Republicans Can’t Let Go

Liberal comedian and commentator Bill Maher isn’t always my cup of tea. He often diverges into shallow attacks of the right and when he does he hurts his credibility. But friday’s New Rules was right on the money. His New Rules segment summed up what I’ve been saying for weeks about what’s happened to the right since the election.

Conservatives have nothing left except the word “No.” They have no ideas of their own, have lost the reins of power in both houses of Congress, and the President and his policies continue to be very popular. As a result, the right is floundering in tea parties, talk of secession and made up facts. It’s like the entire right-wing of the country needs to go to group therapy to work through their Obama issues. Maher recognizes this and hits the nail on the head as only he can. Skip forward to the 2:21 mark for the noteworthy bit:

Of Tea and Time Warner

So much has happened this week that I wanted to get some random thoughts jotted down before I forgot them. So here’s a straight brain dump of what’s been running through my head these last few days. They include:

• I appreciate people’s right to organize and protest against their government. It’s extra special that the Tea Party crowd wasn’t forced into “free speech zones” like so many who protested the Iraq war just a few years ago.

• No matter how bad things got during W’s presidency, I can’t remember any Democratic governor calling for his/her state to secede from the union. Can you?

• If Texas wants to become it’s own country let them. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes them to rejoin the union once hurricane season starts. (hat tip to Dave for this one)

• When major corporations like Time Warner say they have “no choice” but to hike internet rates by a factor of 10, what they really mean is “until legal action is threatened”.

• Newspapers could go bust at any moment, talk radio stations are dangling by mere threads and local TV stations are all but doomed.

• I’m thinking of organizing an anti-tea, “coffee day” grass roots campaign for those of us who support our President and our government. Honk if you’re with me.

• Note to tea-baggers: our President is doing precisely what he campaigned on which is one reason why the majority of the country elected him. Deal with it.

• I pay less taxes now than I did during the last administration.

• Companies like Time Warner are the reason why the phrase “by hook or by crook” exists. Don’t let your guard up for one single moment. Call for regulation and increased competition.

• President Obama is less than 1/24th of the way through his first term. If the tea-baggers don’t pace themselves, it’s going to be a very looooong 4 years.

• To protest wasteful spending, conservatives and libertarians bought over a million tea bags this past week, most of which will ultimately be discarded.

• I need to find and buy stock in tea companies. (hat tip to Brad Krantz)

Obama 1, Pirates -3, Fox News 0.

It was amazing over the course of last week to watch right-wing bloggers and media outlets like Fox News hedge their bets in regards to the Somali pirate situation and President Obama. TV personalities like Britt Hume complained that Obama wasn’t stepping up and stating his position while others tried to paint the administration as weak when it came to the security of the U.S. and its citizens.

Turns out they were all wrong. Obama stayed in the background because he didn’t want to endanger the captured captain’s life nor give the attackers any additional information. Obama also personally authorized the use of force twice during events and proved to the shills what he and his administration were made of. Now those on the right who bet against America and our President are trying to hem and haw and find any possible excuse for doing what they did. They should all be taken to task for their deplorable behavior. Witness this:

UPDATE: Military expert Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for National Security Studies says Gingrich, Beck and other should have “held their tongues” while the operation was unfolding. “It’s bad form. You don’t make this a partisan issue until an operation has been assessed. It’s fair game ex post facto. But during the emergency, I think that our elected leaders deserve our respect.”

Limbaugh Insults & Dishonors GOP Veteran on Air

How anyone can listen to one word that comes out of this hate-spewing, hard-core right-wing loon is beyond me. Conservatives always try to make comparisons to Olberman or Schultz when you talk about Rush, Hannity and their ilk, but they don’t even come close. No one on the left would do to a veteran who served in two branches of the military what Rush Limbaugh does to this caller. This loyal GOP voter simply had had enough of Rush’s bullshit and decided to call him on it.

