Friday, November 07, 2008
Beats watching TV:
A confused Greek traveller managed to get lost in a tiny local airport in Germany - for a whole week.
Christianos Kaklamanis, 38, who was reported missing in his home country, wandered around Hanover airport in Germany for seven days before a travel agent noticed him and called police.
...Travel agent Sabine Berger who spotted the man said: "I saw him a few times and at first just thought he was flying in and out of the airport a lot.
"But I soon realised that something was wrong and thought I better alert the authorities in case. I couldn't believe it when I found out what had happened to him. I'm just glad he finally got home."
Left: Chief curator Chris Bensch of the Strong National Museum of Play holds the stick that was inducted into the toy hall of fame.
Quick, grab something! We can't find the Slinky!:
The lowly stick, a universal plaything powered by a child's imagination, has landed in the National Toy Hall of Fame along with Baby Doll and the skateboard.
...Curators at the Rochester museum say the stick is a special addition. They praised its all-purpose, all-natural, no-cost qualities and its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed by imaginations into something else.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I tend to look at the progress of acceptance of gay marriage as a 'glass half full': so much has been accomplished over the last generation! Nevertheless, the passage of Proposition 8 causes some real problems, right now, and some heartaches as well. In general, the regulation of whom may, and may not, marry is a state responsibility, and should be resolved here, not by the U.S. Supreme Court:
According to CNN's Kiran Chetry, it seems as though no matter what the outcome of the challenges, the 18,000 existing same-sex marriages will remain intact, because "California's attorney general says that the constitutional amendment is not retroactive."
However, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin told Chetry, "The law is really unclear here. ... Everyone is all over the place. Some [lawyers] said, 'When you look at the language of Proposition 8, it is very clear that it was meant to be retroactive.' ... Another law professor that I spoke to said, 'That is absolutely, fundamentally ridiculous. The bottom line is this is a fundamental right that was given to couples, and this is a right that is not going to be given away.'"
"I think that we're going to see a lot of litigation here," Hostin concluded. "Everyone is in a legal limbo." She suggested that the California Supreme Court, which "allowed these marriages in the first place," will weigh in but that the constitutionality of Proposition 8 may ultimately have to be decided by the US Supreme Court.
Sheldon Adelson, conservative bankroller, and owner of Las Vegas' Venetian Casino and Resort, is heading towards tough sledding:
Las Vegas Sands Corp., billionaire Sheldon Adelson's casino company, fell the most in New York trading since going public after saying it may default on debt and face bankruptcy.
The casino owner, which had $8.8 billion in long-term debt at the end of June, said in a regulatory filing today that it probably won't meet the requirements of loans arranged by Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. unless it cuts spending on developments, boosts earnings at its Las Vegas Strip casinos and raises more capital.
The reversal of fortune is a black eye for the 75-year-old Adelson, who was once America's third-richest man on the strength of his Las Vegas Sands holdings. The Las Vegas-based company's dwindling cash flow is threatening $16 billion worth of developments in Macau, China, and Singapore, where Las Vegas Sands is building resorts to cater to wealthy Asian gamblers.
``They need to raise money,'' said Keith Foley, a New York- based analyst at Moody's Investors Service Inc. ``It's getting to the point where they need to do something now.''
The shares dropped $3.81, or 33 percent, to $7.85 at 4:04 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest decline since its initial share sale in December 2004. Las Vegas Sands had tumbled 91 percent before today this year as investors dumped the stock, worried that falling casino winnings and the global financial meltdown would leave the company without enough cash.
"I'm not a member of an organized political party; I'm a Democrat!":
Just minutes after their party's longstanding losing tradition lay in tatters on the ground, millions of shell-shocked Democrats stared at their television screens in disbelief, asking themselves what went right.
For Democrats, who have become accustomed to their party blowing an election even when it seemed like a sure thing, Tuesday night's results were a bitter pill to swallow.
The head-shaking and finger-pointing over the demise of the Democrats' losing streak, which many of the party faithful had worn like a badge of honor, reached all the way to the upper echelons of the Democratic National Committee.
"Believe me, I'm as shocked by these results as anybody," said DNC chief Howard Dean, who indicated he has received hundreds of calls from incredulous party members. "We did everything in our power to screw this thing up."
