November 3, 2012

At the Mid-Autumn Café...

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... sharp contrast.

Romney up by 1 in...

... !!!... Minnesota!

"Unprecedented micro-targeting by campaigns creeps out voters."

And they're especially willing to say so when they're targeted by their zip code and they don't agree with the party that dominates there:
"It was Mitt Romney saying, 'I know you have an absentee ballot and I know you haven't sent it in yet,' " Trulen said in an interview. "That just sent me over the line. Not only is it like Big Brother. It is Big Brother. It's down to where they know I have a ballot and I haven't sent it in! I thought when I requested the ballot that the only other entity that would know was the Mukwonago clerk.... It's alarming to me.... It's just not right. . . . It's like you can feel the tentacles creeping into your house under your door."

The calls to Trulen were likely part of the GOP's effort to get out the vote in what the party considers one of its strongest counties. Waukesha County is traditionally a Republican stronghold, just as Milwaukee tends to go for Democrats.

The irony is that the robocallers apparently haven't figured out Trulen is actually a minority in her county: She has been voting Democratic.
For comparison, check out the "report card" the liberals send to our house yesterday... "I'm sure they chose Meade as a recipient based on our zip code."

"Billionaire Thomas Peterffy's ‘socialist’ ads raise questions."

Headlines Politico, pointing its readers at a very effective ad that they might otherwise avoid:



The "questions" referred to in the headline are about who is helping Peterffy, a political neophyte, to make and place such ad. But there's nothing interesting there, and Peterffy comes across as an intelligent, persuasive independent:
Typically, such ads call for supporting or opposing specific candidates, but Peterffy’s ad is more vague because it doesn’t mention specific candidates — only an encouragement to vote Republican....

Peterffy said he supports Republican candidates because he sees the rhetoric of social justice and fairness from Democrats, including President Barack Obama, as a slippery slope. He also said Romney’s 47 percent comment reflected his own fears about the future of the country and was taken out of context.

“My understanding was that he said he had no ability to influence the 47 percent,” Peterffy said. “That’s the very logic I’m based on. I’m worried about when that 47 percent goes to 60 percent.”

What time do polls close?

Here's a useful map for those of you who are trying to picture the way the news will roll out on Tuesday night. What places will we hear from first? Where might we see surprisingly early evidence of a Romney blowout, if that's what's about to happen? The earliest sign might come from Virginia, where the polls close at 7 ET. I was imagining Pennsylvania as the possible first sign, but polls don't close there until 8, at which point we'll be seeing Michigan and Missouri. Ohio and North Carolina come in at 7:30, so the impression from Ohio will precede Pennsylvania.

"Thugs have been masquerading as Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) workers, knocking on doors in the dead of night."

In Queens, where people "say the real workers have been nowhere in sight" and they're "arming themselves with guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend against looters."

"California grandmother steps forward just in time to claim $23 million lottery jackpot."

The 5 months had nearly passed, and the newspapers, hoping to prompt the ticket buyer into noticing, put up a blurry picture of the woman who seems to have bought the ticket:
On Thursday, someone texted [Julie Cervera] a photo of her daughter, Charliena Marquez, buying the winning ticket for her at a Palmdale Liquor store....

“I put my 99-cent glasses on, and I had to put two pairs on to see it,” said Cervera, 69, of Victorville. She recognized her daughter in the grainy photo, but she still couldn’t read the caption....
Cervera, a widow who has lived on disability for 20 years, said her family has been through difficult times recently. Last year her 47-year-old son Rudy was killed in a motorcycle accident, leaving four teenage children.

“I’d give it all up to have my son here again,” she said and began to cry...

“My grandkids are all going to be taken care of, and my (three) daughters,” she said. “I’m just so happy. I’m going to buy me a pair of Reeboks.” 

We called in Language Log — over the Biden gaffe/non-gaffe — and Language Log responded.

"There's never been a day I wasn't happy to oblige either Ann Althouse or Ron Hardin, and especially not both of them."

LOL. Thanks!

Vote — for revenge... or love?



This clip neatly embodies a reason why I believe Romney will win. He feels like optimism, and Obama — who once owned the word "hope" — seems petulant, divisive, and ungrateful.

ADDED: On love and revenge, read Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech on Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize:
Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
AND: Here, for comparison, is Barack Obama's speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, over which we will puzzle forever. What was it for? He didn't mention revenge, but he did mention King and he did mention love:
The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached – their fundamental faith in human progress – that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.

"People keep talking about the role of government in helping people.... but a lot of the credit for helping people recover from the storm should go to businesses."

"It's all too easy to implicitly exclude businesses from our mental category of those who help people."
(Why? Because they're driven by profits? Is that worse than being driven by votes?)
It might be better, because businesses have to offer something that moves you to part with your money. With a scheme of taxing and spending, government detaches the process of handing over our money from our thoughts about whether we think the benefits are worth it.

And by the way, businesses not only help people, they are people.

Back to the first link (which goes to my son John's blog):
I can think of many ways that businesses helped me get through the past 5 days, when the power was out in my apartment and my workplace....

You may be able to look out your downtown Madison window and see Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, but don't you dare.

"The counter terrorism teams have to be cognizant of movement in windows for obvious reasons... Please cooperate with their needs and stay away from those windows. We, too, would like to watch, but we need to avoid the urge."

Yeah, when Obama appeared right outside my office window — just a few weeks ago — I got email telling me that if I looked out my window I could expect a visit from the police. Then they just shut down the whole law school building for the entire day and closed all the blinds. They hung a giant building-sized curtain all down one side of a dorm that had a view of the central mall where the President appeared.

And now he's coming back to the City of Obama Love — Madison, Wisconsin — to create a final burst of glowing adoration on the morning before Election Day, and our town is thrown into disarray once again for photo-op purposes, because we are the fresh-faced folk who still gaze upon him with awe. There are the young people — whose professors will undoubtedly free them from classes once again — and the aging liberals — who will surely feel the pull of the lugubrious dronings of Mr. Springsteen.
City employees have also been warned. "Offices facing MLK Jr., Blvd. and Wilson Street will need to be locked and vacant with the blinds drawn," Mayor Paul Soglin wrote in an email Friday afternoon to staff and city alders. "Adherence to this directive is imperative as the health and safety of our employees may be negatively impacted if we fail to enforce this directive," he added.
Adherence to this directive is imperative as the health and safety of our employees may be negatively impacted if we fail to enforce this directive.... jeez, he's talking like a robot! What are they threatening to do to us if we look out a window? Negatively impact us....

Irrelevant benefits to Obama's losing the election, #1.

I write "#1" with confidence, as if I know I'll have additional reasons and this post is the first in a series.

"Irrelevant," because these will not be reasons that ought to have any influence on whether you should vote for Obama or not. (If you want to know what I'm doing and why, that post was yesterday.)

So here's the reason: It will be interesting to see what Obama does with himself if he is suddenly plunged into the circumstance of not being President. If Romney loses, no one will watch him, seeing what he does. He'll melt back into the general population. He's 65 years old. His accomplishments are accomplished. And if he never makes it to the presidency, he'll be a former candidate, not a former President. He doesn't even go back to an existing public office.