Rather than take his lumps and move on, Limbaugh decides to cut him off, berate and insult him and the entire United States military in one fell swoop. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve far better than anything this neocon has to offer. In addition, no one on the right who listens to this man has a moral leg to stand on when accusing the left of not loving their country or the military. Listen to the whole thing, it’s simply disgusting.

Right-Wing Lies Leave 3 Cops Dead

Shortly after Barack Obama won the White House, I happened to have a talk with my brother in-law about our new President. He told me that many of his gun owning friends were “stocking up” on ammo and weapons because they feared Obama would infringe on their 2nd amendment rights. There was no direct evidence of this of course, but I didn’t protest too much, after all, he was family.

In the months since then, gun sales have soared spurred by lies from the right-wing to their hard base that Obama is threatening to take away their guns. Pushed by the usual suspects like Rush, Hannity, FOX News and others, this widespread (but completely unfounded) belief that the White House is going to do away with all guns was the reasoning behind a deadly shooting spree today. From the AP:

A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and “lying in wait” opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting isn’t clear, but friends said the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns….

Poplawski had feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon,” said Edward Perkovic, his best friend….

The entire event is eerily similar to the threats of violence we heard at McCain/Palin rallies during the Presidential Campaign. Left unchecked, lies tend to fester, especially when they are fueled by like-minded individuals in the media.

The GOP had better pull their heads out of the sand and take a look around before things get out of control. McCain had the integrity to state the facts about Obama near the end of the campaign and railed against the “Barack as terrorist” meme. The rest of the conservative movement would do well to take a cue from the Senator from Arizona and let cooler heads prevail.

Perspective

There’s a chart of job losses in the current economic downturn that has been making its way around the internet. While the data the chart shows is pretty scary, like most statistics it represents only a small slice of how we arrived where we are. I’ve been hearing of conservatives who are up-in-arms over Obama’s spending and how the economy is tanking because of his so-called “socialistic programs”, so I decided to add a bit of data to the chart to help gain some useful perspective. Adding the lens of history to the chart, we see (click to enlarge):

The country has been shedding jobs at a historic rate for over a year but during all that time, what did Bush do to stop the bleeding? He cut taxes for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And when that didn’t stem the tide, he didn’t change course, he instead sought to make those tax cuts permanent. Now those very same tax cut & borrow Republicans have the indignant gaul to berate a President who has been in office less than a single financial quarter? I didn’t hear conservatives throwing “tea-parties” when the Congress was asked to appropriate billions of dollars over and over again for a war of choice in a foreign land. Those funds went down a massive black hole that will never be seen again and yet when Obama asks conservative Americans to do their part and pitch in for the good of ALL of Americans here at home, suddenly they have a problem.

Nate Silver worked out that even with the current state of the stock market and declining retirement accounts, the majority of Americans are willing to give the President 12-18 months before they consider the economy “his”. That means Obama has several months to turn things around, not six weeks as some would like us to believe. A little perspective, every now and then, is a good thing. Try and remember that.

UPDATE: More perspective courtesy of Crooks & Liars who link to a graph of the Dow from all of last year. They note that the stock market lost more than HALF of its value from May of 2008 to November, all under George W. Bush. All this and yet conservatives are convinced that Obama’s newly implemented policies are what’s scaring the pants off investors. I suppose once Obama turns the economy around, that’ll be Bush’s doing too.

Signs of Recovery

Five & 1/2 weeks. That’s how long Barack Obama has been President of the United States. The new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is just starting to ramp up but apparently for some, 5.5 weeks should be more than enough time to completely fix the broken U.S. economy. How do I know that Obama’s strategy that was literally signed into law last week isn’t working? Because the media told me so.

It started with local radio talk show host Brad Krantz who ripped on the President during Tuesday morning’s Brad and Britt show. His open letter to the President derided him for the “timing” of his policies and his inability to fly to Wall Street and personally shake some sense into the traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Next up was the Wall St. Journal who apparently feels that a crisis 8 years in the making can be completely turned around in under 40 days. Then, let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who are popping out of the media woodwork to predict the utter ruin of Obama and the nation, much to the glee of the ditto-heads from coast to coast.

