Monthly Archives: November 2012

Romney Was The Moral Winner Of The Election

Mitt Romney was nothing but a stone cold rebel. Didn't fit and didn't care. He was just going to have fun, keep it real, stick it to the losers and generally blow the doors off the whole place whatever the DC crowd and the insiders and the elites thought. And damn if he didn't win the whole thing in the end. At least if you're counting the good people. Sure, he didn't catch with the poors and the non-whiteys. But c'mon: Who the f' cares, right? Mitt Romney, the President of Real America.

That's how Romney's chief campaign advisor is recasting the whole election.  He describes the loss as a "narrow prediential loss".  Narrow presidential loss? President Barack Obama won 332-206, and has a 3.5-point lead in the popular vote, or 4.5 million raw votes. George W. Bush declared a big "mandate" in 2004 after winning the popular vote by just three million.

With advisors this delusional, it's no wonder Romney lost.

Romney at 47 Percent

After Obama won, most of us stopped caring about the popular vote count.  But the count continued, and the votes trickled in days — and even weeks — later.  Now, via David Wasserman's invaluable chart, we can make it official: Romney WON 47.43 percent of the vote, making it impossible to round up.

He is the 47 percent, a truly ironic number, given that Romney dissed "47 percent" of the population in his infamous Boca Raton fundraising talk with donors.

Other mostly random factoids:

– Obama's margin over Romney is up to 4.4 million votes.

– There's no state where the margin between Romney and Obama could have been erased by a switch of third party votes. Florida comes close, but the margin is about 15,000 votes greater than the total vote for all third parties.


The Benghazi-gate Thing

It's not that I haven't been paying attention.  I really have.  But I still don't get what the hell Susan Rice did wrong.

As UN Ambassador, she went on television to answer questions about Benghazi.  Of course, being UN Ambassador, she wasn't exactly at the forefront of the intelligence gathering apparatus, so she relied on information told to her by the CIA, i.e., that the attack on our embassy was the result of Muslims angry about a shitty low-budget movie, rather than the pre-planned work of al Qaeda.

So she went on a Sunday talk show, and said something that turned out to be wrong, even though she specifically said that the intelligence we had at the time might be wrong.

How is this a controversy?  And why the hell does it make Susan Rice unqualified to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State?

I recall another black woman also named Rice, who mislead the entire country into believing that Iraq had WMDs.  She said it over and over again.  And when she was appointed to be Secretary of State, did the Senate confirm her?  Yes.  Even though what she said turned out to be untrue.  

In fact, Condaleeza's mistatement was far worse than Susan's.  Condaleeza, unlike Susan, was INSIDE the intelligence community.  She had all the information (or lack of it) at her fingertips.  Susan, on the other hand, was just passing on the information that she received in a briefing.

If McCain, Ayotte, and Graham want to pile on Susan Rice, I think there will be serious repercussions.  

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid obviously has had enough of this carnival. He released this statement today:

The personal attacks against Ambassador Rice by certain Republican senators have been outrageous and utterly unmoored from facts and reality. I am shocked that senators would continue these attacks even when the evidence—including disclosures from the intelligence community about the information she presented—have made it clear that the allegations against Ambassador Rice are baseless, and that she has done absolutely nothing wrong.  

Ambassador Rice’s service as United States Ambassador to the United Nations has been impeccable. She has answered all questions raised in relation to the Benghazi attacks completely and repeatedly. The Senate committees of jurisdiction are in the midst of examining the events leading up to the Benghazi attacks, and I agree with those— including the ranking Republican members of both the Intelligence and Homeland Security committees—who have said we should let the committees do their work. There should be no place for such blatant partisanship in oversight of our nation’s intelligence community.

The election is over. It is time to drop these partisan political games, and focus our attention on the real challenges facing us as a nation.

Snoopy To Sail Across The Atlantic

Today, November 27th,a miniature boat was launched in hopes of being the first unmanned craft to (intentionally) cross the Atlantic.

Robin Lovelock is a retired NATO scientist and the creator of this project. He believes the vessel will have to navigate 6,000 miles via GPS to make it from the coastal village Barton on Sea, England.

Lovelock has a website where you can watch videos, get updates, and even follow an up-to-date GPS map of the boat.


Click to embiggen….

Looks like the tides took him back to land.

Commies Bite Down Hard On Onion

The People’s Daily Online, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, has fallen for a satirical article in the Onion proclaiming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.” The report credulously quotes the Onion’s endorsement:

With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.

The People’s Daily also included a 55-photo slideshow of the North Korean heartthrob in action. A sample:

The Onion has updated their story with this note:

For more coverage on The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.

Breaking: Israel-Hamas Agree To Cease Fire

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire, the Egyptian foreign minister said Wednesday, ending eight days of fighting that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.

The cease-fire is set to start at 9 p.m. Cairo time (2 p.m. ET), Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced in a news conference alongside visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The United States welcomes the agreement today for the cease-fire in Gaza," Clinton said, adding that Egypt's new government was exerting responsibility and leadership in the region.

more here.

UPDATE: Then again….


Helen Lays Down The Rules

Eighty-six year old Helen Philpot of Margaret and Helen has some rules for her family this Thanksgiving:

Dear Family,

I’m not dead yet.  Thanksgiving is still important to me.  If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, then you might consider being with me for my favorite holiday.

Dinner is at 2:00.   Not 2:15.  Not 2:05.   Two.  Arrive late and you get what’s leftover.

Last year, that moron Marshall fried a turkey in one of those contraptions and practically burned the deck off the house.  This year, the only peanut oil used to make the meal will be from the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup.

Jonathan, your last new wife was an idiot.  You don’t arrive at someone’s house on Thanksgiving needing to use the oven and the stove.  Honest to God I thought you might have learned after two wives – date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce.

