Sunday, November 30, 2008

Boneheadedly Concocted Standings

Texas stomps A&M while it takes all four quarters for Oklahoma to upend Oklahoma State. Bulls**t computers, however, decide to leapfrog the Sooners over the Horns anyway, crowning them Big 12 South champs and sending them to the conference championship game, where they will play Missouri.

This, of course, means that the 11-1 Texas Longhorns will spend next Saturday watching two teams they defeated play for the Big 12 championship, thanks to the awesome, wonderful BCS.

Monday, November 24, 2008

presidential mythopoiesis

I'm seeing a number of myths about Barack Obama now starting to take shape due particularly to liberal reaction to his new administrative team, even among otherwise sane voices like Glenn Greenwald. Mostly they're of the strain that Obama is not, nor has ever been, liberal, and didn't vote like a liberal in the Senate.

This is simply not accurate. Barack Obama was one of the more consistently liberal voices in the Senate, voting with the Democrats some 96% of the time. He has a big fat 0% rating from the NRLC, an anti-Roe organization, and 100% from NARAL (higher than Russ Feingold). Despite the flak he's taken for not supporting gay marriage, he is a strong supporter of civil unions, supports ditching Don't Ask Don't Tell, and has an 89% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. He has a 100% rating from the NAACP. He voted against restricting bankruptcy protection and for repealing the tax subsidy for companies shipping jobs overseas. He voted for expanding the Pell Grant, for closing corporate tax loopholes and moving that money to education spending, and for increasing the amount of money sent to local education agencies. He voted to remove oil and gas exploration subsidies, to factor greenhouse gas emissions into federal project planning, to cancel oil contracts in ANWR, to raise CAFE standards 4%/year until 2018, and to allow states to set stricter environmental guidelines than the federal government, sporting a 96% rating from the League of Conservation Voters (the same rating as Ted Kennedy). He voted against CAFTA, and voted to add labor standards to NAFTA. He voted to establish a Senate Office of Public Integrity and sponsored a bill to disclose federal earmarks on the internet. He voted against extending the Patriot Act's wiretapping provision (though he did ultimately vote to reauthorize the Act itself), voted to preserve habeas corpus for enemy combatants, and to continue to require FISA warrants for overseas wiretapping. He voted against both Justices Roberts and Alito. He has voted consistently against cutting the capital gains tax and the estate tax, supports the Alternative Minimum Tax, and voted to increase taxes for people making more than $1 million.

This senator is not liberal?

I also find it funny that some of the same people now saying that Obama has "no one" in his administration advising him from the left criticized him in the primary for being less liberal than Hillary Clinton. After all, Clinton's superior progressive bona fides were repeatedly touted by no less than Paul Krugman, and she called herself a "progressive" at one of the early primary debates. Clinton voted with Democrats 96% of the time (same as Obama), and is labeled a "hard core liberal" by Now Clinton is a centrist, too? Admittedly, his administration is not, say, as liberal as Bush's was conservative, but if you were expecting cabinet positions for Dennis Kucinich, Barney Frank, and Russ Feingold, you were bound to be disappointed. Most of the members of his administration are decidedly to the right of Obama the senator, and that is something we liberal Obama supporters have to deal with, but Obama's voting record was most certainly liberal. Perhaps the man has changed or somehow pretended to be liberal while a senator, but the far more likely explanation is exactly what he said it was: he wants a broad spectrum of opinions around him so as to keep his feet as firmly planted in reality as possible. There was a lesson in George W. Bush's appointments about filling the president's office with ideological fellow travelers, and it looks like Obama has taken that lesson seriously.

The appointments are also evidence of Obama-ism at its core, which is not so much a political ideology (though Obama is personally quite liberal) as a sociological or psychological one, one characterized by respect and optimism. The core tenet of Obamaism, as far as I can see, is the belief that all the different sides in a given political debate operate primarily from divergent worldviews that are legitimately held and intelligently deduced, rather than motivated by mere greed/stupidity/laziness/evil/cowardice. The primary ramification of this belief is that you cannot rely on your superior ideology to provide you all the answers; there may well be places where liberalism is wrong and conservatism right, and the only way to know is to have conservatives, centrists, and old hands on board to try to prove you wrong before you enact a bad policy. Another ramification is that experience and success generally trump ideological bona fides, something you can afford when you're only 8 years removed from a moderately success administration of your own party.

