- from one that relies primarily on standardized tests and punishment. The government should encourage schools to infuse their curriculum with civic experiences that teaches students both how to connect classroom learning to the outside world and how to practice democracy.

    Empower students with the knowledge and tools needed to become a major reservoir of future democracy. Help people to grow up civic instead of corporate.
  8. Some economists say a growing national debt and massive looming financial commitments to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are leading us toward a fiscal crisis. Do you agree there is a crisis and, if so, what will you do to assure greater fiscal responsibility?
    Cynthia McKinney: The recent bailout proposal has shown that our elected officials have no problems locating money when they determine something is a priority. We have the opportunity to head off a crisis but we must take action now, I support closing all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners. I also support single-payer universal health care that would save on administrative costs that currently amount to over 30% of health care costs, and by negotiating the price of prescription medications.
    Ralph Nader: The United States needs a redirected federal budget that adequately funds crucial priorities like infrastructure, transit and other public works, schools, clinics, libraries, forests, parks, sustainable energy and pollution controls. The budget should move away from the deeply documented and criticized (by the US General Accounting Office, retired Admirals and Generals and others) wasteful, redundant "military industrial complex" as President Eisenhower called it, as well as corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy that expand the divide between the luxuries of the rich and the necessities of the poor and middle class.

    Half of the operating costs of the U.S. federal budget is spent on the military. The federal budget should move away from the wasteful, redundant "military industrial complex." Wasteful spending on expensive military equipment and post World War II deployments that we do not need makes the U.S. less secure in many other neglected ways.

  9. Do you believe the federal government has a role in protecting the environment? If so, what are your policy priorities?
    Cynthia McKinney: I believe the federal government has an important role in this respect. The first priority has to be to free the EPA and other government agencies from corporate influence so that they can do their jobs. Key areas that need more work include global warming, clean water, clean air, forest protection, soil erosion, and toxic chemicals in the environment. We need air, land, water, climate, production and consumption policies that reflect the real limits within which we must live. We need an entirely new paradigm that encourages us to produce green, local, and fairly. Most importantly, we need true, representative government that serves the needs of the people over that of corporations so that these policies can become law.
    Ralph Nader: The epidemic of silent environmental violence continues. Whether it is the 65,000 Americans who die every year from air pollution, or the 80,000 estimated annual fatalities from hospital malpractice, or the 100,000 Americans whose demise comes from occupational toxic exposures, or the cruel environmental racism where the poor and their often asthmatic children live in pollution sinks located near toxic hot spots (that are never situated in shrubbered suburbs), preventable, harmful, situations abound.

    Now, as the evidence of global warming mounts, it is evident that we threaten the global environment with tremendous economic threats facing humanity, including bankrupting the reinsurance industry, the spread of infectious tropical diseases, massive ecological disruption and increased severe and unpredictable weather, all of which will significantly impact commerce, agriculture, and communities across America. Toxic standards need to be strengthened. Currently toxic standards are designed for adults, not for more vulnerable children. This should be reversed. We need to make environmental protection a priority for our energy, trade, industrial, agricultural, transportation, development, and land use policies. Indeed, protecting the environment must be weaved throughout our governance.
  10. How do you propose to reform our immigration policy in Washington?
    Cynthia McKinney: Some of the immigration policies I support:

    --Support immigration policies that promote fairness, non-discrimination and family reunification

    --Tear down the U.S.-Mexican border wall, to stop funneling immigrants through hostile terrain

    --Renegotiate international trade agreements such as CAFTA and NAFTA and the WTO; the policies of the IMF, World Bank and other international banking institutions

    --Cover immigrant workers by state and federal wage, tax and labor laws as well as worker's compensation, disability and unemployment insurance benefits

    --Provide medical care, education, housing and other services
    Ralph Nader: Illegal immigration is not caused by attraction of higher wages alone- otherwise much of India and China would have emptied into the United States. It is primarily caused by the inability of people to continue to live decently in their home countries. Were there a living wage, then many of the 15 million unemployed, underemployed, and those who have given up looking for employment would be willing to take the jobs that are now often only taken by immigrants. There are two ways to deal with these issues. First, raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

