Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 30, 2008

THURSDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* The Dow closed up nearly 190 points after a 0.3% drop in GDP. Apparently, investors expected the numbers to be even worse.

* It seems like every campaign cycle we hear all about voting-machine problems. I wonder why that is.

* I'm not an expert, but if I were the McCain campaign, I'd probably hesitate before putting Michael Goldfarb on national television again.

* Speaking of odd surrogates, I don't think Rudy Giuliani understands McCain's healthcare plan.

* The crowd was a little thin for a McCain event in Ohio this morning, so nearby schools bussed in thousands of kids to fill the seats.

* Ashley Todd is free after six days in jail, but will be required to undergo mental health treatment. The AP reported, "Her record eventually will be expunged as long as she goes to treatment, stays out of trouble and keeps authorities apprised of her whereabouts."

* One of Sarah Palin's favorite publications, The Economist, endorsed Obama.

* Ruy Teixeira, a friend of the Monthly, has returned to blogging after a lengthy absence.

* In an unusual twist, at least one Fox News exec is defending the LA Times against the McCain campaign's attacks.

* In a cringe worthy moment on the campaign trail today, McCain tried to introduce "Joe the Plumber" to an audience. As it turns out, Wurzelbacher had stood McCain up.

* And on a related note, Wurzelbacher is "being pursued for a major record deal and could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day." I wish I were kidding. "Joe the Plumber" has signed a deal with a Nashville p.r. firm to exploit his notoriety for all its worth.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

What to make of Goldfarb. He wanted to say Wright but was obviously under orders not to raise Wright. That's what he was suggesting, right?

Posted by: Scott F. on October 30, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I gotta say, you're a maniac. I finish reading through one of your posts, and you've got another one up already. Sheesh. And, thank you.

Posted by: CT on October 30, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

RE Ashley Todd: What ever happened to the Fox News Exec John Moody's response to the hoax admission? I believe he stated that if it were a hoax, it would be the end of the McCain campaign. So far, I hear he is still running hard and getting full support from the FOX Whore House. Why are the competition(other news outlets) not pointing this out? Anybody know the word "collusion"? What about the FCC challenging licenses for false and misleading reporting?

I just can't keep up with the lying and cheating and stealing of all the media. Is there no way of getting interviews with these reporters and executives by some of the more well-known bloggers? HuffPost? WashingtonMonthly? Even Salon? I can't wait for Tuesday night and the next episode of how the underworld turns.

I am (still)committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation

peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on October 30, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Joe the Plumber used to pipe shit away from your house but now he's going to pipe it into your ears.

Posted by: Bobzim on October 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Leaving aside the possibility someone using touchscreen machines to fix a specific election, the biggest long term problem with them is simply that they don't work worth crap.

Posted by: John McKay on October 30, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Just saw a clip from Maddow with Chris Mathews in the Sunshine State trying to give a bit of analysis and I completely agree with her very intuitive and cogent take, as usual: This is a young brilliant woman who truly has her finger on the pulse of what is going on--and here's the thing--she can then relate to you and to me in a way that we really hear it. This is clearly no easy task.

I agree with her--Obama does NOT have it sealed in Florida, and he needs to drive home the Jewish vote and national security vote.

In any case, it seems the Maddow interview will be great, and I hope she continues to speak to it during the days that remain...

It's clear that sometimes an astute (as in interested, educated and aware) outsider can see things more clearly than when you are knee deep in it.

Posted by: icanseeRussiafromyhouse on October 30, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

probably should keep rick davis away from the press, too...

whiner...
=========================
John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis expressed frustration Thursday that negative ads run by Barack Obama’s campaign do not prompt the same press outrage as ads attacking the Democratic presidential nominee.

A new Obama ad released Thursday repeatedly links McCain to President Bush’s economic policies, showing the two Republicans in the rearview mirror as the car drives past McCain’s tax proposals.

“The most amazingly bankrupt line I’ve seen in this campaign is Barack Obama campaign’s repeated attempt to link John McCain to President Bush,” Davis said on a conference call with reporters.

“John McCain held the Bush administrations feet the fire more than anyone else for the first four years of the administration.”
===========================
rick...please.... that simply begs the question...what about the LAST four years...

didn't john brag that he voted with bush 90% of the time?? just askin'
============================
“Barack Obama hasn’t been held accountable time and time again,” Davis said. “In the last two weeks, he has attacked Sarah Palin and thrown the George Bush card back on the table.”
=========================
LOL the "george bush card"...

how dare they?????

the jokes write themselves...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on October 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Joe the Plumber is clearly the winner of this season's "Right Wing Idol."