This diversity in the war room also provides three major boons to the president: 1. bipartisan cred and a reputation for giving the opposition their say, 2. a deeper well from which to draw out solutions, and 3. stances and opinions that are well-tested and evidence-based.

we had no idea he was so serious

Super Obama World

Fun times. (hat tip to Mike D. for this find)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A rare moment of good, if somewhat obvious, political humor from SNL:

I can't help but kinda like a Democrat like this.

And I did a little fist pump after the Lieberman line.

Guest post: the auto industry

Much political territory has already been staked out on this issue, but it is anything but a black-and-white thing we're dealing with. I'm going to lay a lot out here, and I certainly am not an expert on any of this, but here's where I am.

My personal approach is to measure as much fact as I can, balance it against philosophy, and then try to evaluate what I think the best course of action would be. So, if I were a congressman right about now, where would I be on this?

First, facts:

-the big 3 employ directly and indirectly about 10% of the US workforce
-the big 3 spend much more per employee than the transplants and foreign companies. This is due to the combined influences of the UAW and the fact that the US is the only industrialized nation without universal health care.
-stock prices for the big 3 are in the floor. GM is at its lowest price since the great depression. This makes it remarkably difficult for them to raise operating capital
-some 20% of the entire US national manufacturing sector is tied to the automotive industry
-sales are off over 35% across the board (in some cases much more than that)
-the auto industry has already received a 25 billion dollar US govt loan this year
-corporate and consumer credit are both very difficult to come by right now
-the big 3 have a crappy track record of making great cars.
-Germany, Italy and France have considered a common EU bailout that the US could potentially negotiate its way in on

now on to philosophy:

-I don't really believe that congress should be particularly in the business of running the industry
-I do believe that US manufacturing is incredibly important to our continued prosperity and success. It's also remarkably important from a military strategic perspective.
-I agree with Obama when he says that the US auto industry is a key cog in what our national energy policy should be going forward (plug in cars). I haven't done the research yet as to what the impacts of importing that industry as would be as opposed to domestically producing it, but my hunch is that it wouldn't be nearly as advantageous.
-Generally, two big systematic problems for the US auto industry are the lack of national health care, and the credit crunch - both of which are out of the automaker's control.
-I don't believe that Ford, GM, or Chrysler have any inherent right to exist as American companies. If it's in our best interests as Americans to let one or all of them fail, then so be it. If it's not, then lets not let it happen though.

So if I were a senator, what would I propose?

Well, first off I'd go ahead and do the bridge loan. The Bush admin has made it clear that they're punting the whole economic thing to the Obama admin, and the financial realities of the auto industry seem both real and dire. There's no real reason to let them fail due solely to electoral timelines. If we're going to let them die, then let's have it be a conscious decision.

Once we get them into the Obama administration, they won't be the first priority. The first priority will be the economic stimulus - public works, states and local government, education etc. Effective execution of that stuff will have a big impact on the bottom line of the auto industry by itself. If they cannot stabilize themselves after that, then a real look should be taken into the effects of bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization)would not necessarily be a bad thing. Many inflated and crappy companies have gone through Chapter 11 in recent years, only to come out smaller, refocused, and profitable. It would force the companies to cut fat, allow appropriate bargaining with the UAW, and generally air out a lot of dirty laundry that needs to get aired out. The problems really come if they slip into chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation). Liquidation of the auto industry would be devastating to the economy overall, and is just strategically a really bad idea.

So that's where the line should be. In a perfect world congress would be able to put out some kind of assisted chapter 11 where they could infuse capital if needed but otherwise let it work itself out. A certain amount of stuff probably does need to get liquidated, and a certain amount of credit needs to be written down, but there is a line beyond which the industry cannot continue and therefore it should not be allowed to cross it.