    Second, enforce existing laws against employers. It is hard to blame desperately poor people who want to feed their families and are willing to work hard to do so. Enforcement is nearly non-existent – it has become a conscious policy to ignore both the labor and immigration laws by successive Republican and Democratic Administrations, including not enforcing laws against cruel sweatshops in the United States. Such is the power of employers. Immigrant workers, even if undocumented, should be given the fair-labor standards, rights, and protections of American workers. Amnesty, however, is a very difficult issue because it gives encouragement to cross the border illegally. How do we then prevent the next wave and the next? We should, however, give workers and children equal rights – they are working, having their taxes withheld, and performing a valuable service for their employers and customers - although here illegally. No humane alternatives exist, only exploitation, poverty, and disease.
  11. Do you believe abortion should be limited? If so, to what degree?
    Cynthia McKinney: I support full reproductive rights for women -- for legal rights and safe access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal/infant care; family planning services and contraception, including "morning after" medication; and abortion

    Ralph Nader: Reproductive rights are issues of life and death for women, not mere matters of choice. We support the NOW platform: access to safe and legal abortion, to effective birth control, to reproductive health and education. We oppose attempts to restrict these rights through legislation, regulation (like the gag rule) or Constitutional amendment. We support the right of women to have children, including appropriate pre-natal care and quality child care. We oppose government efforts to limit or discourage childbearing, such as family caps and involuntary sterilization. Women, like all citizens, have the right to control their own bodies and futures.
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Quotes

"The Republican brand is in the trash can. If we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."
-- Rep. Tom Davis III (R-VA).
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0805/16/ec.01.html
 
"There is one law that not even a king can escape: the law of retribution."
-- From the 1939 film of Alexandre Dumas' "The Man in the Iron Mask."
 
"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."
-- Mark Twain
 
"I think -- I'll have my staff get [back] to you."
-- John McCain to a reporter when asked how many homes he owned, as quoted by Politico.com. (Reportedly, the McCain's have at least seven or as many as ten luxurious homes -- or more.) http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12685.html
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/95916/poor_little_rich_man%3A_mccain_can%27t_remember_how_many_mansions_he_has/
 
"When John Edwards was running for president, and the media were obsessing about his wealth, they linked his fortune to his policy positions. Surely John McCain -- who can't remember how many houses he owns, 'jokes' that you aren't rich unless you make $5 million a year, and supports tax policies that would save him and his wife, Cindy, nearly $400,000 a year -- should be held to the same standard?"
-- Jamison Foser, Media Matters, Aug. 22, 2008.
http://mediamatters.org/items/200808220017
 
"Fortune does not change men, it unmasks them."
-- Suzanne Necker
 
"I have spent much of my life choosing my own attitude, often carelessly, often for no better reason than to indulge a conceit."
-- John McCain, from his book "Faith of My Fathers."
 
"I wish I was as certain about anything, as he is about everything."
-- Author Unknown
 
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
-- William Arthur Ward
 
"I'm as healthy as the economy."
-- John McCain, April 6, 2008.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathaniel-bach/john-mccain-goes-for-a-ph_b_95351.html
 
"Health is not simply the absence of sickness."
-- Hannah Green
 
"I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."
-- John McCain, from a primary debate in October 2007.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/12/mccain-last-year-mayors-a_n_125944.html
 
"But, Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual, and somebody's big fat resume that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment ..."
-- Sarah Palin, in an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, apparently talking about her running mate, John McCain.
http://www.commondreams.org/print/32302
 
"Truly, Palin is that most dangerous of self-aggrandizing right-wing politico, a potentially very powerful woman full of moxie and nerve and intensely intolerant, extremist views who actually hates women. Really, you can't get much more Republican than that."
-- Mark Morford, "Evil: It's the New Good!" San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 10, 2008.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/09/10/notes091008.DTL
 
"I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it."
-- Edith Sitwell
 
"Give the old feller credit, though. He found a high-profile Alaskan Republican who doesn't have a standing weekly appointment with the FBI."
-- Charles Pierce, Altercation, Aug. 29, 2008.
http://mediamatters.org/altercation/200808290011#2

"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. ... And I won't be buried under their damn flag."
-- Joe Vogler, founder of the Alaska Independence Party. Sarah Palin's husband Todd was a card-carrying member from 1995 to 2002, and Sarah herself addressed AIP conventions in 2006 and 2008. AIP is an extremist group that calls for Alaska to secede from the United States. http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/303695
 
"There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is 'a task from God.' The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme."
-- Joe Klein, "Angry Amateur, Time.com, Sept. 3, 2008. http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/09/angry_amateurs.html
 
