Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Finally Over

Dear Readers,

I'm glad I was wrong. I've said earlier in this blog that Ohio would not play nearly a large role in 2008 as it has in the past. About that... Ohio was the turning point on election night. No McCain electoral victory map did not include Ohio. As soon as the state was called, a scream went up at Occidental's election watching party. Anyone who knew anything about politics knew that Ohio had just decided the election for Obama. Of course Virginia was the one to actually place the crown on Obama's head, but Ohio once again stepped up to the plate of history. I'll remember last night for a long time.

The night was bittersweet. Prop. 8 succeeded in California. It was a campaign I had worked long and hard on, and it broke my heart to see it pass. So today, I have been torn between my exultation over Obama's landslide and the crushing defeat of civil rights in California. Hope won the day in the US, but hatred and bigotry won in California.

Part of what's nuts is that the election isn't over yet! Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D) are heading for a nail-biting recount in Minnesota. And unless the few ballots left to be counted in Georgia change anything, Saxby Chambliss (R-i) will be heading into a December runoff against challenger Jim Maritn (D). Unlike Minnesota, this is a whole new election, so the campaigning and flow of resources will be unprecedented. I would not be surprised to see Obama stump heavily for Martin. Just a few hours, The Oregonian called the Oregon Senate seat for Jeff Merkley (D), bringing the Democrats to 57 seats in the Senate. In Alaska the outcome is still too close to call, but the consensus seems to be that a narrow win for 8-term incumbent and convicted felon Ted Stevens. Crazy.

It's been a fun ride, and it's not over yet! This blog will be updated less frequently with the election behind us, but please check in every once in a while! I doubt I can stay quiet for long!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final Thoughts

Today I gut up at 5:30 to work the polls for the "No on Prop. 8" campaign. Responses at are Pasadena voting location were overwhelmingly positive. We even convinced a good chunk of people! It was great. And the Yes On 8 people were not on their game between 6-11am. We were at the Braille Club, and not a single Yes on 8 volunteer. I'm hopeful! Can we change the dialog on race and sexuality in one night? I hope so!

In other news, see my CA proposition voting guide @ . And NO ON 8!!!

I also think that Ohio will go to Obama. I predict 353 electors to Obama and 185 to McCain. Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida are all close enough to change that in a big hurry though. It's going to be an exciting night!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

State of the Race: Ohio Polling

It's been too long since I've dedicated a post to this blog's main topic: the Ohio vote. Ohio was in 2000 and 2004 a major decider in the national election. It was close both times and would have changed the outcome had it gone to the Democrats. Because of the massive national poll movement towards Obama though and his unconventional electoral strategy, Ohio is much less of a hinge this time around: Obama can win without it. Indeed, venerable poll analyst Nate Silver of has Obama winning 78% of his election scenarios with the pre-assumtion of Ohio being in McCain's column. Sorry buckeyes: you're probably not the deciders this time.

If Ohio was so important in 2000 and especially 2004, why is it less so this time? The answer lies in Obama's groundbreaking fundraising and "50-state strategy". Obama has been investing heavily in alternate electoral strategies. And with his coffers he can afford to do so. Even if McCain gets back the 2004 Bush states with small Obama leads currently (North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, North Dakota), McCain would still need to win Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Nevada to win. That's a tall order. So take solace buckeyes: if you give an Obama an early win on election night, you could still "select" our next president!

This graph from Pollster shows the trendlines for the Ohio polls. Interestingly the projected 7-point or so gap between Obama and McCain is right on par with the national polling numbers. I guess that speaks to Ohio's reputation as a bellwether. Considering how crappy McCain's endgame strategy on the ground appears to be, the Republicans will need a voter disenfranchisement system even better than 2004's. And now Ohio's Secretary of State is a Democrat. That'll make things harder. Without even that being topped, McCain needs a big external surprise in the next 3 days. Barring that, we'll be calling him President Obama.

