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:

<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 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 homosexual 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.