All the while, the President goes about the business of getting our nation back on the right track and doing it with the support of the majority of the American people. Obama campaigned on this promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans and last week he made that promise a reality. An overwhelming majority of the country told John McCain to go home and that we really didn’t want more tax cuts for the rich. Now the media, led by people like Limbaugh, and sadly even my man Krantz, seems ready to jump ship even as the first jobs are being created by Obama’s stimulus program. Here’s a hint to nay-sayers: there are a shit-load more jobs about to be created, just watch.

You media mavens said you wanted a President that shot straight with the public. But you were lying. Turns out you just wanted another President like Bush that blew rose-colored smoke up your collective asses. For 8 years Bush lied and obfuscated and you whined and shouted “If only!” at the top of your lungs. But when push came to shove and Obama laid it all out for you like adults, you decide to bail on him. He’s been in office less than a single financial quarter! What you really want is a President that caters to the whims of Wall Street instead of investing in our future with green energy or cheaper health care for all of us. Shame on you!

Well guess what, we don’t want another President like Bush. We elected the man and polls say we’re not ready to give up on him just yet. Not after just 5 & 1/2 weeks, Brad. Not after 35 days, Wall Street. Help is coming, and the signs will be literally everywhere soon enough so do us all a favor, stop taking cues from Jim Cramer, un-wad your panties, take a chill pill and relax. You owe Obama, and the rest of us at least that much.

Following Through

I can’t honestly remember the last time I was rooting for my President to succeed so vehemently. So far, Barack Obama has done a pretty good job of keeping his campaign promises. His first official budget, which he delivered to Congress this week, continues that resolve. The sheer fact that unlike Bush, he didn’t attempt to hide the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan by leaving it out of the budget signals the true nature of change he represents.

In this latest weekly video address Obama foreshadows the huge lobbying effort that is gearing up to fight the changes his administration will bring. At the 3:40 mark he lays it out bare: they are getting ready for a fight. His answer to those deep-pocketed special interests is even better – “So am I”. You are not alone Mr. President, we’ve got your back. This is going to be good.

Party Before Country

The withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg from consideration for President Obama’s cabinet is the most telling indication of where the GOP’s motive’s lie these days. As promised, Obama has reached out in the spirit of co-operation to conservatives and sadly, his open hand has been met by the proverbial clenched fist.

Gregg’s sudden inability to deal with the realities of serving in an Obama Administration have nothing to do with the census issue or even the stimulus package itself. No, the withdrawal that “blind-sided” Obama yesterday came from the arrogance and stupidity of the Republican party and their willingness to put their own political identity crisis ahead of what’s good for the country. Blogger Andrew Sullivan hits this issue square on the head:

“This much is now clear. Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.”

All politics has changed. Gone are the days when those elected to government are willing to set aside their party differences for the good of the rest of us. Some individuals, like President Obama, have noble ideals and hope that co-operation can be a reality. The problem is that when you have a conservative party that has just had their asses handed to them for the second straight election cycle, they tend to dig in and bare for a brawl instead of doing what’s right.

The majority of the country thinks the stimulus package is the right move for the economy. The majority of the country voted in Barack Obama as President because they were sick and tired of the fiscal irresponsibility, the foreign wars of choice, the lies and the rose colored glasses. When President Obama treats us like adults and tells us like it is, the GOP screams “fearmonger!”. They pray for Obama and everything he stands for (which includes you and your economic well-being) to fail so that they can once again return to power. They call names and claim that not wearing a jacket in the Oval Office is “disrespectful” of the Presidency. Funny how a dress code can disrespect the Constitution more than 8 years of Bush’s lies, cronyism, ethics scandals and disregard for the rule of law.

If the current economy wasn’t so dire, the GOP’s behavior would almost be laughable. They have chosen to find their collective spines now, just 8 years too late for the rest of us. Spend a trillion dollars in Iraq? No problem! Spend 700 billion here at home on you and yours? Out of the question. If Republicans want to commit political suicide, that’s their business but stay the hell away from the rest of us. We voted you out for a reason, and the message on the ballot was pretty fraking clear. I don’t expect you to drop your role as the opposition party but the GOP’s antics aren’t opposition, they are obstruction, pure and simple. So when it comes to the safety, and financial security of every single American, you can either get on board or get the hell out of the way. It’s up to you.