All of this is remarkably tricky to be sure. That's why longer term actions need to be up and running quickly. Incentives for upstarts to begin innovating and manufacturing in that same space should be put into place. Movement into public transportation needs to be happening at a greater pace as well.

Obama's putting together a team of the best and the brightest, and for now that's the best we're going to be able to do. In the short term I support a bridge loan for the big 3, but over a longer period of time we probably need to re-grow manufacturing in this country from the ground up.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bush's midnight regulations: a laundry list

10 gallon tip to Chuy for finding this. Some of them are real howlers.

What a jackass.

too good for TV

And just like that, the quirkiest, most brilliantly conceived show on television suffers the fate of Firefly and Arrested Development. Apparently viewers were busy watching... what else? A crime investigation show! In fact, the 3 ratings winners on Wednesday nights, taking up the entirety of network air time from 8-11? Three crime investigation shows!

But hey, those three crime investigation shows are totally different than the crime investigation show that wins the ratings on Monday, the two crime show ratings hogs on Tuesday, the original crime show blockbuster on Thursday, and the two winners on Friday (one of which is a rerun of one of the Tuesday crime shows!).

Chew on this: every single solitary weekday, one of the primetime ratings winners is a CSI or an NCIS. Also, every time a crime investigation show airs, it beats every other show (one that isn't in its first season, anyway; this does not apply to The Mentalist and Life on Mars). The only things that have beaten established crime shows in the last 2 weeks? Sunday Night Football, the CMA's, and other crime shows.

Furthermore, the most banal, insipid crime shows regularly blow high-quality opposition out of the water. Boston Legal, for all its impressive acting performances and incisive social commentary, can't dent the ratings of the juggernaut that is CSI: Miami. Yeah, this CSI:

Nor do The Office and 30 Rock, the two greatest comedies of the decade, stand a chance against vanilla CSI.

I am angry partly because I'm just as much at fault for this as anyone, as I do occasionally indulge in a cheesy crime drama, and the worse it is, the better. There's a lesson here about voting with your dollars (or, in this case, your remote).

Raiding Norman

[The NCAA's coolest mascot, barnone.]

Swing your sword, Red Raiders.

it's never Thanksgiving for animals near Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah "li'l bit country" Palin gives a press conference where she pardons the Thanksgiving turkey and calls herself a "friend to creatures great and small (!)," but doesn't think about what might be going on right over her shoulder, in full view of the camera, when you stand in front of a hatchery a week before Thanksgiving. Let's just say it wasn't a blanket pardon.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

stolen from a TTU blog

Life gives you stories that resonant within. Stories like a young shepherd boy picking up five smooth stones and slaying a giant with a simple sling and a faith in God. Stories like a band of brothers completely encircled by German troops in WWII and when rescued by Gen. Patton claiming that they didn’t need rescuing, they were holding their own just fine. Stories about a rag tag bunch of colonies winning a war against the greatest world power of their time because they believed they could. Stories about a 6 seed Villanova defeating Georgetown for the NCAA championship, not because anyone else thought they could but because they thought they could. A runner survives 26 miles to warn his countrymen. A black woman refuses to move to the back of the bus. Stories like these inspire and bring hope because everyone of us is weaker than someone, smaller than someone and faces obstacles of our own.

Remember the advice Coach Switzer gave Coach Leach when he was offered this job? Don’t do it, you can’t win there. That in a nutshell is the world’s belief about our school. You can’t win there. Tech is too remote, too small and too inconsequential to compete. Tech faces too many giants, from storied programs such as OU, UT and Nebraska to programs that are better funded. All but Tech and Baylor in the Big 12 are land grant universities within their state. They have celebrated their 100th year of this and that. We weren’t even around 100 years ago. They are big. We are not.