But most of all? Remember to VOTE!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Volunteer Experience

Tonight I went to the No On Prop. 8 campaign campaign office. To say it was crowded is an understatement. We called volunteers who'd agreed to work all kinds of hours on election day. From 6:30 am to 8:30pm on Nov. 4th we'll be working the polls, informing voters and dispelling the myths perpetrated by the hate-filled Yes On 8 campaign.

We had so many volunteers that we contacted all the volunteers in our list in the course of 20 minutes. With 2 hours to go iin our volunteer shifts we gathered up all the signs in the office. We didn't have quite enough, so we made our own too. We marched out into the streets, and staked out a 4-way intersection. We screamed and hollered, and I learned enough No On 8 slogans to last a lifetime. My theater years paid off: I lead many chants and was always the loudest voice at the rally. It was truly empowering. Here's a small sampling of the slogans:

"Vote no!/ Vote no!/ Vote no, Prop. 8 has got to go!"

"No on 8!/ no on hate!/ we do not discriminate!"

CALL: "What do we want?!"
RESPONSE: "Equal rights!"
CALL: "How do we get it?!"
RESPONSE: "No on 8!"

I had an amazing personal experience too. I was reminded about why I wanted to do politics. We were out tonight fighting for our civil rights. We have the power to shape a generation. We shouted at every car that passed, and asked every pedestrian to vote no. With a few exceptions, almost everybody said they would and smiled at us. One man though said nothing. He just smiled and showed us his ring. For me this will be the image that sticks with me as I go to the polls to fight for equality. I know what I'm fighting for. And I know what we stand to lose.

The time to take a stand is now! Visit for more info on fighting for equal rights for all. And most of all, VOTE!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The California Propositions: My Endorsements

Since I live in California, and most of my readers are voting in California, I thought I'd share how I voted on the propositions, with a little explanation.

Prop 1A: YES. As flawed as this proposition is, now is the time to finally start high speed rail in California.

Prop 2: YES. Humane conditions for farm animals should be a given. This proposition finally makes it a reality.

Prop 3: NO. As much as I respect the children's hospitals, the hospital haven't used the $ we gave them last time! Plus, these are private institutions with absurdly overpaid executives. Why is the state paying for them exactly?

Prop 4: NO, NO, NO! This is the 3rd time this has been on the CA ballot! It is essential that women of all ages can have safe abortions! Abortions are not a pleasant thing- nobody claims as much. Forcing parental notification however would only result in more illegal abortions and more unwanted births. Let's kill this monstrosity one more time!

Prop 5: YES. Rehab over prisons for non-violent offenders. This is just the kind of thing that California's bloated prison system needs.

Prop 6: NO! This is a sleazy "anti-gang" initiative, that's really just a "more people in prison" initiative. Send it down!

Prop 7: NO ENDORSEMENT (though I voted yes). There is much wrong with this proposition. It punishes microenergy producers in an unfortunate way. Despite of this however it would effect a move towards clean and renewable energy. I have very mixed feelings about this one, so follow your gut.

Prop 8: NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!! California is poised to uphold equal marriage rights for all. California could once again be the vanguard in civil rights for an entire nation. We can reverse the legal gay-bashing tide and take the USA into the future. Or if we vote yes, we can suffer for a generation. The time is now! Vote NO!

Prop 9: NO. "Vicitim's Rights". I call BS. Like Prop. 6, this is Prison Guard's Union double-speak. Victim's Rights means harder to defend suspects. And what does that mean? More inmates for our enormous prison system!

Prop. 10: NO. This energy proposition is much, much worse than 7. It is a thinly veiled payoff to natural gas interests. Natural gas is not clean energy. We need to move forward, not sideways.

Prop 11: NO. Redistricting. Yes gerrymandering is bad. No this is not the solution. This method is biased heavily towards Republicans and Independents and takes power away from our elected officials. No way.

Prop 12: YES. This is a renewal of our 12-year running bond for home-purchasing loans for vets. And even better? Since they're loans, the vets will pay for it over time. What's not to like?

In summary:

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! on 4 and 8!

NO on 3, 6, 9, 10 and 11.

YES on 1A, 2, 5 and 12.

