Friday, October 29, 2004

Election Headed to a Tie?

DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST - A computer analysis found 33 potential scenarios leading to a tie electoral vote for Sen. John F. Kerry and President Bush. If neither collects the 270 votes needed, the House will decide-with each state getting one vote. . . None of these scenarios is likely to occur next week, but neither is any of them far-fetched. Tuesday's election will probably be decided in 11 states where polls currently show the race too tight to predict a winner. . . Normally, such outcomes are strictly theoretical. But not this time, with the election seemingly so close and unpredictable. "Fluky things probably happen in every election, but because most are not close nobody pays any attention," said Charles E. Cook Jr., an elections handicapper. "But when it's virtually a tied race, hell, what isn't important?" Cook says this election is on course to match 2000's distinction of having five states decided by less than half a percentage point.

A 269-269 tie is VERY possible. But there are a ton of wildcards in the mix right now, too, that could theoretically upset the pot even more. My top 3:

1. Black Box Voting (favors Republicans/likelihood: 100%)
2. Colorado's Split Electorate (favors Democrats/likelihood: 35%)
3. West Virginia's Rogue Elector (favors Democrats/likelihood: 15%)

Want to see how close it's really going to be? I suggest checking out these two sites:

Current Polling Data
|| Interactive Electoral Map

Pretty crazy stuff..... but wait, it gets better/worse:

President Edwards?

STEPHEN MARMON, NY TIMES - It's Jan. 20, 2005, and a stunned America watches as John Edwards is sworn in as both vice president and acting president of the United States. Impossible? No, nor is a Bush-Edwards administration.

There are just a few upsets needed in states where the presidential race is very close. Even if President Bush wins Wisconsin and Minnesota - two states he lost in 2000 - Senator John Kerry would force a 269-269 Electoral College tie if he carries Colorado, Missouri, Nevada and New Hampshire, and Al Gore's states.....

In the Senate, at least 51 votes would be required to elect a vice president. Given current polls, the Democrats can gain control of the Senate by picking up seats in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky and Oklahoma, while losing seats in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Senator Edwards would be elected as vice president.

The House, however, votes for president by state, with 26 delegations required for election. If members of the House then voted as their states did, President Bush, in this scenario, would carry 28 states, thus leading to a Bush-Edwards administration.

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin, however, have House delegations that are evenly divided and are expected to remain that way. Members in those two states could decide to vote in line with the results of their districts, not the statewide result, thus their states would not be able to cast a vote because they deadlocked. If the Congressional delegation in one other state that also voted for Mr. Bush happened to deadlock, or defied the state result and voted for Senator Kerry, President Bush would get only 25 states.

The Constitution provides that the vice president becomes president if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office. But the 20th Amendment states that: "If a president shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the president-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the vice president-elect shall act as president until a president shall have qualified."

The House could remain deadlocked for two years, and perhaps even four, depending on the results of the 2006 Congressional elections. And until the House reaches a decision, Acting President John Edwards would occupy the Oval Office.

I'm gonna put the likelihood of the above scenario at 0.01%, but it's still pretty crazy stuff to think about.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Lazyboy - Underwear Goes Inside Your Pants

Best. Song. Ever.

Video: Windows Media || Real Media

MP3

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

How to Tell On Sunday Who Will Win on Tuesday

BEN MALLER - The outcome of Washington Redskins football games has correctly predicted the winner of every U.S. presidential election since 1936. The Redskins have proved to be a time-tested election predictor. In the previous 15 elections, if the Skins have lost their last home game prior to the election, the incumbent party has lost the White House. When they have won, the incumbent has stayed in power. This election year, that deciding game takes place on Sunday, October 31 ... vs. Green Bay.

IT'S TIGHT:

Washington 4-2

Green Bay 4-3

Stress Lowers Students' Exam Performance

BBC - Pre-exam stress makes it more difficult for candidates to solve complex problems, a US report suggests. Researchers at Ohio State University looked at 19 first year students' performances two days before and a week after a classroom test. They found the ability to deal with complex, open-ended questions improved markedly as stress subsided. However, the students did better at simpler tasks, such as memorising numbers, while under more pressure.

During acute stress the body releases a compound called norepinephrine. Also known as "fight or flight" compound, it allows people to react quickly to an immediate threat. Previous studies have shown it improves some types of mental activity, such as short-term memory. But David Beversdorf, co-author of the report, said: "Even though norepinephrine may help a student recall memorized facts, it could hinder his ability to think flexibly."