Now, the house rules are slightly different this year because I have decided that 47% of you don’t know how to take care of nice things.  Paper plates and red Solo cups might be bad for the environment, but I’ll be gone soon and that will be your problem to deal with.

House Rules:

  1.  The University of Texas no longer plays Texas A&M.   The television stays off during the meal.
  2. The” no cans for kids” rule still exists.  We are using 2 liter bottles because your children still open a third can before finishing the first two.  Parents can fill a child’s cup when it is empty.  All of the cups have names on them and I’ll be paying close attention to refills.
  3. Cloe, last year we were at Trudy’s house and I looked the other way when your Jell-O salad showed up.  This year, if Jell-O salad comes in the front door it will go right back out the back door with the garbage.  Save yourself some time honey.  You’ve never been a good cook and you shouldn’t bring something that wiggles more than you.  Buy something from the HEB bakery.
  4. Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy.  That is a fact of life.  Your children can eat healthy at your home.  At my home, they can eat whatever they like as long as they finish it.
  5. I cook with bacon and bacon grease.  That’s nothing new.  Your being a vegetarian doesn’t change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs.  Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it.   That’s why it tastes so good.  Not eating bacon is just not natural.  And as far as being healthy… look at me.  I’ve outlived almost everyone I know.
  6. Salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space.
  7. I do not like cell phones.  Leave them in the car.
  8. I do not like video cameras.  There will be 32 people here.  I am sure you can capture lots of memories without the camera pointed at me.
  9. Being a mother means you have to actually pay attention to the kids.  I have nice things and I don’t put them away just because company is coming over.  Mary, watch your kids and I’ll watch my things.
  10. Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that has lived too many lives.  I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I have lived too many lives too.  I can live with that.  Can you?
  11. Words mean things.  I say what I mean.   Let me repeat:  You don’t need to bring anything means you don’t need to bring anything.   And if I did tell you to bring something, bring it in the quantity I said.  Really.  This doesn’t have to be difficult.
  12. Dominos and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an on/off switch.  That was true when you were kids and it’s true now that you have kids.
  13. Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees presents at Christmas.  Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed.

The election is over so I’ll watch what I say and you will do the same.  If we all stick to that, we’ll have a good time.  If not, I’ll still have a good time but it will be at your expense.  In memory of your Grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer.  Drink until it is gone.  I prefer wine anyway.  But one from each family needs to be the designated driver.  I mean it really.

She rocks.

If The Campaigns Were Businesses

Mitt Romney ran for president largely on his experience as a businessman, and how he could bring fiscal responsibility to America.

But if you look at the spending in the campagin, Romney was a horrible businessman.  Take a look at the ad buys for September in one market, Columbus, Ohio.

Romney was paying nearly four times as much per television spot as Obama.

What went on?

The cost differential is attributable to the fact that Team Obama bought “preemptable” or or “lowest unit rate” ads — while Team Romney paid for “fixed,” non-preemptable rates.

“Obama could deliver 1,000 points for a fourth as much as Romney,” said one source.

So why didn’t Team Romney negotiate better rates? Since spots are typically not bumped in early September, the notion of reserving non-preemptable ads — in order to guarantee they would air — seems implausible.

According to our source, Team Obama simply did the “due diligence to find where the lowest unit rate was,” a tedious process which “takes manpower.”

Conversely, it appears Team Romney simply didn’t want bother with the hassle. So they threw money at the problem — and walked away.

This, no doubt, saved a lot of time and energy. But it also cost a lot of money.

Wow. Some businessman.

Oh, and for larfs, here's a photo of Romney taken yesterday, pumping his own gas:

Walmart So Cares About Children

On the subject of striking Walmart workers:

Numerous activities over the past year or longer “have caused disruptions to Walmart’s business, resulted in misinformation being shared publicly about our company, and created an uncomfortable environment and undue stress on Walmart’s customers, including families with children,” Walmart outside counsel Steven Wheeless said in a letter sent on Friday to Deborah Gaydos, assistant general counsel of the UFCW.

Yes, won’t someone PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN, asks Walmart, a business that compensates  its CEO more in one hour than retail employees earn in an entire year, has refused to pay overtime, understaffs to the point of compromising employee safety, and pays such a meager wage that a majority of its employees with children are living below the poverty line. But yes, think of the children. Better late than never.

It most be hard to run a business when you are so busy having strike organizers arrestedfiring striking warehouse workers on the spot, and engaging in punitive measures against workers trying to organize a strike.

Family Values


A Manchester lawyer took a teenage girl to Canada, had her engage in sexual activity and convinced her to let it be filmed, according to federal indictments.

FBI agents swiftly arrested Lisa Biron yesterday morning as she awaited a hearing on child pornography charges at Manchester’s district court. About 9 a.m. FBI agents entered the courtroom, told Biron to leave her belongings and took her into an adjoining conference room where she remained for several minutes before coming out in handcuffs.

Outside, Biron ducked her head below the backseat window of a white vehicle as it was driven away from the courthouse.

A few hours later in U.S. District Court in Concord, Biron, who is associated with a national coalition of Christian lawyers, was formally told of the federal charges against her: transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, possession of child pornography and five counts of sexual exploitation of children.

The "national coalition of Christian lawyers" is the Alliance for Defending Freedom, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that opposed gay marriage in California in the Perry v. Brown case, because gay marriage is bad for the family and all that.

Biron is associated with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group of lawyers who, according to their website, are committed to keeping “the door open for the spread of the Gospel” by advocating for “religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.” In Concord, she worked with the ADF in defending a Pentecostal Church on Mountain Road in its tax fight against the city.

She recently served on the board of directors at Mount Zion Christian Schools in Manchester, according to the school’s headmaster.

On Biron’s Facebook page, which was taken down in recent weeks, she had listed the Bible as her favorite book.