EH on 7

Remember, get out and vote! Don't let a perceived Obama landslide stop you! These propositions will dramatically affect our lives! So please, even if you don't care abotu the national election, stand up for women and same-sex couples on Nov. 4!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain in Flames

I was struck when sifting through the news by how many signs of a
failing candidate that McCain is showing.

His party is rebelling.

He can't make conservative pundits stay in line.

And his campaign is having massive infighting. They are calling Palin a
rogue, and get this, a /diva/. One adviser said: ""She is a diva. She
takes no advice from anyone," the McCain source said. "She does not have
any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else."

Partisanship aside, McCain has lost control of his image. His party, the
media and his campaign team are all beyond his control. By political science
standards, McCain is a failing candidate.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fascinating Articles

Nate Silver has a fascinating New York Post article up on McCain's long shot chance for electoral success. It's incredibly unlikely, but probably McCain's only path to victory at this point.

In other news, Oliver North (yes that Ollie North) manages to compare Obama to Hitler, Kim Jong Il, Napoleon, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Robert Mugabe in the course of 2 pages. It's absurd, offensive and really, really typical of Oliie "Iran-Contra" North. This man can't seem to stay out of politics, even after his failed senate bid. Ironically, this article is called Messiah Defecit Disorder

Also, Dick Morris is still a dick

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quotes du Jour

Rove, WSJ: “This task, while not impossible, will be difficult,” Rove wrote. “If Mr. McCain succeeds, he will have engineered the most impressive and improbable political comeback since Harry Truman in 1948. But having to reach back more than a half-century for inspiration is not the place campaign managers want to be now.”

Republican analyst Torie Clarke, who once worked as McCain’s Senate press secretary and who appeared with Donaldson, had this advice for her former boss: “He has to ask himself some very tough questions, because one way or the other, this is the final chapter in his political career. And how does he want to write that final chapter? … Does he want to do anything in an effort to win, or does he want to go out the way he likes to think of himself — as a public servant?”


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Freak Show is Nervous...

Our lovely buddies in the "news" media, aka the Freak Show are nervous about election night. And not in a way that anyone else in America. The Freak Show is nervous about their dramatic election night extravaganza will be cut short by an Obama landslide! With the polls shifting dramatically in Obama's favor and McCain's prospects looking worse and worse, there's a good chance that the election will be over before voting results from the West start coming in.

As is usual, the colls will close on the east coast several hours before their west coast counterparts. In 2004, the media had a feeding frenzy with 2 extremely close races, each coming down to one Swing State. The electoral map this time though, barring a national crisis, is looking a little different:

If Obama starts the night with North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, McCain is screwed. McCain has no reasnoable electoral strategy w/o Virginia, let alone North Carolina. McCain is playing major league defense right now. His electoral strategy appears to be a replication of Bush's 2004 map. He's been campaigning and spending heavily in Virgiia, North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, states he can't afford to worry about on the electoral map. In order to win McCain needs to be able to focus all his energy on traditional Swing States like Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and especially Ohio. To reitirate, McCain is done without winning Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio:

<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

In this example, McCain loses Virginia, which has less electoral votes than Ohio and Virginia which I here hypothetically give to McCain. What can he move from this map into the GOP column? Maybe the 2004 Bush states? He's thrown Iowa under the Straight Talk Express with his continued slamming of ethanol subsidies (which I kind of agree with him on), putting it all but out of reach. New Mexico similarly doesn't look like much of a contest this year. He would need to flip both or Pennsylvania to offset his Virginia loss. And if he loses Florida or Ohio right off the bat? Forget it.

So why does this have the media running scared? Simple. Its a huge conundrum for them. If the race ends early, do they call it for Obama? There are two significant downsides to doing so. 1. It hurts ratings. Doing so would force them to talk about something else substantive like the congressional elections. Wouldn't that be awful. 2. Their declaration could affect voter turnout. If the media declares it in the bag for Obama while its still daytime in the West, voter turnout could go down. Why vote if the election is already "over". States like Missouri, Nevada and Colorado could potentially be won by McCain because Obama voters are already celebrating. This would be a real shame, and deter from a truly representative electoral result.

