Wil also mentioned that he think's the nation's gun laws go too far, which I agree with sometimes. One big thing that sticks out in my mind is that we have the Second Amendment, then a bunch of laws contradicting it. I think it's a good idea to avoid letting mentally unstable people own/use guns, though it's hard to draw a line between a normal person and an "unstable" one. People with criminal histories should probably be watched more as well. Anyway, I guess that's not why I'm writing this entry.
He also mentioned that he'd vote for Howard Dean if the election was held today. I don't know much about him, so I'll have to look. I was very impressed with a speech I saw Dennis Kucinich give on C-SPAN one day. He was very Wellstone-esque, which might explain why I liked the speech.
Got a recommendation for voting for Howard Dean in my e-mail today. Apparently he was in St. Paul over the weekend and drew a decent crowd. Garrison Keillor even showed up.
I'd really rather wait a few more months before I start to really get into the 2004 elections. It's not even May 2003 yet! But, I think I might have to get sucked into it a bit early this time around.
Update: Couldn't find any news coverage of this, other than an announcement or two of it. There is an entry here, though..
Update: Found a handy page of 2004 Presidential Candidates, for anyone who's looking.
The first debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls will take place tomorrow. I'm sure it'll be live on C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2, but I can't figure out when yet. Supposedly, ABC will tape it, but nobody knows when stations will play it. Some might run it in the evening after the news, or possibly shove it into a late-late-late-night time slot like 12:30 or 1:30.
Urg. I keep reading things about Howard Dean. So far, he seems to be the Democratic candidate that I like the best for 2004, but I still know next to nothing about his positions. Still, we're only halfway through 2003. I've got a while yet to start to care about it too much.
From some news reports, it sounds like he doesn't really stick to one side in the political spectrum, which seems good to me. If I don't totally agree with a politician (and who ever does?), I'd like him/her to have the capability to make rational decisions, which Dean seems to be able to do, but I still don't know enough.
While making my way to the University's job website earlier today, I saw a little blurb about the Humphrey Institute's 2004 Election Project. Dunno if they really have anything interesting, but I plan to peek in there as time progresses…
A triumvirate (a la Douglas Adams) of unusual news articles have piqued my interest today:
“Bush go home” and “peace not war” the predominantly black crowd of protesters shouted from behind a barrier of buses…
Brain Sandwiches Still on Some Menus via Yahoo!:
“I think I'll have hardening of the arteries before I have mad cow disease,” said Cecelia Coan, 40, picking up a brain sandwich to go at the Hilltop Inn during her lunch hour. “This is better than snail, better than sushi, better than a lot of different delicacies.”
CBS Cries Foul on PETA, MoveOn Super Bowl Ads also via Yahoo!:
“We just want to be able to present our jiggly women,” said Lisa Lange, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asking to join advertisers like beer brewers who has boosted sales with images of scantily-clad women.
“I'd been afraid that this would be some kind of one-off, Apollo-type stunt. But it's not that at all,” he said. “A long-term, large-scale, open-ended space project—it's like watching a science-fiction movie. It's like the sort of thing I'd always imagined.”
And, countering, Mars Mission a Trojan Horse? from Wired again:
[Space historian Howard] McCurdy noted that the current President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, similarly proposed going to the moon and Mars in 1989. However, that plan fell apart when NASA came back with a jaw-dropping $400 billion price tag.
The current President Bush only signed on to a new moon-Mars plan after assurances from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe that the agency had returned to being the can-do outfit that sent men to the moon in the 1960s, McCurdy said.
Update: I don't know how many of my friends have been watching The Daily Show this week, but there was some weirdness with Presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun. She went on the show Wednesday night (I don't know exactly when htey tape, but it's afternoon/evening, I'm sure), and did a pretty good job. Also that day, word leaked out that she was planning to drop out of the race. I haven't been able to figure out exactly when she officially quit, but it's really weird that she stayed to tape the show…
Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.
I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…
I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.
But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).
Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).
Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.
Heh. The neighborhood DFL caucus will be held across the street from me at Marcy Open School. I suppose I should go if it's that easy (plus, it would give me a chance to see inside the school). For more info on Minnesota caucuses (and other parties), see this Strib article.
Update: Hmm. The Independence Party (which has no national affiliation) is going to use instant-runoff voting to select a presidential candidate to endorse. That might be interesting. Maybe I should go there. They're doing it at Coffman Union. Hmm. I need my exercise ;-)
Update Update: Nevermind. It's just poll that doesn't mean anything.