Scandal Envy

I outsource to Paul Waldman at The American Prospect, because he nails it oh so rightly:

If you're looking at the Republican harumphing over Benghazi and asking yourself, "Why are we supposed to be so mad about this again?" you're not alone. Let's review: There was an attack on our consulate that killed four Americans, including our ambassador. Amid confusing and contradictory reports from the ground, President Obama waited too long to utter the magic incantation, "Terrorism, terrorists, terror!" that would have … well, it would have done something, but it turns out that he did say "terror," so never mind that. But that's not the real scandal! The real scandal is that Susan Rice went on television soon after and amid all kinds of "based on the best information we have"s and "we'll have to see"s, said one thing that turned out not to be the case: that after the protests in Cairo, there was some kind of copycat protest in Benghazi, which was then "hijacked" by extremist elements using heavy weapons to stage an attack.

A sane person might say, OK, she was obviously given some incorrect information at that time, but it's not a particularly meaningful deception. As people have been pointing out for weeks now, it's not as though not using the word "terror" or saying there was a protest before the attack gave the White House some enormous political advantage. If you're going to have a cover-up, there has to be something you're covering up.

But now, some Republicans, particularly John McCain and Lindsay Graham, are essentially saying that this horrifying cover-up was quite possibly the greatest crime in the history of the United States government, and if we're going to get to the bottom of it nothing short of a select committee—a "Watergate-style committee," as it is being referred to by reporters—will do. Who knows what it might uncover? Were there CIA whistleblowers whose bodies are now lying at the bottom of the Potomac? Was David Petraeus being blackmailed? Are William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright involved? Did Susan Rice fly to Tripoli, have a steamy liaison with a clone of Ayman al-Zawahiri created in a secret underground laboratory, then go to Benghazi where she personally killed Ambassador Chris Stevens with a hat pin? We won't know unless we spin this out into a multi-week story!

So what's going on here? I can sum it up in two words: scandal envy. Republicans are indescribably frustrated by the fact that Barack Obama, whom they regard as both illegitimate and corrupt, went through an entire term without a major scandal. They tried with "Fast and Furious," but that turned out to be small potatoes. They tried with Solyndra, but that didn't produce the criminality they hoped for either. Obama even managed to dole out three-quarters of a trillion dollars in stimulus money without any graft or double-dealing to be found. Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Lewinsky, and Barack Obama has gotten off scott-free. This is making them absolutely livid, and they're going to keep trying to gin up a scandal, even if there's no there there. Benghazi may not be an actual scandal, but it's all they have handy.

Republicans aren't doing themselves any favor by being the Boy Who Cried Wolf.  If, at some point, there is a legitimate scandal, then when Fox News and the GOP starts jumping up and down with their hair on fire, screaming, "It's a -Gate!  It's a -Gate!", the rest of the country will yawn.

Breaking: Another Gulf Oil Spill?

Happening right now.

Four rushed to hospital after rig explosion.  Offshore from New Orleans, because those people haven't had to face any kind of disasters ever.

Apparently not deep water, so presumably it can be capped.

The owner of the platform is Black Elk Energy. On its website, the company stated that this month it was starting to drill the first of 23 new wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

UPDATE: Image on Twitter


UPDATE: Fire is now contained on the platform.  This doesn't appear to be another BP.

Follow more at

Romney Is The Douchebag We All Thought He Was

From the NY Times:

Saying that he and his team still felt “troubled” by his loss to President Obama, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attributed his defeat in part to what he called big policy “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”

“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”

And he goes on with that blather… making the same case regarding women and contraception.

This is basically doubling down on what he said to his donors behind closed doors in Boca Raton, in the infamous "47%" comments.  He thinks certain large segments of society are freeloaders who want free stuff and President Obama gives it to them.

Fuck you, Romney.  Here's why you lost: because you can't recognize that the middle and working classes are the backbone of this country, and that people like you wouldn't be rich if you didn't profit off the labor and sweat of the 47%.  When you asshole Wall Street types fuck up the economy because of your greed, it's not you who pays through the nose; it's the 47% of people who you so callously condemn.   When you start your little wars, it's not you, Mr. Senator's Son, Mr. Vietnam forlough, who fights and dies — it's the working and middle class sons and daughter who do all the dirty work and come back with broken bodies and minds.  Do they deserve more from this country than you do?  Fuck yeah!

In other words, you elitist douchebag, you lost because you ARE an elitist douchebag.  Now it is time to prance off to the Cayman Islands, Little Lord Fauntleroy.  Begone with you.  And don't ever EVER go near a microphone or camera again.

Quote Of The Day

Anonymous Republican, on the subject of the GOP's huge FAIL at measuring the electorate:

Democrats "must be looking at us like we're the biggest f—– morons in the world," one frustrated Republican said. "That's what I'd be doing."


The Petraeus Affair

So let's get this straight: a woman who is a close friend of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and his wife triggers a FBI investigation of threatening emails from another woman, who is instantly found to have been engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with Petraeus, and apparently thought the first woman was a rival for the general's favor, although the FBI almost instantly discovered the theoretically unrelated fact that said first woman had actually exchanged a few thousand "potentially inappropriate" emails with Petraeus' successor to Petraeus in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. And the original FBI investigator sent shirtless photos of himself to the woman who started the whole investigation.  None of these people are single or married to each other.

I don't have much to say about this except that I really don't care.  It's a weird story, and unfortunate, and none of our business.

I also disagree with those senior members in Congress who think they should have been informed about it earlier.  This is just ego.  Senior members of Congress are not normally put into the loop when there is an investigation going on, even a security investigation… unless there appears to be an actual breach, which wasn't the case here.

It is amusing, I will say, to watch the right wingers try to spin this scandel into some grand conspiracy having to do with Benghazi, or the elections.  Even if those theories make no sense whatsoever.