But did Coach Leach listen to his mentor? No, he thought it could be done. He saw the promise. He believed in himself. He went to work. In many ways, success at Tech becomes Coach Leach. The pirates that Coach Leach is fascinated with battled world dominating empires such as the British, French and Spanish. As the pirates are to the British, French and Spanish, so Tech is to OU, UT and Nebraska. I think Leach recognized this when he started with the pirate theme. All the talk of Leach taking this job or that job seems silly to me. Can you see a Pirate becoming a British Commodore? This misfit who never played college football who is still viewed as a nutcase by traditional football powers fits here like a sword in a scabbard. West Texas is the outpost colony where only a pirate can thrive.

So Leach began to build the base and the persona of a team, a team that could challenge. He took them to war and continually crafted the approach with phases such as “swing your sword” and “do your job.” He defied the traditionalist and rallied Raider Nation with his views that his fans were as good as any and that sometimes a pirate beats a soldier. Sometimes he does indeed, sometimes he does indeed. He drilled his team on execution, execution, execution. Now you hear stories of one of the top QBs in the country spending hours in the summer with the best receiver in the country throwing routes over and over again. Doing their job and swinging their sword during the summer of Texas sweat and heat. Why work so hard boys, don’t you know you can’t win at Tech? Listen and you will hear “yes we can” in the whine of the spirals in the Texas heat. “Yes we can” in the smack of the pads against each other. “Yes we can” in the clink of the weights on the bench.

So how will the story end? I don’t know but I can tell you this. I am looking forward to seeing this team go mano a mano against OU and Stoops, the de facto King of the Big 12 hill at their house. Leach and his marauding band of brothers have already knocked down traditional power Nebraska and current power UT, who between them have over 10 MNC. OU claims 7 MNC and beyond OU is Florida, Alabama or possibly USC. Line’em all up I say, those MNC trophies don’t play a position on the field. They all started with zero trophies just like us. If and when this team wins the MNC they will probably have defeated programs with over 20 MNC between them. This team won’t win a MNC the easy way like BYU or Colorado. Nope, this team is going to have to flat out earn it by beating the hell out of the British, French and Spanish of the world. When you come from Texas Tech you know that respect is fought for and earned and the same will be true of our football team. I wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?
Wreck’em Tech

Monday, November 17, 2008

it would be irresponsible NOT to speculate!

The liberal media asks if Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

Luckily the sources, a learned and utterly balanced mix of right-wing Christians and religious conservatives, keep this story's feet firmly planted on intellectual terra firma:
Strandberg says Obama probably isn't the Antichrist, but he's watching the president-elect carefully. On his Web site, he has something called the Rapture Index, a calculation based on signs and prophecy of the proximity of the end. According to Strandberg, any number over 160 means "fasten your seat belts." Obama's win pushed the index to 161.

God may try to hide his plans from the ever-vigilant eyes of the blogosphere, but, by golly, if Dan Rather couldn't fool them,...

hall of shame

Forbes has released its list of the 10 Best-performing Cars of 2008, and the 10 worst-performing. Notice a pattern?

What about all those stories I've been told about how Detroit is making great cars now, but consumers are just slow to change their perceptions?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

up is down, black is white

Leading conservative blogger John Hinderacker:
Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.

This is why I have no faith whatsoever in the judgment of the Republican remnant to know what they need to do to fix their party. They have completely lost touch with reality.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guest Post: The Times

I thought this was appropriate. There are videos for this song that feature photos of the President-Elect, I think the words speak well enough alone.

somewhere in middle America

Barack Obama wins another electoral vote. Whose electoral vote, you ask? Omaha, Nebraska's.

comedians and Barack Obama

Let's point out the stupidly obvious: comedians are going to figure out how to make fun of Barack Obama. If I were a comedian, I'd do a bit about how everything with Obama is momentous. Show President Obama watching cartoons and then giving a speech to his kids on the possibility for eventual reconciliation between Tom and Jerry. Something about how the fundamental flaw in their thinking is not in coming up with ever more elaborate ways to physically assault each other, but in always resorting to war as a first resort. We should talk to our enemies.