"[The media will talk about] whatever the McCain campaign wants us to talk about, because the McCain campaign is assertive."
-- Joe Scarborough, MSNBC's Morning Joe, Sept. 10, 2008.
http://mediamatters.org/items/200809100018
 
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
-- Mark Twain
 
"Democracy is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs."
-- Sheldon Wolin, from his book, "Democracy Incorporated."
http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/print/20080515_chalmers_johnson_on_our_managed_democracy
 
"It is tedious to tell again tales already plainly told."
-- Homer
 
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
-- Jonathan Swift
 
"You almost never get the pleasure of seeing that you won the argument in real time. People just don't like to publicly change their minds. They change their minds in private."
-- Sam Harris
 
"I've got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first."
-- Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention, 2008.
 
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future."
-- Criswell, "Plan Nine From Outer Space" (1959).
 
"Question authority before the authorities question you."
-- Bumper sticker
 
"Do not adjust your mind, it is reality that is malfunctioning."
-- Robert Anton Wilson
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Are they going to steal the election again, daddy?

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How McCain Could Win

by: Greg Palast, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

photo
Two Obama canvassers prepare their pitch before knocking on registered Republicans' doors in Arvada, Colorado. (Photo: Kevin Moloney / The New York Times)

    It's November 5 and the nation is in shock. Media blame it on the "Bradley effect": Americans supposedly turned into Klansmen inside the voting booth, and Barack Obama turned up with 6 million votes less than calculated from the exit polls. Florida came in for McCain and so did Indiana. Colorado, despite the Democrats' Rocky Mountain high after the Denver convention, stayed surprisingly Red. New Mexico, a state where Anglos are a minority, went McCain by 300 votes, as did Virginia.

    That's the nightmare. Here's the cold reality.

    Swing state Colorado. Before this election, two Republican secretaries of state purged 19.4 percent of the entire voter roll. One in five voters. Pfft!

    Swing state New Mexico. One in nine voters in this year's Democratic caucus found their names missing from the state-provided voter registries. And not just any voters. County by county, the number of voters disappeared was in direct proportion to the nonwhite population. Gore won the state by 366 votes; Kerry lost it by only 5,900. Despite reassurances that all has been fixed for Tuesday, Democrats lost from the list in February told me they're still "disappeared" from the lists this week.

    Swing state Indiana. In this year's primary, ten nuns were turned away from the polls because of the state's new voter ID law. They had drivers' licenses, but being in their 80s and 90s, they'd let their licenses expire. Cute. But what isn't cute is this: 566,000 registered voters in that state don't have the ID required to vote. Most are racial minorities, the very elderly and first-time voters; that is, Obama voters. Twenty-three other states have new, vote-snatching ID requirements.

    Swing state Florida. Despite a lawsuit battle waged by the Brennan Center for Justice, the state's Republican apparatchiks are attempting to block the votes of 85,000 new registrants, forcing them to pass through a new "verification" process. Funny thing: verification applies only to those who signed up in voter drives (mostly black), but not to voters registering at motor vehicle offices (mostly white).

    And so on through swing states controlled by Republican secretaries of state.

http://www.truthout.org/110308A

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Gallup: Obama has highest favorability rating of any presidential candidate in 16 years

by John Byrne

If the final USA Today/Gallup poll is any indication, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has achieved his widest lead in the presidential race to date.

In addition, Obama's favorable rating is 62 percent -- the highest of any presidential candidate tracked in Gallup's final pre-election polls dating back to 1992.

Obama holds an 11 point lead in the final poll of likely voters taken by the polling organization, up one point from the previous day.

Just a day before the polls open, Obama leads Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), 53 to 42 percent in the Gallup poll. The numbers are based on interviews conducted by phone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The group surveyed is based on Gallup's model of those most likely to show up at the polls.

No candidate behind in the Gallup poll at the end of October has ever won the presidency.