Woman Runs Over Husband; Blames Him For Obama Re-election

Phoenix New Times:

Mesa resident Holly Solomon thinks it's her husband's fault that President Obama was re-elected last week, because he didn't vote.

Not only does Solomon, 28, have a thorough misunderstanding of our nation's electoral system, she also ran over her husband with her car because of this, according to Gilbert police.

In an e-mail to media, Gilbert police Sergeant Jesse Sanger says the argument started in a parking lot Saturday morning over Daniel Solomon's lack of voter participation.

"According to Daniel, Holly believed her family was going to face hardship as a result of President Obama's re-election," Sanger says.

Witnesses told police that there was a lot of yelling before Holly Solomon hopped in her Jeep, and started chasing her husband around the parking lot.

Her husband tried to use a light pole to shield himself, and Solomon drove around the light pole several times as she continued to yell at him.

Eventually, her husband made a run for it, but Solomon hit him, pinning him under the car and on a curb, according to police.

Daniel Solomon's currently in critical condition at a hospital.

Holly Solomon was booked into jail on charges of domestic violence and aggravated assault, and there are no indications she was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time, according to Sanger.

It should be noted that President Obama won a grand total of zero of Arizona's 11 electoral votes, so it wouldn't have helped if Daniel Solomon had voted for Romney 1,000 times.

Fiscal Cliff Notes

“Fiscal cliff” is the popular shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect.

Among the laws set to change at midnight on December 31, 2012, are the end of last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers), the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax that would take a larger bite, the end of the tax cuts from 2001-2003, and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama’s health care law. At the same time, the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect. According to Barron's, over 1,000 government programs – including the defense budget and Medicare are in line for "deep, automatic cuts."

You want to know something about this "fiscal cliff" that everyone's all worried about?

It's hype.

Yes, the financial situation is serious, but it is being ginned up by the right who want an excuse to do what they've always wanted to do — cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (and Big Bird), while preserving tax cuts for the wealthy.

Paul Krugman has some advice for Obama:

It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain.

More important, however, is the point that a stalemate would hurt Republican backers, corporate donors in particular, every bit as much as it hurt the rest of the country. As the risk of severe economic damage grew, Republicans would face intense pressure to cut a deal after all.

Meanwhile, the president is in a far stronger position than in previous confrontations. I don’t place much stock in talk of “mandates,” but Mr. Obama did win re-election with a populist campaign, so he can plausibly claim that Republicans are defying the will of the American people. And he just won his big election and is, therefore, far better placed than before to weather any political blowback from economic troubles — especially when it would be so obvious that these troubles were being deliberately inflicted by the G.O.P. in a last-ditch attempt to defend the privileges of the 1 percent.

So, he concludes, Obama should stand his ground on spending and taxes.

Guess The System Works

Ryan Reilly tells the story of two separate incidences where a Republican — one in Nevada and one in New Mexico — believed all the bullshit about how easy it is to vote twice.  

They tried it for themselves just to show how easy it was to "work the system".

Both of them were arrested.


Stand With Us

The Heritage Fondation put out a video which, one the one hand, is nothing — it encourages conservatives to keep up the good fight.

Yet, on the other hand, there's a creepy Leni Riefenstahl war-like quality to it that seems a jarring.  As one viewer quipped, "I liked it in the original German".


Romney Campaign Was In A Bubble, Too

In all the post-mortems, we learn this about what it was like inside the Romney campaign:

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.


As a result, they believed the public/media polls were skewed – they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn't reflect Republican enthusiasm. They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.

Let that sink in for a minute: Team Romney was “unskewing” its internal polls, or maybe they were just using the numbers from the Unskewed Polls guy, who knows, but the point here is that they didn’t like the reality they were getting from their own data collection.

Recap their logic:

1. They got big crowds, therefore,
2. people won't turn out for Obama.
3. If people don't turn out for Obama,
4. then the public polls are skewed.
5. If public polls are skewed,
6. then Romney is winning.

Reality sucks.

And has a liberal bias.

Good Pollster, Bad Pollster

Fordham University has published a ranking of the most accurate pollsters of the 2012 in terms of national trends, and (both) top spots were held by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina-based firm.

Director of Fordham's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, Dr. Costas Panagopoulos, based the study on pre-election polling and compared it against the results from election day.

"For all the ridicule directed towards pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide vote shares for the two candidates," Panagopoulos said in a statement. Here's the whole list:

1. PPP (D)*

1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*

3. YouGov*

4. Ipsos/Reuters*

5. Purple Strategies



6. YouGov/Economist



11. Angus-Reid*

12. ABC/WP*

13. Pew Research*

13. Hartford Courant/UConn*


15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA

15. Politico/GWU/Battleground

15. FOX News

15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics

15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics

15. American Research Group

15. Gravis Marketing

23. Democracy Corps (D)*

24. Rasmussen

24. Gallup

26. NPR

27. National Journal*

28. AP/GfK

It should be noted that Rasmussen, the favorite pollster of Fox News and right wing blogs, was close to the bottom of the list.  They were bad last election cycle, which is why I ignored them this year.

As for poll aggregators, CNET reports that the best one was 538, i.e., Nate Silver. But TPM PollTracker, HuffPost Pollster, the RealClearPolitics Average, and the Princeton Election Consortium — successfully called the election for Obama, and save for TPM PollTracker and RealClearPolitics handing Florida to Romney, the aggregators were spot on across the board when it came to picking swing state victors.

Then, there is this:

Dean Chambers, the man who garnered praise from the right and notoriety on the left for his “Unskewed Polling” site, admitted today that his method was flawed.

 “Nate Silver was right, and I was wrong,” Chambers said in a phone interview.