Posted by: Redshift on October 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems like every campaign cycle we hear all about voting-machine problems. I wonder why that is."

hmm ... what I wonder is how the Republicans can work so diligently to scare or fool people away from voting every time, and yet never seem to get punished for it?

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on October 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Palin/Plumber in 2012.

Posted by: jen f on October 30, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

in re mccain and the 4,000 school kids:

"... at least three other schools from neighboring districts, one of which sent 14 buses."

who do you suppose paid for the gas and drivers of those school buses? and did the schools get permission slips from the parents?

one more example of the press being so very, very unfair to john mccain in not asking him any questions about his charade of a campaign.

Posted by: karen marie on October 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

* One of Sarah Palin's favorite publications, The Economist, endorsed Obama.

Amazing. They endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004. You know you're failing when one of the most pro-business and pro-war publications endorses your socialist-terrorist-Muslim opponent.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 30, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley Todd is free after six days in jail

The CNN crawl also reported today that police are trying to decide whether they can charge the two men who threatened to kill Obama and 100+ kids. I'll bet they're glad they are of Aryan descent, because otherwise they would be sitting with Jose Padilla somwhere.

Posted by: Danp on October 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Another McCain supporter voting for Obama:

A prominent New Hampshire Republican is getting off the Straight Talk Express and hopping on the Obama bandwagon.

Fred Bramante has stepped down from John McCain’s New Hampshire Leadership Committee to endorse Barack Obama. The former chairman and current member of the state Board of Education said he opposes McCain’s support of school vouchers, which would give parents taxpayer money to offset the cost of private schooling. Bramante said politicians must abandon the voucher idea if they want to improve education.

Bramante said he’s concluded McCain would do little to improve education, while Obama supports new and innovative ideas.

Posted by: DB on October 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

As "Joe the Plumber" is to American politics, RuPaul is to the National Football League. Both scenarios are worthy of an SNL skit, but not much else.

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro on October 30, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I hear that Obama Campaign will indeed be spending some of the bucks on the ground game in geting the vote out and this seems paramount in my estimation. I believe someone phrased it as a "Limousine get out the vote" ground game...

I do not think this is unfair in any way, given the slant toward disenfranchising/blocking those whose voice we must hear from...And it's why the Obama folks need the bucks!!

Heck, I'm a regular voter and yet I prepare with water and good shoes and lots of patience. And I always take my time with that computer wheel which is very sensitive and too easy to move to the wrong selection.

So with that--

I simply can't imagine what sort of unrest, discomfort and confusion and just naturally sorta 'feeling stupid' might settle in with new voters, both young and old.

Make the vote easy and make it accurate!

Posted by: iseerussiafromyhouse on October 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

joe's album will have tonya harding singing backup.

after that, it's on to the WWF

Posted by: entheo on October 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obama can spend all he wants on GOTV - what he needs to be spending money on is ensuring that votes are openly, fairly, and accurately counted.

Why is the democratic party AWOL on this issue?

Posted by: on October 30, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't there something decidedly illegal about forcibly busing kids to a partisan political event without parental permission?

Posted by: mfw13 on October 30, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Joe the Plumber is clearly the winner of this season's "Right Wing Idol."

That's "[Real America]n Idol."

Posted by: Allen K. on October 30, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, watching McCain is now officially more embarrassing than watching Bush.. Please be Wednesday the 5! For the love of Dog, please!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on October 30, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I hear and hate that Pat Buchanan keeps forcing the question:
Why isn't Obama much further ahead?" Once again, he's at it on David Gregory's hour at MSNBC, and
NOBODY CHALLENGES HIM!!

I've heard Buchanan provocatively pose this ridiculous assertion numerous times.
*************************************************

Naturally, it's due to race. But if you answer that, then you end up looking like the one who has a lot of "slpaining" to do...

JUST ONCE--

I'd like to see one brave pundit actually ask the question back to Pat:

Pat, what do YOU honestly thing is going on here? Is it race? Is it the discomfort with the unknown? Is it his name? That's three reasons that folks have already alluded to being very concerned about...

********************************************
JUST ONCE--Please ask Pat Buchanan:

Hey Pat--Do you think our HISTORY and CULTURE have anything at all to do with this --or are you naive and bigoted or in denial or irresponsible enough to not only pretend it doesn't, but then to re-frame and re-invent and re-define this a real problem in isolation of all else? Is that what you like to do? Dumb us all down?