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Final_Gallup_poll_gives_Obama_widest_1102.html

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The Deadly Pick-Up

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ELECTION '08

THE PROGRESS REPORT
ELECTION '08
 
by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers

A Country Calling For Change

Across the country today, a record number of Americans are expected to cast ballots to elect the next president of the United States, ending what has been called "one of the most extraordinary presidential elections in this nation's 232-year history." As the nation waits to see who will succeed President Bush, Americans are yearning for a dramatic change in direction. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that "a record 89 percent of Americans now say the country has pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." In a Gallup poll out today, 92 percent of of registered voters agreed with the statement that "the stakes in this presidential election are higher than in previous years." Though they offer two very different visions of where America should go in the next four years, both of the major presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ), argue that they represent the change that America needs. "Change is coming," declares McCain, while Obama talks about "the change we need." As is to be expected, Americans disagree on the exact nature of the change they believe would most benefit the country, but overwhelmingly they are looking for a dramatic departure from President Bush's America. In December 2007, Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff surveyed whether Americans were looking for "small adjustments," "to turn the page," or to start "a brand new book." Respondents preferred "a brand new book" by a margin of 17 percentage points over "turn the page," and 22 percentage points over "small adjustments." Now, that book will begin to be written.

UNDER THE RADAR

POLITICS -- ROMNEY REFUSES TO SAY THAT McCAIN HAS CONDUCTED A 'DIGNIFIED AND HONEST' CAMPAIGN: Yesterday on NBC's Today Show, host Meredith Vieira asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) campaign surrogate Mitt Romney about a new University of Wisconsin analysis that found that more of McCain's ads have been negative than Obama's in the past week. Romney attempted to defend the McCain campaign, but when Vieira asked him -- three times -- whether he thought McCain was running a "dignified" campaign, Romney couldn't agree. "Was it dignified? It was presidential," Romney finally concluded. Last week, Romney wouldn't say whether Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is ready to be president and also yesterday, Romney said McCain's cap and trade plan would "kill jobs" in America and that he would "endeavor to convince" McCain to change his plans.

MEDIA -- CNN HIRES SADDAM-AL QAEDA 'CONNECTION' FABRICATOR: Yesterday, TimeWarner announced that "frequent CNN guest, Stephen F. Hayes, has made it official by signing on with the network as a political contributor." Sam Feist, CNN's political director, said, "As part of the 'Best Political Team on Television,' Steve will help CNN in its commitment to go beyond political spin and present viewers with the most in-depth and bipartisan insights." However, for the last eight years Hayes has done little more than spin for the Bush administration's "war on terror." Hayes was one of the foremost peddlers of the false claim that Saddam Hussein was in league with al Qaeda. Blogger Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Huffington Post that Hayes "has made a career out of pretending Saddam and al Qaeda were in league to attack the United States." Vice President Dick Cheney praised Hayes's work, telling Fox News, "I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections." Hayes also penned a biography of Cheney that columnist Michael Corcoran called "a wet kiss…filled with glowing praise from cover to cover."

 

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Obama's green jobs revolution

Democrat will lead effort to curb world's dependence on oil; Plans to create five million new posts in clean energy projects

By Geoffrey Lean in San Francisco and Leonard Doyle in Washington

Obama has pledged to create five million new 'green collar jobs' if electedBarack Obama is promising a $150bn "Apollo project" to bring jobs and energy security to the US through a new alternative energy economy, if his final push for votes brings victory in the presidential election on Tuesday.

"That's going to be my number one priority when I get into office," Mr Obama has said of his "green recovery" plans. Making his arguments in a radio address yesterday, the Democratic favourite promised: "If you give me your vote on Tuesday, we won't just win this election. Together, we will change this country and change the world."

The election has come during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but he declared: "We'll invest $15bn a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating five million new green jobs that pay well, can't be outsourced and help end our dependence on foreign oil." The appeal of the idea that clean energy could help to kick-start the economy is such that Mr Obama's Republican opponent, John McCain, has also promised "millions" of green jobs if he wins.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obamas-green-jobs-revolution-984631.html

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Friends don't let friends vote for McCain and Palin

If you plan to vote for McCain-Palin, or know someone who is, please read some of these links first:
 
"Across this country this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners..."
-- John McCain, at a campaign rally on Oct. 8, 2008.
 
"I can verify that John [McCain] has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly, that is not the finger I want next to that red button."
-- Phillip Butler, "Why I Will Not Vote For John McCain," Military.com, Aug. 21, 2008.
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,164859_2,00.html
http://www.michaelmoore.com/mustread/index.php?id=1038
[Note: When you go to Military.com they now have a single paragraph of the story up and when you try to load page one it takes you to an error message.]
(Dr. Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. [He was a POW in the 'Hanoi Hilton' with John McCain.] He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.)
 