Chambers’ method of “unskewing” polls involved re-weighting the sample to match what he believed the electorate would look like, in terms of party identification. He thought the electorate would lean more Republican when mainstream pollsters routinely found samples that leaned Democratic.

But as it turned out, the pollsters were right — self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 6% in election exit polls.

The bigger question is why on earth he ever thought just changing numbers in a poll until you liked the outcome was going to actually reflect the reality on the ground. That’s the power of the bubble working. When every source you hear, whether it be Clown Hall or Faux News or the National Review or whatever else ells you over and over and over that the media is biased or that statistics have a left-wing bias, chumps like Chambers start to really believe it. And then they do predictably laughable stuff like this- just rejiggering polls until the numbers put you in your happy place.

What’s even more astounding than some lone nitwit doing this is all the people who linked to it, repeated this nonsense until significant portions of the right wing believed it. That’s what is really astounding. You can find people doing really stupid things every where you go in the world. You don’t expect their stupidity to be elevated. And there was just no one, no one at all in the GOP feedback loop who stood up and said “Good lord, you people are morons.”

Angry Billionaires

And why not?

Many of the lightning bolts were aimed at none other than Karl Rove, the former Bush administration political genius who oversaw the deployment of nearly $400 million in campaign spending through outside groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS toward the presidential race and toward numerous Senate and House races.

"The billionaire donors I hear are livid," one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. "There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing

Who’s To Blame

A lot of conservatives are blaming Chris Christie for Romney's loss, based on the fact that Christie praised Obama for Obama's leadership in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Which only begs the question: If Christ Christie is so influential that his comments can swing the election, then why the fuck didn't you guys nominate HIM and not Romney?


Consider this jaw-dropper: in a year that was supposed to be awful for Senate Dems, zero Democratic incumbents lost this year. Literally, none.

And now that all the Senate races are in, the Democratic stronghold in the Senate is actually BIGGER than before. If Maine's Sen.-elect, Angus King (I) caucuses with the Senate Democrats, which has been widely expected, then King would be the 55th member of the Senate Democratic caucus and give the party a net gain of two seats in this campaign cycle.

Why Romney Lost: A Bunch Of Reasons

1)  You have to be FOR something.  The Romney campaign strategy seemed almost entirely to rely on stoking anti-Obama sentiment.  Every campaign needs to demonize the opponent, but Romney seemed to do that exclusively.  Toward the end, he and his surrogates had the talking point about how Obama failed to fulfill his promises — promises which, if fulfilled, Romney would have opposed.

The best example of this is in the area of healthcare.  Romney said he would get rid of Obamacare.  But THEN what?  He was never clear.  What was he going to do about rising health care costs — the thing that Obamacare was designed to cure?  Or was he going to do nothing?  Again, you have to be FOR something, not just AGAINST something.

2)  Failure to identify who he is and what he would do.  This is related to point one above.  But it's more than that.  Nobody really knew what Romney was about.  And that seemed to be a feature of their campaign strategy, not a bug.  Remember "Etch-A-Sketch"?  So if people have a hard time defining Romney, that made it easier for Obama to fill-in-the-blanks.  In fact, the work was started before Romney got the nomination.  The Republican party voters never warmed to Romney.  They spent months looking for the anti-Romney: Newt, Bachmann, Santorum — even Hermain Cain was at the top of the polls.  And all those candidates piled on Romney for being flip-floppy.

So if Republicans couldn't warm up to Mitt Romney in their primaries, how could the electorate in the general election?

When Romney did make an affirmative case for himself and his policies, it was often stated in general goals.  Stuff like "We need to bring the deficit down, and I'm going to do that."  Well, you know, good on you, buddy.  But everybody — even Obama — wants to bring the deficit down.  What made Romney so special that he thought he could do it?  He never made the case.

3)  Boss Man.  People are generally disfavored to politicians, but I think they have an even  more tangible dislike of bosses.  Bosses are a form of authoritarianism that people encounter on a daily basis — someone who believes himself to be superior, and who knows what's good for you.  And Romney, intentionally or not, positioned himself as a boss.  An employer.  You know, like the guy who just fired your brother… or you!  He took sides with bosses ("entrepreuners"), which would have been good strategy if most of the country were bosses, or even aspired to be.  But most of the country feels — particularly in tough economic times — like they are at the mercy of bosses.  Romney was the Man from Bain, the one who this that corporations are people.  And that hurt him.

4)  Failure to adapt to changing demographics.  I've mentioned this elsewhere.  So has everyone else.  And it's true.  The Republican party can no longer afford to be anti-immigrant (read "anti-Hispanic"), anti-gay, and anti-women.  There just aren't enough angry white men for any party to sustain itself on the national level.

5)  Lying.  Every campaign twists their opponents words.  Romney certainly did.  The whole "you didn't build that" thing.  We know that Obama didn't say that, at least not in the way that Romney ran with it.  (By the way, the "you didn't build that" is only an insult to business owners — again, Romney identifying with the boss man).

But that kind of lie isn't why Romney lost.  He lost because he lied about things that people KNEW was a lie.  He kept telling people that the economy was getting worse, when people KNEW — from their own experiences, the experiences of their family and friends – that it really wasn't getting worse.  Romney had the balls — or stupidity — to tell the American public that the sky was green, when people could just look and see differently.

This tactic really backfired and it especially hurt Romney in the final stretch of the campaign, in Ohio.  He ran ads which said that, thanks to Obama's bailout, Chrysler was going to build jeeps in China.  It just wasn't true.  But he tried to tell this to the people of Ohio, who knew it not to be true.  All the Ohio papers leapt on those ads, noting it wasn't true.  And then something unprecedented: Chrysler itself stepped in and said it wasn't true.

It made the Romney camp look untrustworthy and/or desparate.  And it absolutely killed whatever hope he might have had in the Midwest.  Killed it.