And smile all the while you do it?

Posted by: Katie, I'd like a lifeline on October 30, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing. They endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Actually, they endorsed John Kerry in 2004.

Posted by: Heidi_PDX on October 30, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley Todd is free after six days in jail, but will be required to undergo mental health treatment. The AP reported, "Her record eventually will be expunged as long as she goes to treatment, stays out of trouble and keeps authorities apprised of her whereabouts."

There is no "expunging the record" any more. Not with the advent of Google and every foolish thing you've ever done or said available at a second's notice. Even changing her name isn't going to be enough.

I'd feel sorry for her, except what she did was pretty crappy, so there's always that.

Posted by: Diane Patterson on October 30, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ah--just had a thought--Better yet, ask Pat Buchanan:

Hmm, how is it you think that a man of color with that name is actually doing AS WELL AS HE IS?

(Oh, and he can't answer the economy). He needs to say why else he think Obama appeals to folks.

I'd bet good money he'd refuse to acknowledge anything of substance in Obama's favor...

He can be your 'fake Uncle', Maddow, but whew, thank goodness he's not mine!

Posted by: Katie, I'd like a lifeline on October 30, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

CBS/NYT just released Obama up 52/41 - http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/Oct08e-all.pdf

Posted by: hark on October 30, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

This broke at about the time Steve B was setting up the Mini-Report, so I'll add it in....

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/29/ohio-vote-challenge-effort-hits-another-roadblock/

Of all the crazy things this year! First, the GOP loses their vote-suppression gambit before the Supremes, and now they can't even depend on a GWB directive to the Bush DoJ to quash Ohio's right to vote.

McCain will not win Ohio---and as Ohio goes, so goes the Presidency. As of now, we're all looking at a solid blue chain of states from New England to Minnesota and Wisconsin, a healthy chunk of blue in the Heartland, big blue fractures in Dixie---and McFool has to start dropping big bucks in his home state?

I'm feeling fairly good about the prospects of the following headline: Titanic Sinks Iceberg---Arrives Undamaged. Film at 11...."

Posted by: Steve W. on October 30, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

I asked earlier and am asking again, re: Ashley Todd: Where is John Moody, FOX Executive, on this? Has he been disappeared? When will he appear on O'Reilly or Hannity to state that McCain is through?
crickets!!!
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on October 30, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

all you need to know about the intellect of the McCain strategy team you can glean from today's late afternoon headlines in Des Moines, Iowa:

Item 1: New KCCI-TV poll shows Obama up 14.

Item 2: Palin will spend the day before the election in Iowa.

And some folks think this group could run a country? Really?

Posted by: zeitgeist on October 30, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently McCain has decided to bring up Rezko for the hundredth time, even though nobody cares. Hey, go for broke, John!

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 30, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Almost a cool million = Getting our money's worth...

American Stories, American Solutions

October 29, 2008 at 8:50 PM Views: 202

October 29, 2008 at 10:38 PM Views: 73,975

October 30, 2008 at 9:19 AM Views: 565,143

October 30, 2008 at 7:44 PM Views: 983,495

It is an absolute classic. It redefines the genre...

Now read this from Marianne Markowitz CFO of Barack's campaign:

As of October 15th, John McCain and the RNC together had nearly $20 million more in cash than the combined total of Obama for America and the DNC. And just this week, we're facing new and unexpected spending against us in Montana and West Virginia... Right now we need your help more than ever to get this campaign across the finish line.

Money is the weapon that wins elections.
It is now or never folks.
You know what to do:

https://donate.barackobama.com/RNCadvantage

I'm in again...
Join me.



Posted by: koreyel on October 30, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, they endorsed John Kerry in 2004. Posted by: Heidi_PDX

I stand corrected.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 30, 2008 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Obama can spend all he wants on GOTV - what he needs to be spending money on is ensuring that votes are openly, fairly, and accurately counted.

Why is the democratic party AWOL on this issue?

Have you been paying no attention? A case went to the SUPREME COURT and the Democratic Secretary of State in Ohio won. Indiana? Another court win. Wisconsin threw out a fake suit brought on by the AG/GOP in WI. Michigan blocked another bullshit voter purge. Even small things like Florida keeping polls open to allow voters to cast early ballots has gone the Democrats' way.

Moreover, Obama has literally hundreds of lawyers fanned out on the alert for GOP tricks.