In fact, you could play Obama's essential unfunniness, in ironic contrast to his appealing among young people, as a bit in itself. There's an irony about Obama that's completely untouched so far: that the young love him like they've loved no one since Kennedy, but Obama is the poster child for square grown-ups in everything but age. He takes everything so seriously. He seems like the only adult in Washington with his "no drama" mantra and disciplined campaign. He maintains a very traditional, even conservative family life. He has the perfect articulation of a Harvard man. He doesn't drink or womanize or even slouch. Even his "blow off steam" activity (basketball) is healthy! Hell, so far as I've seen, he's not even very good at telling a joke. Compared to both W. and Clinton, Barack Obama seems awfully proper and mature, even a bit stuffy. In fact, other than a dubious Jay-Z reference in one stump speech during the primary, there's little to indicate that Obama is "cool" in any traditional sense.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Guest post:A culmination of events.

A lot of things had to happen in order for Barak Obama to become President of the United States.

Obama's campaign was cooly and confidently controlled by the candidate and David Axlerod, but the circumstances surrounding and leading up to it were not. Here's a little list of some of the things that had to happen in order for Obama to stand atop this historic peak.

-1991: The end of the Persian Gulf War.

One year before Obama began teaching Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, George H Bush stopped short of invading Iraq and taking down Hussein. If Bush had actually gone into Iraq it would have likely create a simliar quagmire to the one his son created. This would have changed the entirety of the Clinton administration, and would have opened and closed the political window that Obama had to enter the national political stage on that issue. Also, W would not have had an excuse to re-invade, and indeed would be much less likely to even win a republicna nomination.

-Nov 1999: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

This was the law that repealed the depression-era rules and regulations that did things like prohibiting a bank holding company from consolidating with other financial companies. This basically allowed any finanical institution to merge with any other type of financial institution, and was one of the root causes of the mortgage meltdown. This act is still in effect today. If the meltdown had not occurred, McCain may have caught Obama in the waning days of the election. He had closed the gap in the polls in important swing states based on the "Celebrity" and "Naieve" attacks, but in the end the financial meltodown and McCain's close ties with Gramm were decicive factors in Obama's presidential win.

-Nov 2000: Obama loses his campaign for the House.

If Obama had won this race he would have had a much longer road to public prominence. The political clout of a US Representative is dilluted greatly by the number of representatives in office. His loss in this race set up his successful Senatoral run in 2004.

-Sept 2000: Bush defeats McCain in the Republican primaries.

In the same election cycle where Obama lost his election to become a house representative, John McCain was Bush's only realy competition in the Repblican presidential primaries, - along with Steve Forbes (who was going to have a hard time selling the flat-tax plan to America). If McCain had prevailed, its likely that he would have won the general electoin and that the attacks on 9/11 still would have occured. That said, McCain is less likely to have filled his office with the types of incompetant sycophants that GWB did. He may still have invaded Iraq, but it would not have been under the tutilage of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and he would have likely sent a larger ground force initially to the conflict. It's really pretty difficult to overstate the degree to wich GWB F'd up that Iraqi conflict, which was a major factor in Obama's win over Hillary in the primaries. Even a wrong-headed war pursued with some degree of comptetence would have left Obama's window that much more closed in '08.

-Dec 2000: Commodity Futures Modernization act of 2000

This is the "Enron Loophole" that deregulated the trading and allowed for the creation of derivative securities and single-stock futures. Bill Clinton signed this legislation in late December of 2000 after GWB had already won the presidency. It is this legislation that allowed Enron to rob little old ladies in California, took down Grey Davis, and set the stage for the economic collapse that occured in Oct 2008, just before the presidential election. The Enron Loophole still exists, and will continue to plague our economy until it is rectified.