6)  47%.  I think Romney's 47% remark will be discussed and studied for some time to come.  Back in 1979, Jimmy Carter talked about the nation's "malaise", and people got really pissed off, and voted him out.  This is like that, but worse.

Understand what Romney did, and think about it for a second.  The man stood in a room of rich donors, and insulted 47% of the country!  That's ballsy.

Now, some people said it wasn't that bad, because most people don't consider themselves to be the freeloaders that Romney was disparaging.  But that's irrelevant.  *I* don't think *I'm* in the 47%, but I was still insulted.  How can a man hope to lead the country when he disparages half of it?

Imagine this.  Imagine your boss gathers you and your employees together in a room, and says, "You know what?  Half of you are lazy assess."  Now, would you want that boss to be your leader? 

And nothing Romney said afterwards could undo it.  He called it a "gaffe", although people know it wasn't.  A gaffe is when you confuse "Iran" and "Iraq" for a split second because of a brain fart.  Romney stood at a podium and for a full 30 seconds insulted voters.  And even though he later said that he intended to be the president for "all America", he never took back or explain the actual insult.  He never explained what he intended to say (assuming he "said things wrong" to begin with).  

Insulting almost half of the American taxpayers?  Oh, yeah.  That hurt him.

7)  Yes, Sandy.  In the heat of a presidential election, the electorate sometimes forgets that this is about real stuff, and it's not just a reality show being played out.  The election has consequences.

Sandy came along and subtly reminded everybody that the President of the United States actually has some serious things to contend with. 

When Sandy hit, all Obama had to do was his job.  He didn't have to ACT presidential; he just had to be President.  And that's what he did — his job.  And suddenly, people forgot about Big Bird and the other silliness of the campaign.  And they liked — or were reminded of what they liked — in President Obama.  And that was enough to give me the edge.

8)  Bad ground operation.  The Republicans piss off unions.  Democrats support them.  So you get the public employees union, teacher's union, labor unions, etc. all working together to get out the vote.  Again, like the 47% thing, you only git what you give.

9)  Being hawkish to a war-weary nation. 

10)  Opposition to auto bailout.  Put him at a disadvantage from the beginning with the Midwest.  Never really explained it away.

UPDATE:  Over at The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen offers an overriding theory as to why Romney lost, to wit:

May I suggest instead a simple, elegant overriding theory on why we won't have a Romney Administration in 2013? No serious political party in America — no legitimate party in any viable democracy — can win an election by suppressing votes. So long as the Republican Party endorses (and enacts) voting laws designed to make it harder for registered voters to vote, so long as Republican officials like Ohio's Jon Husted contort themselves to interpret those laws in a restrictive fashion, the Republicans will continue to play a loser's game.

That's my theory, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

I don't think that was a contributing factor this time, but I can see how it could hurt a party generally in the long game.

Waaah Quote Of The Day

Robert Stacy McCain in The Spectator:

What is left to hope for? That the American people will soon regret their choice? That another four years of economic stagnation and escalating debt will cure them of their insane appetite for charismatic liberals? If four years of endless failure have not rid them of this madness, the disease may well be terminal. Perhaps others will still see some cause for hope, and in another few weeks my friends may persuade me to see it, too. But today I will hear no such talk, and I doubt I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. At the moment, I am convinced America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror.

File:The Scream.jpg

Where Does The Republican Party Go From Here?

The GOP is hurting.  It's been pulled too far to the right by the Tea Party.  

Although they never had the black vote, they DID have a pretty solid Hispanic vote.  Not anymore.  They need to reach out again to the growing Hispanic community.  Check this out:

And women.  Particularly single women.  Unmarried and divorced.  The image of a woman as Harriet to a male Ozzie is nice, but most adult women do not fit that image.  And many don't even aspire to it.  So the GOP has to get off its high horse about women, and it could do so without pissing off the pro-lifers.

Put bluntly — and this is a bit of cliche but it's true — the GOP cannot survive as the party of white men.  It has to expand itself — to understand and address the issues of women, minority races, and gays.  (Ironically, I think there already is movement in the GOP for acceptance of gay marriage).

But that means cutting of the Tea Party types, and I don't see them going away quietly into the night.  Because you will always have that element that says "But Mitt was a MODERATE from MASSACHUSETTS!  Now if we only ran a REAL conservative…."

I tend to think, however, that those voices will not prevail.  In fact, expect the next GOP presidential ticket to include a Hispanic.  Yes, you heard it here first.

Nate Silver Wins

I urge everyone to read this Politico piece from last week, slamming Nate Silver ("Nate Silver: One-term celebrity?")

Now, look at this:

This is how punditry ends

That is Nate's map of his final predictions.  Just like the real thing.

The creepiest thing about Nate’s prediction is that the only state that he didn’t claim better than 79% certainty about was Florida, which he called as an almost exact tie (probability of going for Obama: 50.3%). Naturally Florida is, as of this writing, leaning towards Obama but still too close to call.

Prediction isn't an exact science, but it's not voodoo either.  Silver has already shown what he can do with math and sports (see the movie "Moneyball").  He'll be the first to tell you that he can be wrong.  But to be so dismissive of number-crunching — well, that comes from the same place as people who are dismissive of global warming.

Hopefully the right wing pundits who bashed Nate Silver, and the polls in general, will be a little cowed this morning.

Along those lines, if you want some good post-election reading about why so many on the right were delusional about Romney's chances, read this article.  An excerpt:

Some Romney aides were surprised too, especially since they had put an enormous amount of effort into tracking the hour-by-hour whims of the electorate.  In recent weeks the campaign came up with a super-secret, super-duper vote monitoring system that was dubbed Project Orca.  The name “Orca,” after the whale, was apparently chosen to suggest that the project was bigger than anything any other campaign, including Barack Obama’s in 2008, had ever imagined.  For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls.  “The project operates via a web-based app volunteers use to relay the most up-to-date poll information to a ‘national dashboard’ at the Boston headquarters,” said a campaign email on election eve.  “From there, data will be interpreted and utilized to plan voter turnout tactics on Election Day.”