"McSexist: McCain's War on Women"
By Kate Sheppard, In These Times
Posted on July 24, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/92546/
 
"The corporate media won't say it and the Obama campaign isn't saying it enough, so we're saying it loud and clear: John McCain is a liar. And so is the woman he now shares the Republican ticket with. Yes, Sarah Palin is a liar, too. Together they are responsible for one of the most inaccurate and misleading presidential campaigns, in a business known for inaccuracy and misdirection. But even by the standards of American politics, the McCain-Palin ticket seems to be in a race with itself to set new standards of low."
-- From "McCain and Palin's Top 20 Lies, Myths and Flip-Flops,"
Isaac Fitzgerald and Tana Ganeva, AlterNet, September 12, 2008.
http://www.alternet.org/story/98502/
 
"Media Myths of McCain"
By David Brock and Paul Waldman
Media Matters
http://mediamattersaction.org/freeride/myths/
 
"Track the Lobbyist Money that Bankrolls McCain's Campaign (And His Advisers)"
By Seth Colter Walls
Huffington Post
August 4, 2008
 
"Palin Keeps Lying, and Lying, and ..."
By Eugene Robinson
TruthDig.com
Sept. 16, 2008
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080916_palin_keeps_lying_and_lying_and/
 
"Mad Dog Palin"
By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone
September 27, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/100551/
 
"A Palin Theocracy"
By Marjorie Cohn
Common Dreams
Sept. 11, 2008
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/09/11#comments
http://www.commondreams.org/print/32247
 
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voting machines are easy to fix

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Final Election Prediction State by State

Note: The figure following each state's name indicates its number of electoral votes.
 
First off, let's stipulate that McCain-Palin should carry Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Utah (5), West Virginia (5) and Wyoming (3) for a total of 49 electoral votes.
 
Obama-Biden should win Delaware (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), New Jersey (15), New York (31), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington D.C. (3) for a total of 110 electoral votes.
 
Here's a breakdown of the remaining states:
 
Alabama (9): McCain. In the tank for McPalin, but some Congressional districts could switch to the D column.
 
Alaska (3): McCain, barely. Palin's stomping ground will probably tip to McCain, but GOP Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young will be on the outs.
 
Arizona (10): Obama by a fingertip. Amazingly, Obama is only one point behind on McCain's home turf and surging. A quarter of the state's population are people who have arrived since McCain last ran for office in 2004, and most aren't voting Republican. I'm giving this one to Obama in the upset of the night.
 
Arkansas (6): McCain. It's something in the water down there, which will soon be owned by billionaire T. Boone Pickens, if they aren't careful.
 
California (55): Obama. Gov. Musclehead notwithstanding, this is a state as deep indigo as a new pair of blue jeans; the only question is if Obama wins by more than a 20-point margin. Look for some GOP congress-critters to bite the dust, including David Dreier, Mary Bono and Satan's Apprentice Darrell Issa.
 
Colorado (9): Obama. The home of the USAF Academy and countless right-wing evangelical churches, also features a large contingent of retired celebrities, progressive libs, Rocky Mountain high guys, and Hispanics. The state's been trending cerulean; this year it will go the whole route.
 
Connecticut (7): Obama. Blue as the Atlantic Ocean and Joe Lieberman, should he decide to run again for the US Senate as an Independent, is washed up here.
 
Florida (27): Obama by a couple of points. Watch for substantial gains in the House by the Dems. (And you wondered why GOP Gov. Charlie Crist is backing away from McCain – he's planning on a future in elective politics, and that isn't with the Bush-McCain-Palin wing of the Republican Party.)
 
Georgia (15): Obama in an upset. Also watch for Dem Jim Martin to beat incumbent GOP US Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a close match.
 
Indiana (11): Obama by a hair. Also Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is in trouble over his sale of the state highway system to a foreign firm. Look for Daniels to get his walking papers as this formerly ruby-red state slowly turns blue.
 
Iowa (7): Obama. Herbert Hoover's home state is moving solidly into the blue column. Best indicator? Dem US Sen. Tom Harkin is essentially running unopposed for the first time ever.
 
Kentucky (8): McCain by a hair. GOP US Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell will survive, but just barely. Dems will pick up a couple of House seats.
 
Louisiana (9): Obama. Ever since the devastation of Katrina and Dem Don Cazayoux pulling off an upset victory in the 6th Congressional district -- safely GOP for thirty years -- the state has been trending blue and Dem US Sen. Mary Landrieu looks like a lock for reelection. LA is one of those states that's reshuffling the Old South away from the Republican dominance of the past.
 