When's the last time a major party candidate lost without having a political position to which he could return? Not McCain. Not Kerry. They went back to the Senate. Oh, no! It was Al Gore! He found things to do to interest, entertain, and torment us. He would not be ignored. But he was a young man — young for a presidential candidate — only 52. It's possible that Romney will undertake some grandiose project, but it's nearly impossible to picture him going Gore on us. It's safe to predict that if Romney loses, he'll gracefully concede, wish us all well, and retire into private life, within which he'll be a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, doing manifold good works that will receive no publicity.

But Obama! He's only 51. He was too green to have become President when he did, and he stumbled and lost — if he loses. He had so much promise that he hit the top early, and now all that ability, brought to bear too soon, goes forward into prime years... for what?! That's what's so interesting. We'll get to see what. We only get to see what's down that path if he loses: an irrelevant benefit to Obama's losing the election.

"If they named their cat/dog/goldfish after Kierkegaard Imma puke!"

Said Amartel in the comments to yesterday's post, which was titled with a quote from a Chelsea Clinton tweet: "Marc, Soren and I are at home with candles, kindles and canned food!"

Hang onto your breakfast, Amartel. Here's a NYT article from last December:
[Marc] Mezvinsky, a former Goldman Sachs banker, will soon start a hedge fund with a friend. The couple’s apartment, shared with a miniature Yorkshire terrier named Soren, after the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, is said to be overflowing with books. On the phone from Arkansas, Ms. Clinton talked about her husband’s continuous support and their habit of talking “about everything, almost sometimes ad nauseam.”
How's your nauseam now, Amartel?

***

"I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both."

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either name your dog after a Danish philosopher or after a generic southern guy. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do one or the other — people will needle you about both.

***

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either vote for Barack Obama or not. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.

"I do want you to support me and be my man."

I never embedded this back when it came out about a month ago — just after the first debate. Everyone, it seemed, had already linked to it immediately — with good reason! — and I felt it was instantly too late to be pointing to it. But I must say, it's my favorite thing from the campaign season, Meade and I play it every day and sing lines from it when we're not playing it. We know all the words — within reason/unreason — and allude to them in daily casual conversation. The deep, truthy absurdity gets better and better and serves more and more fundamental needs as the electoral season crawls to its desperate end. Now, first, I want you two to turn and look at each other....



It's party time, chumps!

November 2, 2012

Obama's speech is "coming from his loins."

Says Axelrod, apparently noticing how... odd that sounds and adding, jocosely, "I just wanted to say loins. I wanted to see if I could get loins in the story."

Loins. From what part of Axelrod's brain does that arise? I think of the first lines of Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita": "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."

Oh. Bah. Mah.

Loins. You see that word in the Bible: "In Biblical translations, often used for 'that part of the body that should be covered and about which the clothes are bound.'"

The word is used conspicuously by God, speaking to Job "out of the whirlwind":
Who is this that darkeneth counsel
By words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man;
For I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Indeed, where was Obama when Jehovah laid the foundations of the earth Axelrod laid the foundations of his presidency?

"Marc, Soren and I are at home with candles, kindles and canned food!"

"Any must-read recommendations for waiting out a storm?"

It's Chelsea Clinton, tweeting from the dark zone of New York City. Nice that she's using Kindle. I hope she enters through the Althouse portal. I'm enjoying the new Camille Paglia book. Check that out!  Art, culture, miscellanea. A good distraction, with some glossy pictures.

"There's never been a day in the last four years I've been proud to be his vice president."

The Weekly Standard (linked by Drudge) thinks it has a hilarious Biden gaffe, but they've misheard/mistranscribed it. You have to have an ear for the "working class"-style mushing of syllables, but he's saying "There's never been a day in the last four years I haven't been proud to be his vice president." The boldface is spoken: I 'n' been.

IN THE COMMENTS: rhhardin says:
I've listened to the audio at 0.35 speed and it's a precise "I've."...
I disagree.
It's an east-coast kind of "n" ... sort of almost "i uh" like the "no" in "uh uh."
rhhardin says:
"n" is voiced and there's no voicing in Biden's 've part.
I note that I grew up in Delaware and I feel I understand the implied "n." And rh gives us his slowed down audio with repetition. I've listened, and I hear a sound after the "I" that I'm sure is the negative. There's this southern Jersey/northern Delaware/Philadelphia dropping of a sound that I can her. There's a muddled verb after the "I" that I just know. Rh says "Call in Language Log," and I will send an email. I think they will believe me. And not just for political reasons.

UPDATE: Language Log responds!

"Whether it's providing a warm place to visit for a cup of coffee or simply charging your electronic devices..."

"... we are here to help in any way."

An email "Message to Our Customers" from Saks Fifth Avenue (intended mostly to be received in New York City). It's nice for the posh store to invite folks in to charge their electronic devices. Let's take note of the businesses that were kind to the powerless.

Measured in terms of Integrated Kinetic Energy at landfall, Sandy was bigger than Katrina...

... and second only in modern records to Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Sandy only had Category 1 winds — while Katrina was Category 3 — but it was very large and thus had more IKE, which relates more strongly to the size of the storm surge.
[T]he storm surge is the increased water level along the coast caused by winds continuously bulldozing the ocean onto the land. It builds long before a storm makes landfall. It simply raises the mean sea level from its normal level by a few to over 25 feet.
Sandy also hit at high tide, making the surge higher. The damage from a surge also has to do with coastal topography and bathymetry.
Hurricane Katrina was “only” a Category 3 storm at landfall, yet ended up being the most costly natural disaster in our nation’s history due its impact on a vulnerable, highly populated low lying city. Sandy had Category 1 winds at landfall yet was able to create very significant storm surge over hundreds of miles of highly populated coastline.
I found that article because I was trying to figure out what "category" Sandy was. I wasn't sure it was even Category 1, and I wondered what would happen if a Category 3 (or 4 or 5) storm hit NYC.  I also found this article in Popular Mechanics, describing a study of the consequences of a Category 4 hurricane hitting NYC. The estimate was $500 billion in damage. A study released last September said a "Category 1 hurricane or winter nor'easter could inundate the city's subway and cause $58 billion in losses"... which sounds like what happened.

AFL-CIO organization sends insultingly infantilizing "report card."

Look. They expect us to identify with these "cute" children:

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(Enlarge.)

We're not children. We don't like to be spoken to as if we are children. And we don't like the use of children in politics. And the photographer did a particularly bad job at cute-ifying those children, whose expression has nothing to do with the way kids feel about 1. report cars and 2. whether adults are voting.

At least the organization refrained from naming and shaming the neighbors, which is what some other groups do.

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You can't tell from the return address what politics underlie this mailing, but it's easy enough to find it in Wikipedia:
Working America is an allied organization of the AFL-CIO which works to build alliances among non-union working people. Working America is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization which provides workers who are not union members input into the policies, goals, and legislative efforts of the AFL-CIO.
I'm sure they chose Meade as a recipient based on our zip code.