Orca, which was headquartered in a giant war room spread across the floor of the Boston Garden, turned out to be problematic at best.  Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes.  Obviously that didn’t happen.  Later, another aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action.  “Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it,” said the aide.

Also, very good readingHow Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

Also… here's 34 wrong election predictions

  1. Before the election, Karl Rove predicted Mitt Romney would win 279 electoral votes.
  2. Rove gets two mentions because after the election, he continued to predict a Romney victory—even as everyone else concluded Romney had lost. Which he had.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain's top economic adviser, thought turnout would win it for Romney.
  4. House Speaker John Boehner said Romney would win Ohio.
  5. Steve Forbes said the polls were wrong and that Romney would win.
  6. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Romney would carry Virginia.
  7. Dick Morris said Romney would win 325 electoral votes.
  8. Dean Chambers, inventor of the unskewed polls nonsense, said Romney would take 311 electoral votes.
  9. Michael Barone predicted a Romney landslide.
  10. George Will said Romney would win big.
  11. John Bolton said he was "very confident" Romney would win.
  12. Wayne Allen Root predicted a Romney landslide.
  13. Stu Rothenberg said the race was too close to call, even though it was clear from all available data that President Obama had a significant advantage.
  14. Pat Toomey said Romney would win Pennsylvania.
  15. Peggy Noonan said "vibrations" told her Romney was about to win.
  16. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said Romney would carry Pennsylvania.
  17. Charles Krauthammer said Romney would win a close victory.
  18. Suffolk stopped polling in Virginia and Florida because they decided Romney had locked those states up.
  19. The head of Mason-Dixon polling said Mitt Romney had nailed down Florida.
  20. Fred Barnes confidently explained to everyone why Romney will win.
  21. Joe Scarborough mocked Nate Silver for relying on data and said he would rather be in Mitt Romney's shoes than President Obama's.
  22. Eric Cantor declared Romney would win Virginia.
  23. Romney's own campaign predicted he would win 300 electoral votes.
  24. Glenn Beck predicted a Romney landslide.
  25. Jeb Bush said Florida would go Romney's way.
  26. Ohio Gov. John Kasich not only said Romney would win Ohio, but that he'd seen internal polls showing Romney ahead.
  27. David Brooks mocked analysis like Nate Silver's.
  28. Dylan Byers treated Nate Silver's partisan opponents with equal credibility as Silver himself.
  29. Bill Kristol predicted a Romney victory.
  30. Ari Fleischer said Romney would win comfortably.
  31. James Pethokoukis of American Enterprise Institute predicted a Romney win.
  32. Newt Gingrich guaranteed Romney would win by at least six points.
  33. Dave Weigel predicted a Romney victory.
  34. Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard claimed Romney would win.


A Good Night For Progressives

* Obama won.  I wasn't surprised or too nervous.  It played out pretty much as I thought it would, although I gave Virginia and Florida to Romney.  (VA went Obama; FL is still undecided, but probably Obama)

* Obamacare is preserved.  The things that haven't taken effect, WILL take effect… and no lawmaker can strike it down.

* UPDATE:  Oh, and the Supreme Court.  My God.  With as many as three justices possibly leaving, this Obama victory is HUGE!

* Dems retain hold of the Senate, but more importantly, a progressive champion has been sent to the Upper Chamber in the person of Elizabeth Warren. The first openly gay Senator — Tammy Baldwin, another solid liberal — joins her. The Dem majority will be more progressive and energetic.

* Maine, Maryland and Minnesota all supported same-sex marriages.  Maine and Maryland actually permit it; Minnesota squashed an attempt to ban it (something NC failed to do this year).  UPDATE:  Washington joins Maine and Maryland.

* Women power: there will be at least 19 female senators, the most ever.  In my home state of New Hampshire, every senator and member of the House being sent to Washington DC is now a woman, as is the the state's new governor.

* Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin went down, as did Richard "Babies From Rapists Are A Gift From God" Mourdock.  They weren't the only ones who suffered for their rape-related comments and views.

*  Tea Party candidates struggled — including my favorite Michelle Bachmann (she barely won re-election, but she won).  Same with Allen West of Florida, another leader of the Tea Party caucus, and Representative Frank Guinta, Republican of New Hampshire (UPDATE:  OOoooh — Allen West just lost).  Fortunately, Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois beat Republican incumbent Joe Walsh (the Tea Party-approved Republican who heckled Obama's State of the Union speech).

* For social liberals, two states became the first in the US to approve the use of recreational marijuana. In Colorado, voters passed amendment 64, legalising the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older; in Washington, their counterparts gave the seal of approval to initiative 502.

* For the most part, voters across the nation rejected the right-wing led tax cut hysteria.  For example, in Michigan, a proposal to implement a requirement that tax increases receive a supermajority vote in the state legislature was rejected by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent.  California approved both an increase in the sales tax and a tax increase on those making more than $250,000 per year, with the money hopefully preventing cuts to the state’s university system. California, of course, has been the epicenter of nonsensical anti-tax ballot questions for decades.  And nationaide, 60% of those exit-polled believed that tax hikes were necessary to curb the deficit.

CNN Uses Empire State Building Lights For Election Results

(CNN) - New Yorkers looking to see who’s winning the White House on election night just need to look up… to the Empire State Building.

As CNN projects winners in each state, the iconic beacon of Gotham will be exclusively displaying the race to 270 electoral votes with a vertical LED illuminated “meter” on its spire—blue for President Obama, and red for former Governor Romney.