UPDATE: Republicans could have gone a long way toward healing the political vitriol that exists in Washington by at least attempting to compromise on some of President Obama’s proposals. But as Think Progress reports they are having none of it. The GOP’s quest to put their petty political faces front and center has only served to steel the new administration against them. I dare suspect the same can be said for the American people as well.

O-Day +1

So after yesterday’s celebration, today Barack Obama got down to business. Not wanting to waste any time, Obama took off his coat, sat down in the Oval Office and started doing good things immediately. In case you missed it, here’s some of the awesome stuff President Obama got accomplished on day one:

• In order to set a good example for the country during this time of economic crisis, Obama froze the pay for many members of his administration making over $100,000 a year. Unlike the previous administration, evidently the buck stops here.

• Obama introduced sweeping new ethics reform for how lobbyists can function in his administration. The new rules Obama laid out seem pretty obvious now, but for some reason were never put into practice by previous administrations.

• Put the wheels in motion to get Gitmo closed within a year. Given how poorly the military tribunals there have been received by world governments, human rights groups and Americans at large, restoring captive’s rights toward a fair trial is critical to regaining the moral high ground.

• He pissed off Rush Limbaugh by issuing a Presidential memo restoring transparency to any and all White House records. Obama made it a point of distinction that his administration would function under the notion of more openness, not less. Secrecy, while important, should only be invoked in matters of national security or high sensitivity. Rush said on his radio show today that he’s worried the new openness will make it easier for people to dig up Bush misdeeds. You don’t say Rush, really?

• Obama re-took the oath of office late today after the botched job by Justice Roberts during the inauguration. Although he most likely didn’t have to, he none-the-less did and thereby corked any possible dispute that might have arisen from the incorrect oath he took yesterday. Obama’s willingness to correct a small error like this speaks volumes about how different he is from George W. Bush.

Five positive steps in one day. Not bad Mr. President, not bad. If you keep this up, you just may live up to all the hype. Color me impressed.

Cry Me A River, Dumbo

As the Washington D.C. inauguration of our 44th President approaches, news comes from Politico that many sore loser Republicans are planning on getting the hell out of dodge. Seems like they’d rather fly off to places like Las Vegas, New York or even Switzerland and revel in George Bush’s last minutes in power than play their dutiful part in creating a bi-partisan government. Charlie Spies, a Republican lawyer and former CFO to Mitt Romney’s campaign is planning a “Misery loves company” bash for fellow GOPers in Nevada:

“What better way to mark the Obama Inauguration (and his millions of adoring fans that will be in D.C.) than to get out of town to fabulous Las Vegas! We hope you can join us for dinner and a fun evening on Monday, Jan. 19, to celebrate the last few hours of our Republican president in the White House.”

I knew Republicans despised losing the reins of power, but their reported childishness pushes the limit, even for them. I can understand wanting to get away from D.C. and the huge crowds of tourists that are about to descend on the city, but to essentially whine like sore losers while the rest of the country celebrates is hardly becoming those in government. Between defending racist behavior and crying foul when the other side wins, the GOP is in for a LOOOOONG four years. If they had a collective brain among them, they’d wise up, take responsibility and earn some respect. Then again, maybe elephants will eventually learn how to fly.

GOP Jerkwads

You’d think that after the pasting they received in November, the GOP would be busy figuring out why they are so out of touch with the American people. Of course, you’d be wrong. Apparently Republicans are interested in alienating even more of the country as they insist on playing to the hard base.

Witness the arrogant and bigoted tone of one RNC Chair candidate, Chip Saltsman. Saltsman sent out copies of a song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro” as part of his Christmas greeting. The song, originally publicized by Rush Limbaugh earlier this year, came under fire from the media and anyone with a brain for its racist overtones. Somehow Saltsman saw fit to make the tune part of his holiday message. All this with less than 30 day to go until the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. To top it off, in the 20+ hours since this story first broke, only one high-ranking Republican has condemned Saltsman’s actions. Just one.