So what are the media bigwigs going to do? Senior Vice President of CBS news Paul Friedman said: "We could say something like, ‘Given the number of electoral votes Obama already has, and given what we know about the voting so far in various states where the polls have not closed, it is going to be very hard for John McCain to win.’ I would sincerely hope that kind of language would not discourage people out West from voting.” Sam Feist, CNN's Political Director said "A night of early surprises would be a gift for John King's "Magic Wall" of computerized maps. Feist said: "If we know early in the evening that Barack Obama wins a critical state such as Virginia or Florida, we'll have a conversation about what John McCain would have to pull out of his hat now," such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado or Nevada". This is why we love CNN. John Kind just goes crazy with that newfangled thing. I miss the whiteboard.

On MSNBC, the diagnosis is not good for McCain. Joe Scarborough said on “Morning Joe”: “When it becomes obvious that one candidate’s going to lose, usually members of that party start jumping, like rats from a ship. You’re starting to hear from Republicans that are really afraid McCain’s going to lose, Democrats may [reach] 60 in the Senate, and this is going to be a historic rout.” That's not exactly a glowing prediction for McCain's Nov. 3 chances. I can't wait to see the media freak-out then.

(Thanks to Mark Halperin at The Page for directing me to the Politico article)

What the debates could have been

Why couldn't the debates have been like this:

Seriously! EVERYONE would watch! Alright Democrats, time to nominate Batman in 2016! The Republicans have the Penguin down.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Daily Show Hits Fox Where It Hurts

Remember America: we report, you decide. Or, to put it in the words of a certain Minnesota senate candidate: "They Distort, We Deride".

The Buckeye Bellwether?

With the polarization of the electorate, one of the most significant ramifications has been a shift in presidential campaigns to focusing on a few select swing states. The days when Reagan and FDR had landslide electoral college victories appear to be behind us. Even Obama, who's doing very well in the swing states ( and is currently projected to pick up at least 320 electoral votes in November, has no real shot at winning "red" states like Arkansas, Tennessee or Louisiana.(all of which were won by Bill Clinton in 1992). As such, states such as Ohio are getting a disproportionate of campaign attention.

With states like Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida and of course Ohio liable to be won by either party in a given election, we've seen the advent of bellwether states. The basic idea behind a bellwether state is that the candidate that wins that state will go on to win the election. From a more scientific viewpoint, bellwether states are indicative of which way the other swing states are likely to vote. Ohio is viewed as one of the top bellwether states: it has only voted for a non-winning candidate twice since 1896 (once in 1944, and 1960). Since 1964, Ohio has always voted for the winning candidate. Following this logic, many pundits and strategists assume that if a candidate can win a bellwether state, they'll win the election. As such, most candidates have focused an inordinate amount of energy in the "bellwethers".

There are two glaring problems with this "bellwether" strategy though. 1st, the list of "true" bellwether states shrinks each election. One good example is that Kentucky and Tennessee are classic swing states, and yet are likely to vote against Obama in what looks to be a landslide electoral victory. Ultimately this bellwether obsession turns into media and campaign super-hype. With Kentucky not considered a swing state this year, the campaigns are both pouring absurd amounts of resources into Ohio and ignoring the neighboring state. With fewer and fewer states that "matter", the electoral process is diluted for the vast majority of opinions. If you don't live in a swing state your vote won't make a huge difference in the Presidential Vote. Kentucky citizens drive to Ohio to caucus, even when scores of undecided voters are present at home.