Dean pointed to several key elements the Democrats put in place to ensure defeat, ranging from "a rancorous primary campaign" to "the appointment of me."
"Somehow, despite our best efforts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, we won," he said. "I came in here with a mandate to blow this thing and I didn't get it done."
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Best since 1908, or 1960, depending on who is counting:
It looks like 136.6 million Americans will have voted for president this election, based on 88 percent of the country's precincts tallied and projections for absentee ballots, said Michael McDonald of George Mason University. Using his methods, that would give 2008 a 64.1 percent turnout rate.
"That would be the highest turnout rate that we've seen since 1908," which was 65.7 percent, McDonald said early Wednesday. It also would beat the old post World War II high of 63.8 percent in the famed 1960 John F. Kennedy-Richard Nixon squeaker. The 1908 race elected William Howard Taft over William Jennings Bryan.
The total voting in 2008 easily outdistanced 2004's 122.3 million, which had been the highest grand total of voters before.
But another expert disagrees with McDonald's calculations and only puts 2008 as the best in 40 years. Different experts calculate turnout rates in different ways based on whom they consider eligible voters.
Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate at American University and dean of turnout experts, said his early numbers show 2008 to be about equal to or better than 1964, but not higher than 1960. He said it looks like total votes, once absentees are tallied (which could take a day or so), will be "somewhere between 134 and 135 million."
What's most interesting about early results is not just how many people voted but the shifting demographic of American voters, said Stephen Ansolabehere, a political science professor at Harvard and MIT.
Using exit polling data, Ansolabehere determined that whites made up 74 percent of the 2008 electorate. That's down considerably from 81 percent in 2000 because of increase in black and Hispanic voting, he said.
"That's a big shift in terms of demographic composition of the electorate," Ansolabehere said early Wednesday.
Breakdown by party voting also shows that Republican turnout rates are down quite a bit, while Democratic turnout rates are up, Gans said.
Republican states, such as Wyoming and South Dakota, saw turnout drop. "I think they were discouraged," Gans said.
Experts pointed to a weak economy and a lively campaign that promised a history-making result for the high turnout.
North Carolina set a record for its highest turnout rate of eligible voters, because of close presidential, Senate and gubernatorial races, Gans said. Other states where turnout increased were Indiana, Delaware, Virginia and Alabama. The District of Columbia also set a record, he said.
Left: Interesting graphic, also from the New York Times.
So, how are things in the Sooner State?
I watched the returns come in with great satisfaction and relief. There is yet hope for the country. As for Oklahoma, we have sunk further into the mud of extremism and irrelevance with strong Republican victories statewide. Not a single county went for Obama and the overall percentage for McCain was the highest of any state (no kidding, we even topped UTAH!!!). Pretty pathetic....A county-by county bubble map at the New York Times starkly illustrates America's political polarization over the election cycles, starting in 1992.
Left: A stark geographical divide is clear.
Eerily close - almost prescient! In other words, they nailed it:
The final Pollster.com report on the national popular vote showed Obama leading with 52% support. Based on the results that are currently available, Obama won with 52% support.
Indeed, looking over that interactive map that some of us have been obsessing over for quite a while, the polling averages really didn't get any states wrong at all. Arguably, the only state where the numbers were really off base was North Dakota, which turned out to be less competitive than expected, but that's a pretty inconsequential demerit in an otherwise impressive showing.
I'd add, by the way, that the final DailyKos/Research 2000 poll showed Obama leading McCain nationally 51% to 46%, while the final Rasmussen poll showed Obama up 52% to 46%. Both can take a bow not only for having nailed the final result, but also for beating their rivals.
And speaking of polls and impressive showings, how did Nate Silver and fivethirtyeight do? Nate's final projections showed Obama winning with 348 electoral votes and 52.3% of the popular vote. As of this morning's count, Obama has 349 electoral votes and 52% of the popular vote.
Yesterday was very much like a holiday - it was impossible to concentrate on anything.
In the streets, and at the supermarket, the mood was absolutely daft.
Towards evening, I walked into Safeway wearing my lime-green Obama 'Believe' T-Shirt over my button-down collared suede plum long-sleeved shirt - something of a fashion faux pas on legs, but perfectly in keeping with the moment. A 5-year-old African-American girl saw me, turned to her father and said, "Daddy, look, he's wearing an Obama shirt!"