If the GOP has any hope of regaining the respect it lost over the past eight years, they must begin by pulling their heads out of their collective asses. It’s bad enough making a joke by calling someone a “magic negro”, but when that person is the next President of the United States and you actually defend said remarks, you deserve huge helpings of ridicule and scorn.

Sadly, this is yet more evidence that the right has no interest in doing what’s best for the country. Until this dipstick stunt, the prime example of the GOP’s pandering attitude was McCain pulling Palin out of obscurity as his running mate. Saltsman’s actions flow from the natural progression of this costly strategy and I for one hope they keep it up. Their foolish bravado is laying the foundation for a long-term Democratic majority the right hasn’t seen in decades. Saltsman says his song was “just a joke”, but the really funny part is the joke’s on him.

UPDATE: Peter Yarrow, one of the artists behind “Puff the Magic Dragon”, speaks out on the whole affair and hits the nail right on the head. He writes “Obama is not a candidate. He is the President-Elect, and this song insults the office of the Presidency, the people who voted for him, as well as those who did not — and taking a children’s song and twisting it in such vulgar, mean-spirited way, is a slur to our entire country and our common agreement to move beyond racism.”

UPDATE II: Simon Rosenberg, head of the Democratic organization NDN, is quoted in a recent Huffington Post piece as saying the GOP just don’t get it. “The core play in the GOP playbook for 44 years has been the magic negro playbook, whether it is Willie Horton, or welfare queens and tax and spend, or the way they have dealt with immigration… they don’t have a play in their playbook that doesn’t start with the exploitation of racial divisions. They are going to have to reject 44 years of GOP politics in order to have any chance in the 21st century America.”

Sunshine Day

In what may turn out to be one of the best examples of timing in the last quarter century, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have made a major breakthrough in the field of solar energy. The scientists there have invented a coating that not only boosts the amount of light rays able to be absorbed by photovoltaic cells, but that also allows light to be absorbed from almost any angle.

An untreated solar cell only absorbs 67.4 percent of sunlight that strikes it. In terms of efficiency, this wasted energy is one of the major reasons why solar power has not had widespread adoption. Once a silicon panel is treated with the new coating, researchers say the amount of light absorbed is boosted to an incredible 96.21%. Not only that, but the energy captured was consistent across the entire spectrum of sunlight, from UV to visible light and infrared. Because of the wide angle of absorption, the discovery could instantly make panels that automatically track the sun obsolete. Non-automated panels mean less expense, more energy is harvested and solar power becomes more viable.

The best bit is that this discovery comes just as a new administration is about to take office. One of Obama’s initiates as President will be to boost production of renewable energy sources including solar power. Rensselaer’s coating most likely would have fallen on deaf ears during Bush’s tenure at the White House, but now this new discovery could be a key component on road to U.S. energy independence. I love it when a plan comes together!

Election Prediction Results

Back on October 23rd, I offered up several election predictions. Now that the most important election in recent memory is one for the books (almost), I thought I should go back and take score on how I did. When it came to predicting the election no one beat Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, but all in all I think I held my own. Be sure to check the tally at the end of the post for the final results.



Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States
This was the easiest prediction I’ve ever made. There has been little doubt in my mind since Obama locked up the nomination that he would be our next President. You can say McCain threw the Presidency away with his poor choices, but even if he hadn’t, I submit to you that the need for change was too great. Obama would have won anyway and with good cause. With his win it’s once again “cool” to be an American, and that is something many of us have not felt in a long, long time.



Obama wins at least 320 electoral votes
As of this writing, Obama has a total of 364 electoral votes to John McCain’s 163. The only state left outstanding is Missouri. Just to put these numbers in perspective, Bush won 286 electoral votes against Kerry in 2004 and only 271 against Gore in 2000.