The second major fallacy of the bellwether states is that their designation is really reverse engineering. The view is that somehow these states' results will predict the election. In reality, it is not that these states are somehow special- it is a quirk of our antiquated electoral college that causes an undue focus on large states with divided demographics. In the case of Ohio too, 8 native sons have been elected to the presidency. This no doubt affected the vote in Ohio. Ohio's power as one of the most powerful swing states often allows it to make a huge difference in who is ultimately chosen as president, not vice versa. In short, the view of cause-and-effect is inherently flawed. Sure only 2 presidents have won without Ohio, but its hard without 20 swing votes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama Landslide Map- Updated

<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

The current economic crisis has changed the electoral map. A lot. Notice how a continued strong shift to Obama has put West Virginia, Indiana and Omaha into play. Craziness.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarah Palin: Leader of the Free World

Even typing that post title makes me shudder. It's a horrifying thought, isn't it? And part of the horror is the unique plausibility of it all. Despite the trends going against him right now, McCain could still feasibly win the election. Statistically, McCain has a 1 in 4 chance of dying in office. Sure he has "good genes", but those are not great odds. If you include the chances of serious disability that would inhibit ability to function as president, the odds get closer to 1-in-3 for McCain.

What does all this mean? Well, all things considered, the odds aren't all that bad for McCain. A 25% chance of death isn't too bad. But what it does mean is that Sarah Palin is under increased scrutiny as a candidate for the Vice Presidency. McCain is the oldest major party candidate in history, and the voters know it. If McCain were to die in office, the woefully unprepared Sarah Palin would take his place. Voters know this, and as such Palin is campaigning really for a position in limbo between the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. This makes her shortcomings even more apparent. If Palin screws up the Thursday debate royally, it could seriously endanger the ticket.

For a political junkie this universal lack of confidence in the readiness of Sarah Palin opens the door for crazy possibilities. What about a 269-269 electoral vote (e.g. Obama gets Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado minus New Hampshire)?

<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

In this case, the election gets tossed to congress. Some say that an election tie would favor Obama. I would tend to agree largely because the 12th amendment gives each state delegation one vote (i.e. one for Wyoming, one for California), and the in the incoming House Democrats will in all likelihood have a majority in a plurality of the delegations. Imagine though that McCain won the popular vote by a large margin (i.e. had strong 2nd place showings in the pacific and northeast and great GOTV in safe red states). In this case, House delegations from strong McCain states w/ a majority Democrat delegation (i.e. Arkansas, Tennessee, South Dakota, North Dakota, West Virginia, etc.) might be "forced" by public opinion to support McCain.

If the House does pick McCain in such a scenario, who's to say the majority Democrat senate has to pick Palin? Considering her plummeting favorability ratings, terrible interviews and glaring unreadiness, the Senate could easily select the obviously ready, willing and able Joe Biden. Imagine living in a pre-12th amendment world where the President and Vice President are voted for independently on the November ballot. Now imagine a McCain-Biden administration. Now imagine the also theoretically possible reverse: an Obama-Palin administration. No, stop laughing. Think about it. It's the longest of long shots, but hell if it isn't a fascinating possibility.

To see what kind of monkey wrench Biden or Palin could possibly throw into their own campaigns, tune in on Thursday to the Vice Presidential debates. Trust me, it's going to be fun. That much I guarantee.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Biden quitting? BS alert!

According to "Daily Mail", internet buzz now counts as "news":

I cannot believe that a month and half before the election that the media could still report on an Obama-Clinton ticket. How desperate are they?! I know that the primaries were more exciting than the general, but drop it! Clinton will NOT be the veep! Get over yourselves. This is really a low point for the media. These Obama-Clinton beating-a-dead-horse stories didn't deserve the sunlight a month ago. They certainly don't now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Election Predictions as of Now

In the political blogosphere, one of the most popular games is "color in the electoral map". Maybe the coloring lets us go back to our childhoods, I don't know. Never mind that we haven't had a single debate yet, or that the polls' likely voter statistics are fantasy more than anything else: everyone loves to guess using information that will be all but irrelevant come election day!