Video: 'Mosh'

Monday, October 25, 2004

Get Fuzzy

Sunday, October 24, 2004

OHIO

From DAILY KOS:

Sat Oct 23rd, 2004 at 20:14:08 GMT

So what's going on with Ohio? No Republican has won the presidency in modern times without carrying Ohio. Yet here we are the, the final month of the election, and Bush has been in the Buckeye State once, with only a short visit planned before election day.

It can't be the overconfidence. Not only is Kerry leading in most of the October polling in the state, but Bush is below 50 percent in all of them.

Fact is, Ohio is a glaring problem in Bush's reelection stratgy. The state's job situation is bleak.

In Ohio, the jobless rate improved slightly from 6.3% last month but still hovers at 6%, well above the national average and virtually the same as a year before. This is up sharply from the 3.9% unemployment rate in Ohio when George W. Bush took office.

The race is exceedingly close in both these battleground states, but the Kerry economic pitch seems to resonate more in Ohio. One recent Democratic survey there found almost 70% of Ohio residents thought the country was on the wrong track.

Slate talks about Bush's strange Ohio strategy:
Ohio and Florida remain central to Kerry's Electoral College strategy. But for Bush, has Ohio been demoted? He's not going to start spending a lot of time in Ohio over the next few days after his Canton toe-touch. Here's his schedule after the Saturday trip to Florida: New Mexico on Sunday, Colorado and Iowa on Monday, and Wisconsin and Iowa on Tuesday. (Sunday's Alamogordo, N.M., rally is a change from the schedule issued two days ago, which showed President Bush spending the day at his Crawford ranch, with no public events. The late-inning vacation is one mistake from 2000 that Bush has apparently decided not to repeat.)
New Mexico and Wisconsin, two Gore states, are apparently Rove's replacement for an increasingly out-of-reach Ohio. Here is what's becoming Rove's best-case scenario map:

Note Bush's upcoming schedule -- lots of Iowa, NM and Wisconsin. It increasingly looks like Bush will end up camping out in Wisconsin the last week of the election. Because without Wisconsin, he can't pull it off. (And here I am assuming that MN is increasingly out of reach -- a fact confirmed by Bush's upcoming travel schedule.)

The map above puts the EV count at 262 Kerry, 254 Bush. NM and IA, combined, would not offset a Kerry victory in WI. Bush needs both Wisconsin and either Iowa or New Mexico. Wisconsin and NM, in this scenario, gives us the dreaded 269-269 tie that would send matters to the House of Representatives and a likely Bush victory (here's an old analysis of how a tie would play out).

For the record, this is the map I'm betting on today:

That would give Kerry a 311-227 victory. And I still think we have legitimate chances to take NV, CO, MO and WV, and outside chances to take VA, NC, AR, and AZ.

Q & A

What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?
George Bush had a plan for getting out of Vietnam.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Product I'd Buy

CBC NEWS - A keychain device that enables people to turn off TVs just about anywhere is flying off the shelves, its inventor says... The TV-B-Gone ($14.99 US) remote control was made public Monday in Wired magazine and on the web.

"I thought there would just be a trickle, but we are swamped," the inventor, Mitch Altman of San Francisco, told the Associated Press. "I didn't know there were so many people who were into turning TV off."

The device, an on-off switch, works on about 1,000 TV models, offering users relief from unwanted pictures and noise in airports, restaurants and bars. It's like a universal remote control programmed to run through about 200 infrared codes that turn TVs on or off. Aim the device, push the button and most TVs will go off.

Altman, an electrical engineer, says he tested the device all over the world and most people didn't react when the TV went off. He doesn't like television and doesn't own one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bush Relatives for Kerry

Because blood is thinner than oil.

Pat Robertson: Bush Said He Didn't Expect Casualties in Iraq

CNN - The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties." Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,'" Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Robertson, the televangelist who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, said he wishes Bush would admit to mistakes made.

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties.". . .

Even as Robertson criticized Bush for downplaying the potential dangers of the Iraq war, he heaped praise on Bush, saying he believes the president will win the election and that "the blessing of heaven is on Bush."

Personal Delusions Affect the Policies of Taxation

FINANCIAL TIMES - For many international observers, John Kerry's tax proposals seem like an easy sell - roll back the tax cuts on the richest 2 per cent to fund new tax breaks for the middle class. . . But when Americans are asked whom they trust to handle tax policy, they consistently opt for George W. Bush over Mr Kerry. So what accounts for Mr Kerry's failure to persuade a majority of Americans that his tax plans would benefit them?