Obama wins NC, CO, OH, IN and MS
As they say, three out of four isn’t bad. I feel particularly vindicated about North Carolina and Indiana. I thought I would go against the conventional wisdom and call Missouri for Obama, but that was just wishful thinking. On the other hand, I’ve been calling North Carolina for Obama for almost a year, and even though it was close, Obama managed to pull it out in the end. Go blue NC!



Obama wins popular vote by at least 3%.
Obama blew this one out of the water. Barack Obama won the popular vote in 2008 52.6% to John McCain’s 46.1%, a difference of a full 6.5%. The total turnout for this election was 126.5-128.5 million voters (count not final yet).



John McCain wins Florida, Georgia and Virginia
Looks like I gave John McCain way too much credit here. Obama won Florida 50.9% to McCain’s 48.4% and amazingly Obama even took Virginia by a commanding lead of over 200,000 votes. This was the first time in 44 years that Virginia voted Democratic in the Presidential election. Wow.



John McCain eeks out win in West Virginia.
I think I called this one pretty much dead on. McCain won the state but only by a margin of a little less than 90,000 votes. Early in the evening, it looked like Obama might pull WV out, but the final results went for McCain.



Liddy Dole barely defends her NC Senate seat.
I’ve never been happier to be so wrong. Hagan gave Dole a pasting in North Carolina and it showed early. I will say that I made my Dole over Hagan prediction a few days before Dole started running her “Godless” ad here in the state. The backlash from that poor decision was swift and decisive. Within a few days of the commercial running, Hagan was up 7 points over the incumbent Republican who only spent some 35 days in NC in 2005.



Pat McCrory defeats Beverly Perdue.
Ask anyone in the days before the election who you thought would be the next govenor of North Carolina and I’m willing to bet they would have answered Pat McCrory. From Brad & Britt to Ed Cone, I think it’s fair to say we all thought that McCrory had a lock. The fact that Perdue managed to pull it out I think is a function of straight-party ticket votes in NC. In North Carolina, here is the breakdown of straight-party voting: Democratic 58.86% with 1,264,076 and Republicans 40.27% 864,907. Thanks in part to Barack Obama, this was a good year to be a Democrat to be on the ballot, no ifs ands or buts.



Al Franken defeats Norm Coleman in MN.
They are still counting votes in Minnesota and Coleman’s lead is dwindling fast. State law dictates a manual recount so we won’t know the real outcome until sometime in late November or mid-December at the earliest. Unsurprisingly Norm Coleman is urging Al Franken to concede and not bother with the recount. Yeah, right. He doesn’t know Al very well does he?



Senator Ted Stevens loses in Alaska. Badly.
Remarkably, Ted Stevens managed to actually hold on and seemingly beat Begich in a tight race. I say seemingly because as of this writing, there are over 40,000 provisional and absentee ballots that have yet to be counted and Stevens may very well lose the race. No matter what happens however, my thoughts of Stevens getting his can kicked were way off. Alaskans are an unpredictable bunch, that’s for sure. And then there’s that pesky matter of Stevens being a convicted felon. Bummer dude!



Democrats pick up at least 4 Senate seats.
Correct and then some. As of this writing, Democrats have picked up a total of 6 Senate seats. Those pick ups are: Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia. At least 2 more Democratic pick ups are possible once the counting is done: Minnesota and Alaska. Democrats won’t reach their fabled filibuster-proof 60 seats, but they’ll be darned close.



Democrats pick up 32 House seats.
Way off on this one, I admit it. As of this writing the Democrats picked up a total of 20 House seats with 6 seats still undecided. That being said, the Dems padded their control of the House far more than the GOP would have liked.



Republican Michele Bachmann of MN is defeated.
Perhaps the most disappointing and surprising result of the 2008 election. Somehow anti-Obama and anti-american Michele Bachmann managed to hold onto her House seat in Minnesota’s 6th district. If anyone in this cycle deserved to be stripped of her seat, it was Michelle Bachmann. In a disgusting display to plead favor with the nation after Obama had won, she went to the media and basically said she was proud and “extremely grateful” Obama was the victor. Voters will be watching this anti-American McCarthy clone like a hawk in the months ahead.