Posted by: Jay B. on October 30, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley Todd's record may be expunged eventually, but the Internet remembers forever. Good luck with that, crazy lady.

Posted by: gex on October 30, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sentiments from around the world. Get your hankies. I've never seen anything like this.

He would make a fantastic president. I wish we had someone like him in Canada. Come on America do the right thing vote for a president that would help the people not force them to fight in a war.
---
simply inspirational, please u.s. citizens vote for obama.
from colombia
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Hey friends from overseas, I just say "do the right thing"! The world counts on you! Good luck!!
---
I am from russia and I live permanently
in Russia. But even I want Obama will be
the next president of USA. So Americans !
Go and vote for Obama. His victory will be the
victory of the all civilaized world!!!!!!!!
----
barack obama you're are a big man, i'm your italian fan!!! if i was born in america i will vote for you!!! i hope you win, you can make change the world!
we love you also in italy as in america!!!
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Thank you indeed for posting this. I am from Holland and Barack really touches me. And he is not a hype. He's a man that travelled a long path until he came where he is now. He is ready to lead America. Im convinced of that. He brings back the American Dream. Dares to lay out long term changes and understands what is really important for people. He's a humble man, intelligant and he has hope, plans and ideas to lift America back up. And that's important for the entire World...VOTE BARACK!
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Im living in Ireland and whenever I see Barack in a speech or debate explaining what he wants to see change it makes me want to actually vote.. If I was in America I would vote Barack.. Obama Biden 08!
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I have followed this election from day 1 and have studied and googled more information than you can imagine. As a Canadian that may seem odd but as a Canadian I know that whatever happens in the U.S. reverberates across the border, when you hurt we hurt and when you suffer so do we. We have horrible politicians who have been sucking up to the current administration and we are paying the price. Obama will be as good for Canada and the rest of the world as he will be for America.
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obama obama obama!
i pray for you from italy!
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I would move to the US to help build a new future...I would follow the way Obama thinks till the end.Not only i love his way of bringing solutions, but i so feel his character and honest thinking. This man has his heart on the right place.People of America, take this chanse with both hands.U missed Al Gore, make it right with Obama.Love you Obama, praise the lord.
A European Obama fan.
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a great video. From Spain, spanish people wants to Barack Obama as news America's Presidente. Good Luck everybody!!
and God Bless America and Spain...
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Brilliant advertisement,just brilliant, I may not be an American but I just hope Barcack Obama is elected President of The United States. The World is behind YOU!
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i'm watching that video From France,and i find it Great and Honest by You Mr Oboma and show the reality of American Peoples who have Hope in You,French peoples wants You President ! Good Luck to You Mr Obama & Mr Biden !
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Hello Im a girl from Sweden and I hope for my and your own best that you vote for Obama this tuesday. If we want some change, there is only one man how can bring it to the world. Barack Obama.
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please do me a favor america and elect barack obama as president! he is without any doubt the only(!) reasonable choice one could make in times like these and i hope that the US will finally have a democratic president again who fulfills the promise that he gave to the american people. (unlike bush did...)
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i ask everyone who reads this to go vote for the change that your country needs right now! every single vote counts! never forget that!
greetings from germany
Barack Obama for President! ;)
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Great video, This man should be the president of entire world, God bless, He should win! Sandeep from India
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Im a guy from Norway, and we norwegians support and pray for Obama. This is the time America. This is the time for change. Vote Obama
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Greetings from the UK --- WE all support Obama !!!
Go Americans ! You can do it .. Vote Obama Be Bold You can do it !!! Peace
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Brazil is also rooting for Obama! Americans, show the rest of the world what good deeds you are capable of!
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I am in England and wish I lived in America now. Obama for president!
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I'm a lebanese, from the middle east, and I cant stop watching videos of Obama, it's been terrible not just in the US but in the whole world since Bush took over, I never wished to be an american as i do now so i could vote for him. Americans, if you don't vote for this guy ,you will not only fail yourselves but the whole world. An amazing man,an honest politician ,a great future president.
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We shouldn't think that things will suddenly all be perfect, but I'm 100% sure he'll be able to inspire Americans to set things in motion to make America live up to its potential.
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That man has the ability to make you think about yourself and what you can do to change the world around you.
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And no doubt that if he gets elected, and I truly he hope he will, he'll be an inspiration not only to his own people, but to many people across the globe.Go for it America ! A Belgian for Obama.
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Obama truly is a 21st century politician. With a serious agenda, focused on today's issues and a blueprint for tomorrow's hopes. Not just for the U.S. of A. but for the whole world. People like him come once in every century. Americans should not let this opportunity pass.
If only we Europeans could vote in this election...
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This man reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi - he inspries millions of people with his example, his words and actions, his vision, his optimism and above all, his belief in the truth! What a man. I am a naturalized United States citizen who will be voting in my first presidential election this year! How special!! BTW, I am originally from India and am proud to say that we have someone like Gandhi on the verge of becoming our next President!
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88% of Icelanders would vote for Obama.
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New Zealanders are watching this election with great interest. Obama is surely one of the best things to happen to US politics in recent years. Please dont let him slip away, he will do great things for your country, far better than any Republican could.
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Obama is a once in a life time leader Americans have yet not necessarily deserve. I'm a Chinese for Obama.
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Damn. I'm not American but for the first time in a long time I envy you guys. If you have this man as president, I think things will be better for you.
This is your chance to get back what you've lost, Americans. The answer is in your hands. Vote now. Vote for Obama. God speed.
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Obama for president and leader of the free world!!! we know with him in power we the world are in safe hands
Australian for Obama 08!
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Austria PRAY for Obama in 08!
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If I were an American, I would vote for you! Good luck!
--=Love from everyone in Scotland=--