Well, I ended up going to the Independence Party caucus. I guess turnout was about what I expected, though more than the facilitator had planned on. I thought there would be 20 people or so, but I think he only expected about six (he did have enough material for almost everyone who attended, though). There will probably be an article in the Daily tomorrow, since a reporter from the paper was there the entire time. Later on, someone came in with a video camera, and a third person was also videotaping from the doorway after a while. One of them was making a film on the 2004 elections. I asked the other one what she was recording for, and I guess I didn't totally parse her response, but I ended up with the impression she was a journalism student. I was interviewed by the Daily reporter, so I might actually see my name in print somewhere other than the Op-Ed pages ;-)
What did we do? Well, we, uh, caucused. The organizers weren't allowed to do the presidential straw poll until 7:30 (half an hour after things officially got going). There were some proposed resolutions that were discussed, and new resolutions were proposed and voted on. A guy in the group volunteered for being the local district chair, and shortly after being officially nominated said something like “Okay, before moving on, can you tell me exactly what I'll be doing?” which made everybody laugh, of course. People slowly percolated out of the room, and the remaining people (including me) sorta got snookered into acting as delegates to the state convention. In theory, the delegate designation can stay with me even if I move. I'm not sure if my presence will really be appreciated, though, since my ballot went something like Nader, Kucinich, Sharpton, Kerry, Edwards…
The guy leading the whole group had unfortunately forgotten to introduce the state House candidate for district 59B until the very end. Anyway, he's Ron Lischeid. His platform at the moment mostly seems to be replacing Phyllis Kahn, who has been representing the area for 32 years (he says she's served so long that she has become an icon—or “iKahn”). However, he's been active in community groups, and is one of the lead guys for making an official University neighborhood in Minneapolis.
I was reminded of the times my dad ran against Steve Sviggum for his House seat back when I was finishing high school and starting at college. My dad didn't accept PAC donations, and even had to fend off radio advertisements made to endorse him by other organizations. My dad ran as a Democrat, so it should be easier for this guy since it's actually party policy to not use such funding.
The party has a fairly libertarian bent, it seems. I think a few people kind of scoffed when I mentioned I liked the party “plank” of supporting high-speed rail. Obviously, some think that it's less economical than highways and whatever. I suppose I'd really be targeting airline traffic, but I'm never good at articulating such things on the spot. People seemed to be fairly open to the whole gay marriage thing (though the median age of the room was probably about 22). One of the proposed resolutions was to advocate the idea of making everyone have civil unions under the law, same-sex or not, and only having the term “marriage” be used in the religious context.
I guess the party was also conducting an Internet vote expected to take two days, so results won't be in until Friday. That's kind of annoying. There was a vote on the presidential candidate, but there was also a vote on the mascot to use for the party (which has been reported as a “news of the weird” item in the press). Some of the candidates were the bison (both normal and white), the loon, a roaring lion, and a moose. I chose the normal bison, but I guess I'd considered the moose as well. Strangely, that poll was conducted in the traditional way. Maybe there's some party rule that says they can't make binding votes with instant-runoff voting…
Okay, I know I've been very political lately, but I'm sure I'll calm down pretty soon. I just figured I should mention that while John Kerry won the Minnesota DFL caucuses, it's very possible that things will be tough for him in this state come November. And no, I don't really mean President Bush. While caucuses generally don't see really great turnouts as compared to regular primaries and elections (probably less than 100,000 people participated in all of the caucuses statewide), they're still fairly important.
Votes stacked up for Kerry on Tuesday night, but I think Dennis Kucinich's strong showing (almost 17%—his best contest so far except for Hawaii) indicates that there's a much more liberal undercurrent flowing through the Democratic party. Heck, Kucinich was the only Democrat to venture outside the Twin Cities, and it showed up in the Iron Range according to this Strib article. I can see why Minnesotans would like him—he's very Wellstone-like in behavior when it comes to how he speaks and what positions he takes. The article I referenced said that some people voted for Edwards or Kerry even though they really wanted Kucinich. That age-old “electability” problem.
Of course, by the time November rolls around, Kucinich himself will probably be just a memory. The Kerry camp will have to do a lot to convince me and others in the state to vote for him. It concerns me that the state might fall to Bush because of this, so we'll see how things go. I'm getting even more excited about the results of the Independence Party's IRV poll, but we might have to wait until the weekend or even Monday for the numbers to come in. There's a reasonable possibility that Kerry will come out on top, but I have a strong feeling that Nader or Kucinich will top out in the end. In my opinion, the poll will be a good indication of where Kerry's competition is coming from, and I intend to hype the shit out of the results as soon as I get them.