No doubt there are countless other examples of things that had to go exactly right in order for Obama to have his historic run both come about and succeed. This list is really meant to highlight the political decisions that people before him had to make in order for this to come about. If any one of these things didn't go the way they did, we'd be looking at someone different coming into the whitehouse right now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

the regional party of the South

Reading these botched predictions and thinking about a conversation I had the other day, it occurs to me that the central reason the Republicans seem so out of touch is because they assumed there were always enough conservatives to win every election. The Democrats make a play for every demographic, to both their benefit and detriment, but that's a very different strategy than the Republican one. If you're not a social conservative, an economic conservative, or a foreign policy neoconservative, the Republicans are not interested in your vote, and will use you as a bogeyman to scare conservatives to the polls. The problem is those groups the Republicans have spent the last 30 years willfully antagonizing-- atheists/agnostics, feminists, liberals, immigrants, gays, religious non-Judaeo-Christians-- are among the fastest growing demographics in the country. Meanwhile, George W. Bush and the Christian Right made Republicanism uncool to a whole generation of Americans just now becoming politically aware, while congressional Republicans chased Hispanics and college-educated whites into the waiting arms of the Democratic Party. And yes, Americans are becoming slightly more liberal.

That's why it's so deathly important for Karl Rove and the rest to keep repeating "America is still a center-right country." They have to convince themselves, because the alternative is too scary.

Onion writer realizes mid column that Obama elected

This is brilliant.

So is this.

Sarah Palin: Africa is a country

Oh Sarah, it's such a shame, your exit from the national stage. We were just getting to know you! Congrats to Bush-fawning douchebag Carl Cameron: this report is like a bottle full of ranch-flavored awesome.


North Carolina called for Obama, bringing his EV total to 364. Sorry Mike.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

winners and losers

This election has nontrivial repercussions for a number of players and groups around the country. I think it's a good to take a moment to consider who the big winners and losers are at the end of the day.

The winners:

Women. With the election of Barack Obama, Roe v. Wade is guaranteed to be preserved at least for the foreseeable future. The moderate liberal quartet in the Supreme Court is aging fast, with 2 or 3 expected to retire in the new president's first term. Under John McCain, that would have almost assuredly meant the tilting of the Court hard to the right, but President Obama will likely maintain the balance, maintaining the right to privacy, and with it, the right to an abortion. Speaking of abortion, a referendum to ban it in South Dakota went down in flames along with a referendum granting legal personhood to zygotes in Colorado. Also, the election also saw a dramatic rise in the number of women office holders, including Bev Perdue as NC governor, Jeane Shaheen as NH senator, and a half dozen or so representatives.

The sick and disabled. Stem cell research funding passed in Michigan, a pretty big deal considering that's the home of some high-quality major public universities. Medical marijuana also passed there.

Katie Couric. Of all the journalists who covered or affected this election, the anchor of CBS News stands almost alone in fulfilling one the charges used to justify putting freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights: giving voters an important insight into the abilities and character of major office candidates so the voters can make an informed decision. Say what you will about her performance as an anchor, she exposed Sarah Palin as a poster child for mediocrity, and possibly saved us all from the nightmare of a Palin Administration. It likely saved her career as well; notice that no one's talking about the possibility of ousting Couric as anchor anymore.

Chuck Todd. Todd has done a great job filling the late Tim Russert's shoes, showing a mastery of the facts, a facility with explaining complicated electoral matters, and a pleasant on-air demeanor that should, in a fair world, cement his place as Russert's successor.

Bill Clinton. There is perhaps no one who benefited more from George W. Bush's epic collapse than Big Dog and his legacy (aside, of course, from Barack Obama). Clinton went from a political liability in 2000 to a boon in '08.

The voting public. Remember how people around the world and here at home viewed us as dipshits and rubes after Bush won re-election? How our reputation was sullied, seemingly without any hope of remedy? How American tourists have frequently reported an increasingly icy reception even from people in countries long considered our allies?

You done good, people.

[added 11/7/08 5:30 pm] the pollsters. We spent a lot of time second-guessing them, denigrating their past performance, talking up the Bradley effect and Shy Tory effect and Wilder effect and every other effect we could think of. Neither candidate claimed to be "listening to the polls," as if "polls" is another word for "Bolsheviks." And lo and behold, the pollsters predicted the race within their sampling error almost to a man. At least, they did outside of the 14 point Republican overperformance at all levels in Alaska, which hopefully someone will look into.