. . . A key reason may be that many Americans believe they are rich. In a US survey by Time Magazine in 2000, 19 per cent of respondents thought they were in the top 1 per cent of earners and another 19 per cent believed they would be one day.

. . . "Many Americans cherish dreams that they could be the next Donald Trump," says Karry Katz, a Harvard economist. "And this is quite a powerful antidote to class envy."

[Good article.]

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Green Day)

I walk a lonely road,
The only one that I have ever known,
Don't know where it goes,
But it's home to me and I walk alone,
I walk this empty street,
On the blvd. of broken dreams,
Where the city sleeps,
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone,
I walk alone,
I walk alone,
I walk a..

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me,
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating,
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me,
'Til then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line,
That divides me somewhere in my mind,
On the borderline of the edge,
And where I walk alone,
Read between the lines of what's
Fucked up and everything's alright,
Check my vital signs to know I'm still alive,
And I walk alone

I walk alone,
I walk alone,
I walk alone,
I walk a..

I walk this empty street,
On the blvd. of broken dreams,
Where the city sleeps,
And I'm the only one and I walk a..,

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me,
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating,
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me,
'Til then I walk alone

I'm only putting this on my blog because you sickos specifically requested it...

Fox News Commentator Bill O'Reilly:



66. During the course of O'REILLY's telephone monologue on August 2, 2004, he suggested that Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS purchase a vibrator and name it, and that he had one "shaped like a cock with a little battery in it" that a woman had given him. It became apparent that Defendant was masturbating as he spoke. After he climaxed, Defendent O'REILLY said to Plaintiff: "I appreciate the fun phone call. You can have fun tonight. I'll appreciate it. I mean it." Plaintiff felt as if the floor had fallen out from beneath her. She was shocked, frightened and upset. She felt trapped.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Draft Looms for Doctors

U.S. Has Contingency Plans for a Draft of Medical Workers
October 19, 2004


NY TIMES - In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the Selective Service described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted...

Under the plan, Mr. Flahavan said, about 3.4 million male and female health care workers ages 18 to 44 would be expected to register with the Selective Service. From this pool, he said, the agency could select tens of thousands of health care professionals practicing in 62 health care specialties.

"The Selective Service System plans on delivering about 36,000 health care specialists to the Defense Department if and when a special skills draft were activated," Mr. Flahavan said...

In a recent article in The Wisconsin Medical Journal, published by the state medical society, Col. Roger A. Lalich, a senior physician in the Army National Guard, said: "It appears that a general draft is not likely to occur. A physician draft is the most likely conscription into the military in the near future."

Since 2003, the Selective Service has said it is shifting its preparations for a draft in a national crisis toward narrow sectors of specialists, including medical personnel...

The Selective Service and Widmeyer held focus groups this summer to sample public opinion toward registration and a possible draft including medical personnel. People from a variety of professions, including doctors and nurses, were questioned.

But M.A.S.H. makes it look like so much fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Thought ~

The soul loves

the one who runs and falls down

more than the one who

sits and watches.

The Worst Jobs in Science

WILLIAM SPEED WEED,POPULAR SCIENCE - Think your job's bad? Try dragging a bedspread around tick-ridden thickets, pausing regularly in the 100-degree heat not to squeegee the sweat from your brow but to tweeze dozens of the tiny pests into a collection jar. Reconsidering your career choice? Imagine training for years as a veterinarian, only to find yourself engaged in lab work designed to make the tail-wagging puppies in your charge sick, knowing all the while that when the study is over, the pooches will be euthanized. Having a bad day? Just be glad you're not spending it in minute examination of unusual growths on a dozen or so people's posteriors.

But don't feel sorry for the scientists and staffers employed in these travails and the 14 others gathered in this, our second annual countdown of the worst jobs in science — they probably wouldn't want your job any more than you'd want theirs. Case in point: As we canvassed hundreds of scientists for worst-job nominees, an inexplicable thing happened -- the glorious and esteemed calling known as "science journalist" kept garnering votes. Something about missing out on the chance to do real science ourselves, coupled with our need to simplify (or was it "oversimplify"?) the subjects we cover.