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SOUTH AFRICANS FOR OBAMA!!
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I'm not allowed to vote for Barack Obama - but I want to tell how moving this is for me. I'm from Berlin, Germany. I heard his speech here. For the first time, my view on the US is changing dramatically. Now I'm reading 3 books about american history, I begin to understand you and your beautiful country. I wish you the best. God bless America!

Posted by: MissMudd on October 30, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

* It seems like every campaign cycle we hear all about voting-machine problems. I wonder why that is. -- Benen

To use Goldfarb's phrase: "we all know why". To be one step bolder than Goldfarb and actually say it out loud: because of "vested interests", which are against us.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[...] if I were the McCain campaign, I'd probably hesitate before putting Michael Goldfarb on national television again. -- Benen

Whyever not? He's as botoxed as Cindy and as pig-ignorant as Scarahcuda. Fits right in with the rest of the pack.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* The crowd was a little thin for a McCain event in Ohio this morning, so nearby schools bussed in thousands of kids to fill the seats. -- Benen

Back in Poland, all school kids in Warsaw were *marched* (not wimps, us commies) to the "cavalcade route" every time a foreign dignitary of sufficient importance was visiting; I remember seeing Pahlavi that way. I think it wa considered a part of citizenship training.

Also... A bit short of 4yrs ago, my step-grandson was attending a private highschool in the DC area. The whole school was carted off to attend Bush's blathering in January of '09. My grand-baby strayed and ended up with a bunch of protesters. While his parents carped at his "maverickety" and disobedient ways, I commended him on his good political sense. Yesterday, I had a message from him: he early-voted for Obama (in Colorado) and "felt great" about it.

You never know what lessons children will draw from where :)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[...]McCain tried to introduce "Joe the Plumber" to an audience. As it turns out, Wurzelbacher had stood McCain up. -- Benen

Joe is an *indoor* plumber. It was bloody cold out there today; you can't expect Joe to be freezing his butt off for a loser who won't even offer him a tax-cut equal to that of the terrarist Moslem, can you?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[...] Wurzelbacher [...] could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day."

The wurzel (root) question is this: will the performance be a capella or accompanied by the percussive plumbing tools? Either way, it promises to be a wrenching experience.

(ducks the avalanche of rutabagas thrown at her by pun-haters)

Posted by: exlibra on October 30, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a more specific case, of a voting machine found flipping votes to Republicans:

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6592

Posted by: Neil B on October 30, 2008 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

According to KO, Pam Geller has just concluded that Obama's real father is...MALCOLM X. Oyyyyyy!

Posted by: jrosen on October 30, 2008 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting in Rachel's preview that she depicts Obama as so unbelievably calm he could be on 'Ambien" (a sedative specifically designed to help one fall and stay asleep) if one didn't know better...I get the sense that Rachel is not critiquing this, but she is intrigued and quite puzzled...

Here are my guesses of what might be going on--none "bad" btw--just some guesses:

A It's likely in large part fatigue.

B. It's also likely a very practical stance in not wanting to jinx a good thing--we're winning, so please don't try to make hay out of hay that's immaterial..."....