Michigan (17): So strongly Obama that the McCain campaign quit the state a month ago, despite the problems of Dem Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Mayor of Detroit.
 
Minnesota (10): Obama. Democrat Al Franken will also win in his race with US Sen. Norm "Bush Man" Coleman by a 2 or 3-point margin. Look for House Dem gains as well, including in McCarthyite fruit-loop Michele Bachmann's district.
 
Mississippi (6): Obama by a hair. Considering the Dems surprise victory in the white 1st District by Travis Childers after one of the nastiest GOP campaigns in memory and the record turnout of black voters, this state will edge blue in this election.
 
Missouri (11): McCain. MO has been trending blue and outgoing GOP Gov. Matt Blunt is mighty unpopular, but I think McCain will edge this one out by a point. The Dems, though, will pick up the governor's office and some House seats.
 
Montana (3): Obama. Populist Dems Gov. Brian Schweitzer and US Sen. Jon Testor are well-liked in MT and Obama will eke out a win here, courtesy of the urban population in and around Billings, Great Falls, Missoula, Helena and Butte. The GOP hasn't even bothered to campaign much here, McCain has failed to impress, and Bush is about as beloved as hoof-and-mouth disease.
 
Nevada (5): Obama, by a larger margin than the polls suggest. The GOP is in disarray here, led by Gov. Jim Gibbons, who has become a dirty-joke punchline, and there's zero enthusiasm for McPalin. Meanwhile, the Obama camp has blanketed the state with volunteers and offices.
 
New Hampshire (4): Solid Obama. 'Republican' is a curse word these days in this former red state, and watch for John Sununu to lose his US Senate seat, as well.
 
New Mexico (5). Obama. This state is also trending blue, and watch for Rep. Heather Wilson to be turned out by the voters after her involvement with retiring US Sen. Pete Domenici in the firing of those 8 Republican federal prosecutors for political reasons. Dem Tom Udall will nab Domenici's vacated Senate berth.
 
North Carolina (15): Obama. 90 percent black turnout and collegiates will put this state in the D column and GOP US Sen. Liddy Dole is a goner. Paint it blue for the near future.
 
North Dakota (3): Obama by a razor's edge. His superior organization and the GOP taking the state for granted are the difference.
 
Ohio (20): Obama. The Buckeye State has been hit hard by Bush's economy and all three of the largest cities, Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, are going blue. Best indication: On the first day of early voting in Columbus, Obamaites were out in force; McCaniacs nowhere to be seen. The state is in Dem control in a switch from 2004, and 'Republican' is a synonym for corruption there these days.
 
Oregon (7): Obama. Not only is this state becoming reliably blue, but watch for GOP US Sen. Gordon Smith to crash and burn as well.
 
Pennsylvania (21): Obama. It's been blue and it's staying blue. Closing polls show Obama up by 10 percent and the state government is in Dem control. Dem Rep. Jack Murtha will survive by a narrow margin.
 
Texas (34): McCain, but by a margin that will make Republican knees go weak. US Sen. John Cornyn will pull out a squeaker, but he'll feel the hot breath of change down his neck, too. Dem Nick Lampson will hold onto Tom DeLay's old seat and there will be other Election Night surprises for the GOP as well.
 
Virginia (13): Obama. In the past couple of election cycles, VA has elected Dem Jim Webb to the US Senate and Dem Gov. Tim Kaine. Popular ex-Gov. Mark Warner is a shoo-in for retiring Republican John Warner's Senate seat, and the GOP and McCain's campaign are in disarray in this state.
 
Washington (11): Obama in a walk. Also look for Dem Gov. Christine Gregoire to drub GOP challenger Dino Rossi in a surprise rout.
 
Wisconsin (10): Obama. The GOP has fallen to pieces in WI and Dems will also win any office worth winning.
 
The biggest difference in this election is that 80 percent of Obama-Biden supporters are enthusiastic to vote for their choice; 60 percent of McCain-Palin voters are not, which means many may not even bother going to the polls.
 
Averaging out the national polls, it looks like Obama-Biden will win by 7 percent of the popular vote and 410 to 128 in the electoral vote.
 
Of course, this will only happen if all of Obama's voters turn out to vote on November 4th.

