Friday, November 28, 2008

Are voters inconsistent? Yes

An interesting study on how voters wavered back and forth on their choice for president this past year. Some political strategists don't believe it as that is not how they visualize the map of the space they are competing in.

I believe it. People waver back and forth for the strangest reasons.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Macy's Parade was Rick-Rolled

Whoo boy - retailers cutting stocks as fast as possible

Good article from the NYT at how some items aren't even making it to store shelves but being dumped to liquidators. Holiday Sales Bust:
The holiday shopping season begins Friday with a blitz of early morning specials. For some merchants, though, it's practically over already.

Piles of jewelry, clothing and electric drills are bypassing store shelves and heading straight to liquidators by the caseload as stores try to save as much cash as they can.

Major department stores and mall-based chains have cut prices up to 70 percent to move out mounds of excess inventory stuck in the pipeline since the financial crisis hit in September and people snapped their wallets shut.

Thankful for the next President of the United States

I think people who only reluctantly voted for him and many who did not vote for him will be pleasantly surprised.

Here is an historic look at Obama during the campaigns in pictures.

17 Reasons to give Thanks from The Progress Report.

How he did it, an interesting interactive map. All those huge swatches of red on the map - not many votes in each county. Winning the big cities - hundreds of thousands and even over a million votes. The other factor was a huge surge in minority voting and young people voting with a decrease in white voters.

Thomas Friedman sees the light, or the dark

The New York Times roving columnist Thomas Friedman is frightened and sickened at what greed, a lack of ethics and irresponsibility have wrought to the world's finances. Citigroup, just rescued for hundred of billions of taxpayer dollars, is a prime example.
That’s how we got here — a near total breakdown of responsibility at every link in our financial chain, and now we either bail out the people who brought us here or risk a total systemic crash. These are the wages of our sins. I used to say our kids will pay dearly for this. But actually, it’s our problem. For the next few years we’re all going to be working harder for less money and fewer government services — if we’re lucky.
He is not the only New Yorker sick and angry despite the company being one of New York City's largest employers.
Earlier this week, the U.S. government announced an injection of $20 billion for Citigroup Inc and a plan to shoulder most of its potential losses on $306 billion of toxic assets, after the bank's shares sank more than 60 percent in the previous week due to concern about its ability to survive.

The $20 billion of government capital comes after a $25 billion injection last month.

In effect, the government has pledged about $1,000 per American to guarantee the bank's assets.

"This is not the right thing to do. They (the U.S. government) should help the people, not the big companies," said Renu Malconi, 38, from New Jersey.
The big question is what next? Is Bank of America any sounder? How is Wells Fargo really?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is Obama choosing Wall Street over Main Street, War over Peace?

As a real liberal, albeit a moderate one, I have not been very pleased with Obama's choices both for filling foreign policy positions and economic ones. Robert Scheer covers his economic appointees and doesn't like much - the foxes were put in charge of the hen house and you can see the feathers in their teeth.

On the foreign policy front, Robert Dreyfuss is saying I told you so.
Out of the blue, in the third presidential debate, Obama cited Jones as someone he trusts on national security. He is an advocate for stepped-up defense spending.
While Justin Raimondo is saying liberals will be disappointed over his administration's foreign policy as an anti-war candidate in the primaries appoints war mongers when he takes office.
The outlook for the foreign policy of the new administration is not good. I foresee a protracted period of confusion and internal struggle, punctuated by periodic foreign crises in which Team Obama will be all too eager to prove their "toughness." Diverted by trouble on the home front, President Obama is likely to let the tremendous opportunities opened up by his international popularity and stature go to waste. Putting Hillary Clinton to work on forging a Middle East peace agreement is another example of Bizarro World logic in action
How bad are Obama's picks? -
Max Boot, a violently hawkish neoconservative blogger and McCain campaign staffer, professes himself surprisingly impressed by Barack Obama's staff picks
About eight years ago I had a bad feeling about Bush as he picked the worst from previous Republican administrations, mixed with a few unknowns, for some foreign policy positions. At least he appointed the moderate but political Colin Powell. Condi Rice was the academic unknown with conservative friends. I am getting similar bad feelings about Obama - only tempered by the fact it will be pretty nigh impossible to be as bad as Bush.

At my most optimistic I told my friends on Facebook I am considering Obama like other Democratic Presidents, a ruthlessly pragmatic centrist who depends on grassroots progressives to push liberal programs. We can give thanks for that in a president instead of a bellicose conservative prone to gambling and following even worse advisers.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SNL's Spiked Rahm Emanuel Skit

Available from Truthdig.

Housing Bust - Not near the bottom

Bonddad - the data shows are no where near the bottom. Click for the existing homes for sale chart. I think we can start talking about a bottom at 3.5 million, but that may not be the bottom which could be 2 million.
Simply put, demand is down from a weakening job market and tighter lending standards. Supply is still high because of the increasing foreclosure situation. Decreased demand + high supply = lower price. It's that simple.
Oh, I am very tired of the conservative propaganda that Democrats caused the housing crisis. That argument is false but it being highly pushed on conservative radio and emails. Walton and Johnson on Radio Mojo in the morning, not Mojo in the morning, added a few racist comments while pushing it on AM 950 the other day. * corrected.

From McClatchy news media, the most accurate of the traditional mainstream media.

Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis
As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.
The Freddie and Fannie default rate is around 1.2%, the national default rate is over 5%. What does that say about standards and Democrats pushing "liberal government" to give loans to poor minorities causing the crisis?

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Great Links Edition

Washington Monthly has an article by Kevin Carey that could spark debates - should liberals endorse a required great books curriculum for colleges?