Anal-Wart Researcher
Worm Parasitologist
Lab-Animal Veterinarian
Tampon Squeezer
Landfill Monitor
K-25 Demolition Worker
Ecologist at St. John’s Harbor
Iraqi Archaeologist
Tick Dragger
Nurse
Computer Help-Desk Tech
Congressional Science Fellow
Public-School Science Teacher
Nosologist
Root Sorter
Crank
Television Meteorologist

A.M.A. Says Government Should Negotiate on Drugs

ROBERT PEAR, NY TIMES - The American Medical Association says the government should negotiate directly with drug manufacturers to secure lower prices on prescription medicines for the nation's elderly. Under the new Medicare law, signed by President Bush last December, 41 million elderly and disabled people will have access to drug benefits in 2006. Medicare will rely on private health plans to deliver the benefits. The law says the government "may not interfere" in negotiations with drug companies.

Britain Prepared for Flu Vaccine Crisis, Bush Admin. Didn't

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY, UK - Why did the British never allow themselves to become dependent on just two flu major flu vaccine suppliers like the Americans did? According to health experts, they did this in case the current Chiron flu vaccine crisis happened - to make sure the nation's people were not left in a vulnerable position.

Last August UK officials, with the same information the US officials had, decided something had to be done in case the Chiron supplies, 14% of UK supplies, went belly up. The US officials decided to believe Chiron and gamble 48% of their supplies on an assurance that everything would turn out fine despite some worrying set backs. . .

Even without this crisis, the UK authorities have always had a situation where they can fall back on six or seven suppliers that have been pre-approved by UK authorities. The US, on the other hand, only has two - one of which has let them down. . .

America's only other supplier, Aventis, may have upped supplies if they had been asked in advance - say last August - said an Aventis spokesman. But no one from the US approached them on this matter, not till after Oct 5.

WASHINGTON POST -In 2001, the General Accounting Office cautioned that ensuring an adequate flu vaccine supply had become more difficult because of a dwindling number of manufacturers and that problems at one of the two or three remaining vaccine makers could "significantly impact overall vaccine availability."

DENISE GRADY, NY TIMES - Public health experts have long cautioned against the country's dependence on a few vaccine makers, and yet this has become standard practice. . . In recent years there have been many significant disruptions of vaccine supplies. Between November 2000 and May 2003, there were shortages of 8 of the 11 vaccines for childhood diseases in the United States, including those for tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, mumps and chicken pox. There have been flu vaccine shortages or miscues for four consecutive years.

In recent decades, many drug companies in the United States abandoned the manufacture of vaccines, saying that they were expensive to make, underpriced and not profitable enough. Flu vaccine can be a particular gamble, because the demand for it varies from year to year and companies throw away what they do not sell because a new vaccine must be made each year to deal with changing strains of the virus. . .

The government did little to stop companies from quitting the business, and in some cases may have created policies that made matters worse. A report last year by the Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, noted that 30 years ago, 25 companies made vaccines for the United States, whereas today there are 5.

Our clinics were out of flu vaccine last week. I wonder how many people might have missed their only chance to be inoculated....

Bin Laden in China?

GORDON THOMAS, EL MUNDO - During the home stretch of the Northa American elections, Osama bin Laden could prove to be the ace in the sleeve of president Bush. As we speak, Washington is negotiating a highly secretive agreement with Beijing, the Chinese capital, for the eviction of bin Laden from his sanctuary in the turbulent Muslim provinces of China, in the Northwest of the Great Wall nation.

More than five million people, many of them fanatic followers of Osama, live in that region, which can be called one of the most volatile regions of earth. Thousands of them work for the mafias who specialize in the trafficking of humans and drugs to the West. Last summer, Bin Laden sealed an agreement with the authorities in Beijing, in which he was granted asylum in return for his guarantees that the guerilla war of the Muslim Chinese against the Chinese nation would end.

Over the years, tens of thousands of troops of the Popular Liberation Armee had been sent to the region with the intent to squash the insurgents. Since the arrival of the Saudi Osama Bin Laden, the region has been relatively quiet, and the Muslims who live there are allowed to continue their trafficking of humans and drugs.

However, Bin Laden could now see himself trapped in his refuge, if an extraordinary agreement between Beijing and Washington would come to pass, in which China would hand over to the United States the most wanted terrorist in the world. The capture of Bin Laden would virtually guarantee the reelection of George Bush Jr., as it would confirm to the millions of undecided voters of the U.S. that the war against terrorism was justified after Bin Laden had authorized the attacks of 9/11 against New York and Washington.

October....


Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry holds up the pumpkin he chose at the Garringer Family Pumpkin Patch in Jeffersonville, Ohio October 16, 2004, part of a day-long campaign bus trip through Ohio. [Reuters]

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ha Ha Ha....