The losers:

Gays. The horrible irony of massive turnout among Obama's newest core constituencies in California, African Americans and Hispanics, caused a gay marriage ban to pass there along with several other states. Imagine what it would be like to wake up one day and find out that the government has nullified your marriage and all legal benefits deriving from it. That just happened to thousands of people on the West Coast.

Moderate Republicans. John McCain's choice of running mate was a slap in the face to them, and they were massacred in the last 2 elections, leaving only the hardcore wackos with virtual free reign of the party. Rush Limbaugh, for instance, intimated that the key question deciding if you're still welcome in the party will be "where you stood on Sarah Palin," as in, her detractors can take a hike. The Republican party is likely to tack right before it turns to the center, leaving moderate GOPers without a party for the time being.

Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulis. Their deplorable handling of the debate won't be quickly forgotten, and it wouldn't surprise me if the new Obama Administration finds itself much more willing to grant exclusive interviews to Katie Couric and Brian Williams.

George W. Bush. The lopsided loss of the presidency and the brutal purging of Republican congressmen and senators over the last 2 cycles (at current count, a total of 14 senators and 50 congressmen) has cemented his status as the primary cause of the collapse of the Republican party, and the its relegation to the status of regional party of a diminishing South. The one real electoral gift he had bequeathed the party, his massive inroads in the Hispanic vote, got torched when his party decided to use them as a whipping boy in 2005, plummeting the GOP's share of the Hispanic vote from 44% in 2004 to 32% in 2008. Hispanics are not going to forget that treachery and the huge protests in response to it, likely cementing the Hispanic vote for the Democrats for a generation.

Big business/lobbyists. It's a lot harder to curry favor with the president when he can raise a billion dollars without your help.

UPDATE: Bah! forgot one. added above.



Condi Rice almost giddy over Obama victory

I've never been a fan of hers, and have never really understood how she managed to serve the entirety of both Bush terms in high-level, high-responsibility in the White House, presiding over both the military and eavesdropping bait-and-switches of Bush's duplicitous and belligerent first term as head of the NSA, and the domestic policy catastrophes of his bumbling second term as Secretary of State, and yet has so far survived with her reputation almost perfectly intact. Nevertheless, the look on her face here, described by Salon's Joan Walsh as "like a little girl on Christmas," is pretty remarkable.

"Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast"

Newsweek lets loose with all the dirt now that the election is over. This part is positively choice:
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

A new day in America, and newfound pride in the electorate

I cried a little during the speech. I had been skyping, and calling and texting and emailing various people in and around my little circle. My mom was giddy. My friends were too.

We popped some champagne that I had sitting around. It was pretty darn good.

I have reclaimed the respect that I lost for the American voter after the 2004 election.

This election was not about race. It was about hope vs fear, and hope won out.

An unquestionable mandate, and much work to do. May we be lucky and strong enough to work together again towards a better country.

I feel a lot of love tonight.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

exit polls

...not designed to predict elections. Thus, their margin of error tends to be higher than other polls. Don't trust them.

election predictions

My best guess, pulled fresh from my tookis:
* 57 Democratic Senate seats (not including Lieberman and Sanders)
* 41 Republican Senate seats
* 252 Democratic House seats
* 183 Republican House seats
* 338 Obama Electoral Votes
* 200 McCain Electoral Votes
* 52.5 Obama Popular Vote Percentage
* 46.3 McCain Popular Vote Percentage
Your guesses?

lines and lines...and lines

Enjoy these photos. Your kids will look at them in their history books. I'll drop a prediction thread pretty soon. I was planning to say Obama by 5, but I'm starting to think that's unrealistically low. It's certainly pessimistic compared to the polls.

Sap voted this morning at 10am, and still had to wait in line. Neither of us have ever seen a line at our voting place.

Monday, November 03, 2008

the big day

So here we are, folks: the end of the line. Currently poll aggregates for all states and all races can be found at, and TPM has a list of poll closing times and an interactive, constantly updated electoral map.