Sarah Palin is a deciding factor in McCain loss.
This one is debatable, but I’m going to call it in my favor. Republican’s were hoping for two so-called “effects” on election day – the Bradley Effect and the Palin Effect. Neither one of them materialized. In fact, there was evidence that Sarah Palin hurt McCain badly in the voting booth. Women were unimpressed with her, and even many GOP voters decided against McCain on the sole basis of her being on the ticket. She was a pathetic pick from the get-go who only fired up the ultra-right wing of the base. When the story of this election is written, I’m confident that Palin will be one of the biggest chapters why McCain failed.



National election turnout ends up around 66%.
My initial guess was going to be in the 70% range, but I brought it down to be a bit more realistic. Even that wasn’t enough however as the voter turnout for the 2008 elections ended up being only 62.6%. Feh.



Total right – 6
Total wrong – 6
Total undecided – 3

I may end up ahead in the end, but it’s clear that Nate Silver shouldn’t come anywhere near me. Ed Glosser I am not. :-)

Is It January 20th, 2009 Yet?

Word today from the Washington Post that the new President-elect has had a team of advisors scouring the record for actions and executive orders that Obama could act quickly to undo once he’s sworn in:

“Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.”

Something tells me Barack Obama is going to be an effective leader. I’ll be keeping tabs on him in the weeks, months and years ahead, but this bit of news is encouraging. Bush’s war on science, civil liberties and the environment all need to be met head on and reversed where ever possible. It appears Obama is taking his first steps to undo the gigantic mess George W. Bush plunged this country into. As far as I’m concerned, the inauguration can’t come soon enough.

Take My Hand

Last night I watched our new President-Elect, Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech to a crowd of over 150,000 people gathered in Grant Park and millions more around the globe. I’ve been a strong Obama supporter from day one, but I really didn’t think I’d actually break down and cry. As Barack spoke to all of us, my mind raced and my heart slowed. I could feel the fear and anxiety that have been my constant companion for the last 20 months melt away.

Earlier in the evening I and a few friends exchanged tweets regarding just how nervous we were for Obama. When the news came that media outlets were calling the election in favor of Barack, I rejoiced but part of me didn’t believe it. The specter of loss sat next to me right up until John McCain gave his concession speech and quelled the boos of his supporters. In that moment McCain reclaimed much of what he had lost. I saw the man I had respected and admired break through the fear, uncertainty and doubt he and Palin had helped to sow. When McCain left the stage to return to his former life as an elder statesman from Arizona, it was then that I felt a wave of peace wash over me.

Like so many other Americans, I’ve been worried about Barack. Worried that harm would come to him. Worried that America wouldn’t step up and make the right choice. Worried that we would again choose the politics of fear instead of hope. All that worry had washed away as Obama took the stage in Chicago. Despite speaking from behind walls of 2 inch thick bulletproof glass, all I could see was the man. All I could hear were his words. He appealed to the “better angels of our nature” and reminded us that we have a steep climb in the days and years ahead.

Through all this I sat and listened. At the very end, after the on-stage goodbyes had finished, you could see Michelle hanging way back waiting for Barack. She was proud, but also calm. I saw myself in her and knew that her fear and anxiety had dissolved just as mine had. In this moment, she was all of us, waiting for him to take our hand. Barack walked to her and just then Michelle touched his face, gave him a kiss and they walked hand in hand into a new and hopeful future together.

That’s when I started crying.

It’s Really Happening…

All the votes are not in yet, but it does seem as if Barack Obama is on the verge of winning crimson red North Carolina. I’ve been saying this for over a year, but few believed it could be true. Will NC end up going blue? We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out, but things are looking up. Exciting!

Day of Days

After 22 months, today is the day Americans elect a new President and no matter what happens, the results will be historic. We’ll either have the first woman Vice President or we’ll have the first African American President. Obviously I’m rooting for the latter, and although I voted early there is a part of me that would have liked to go to the polls today in my deep, royal blue shirt and voted for Barack.