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

From Keith Olbermann's Scoring Table

A sample from the round-by-round analysis of the debate from the MSNBC anchorman:

• 10:41 p.m. ET
Immediate Post-Match: Kerry and Bush shake hands warmly. Kerry slaps Bush on arm. And Teresa's the first out on to the podium for the hug. And here come the Bush girls. Huge hug between Teresa and Laura. Now Kerry kisses Laura Bush. Point to Kerry. Bushes are first off the stage. Bush never mentioned "run not hide." Kerry catches Bush on a truth foul on Osama Bin Laden, when Bush said he didn't recall saying he didn't focus on him. "I just don't spend much time on him really, to be honest with you," President said during Afghanistan war, opening up the Thursday morning quarterbacks.
Two immediate supplemental points to Kerry.
Interim final scoring upcoming.


• 10:58 p.m. ET
Points Scoring: The Scorer's Table unenthusiastically reports this bout as going to Senator John Kerry by 12 rounds to 4, with 5 rounds even. On individual points, Senator Kerry is awarded a net total of 19 points, and President Bush a net of 2, having undermined his own effort with no less than eight points subtracted, three of them in a disastrous 12th Round in which the President had to be told time was up, answered a question with, in essence, 'all of the above,' and stumbled by inadvertently criticizing himself by claiming the borders of Texas were tighter than they'd been when he was Governor there. He also lost points for having twice invoked the 2000 election, and for once having given back at least a minute of time when the question hadn't really been answered.

The Scorer's Table acknowledges that the chief scorer was in a surly mood because he was kept from Yankee Stadium. New York leads Boston, 3-1, bottom eight, with Boston threatening.

Fact Check

Long time since I've posted, I know.... don't worry, I'm still alive.... just been occupied with other things of late.

Thoughts on tonight's debate:

Biggest headline, Bush is a LIAR....

13 march 2003 press conference:

Q: Mr. President, in your speeches now, you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? [...]

BUSH: ... I don't know where he is. Nor -- you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you [...]

Q: Do you believe the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead of alive?

BUSH: As I say, we hadn't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, you know, again, I don't know where he is.

I'll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him.

Those are George Bush's own words - the very ones he claimed during the debate to never have spoken:

AP - Kerry accurately quoted Bush as saying he does not think much about Osama bin Laden and is not all that concerned about him. The president protested: "I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Records....

"I'm surprised to hear [Dick Cheney] talk about records. When he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Head Start, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors.

"He voted against the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

"It's amazing to hear him criticize either my record or John Kerry's."

--John Edwards

Who Won?

From Republican columnist Andrew Sullivan:

THE POLLING: ABCNews' poll gives the debate to Cheney - by a margin of 43 to 35 percent, with 19 percent calling it a tie. That may end up as the conventional wisdom. But the viewing public made it skewed, because 38 percent of ABC's viewers were Republicans, 31 percent Democrats, and the rest independents. Adjust for that and it's almost a tie. CBS' poll - dismiss it, if you will - of only uncommitted voters found that 41 percent said Edwards won the debate, versus 28 percent who said Cheney won. Thirty-one percent said it was a tie. That makes more sense to me. In the ABC News poll, Bush supporters were particularly emphatic that Cheney won big. That makes sense to me psychologically - and it may help explain why so many conservatives viewed it as a huge Cheney win. They need to believe that right now, to keep their spirits up after last Thursday. The pundits also want to keep the interest alive and so may want to back Cheney to keep the race more interesting. My view is that Cheney undoubtedly fired up his base; but I doubt very much that he made any headway with swing voters, and may well have alienated many. Edwards helped Kerry tonight. I didn't expect it; but I'm sticking with my judgment. My view is that Republican bias is making many believe Cheney did much better than he actually did. I'd already discounted the Daddy factor. But we'll see, won't we?

FACTCHECK.COM

--Per Dick Cheney's recommendation.

"The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight." --Dick Cheney

A liar, or simply forgetful?



AP - In perhaps the most awkward blooper of the evening, Cheney told Edwards to his face that they had never met before the debate, despite evidence they had.

Edwards' campaign later provided a transcript of a February 2001 prayer breakfast at which Cheney began his remarks by acknowledging the North Carolina senator. The campaign said the two also met when Edwards accompanied the other North Carolina senator, Elizabeth Dole, to her swearing-in ceremony.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Seriously

Seriously. :-)