Copyright 2008 R.S. Janes
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A Vote For My Husband Is A Vote For Me Not Breaking Your Fucking Neck

By Cindy McCain

Cindy McCainNormally, I don't get out front and center like this in the media, preferring instead to support my husband from the sidelines and let the pundits do the talking. But as Election Day draws ever nearer, I'd like to take this time to urge all of you to put "Country First" and cast your vote for my husband, John McCain! Because a vote for John McCain is not just a vote for experience, fortitude, and American values, it's also a vote for me, Cindy McCain, not tearing your ribcage open and spilling your steaming viscera into the street.

And that's something all Americans can agree on.

Let's take back Washington and make America great again! Barack Obama has never fought for this great country like John McCain has. That's a fact. So when you're in that election booth, ask yourself, do you want a president who believes in the strength of the American worker, or do you want me to rip off your limbs and use them to beat your skull to a bloody pile of skin and bone fragments? I think the choice is clear.

If you really think that a junior senator with no executive experience is the best person to lead us out of this economic crisis, then by all means vote for Obama. Just hope to God I never find out about it and, say, drive to your house in the dead of night, crawl through your bedroom window, and, in a calculated moment of seething rage, strangle you with my bare goddamn hands.

If you're really, really lucky, I'll just shoot you in the face.

http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/a_vote_for_my_husband_is_a_vote

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To Studs: With Love and Memories

Roger Ebert

by Roger Ebert

 

"Take it easy, but take it." -- Studs Terkel's sign-off on every WFMT radio show.

So there wasn't a World Series in Chicago, and Studs missed the 2008 Presidential election. Other than that, Louis (Studs) Terkel did everything possible in 96 years.

Was he the greatest Chicagoan? I cannot think of another. For me, he represented the joyous, scrappy, liberal, generous, wise-cracking heart of this city. If you met him, he was your friend. That happened to the hundreds and hundreds of people he interviewed for his radio show and 20 best-selling books. He wrote down the oral histories of those of his time who did not have a voice. In conversation he could draw up every single one of their names.

Studs said many times in these last years, "I'm ready to check out." He hadn't been in any hurry until a fall in late August slowed him down. At the time of his 93th birthday, we had dinner with him a few days before he was having a heart bypass. He was looking forward to it.

"The docs say the odds are 4-to-1 in my favor," he said, with the voice of a guy who studied the angles. "At age 93, those are pretty good odds. I'm gonna have a whack at it. Otherwise, I'm Dead Man Walking. If I don't have the operation, how long do I have? Six months, maybe. That's no way to live, waiting to die. I've had 93 years -- tumultuous years. That's a pretty good run."

It was a run during which his great mind never let him down. "This is ironic," he told me. "I'm not the one was has Alzheimer's. It's the country that has Alzheimer's. There was a survey the other day showing that most people think our best president was Reagan. Not Abraham Lincoln. FDR came in 10th. People don't pay attention any more. They don't read the news."

Studs read the news. He sang with Pete Seeger: "I sell the morning papers sir, my name is Jimmy Brown. Everybody knows that I'm the newsboy of the town. You can hear me yellin' Morning Star, runnin' along the street. Got no hat upon my head no shoes upon my feet."

Studs knew jazz inside out, gospel by heart, the blues as he learned them after being raised in the transient hotel run by his mother on Wells St. He wasn't the only man who had a going-away party when he left to fight in World War Two. He might have been the only one to have Billie Holiday sing at his party.

He was never a communist. He was a proud man of the Left. He was blacklisted by McCarthy, and as a result he lost one of the first national sitcoms in TV history. "I was happy to do it," he said. Every single day of his life he wore a red or red-checked shirt and bright red socks. Of course he smoked a cigar. He liked a drink, too, and loved to hang out in newspaper bars and in ethnic neighborhoods with his pals. I never saw him drunk, and believe me, I had plenty of opportunities to.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-ebert/to-studs-with-love-and-me_b_139999.html

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Why hasn't Condi endorsed Obama?

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International version of Stand By Me

The song Stand By Me performed by many artists in different countries. From Bill Moyers Journal on PBS.
 
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Landslide? Upset? What to Watch for on Election Day

 
The  Beat 

posted by John Nichols on 11/04/2008 @ 06:30am

As the longest presidential campaign in American history finally concludes, polls tell us that Americans are hugely invested in the election that will be decided -- they hope -- today. A new Gallup survey suggests that 92 percent of likely voters think this is the most important election in years.

