Thursday, October 30, 2008

How the Obama Campaign Stole the Election

By enabling their people on the ground to work smarter.

How? A giant database of voter records that allows campaign workers to catalog the responses and reactions of voters they have contact with while allowing them to avoid wasting their time contacting McCain supporters. Full details are at Wired

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Science Monitor Going Out of Print

and totally online...

From the NY Times:

Christian Science Paper to End Daily Print Edition

After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first national newspaper to largely give up on print.

The paper is currently published Monday through Friday, and will move to online only in April, although it will also introduce a weekend magazine. John Yemma, The Monitor’s editor, said that moving to a Web focus will mean it can keep its eight foreign bureaus open.

“We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years,” Mr. Yemma said.

Mr. Yemma said that print did bring in money at The Monitor, but most of that was from subscriptions, not advertising. Subscriptions account for about $9 million of The Monitor’s revenue, while print advertising makes up less than $1 million. Web revenue is about $1.3 million, he said. He is projecting that circulation revenue will drop, but he expects the magazine format will appeal to print advertisers. He is planning cuts, too. Mr. Yemma said he was planning some layoffs on both the 100-person editorial side and the 30-person business side. “I’m not sure the same number of people will be needed,” he said, but “there’s certainly nothing like a draconian cut coming.”

Under the new system, reporters will be expected to file stories to the Web and update them a few times a day, and write longer pieces for the weekend magazine.

Mr. Yemma said he hoped to establish as an essential place for international news. The site now gets about three million page views a month, according to comScore, and Mr. Yemma said he wanted to increase that to 20 million to 30 million a month in the next five years. Even if he can fill the site only with remnant, cheap ads, he said, if visits grow as he is projecting, “that’s a sustainable model.”

The magazine, which will have an international focus, is meant to satisfy readers who are attached to print, Mr. Yemma said, but he said he did not expect it to be hugely profitable.
I give them points for taking the seeing the future and facing it head on. I am certain that their success or failure will be major factor in how fast other papers and magazines make the transition.

Texas, Early Voting, and Me

So far two million Texans have voted of which I am one. That's about 15% of the total number of registered voters in the state (mostly Obama supporters apparently) . I went one Monday around 2:30pm and my local polling station was packed. There wasn't a parking space to be found. Eventually I snagged a parking space, went into the library, and got in line. I give the poll workers props for being extremely polite and efficient. Questions were answered instantly and factually and the line moved at a rapid pace which kept everyone happy. Nice job!

This was the first time in my life that there was a Libertarian presidential candidate on the ballot as well as the option to vote for a straight Libertarian ticket. I then placed my vote for what could be called a straight divided government ticket in that I voted Libertarian for president, Republican for Senate, and Democratic at the state level. City elections in my case tends to be a mixed bag since I have met many of the sitting judges at various functions over the years and know of others by the reputation they have with various defense lawyers that I know. Basically I just try to vote out any judge that is operating in the extreme or where there are legitimate concerns about competence or fairness.

I have some real concerns about election day though. Given that here in Texas almost a million people have registered to vote since the primaries and 85% of the state has yet to vote and how badly the primaries went here (insanely long lines and caucuses not getting started till 11pm) I think we're going to see problems similar to Ohio 2004 (polls closing while there's still a line of voters) popping up both here in Texas and other states and possibly poll workers nationwide collapsing from exhaustion across the nation. I think the best we can hope for on that front is that it doesn't go so badly that we have to listen four more years of stolen election screeds.

Thanks for DWSUWF and Dave Lucas for linking to this post. (As an added reward MW I won't tag you with the latest meme I got hit with.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Senator Ted Stevens Convicted of Corruption

In the unlikely event that you haven't heard by now Senator Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens was convicted of seven counts of corruption related charges yesterday.

From the AP:

Stevens guilty on 7 counts, won't quit Senate race

WASHINGTON – Ted Stevens, a pillar of the Senate for 40 years and the face of Alaska politics almost since statehood, was convicted of a seven-felony string of corruption charges Monday — found guilty of accepting a bonanza of home renovations and fancy trimmings from an oil executive and then lying about it.

Unbowed, even defiant, Stevens accused prosecutors of blatant misconduct and said, "I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have."

The senator, 84 and already facing a challenging re-election contest next Tuesday, said he would stay in the race against Democrat Mark Begich. Though the convictions are a significant blow for the Senate's longest-serving Republican, they do not disqualify him, and Stevens is still hugely popular in his home state.


Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced, but under federal guidelines he is likely to receive much less time, if any. The judge did not immediately set a sentencing date.

Odds are he'll resign once the election is over. At this point he mainly just acting as a GOP place holder so that Gov. Palin can appoint a Republican to fill his vacant seat should he be reelected. That'll give the state GOP time to regroup and field a candidate with a chance of winning by the time the special election is held. Hopefully his conviction will mean an end to corruption in the GOP. And maybe the fact the Stevens conviction occured on Teddy Roosevelt's birthday is a portent of better things to come from the GOP once they finish their time in the woodshed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

I'm voting for Obama because my mom is a racist. I figure the least I can do is offset her vote.