An anxious man in the wine section asked "Do you know anything about wine? I have to get something that goes with chicken, but I don't know what that might be." I suggested White Zinfandel, but he scurried off for a professional opinion.
In the checkout line, there were two men, one also wearing an Obama T-Shirt, and his friend. The friend said, "I've been looking for McCain T-Shirts but I can't find them anywhere!"
And on the street, I met a fellow named Toby, with whom I shared a madcap conversation about this and that. Looking upwards, he said "See those crows? They live in West Sacramento, and they come into Midtown every day, before heading back to West Sac for the night. See? There they go now!"
I promoted the many blessings of owning parrots, and scrub jays, but Toby had his own idea. "I want a crow. No, not just a crow; I want a raven!"
And why not? If the 'Knights Who Say Ni' can get a shrubbery, why can't Toby get a raven? "Yes we can!"
For all of Karl Rove's hyperventilating over the last eight years about a Republican realignment, this election may be the real realignment. Demographic developments have been favoring Democrats for sometime now (this blog focuses on the Democratic trend) and they are finally expressing themselves in the nation's politics.
Having played to immigration fears and outright xenophobia, national Republicans may fall to the same kind of fate that California Republicans did after Governor Pete Wilson's decision to use anti-immigration fervor to help win re-election in 1994 - despite the fact that Hispanics were becoming a larger and larger portion of the electorate. California Republicans have yet to recover from that self-inflicted wound, and may not do so for decades to come. The same dynamic may be at work nationwide!
Since Bush took power in 2000, we have been living a kind of hallucinatory, fast-forward version of the 1920's. Certainly the fundamentalist preachers sound much the same. The scapegoats are superficially different, but Prohibition, with its schizophrenic law-breaking codes, lives on in modern gay-baiting, with its closeted homosexual subtext. Palmer raids live on in the bowels of the Department of Homeland Security. The 1927 Mississippi flood lives on in Hurricane Katrina's 2005 New Orleans' devastation. Much as the 2004 election reminded me of the 1928 election (with urban Catholic Al Smith and urbane Catholic John Kerry as losing Democratic candidates), the 2008 election, with its financial chaos, reminds me of 1932 - a kinder, gentler version of 1932, of course - but 1932 nevertheless.
2012 = 1936? Obama = FDR? Is an enduring Blue America at hand?
Trying to interpret the scene:
John McCain's defeat to Senator Obama was greeted with a mixture of shock, anger and deep fear for the future by Republican die-hards gathered at Phoenix's Arizona Biltmore Hotel for an election night party.
The discontent was evident almost as soon as Senator McCain started addressing supporters on an outdoor lawn in front of a giant Stars and Stripes to give his concession speech.
At least one member of the audience shouted out "bulls***"' while others interrupted McCain with scattered boos.
For many, it was just too much to take: at least two female McCain supporters were seen weeping inconsolably as the desolation of defeat set in.
"It's terrible, just terrible," said Lindsay Diamond from Phoenix. "When the economy's bad, Republicans lose."
The 28-year-old dancer could take some consolation from Senator Obama's victory though. "I don't think we'll have to worry about another African-American president in four years time," she said.
"Because after what's going to happen in the next four years under Senator Obama, we'll never elect an African-American again."
Duncan's friend, 30-year-old Sarah Duncan, was more generous.
"There's no question that Senator Obama's an absolutely phenomenal, knock-your-socks-off speaker," she said.
"Senator McCain is old and not very dynamic, and that's what people see. But people don't look past the image and the fancy words when they look at Senator Obama.
"I just don't think America is quite ready for an African-American to be president. There's already people out there saying they'll try to assassinate him. He'll make us a socialist country but Americans won't accept that."
Several supporters meanwhile blamed the media for Senator Obama's success, saying the press and television had given the Democrat an easy ride.
"I'm very disappointed because I don't believe Senator Obama is telling the truth when he speaks to the crowds," said Jeanette Woodward. "And the press has been very biased. We don't get the truth."
"I'm frightened because we are in the tax bracket that he's been talking about punishing. So we are going to have to let go some of our employees and cut back on our business now.