C.. And also, my guess is this is really and truly just Obama--he's just sorta a ZEN-like spiritual guy who really believes that angst makes more angast, that conflict makes more conflict...

In any case, certainly interesting and I hope we can discuss this more as time moves along here..

Posted by: iseerussiafromyhouse on October 30, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hypocrisy from McCain--2000

“I have never engaged in class warfare. I am very much in favor of tax cuts for middle-income and lower-income Americans. I’m deeply concerned about a kind of class warfare that’s going on right now. It’s unfortunate. There’s a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in America, and that gap is growing, and it’s unfortunately divided up along ethnic lines.

“I feel very strongly that we ought to have middle-income and lower-income tax cuts, and we’ll be getting into it, I’m sure, later on in this program. Mine are basically comparable to Gov. Bush’s, in some cases far better. But I’m not sure we need to give two-thirds of that tax cut, of that money, to the wealthiest 10% of America.”

—Michigan Republican Debate, Jan. 11, 2000

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 30, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

November 5th is going to hit 'ol Joe the Plumber like a ton of bricks. Not that I blame him for falling for celebrydom's siren song. It sure beats plumbing.
You really need something more than having an opinion as your claim to fame if you want to keep the phone ringing.

Posted by: justaguy2 on October 30, 2008 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have to admit, I don't really have a huge problem with schoolkids going to see a presidential candidate speak during an election. They're going to grow up to be citizens and participate in this process, so it's worthwhile for them to get to see it up close.

I don't like that they only saw one candidate, but the Obama rally was probably sold out. ;-)

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 30, 2008 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

I assume that the comment about the Economist being one of Palin's favorite magazines was ironic, sarcastic or satiric. I used to read it until I couldn't take their silliness anymore. Not only did their overseas reporters not know much about the country they supposedly were reporting from (Did you know that political contributions in the US are tax deductible? The Economist thinks so.), but their columnists and opinion writers are somewhere to the right of the WSJ. They have a reputation for intelligence and they write very well, but I still can't see Sarah baby actually being able to get through a whole article, not to mention a whole issue.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 30, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding voting machines, today the AP reported that Virginia and Maryland are phasing the machines out and returning to all paper ballots that will be scanned in.

See http://www.wvec.com/news/topstories/stories/wvec_top_103008_va_md_paper_ballots.162453cee.html

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 30, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK
Moreover, Obama has literally hundreds of lawyers fanned out on the alert for GOP tricks.

IIRC, its actually five thousand lawyers, not mere hundreds. It's been described as essentially "the largest law firm in the nation".

Posted by: cmdicely on October 30, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's fucked-up logic 101


As President, McAce wouldn't dare interrupt 30 minutes our World Series viewing.

However, interrupting our childrens' learning for a day to be used as cheap political props. Now that's O.K.

Thanks John, that's consistency we can believe in.

Posted by: Jim on October 30, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Look, John McCain is a nasty, mean-spirited, violent man who calls his wife a c*nt in public. Why is anyone with an IQ over room temperature thinking of voting for this degenerate?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on October 30, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Cut the crap with the propaganda. If you knew anything about the Obama campaign you'd know it has an amazing volunteer staff and hard working people of all ages who have sacrificed alot knocking on doors in swing states for the past 2 years. You wouldn't know because you live in a world of propaganda and fear.
Mike,

You'd be better abandoning the ideology you're clinging to and trying to help out in the task of fixing this country. Country First after all right?

If anyone wants to a wake up call listen to or read a bit of Jim Ridgeway. He's been on the trail of hate groups and neo nazis for over a decade.

You realize Mike that if anything happens this propaganda that McCain and Palin are selling and you're buying is directly to blame right?

You realize you're trying to smear the most popular politician in our lifetime right? You're aware of the consequences of your actions and your lies?

There is reality and words have meaning.

I continued to be baffled that what is left of the paranoid right seem like children who were given access to computers without understanding that they are a tool of information not a tool of propaganda and lies.

It's almost as if they've never read a history book.

The festering leftovers and Palinites don't really grasp that they are a species that we are evolving away from.

It would be preferable if they put down their authoritarian lust and paranoid dellusions and joined the rest of the country. If not then at least they can act with dignity in their dying throes.

Posted by: on October 30, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding voting machines, today the AP reported that Virginia and Maryland are phasing the machines out and returning to all paper ballots that will be scanned in. --pj in jesusland, @21:52

Not in my (red)neck of the VA woods, they're not. We'll not only have a rampant rage of touch-screens (and the absentee votes are registered on the same machines), we'll have electronic *poll books* as well (who needs to screw up the voting software, when you can adjust the poll books to your heart's content?).