The Washington Monthly cover story by Charles Homans also urges an investigation by a commission set up to report on Bush's response to 9/11 as a means to uncover secrets and has a checklist of steps to take that may even get bipartisan support (ha!)
Comparisons of our deeply divided nation to a literally civil-war-torn one aren’t worth belaboring, but it is a fact that pervasive misinformation and secrecy, worsened by an increasingly tribal political culture and the sheer complexity of the issues at hand, have left Americans with fragmented and conflicting understandings of what exactly has been done in our name over the past eight years. Without a collectively agreed-upon story of the Bush administration’s excesses, efforts by Congress to undo them and ensure that they don’t happen again are likely to be misinterpreted by half of the electorate as a Democratic power grab rather than a reinstatement of constitutional protections. That would worsen the partisan trench warfare that got us an irresponsible Congress and hubristic White House in the first place.

Even if the commission turns up nothing new, even if its findings are watered down, it still has value if it can write this kind of official history.
WM has a self-congratulatory editorial that they were among the first four years ago saying America was ready for a black president and Barack Obama could be the one.
The last thing we need, after eight years of George W. Bush, is another president drawn to "game-changing" policy schemes that promise the moon and appeal ideologically but don’t work in the real world. What we need instead is the opposite: a leader who understands and can articulate the complex nature of the problems we face and is committed to finding solutions that work, even when they fall outside the political comfort zones of his supporters. This is the spirit that animates the Washington Monthly, and I hope it will animate the Obama White House as well.

To be honest, we didn’t see much of this from Obama during the general election, for reasons that are understandable. But my sense is that it is the president elect’s default mode of thinking.
Back to the mundane - Thanksgiving deals and shopping - even Amazon is having Black Friday deals but for more than Friday. Deals outside the one day help those like me who celebrate that day as Buy Nothing Day. "Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise Buy Nothing Day on CNN, but many other major television networks declined to air their ads." You might also consider gifts from the World Wildlife Fund. Here are more Black Friday deals.

From shopping let's turn to the economy - Alternet wonders is Obama picking the best team? Think Progress asks will we get a new New Deal? One of the few benefits of an economic crisis is that along with recovery efforts we should get health care reform.

Lighter fare - Drinking coffee from a venturi cup in space and other viral videos from The new HQ Star Trek trailer and Shatner's video response.

Finally, advice I am not taking - be a locasexual.
For a hypothetical San Francisco resident dating someone in D.C., "breaking up would be about 10 times better for the environment than going vegetarian," the piece says. The Slow Food movement made people aware of where our food comes from, with some calculating food miles and committing to only eat grub within a certain radius. Why not apply that to relationships?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Texas Thanksgiving Roundup

It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's Weekly Blog Round-Up. This is your pre-Thanksgiving edition, so enjoy it while you bake your pumpkin pies, stuff your turkey, or whatever your holiday traditions are.

jobsanger notes that some racists seem to think this election gives them permission to once again publicly display their sick beliefs in Racist Reaction To The Election.

The Texas Cloverleaf discusses the upcoming study that may result in a mileage based user fee rather than a gas tax for drivers in the US.

John Coby at reports the Texas Ethics Commission Fines State Representative Carl Isett $25,000

BossKitty at TruthHugger watches, with the rest of the world, America: A Spectator Sport or Soap Opera

Off the Kuff analyzes the precinct data for Harris County and declares the coordinated effort to get out the Democratic vote there a success, and that the Democratic base was everywhere you looked.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme claims the religious right exposes its dark underbelly with opposition to Prop 8.

McBlogger takes a moment to talk about the deficit, the economy and bailing us out. Because it's, you know, important.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson post on the issues the Texas GOP is grappling with post election in, The GOP brand is tarnished in Texas.

Barnett Shale Radioactive Waste is Bone-Seeking Carcinogen When Airborne and Has 1622 Year Half-Life TXsharon at Bluedaze.

Environment and education have been greatly on the mind of the Texas Kaos community this week. Front pager TxSharon gave us a heads up on Brett Shipp's expose of the Texas Railroad Commission on Bill Moyers Journal Friday, and diarist liberaltexan kept an eye on a Faith Based Initiative: Fundamentalist Religious Attack on Science in Texas.

Neil at Texas Liberal says that Galveston was a disaster before as well as after Hurricane Ike.

Vince at Capitol Annex poses a couple of questions about Tom Craddick's Secret Police and asks exactly why former State Rep. and ex-deputy parliamentarian Ron Wilson is running around the capitol with Parliamentarian Terry Keel and serving as a media escort/hatchet man for the Speaker.

The Texas Blue looks at how Tom DeLay's gerrymandering of the state has actually made Texas weaker on the national level than a fair apportionment would have.

The passing of Jim Mattox prompted a few reminiscences from Texas bloggers and corporate media. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs assembled a few, ahead of Monday's memorial service.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Liberal Flag Waving Becomes Popular Again

Ronnie Chapman has hidden away his American flag for much of the past eight years. "I felt it was no longer a symbol of the country I love, but of Bush and support for his war," said the 48-year-old pharmacist from Cary. "The first thing I did the morning after the election was take it from my den and fly it proudly in front of my house."
I know so many people who didn't want to wave the flag too much because of the people who were. Good Raleigh News-Observer article mentions differences between the flag wavers in times of war and the flag wavers who support our ideals and Constitution and don't want to be seen as supporting a President or actions they oppose or the mob that supports them.