"My husband says that if he knew that he was gonna work that hard for 30 years for somebody else, he wouldn't have worked so hard."
Mazie Hoffmann, meanwhile, lamented the effect that father-of-two Obama's election would have on family values.
"I don't feel that he has good values, you know, wholesome values that represent America," she said.
"He believes in abortion, about all the abortion rights that are extreme. Maybe in Europe you have that but in America, most of mainstream America is more conservative. And I feel that as far as gay marriage we are going to get that here ... America is gonna turn a lot more liberal."
Marian, a long-time Republican, also blamed the media for McCain's loss.
"I can't believe it. We lost, it's the media," she said. "The media robbed John McCain of the presidency.
"But we'll wake up tomorrow morning and life will continue. But it's got a bitter taste."
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I rather like this article:
One thing we've clearly learned from the Cringe Decade's nightmare of unmitigated regressive rule is just how incompetent these clowns truly are. It was clear to most folks ... that the right was, of course, lying absurdly about Iraq, about taxes, about Social Security, about prescription drug benefits, and about much, much more. And some people have even caught on to the deeper lie of the entire regressive movement - that it is not simply a misguided ideology whose policy prescriptions were disastrous, but rather that it is actually a deeply pernicious kleptocratic treason conspiracy hiding behind a rag-tag improvisation of ideological hodge-podge (such as, for example, the exquisitely appropriately named Laffer Curve), designed for the sole purpose of pretending to link whatever present conditions might exist to whatever predetermined policy outcome was long ago decided upon.
Clearly, for example, the administration made the decision to invade Iraq first, then went looking for justifications that could be used to market the war later. Paul Wolfowitz even admitted this in his "bureaucratic reasons" explanation for how they all agreed on WMD as the fear factor they'd use to sell the war. Another classic example came from Bush's advocacy, as a candidate during flush times in 2000, of massive tax cuts. By the time he got to the White House, however, the economy was headed in a recessionary direction, and yet he was still advocating the same remedy for the polar opposite economic condition. It was as if the guy had read the first three chapters of John Maynard Keynes in his college macro class, but never bothered to get to the rest. Much more likely, of course, was that he had been too drunk to read any of it, and wouldn't have been so inclined, anyhow, had he somehow miraculously sobered up for a day or two.
...But even Americans who thought regressives clearly to be liars or thieves might still have believed that they were highly competent, especially if you'd had your brain Luntz-framed long enough to believe that MBA CEO types are tough, skilled, administrative whiz-bangs (you know, like the guys at Lehman Brothers, AIG, General Motors, etc.). It was easy to mistake that sometimes, because normally they're very good at marketing and at winning elections. But this year, the right can't even begin to get that right. The McCain-Palin campaign is a pathetic thing to see these days. ... There hardly seems to be a single campaign anymore, as a candidate so stiff he makes Bob Dole (even the 1996 version) look like James Dean by comparison lurches from embarrassing attack to awkward teleprompter-read, even-more-embarrassing, attack. ... Any movement that builds its core ideology around the worship of an infantilist, developmentally-stunted, self-aggrandizement will inevitably wind up eating its young. It's not a matter of if, but when. And it's no longer even a matter of when, but now.
...But McCain wanted - more than anything and for the entirety of his life - to be president, and he made a calculation that his best strategy for getting there was to make nice to the radical right, support Bush for eight years, and then run again as the heir apparent in 2008. What he evidently didn't consider in this sell-off of his principles to the lowest bidder was the possibility that he was hitching himself to a wagon that was headed over a cliff. Into a bottomless pit. Located on an imploding black hole star. George W. Bush is a human wrecking machine of historical proportions, second only to the likes of Hitler, Stalin or Mao (yet another way in which Bush is a two-bit hack - he couldn't even do genocide right).