Mind you... When I saw the article Benen linked to (about the glitches) my lower jaw hit the floor with an almighty thunk. We used to have 3 of the voting screen suckers -- two permanent and one mobile, for curbside voting. This year, in preparation for the onslaught, we'll have 5 permanent ones and two curb-sides (reserved strictly for the purpose).

We've been patting ourselves on the back for the foresight and the fortitude -- we managed to screw the funds for the improvement/doubling out of the city. And then, I saw those rows, upon rows, of the touch-screens... Great Balls Of Fire! How many people come to vote in a single precinct in "real cities"???

Posted by: exlibra on October 31, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Regarding voting machines, today the AP reported that Virginia and Maryland are phasing the machines out and returning to all paper ballots that will be scanned in."

And while touchscreen voting machines can be manipulated, "fixed", etc, the paper ballot scanning machines can't be?

It may well be that touchscreens are a technology that is too prone to failure, and/or that touchscreen voting machines get used too infrequently to have had the bugs worked out of them. So if they disappear from the American election scene, I won't be shedding tears.

But don't kid yourselves: if there is a coordinated attempt to "fix" elections (and I sincerely doubt there is), it could just as easily happen - perhaps more easily - by "fixing" the scanning machines.

Posted by: Robert Earle on October 31, 2008 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

"How many people come to vote in a single precinct in "real cities"???"

At the couple different precincts I've worked at in suburban Los Angeles (specifically Torrance and Redondo Beach), something like 1,000 names in the 'Roster of Voters' book. So if you get 70% turnout and 20% were absentee ballots (if I remember the numbers from the 2004 presidential election), something in the neighborhood of 500 people voting in person at that polling place.

Posted by: Robert Earle on October 31, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

But don't kid yourselves: if there is a coordinated attempt to "fix" elections (and I sincerely doubt there is), it could just as easily happen - perhaps more easily - by "fixing" the scanning machines.
Posted by: Robert Earle on October 31, 2008 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

****************************

Robert, I understand your skepticism, and at the same time I suggest that you visit uncountedthemovie.com and/or gregpalast.com. "Few Americans realize that in 2004, 1,389,231 ballots were never counted because they were “spoiled.” How do ballots spoil? They get left out of the ‘fridge? No, they’re supposedly unreadable, blank, or just somehow lost in the machines.

Here’s an unfun fact: not everyone’s vote spoils the same.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission found that the chances of an African-American voter losing their vote is 900% higher than a white voter. Hispanic votes vanished at a rate 500% higher than Anglo votes...."

There is lots more. Go check it out. And see "Uncounted" to really get a sense of what is happening out there.
Exit Poll Discrepancies in 2004
“Nearly all the experts are in agreement that the exit polls could not have been so far off that they gave such distorted results. It’s far more rational that the voting process was compromised.”
Rep. John Conyers, Chair, House Judiciary Committee

“Jim Crow” Voter Suppression in the 21st Century
“The targeting of people of color is very political and very computerized.”
Harvey Wasserman, Journalist & author

Undervoting
“When you see 42%, 70% and 80% undervotes in a precinct in this election, you know that’s not real. There’s something desperately not right.”
Marybeth Kuznik, Pennsylvania poll worker

Electronic Voting
“With all these [electronic] machines, you can alter the outcome of a national election in a way that is just unprecedented in terms of its reach and the power to really play around.”
Andrew Gumbel, Journalist & author, “Steal This Vote”

Privatization of our Election Process
“Voters should not have to rely on any private company for the security and the fundamental fairness of their election system… The further you go into privatizing this activity of running elections, the more you lose control over the very core of our democracy.”
Lowell Finley, Deputy Secretary of State, California

Provisional Ballots
“On Election Day, I went to my polling place and was told that my name wasn’t on the register. [But] I voted here in the primary. And they said ‘Well, you can sign a provisional ballot.’ Come to find out later, I followed up - my vote was never counted.”
Bobby Jackson, Ohio resident

2006 Mid-Term Election
“Election 2006 gives us no reason to assume that our elections are now being run fairly and honestly. Just the opposite. Look at the pattern of the last few elections. We have every reason to believe that the 2008 election is going to be manipulated.”
Jonathan Simon, Co-founder, Election Defense Alliance

Something’s rotten.