I went to a job fair at the Radisson today (er, yesterday, since I'm up late). The place was packed, and I got pretty excited to see so many people there. It was weird to see so many people wearing suits or at least slacks, nice shirts, and ties (like me). Given my past experience at job fairs, I expected to be toward the high end with my appearance, but there were plenty of people that went above and beyond. Only a very small number of attendees were wearing the clothes I'd expect from students and recent grads.
Of course, upon talking to people, I realized the reason: Sales. Bah. Everyone was looking for salespeople, and I figure the job fair must have been hyped over at Carlson (it would explain the nice attire, since nobody else on campus normally gives a crap about that sort of thing). I ended up giving out two resumés, though. One was with Accenture—that company kind of scares me since they seemed to be a big source of trouble regarding CSOM's out-of-control spending on their website. Another was Eschelon (that's with an s, not without ;-) which I'd never heard of before. One lady there was really excited to meet me. Well, she didn't really seem to be an excitable person, but she promised me an interview which is good. It would be a tech support helpdesk-type thing, but I'm open to lots of things these days.
On the political side of things, I posted to the LiveJournal Twin Cities community the Independence Party preliminary results. Okay, the presidential results actually scare me a bit so far, but we'll see if things change as they go through the different runoff rounds. However, I liked most of the other resolution results, though I'm not exactly sure what it takes for them to be passed (I'd personally only want the ones above 50% to really count, but that's just me).
Oh, and I got my computer to record Tripping the Rift. Wow. That was really excellent (even if God doesn't get killed in the end).
Heh. So I'm right, dammit! I finally tried out Minnesota Public Radio's Select a Candidate survey and got the results: Nader, Kucinich, Kerry, Edwards, Sharpton, and then Bush landed at 0% favorability ;-)
Wow. I must really hate that guy :-D
The interesting thing about that survey is that current results indicate that 44% of the site's visitors had Kucinich as the top candidate. John Kerry is in second place with 16%.
Of course, this is the Internet, and it's entirely possible that there has been a scripted attack to boost Kucinich's standings.
The American Family Association is running a new online poll, though perhaps a little less controversial than the gay marriage one that got poll-bombed a few months ago. This one was sent out to people who had voted online previously and has some dramatic numbers. They're simply asking Kerry, Bush, or Nader?
I just took it, and then, well, my browser crashed before I could type anything in. By the time I got back, probably another hundred people had voted, though it didn't change things much. The numbers I've just jotted down say Kerry 90.5% (8578 votes), Nader 6.08% (576), and Bush 3.42% (324).
Turns out I miscalculated on the hours I've been working. I had been doing 6 hours instead of 5. I knew my day didn't seem to be the right length somehow. Anyway, I guess I'll make up for it by just having a short day tomorrow.
Kerry won the debate. Anyone who says otherwise wasn't really paying attention. But, in the “marketplace of ideas” I suppose you can think whatever you want. I think it's likely that Kerry will “win” all of them, but I don't know if it'll change much of anything.
Upon the recent revelations that viewers of The Daily Show are more on top of things than just about anybody, there's anecdotal evidence that post-debate interviews with the spin-meisters are getting interrupted a bit more frequently with tough questions. I guess the test of that will come in the next few days. If The Moment from this debate turns out to be a silly little foible, the media hasn't yet started to change direction. But, if something substantive sticks, I think someone has started to pay attention to the fact that American news media is a pretty messed up group at the moment.
On that note, there's a great Fresh Air interview with Jon Stewart that was done today.
Curious, my polling place moved from an apartment just a block away to De La Salle High School on Nicollet Island. Perhaps my precinct is larger than I thought? Hmm. I'm in school district 001. Nifty ;-)
So, let's see. Here are my contested races:
|Constitution||Michael Peroutka and Chuck Baldwin|
|Green||David Cobb and Pat LaMarche|
|Libertarian||Michael Badnarik and Richard Campagna|
|Republican (I)||George W. Bush and Dick Cheney|
|Democratic-Farmer-Labor||John F. Kerry and John Edwards|
|Socialist Equality||Bill Van Auken and Jim Lawrence|
|Socialist Workers||Roger Calero and Arrin Hawkins|
|Christian Freedom||Thomas J. Harens and Jennifer A. Ryan|
|Better Life||Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo|
Yeah, I've considered Kerry and Edwards, but a number of things still bug me about that. For one thing, in the debates they've been quick to practically scream, “We'll kill the terrorists too!,” but I have issues with that. Call me old-fashioned, but I kind of like the Constitution and the rule of law. I guess I'm just a liberal softie.