Before the Republican convention (which more importantly was the latter), we were only getting 3-7 national/state polls for day. And then began the deluge. As of 2:30 Pacific Time, we already have 16 polls reported for today. Last Thursday there were 29 polls reported. This is getting kind of silly. Though the polls do give the pundits and political nerds something to talk about, their only practical use is to indicate to the campaigns where they should allocate their resources. A good example: Arkansas, which could have been competitive considering its blue history during the Clinton years is quite a safe state for McCain. Obama isn't allocating serious resources there. On the other hand, the polls have shown Virginia, Montana, Indiana and North Carolina to be possible Obama pickups, even though they're not standard democratic targets.

Regardless of the polls' relative unimportance outside of talking points and state-by-state resource allocation, I'm going to join the crowd and put up a couple pretty maps. Unlike most blogs though, my maps will not all be solely based on poll data. I'll use my personal crystal ball to present a couple of the scenarios:

&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;strong&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=''&amp;amp;amp;gt;Electoral College Prediction Map&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/strong&amp;amp;amp;gt; - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;

This is the map if you take the state-by-state poll averages and assume that whichever candidate leads them will win the state come November. Studies have shown that most voters make up their minds by Labor Day, so this is entirely plausible. Considering recent poll movement though, this projection is shaky at best.


<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

This is what a complete Obama blowout would probably look like. Obama's ground game is certainly a lot stronger than McCain's, whcih is good news for the democrats in terms of GoTV. Additionally, the polls haven't really been talking to cell phone-only voters, a decidedly younger, and hence more Obama-friendly crowd. If high turnout and increasing anti-republican sentiment come together, this outcome is feasible.


&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;strong&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=''&amp;amp;amp;gt;Electoral College Prediction Map&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/strong&amp;amp;amp;gt; - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;

In fairness, this is probably what a McCain blowout looks like. Maybe if Palin saves Desmond Tutu from a rampaging Moose? Seriously though, this is possible if the numbers shift about 5 points across the board to McCain.


&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;strong&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=''&amp;amp;amp;gt;Electoral College Prediction Map&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/strong&amp;amp;amp;gt; - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;

This is currently my own crystal ball prediction. Nevada and Virginia were the only democratic wins from Nate Silver's ( awesome predictions that didn't make it over here. I think Obama's union appeal will win the day in Ohio, but my gut tells me that many Virginia Republicans will return to the fold following the debates. Maybe a little poll booth racism/Bradley effect in there too. Even though Obama can win through Iowa/New Mexico/ Colorado + every Kerry state, I really do think Ohio will be a major decider once again. My money says that Ohio will once again side with history and select our next President.


Regardless, this is all rather pointless, considering that the debates and media super-saturation really haven't happened yet. As a politics dork though, I can hardly resist.

Post Recovery: Tasteless Hunting Ad

After feeling really guilty for losing Jacquie and Ally's no doubt eloquent replies to a fairly tasteless ad, I've spent a good amount of time digging up the ad again. Here it is:

WARNING: Tastelessness, gross, misleading

For reasons mentioned in the previous post, I like what it brings to the table. It's still not a great ad though. I'm going to see if I can either of your comments. I feel like I may have printed out Ally's essay-length response to the original post... if I can find it, I'll type it up and re-post it in the comments. Sorry Jacquie, I don't think I have yours...

Note to self: don't clean out drafts before backing up entries. of course I'd delete the post that got the most entries. ::face-palm::

Apology and Explanation

I accidentally deleted a post that I believe had comments. I was in the midst of deleting old drafts. I believe the post contained an ad done by a 527 about arctic hunting and Sarah Palin. My apologies to anyone who may have posted.

Honestly, I'd rather not repost the video because in retrospect it was a little bit over the top and tasteless. I'll even admit that it dipped into "unfair" at points. Now that I think about it, I think I'd probably retract the support I gave it in my previous post as well. I would like to talk about the greater themes a little bit though.

In reality though, the main reason that I liked it is because it reminded people that environmental preservation is one of the main causes of our time. Without significant action, we will lose lots of endangered species, including tigers, sea otters, polar bears, my home state's California Condor and countless others. It saddens me on many levels to see environmental preservation so far off the table in our national dialog.