Additionally, if you haven't seen "Hacking Democracy" or been to BlackBoxVoting's website, you may want to take a look.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on October 31, 2008 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie -

I know a pretty good bit about it.

I am a computer engineer, specifically what is called a "firmware engineer". Firmware is the programmed intelligence that would be built into a stand-alone device, like an iPod, or a touchscreen voting machine. I have worked with (though not extensively) interfacing other processors with touchscreens.

In addition, I paid VERY close attention during the aftermath of Florida 2000. (If I remember correctly, some of the precincts and counties with the highest undervote totals in Florida in 2000 were ones using optically scanned ballots, but with the scanning being done at the 'counting center', and not at the precinct level, where undervotes could be caught and corrected.)

I also work at the polls. And I have a story for you, absolutely true.

A woman with her four year old son comes into the school gym where I'm working, to vote. We sign her in into the 'Roster of Voters' and hand a ballot card (punch card --> chads, at the time) to her. Just then, her son runs out the door. As she goes to chase after him, she hands the ballot card right back to us. So we put it aside, expecting that she'll be back in a minute or two. Five minutes. Ten minutes. An hour. Two. She never comes back.

Finally, the end of the day comes, and we close the polling place. What about that woman's ballot? We have a signature in the book, we are supposed to have a ballot per signature. So, into the ballot box - headed downtown to be 'counted' - is a perfect valid, perfectly legal, and perfectly blank ballot.

Strange, yet not sinister, things do happen.

Posted by: Robert Earle on October 31, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

And while touchscreen voting machines can be manipulated, "fixed", etc, the paper ballot scanning machines can't be?

The thing that comforts me about my Inkavote ballot is that even if the machines that count are rigged, a hand count that has a person examine the ballot could see what the correct vote is. An electronic vote just vanishes into the ether. At least I know my vote exists in hard copy.

(Unless they screw with the Inkavote template to make people mark the wrong name, but that would require an inside job so massive that there's no way it could be kept secret.)

Even if we take it as a given that there will be election shenanigans this year, the problem for the Republicans is that they can't just concentrate their efforts on one or two swing states (like Florida and Ohio). Obama's fundraisers are now asking for money so they can run more ads in Montana, which was assumed to be a safe red state for McCain. McCain had to start running anti-Obama robocalls in his home state of Arizona because McCain's lead started shrinking fairly dramatically.

This year, for any Republicans trying to fix the vote, they've got a Whac-a-Mole problem. States that they thought were safe are suddenly contested; states that were supposed to be swing states are turning into landslides. Even if they had an apparatus set up in Ohio, that doesn't do them any good if suddenly they have to try and patch up the vote in Arizona with no infrastructure in place.

The kind of voter suppression and voting shenanigans the Republicans have been relying on only work if their opponent is running a 50%+1 strategy. This year, our guy is running a 50-state strategy, which is a hell of a lot harder to screw with, especially if your opponent has more money. They're going to give it the old college try, but I don't think it will work. At this point, even if Obama lost both Ohio and Florida, he'd still win the electoral college and the election.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 31, 2008 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

They have a reputation for intelligence and they write very well, but I still can't see Sarah baby actually being able to get through a whole article, not to mention a whole issue.

Cynic! You prolly thought George W. Bush wasn't really reading Camus on his vacation, either!

Posted by: shortstop on October 31, 2008 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

Regardless of the political beliefs of the parents of the students bused to a McCain event, shouldn't they be angry about their children being used as emergency TV props? Unless the McCain campaign managers knew in advance that there would be some 4,000 empty seats that needed someone (anyone) in them, this must have been a last-minute decision. I'd be enraged to find out that my child was being trucked around the county like Youth for Hitler.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on October 31, 2008 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Really, the fact that they had to bus in kids to fill two-thirds of the venue is totally humiliating. It was only a 6,000-seat house, and they could only get a third of that in the last week before the election.

Posted by: shortstop on October 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Strange, yet not sinister, things do happen.
Posted by: Robert Earle on October 31, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK
****************************

Agreed, benign things can happen on very small scale. And if you look closer, you find large scale 'caging lists' of (primarily) African-Americans who are scrubbed from the voter roles simply because their name is similar to a convicted felon who lives somewhere/anywhere in America. (See Florida 2000, see Ohio 2004, get ready for 2008). Disgusting. Sinister. Un-American. There are many other examples of voter suppression and fraud. Well worth looking at the documentation. Anyone who hasn't, their are links above.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on October 31, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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