"Mitt Romney has garnered more than 100 endorsements from newspapers across the United States."

"President Barack Obama has earned 84 such nods from editorial boards to date. A total of 28 of the largest newspapers in America supported Obama in 2008, but have now changed their positions and endorsed Romney."

"A Texas teenager whose mother died of breast cancer was sent home from school for 'going overboard' with an awareness costume on Pink Day."

"Dustin Drake was reportedly told to leave the school when the costume he wore to honor his mother was allegedly deemed inappropriate for school."

Officials knew his mother had died, but he wasn't the only kid punished for a "garment violation."

"Angry residents pelted utility crews with eggs as they tried to restore power in Bridgeport, Conn...."

"... after the mayor claimed the local power company had 'shortchanged' the state's largest city as it tries to recover from superstorm Sandy."
I'm sick and tired of Bridgeport being shortchanged," [Mayor Bill] Finch said, noting that Bridgeport has the largest number of United Illuminating ratepayers and claimingg it should be treated better by the New Haven-based utility.

United Illuminating has denied giving priority to wealthy customers, while ignoring Bridgeport residents.
Class warfare. Ask the eggheads in New Haven about it.

Staten Island woman cries out to Chuck Schumer: "We are going to die."

Reading the headline at Breitbart, I thought I was going to see someone who had become hysterical and irrational, but watch.

It's been 3 days, and they don't have power or gasoline for generators. There are people who are, she says, 90 years old who are cold and do not have extra clothing or enough food. It made me cry.

AND: "Red Cross is here with hot chocolate and cookies. We need blankets, we need pillows, we need clothing. We can get hot chocolate and cookies, we need help!"

"For some reason, the uplifting value of the New York City Marathon, however, is so off the charts in Bloomberg World..."

"... that nothing trumps diverting countless police and sanitation resources to marathon duty, even when parts of the metropolitan area lie in ruins and the city is mired in transportation hell."

AND: "They should make all of these runners bring food and water to people's houses who need it. They should bring all of these generators to buildings where old people live and give them power." 

UPDATE: Bloomberg caves to criticism, cancels the Marathon.

"Althouse: If you could write your 'How Obama Lost Me' post in the next 24 hours, the race could come down to your influence!"

Writes Ruth Anne Adams in the comments to the "last 72 hours" post. She adds "But if you're going the way of Colin Powell not so much" and "But if you could at least reveal your voting preference in the next few hours, that could win a wager or seven."

I think she's misremembering what the "lost me" posts of the past were about. I started blogging in 2004, a presidential election year, and, after much coverage of the election, including a commitment to something I called "cruel neutrality," on September 26th, I wrote a post called "How Kerry lost me." This wasn't me explaining why I was going to vote against Kerry. It was me acknowledging how I felt and realizing that I could mine the blog archive to discover where that feeling came from.
Yet I find myself expressing an increasing amount of hostility to Kerry, so I thought I'd go back and trace the arc of my antagonism through my various posts.
It was a bloggy project, solving a mystery about myself by taking advantage of the archive. For example, I found the wellspring of my antagonism in a single remark: "You're not listening" (said to a man who asked him what his position on Iraq was, as if the man had simply failed to pay attention to some supposedly previously stated position, when I too had been waiting for Kerry to answer that question). And I found what was, to me, "his final, fatal mistake" (disrespecting Allawi!), which prompted me to write the "lost me" post.

In 2008, I wrote "How McCain lost me," which may have created the impression that "lost me" posts are an Althouse blog tradition. That post was written after the election, but — I said at the time — "it's the same in that I'm mining my blog archive to try to understand how my resistance to the candidate formed and hardened and caused me to vote for the other man."
I know that I voted against McCain. Up through August, I genuinely didn't know which candidate I'd vote for, but I knew I was taking more shots at Obama and therefore giving the impression that I favored McCain. I didn't trust Obama, and I feared (and still fear) what Obama would do with a Democratic Congress. McCain was a more familiar character, less fun to write about, and he was also the underdog. But by mid-October, I knew that unless something big happened, I would vote for Obama. It was nothing new that Obama did. I didn't start liking him more, and I never got caught up in the Obama lovefest.
It was a lot of work to mine that archive. Oddly, despite all that work, my commenters have accused me for the last 4 years of having fallen for Obama delusions. But the point of the work was not to drum anything into your head. It was, as it had been in 2004, an effort to see where my decision happened. That's what I'm interested in: How people think, where, in the emotional/reasoning mind of an individual, does a decision take place? The blog archive gave me the ability to examine that. What I wrote in the "lost me" posts of the last 2 elections was not anything like a newspaper's endorsement of a candidate or an argument designed to persuade anyone to agree with me. It has more to do with my professional interest in how judges make decisions: How does the human mind work?

Why haven't I done a "lost me" post this time around? I haven't had the experience of noticing that there is a mystery that I could solve by delving into old blog posts. As you can see in that last indented paragraph, above, I didn't trust Obama, and I feared what he would do with a Democratic Congress. We all saw what he did with a Democratic Congress. He let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have their way with him. It was horrible. It led to the Tea Party and the trouncing Democrats took in 2010. I've felt no connection to the Democratic Party since then. Of course, I don't like half of what the Republicans stand for, but I've still voted for some of them, notably Ron Johnson and (twice!) Scott Walker, because... what choice do I have? The Democrats have been leading us into financial ruin.

If I could have been assured that the GOP would control both houses of Congress, I might have thought Obama would be good. I like balance, moderation, and pragmatism. If one of the hardcore righties had won the Republican nomination, I would probably have gone for Obama. But Mitt Romney got the nomination, which is what I had been hoping for (after Mitch Daniels decided not to run). It was time to pay attention again to Obama The Candidate, and his campaign centered on vilifying Mitt Romney in the most inane Occupy-Wall-Street style that was completely alienating to me. Romney seamlessly transitioned from being my choice in the primaries to being my presumptive choice for President. I remained open to Obama. Obama could have won me.

Then came Benghazi, and a door closed.

"All work and no play is no fun at all."

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7.9%.

Unemployment.

"Officials in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have asked power companies to concentrate on bringing electricity back to polling places first..."

"... but they aren't betting on that."
‘‘Some of the voting machines do have battery backup,’’ New York State Board of Elections spokesman Tom Connolly told the Associated Press. ‘‘We are also planning to get generators to polling sites, but it’s not like we have an unlimited supply of generators.’’ In New York City members of the Board of Elections have been assessing the damage to polling places, and Mayor Bloomberg said they might have to use alternative locations in some cases. The Daily News reports that in devastated areas like Breezy Point and the Rockaways, voting may take place in tents equipped with generators.

While Christie has been occupied by relief efforts, in New Jersey Secretary of State and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said on Thursday that the state is planning to deploy military trucks to polling stations that have lost power. Guadagno said people at these locations will vote using a paper ballot....
Presumably, there will be a way for everyone who tries to vote to be able to vote, but fewer people will try. There's some complacency: "Since the states hit hardest are all solidly blue, lower voter turnout won't swing the presidential election...." The state gets the same number of electoral votes regardless of how many people actually vote. That means, however, that lower turnout concentrates the power of those who do vote. If enough of the "red" people in those blue states get out when the "blue" people stay home, the state — and all its electoral votes — could go to the "wrong" candidate. Or do you imagine that would only happen if the election ended up being a blowout for Romney anyway?