...Among the great ironies of this election is that had McCain adopted another strategy, he might have had a pretty good shot at the presidency. ... Instead, he tied himself to Bush, while Bush tied himself to the cement shoes of regressive politics and jumped off the bridge, taking down his own party and his party's presidential nominee with him (not to mention a million Iraqis, 4,200 Americans, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Bar, Poppy and Jeb, along with many, many more folks foolish enough to allow themselves within his orbit). It's truly astonishing if you think about it. This little twirp's need to redeem himself after a lifetime of failure and insecurity has produced destruction of galactic proportions. In any case, McCain made the wrong choice, put ambition first, above all else (including, with the Palin pick, above country), and gambled that Bush wouldn't wreck the GOP brand before November 2008. Oops. By going to bed with the likes of George Bush, McCain definitely owns his own fate. And there's more than a little delight in watching a practitioner of these debauched politics destroy himself. He's stuck with a base that loves Bush and Bushism, all while trying to attract independents who are ready to hurl at the prospect of either. ... The Palin selection epitomizes this dynamic. Whatever else he thought she might bring to the table (corruption charges, perhaps? shocking idiocy? disloyalty to the guy who made her?), part of the rationale for her selection was to do something John McCain was unable to do himself - namely, to get Republicans interested in the 2008 Republican presidential ticket. And so it did, but it has cost him dearly with just about every other voter, who look upon Palin with dropped-jaw astonishment, and McCain with deeply flawed judgement.
Meanwhile, nowadays George Bush is almost nowhere to be found. ... When right-wing commentator - and former press secretary for Newt Gingrich - Tony Blankley describes a Republican leader by noting that "The existing American president is a failed thing", you know it's all very, very far gone down the tubes. But notice how they all adored Bush when he was flying high. The current state of the Republican Party isn't just the product of a one-man demolition derby. This has been a carcinogenic genetic mutation masquerading as a mass ideology, and it's had a lot of adherents.
The great farce of the GOP, which soon became the tragedy of the nation and the world, was to actually govern. They would have been so much better off to retain their natural role as carping cranks, spreading disinformation at every turn, making up scandals for the other guys, proliferating and hiding their own, occasionally impeaching presidents. But they made the mistake of actually seizing power, after which an entire world could see what they're really about, the destructiveness of their policies, their breathtaking arrogance, as well as their astonishing incompetence at providing for the basic functions of governance. I suppose we can't entirely blame them for their own self-destruction. I mean, who knew that imploding economies, drowning cities, oceans of debt, disastrous wars based on lies, alienation of centuries-old allies, dismantling of Social Security, falling worker salaries, rising costs, diminishing healthcare, a massive terrorist attack while the president was on vacation, the national shame of torture, or catastrophic environmental disaster - who knew these would be unpopular policies?
The regressive movement - so deluded that they still like to think of themselves as conservatives - is on death watch now, and yet it doesn't know it, nor does it remotely begin to understand why. But the reasons - both proximate and distant - are plain enough to see. The immediate problem is that they ran a pathetic candidate against a great candidate. More importantly, they ran a slimy, Rovian campaign against a guy who knew how to fight back, and also had the guts to do so, and they presented it all to a national electorate that is frightened enough to no longer be willing to indulge foolery anymore. ... And, to top it all off, voters don't even particularly like Democrats, and they sure don't like the current Congress, which is controlled by Democrats. It's rare for an American political party to get stomped two elections in a row, let alone by a generally disliked alternative party. You have to be screwing up really badly to do that, in a collective effort sort of way.
Which, of course, is exactly what we're talking about. Only regressives don't know it. They think their policies and attitudes are popular in America. They think George W. Bush's problem was that he wasn't regressive enough. If only he had invaded Iran as well as Iraq! If only he had deregulated Wall Street even more. If only he had encouraged more oil consumption and more carbon emissions. If only he had eliminated abortion rights. If only he had cut wealthy Americans' tax liabilities down to zero, shifting those burdens to the middle class. If only he had done to all of us what he did to Terri Schiavo's family. If only he had eliminated all government spending on popular programs. If only he had privatized Social Security and let Wall Street handle it....
...Fortunately, in this there is great hope for this country's recovery. For as regressives meet to lick their wounds - and I know of three such immediate post-election major summonings to the Council of Darkness already scheduled - they will be as oblivious to the cause of their demise as were their ancestors, the dinosaurs.
Large waves can and do occur in the oceans. Some places, like the southern tip of Africa, are renowned for them:
"It was bizarre," said Ingall, a lifelong resident of the area. "Everybody was like, 'Oh my God, is this the end?' " It was not the apocalypse, but it was a rare phenomenon, one that has baffled researchers. The National Weather Service said ocean levels rapidly rose in Boothbay, Southport, and Bristol in a matter of minutes around 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 to the surprise of ocean watchers. Exactly what caused the rogue waves remains unknown.