- Some Guy at Work

And My Vote Goes To...

This has been a weird election for me. During the primaries I picked both McCain and Obama as my preferred candidates for each party figuring that we'd see more substantive and less negative campaigns than we've seen in a long while. In fact I contributed to both of their primary campaigns to help bear this scenario to fruition. Eventually I was rewarded with exactly that scenario. Having followed this race closely since it started, read the policies, hear the speeches, and watched two out of three of the debates I have made a concrete decision about who I am voting for on Nov. 4.

Barack Obama never really had a chance of getting my vote this election. Not that I wouldn't vote for him. But after seeing what happened to America when one party was allowed total control of the government I have no faith that the other will show any more prudence, honesty, or restraint than its predecessor. If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely then why vote in a manner that sets your government up to fail you? As for Obama himself I respect his intelligence, his thoughtfulness, and his composure and if the GOP controlled either the House or the Senate I'd vote for him.

That brings me to McCain...

I've been a fan of McCain's since 2000 and have been formerly of the belief that had he won the presidency then we would avoided many of the bad decisions and executive excesses that we've seen over the past eight years. To be fair I've been hard on McCain this election season. That's largely because as the race has progressed he's become more and more of a disappointment to me. The John McCain we've been seeing lately isn't the McCain of 2000. In fact he's not even the McCain we saw in the primaries. I was content to vote for him just one the principle of divided government originally but when he started softening his anti-torture stance to placate the might makes right underbelly of the base I started having serious doubts. In fact I wrote his campaign and told them I wasn't giving them a dime in the general election if McCain was backing away from his previous stance on torture.

After that I was resigned to voting for him. After all of my states electoral votes would be going to him anyway. The more the race drug on the less McCain's campaign seem to embody the principles that McCain had stood for in the past. And then came Palin aka The Deal Breaker. She was obviously a gamble to garner the support of the base and in my minds eye grossly unqualified to step in should McCain be taken out by a partisan pretzel.

That leaves only one man left on the Texas ballot for me to vote for...

Bob Barr. I had no love for the man while he was in office. However having seen numerous interviews with him, watched videos of his lectures, and having seen how hard he has had to battle for ballot access I am certain that he is not the same person he was then. Not that he's a total convert to Libertarianism either. If you read his platform its full of words like minimize, reduce, and cut rather than abolish. Its more of a call for Burkean conservatism. A conservatism based on fiscal and military restraint, free market economics, individual liberty, and minimal governmental intrusion into the lives of those governed.

In other words everything the GOP used to stand for.

So I'm going to use my vote to send a message to Republican leadership. In fact after I vote I plan on printing this post and mailing it to GOP HQ. I doubt anyone will read it but isn't it the thought that counts? And maybe, just maybe, once the returns are in Barr will have gathered just enough votes to make the national leadership have to consider moving back towards its roots.

Besides I still get to keep my perfect (although largely accidental) divided government voting record intact this way without sacrificing any principles. That's a win win for me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pinching Pennies

In tough economic times one of the first luxury items to go is eating out. Fortunately thanks to that doesn't have to be the case. Essentially the site allows you to purchase gift certificates at a reduced rate usually a 25$ gift certificate for 10$ (conditions may apply) with normally a 35$ minimum purchase . Needless to say you get better results in cities than you do in small towns.

H/T to The Cheapskate

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So What?

CNN's Campbell Brown gets a gold star for calling BS on the Obama is a Muslim meme...

H/T Below the Beltway

On Hiatus (Sort of)

I'm taking a week off from political blogging. Having covered this election season since the first candidate announced I find that I'm just a little burnt out when it comes to finding new things to say. So I'm just going to talk about other things for a few days and see what happens.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Second Debate Reax

Boring. Literally the same talking points from last debate were repeated. Bourbon didn't improve this debate one bit. I think McCain did better than his last debate. He worked the floor and crowd well from the get go. It took Obama about half an hour to get properly warmed up. As for the winner I have to say Obama eked out a win. Not because he said anything different or substantive but because his performance improved from the last debate and again he held his own against McCain. Anything less than a clear victory on McCain's part helps Obama and tonight McCain again failed to achieve that.

McCain is going to have to go for broke in the final debate and truth be told I don't see him doing it. I don't think he's actually capable of going negative on someone while they are in the same room. Its one thing to sign off on negative ads but its another thing entirely to besmirch someone's character when they're just a few feet away from you. I honestly don't think McCain's conscience will let him go that low. And that may very well end up costing him the race.


Snap polls are agreeing with me that Obama won although they are showing that in the minds of many Obama won by a large margin.

The Candidates on the Environment

The National Wildlife Federation asked both presidential candidates the same questions on conservation issues. McCain's and Obama's responses are available here. What's interesting is that the last question was just for fun "If you could be any animal what would it be?" McCain chose jaguar and Obama dodged the question. In writing. Weird.

Monday, October 06, 2008

If You're Going to Lie

At least lie well enough to respect the intelligence of the person(s) you're lying to.