I took a look at Cobb a while back, but I wasn't all that impressed. I suppose I didn't give much more than a glance though—this was months before the election, remember? I pondered the Libertarian candidate a little bit four years ago, but I guess I just think that capital-L Libertarians are almost like anarchists, only with money.
Christian Freedom? I still kinda like that whole church-state separation thing. I mean, I know we don't have to worry about King George anymore, just this other one.
|Democratic-Farmer-Labor (I)||Martin Olav Sabo|
I'll have to look into the House race a little bit more. Considering that Sabo has been in office almost as long as I've been alive, it would probably be good to get some fresh blood in there. I'll take a look at Jay Pond and see if he has anything interesting to say. His issues page kind of seems like the Greens' party line (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but I still haven't figured out what single-payer health insurance is).
|Democratic-Farmer-Labor (I)||Phyllis Kahn|
And, well, Phyllis Kahn has been the state representative here since about the time my parents graduated from college. 32 years is quite a while. However, I don't know if anyone else has a whole lot to add. Hmm. It looks like Becki Smith lives on my block. I may have to go knock on her door (or push the buzzer button thingy ;-)
|Gregory J. Bownik|
|Jonathan M. Burris|
|Kevin W. Rodewald|
|Alan C. Page (I)|
Yes, that Alan Page is the Alan Page of the Minnesota Vikings. I don't know much about him other than that. However, Tim Tingelstad worries me. This post in the Twin Cities LiveJournal community points out that he's pretty much running on the idea of pushing his religious values.
Our founding fathers were inspired by God to create the greatest form of government the world has ever known. These were men of strong convictions and a deep faith in God. They were certain that this Nation would only prosper if we continue to embrace the Biblical principles upon which they built our constitutional government. It is time to rediscover our Godly heritage; to restore His Truth to our communities, our State and our Nation.Discarding the basic misunderstanding there (many of the Founding Fathers were Christian, though a significant number were Deists), I don't want to see a Roy Moore here, so I'll definitely be going for Page.
|David Minge (I)|
|Paul Elliot Ross|
Pretty much ditto here. Ross is another right-winger.
|Daniel L. Griffith|
|R. A. (Jim) Randall (I)|
And here, Griffith is concerned with getting “of all people, Christians” into elected office.
|Julie Delgado O'Neil|
|Stephen Allan Baker|
|Susan N. Burke|
|Kevin J. Kolosky|
|LaJune Thomas Lange|
Everything else on my ballot is uncontested…
I decided to delete KMWB (23, or 8 on Minneapolis cable) from the channel lineup on my TV, mostly because Sinclair is being stupid. I hardly watch it anyway, except that it provides a little escape when that Jennie Garth show is on ('cuz, well, it's Jennie Garth). But, considering that the show is on only about 0.2% of the week, it's not really worth it to me. Yeah, I can't stand all their stupid dating shows either.
Wow. Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire ended up being much different than what anyone expected. That's got to be the only time I've ever seen someone come on a show (as the only guest!) and totally eviscerate it. A few links so far:
Heh. That Mary Cheney debacle did turn out to be about a 48-hour bug, didn't it.
I'm disturbed that the Zogby polling data on Electoral-vote.com suddenly changed significantly. Zogby normally pushes people really hard to make a decision, so maybe they suddenly stopped being so picky about that—that seems to be the most likely thing. Most of the movement seemed to be people moving out of the Kerry column into undecided. Other polls also shifted and seemed to have an uptick for Bush, probably because everybody's been visiting Minnesota lately.
Well, we'll just have to see what happens next Tuesday, I guess. Maybe cell phones will make a difference since some people weren't polled. Maybe young people will make a difference. Maybe high turnout helps Democrats. Maybe not. It's hard to say. I just don't understand how people can still like Bush. There are insane numbers of people who are like Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City. On The Daily Show last week (I think), he said that he doesn't like any of Bush's domestic policies, but he thinks Bush is a good leader in the war on terrorism. Bah. Ninnies.