Nate Silver has a great rundown in Newsweek of the order of poll closings and what to watch for. Here's a brief synopsis:

6pm: polls close in Kentucky. KY is going for McCain, but there's a humdinger of a Senate race between Bruce Lunsford and current Senate Minority Leader and architect of Republican obstruction Mitch McConnell. Current polling has McConnell up by 3, but if Lunsford pulls the upset, the door is open for Democrats take a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate.

7pm: Virginia, Georgia, New Hampshire, Indiana. Indiana technically closes at 6, but there's a handful of heavy-Obama counties in Central Time. If Virginia (currently at +5.5 Obama) goes for Obama, he only has to hold PA to take the presidency, and if it goes early, McCain's chances become extremely remote. Obama should be helped in a reverse-coattails fashion by Mark Warner's impending 30 point demolition of the hapless Jim Gilmore in the VA senate. If Indiana (at +.5 McCain) goes for Obama, we're looking at a landslide. If Georgia falls to Obama (+3 McCain), he may get 270 electoral votes before the polls close on the West Coast. Georgia holds the second toss-up Senate contest with uber-slimeball Saxby Chambliss (currently up 4), again opening up the possibility of 60 seats if he goes down to Democrat Jim Martin. A more likely Dem Senate pickup can be found in NH, where former Dem governor Jean Shaheen is on pace to smoke John Sununu.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, however, is at +15. He's going to win re-election in a walk.

7:30: Ohio and North Carolina. These are both must-wins for McCain; there is no hope for John McCain without these two electoral vote-rich states. Obama's up 4 in Ohio, and a late McCain surge has left NC in a tie. Also look for Kay Hagan (up by 4) to give NC Senator Liddy Dole the ol' heave ho.

8pm: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Missouri. If Obama has taken any of the previous battlegrounds and holds Pennsylvania (where he's up 7), he's going to win. Barack is up 16 in Michigan and down 1.5 in Missouri.

9pm: Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota. These are a likely Obama sweep, and if Obama has won Pennsylvania, Colorado (at +7 Obama) will be enough to put him over the top even without the early battlegrounds. Also watch for Al Franken to take down Senator Norm Coleman in MN, and a pair of Udalls to take Republican-held open seats in New Mexico and Colorado. Fun fact: if Obama were somehow to sweep the battlegrounds to this point, the 9pm states will give him 277 votes and the presidency.

10pm: Nevada, Iowa, Montana. Obama should be a lock for Iowa (+13 Obama), is ahead in Nevada (+7 Obama), and has a shot in Montana (+2 McCain). Silver calls Nevada Obama's "ace in the hole," as it, combined with Virginia and Colorado, would make up the difference in the unlikely loss of Pennsylvania.

11pm: California, Oregon, Washington. My expectation is that these will be called very soon after the polls close and that California will do the honors of giving Obama his 270th vote. Cally voters have a much closer vote to take care of in Proposition 8 which, if ratified, will ban same sex marriages in the state. They're currently legal in California by judicial decision, but the vote is dead even at the moment. Both Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger have come out against Prop 8, and Samuel L. Jackson and Ellen Degeneres have cut pretty outstanding ads against it.

Meanwhile, just up I-5, Jeff Merkley is likely to cast Senator Gordon Smith from his perch. If Smith's the 8th senator of the night to fall, expect the Democrats to get their 60 seats.

1am: Alaska. Ted Stevens, former President Pro Tempore of the Senate and recently convicted felon, is going down in flames. Expect Begich to win by more than 10, putting an ignominious end to the career of the man who has represented Alaska since it was a territory.

UPDATE: I forgot to add a note about Prop 8 and the Oregon Senate race in the 11pm slot. Added in bold.

this f**king election


Texas at Texas Tech: holy Mother of God

Uh, I think we won. Did anybody watch the end of that one?

If you look at the polls right now, you may notice that the Red Raiders are... I can't believe I'm saying this... number two. I just heard one of the sports talking heads refer to Texas Tech as "a genuine championship contender."

Wow. The PAC-10 is so stealing our coach next year.