That level of engagement means that, necessarily, we are all looking for indications of how the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain will finish. Here's one:

In the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch where voters traditionally cast their ballots at midnight, which has not supported a Democrat for president in forty years, and which favored George Bush by overwhelming margins in 2000 and 2004, Obama secured a landslide victory.

The Democrat won 15 of 21 Dixville Notch votes.

In another New Hampshire town that casts and counts all its votes before dawn, Obama had 17 votes to 10 for Mr McCain and 2 for renegade Republican Ron Paul.

If the margin holds as the next 100 million or so votes are cast, Obama's victory will not merely be historic. It will be epic in scope.

But for those who may doubt the predictive powers of the Dixville Notchers, here are a dozen indicators to watch for today, tonight and, maybe, tomorrow morning:

1. Figure out where the lines are long. Tens of millions of Americans -- perhaps 25 percent of the total turnout -- have already cast "early" votes. But most ballots will be marked today. And where the largest crowds of voters are lining up to cast them matters. Watch the college towns in battleground states – such as the aptly-named State College, Pennsylvania. Young people did not cast early votes in the numbers that the Obama camp had hoped to see. Will they crowd the polls on election day? Watch traditionally Republican suburbs, especially those with mega-churches, as well. Are the lines as long in these locations as they are at urban polling places? If so, then the McCain camp may, itself, benefit from a universal boost in turnout.

2. Keep a watch for evidence of breakdowns in the process. If people are waiting more than an hour in line, that's a problem, as it makes voting harder for working people – especially young parents. If machines are breaking down, if polling places are opening late, look to see if the courts move quickly to extend voting hours. Are there patterns of intimidation at the polls – aggressive challenging of registrations, questions about residence and citizenship status – and what is being done to address them? Follow reports at the No More Stolen Elections website. If there are going to be contested results, you'll see the crisis developing.

HOT SPOTS to watch: Missouri, where there always seem to be problems in St. Louis, as well as Pennsylvania (especially the Philadelphia area), Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Nevada. These are states that have seen significant patterns of complaint and concern going into Election Day.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/379947/landslide_upset_what_to_watch_for_on_election_day

 

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different quotes

"Today Barack Obama campaigned in Florida and Virginia. And McCain campaigned in two states: panic and desperation." — David Letterman, CBS'"Late Show."
___
"Actually, there is a good chance that we could go to bed tomorrow night and not know who's running the country. Just like it's been for the last eight years." — Jay Leno, NBC's "Tonight Show."
___
"Right now it's a toss up between Barack and Obama." — Jimmy Kimmel on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
___
"This is my first election, not sure what supposed do on Election Eve. Are there traditions? So you hang your `chads' over the fireplace? Leave stuff out for your favorite candidate? Maybe a sandwich for Obama. That is a thin man .... McCain, leave him some food, nice warm mug of creamed corn ... Tasty. And you don't need to chew." — Craig Ferguson, CBS'"Late Late Show."
___
"Who are the real winners in this election? Don't ask me. Ask Joe the Plumber's agent." — Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
___
"Congratulations to everybody who ran the New York City Marathon yesterday. Good to have you here. And a special congratulations to this year's winner, Joe the Runner." — Letterman.
___
"The Republican Party has asked President Bush to stay out of sight until after the election. Apparently Bush has agreed to this strategy and is appearing weekly on the NBC series, `Kath and Kim.'" — Conan O'Brien on NBC's "Late Night."
___
"I don't want to say that the Obamas are overly confident, but they've already agreed to let Oprah use their house in Chicago as a place to keep her dogs." — Kimmel.
___
"According to recent news reports, Bill Clinton has now become an adviser to Barack Obama. Bill Clinton is giving advice to Barack Obama. Do you know who is really upset about this? Michelle Obama." — Leno.
___
"My guest, Andrew Sullivan, says conservatives should support Obama. Well, McCain's campaign managers certainly have done their part." — Colbert.
___
"Did you get any of those annoying robo calls? You know, those phone call recorded messages from the candidates. I got them all weekend. I even got one from Ralph Nader's campaign. Turns out it wasn't recorded. It was Ralph calling personally from a pay phone." — Leno.
___
"Sarah Palin is going to celebrate the end of the campaign. She charged one last $1500 blouse to the campaign. So, got that out of the way." — Letterman.
___
"This weekend at a John McCain rally, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that Barack Obama needs to exercise more because his legs are too skinny. Then he said: `Now behold, the awesome physical specimen that is John McCain!'" — O'Brien.
___
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Leaving a legacy: priceless

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