"The cause of it is a mystery," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Jensenius, who first reported the waves from a field office in Gray, Maine. "But it's not mysterious that it happened."
Specialists have posed a variety of possible explanations, saying the waves could have been caused by a powerful storm squall or the slumping of mountains of sediment from a steep canyon in the ocean - a sort of mini tsunami. The last time such rogue waves appeared in Maine was at Bass Harbor in 1926.
Jensenius said the occurrence is so unusual, that specialists don't have a name for the phenomenon.
"That's part of our problem," he said.
While voting at the Sierra II polling place, someone was complaining that the boisterous "No On 8" forces were violating ordinances and politicking within 100 feet of the polling place. So, someone went out with a tape measure to reconfirm exactly where the line was. Myself, I noticed no intrusions of the sacred space.
E.: MMMMAAAARRRCCC! They're telling me here at work I should vote!
M.: Well, you have to be registered first.
E.: They're telling me I can vote a 'provisional ballot'.
M.: Only if you are registered by the deadline (which has already passed). Go down to the polling place, by the 24th Street Theater, before 8 p.m., and they can get you registered for the next election.
E.: Oh, OK!
Monday, November 03, 2008
Children in California, Oregon and Washington are more likely to develop autism if they lived in counties with higher levels of annual rainfall when they were 3 or younger, suggesting that something about wet weather may trigger the disorder, according to a study released Monday.
Among possible explanations: Bad weather could lead to more TV and video viewing, which in very young children have been linked to language-development problems. Or staying indoors could cause a deficit of vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," increasingly found to play a role in health.
Left: Flares in the left lane ahead announce a massive fender bender. The location is Highway 99 northbound, in Elk Grove. They even announced this particular crash on the radio!
This rainy afternoon, I was driving north on Stockton Boulevard, where it is a Highway 99 frontage road south of Elk Grove, when a surprise stop sign hove into view. I stomped on the brake and - nothing happened! Wheels locked, I sailed right through the stop sign, barely slowing at all. Fortunately, there was no cross-traffic.
A small coefficient of kinetic friction, plus lots of forward momentum, means - WHEEE!
Always on the alert for corruption:
[T]he California Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, in part because of a visit Sen. Barack Obama made to his dying grandmother.
"Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama's personal use," the release stated. "Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do -- at his own expense -- but it was not travel that his campaign may fund."
At issue was whether the trip should have been paid for with campaign funds, based on the law that forbids candidates from using such funds to pay for personal travel. The Obama campaign said the trip had been vetted with lawyers beforehand and was allowable. The Republicans argued that, because Obama did not campaign during the quick journey to Hawaii, it should not have been a campaign expense.
Aliens have their own probes:
ROSWELL, N.M. — Behind in the polls and pressing his case, Sen. John McCain made a mad dash across the nation Monday, imploring voters to consider his experience against Sen. Barack Obama.
"I've been tested and I passed that test. Sen. Obama hasn't," McCain said over and over again at stops from Tampa to Blountville, Tenn., on the Virginia and North Carolina borders, and from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis and Roswell to Henderson, Nev.
Fueled by coffee, egg tacos, fried chicken and throat lozenges, McCain was to spend nearly 24 hours straight spreading his message of lower taxes, less spending, and national security know-how over seven states.
...In Roswell, famous for its extraterrestrial sightings, McCain joked that "I'm pleased to announce that I have received the alien endorsement."
Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City (NYSE:CC) said Monday it does not have plans to close any of the five Sacramento-area stores. However, several other stores in Northern California will be closed, including those in Concord, Dublin, Fairfield, Merced, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, Pittsburg, Richmond and San Rafael.
One of my relatives, who likes neither Obama or McCain, has decided not to vote.
A surprising number of people, who are either discouraged or ambivalent, may do the same thing.
It's still a good idea to vote, though. Politicians are very adept at divining just who didn't vote, and therefore whose opinions do not need to be considered.
I want the politicians to quail at my sight. So do you.