And sure, the issue has come up briefly before. But honestly, at this point, any mention of the environment is outside of the media echo chamber. The media has demonstrated no desire to talk about the environment. When was the last time the media paid serious attention to our planet's rapidly collapsing ecosystem? I'm not just talking about global warming. I'm sorry if said previous post offended, but I was simply relieved to see a public appeal made once again on environmental grounds. When all is said and done, human beings are likely to be the species least affected by this presidential election. Regardless of the ad's effectiveness, I'm glad that there will be some reminder in the mainstream of what another 4 years of Republicans in the White House would do to the environment. The world simply can't afford it.

EDIT: Since Jacquie, Prince and Ally are the only people actively following the blog, I assume the apologies should go to you. Sorry!

Wow this is stupid

And this folks is why I don't watch/read CNN:

Really? Really? How desperate are you guys?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Palin McCain Administration?

A Freudian slip? For fundamentalist conservatives surely, a Palin-McCain ticket would be a cause for rejoicing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ohio Students- Register Absentee with ease!

In Ohio, where John Kerry lost by only about 100,000 votes in 2004, every single ballot will make a huge difference come November. Among college students, I've seen a large and somewhat confused number either re-registering in California or lapsing into political apathy. What do these statements have to do with one another? Well, the non-partisan website, , offers an easy way to register absentee from out-of-state. It takes only a few minutes, is exceedingly clear, and most of all is convenient as they come. Give it a shot swing-state residents, and wield the disproportionate clout your home residency grants! Live a little!

For specifically Ohio Students living out-of-state:

For any student living out-of-state:

Registration for Ohio residents must be postmarked by Oct. 6, one month before the election. Not too much of a rush, but don't forget about it either.

And to round things off with inspirational quote: "if you don't vote the outcome is your fault". Feel verrrrry guilty. Or don't. The point is: vote. There's no excuse.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reality check?

Another amusing high point of the McCain spin machine. Enjoy:

Courtesy of "Balloon Juice",

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Candidates on Taxes

To cut through the McCain camps deceptive attacks on Obama wanting to raise taxes on the middle class, here's a fabulous no-nonsense graphic from the Washington Post (

What exactly are those extra 19$ going to do for America's poor Senator? And will giving an average of 270,000$ back to the uber-rich save our country? We've had enough trickle-down reaganomics these last 8 years to smell the stench of cronyism. McCain doesn't have a solution for the middle class: he has a payout for those like him, with multiple houses, multi-million dollar incomes and little motivation to spend. Obama's tax plan will put real money into the hands of those most likely to spend it: America's lower and middle class, who need this relief to get by.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hypocrisy In Action: Bridge Edition

Wow, can you say hypocrisy? This is McCain addressing voters in MN following the major August 2007 Bridge Collapse. I wonder why the McCain camp is so touchy about that bridge...

Courtesy of The Daily Kos

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Great Obama Interview on Countdown

This is a terrific interview from Monday. Olbermann and Obama both knocked it out of the park. Check it out:

The Electoral College and Us

Having my fate disproportionately in the hands of my relatives just because they live in a "Battleground State" is nothing short of infuriating. But such is the Electoral College. An outdated artifact of the 18th century, the Electoral College has not ever seen the light of day in other democracies. The entire system is based off of an inherent distrust of the voting electorate, and originally allowed an aristocratic check on the will of the people (the land-owning white males that is). Sadly though, it is a system so entrenched that despite repeated attempts, it has failed to get the boot. There is no shortage of viable alternatives, be the instant-runoff voting or direct elections. Sadly, short of a dramatically ridiculous election result, the system is unlikely to see serious reform.

The system has a few saving graces fortunately. It does force candidates to visit voters in small states. Also, for the most part, the Electoral College has merely exaggerated the popular vote. There are four major exceptions however:

-In 1824, Andrew Jackson won both the popular and the electoral votes, but did not secure a majority against his three rivals. Congress convened and named John Quincy Adams, who got about 45,000 fewer votes, the next president.

- In 1876, southern Democrat Samuel J. Tilden lost the Electoral College to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes after some extremely shady political maneuvers by the Republican Party. Tilden had roughly 300,000 more votes that Hayes.