Mormons and Gays

Tony Ortega at The Village Voice:
try to understand that if your entire worldview was based on the completely unreliable ravings of an early 19th-century flim-flam artist with a harem fetish, you too might have a burning inferiority about your belief system, and you might manifest that inferiority by picking on the queers, who make an easy target and scare the bejesus out of your typical Mormon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Too much to blog, too little time

Check out the New York Times and Daily Kos for a lot of stories, not just the ones I linked.

BTW, Paulson is an idiot who just burned through $300 billion of your tax dollars. His big news is that he has to protect the securitization of debt, which was a major part of this crisis. If you can sell off the loans you made you no longer care as much about the quality. This is a fitting climax to the irresponsible Bush, a world depression triggered by irresponsibility as Bush's Treasurer tries to protect the irresponsible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Alaskan Plow Woman in 2012

Hello God, It's me, Sarah:
I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.
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Its all about Love

Election Round-Up from Texas Progressive Bloggers

It is just after the election, and that means it is time for another Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up--but with a twist. In this edition, TPA member blogs bring you some of their best posts from the last year of election coverage. Enjoy this trip down memory lane, courtesy of the TPA.

Muse enjoyed all things Hillary leading up to the March 4th Texas Primary. There was the Hillary endorsement post that made her mom cry. A high point was the event where Muse fulfilled her lifelong dream to touch Bill Clinton. (Little did she know there would be a more up close and personal opportunity.) She got to see Hillary four times in person, including this event. Even her Prius got in the act: Prius Owners for Hillary!

BossKitty at TruthHugger is angry that Sarah Palin's nasty rhetoric has ignited hateful fallout, she let the white Supremacist Genie Out Of The Bottle, Thanks Sarah - There are still 'stone aged' creatures marching around calling themselves Christians, wearing NAZI paraphernalia! Woe be to anyone who would harm the first family of America! On a more personal note, BossKitty has ideas about what to do when you lose your job ... but, the most daunting agenda on our plate is that our New America Must Reduce It’s Seven Deadly Sins if we want to survive as a nation.

Brains and Eggs had the good, the bad, the ugly, and some TBD in a series of election postmortems, and then a little more of each. PDiddie wrapped last week with the finger-pointing and recriminations that marked the last throes of the McCain-Palin campaign, which included an luxury undergarment update.

It's been a tumultuous week for everyone, but at McBlogger it was remarkably calm. We're chalking it up to a change in prescription medications. First up was Donna Keel attacking Austin Interfaith. Then there was an attack on Diana Maldonado by her parish priest and, for us, that was enough religion for all week. The funniest thing we saw was a commercial shot by former celebrities going after Al Franken that made us want to move to Minnesota and vote for him. There was also some funny about people upset that they weren't getting help from the Federal Government, even though they didn't need it. Wrapping everything up was our final farewell to those who loved them some Austin Proposition 2.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog covered the presidential primacaucus in Texas including Clinton’s sweep of Asian American surrogates and both candidates' Asian American outreach . Justin also scolded Hubert Vo, evaluated Noriega’s immigration plan, and was amazed that both Barack Obama and Sherrie Matula were "That Ones."

Off the Kuff has some early observations about what happened on Election Day, plus a look at turnout figures and statewide trends.

At Texas Kaos, the bitter and the sweet mix together as we look back on an amazing rollercoaster of an election season. While it looked like there was a contest for the U.S. Senate nomination, Boadicea put together Rick's answers for Democracy for Texas to paint a picture of the candidate, This is Rick Noriega-Texas Progressive Leader Covering the snark beat, our friend from the Soggy North, Fake Consultant, gave some pointers to a hockey mom thrust onto the national stageOn Dressing for Success, Part One, or, How Much is Armani, Anyway? and followed up with more helpful tips in On Dressing for Success, Part Two, Or, We Costume Palin… for 2/3 off! Lightseeker took a reasoned and sober look at a more serious element this election: Respecting Life, Making Hard Choices and finally makes the point that the Nov 4 vote was not an ending, but a beginning, Looking Now, Looking Forward.

Ah the memories at The Texas Cloverleaf during the 2008 election season. The candidates would make their case on WWE Monday Night Raw. We learned that McCain would lose early on, with our own Congressman Michael Burgess advising him on healthcare. We wished Governor Palin well on her first Grandparents Day. We learned Texas Republicans can't figure out education, much less spell it correctly. But we finally came out on top with Barack Obama, and some mixed Texas results. Here is to a classic 2008!

Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex focused a considerable amount of energy this cycle covering Texas Democrats' attempts to retake the Texas House of Representatives. From racist mailers and decitful TV ads in Dallas and Houston area House districts to the battle to unseat Texas' most ethically compromised legislator, down to catching Republicans telling blatant lies, this was a busy cycle in Texas. In the primary, he was one of a few Texas bloggers who supported Senator Hillary Clinton, and offered her this open letter when she left the race.

Neil at Texas Liberal offers up his post on early voting in Downtown Houston. The post tells what Democrats Neil enjoyed voting for and also has colorful pictures that will please the eye.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme debunks 10 Republican excuses.

In the 2008 primary and election, Jobsanger continued his penchant for supporting losing candidates by backing Bill Richardson, Rick Noriega, Sherrie Matula and Nancy Moffatt, before finally breaking through with a winner in Barack Obama.

What a long strange journey it has been for the Easter Lemming. Gary has started pushing for a poll-workers union after working the primary and then another election this Spring. He found out people read blogs about as much as newspapers! Guess who the Easter Lemming supported? And finally, he ended too tired to party but not too tired to blog with a special mention that MoveOn.Org is bigger and more important than the NRA in politics now.

Hope you caught the Texas Blue on Election Day -- we did a "heckuva job" picking out the states that would and wouldn't matter for an Obama victory on Election Day. We also ran down the biggest federal, statewide and local results of E-D in our Election Day '08 executive summary, checked out how the fight for the Democrats' 75th seat in the Texas House is looking, and did some deconstruction of why the Republicans were never going to win the presidential election, Sarah Palin or no Sarah Palin.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

One of the most telling indictments of the Bush Administration

The Obama camp felt it necessary to put The Constitution at the top of their Organization chart (PDF) for their new administration. The Vice President and his staff was also placed in the correct place under the President in the Executive Branch.

I am so tired of the "patriotic Americans" who supported the Bush-Cheney criminal lawbreaking gang and their subversions of the Constitution.

Lies and Smears - It is not just Rush and Hannity

Media Matters this week has a brief 25-page summary of what has been on right clown talk radio for this election.
While the hosts vary in the degree of vitriol they spew and in their ratio of rebuttable falsehoods to unbridled smears, Media Matters and Colorado Media Matters have identified common themes that many, if not all, promote.

Several of the radio hosts monitored by Media Matters (their shows are described in detail below), as well as their guests, engaged in an all-out effort to foment hate and suspicion of Obama among their listeners, promoting the most baseless and farfetched of smears and advancing falsehoods -- including about Obama's religion and background -- that have taken hold among a substantial percentage of the electorate.
These hate broadcasts are especially predominately in rural areas. Urban and suburban areas like Houston sometimes have a radio alternative to this right hate and fear clown speech, even if it is usually vastly outnumbered. And no NPR, nice polite Republicans on the radio, is not an alternative. It is biased conservative.

I would think the FCC needs to look into the effect of these many free hours of Republican advertising around election time. Should stations that broadcast hours of political talk every day for one party be required to run an hour or two of political talk approved of by the other party?

The right is already bristling that "equal time" or the "fairness doctrine" are an attack on "free speech" but this speech was broadcast on OUR PUBLIC AIRWAVES that were given to companies only as long as they promote the common good and public interest. It has been a few decades since a station lost its license for abuses, perhaps they should review how that happened in the past. During the civil rights era an Alabama TV station lost it's license for not broadcasting national news it disliked. Radio and TV stations today should be promoting responsible informative discussion, not the present lies, fears, and smears.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Indecision 2008

Did you miss Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 election night special?

Full episode.

Website and highlights and links.

Ten minutes of highlights.

Local Politics - missing voters, prejudiced voters, Bettencourt

Where did all the new Harris County voters go? Two answers - poor Democratic Latino outreach and the possibly tens of thousands of new voter registrations that did not appear on the voter rolls. The voter rolls also contain many names of people who have moved.

I had people who registered months before in new citizen ceremonies and while getting new automobile tags and they were not added to the rolls. Add that to Republican Bettencourt implied to the Chronicle he was illegally requiring the voter registrations to have proof of ID, when those are checked at the polls and not required on the registration forms, and an investigation into his voter registration activities is warranted.

Houston voters rejected Democratic judges with foreign names. We had large crowds of ignorant and racist people at the polls. The strict registration requirements and the "use it or lose it" provisions of the Texas voter code were knocking out over 2% of people in my conservative precinct who showed up on election day. The conservatives coming out of the woodwork did not know you had to be registered, had to be registered 30 days in advance, and did not stay registered if you hadn't voted in years.

Votes may all be counted in Harris County by the 17th. Provisional ballots will be last. These could determine two races. I expect more than 10% will be accepted - if they can find the missing voter registration forms in Bettencourt's offices.

Overall Texas was pretty good for Democrats and better than last year despite some defeats. Texas is only slowly getting over being a red state.

Molly and Barack and David

From the Texas Observer blog.
“You know,” she said after we met him. “That young man could be President some day.”

“What?” I said. “Are you crazy? Not in our lifetimes.” We both knew what I meant. After all, that young man was black. And she and I had both grown up white and liberal in a segregated Houston with “Colored” restrooms, “Whites Only” water fountains, and lily-white lunch counters. In the mid-1960s we had both worked on The Houston Chronicle, where there were a grand total of two black faces in the newsroom, and where we had to plead with and cajole our editors to let us do a long story on poverty in the city. There wasn’t much coverage of the black community back then that didn’t involve crime.
“Yes, he should run. He’s the only Democrat with any ‘Elvis’ to him.”

"Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is our new president. And I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early?" --David Letterman

Did Kristol's delusions help sink the McCain-Palin ticket?

One of the most prominent conservative pundits is being blamed for the leaks and in-fighting in the McCain campaign as he tried to make McCain an attack dog and convinced himself that Sarah Palin was the future of the GOP. Why does the New York Times give William Kristol space when he regularly derides the paper he works for and tries to build up his divisive role in the GOP?

Fox News in the Agony of Defeat

I am not the only one who had been watching Faux News occasionally as the election approached to see what they were throwing at the Democrats and have seen a change from election day onward. They lost, are unhappy about it, but seem to have made a collective decision to regroup before they become the disloyal opposition to the new Washington rulers.

Mark Ames at AlterNet:
The Fox execs also did their best to affect a civil, gracious tone. That's why watching the Fox News agony-of-defeat spectacle was more subtle than I'd expected: The mob leaders had decided to abandon the mob -- meaning if I wanted to get a glimpse into the raw screeching agony that the right wing really feels when the camera is turned off, I would have to head into the blog world, where they could squeal their lungs out in safe anonymity. The "patriots" at, which boasts millions of visitors, went through at least four rapid stages of decline on Election Day: first, hope; then utter shock at the realization of defeat; then outrage and a sense of betrayal; and finally a retreat into Christian prayer and empty threats of Red Dawn armed insurrection. The Freepers aren't just outraged at Obama and the communist-Islamo-terrorists taking over the White House; they are also outraged at the Republican Party that "betrayed" them, outraged at the American population that proved to be nothing but brainwashed "sheeple" (someone named kimchilover wrote, "For the first time, in my adult life, I am ashamed of my country … my little take on Michelle's sentiments"), and even outraged at, yes, Fox News, which they quickly sensed was abandoning them. Many couldn't make sense of being abandoned by Fox. As one commenter wrote, "Watch Fox with the sound off and you will be LESS aggravated."

...Like the much more numerous Freepers, the mob at Pajamas Media is outraged because they have been betrayed. It's not just that the liberals betrayed them, but that the leaders they'd followed -- Fox News, right-wing bloggers, and the Republican elite who have been mobilizing their pitchfork fury -- now find their savagery a liability, and they're abandoning them. It's the fury of having been played for a sucker -- and the "real American" mob has been played for the biggest sucker in American history, as is clear from their sense of abandonment.

It is an incredible spectacle to behold: the Republican elite abandoning a 20-year narrative at the snap of a finger just to make sure that it is positioned well in the new Obama dynamic. The Republican elite has clearly decided that the "Real America" mob it had exploited had become a liability, but still it's amazing how seamlessly and quickly it can throw its own audience overboard. Witness the smear campaign against the right-wing mob's heroine, Sarah Palin, who is now being taken down by none other than Bill O'Reilly.
The GOP appears to be very split over the tone and actions it should be taking. The RNC apparatus is still blasting out memos attacking Obama and the Democrats while wiser leaders and young Republicans are trying to convince them that is not how you rebuild after a big defeat.

A map to think about

Is it about race?

During the primary season there was a brief discussion of the Appalachian problem Obama was having. That looks like a pretty real problem to me. We have "hillbillies" in these hills.

Friday, November 07, 2008

National Review Writer: The GOP has become the Party of the Stupids

Jeffery Hart, a pioneer of the conservative movement and an early writer and editor at the National Review in an article called The Republicans Are Now the Stupid Party:
Does any reasonable person not believe that gays and lesbians deserve respect and equality? Not today’s Republican Party. Expert translators from Arabic have been dismissed for being gay. And applicants for the post of certified public accountants in the Iraq Green Zone have been asked about their view of Roe v. Wade.
Both Obama and McCain supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. An embryo is a cluster of cells the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It takes a strange mentality to equate that with a seriously ill human being. (Bush, August 2001: “It’s wrong to destroy life in order to save life.”)

Sarah Palin is now the heroine of the Republican base. Scary. During the campaign it became obvious that she is completely ignorant on the principal issues. It never became widely known that she is a religious nut: she believes in the imminent End of Days and the "Rapture," in which the saved will be suddenly wooshed up to heaven—a notion that has no basis in scripture or anything else. She believes she was elected governor because of a laying-on-of-hands by an African clergyman who had run a witch out of town for causing automobile accidents...

Eisenhower was a prudential, common sense Republican, who loathed extremism and arrogant ignorance. He knew the New Deal could not be repealed. He once said that Senator William Knowland "tested the limits of human stupidity." Despite Watergate, Nixon was a successful center-right president, ...Reagan too was a successful center-right president. It is no accident that in the election, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower supported Obama.

In its embrace of the religious right under George W. Bush, the Republican Party became the stupid party. And committing suicide along with it has been the conservative movement. The party united around god, guns and gays is finished.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Look at the facts

Myths and Tall Tales Of the 2008 Election debunked by exit polls.
Bradley effect, anyone? How about race? Obama lost the white vote 55-43, but Kerry did worse (58-41.) In fact Obama did better with white men (losing 57-41) vs Kerry (62-37) and white women (losing 53-46 for Obama, 55-44 for Kerry), suggesting something we repeatedly came back to. People may be racist, but they didn't lie about it to pollsters.
And much more spelunking the data. is Bigger and more Important than NRA and other news

Jane Hamsher notes:
After endorsing President-elect Obama in February, Political Actions 4.5 million members contributed more than $88 million towards Barack Obamas presidential campaign, the organization announced today. And more than 1 million MoveOn members worked in a trail-blazing field effort in coordination with the Obama campaign.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, MoveOn and its members:

Contributed more than $58 million directly to Obama's campaign
Raised and spent more than $30 million in independent election efforts
Delivered up to 600,000 battleground state volunteers. 400,000 more volunteers participated from non-battleground states
Added 1 million young members from June to September 2008, and mobilized them online and offline
Registered more than 500,000 new young Obama supporters in battleground states
With 4.5 million members, MoveOn is now bigger than they NRA. Maybe our leaders should think about that for a while.
Emptywheel notes that the RNC is ging to audit Sarah's pantie drawer. Why didn't the RNC just put it on Mrs. McCain's clothing bill? With $250,000 dresses she might not even notice.

TBogg asks, "Was it the McCain sausagefest that undid his campaign?"

I have some idiot unhealthy friends who voted for McCain. For some reason they just don't associate their health care with politics. Some have already reached this stage and still haven't made the connection. When you have health problems you don't want a GOP health care system unless you have a million dollars or two stashed away. John:
Our health care system sickens me. I got to France and get sick, and have to get a chest x-ray, and I make the appointment that morning, go in that afternoon, wait 2 minutes in the office before they take me in for the x-ray, and 15 minutes later the doctor is going over my x-ray with me, and I'm out the door 20 minutes after I walked in. Total cost? 45 euros (about $55 to $60 bucks). Oh, and I had to go to the general practitioner doctor first - it was she who recommended I get the x-ray (it's really expensive, she told me - ha!). Total cost for the doctor visit? 20 euros (25 bucks). A visit to your general practitioner and then to the chest x-ray guy for around $70. This is the "socialism" that Sarah Palin and the Republicans keep whining about. If that's socialism...

I should have gotten my prescriptions when I was in Europe. It just sickens me, the system we've created. What do people do who can't afford to pay when BlueCross hits it hidden stingy limits? What do people do when they can't afford insurance at all, like the taxi driver, with a wife and kids, who I was talking to the other day?
Thinking of Good Vibrations - GAIL COLLINS, sent by a friend of Easter Lemming

We are only thinking cheerful thoughts today, people. America did good. Enjoy.

Even if you voted for John McCain, be happy. You’ve got the best of all worlds. Today, you can bask in the realization that there are billions of people around the planet who loathed our country last week but are now in awe of its capacity to rise above historic fears and prejudices, that once again, the United States will have a president the world wants to follow.

Then later, when things get screwed up, you can point out that it’s not your fault.

About the inevitable disasters: I am sorry to tell you, excited youth of America, that Barack Obama is going to make mistakes. And the country’s broke. Perhaps we should have mentioned this before. But let’s leave all that to 2009. When somebody runs one of the best presidential campaigns ever, he deserves a little time to enjoy the sweet spot between achievement of a goal and the arrival of the consequences.

Let’s hear it for the voters. Good turnout, guys — especially you Virginians who stood in line for seven hours. A professor at George Mason University who studies this sort of thing claims that there hasn’t been such a high participation level since 1908. You could turn out to be the ever-elusive answer to the question: “Name one thing that Barack Obama has in common with William Howard Taft?”
Craigslist Agrees to Curb Sex Ads. The new economy prostitution jobs will experience a downturn.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America gives black man nation's worst job

The Onion strikes again.
African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

The base of the Texas GOP

Obama the leader of the American Nazi party. Democrats flew the planes on 9/11. A steady diet of FEAR! addles the brains of cowards.

America the Liberal will not be friendly toward a GOP Texas. I doubt that GOP can keep their majority status in Texas for long.
If the unionized industrial workers were the vanguard of the New Deal majority, the professionals are the vanguard of the new progressive majority. Their sensibility is reflected in the Democratic platform and increasingly in the country as a whole. It has sometimes been described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative, but that doesn't really get at it. They are socially liberal on civil rights and women's rights; committed to science and to the separation of church and state; internationalist on trade and immigration; skeptical, but not necessarily opposed to, large government spending programs, particularly on healthcare; and gung-ho about government regulation of business, including K Street lobbyists.

The Pew poll from March 2007 found that the percentage of Americans who believe that school boards should have the right to fire homosexual teachers has fallen from 51 percent in 1987 to 28 percent in 2007. Those who want to make it "more difficult" for a women to obtain an abortion has dropped from 47 to 35 percent. The percentage of those who think that "it's all right for blacks and whites to date each other" has risen from 48 to 83 percent--and as much as 94 percent of Generation Y-ers born between 1981 and 1988. The poll also found that 62 percent--83 percent among college graduates--disagreed that "science is going too far and hurting society."

Americans held some of these opinions well before this year's election; in fact, these opinions had become prevalent in the 1990s. But September 11 and the fear of an imminent terrorist attack temporarily revived the conservatism of the '80s, especially on social issues, and eclipsed concerns about government regulation and the economy. These liberal views have re-emerged, however, with a vengeance, and can be expected to shift further leftward--especially on economic questions--in the face of coming recession. That recession will represent a stiff challenge to the Obama administration, but also an opportunity to solidify and harden the realignment that took place in this election.
Democrats should read the full Pew Report on political trends. The Texas GOP is starting to condemn itself to be a generational minority party by being on the wrong side of history and demographics.

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Media continue to uncritically report McCain campaign attacks on their coverage, but case studies still show disparate coverage in McCain's favor

Still media bias - its conservative and corporate. This is like National Public Radio being biased toward nice, polite, Republicans. That branch of the Republicans are endangered or extinct but NPR and the traditional media lean toward that vanished species - the moderate polite Republican.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wow, Too tired to party but not too tired to blog

A historic moment, what a proud day to be an American after eight dismal years, but I had a very long day working the election without enough sleep in a busy precinct.
President Obama

Many Democratic local and state disappointments with some successes. Great national Democratic successes against an increasingly irrational loud Right.

Based on my precinct, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama energized bases that usually do not bother to vote. We had a huge number of not registered people wanting to vote and a very high percentage of "statement of residence required." In the suburban Texas elections that Democrats were hoping to make gains in the state house, the energized social conservatives beat back many good candidates this election.

People who have never voted turned out, or tried to turn out in Texas, to vote against that "anti-American, commie, half-frican" and for the "hotty moose hunter." The GOP's restrictions on voter access disenfranchised a number of their biggest supporters.

Some thoughts, I admit to a personal lack of understanding - if Rep. Lampson was likely going to go down to defeat as a Republican-lite in a heavily Republican district why not go down as a fighting Democrat? He disappointed his base without any solid gains in attracting moderate Independents and Republicans.

Very disappointing losses for some Democratic women. No one has worked harder in a hard district to win than Sherrie Matula and the Bay Area New Democrats. I think the energized socially conservative base and Hurricane Ike were a major factor in her loss as well as the lack of a major scandal against the GOP opponent in a heavily Republican area. Joel Redmond probably suffered from the problem I anticipated. Many of the voters he was attracting come election day just push the R. The flyer linking him to liberal minority Democrats also probably shaved off a few points costing him the election. In this area this was not an election for thoughtful voters. Most voters wanted one extreme or the other.

Final thought but one - I am sure that Barack Obama harmed down ballot Texas Democrats less than a Hillary Clinton campaign, which is an issue that has come up in discussions.

Obama being elected is a triumph of liberalism and tolerance over the conservative forces that often dominate America. Savor the moment. I am with my aching feet, a sore back, and eyes that keep closing. At least I am not sour. (BTW, "the most liberal senator" comes only from a publication that rigs that election every four years. Without thinking I can name three Senators more liberal than Barack. Media Matters points out there are TEN.)

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Andrew Sullivan - Barack Obama For President

The whole endorsement is important and eloquent but I am extracting a few paragraphs for the conservative case against McCain, Bush and Cheney by Andrew Sullivan.
This is the depth of the predicament the United States is in. The Islamist threat remains; but the Constitution is in deep disrepair, the military stretched to breaking point, the national debt doubled, and America's reputation in terrible shape. More important, the president and vice-president deeply damaged the reliability and integrity of America's intelligence services, creating a self-perpetuating loop of phony intelligence procured by torture which then justified more torture which led to worse intelligence. It will be decades before we learn the full extent of the damage Bush and Cheney have done to the country's ability to find out what the enemy is really up to, how much risk these sadists and goons have subjected us to, how much damage to this country they may have facilitated by filling intelligence with the garbage always created by torture. We do know that their policy has led to just one successful prosecution - and that many guilty figures will escape justice because torture has tainted the legal process beyond repair.

My great fear since 2004 is that this could have gotten even worse. Another attack and the abuse of power could have become much worse. A Romney or a Giuliani, empowered by religious fanaticism and a worship of state power, could have taken us down a path much darker than even the Cheney-Addington-Yoo cul-de-sac. Ron Paul emerged as the one Republican prepared to defend the rule of law, the Constitution and habeas corpus in the primaries. But, in the end, McCain emerged by default, a torture victim himself, and a critic of some aspects of the conduct of the war. But we saw in 2006 that, when push came to shove, even McCain acquiesced to the legalization of America's use of the very same torture techniques once used against him. And in this campaign, we have seen how no Republican candidate can escape the logic of bigotry, fanaticism and xenophobia that now grips and motivates the Republican party base. We have also learned, much more importantly, that McCain would appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who would acquiesce to and constitutionally entrench the dictatorial presidency that Bush-Cheney believe in as loyally as Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia. That means we are one vote away from the court ever restraining this unchecked executive. It doesn't matter who that executive is and what party he or she belongs to. What matters is that the controls upon it - controls critical to the endurance of constitutional balance and individual freedom in America - have been frayed to the breaking point. There is no greater cause right now than repairing that.

If I were to give one reason why I believe electing Barack Obama is essential tomorrow, it would be an end to this dark, lawless period in American constitutional government. The domestic cultural and political reasons for an Obama presidency remain as strong as they were when I wrote "Goodbye To All That" over a year ago. His ability to get us past the culture war has been proven in this campaign, in the generation now coming of age that will elect him if they turn out, in Obama's staggering ability not to take the bait. His fiscal policies are too liberal for me - I don't believe in raising taxes, I believe in cutting entitlements for the middle classes as the way to fiscal balance. I don't believe in "progressive taxation", I support a flat tax. I don't want to give unions any more power. I'm sure there will be moments when a Democratic Congress will make me wince. But I also understand that money has to come from somewhere, and it will not come in any meaningful measure from freezing pork or the other transparent gimmicks advertised in advance by McCain. McCain is not serious on spending. But he is deadly serious in not touching taxes. So, on the core question of debt, on bringing America back to fiscal reason, Obama is still better than McCain. If I have to take an ideological hit to head toward fiscal solvency, I'll put country before ideology.

But none of this compares to the task of restoring the rule of law and Constitutional balance. Unlike McCain, Obama has never wavered on torture or habeas corpus or on keeping the executive branch under the law. His deep understanding and awareness of the Constitution eclipses McCain's. Coming from the opposing party, he will also be able to restore confidence that what lies within America's secret government - the one constructed by Bush and Cheney beyond any accountability, law or morality - will be ended or cleaned up. He can restore critically needed trust again - and force the Democratic party to take responsibility for a war which we all need to own, and take responsibility for, again.
- Andrew Sullivan, more -

Vote Today in Harris County

Find your voting location.

What to Bring — Any one of these will allow you to vote in Texas:

Your Voter Registration Card OR
The pink copy you kept from your voter registration application OR
Personal Identification (driver’s license, government ID, bank statement or utility bill or pay stub or check.)

Bring them.

Do not bring any campaign material including caps, t-shirts and buttons, within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling location. You can electioneer all you want outside that distance.

Bring friends. Go to a local campaign office and call up some new friends. There are many very close races for local offices.

When voting, one easy choice is to just hit the D and then review your ballot. Ask for help from a judge or clerk if you need it.

Harris County sample ballot - you won't have all the state representatives and senators but you will have most of the judges. Remember the D is your friend. Unlike some years I don't see any fools running with a D after their name this time.

Here are all the state candidates in Texas.

We have a Texas statewide League of Womens Voters Guide and the local Harris County guide - PDF.

Here are all the local 2008 Democratic candidates.

Check you voter registration here. This also shows you where you must vote today.

Need a ride to the polls? Call your local party office. Vote NOW Houston is also providing free Yellow Cab rides to the voters that will take them to the polls and return them to their point of origin.

Party after the vote.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

'Obama is the Real Conservative'

The Republicans and conservatives, and newspapers, supporting Obama are getting to be quite a crowd. Here is the latest, a speechwriter for Reagan and Nixon—who worked at the National Review for four decades—on why he's voting for Obama. "all the organs of the conservative movement followed Bush over the cliff—as did John McCain."

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Prediction - Parts of Texas will have problems with bad election judges

You can read what took place in Collin County during early voting. Harris County should be much better because of the staff under Paul Bettencourt, even if not partisan Bettencourt himself.
According to some poll watchers at the Collin College Spring Creek campus polling place, the election judge, refused to allow the watchers to enter the election clerks area to observe the check-in process. On Friday, the judge, James Middleton, called the campus police and threatened to have the poll watchers removed. Even though the police were dispatched, common sense prevailed and the poll watchers were permitted to remain, however they were never granted full access to observe.

Texas election law grants a full and absolute right to election poll watchers to observe all elections processes except the actual voting by a voter.

When shown a copy of the election code, the watcher reported the judge said he didn't care about the code, that he'd been a judge for many years and knew what he was doing. At least one of the poll watchers indicated to me that he was contemplating filing a criminal complaint of "obstructing a watcher" over these incidents.
I am actually not a big fan of poll watchers. If you want to see if an election judge is fair sign up to be the alternate judge or one of his election clerks and not just a poll watcher.

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Surge for McCain in Albania

If the world could vote tabulates results from all over the world.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tax Info

Obama will lower your taxes.

He will do it more than John McCain.

That applies to 95% of you.

This has been moved to the top for people to think about as they go vote.

Here is the info from Parade Magazine.

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Bob Perry trying to buy another election

Since Bob Perry got involved in elections in Texas he has spent many millions of dollars and has got a sweet deal for his Perry Homes and other builders. This election is no different with him. So far he has given almost three million dollars this election to buy more legislators to keep the Texas Residential Construction Commission toothless in producting home buyers. Bob Perry created this commission after spreading so many millions around he essentially bought the legislature. Bob Perry is no family values Republican as was revealed in his son's divorce proceedings this year.

What has Perry's Commission accomplished? From the Texas Observer:
The Sunset Commission staff sums up the TRCC in its report: “Current regulation of the residential construction industry is fundamentally flawed and does more harm than good.”

No need to read the entire 75 pages. You’ll get the gist of just how rotten the agency is from the two-page summary at the beginning of the report - PDF.

In 2005, the Observer wrote about the homebuilding industry’s lavish donations to the Republican Party — more than $8.9 million to candidates and political action committees. Bob Perry, head of Perry Homes, the top contributor of them all, gave more than $6.9 million from 2001 to 2005. In 2007, the Observer reported that the TRCC couldn’t enforce its own permitting decisions — builders who had lost their permits were still openly working.

The TRCC, stacked with home-builders and builder-friendly appointees, forces homeowners to wait for months for relief that most often never comes. Homeowners must file a complaint with the agency. They also have to complete the agency’s “dispute resolution process” before they can get on with their lives and file a lawsuit or go to arbitration.

When the TRCC does rule in favor of a consumer, it has no power to compel a home-builder to repair the damages.
Elect Sherrie Matula and get rid of one of Perry's cronys and show Bob he can't buy another election.

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How bad are things for Texas GOP politicians right now?

When asked by an AP reporter to comment on the excessive expenditures for renovating a member's lounge in the state house Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, chairman of the House Administration committee said:
"I'm up to my ass in a damn campaign. This is the only job I've got and I'm trying to save it. Obama's got people coming from the rafters."
Get down from the rafters and vote Tuesday.

I saw that story first in Capitol Annex.

Here is some more good news and backs up what I am seeing in Texas where there is a reverse "Bradley Effect," conservative whites who will reluctantly vote for Obama but don't want you to tell their friends and neighbors. PoliMom has noticed the Republicans you don't read about who are voting for Obama.

Harris County Early Voting info and links

Moved to the top for Early Voting. Newer posts are below this.

EARLY VOTING IS OVER. Prepare for regular voting Tuesday.

Harris County Early Voting Locations and times.

Here is a great map of the locations.

What to Bring — Any one of these will allow you to vote in Texas:

Your Voter Registration Card OR
The pink copy you kept from your voter registration application OR
Personal Identification (driver’s license, government ID, bank statement or utility bill or pay stub or check.)

On early voting you can vote anywhere in Harris County, if you live anywhere from Pasadena to Baytown to La Porte to Clear Lake to Katy to Humble or Houston and anywhere else in the county, any early voting location is good. On election day it will be more crowded and you must vote in your precinct.

When voting I say one easy choice is to just hit the D and then review your ballot.

Harris County sample ballot - you won't have all the state representatives and senators but you will have most of the judges. Remember the D is your friend. Unlike some years I don't see any fools running with a D after their name this time.

Here are all the state candidates in Texas.

Volunteer to work the polls for the public or your candidate or your party. Elections don't work without you. It is much better to be a poll worker than a poll watcher.

Democratic Harris County offices - you can pick up that sign you want or work the phones. This office still has Obama caps.

Right now we have a Texas statewide League of Womens Voters Guide and the local Harris County guide - PDF is also just released.

Here are all the local 2008 Democratic candidates.

Check you voter registration here.

Need a ride to the polls? Call your local party office. Vote NOW Houston is also providing free Yellow Cab rides to the voters that will take them to the polls and return them to their point of origin.

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