On NBC Nightly News last night, Tom Brokaw said that 95% of eligible Iowa voters had registered, so 90%+ turnout is possible there. Hmm, actually, I wonder if they have some sort of automatic registration with drivers licenses or something. Maybe. They had 71.7% of voting-age people actually vote in 2000, while Minnesota had 69.3% turnout that year.
I'd heard on KARE 11 one day that Hennepin County had 86-88% turnout in the past, but I must have mis-heard or something. Maybe that's the turnout of registered voters: Turnout of eligible voters pretty closely matches the statewide level—69.8% in the last election.
Hmm. Another October surprise. The new bin Laden tape is the major story today, and people are already forgetting about the explosives it seems. The media is following the bouncing ball, probably because bin Laden is easier to report on than the explosives story, which actually takes effort. Oh well, the thing will probably be a wash anyway, since on one hand it will remind people of terrorism, but it will also remind people that Bush didn't manage to find bin Laden.
Pioneer Press: Mask sales for candidates neck and neck
“Oddly enough, we're selling a lot of the [Bush and Kerry] masks in pairs,” said Berg. “I don't know if they're buying them and putting on their own debates or what.”Yow… People can't even decide who they want for Halloween.
Political debates should always be held on Halloween:
The Yahoo caption follows:
Democrat Cheryl Rivers, left, stares at Liberty Union party candidate Peter Stevenson, who wore a Halloween costume, as Stevenson speaks during Vermont Public Television's Lieutenant Governor candidates debate Sunday, Oct. 31, 2004, in Colchester, Vt. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)Heh. I've never heard of the Liberty Union Party. That's one way to get attention.
This thing seems to defy any sort of prediction based on past patterns, partly because a few are in conflict. Presidents with 4-letter last names generally (always?) only serve for one 4-year term. On the other hand, presidents running for re-election in years ending with the digit ‘4’ have either won or not run, going all the way back to about 1824. Going against Bush, well, the Redskins won. Also, presidents elected after another who had served two terms usually only last for one.
Well, people used to believe in Tecumseh's curse, but that one pretty much died out—though perhaps only because of modern medical technology.
Cool and dreary out, but still,
Now I just have to pretend to do work until the end of the day. Bleh.
Early exit polling data has leaked out. If early numbers hold, it is likely Kerry will win by a significant margin. Looks a lot like what was predicted on electoral-vote.com, actually. Early exit polls are always unreliable, though (but they usually overly favor Republican candidates).
Well, I'm going to bed. At the moment, I am thinking what was printed on the shirt of a guy who flashed the CNN folks at the NASDAQ center:
FUCK THIS SHIT
I couldn't really work yesterday. I'm going to have to discard most of the hours I'd hoped to work up until now this week because of election stuff. I tried to concentrate a bit yesterday afternoon, but just needed to clear my head. I wandered downtown, half expecting to see protesters (there were none), and took the train down to Minnehaha Park as I often do. I almost got distracted enough to miss that stop, but the vocal message piped over the speakers reminded me just in time. The park was nearly empty, which you'd expect for the middle of a weekday.
Well, people have been pushing around all sorts of things to show how the “blue” states are better than the “red” states. The best thing I've seen so far is a comparison of education. These are real number from the 2000 census. I got them from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/. The number is the percentage of state residents older than 25 who have a Bachelor's degree or better:
I doubt this truly has any bearing on real intelligence, just the fact that people haven't been challenged enough in their lives to see the big picture. We need a Brother Jed of Democratic values. Education is also a reason why I have been bringing up the idea of hosting discussions in parks and other public spaces, where anybody can put their voice in. It's a simple and free way of getting people to learn.
Well, I think I have little choice but to get political these days. I'm considering doing meetups or other things with the Democratic party, though that's another step here.
Probably the first thing I'll do is go to my neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday. I don't want to get too political there, but I just want to get involved and hopefully mention my idea of having people host political discussions in parks and other places around the neighborhood.
Next off, I plan to talk to some people in the Independence Party. They're nominally “centrist,” but I think it's more complex than that. Everyone seems to be thinking that the Democrats need to become more socially conservative. In some ways, that might be true. However, as this episode of This American Life shows, Republicans aren't a 100% cohesive group like you might think. Interestingly, they seem to think that lefties are as unwavering as we often think they are, and believe that theirs is the party of “inclusion.” Certainly, they probably aren't as socially liberal as people might hope, but they're definitely a lot more accepting than people fear.