- In 1880, Republican Benjamin Harrison quashed Democrat Grover Cleveland 233 electoral votes to 168 in the presidential election. Cleveland received over 100,000 more votes that Harrison.

- In 2000, Al Gore lost the Electoral College by 5 points to George W. Bush. Gore had over 500,000 votes more nationwide. According to the Bush administration, this was a "mandate" to lead. Retroactive recounts in Florida asserted that Gore should have taken the state and the presidency.

Despite these 4 major hiccoughs, the Electoral College lives on. Also consider that if Kerry had squeaked ahead in Ohio in 2004, he’d have won the presidency with more than a million votes less than Bush. You'd think that given Bush's current rock-bottom ratings and the 2000 election that put him into office, Americans would be clamoring for an end to the system. Sadly, we have short attention spans.

Working within the Electoral College forces candidates to spend a disproportionate amount of time in "Battleground States", states who could feasibly give their electoral votes to either candidate. As such, areas with large populations do not necessarily get much attention. California, Texas and New York have been all but ignored in the last several election cycles. In 2008, states like Montana, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire and the Dakotas will probably get far more campaign coverage than California, Texas and New York combined. As such, many in the so-called non-swing states have very little incentive to come out and vote on Election Day. Of first world democracies, we have one of the worst vote turnouts.

If your state is sure to go one way or another, does your vote matter? Sadly, the answer is most often no, and my vote means nothing compared to those of my relatives in Columbus, OH. This is not to say I should withdraw and become cynical. Instead, this is a call to action, to not only vote, but to fight for election reform by whatever means necessary. As an American, my voice should be heard just as loud as my cousin's in Columbus, or my retired step-uncle in Florida. Now is the time for change!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Introduction Post

Nobody is going to deny that Ohio is going to be a battleground state come November. The state's highly coveted 20 electoral votes are likely to be the key to victory for either Barack Obama or John McCain. In every poll since the termination of the obscenely long democratic primaries, the two candidates have been neck-and-neck. Indeed, for the obsessive poll-watchers of the world, Ohio has been a veritable roller coaster of data. By all appearances, the state's polling data "flips" practically every other week! Needless to say, Ohio has been incredibly overexposed to the candidates and their media, and has been the focus of massive campaign spending on the part of both parties.

Now for a little self-introduction. My name is Isaac Hale. I'm a sophomore at Occidental College in Los Angeles Califonia, and currently doing this blog as part of a class on Campaigns and Elections. Good timing for the course, no? Honestly though, I'm very excited personally to be writing this blog. The election is something I obsess over constantly. And I believe that this contest in 2008 will determine the direction this country for generations to come.

In my not so humble opinion, I believe that the USA is hovering on a precipice: do we reclaim our honor, dignity and decency as a people, or walk down the road of fear and tyranny, the ultimate result of the abuse of executive powers. Much like another great empire, Rome, the USA has begun to sacrifice individual freedoms and rights for the sake of fear and executive control. Unlike the Roman people though, we as Americans are faced with a choice by means of the vote. Do we become a tyrannical dictatorship, devoid of the checks and balances the founders intended, or do we return said powers and regain our national integrity? The choice is ours, and I cannot imagine a more exciting time to live in.

As you may have noticed, this blog will definitely have a progressive tilt. I am a progressive. And proud of it. This election personally affects me and my future on many levels, as a student, a gay man and an activist. But this blog is not primarily about the fate of America. It is about the role of Ohio in the upcoming presidential election. This too though, is personal. Much of my extended family lives in Ohio. The sociocultural divide between my family there and my family here in California is immense. I am nearly certain that my evangelical cousins will turn out for Sarah Palin (never mind the old dude on the ticket with her), and that some of my less politically inclined relatives will vote Republican as their spouses and communities do.

I hope very much that this blog will be read by those who don't care for politics or assume that the outcome is predetermined one way or another. This election will affect our lives more than we can possibly know, and as Ohio clearly highlights, the outcome is far from certain.