From ABC's The Blotter:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fought to protest atrocities in Sudan by dropping assets tied to the country's brutal regime from the state's multi-billion-dollar investment fund, she claimed during Thursday's vice presidential debate.

Not quite, according to a review of the public record and according to the recollections of a legislator and others who pushed a measure to divest Alaskan holdings in Sudan-linked investments.

"The [Palin] administration killed our bill," said Alaska state representative Les Gara, D-Anchorage. Gara and state Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, co-sponsored a resolution early this year to force the Alaska Permanent Fund a $40 billion investment fund, a portion of whose dividends are distributed annually to state residents to divest millions of dollars in holdings tied to the Sudanese government.


In Thursday's debate, Palin said she had advocated the state divest from Sudan. "When I and others in the legislature found out that we had some millions of dollars [of Permanent Fund investments] in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars," Palin said.

But a search of news clips and transcripts from the first three months of this year did not turn up an instance in which Palin mentioned the Sudanese crisis or concerns about Alaska's investments tied to the ruling regime. Moreover, Palin's administration openly opposed the bill, and stated its opposition in a public hearing on the measure.

"The legislation is well-intended, and the desire to make a difference is noble, but mixing moral and political agendas at the expense of our citizens' financial security is not a good combination," testified Brian Andrews, Palin's deputy revenue commissioner, before a hearing on the Gara-Lynn Sudan divestment bill in February. Minutes from the meeting are posted online by the legislature.


The Alaska Permanent Fund currently holds $22 million in Sudan-linked investments, according to the non-profit Sudan Divestment Task Force. Divestment advocates say the fund does not need an act of the state legislature to divest itself of those holdings.

I'm not going to go all Andrew Sullivan here but considering that my own hard core red state of Texas saw fit to divest itself of any Sudanese investments the Palin administration's decision to passively support genocide is morally negligent at best. The fact that she stood in front of the nation and lied about says volumes about her to me. Given the number of red states that have divested the number of conservative and/or evangelical groups that have stood up in opposition to the travesty in Darfur how can Palin justify continuing to indirectly finance genocide? Let alone lie about it?

If evil prevails when good people do nothing then what happens when good people try to profit from evil's actions?

Thanks to Screaming at the TV for linking to this post

I've Been Nominated

For a Love! This Site Award. The weird part is I wasn't the one that did the nominating. It is worth noting that they actually give out a monetary award. I've added the nomination badge to the site in case you feel like voting (registration required). I'm up against some tremendously huge blogs (Huff Po, Wonkette, Treehugger) but I'm holding my own so far. So if you love the underdog or just hate some of the other nominees drop by and vote for yours truly. Thanks.

Presidential Debates Take Two

I'll be covering them live on Twitter. Feel free to join me.

Friday, October 03, 2008

VP Debate Reax

First let me start off by saying Palin did a lot better in the debates than she did in her Couric interviews. Biden did pretty good. He made it through the night gaffe free which counts for a lot in his case. I thought Palin pushed perky to the limit in the opening of the debates and that she answered the first few questions well. However after that she, as well as Biden, dodged several questions. Personally I though she was much clumsier at it than Biden. Biden you actually had to pay attention to in order to notice the dodges. Palin was pretty obvious about it. Palin's energy level seemed to start flagging about forty five minutes in and she started relying heavily on talking points. One hour into it and Biden seemed to have the upper hand both on energy level and mastery of the subject matter particularly in regards to foreign policy. She seemed to be operating from a script wheras Biden was clearly explaining the facts as he knew them. In the end both of them accomplished what they needed. By that I mean they didn't tank their candidates chances. At worst Palin turned off a few independents by not appearing to have a concrete grasp of all of the subject matter.

I think Biden won on points but it was a hollow victory.

This post was backdated on 10/06/2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Biden's Best Bet

As I have mentioned before Biden should focus on the issues and refrain from attacking Palin so he doesn't risk coming off like a bully. Andrew Halco who ran against Palin for governor and debated Palin a dozen times lays out the other stumbling block for Biden. If Palin has her way the denate will be about personality rather than policy:

Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she's met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.
And when she does answer the actual question asked, she has a canny ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. For example, asked to name a major issue that had been ignored during the campaign, I discussed the health of local communities, Mr. Knowles talked about affordable healthcare, and Palin talked about the need to protect hunting and fishing rights.
I don't think Biden can beat Palin in a popularity contest. He's somehow going to have to either force Palin to stick to the issues or find a way to repeatedly politely point out that Palin isn't actually answering the questions. Given his gaffe prone nature and his temperment he may not be up to that particular task.

Obama Solidly Leading in Electoral Polls

Despite the fact that the first Presidential debates changed almost nothing pollwise Barack Obama is extending his lead in the electoral college. Real Clear Politics has Obama leading McCain 249 electoral votes to 163.
Its seriously starting to look like the worse the economy is perceived the worse off McCain's campaign does. Given the fact that the first presidential debate is the most watched McCain's failure to take Obama to the woodshed may cost him. He'll have to be perceived as a clear winner in the next two debates and prove to the minds many that his economic policies are sound. That is of course provided that Palin doesn't totally tank during tomorrow's debate.