How far back do you need to scroll in the history of Electoral Maps to get to a year where New Jersey/New York/Connecticut picked the Republican? 1988 to get New Jersey and Connecticut. 1984 to get New Jersey and Connecticut and New York. 1984, of course, was a complete blowout for Reagan, with Mondale getting only his home state of Minnesota, but 1988 was pretty much of a blowout too.

A recent New Jersey poll — just before the hurricane hit — had Obama ahead by only 10 points. He won by 16 points in 2008, and older polls showed him with a bigger lead. It's not inconceivable that the state that elected Chris Christie could choose Romney even without a hurricane-depressed turnout.

"A top, key, well-placed, influential Romney aide told me months ago he thought the race would be decided in the last 72 hours."

"That’s still 24 hours away! A long time."

November 1, 2012

Obama, Springsteen, and Bob Dylan converge on Madison next Monday.

Obama and Springsteen are arriving as a team. Obama, sans Springsteen, was just here last month, but apparently he thinks this city needs more prompting, this time with Springsteen added. Springsteen was here in '04 with the Democratic nominee, John Kerry. And the state did, in fact, go for Kerry.

Meanwhile, Bob Dylan will be in town on the same day, not in anyone's tow and with no politicians in tow, but along with Mark Knofpler.

Will no one shed a tear for the paparazzi of Washington, D.C.?

They're terrified of a Romney presidency.
Photographer and autographer collector Mark Wilkins said a Romney administration would “bring back the same old boring celebrities we saw back when Bush was around.”

“Trace Adkins, all those country stars that no one really cares about,” said Wilkins. “I hope Romney doesn’t get elected because it will slow things down. Right now, there are celebs visiting the White House, four, five times a week that we don’t even know about until after they leave. Romney? Who wants to visit Romney?”

"I’m not traumatized by the storm; I’m traumatized by the indifference."

A Tale of Two Cities: New York above 40th Street and New York below 40th Street.
Some people said they had been turned away from hotel lobbies, other banks and cafes near 40th Street when asked if they could charge their phones. It was as if, said Gabriella Sonam, a massage therapist who had biked up from the East Village, they did not even know a national emergency was going on just across the street.

"Redheads may be at higher risk of melanoma even without sun."

"A study on mice suggests that pheomelanin pigment, which gives rise to red hair, is itself a potential trigger for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer."

"Former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier was charged Thursday with hushing up child molestation allegations against Jerry Sandusky..."

WaPo reports.

"On my wedding day, I’m like freaking out, obviously. ‘You’ve got to give me a character.'"

And fashion designer John Galliano said to Kate Moss: "You have a secret — you are the last of the English roses. Hide under that veil. When he lifts it, he’s going to see your wanton past!'"

Madison police chief apologizes to the homeless for the removal of their belongings left on the public sidewalks.

"Madison Police Chief Noble Wray was contrite Tuesday when he met with a group of homeless people..."
The official report  on the incident released by the Madison Police Department on Oct. 11 describes the confiscated property as not only bed rolls and suitcases, but cardboard boxes, grocery bags, trash bags, and containers of alcohol. “Many items were wet and appeared to have been left for several days,” the report says. Wray is quoted as saying it is a “tough job” to manage public spaces, particularly in the area of the Capitol Square, where, the report says “property – with no identification – is often abandoned, or left unattended or long periods of time.”
While I don't think what the police did was wrong and there's no need to be "contrite," there are many good aspects to the sympathetic communication with the troubled citizens we see in this video:

Did Chris Christie "sudden love-in" with Obama hurt Mitt Romney?

"Sudden love-in" is the Washington Post's terminology.
There is no professed motivation for Christie’s newfound feelings for the president, other than that the two men are now partners in a massive effort to rebuild his state. Asked about the election on “Fox & Friends,” Christie said, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” adding: “If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”
I want to say Chris Christie is saying and doing the right thing, not only morally and in his own political interest, but in the interest of Mitt Romney and the GOP. Saying it's not political and acting like politics are suspended, the best approach morally, happens also to be the best approach politically.

It's good politically because it's a vivid demonstration of devotion to public service and the capacity to rise about partisanship and do the things that need to be done.

Compare the Christie's interaction with Obama to the way Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco interacted with President Bush after Hurricane Katrina. Here's how Bush described some of it in his book "Decision Points" (at page 308-309):
The initial plan had been for me to land at the New Orleans airport, pick up Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, and survey the damage on an aerial tour. But on the Marine One flight from Mississippi, we received word that the governor, mayor, and a Louisiana congressional delegation were demanding a private meeting on Air Force One first.

The tone started out tense and got worse. The governor and mayor bickered. Everyone blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to meet their needs. Congressman Bobby Jindal pointed out that FEMA had asked people to email their requests, despite the lack of electricity in the city. I shook my head. “We’ll fix it,” I said, looking at FEMA Director Mike Brown. Senator Mary Landrieu interrupted with unproductive emotional outbursts. “Would you please be quiet?” I had to say to her at one point.

George Zimmerman's lawyer can keep blogging about the Trayvon Martin case.

Says the judge.
During that hearing, [Zimmerman's lawyer Mark] O'Mara said his client had been the subject of a carefully orchestrated national media campaign by attorneys for Trayvon's family, who had traveled the country, portraying the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer as a racist murderer.

De la Rionda accused O'Mara of trying to taint potential jurors. All he wanted, de la Rionda said, is to have a fair trial, and the best way to do that is to prohibit all attorneys from talking about or publishing information about the case....

In arguing against the gag order Friday, O'Mara said that when he first took Zimmerman's case, his office was inundated with thousands of pieces of email and media queries, so he created a website, where he regularly posts blogs and court documents....

A dozen news organizations, including the Orlando Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CNN, opposed the gag order, calling it extreme and unnecessary.

"Ancient Romans knew this animal featured in their circuses as a hippotigris."

Answer, without looking it up, in 30 seconds, with nerve-wracking music playing.

"In South Beach, Staten Island, resident Grace Johnson clenched her fists and waved her arms in the air..."

"... as she ran toward a college student from Queens who had come to see the damage and stood across the street taking photos."
"Jesus Christ, will you stop please," she shouted, her eyes welling and voice cracking with emotion. "Why don't you come over here and help sweep… instead of just looking at us."

October 31, 2012

A neighborly dispute about a light "shining through our bedroom window like a small but intense sun."

"In my country, terawatt globes are reserved for police helicopter chases and warning sailors of hazardous shoals. This is despite the fact that practically every living creature there can kill you in under three minutes."

Why are you crying?



Oh, it will be over soon.

Owlsing in the browls.

An image from the Rijksmuseum, which has a fine website, where I was browsing in the owls... owlsing in the browls...



I really don't know what's up with these ice-skating owls. I just like them.

Arab tweets: gloating over Sandy and criticizing the gloating.

A headline at Al Arabiya News reports on the ugly:
Commenting on the super-storm disaster, one person who identifies himself as a professor of religion tweeted: “We ask God to destroy them all, and not keep one of them,” because the United States “supports war and abuse towards Muslims.”
And the beneficent:
Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti also criticized gloaters over Sandy. He tweeted: “Who told you that children, students, women and men in America wish you [Muslims] death? Politicians like Mubarak and Bush are one thing, and humanity is something else.”

In the same vein, Engy Hamdi, political activist and member of Egypt’s April 6 Movement, wrote on her Twitter account, “Did Islam teach us to gloat amid the misfortunes of people?"
It's interesting to focus on gloating

At the Black Dog Café...

Untitled

... take off that dog costume right now!

UPDATE: A bunch of kids came to the door just now, and I was all "Is he a lamb? Are you a ram?" and I was informed that they were all "Star Wars" characters.

Sorry about the slow-loadingness of the blog today.

I'm told Blogads is going through some maintenance, and it's not Blogger's fault, so refrain from your usual accusations. The Blogger people — Google — have been great.

UPDATE: I removed the Blogads code and it's loading super-fast now. It makes me think that having Blogads really isn't worth it even on good days.

The Real Clear Politics average is now a dead tie.

Look out!

"When you're nice to someone else... that someone else is nice back to you, and suddenly two people feel good about themselves and each other, and spread their feelings."

Wrote Letitia Baldrige, in her "New Manners for New Times."

She died on Monday, at the age of 86.

"Local TV news is a sad thing. They ask sad questions and get sad answers."

"It's easier to laugh about it than to think about how State House coverage is dying," said Daniel Moraff, a Brown student and "aspiring comedy writer," whom some fools denounced as an idiot for saying things like "I don't really believe there's a hurricane... I know the government wants us to think that...."

Biden: "As they say in my business, I'm going to give you the whole load today..."



Top Comments at YouTube:
Now he's plagiarizing from porno scripts??
And:
He learned that saying hanging around with Bill Clinton
Based on Urban Dictionary, the porn meaning is inescapeable. The only alternative that I can think of is load of crap, which might be a more apt metaphor, but could not have been intended.

"We're so used to seeing people act under a system of government rules that it's easy to assume that without the rules..."

"... everything would descend into chaos. But perhaps free people are generally capable of acting decently on their own. Of course, that's never going to be universal; but then, people break the law too. In fact, a dense set of rules tempts people to see how close to (or how far across) the borderline of legality they can go without being penalized. In the absence of governmental laws, people might focus more on other kinds of laws: social norms and ethics."

Writes my son John, one of the many people who live south of 25th Street in Manhattan.

"If someone decided that potential repercussions in the Arab world outweighed the need to do 'whatever we need to do' to 'secure our personnel,' who made that decision?"

"Did the Secretary of Defense countermand the President’s directive? Did the President rescind his own directive? Or — and I hate to ask such a distrustful question regarding the man who is our Commander in Chief — was such a directive ever actually given?"

The 10-year old boy "is no different than any other murderer" and "would have shot his father if he was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party."

Said the prosecutor in his opening statement of the trial of a boy who shot his neo-Nazi father.
But Public Defender Matthew Hardy said the boy, who had learning disabilities, pulled the trigger after being manipulated to kill Hall by his stepmother, Krista F. McCary. Hardy portrayed her as angry over the possibility her husband was about to leave her for another woman.

"We are not going to suggest she killed him," Hardy told the judge. "She used this young man to kill him."...

The boy thought he would become a "hero"....

"NYU loses years of scientific research and thousands of mice to Hurricane Sandy."

"Many precious reagents -- special enzymes, antibodies, DNA strands -- generated by scientists and stored at -80 degrees and -20 degrees were likely destroyed...."
Scientists are in a desperate frenzy to save what they can and transfer what can be moved to other areas of the hospital....

Even more alarming, thousands of mice that are used by scientists for cancer research and other experiments, drowned during a flood....

Another Dane Country judge smacks down Gov. Walker.

"Gov. Scott Walker's power to oversee the rule-making authority of the state superintendent of public instruction, which he signed into law last year, was overturned Tuesday by a judge because the law violates the state constitution."

Who will superintend the superintendents? If it's the superintendent of public instruction, apparently, nobody, because "the superintendent of public instruction... is unique among state department heads in having his duties spelled out in the state constitution."

"I do not know Nate Silver. I have never spoken to Nate Silver."

"I do not know how old Nate Silver is or anything about Nate Silver’s existence. I am not even sure Nate Silver is his real name. That sounds like a stage name, one that a numbers geek would pick because he secretly dreams of being a cowboy...."

"A presidential candidate who gives millions of dollars a year to charity does a storm relief event in Ohio..."

"... and an MSNBC anchor is disgusted by it because the Red Cross would prefer people donating cash"... even with the large video monitors displaying the message "Sandy: Support the Relief Effort. Text ’REDCROSS’ to 90999 to make a $10 donation."

Another dog in our Rainbow Coalition of borrowed Labrador Retrievers.

You've seen Bingo and Joey.

Here's Zeus:

Untitled

"Wind farms have been 'peppered' across Britain without enough consideration for the countryside and people’s homes..."

"... a senior Conservative energy minister admitted last night as he warned 'enough is enough.'"
John Hayes said that we can “no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities” and added that it “seems extraordinary” they have allowed to spread so much throughout the country.
The energy minister said he had ordered a new analysis of the case for onshore wind power which would form the basis of future government policy, rather than “a bourgeois Left article of faith based on some academic perspective.”...

“We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.”
That last sentence is a reference to the poem by William Blake.
The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to what is now England and visited Glastonbury during Jesus' lost years. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation.... describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian Church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.
Are there wind turbines in Heaven?

"[A]t least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down."

Says Newt Gingrich, reporting what he emphasizes is "a rumor."
"But they were a group in real-time trying to mobilize marines and C-130s and the fighter aircraft, and they were told explicitly by the White House stand down and do nothing. This is not a terrorist action. If that is true, and I’ve been told this by a fairly reliable U.S. senator, if that is true and comes out, I think it raises enormous questions about the president’s role, and Tom Donilon, the National Security Adviser’s role, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has taken it on his own shoulders, that he said don’t go. And that is, I think, very dubious, given that the president said he had instructions they are supposed to do everything they could to secure American personnel."

Errol Morris applies his documentarian style to the problem of people who don't vote.

Video.

Reading Morris's explanation below the video at the link, I see that — spoiler alert! — everyone in the video is actually going to vote and they were prompted to think about how people who don't vote must think. I'm seeing that after watching the video. So to the extent that these people seem dumb... ish... it's at least partly that they are attempting to embody the persona of other people, who they probably think are dumb. So we're seeing a subtle blend of opinion about the nonvoters.

At the end we see that the video was produced with Our Time, and I assume the intent is to improve the turnout for Barack Obama, but in style and substance, it's nicely neutral and quite amusing and charming.

"I just biked down from Hell’s Kitchen, and it is like a Friday night up there."

"And then you get down here and it is like entering a zombie movie."

The dividing line in Manhattan is 25th Street.

What is the main thing people miss when the power is out? I think it's the capacity to recharge the cell phone. People waited in line for an hour to get to a power strip running from a CNN truck that was parked outside that building that lost its facade in the storm.
By mutual agreement, the people there had somehow decided that when someone filled up to 50 percent, it was time to unplug and let the next person go.
It's heartening the way people pull together in a tragedy and interesting to see it happening over the new core necessity, the cell phone.

Massive support for Romney among lawprofs.

"Law Profs back President Obama over Mitt Romney 72% to 19%..."

19%! That's huge! I'm stunned!

Actually, it's not a very scientific poll, just a blog poll put up by lawprof Brian Leiter. Why would only lawprofs vote? I'm sure Leiter has non-lawprof readers. But what's most important is that Leiter's readers — lawprof or non-lawprof — probably skew left, even more than the usual group of lawprofs.

In which case: 19%! Wow! Huge!

We'll see what kind of "lawprof" result is achieved through a poll at lawprof Althouse's blog site:

Who's your choice for President?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

October 30, 2012

Mickey Kaus is "assuming the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the October employment statistics on schedule."

"The paranoia that would accompany a delay (this close to the election) would be too destructive, even if the delay was justifiable. But if the Obama administration were really playing politics with the numbers in the way the paranoids fear, do you think it would merely delay the release of the numbers? Not cunning enough!"

"If Obama wins, we’ll probably get small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform."

"Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done."

Concrete with limestone-producing bacteria...

... self-healing.

"The freak winter storm that crashed into the tropical storm from the Atlantic brought as much of two feet of snow to Appalachian states..."

"... spreading blizzard or near-blizzard conditions over parts of Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina," including "what may well be a record amount of heavy, wet snow in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park."

Get ready for the first annual "Diversity Week" at the University of Wisconsin.

We're told the idea is "to engage students who are not specifically interested in diversity issues to think about the issue on a broader level." So you want to interest people who are not currently interested by having some sort of events... over the course of a week?
Tentatively, the week will feature a sexuality day, multicultural day,  religious diversity day, women’s day and a disability day.

The group also debated how to address “intersectionality” between the different types of diversity.
The student chair of the Diversity Committee "said she hopes the event would probe students’ minds and make them think about how their own identities are 'compiled.'"
"We are trying to say to people that you don’t have to be a minority, you don’t have to be an underrepresented group to be able to feel like you’re diverse or that you have a unique identity... This is really for all students."
I don't think the word "diverse" should apply to an individual. I think you have to say: This set of individuals is diverse. Not: This individual is diverse. Sorry to be pedantic about words. Now, it's interesting that the Diversity Committee has arrived at the idea that it wants specifically to get the attention of the students who do not belong to "underrepresented groups." The students who were not pursued by the University in its effort to increase "diversity" might, it is thought, respond to the idea that they are part of the diversity too. I'm trying to picture Diversity Week events that would convey that message!

***

Here's some campus graffiti I photographed the other day:

Untitled

"A new National Public Radio poll, which had President Obama leading Mitt Romney 51% to 44% four weeks ago..."

"... now has Mitt Romney on top, 48% to 47%, with the Republican benefiting from his debate performances."

"It would be weird to keep a man around to fetch things!"

Something I said in the comments to an October 2008 post titled "So, I've been thinking of getting a dog...." Note that I met Meade in January 2009 and married him later that year. Here's the context of the highlighted quote. I'd said I was thinking of getting a poodle and somebody said "Ann, women with poodles are like men in shorts." My response was:
Eh, if I was just trying to get men to like me, I would have kept my mouth shut about not liking them in shorts. But it's an interesting issue: What dog should a woman get if what she wants is to make herself as attractive as possible to men?
Somebody else, recommending boxers, said "they sleep a lot, and especially love to sleep with you," and I said:
Is that considered a plus? There is no way on earth I want to sleep with a dog (unless it's some sort of emergency freezing survival situation).

"A challenge to a federal law that authorized intercepting international communications involving Americans appeared to face an uphill climb at the Supreme Court..."

"... on Monday, but not one quite as steep as many had anticipated," observes Adam Liptak at the NYT.
The question in the case was whether journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates could show they had been harmed and so had standing to sue, and several justices seemed open to the idea....

The possibility that the courts may never rule on the constitutionality of the law seemed to rankle some of the justices. “Is there anybody who has standing?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked....

Justice Antonin Scalia [said] “We’ve had cases in the past where it is clear that nobody would have standing to challenge what is brought before this court... That just proves that under our system of separated powers, it is none of our business.”
Here's the transcript.

Thanks...

... to everyone who made purchases through my Amazon portal in the month of October. Believe me, I notice the gesture of support for this blog made by your taking the trouble to go in through my link. And it's really almost no trouble at all, yet it makes a big difference to me. It's encouraging! And I thank you.

(The link is always there in the subtitle line of the banner at the top of the page.)

Christina Hoff Sommers: "The Affordable Care Act mentions 'breast' 44 times, 'prostate' not once."

"It also establishes an elaborate and expensive network of special programs to promote women’s health. Programs for men are nowhere to be found. What explains the imbalance?"

Possible answers:

1. Focusing on breasts works for everybody: Men love breasts and women feel cared for.

2. Treating women's bodies as a special problem, requiring special attention, works for the most retrograde traditionalists and for progressive feminists.

3. Women tend to monitor their health and consume more health care services, especially these preventive programs. There are no programs for men, because men wouldn't respond to programs. The main use of men is getting them into the insurance pool to contribute to the cost of caring for women and children.

4. Women actually need and deserve more care. Men are expendable. There is a shared social interest in preserving the women for reproductive purposes, for the maintenance of stable households, for the nurturing of children, and for looking after the elderly.

5. Gender politics work, but only on women.

"For neuroscientific findings of fetal pain to serve as a basis for permitting states to prohibit abortion prior to viability..."

".... they must tell us something about the nature of a fetus that makes the state’s interest in protecting it more compelling than its interest in protecting a woman’s right to make basic decisions about her own body. As pain sentience does not serve as a basis for legal prohibitions in general (or else mousetraps and deer hunting would be prohibited), the statutes’ real purpose is to use potential evidence of pain sentience in fetuses to indicate the presence of something far more compelling — namely, personhood."

From a NYT philosophy blog item written by William Egginton, a Humanities Professor the Johns Hopkins University.

The states are already allowed to prohibit abortion after viability (with exceptions for the life and health of the mother), but not because viability establishes that the fetus has turned into a person. In fact, the Supreme Court has never made much sense over why viability is the line. (I've taught the abortion cases many times, and the best I can say is that viability was chosen for the line because the Court wanted a place to draw a line and viability was a concept that existed within medicine.) The question of when the unborn is considered a "person" is reserved for the woman to answer for herself. That's the heart of the right that the Court has articulated. It was clearly stated in terms of autonomy to define life in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, when the Court revised Roe in the process of deciding not to overrule it:
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
It's interesting for Egginton to offer some philosophical analysis (and for neuroscientists to provide the information they have), but under Roe/Casey, it's for the individual pregnant woman to use that material as she sees fit in arriving at her own answer to the mystery of the value of the unborn entity. Pre-viability, anyway.

"Power remained out for roughly six million people, including a large swath of Manhattan."

"Early risers stepped out into debris-littered streets that remained mostly deserted as residents awaited dawn to shed light on the extent of the damage. Bridges remained closed, and seven subway tunnels under the East River remained flooded."

How did Sandy treat you?

October 29, 2012

New Pew poll: Obama 47%, Romney 47%

"When the sample is narrowed to likely voters, the balance of opinion shifts slightly in Romney’s direction, as it did in early October."
This reflects Romney’s turnout advantage over Obama, which could loom larger as Election Day approaches....

[S]urveys over the past month have found Republicans becoming much more upbeat about the race and about Mitt Romney himself....
ADDED: There will be fewer polls done and less accuracy in the polling while the hurricane is going on. 

"Give it a little touch, a little push/Make love to the canvas."



"There are no limits here... this is your world... you're the Creator..."

It's the 70th birthday of the late Bob Ross... which I noticed because Google has a doodle about it.

"Over the weekend, the newest, and by far the most disturbing, revelations surrounding the Benghazi attack were revealed."

An item at FrontPageMag.com:
Several sources have pointed to the possibility that a major CIA gun-running operation aimed at arming anti-Assad Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces was in danger of being exposed. If true, the information casts an even more devastating pall over the Benghazi terrorist attack and the administration’s botched handling of the region.

The decision to stand down as the Benghazi terrorist attack was underway was met with extreme opposition from the inside. The Washington Times's James Robbins, citing a source inside the military, reveals that General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who got the same emails requesting help received by the White House, put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Robbins. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”

If true, Ham has apparently decided he wants no part of the responsibility for the decision not to help those in harm’s way. He is not alone. As the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol revealed late Friday, a spokesperson, “presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus,” released the following statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

Lunch at Meadhouse: the best bacon ever.

We've been getting great results using the cooking-with-water method — doubt it, but try it! — and the Wellshire dry-rub center-cut bacon (from Whole Foods). But today, Meade — needing to take a borrowed dog swimming and to interact with some housepainters — left it slow-cooking for 3 hours.

Best bacon ever!

"A series of shocking text messages purportedly show Philip Frank, the partner of Democratic State Representative and Madison-area Congressional candidate Mark Pocan..."

"... threatened a volunteer for Pocan’s Republican opponent days before the volunteer was found beaten. Last Wednesday, Kyle Wood, a full-time volunteer with Republican Chad Lee’s Congressional campaign, was beaten inside his home in Madison by a yet-unidentified attacker who claimed that as a gay man Wood should be supporting the gay candidate for Congress."

This is an extremely disturbing story that appears at Media Trackers, which describes itself as "a conservative non-profit, non-partisan investigative watchdog." This elaborates on the report which we discussed here, 3 days ago. At the time, I said: "Real or hoax? I don't know, but I remember Ashley Todd from the '08 election season."

ADDED: If these really are texts from Pocan's partner, we ought to know more about the whole context. Maybe these 2 men have been exchanging playful texts that would make this material feel more like joking. Releasing this texting conversation makes it fair for the other side to release other conversations, and yet it's not in Pocan's interest to draw attention to any of this.

UPDATE: Media Trackers has taken down the long text conversation it previously posted.

UPDATE 2: "Kyle Wood, a campaign worker for the Republican congressional candidate Chad Lee, today recanted his statements about being assaulted and choked at his home on Oct. 24, according to Madison police." Recanted?! That's not enough. Either it was a false report or it wasn't. If it was false, Wood has committed a crime.

Sandy could bring waves as high as 33 feet to the Great Lakes.

"The National Weather Service... says waves on Lake Michigan could be 10 to 18 feet by Monday afternoon, then build to 20 to 33 feet on Tuesday before subsiding. Waves on parts of Lake Superior and Lake Huron could top 20 feet."

ALSO: "Crew of HMS Bounty forced to abandon ship as Hurricane Sandy bears down on East Coast."

AND: My "coastal cities" theory could apply to Milwaukee (and tip Wisconsin to Romney). In the most extreme, it could tip Illinois (because of Chicago).

MORE: Nate Silver says:
[I]t is probably unwise to anticipate what affects [sic] the storm might have within particular states, such as whether it might affect the Democratic parts of Pennsylvania more than the Republican ones. Hurricane Sandy is just too large a storm, and has such unpredictable destructive potential, to make reliable guesses about this.
Why would it be unwise to anticipate something? It's just speculation based on the available evidence. I suspect Silver is saying that because his methodology involves processing polling, but I don't see what's unwise about thinking about other things unless you impute more weight to the evidence than it deserves. And even if you do... so what? We're just guessing about what will happen in the future. No one is relying on any of this. We're just talking about the future event as we pass the time waiting for Election Day.

Who do you really think is going to win?

Staring at the polls too long. What's going to happen in Wisconsin? Who'll take the Electoral College? My guess is: Obama will squeak by or Romney will win a lot. Bob Wright anticipates bad unemployment numbers coming out before the election. I wonder about the effect of the Benghazi scandal, Bob tries to wave it off into oblivion, saying he's "kind of tuned it out." I keep going... for quite a while. In the end, Bob asks why I agitate him so and concludes it's because I say "crazy things." I tell him to "check the transcript."

The real reason Obama has campaigned on small things — like Big Bird and "Romnesia."

According to Stanley Kurtz, it's a plot to realign the electorate, "creating a long-term Democratic majority that would allow him and his successors to stop catering to the center and finally govern decisively from the left."

Somehow, within the lulling smallness, there's a scary bigness.
Obama’s frantic efforts to gin up the women’s vote and the youth vote aren’t only desperate attempts to secure his base. They flow from a deliberate decision not to fight for the center, but to build an independent majority on what is supposedly the “demographically ascendent” left.

Over at The Nation, Richard Kim gets it. Writing about the Lena Dunham “first time” ad controversy, he speaks of it as part of an effort “to realign the electorate towards the Democratic Party for a generation.” But the best place to read about Obama’s larger strategy is “Hope: The Sequel,” the New York magazine piece by John Heilemann that got attention last May.... describ[ing] an Obama campaign willing to risk turning off socially conservative Democrats and independent voters by hyping leftist social issues....
That reminds me of the way Republicans turn off the socially liberal folks (like me) who would be receptive to the rest of what they have to offer. The 2 parties have corresponding strategies, including trying to scare people about how extreme the other party really intends to be. I don't trust any of them.

4 theories — you haven't heard them all before! — about what happened in the first debate.



One of my theories is that Obama was preoccupied by what had happened in Benghazi 3 weeks ago, perhaps scrambling to keep it from turning into a scandal that would sink his campaign. Bob Wright's response is — absurdly — to bring up the ridiculous old theory that the high altitude in Denver played havoc with Obama's big brain.