All that is past me now and thankfully the campaign commercials (on both sides) are at an end. A quick check of Quicken reveals that I gave a total of $150 to Obama’s campaign split among 5 seperate donations. I’ve never given that much to a political candidate before, ever. I’ve written over 40 blog posts that either are directly about, or mention Barack Obama since July of 2007. I think it’s fair to say I’m invested in an Obama victory. And although I was rooting for Kerry in 2004, this time it’s different.

Back then I was really voting against George W. Bush. When I voted this past week, I was voting for Obama. I was voting for change, hope and a new direction for this country. I voted to gain back the respect of the world which this country has lost these last eight years. I voted to support the rule of law and against cronyism. I wasn’t voting for abortion, I voted for a woman’s right to choose. I voted for renewable energy and wrangling in the ballooning cost of healthcare. I voted for Obama to support net neutrality and to make sure the Supreme Court doesn’t slip further to the right than it already has. I voted against torturing prisoners (even the ones the CIA holds), taking our eye off the ball in Iraq and most of all, I voted for man whom I believe will actually find and kill Bin Laden.

When all the polls close and the votes are counted, I believe that America will have made the right choice. People are craving to make a difference this time around. The lines will be long and problems will surface but in the end, there can be only one. Today will be remembered as the day when we all looked fear and division in the eye and instead chose hope. I can’t wait.

More ‘Fair & Balanced’ From FOX

In case you missed it, the most unpopular Vice President in the history of the country endorsed John McCain for President earlier today. Needless to say the Obama team had a field day with this revelation, but if you watched FOX News you probably didn’t even know about it:

FOX: 8 mentions of Cheney
CNN: 34 mentions
MSNBC: 36 mentions

Funny how the stuff that damages any pal of Roger Ailes seems to be un-”news worthy” on FOX. You’d think a VP endorsement would be a big deal for Senator McCain. Evidently not.

PS – Hey FOX! Sarah Palin still has not released her medical records as she promised she would. Could you do us all a favor and report on that story before Tuesday? KTHXBAI!

I Voted for Barack Obama Today

I took off from work today to head to the early voting location near the Iconfactory. I arrived at the Leonard Recreation Center on Ballinger Rd. around 4pm. I went inside to find a line of about 100 people stretching from the voting room to the gymnasium, and so I took my place at the end of the line. As I settled in, I started the chronometer on my iPhone to see just how long it would take to get to the front. Although the line was long, it did seem to move right along. People were in good spirits and I saw many young and African American voters come into the gym and head to the back of the line.

While in the gym, I was able to check my tweets and email and generally stay busy playing games and surfing the web. As I got near the front of the line more and more people started to come in, presumably trying to beat the rush before 5pm. When I reached the voting room, the nice volunteers took my name, printed my voting confirmation sheet and then asked me to wait for a free machine. To my surprise, the gentleman who showed me to my station recognized me and said “I know you, you’re the “icon man!” I’m not sure if he recognized me from past years voting in Greensboro or from the Fox 8 piece that aired a few months back. Either way it was a pleasant surprise and he and I chatted for a bit before I actually set about the business of voting. He explained to me that the rec center had been processing about 900-1100 voters per day for the last week and a half.

He gave me my instructions and warned me about voting separately for the presidential candidates if I chose to do a straight ticket and then we parted ways. I was very proud to press the button that was labeled Barack Obama / Joe Biden for President and Vice President of the United States. I double, then tripled checked it was correct and then set about voting on the rest of the ballot. I skipped many of the local judges since I wasn’t familiar with them.

When I confirmed my choices and stepped out the exit, I looked at my iPhone’s chronometer and it read 38 minutes. Time had really flown by there in line and the poll workers knew their job very well so all in all I had no problems. I was pleased to see so many of my fellow North Carolinians voting early. But most of all, I was happy that for the first time in recent memory, I actually had a candidate that I was proud to cast my vote for as President. Many people in line were smiling while they waited, I could tell the mood was upbeat and positive. I think many of them were voting for Obama too.