Now, with that in mind, I bring up an interesting article on Slate: "Why Americans Hate Democrats—A Dialogue: The unteachable ignorance of the red states." According to Blogdex, it appears that Bush-backing bloggers are bashing this left and right (er, mostly right ;-) . Now, I would agree that it goes too far on some counts, but there is a grain of truth to it. I certainly believe that right-wingers are more likely to pull out the dirty tricks and hit below the belt. Yeah, it's a generalization—not everyone is like that. Anyway, the main conclusion that I saw there is that folks on the liberal side have to point out these tricks and exaggerations every time they come up. And if we are going to be able to avoid the “whiner” label, I think we have to call ourselves on it too. That may be the only way to gain the respect of the other side.
There was an interesting dissection of Bush's first post-election press conference in The Washington Post. There was a little discussion about the reporters supposedly not listening to “the will of the people” because some of them asked more than one question. Well, perhaps that was just a bad joke (if it was, he needs better writers). Interestingly, Bush also dodged questions relating to issues such as the Supreme Court, the cost of the war in Iraq, and the coming/now here military offensive against Fallujah.
As many of the reporters observed, Bush wants to paint a rosy picture and doesn't want to get bogged down in little details like how much things are actually going to cost. He speaks so vaguely that, well, it sounds good (or at least not bad). But when you're coming up on the time when baby boomers will be retiring, explaining how you'll pay for Social Security is kind of important.
The biggest problem is that Bush wants to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, which effectively makes balancing the budget a mathematical impossibility. We are currently hovering around a $7+ trillion national debt ceiling, and the government might go through another one of those shutdowns if the limit isn't raised again. I wonder how many small-government Republicans voted for Bush.
Well, to end today's entry, I'll come out and say that I did end up voting for Nader. One of a whopping 16 people in my precinct to do so (out of nearly 2300 people). Well, that's who the NPR candidate selector recommended, anyway ;-) Interestingly, the other day I took one of those silly online tests that people make and it called me a socially liberal Republican (like Rudy Giuliani, supposedly). Not sure I believe that one.
The blogosphere continues to examine the idea that the exit polls on election day were right and the actual votes were wrong. I find this hard to believe, as it require massive voting fraud, but I'm willing to examine any real evidence that is put before me. One of the more striking observations is the fact that rural Florida voters appear to have voted strongly against their own party identification, according to this site and PDFs on the Florida Secretary of State's website.
If you take the numbers at face value, you find outliers such as Liberty County, Florida, a tiny county with about 7000 residents, supposedly registered as 88% Democrat and just 8% Republican. The county went for Bush 64% to 35%.
I was shocked to see that, but then I started thinking, “rural counties are supposed to be mostly Republican, aren't they?” So, I dug a little deeper. I saw that the demographics of the county made it mostly white, with a few blacks. It made sense to me at that point that the registration numbers must have just been switched—most of the whites were probably actually Republicans and the blacks were probably mostly Democrats. I opened up this PDF and the numbers came up like this:
Going by the conventional wisdom that blacks generally identify themselves as Democrats, this would seem to tell me that only the registrations of white people got flipped around. However, these numbers don't just follow this pattern for this election. Previous elections in 2004 (such as the primaries) and registration data going back to 1994 has a similar count (however, one PDF for 1994 was generated in 2002).
Still, if the Republican and Democrat registrations for white people were flipped around, you'd end up with a county about 76% Republican and 15% Democrat. Considering that Republicans are much less likely to ditch their candidate than Democrats are, I would have expected the county to go for Bush by about 80% to 20% rather than 64% to 35% as it did. However unlikely it may seem, it appears somewhat more likely that the vote tallies for Liberty County were reversed, and the people there actually voted for Kerry.
This was a place where people apparently used optical-scan machines (like here in Minnesota), rather than the e-voting machines that have grabbed headlines during this election. If someone was going to commit fraud, they'd try to do it where people weren't looking, right?
Here's an article on CommonDreams.org that points to this conclusion as well.
I'm halfway thinking that I'll have to do an informal survey of Liberty County myself by calling 10 or 20 people, just to see which numbers are wrong (or, heck, the unlikely possibility that a Democratic region voted largely Republican for some reason).
With my computer's hard drive failures, the foreshocks and aftershocks of the election, and my grandfather dying all in the last two weeks, I've been rather unsettled. Add to that the fact that I haven't been paid, and I'm a bit disgruntled.
At least I watched some comedy DVDs recently. Of course, one was a romantic comedy, so I have that resonating and making me feel lonely, which always happens when I watch those movies. Having someone around sure would have helped these last few weeks.