I don't like Early Voting all that much either: Election Day should be something of a national holiday. Nevertheless, there is no question that, where it is available, Early Voting is a wildly-popular innovation. People with busy schedules can keep their schedules and still vote. Elderly people can vote without feeling rushed. Some long lines can be avoided through Early Voting, which is particularly important in urban areas that may be underserved with polling places. And longer hours means people far from polling places can still vote, which is particularly important in rural areas.
The argument that Early Voting deprives people of pertinent, late-revealed information would be more-important if we had snap elections like the Europeans typically do, where the entire electoral campaign can be compressed into a month. That's not what we do, though. This presidential cycle has been going on for two years. Depriving people of a week's worth of hullaballoo shouldn't change things that much.
So, go ahead Fred Barnes, and bitch about the poor old people doddering around your polling place in Alexandria, Virginia. We know these rocking-chair Americans just gum up the wheels of democracy anyway. Place yourself squarely against the tide of comfort and convenience, the emblematic hallmarks of modern American life. I'm behind you all the way.
Everything is going OK - it's not Florida 2000 time. There is no need to get unduly worried:
Yet beneath the energy and party atmosphere – with a crowd of 60,000 it was the biggest political rally in the history of Columbus – and the heady excitement that after this marathon campaign they had at last reached the cusp of history, many of these Ohioans were suffering a new mental condition on the eve of Election Day. It could be called “Victory Will Still Be Snatched From Us Compulsive Disorder”.
“I am so afraid some ghastly trick will be played again and we’ll wake up on Wednesday morning and we’ll be where we were in the last two elections,” said Stephanie Harper, 32, as she walked towards the rally with thousands of others. “My doctor says she is treating lots of Democrats for anxiety and depression, because of their obsession with this election and their fears that Obama will lose.”
Like Florida Democrats, who will never be dissuaded that the 2000 race was not stolen from them, their counterparts in Ohio still believe, without compelling evidence, that John Kerry was robbed of the presidency in 2004 because of Republican dirty tricks on voting day here. If the Democratic nominee had won 60,000 more votes in the Buckeye State four years ago he would be in the White House today.
Alec Clairmont, 23, described himself as extremely nervous, and was muttering darkly about a documentary he had seen the night before alleging that “people can programme voting machines so that they can send votes to the other side”. He added: “The polls look good, but I don’t know what will happen on election day.”
...Mr Obama and his aides are taking a somewhat less holistic approach in these last hours. They realise that the road to the White House runs through Ohio and its 20 electoral college votes, and have put in place an 11th-hour get-out-the-vote operation that is brutal in its scale and intensity.
Andrea is among those closely watching the fate of this TV show and encouraging everyone to join her to help keep it among the living:
I've created a new blog in order to join the fight to save one of television's most innovative and creative shows: Pushing Daisies. There's quite an online presence of supporters and the letter writing campaign (called "Daisy Mail") is starting this week. Fans from all over the country will be sending ABC letters (with "Daisy Mail" written on the front, in case they are thrown away they'll know what it's for), pies, daisies, daisy seeds - pretty much anything that relates to our lovable pie-man and the eternal optimism of the show (and the daisy, of course!)Save those daisies!
Here's an interesting article (I've copied and credited it on my page) from E! Online.
I don't often get in the battle to save tv shows, but since this show is one of the FEW that I DO watch (partially because of it's quick-witted dialogue, the creative story lines, and of course, the talented cast) I felt compelled to join in. ... The more hits we can drum up, the better we can at least have ABC consider ordering the full 22 episode season.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Otto the Octopus is bored:
Staff believe that the octopus called Otto had been annoyed by the bright light shining into his aquarium and had discovered he could extinguish it by climbing onto the rim of his tank and squirting a jet of water in its direction.
The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.
A spokesman said: "It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.
"It was on the third night that we found out that the octopus Otto was responsible for the chaos.
"We knew that he was bored as the aquarium is closed for winter, and at two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out a the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water."
Director Elfriede Kummer who witnessed the act said: "We've put the light a bit higher now so he shouldn't be able to reach it. But Otto is constantly craving for attention and always comes up with new stunts so we have realised we will have to keep more careful eye on him - and also perhaps give him a few more toys to play with.
"Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better - much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants."