Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘2008 election’

The Final Stretch

August 19, 2008 · Leave a Comment

As Paul Krugman observes, Barack Obama’s lead in the polls is not as dominant as it once was:

This chart is from fivethirtyeight.com, a (very pro-Obama) poll analysis site. The site now warns:

Although Barack Obama remains a slight favorite in this election, his position is more vulnerable than at any point since the primaries concluded, and he no longer appears to have a built-in strength in the electoral college that we had attributed to him before.

I’d like to do my part:  I have created a Grass Roots campaign contribution page through Obama’s web-site with a stated fund-raising goal of $500.

I’d like to STRONGLY urge anyone who cares deeply about the short and long-term trajectory of this country to contribute ANY AMOUNT to this goal.  No amount is too small to usher in the change we need.

Categories: Opinion
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Sing it Through the Hills

July 21, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Sing it far, and sing it wide!

SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?

Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

Categories: Neato
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Thought of the Day

July 7, 2008 · 1 Comment

I might be like 5 months late on this, but it seems to me that John McCain admitting he is “not an expert” on the economy, when the economy is the #1 issue, means he won’t ever be president.

I’m also not sure if this video is a positive or a negative for his campaign:

Categories: Opinion
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Register to Vote

June 25, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Why not do it early?

Print out this form from US Election Assistance Commission.  Easy breezy.

Categories: Neato
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Inform Your Vote: Tax Edition

June 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

via CNNMoney.com: (Thanks to Melissa)

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
Here’s how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s tax proposals were fully in place.
MCCAIN OBAMA
Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567
Source:The Tax Policy Center
So if you’re voting in your self-interest, and the tax rate is a primary concern of yours, it doesn’t make sense to vote for John McCain unless your income is over $161K.
I’m not sure how capital gains is figured in all this but I guess you can go tot he Tax Policy Center to get a better understanding of the methodology.

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Now IM bitter

April 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Disappointing decisions being made in Pennsylvania tonight. I’ve only really ever been to State College, and everything else I know about the state has been informed by the following:

  1. The Kruk/Dykstra/Mitch Williams era Phillies.
  2. The Office
  3. Rocky
  4. Allentown by Billy Joel

Obviously, that leaves an odd mix. And an opportunity to post the Allentown video!

So here’s to you, Pennsylvanians… you scraggly, paper-selling, dip-chewing, coal-mining, cheese-steak-eating, blue-collared, closeted-stage-acting white ethnics!

Every child had a pretty good shot to get at least as far as their old man got…

Something happened on the way to that place… they threw an American flag in our faceeeeee!!!

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What Makes a Scandal

April 15, 2008 · 1 Comment

Ezra Klein brings up a point that all journalists and bloggers alike should be cognizant of:  how to determine when a scandal “matters”:

The impulse, of course, is to follow each newstory as if its salience in the news cycle corresponded to its actual importance in the campaign. But that’s rarely the case. Time passes, comments are forgotten, new gaffes are made, and the election spins on.

Klein continues the post by discussing what particular features of a scandal tend to give the story “legs.”  Those features might be valid empirical observations to make, but it bothers me that they are of primary concern to a blogger at The American Prospect.

Now, I give Klein a lot of credit because he writes about what he is passionate and knowledgeable about (health care policy),  despite the fact that those posts presumably get far less click-throughs than the “hot” topics.  He is afforded the luxury of not having to write in feedback mechanisms, where audience response dictates the editorial direction of his content and analysis, precisely because he is not part of a “mainstream media” operation.

I also understand that a journalist, and especially a blogger, who digs his heels in the sand and plays the Lorax for any given issue (THIS IS IMPORTANT, DAMN IT!) is not long for this world.  People will move on to get their current events from someone who isn’t a one trick pony.

At the same time– and this really, really concerns me about the disconnect between an engaged citizenry and a “newsertainment” media– some stories (and scandals) that are important (in orders of magnitude greater than Bob Dole falling down stairs) are inevitably going to lack the grainy video or convenient sound byte required to stimulate peoples’ senses.  And that’s why we have an independent media (like TAP), to give those events the intention they deserve, to fall out of the lock-step of the mainstream press before the next cycle buries them.

To be honest, the reason I’m in a huff about this is because I just listened to an All Things Considered about a municipality in rural Alabama that floated extremely risky muni-bonds to cover a sewage system, and now is some $4 billion dollars in debt! That’s over $6,000 per person (and probably twice that per tax-payer)!  Anyway, at one point in the podcast, they interview a local journalist, who admitted to writing close to 100 articles on this issue, and he says something like:

“People keep telling me to stop writing about this.  They say, “can’t you write about something else?  This is boring!”"

Sometimes you have to hit people over the head to make them KNOW when a scandal is important.

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If this isn’t “straight talk,” then what is?

April 13, 2008 · 1 Comment

Makes...me...ANGRY

At a recent fund-raiser in San Francisco, Obama was asked the question about voters in Pennsylvania:  Why doesn’t his campaign resonate with working class white voters?

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

While his response may have included some poorly-chosen words, for which he has since taken substantial criticism, it was at least an honest appraisal.   Consider the following:

America is often recognized for its diversity, but too often we consider this diversity as a melting pot (with the New York urban-ideal as the cognitive model) than as a heterogeneous hodge-podge of cultural identities.  Obama succinctly made this point at the 2004 DNC in his now famous “Red State-Blue State” speech (”we worship an awesome God in the blue states, and yes we’ve even got some gay friends in the red states”, etc.).

So for a wealthy donor from Marin county to understand the voting tendencies of a “fellow Democrat” pension-deprived ex-steel worker of Allentown, he/she needs an accurate explanation, and a good deal of empathy.  These donors are (in large part) the ones funding Obama’s campaign, which means they provide money for polling, focus grouping, message development, etc., and they have a right to expect an explanation of the results of that research

Right now we have a political system where the campaigns engage in election “strategies,” which CNN and others than attempt to decipher and decode, without explaining the underlying assumptions of those strategies.  It is taken for granted that Clinton “appeals” to blue-collar voters, because that is the demographic she is targeting (and resonating with).

When Barack Obama lets these donors peek inside the key-hole of voter research, he may seem like a detached social scientist professor– the Ivory Tower paradigm.  But the truth is that he cannot be all things to all people.  He can only try to understand and capture the concerns of the majority of the voters in his party, and assuming he wins the nomination, in the country.

It is not Ivory Tower to try to understand a group of voters with whom a candidate has no shared background, if the candidate’s efforts are genuine, so that he/she may better represent those voters.

On the other hand, nobody likes to be categorized and have their behavior and motivations analyzed.  The thing is, this happens all the time, in market research, in commercial advertising, and certainly in elections.

Is it a poor strategy to let people peek behind the curtain instead of relying on a lazy media as a proxy to interpret campaign messaging?  Haven’t the last few years taught us that “reality” is the favored-model of communication?

If this isn’t “straight talk,” then what is?

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Google Image Search

April 8, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Try doing a search for Hillary Clinton… we’re #1!

As my friend F. said: “you are changing the course of human history…this is why i hate the internet.”

Person Hillary Clinton.
Right click for SmartMenu shortcuts

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Clinton’s Advisors

April 2, 2008 · 2 Comments

Penn
Is it just me, or does the Clinton campaign seem to be filled with villains from the Batman franchise?
Clearly Mark Penn is the penguin… the half-breed who shaves his teeth and eats raw fish like Golem.
Clinton herself is the Joker, for her perma-grin and oddly timed cackles. (I will now resign for that unfair and sexist ad-hominem attack).
But it gets better! The LA Times is reporting on Harold Ickes (the Scarecrow) who is now responsible for pouring the pestilence into the ears of Superdelegates:
In a Clinton campaign that can seem machinelike, Ickes is conspicuous for his idiosyncrasies. A female aide said that when she noticed his dress shirt unbuttoned practically to the navel, it was like glimpsing an unzipped fly.
I ‘m not sure how this whole mess is going to play out, but I am sure if it were a Hollywood script, it would end with Penn making some double-crossed backroom deal with Obama at the convention, then Obama wigging out on stage Othello-style and stabbing Penn in the gut like the Queen in 300 did to McNulty, and whispering: “Here’s a microtrend for you… your stomach bile is slowly dissolving your internal organs. It will not be quick… it will be painful.” Then throwing his hands up in the air as he’s tackled by the secret service.
That would be Hollywood’s take. And it would be an utterly redemptive scene. To see Obama, the model of temperance, be upended by the very machinations he had worked so hard to transcend, and realize everything he had worked so hard for had been stolen by a sniveling self-proclaimed “mastermind”… the whole audience would be rooting for Penn to get got.
But oh yeah, this is the most important election ever. So let’s continue to give these power-brokers credit for destroying that hope to transcend the stupid bickering that they themselves are responsible for. And let’s call the negative trench warfare gains the Clinton’s have managed “momentum,” and let’s slowly destroy the most inspirational political candidate since Bobby Kennedy.
Yeah, that sounds like a better ending.

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