If Romney wins, will it lead to the the Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade?

I explain why the answer is probably no, and that if it were yes, it would hurt the GOP:



This clip begins with an explanation of what Chief Justice Roberts did in the Obamacare case. Also, I speculate about what kind of Justices a President Romney might appoint. I don't expect them to be such staunch conservatives.

How will Sandy affect the election?

Bob Wright and I talk about that (recorded yesterday):



I explain my coastal cities theory.

October 28, 2012

Will rising sea levels affect the election?

Sandy's coming, and the waters may flow up into the low-lying East Coast cities. If coastal cities flood and the people there — who are disproportionately Democratic — get distracted by their personal difficulties or find it hard to get to the polls, then the upstate folks — who may be more Republican — will have greater power to tip the state's electoral votes to Romney.

I'm thinking in particular of Pennsylvania, a swing state with 20 electoral votes, where Obama's been polling ahead. Sandy may hit Philadelphia hard. Look at the county-by-county results from the 2008 election. You can see that upstate, Republicans had the majority. Sandy's waters could suppress the coastal vote and leverage upstate power.

It was 4 years ago that Obama gave that grandiose "this was the moment" speech where he said "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow...." What irony if the rise of the oceans thwarts his reelection!

***

Going with the flow, Venice-style.

"New Orleans fans boo Madonna after she demands they vote for Obama."

Always one to pick up and run with a trend, she changed to: "Seriously, I don't care who you vote for.... Do not take this privilege for granted. Go vote."

Privilege? Hey, lady, this is America. It's not a privilege. It's a right.

"A man who was the prime suspect in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz is about to go free..."

"... after more than two decades in prison for molesting other children. Jose Ramos was declared responsible for Etan’s death in a civil court, but the Manhattan district attorney’s office said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him criminally."

"If You Succumb to Cynicism, the Regressives Win It All."

Robert Reich hyperventilates. There's a lot of that going on lately from the Obama side, and it's hard not to read that as a sign that Romney will win.

AND: Speaking of desperate... look! Obama goes to church with his lovely daughters. No Michelle though.  Otherwise, I got a vibe like this.

Senator Ron Johnson said it 3 times today: "The American people have the right to know."

On Fox News Sunday today, the Wisconsin Senator made it all about Benghazi. The moderator gave him the last word after a long colloquy, including him and Senators Warner, Udall, and Portman, and he said:
Chris, the American people have the right to know. And that is what they are demanding here in Wisconsin.

Let's face it. What was the president doing, during those seven hours? Did he give that directive? Or didn't he? Did Leon Panetta directly defy him? I mean, what happened?

Who sent out? Who sent Ambassador Rice out five days later when they knew it was a terrorist attack that was preplanned, sent her on Sunday talk shows to say in fact it was a spontaneous reaction to, of course, the video. This administration purposefully misled the American people for weeks. This president misled the American people for weeks.

And, I think the American people have the right to know.

It was either misleading or is incompetent. I think we are finding out it was probably both, misleading and incompetence on the part of this administration. The American people have the right to know.
"That directive" refers to what Rob Portman was talking about earlier:

Echidna Puggle.

Does Gov. Hickenlooper to refer to Obama's "pregnancy"?

Listen closely. I know Democrats are always thinking about pregnancy, but this is hilarious:



The Colorado governor obviously intended to refer to the "first few month's of [Obama's] presidency," but it sure sounds as though he says "the first few month's of his pregnancy."

I recorded (very roughly) from today's gripping episode of "Meet the Press."

"We strapped the President into an airplane that was heading to the ground at Mach speed..."

Colorado Senator Mark Udall indulged in a bit of hyperbole (and metaphor) — Fox News Sunday this morning — to describe where Obama found himself at the point of inauguration.

Are the media protecting Obama, pre-election, from the full impact of the Benghazi story?

"What we already know about Benghazi is a scandal of the highest order..."
... the ambassador asked for more security after a series of terrorist threats and attacks, but didn’t get it, even on the anniversary of September 11. The administration knew that four Americans had been killed in a successful terrorist attack by an al Qaeda affiliate, but lied about the event for weeks in hopes of minimizing political fallout. Extraordinarily courageous Americans fought a seven-hour gun battle against well-armed and well-organized terrorists who vastly outnumbered them before finally succumbing, during which time the Obama administration did nothing. And when the bodies of the dead Americans were returned to the United States, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton misappropriated the occasion to deliver politically-motivated lies, both to the victims’ survivors and to the American people. All of that we now know for sure. If, in addition, there is credible evidence that American soldiers, fighting desperately for their lives against our country’s most bitter enemies, called for help but were cynically left to perish in order to protect Barack Obama’s petty re-election campaign, Obama will not only lose the election but will be turned out of office in disgust by a clear majority of voters. Reporters and editors know this. It will be interesting to see how they respond during the coming days: will they do their jobs, or will they assist their candidate with his cover-up?
I presume they would say — if they deigned to answer Power Line's question — that the Benghazi story is too complicated and inflammatory to resolve in the narrow time before the election and that it's unfair to dump this hugely burdensome issue on the President now. It would have an undue effect on the minds of the voters, who must be protected from an emotional flare-up which will keep them from weighing all the issues in the proper proportion. This is especially true — they would not say out loud — when the skewing goes against their preferred candidate. Of course, an equivalent issue affecting the incumbent in 2004 would have been splattered everywhere.

A Romney victory would give us the benefit of leaving the Benghazi scandal in the past. It will still be important to investigate, but it won't — like the Watergate scandal, after the Nixon re-election — cripple a sitting President.

"Why must I love you so much? Sandy, I long for your touch..."

The NYT illustrates its endorsement of Obama with a photo of Abe Lincoln.

There's something so tragically lame about this:



To be fair, it clicks through to a gallery of past endorsements that makes it glaringly clear that the Times always endorses the Democratic candidate. You have to scroll back over a half century to get a different result.

But keep scrolling. Once you get down past mid-20th century, there are plenty of Republicans mixed in, and if you'll scroll down to the bottom, you'll get to that famous face they selected to illustrate today's editorial, Abraham Lincoln. A Republican.

The Times endorsed Lincoln in 1860 and again, when he ran for reelection, in 1864. The photo used in today's Obama endorsement is the 1864 Lincoln. How much the man aged in 4 years! Here is the 1860 Lincoln:



The 1860 endorsement — PDF — is a fascinating read:
It will not be easy... for Mr. Lincoln to do much mischief, even if he should be disposed. We have great confidence in his pacific and conciliatory disposition. He seems to us much more like to be too good-natured and tolerant towards his opponents, than not enough so. Rail-splitting is not an exciting occupation. It does not tend to cultivate the angry passions of the heart...
The rail-splitting metaphor is then worked into the opinion that Lincoln will govern as a moderate pragmatist.

The 2 photos of Barack Obama, 2008 and 2012, differ much less from each other than the 2 pics of Lincoln. And the old 2008 endorsement doesn't contain any vivid writing telling us what sort of mind is produced by the the work of community organizing and how Obama will govern in the manner of a community organizer.