And when CNN projects a winner in the presidential election, the full spire and upper floors change colors to either red or blue.

Jesus, just deliver the news.

The Day Ahead (Via Atrios)

Drudge/Fox footage of black people being black.

Fake exist polls.

Anecdotes of poll shenanigans.

Increasingly smug teevee pundits who have the math and know the winner but won't tell us.

The end.

UPDATE:  Yup…. already.


A black person holding the door open for an elderly white woman.


Other Races To Watch


Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, now eighty years old, is facing his most serious challenger in a long time. Paul Penzone is struggling with name recognition, but the race has been tightening in recent weeks.

In the newly-created 9th Congressional District Kyrsten Sinema, a former school social worker and defense lawyer, is slightly favored to become the first openly bisexual Congressperson in American history.


Proposition 30. A good bell-weather about income inequality.  This measure would establish a small, temporary sales tax hike (0.25%) and temporary income tax increases for the wealthy in order to close the state’s huge budget deficit in education. With recent polling putting the yes vote on 30 just under fifty percent, it’s likely to be close.

Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California.  Too close to call.

Proposition 35 is a ban on human trafficking and sex slavery.  Should be a no-brainer, I would think.


Amendment 64 would legalize and regulate marijuana.  It's been ahead in polling, but not by much.


In the 8th Congressional District, Joe Walsh (who yelled out "you lie" during one of Obama's States of the Union) is looking like he’ll lose to Tammy Duckworth. Yay.


It’s a Republican-leaning state, but Richard Mourdock’s October comments about rape pregnancies being part of “God’s plan” seem to have hurt him badly in his Senate race. Democrat Joe Donnelly has led in two recent polls.


In Question 1, one of four marriage equality referenda nationally, the voters of Maine will consider repeal of a 2009 referendum banning same-sex marriage. Polling is looking good, but SSM referenda have historically tended to underperform polls. There’s reason for optimism, but no more.  "Yes" is good here.


Maryland has Question 6, another same-sex marriage referendum, with perhaps the best polling data of any of the four. "For" is good here.

Long-term Republican congressmember (and Tea Partier) Roscoe Bartlett, one of the state’s two GOP House incumbents, is in a tough race because of redistricting.


Incumbent senator Scott Brown has been leading strong progressive Elizabeth Warren for most of the race, but she’s starting to open up a lead — she’s currently at +3.5% in the RCP polling average.

Question 2, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, polling very strong.

Question 3, medical marijuana legalization, is also looking like a winner.


Proposal 2, which would add collective bargaining rights protections to the state constitution.


Amendment 1 is the country’s only attempt to place a ban on same-sex marriage in a state constitution this cycle. Polling has shown the amendment narrowly failing, but it’s really too close to call.

Amendment 2 would write a voter ID requirement into the state constitution. A similar law recently passed the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor. A mid-October poll showed it leading 53-40.

Michele Bachmann’s probably going to win. But it’ll be single digits, and a guy can dream.


Measure 80, the most dramatic of the country’s three pot legalization initiatives, is also polling the worst. Likely to fail.


Referendum 74, the last of four same-sex marriage referenda this cycle, is an attempt to overturn a marriage equality law passed by the legislature. It’s currently too close to call.

Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana, is showing the strongest polling data of the country’s three pending pot referenda. Passage would set up a showdown between the state and the federal government, which independently criminalizes pot.


Tammy Baldwin is a solid progressive, and if she wins this race she’ll be the first and only openly gay senator of any gender in US history. She’s ahead or tied in each of the five most recent polls in her race, but only up by an average of 2.2 points. 

Cramer’s Crazy

The Washington Post asked people to give their election predictions.  And Jim Cramer, who gives advice to people on their money, shows what a complete factless man he can be.

Outlook s 16th Crystal Ball contest   The Washington Post

Paths To Victory

I was going to write a post about who is going to win tomorrow and why it looks REALLY good for Obama.

But the New York Times has an excellent interactive doo-widgey that explains it graphically.  It's totally awesome.

For those who don't click through, here's the bottom line: With the swing states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, there are 512 paths to the White House: Obama has 431 ways he can win; Romney has only 76 ways (and 7 ways end in a tie).

The Times notes that Florida is a must-win for Romney.  If he loses Florida, he has only one way to victory: by winning all the other battleground states mentioned above. However, he has led most polls there, however, and is the favorite.  So let's forget that scenario, and focus on the more likely.

I firmly believe that Obama has Wisconsin.  In fact, of all the toss-up states llisted above, it is the least toss-up-y (according to poll aggregator Real Clear Politics).  It probably shouldn't even be in the toss-up category.  So let's give that to Obama.

When we do that, the paths to victory become more marked.  Obama has 230 paths to win (90% of all paths); Romney has only 24 paths (9.4%).  And 2 paths to a tie.

Now, give Obama Ohio.  That's the second least toss-up-y of the states listed above.  Obama has (according to poll aggregates) a 3 point lead, and it has been more or less consistent throughout the season.  

What happens?

With Wisconsin and Ohio in the Obama column, Obama has 126 ways he can win from the remaining states.  Romney has one.

That's right — one.  Romney would have to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — to win the White House.  And the latest polls only show him with a lead in Florida and North Carolina.  (Note: Romney could win all those states and lose New Hampshire, and then it would be a tie).

In Nevada, by the way, perhaps 65 or 70 percent of its vote has already been cast — and Democrats have roughly a 50,000-ballot lead there based on the votes that have been collected so far.  That's another toss-up state which might be not-so-toss-up-y.

So if you are an Obama supporter, you have to like the lay of the land.

And if you are a Romney supporter, you have to despair or be confused.  Just ask Fox's Bret Hume:

"I think the conventional wisdom is trending now towards a Obama win, something along the lines of what Karl Rove and his team pulled off for President Bush in 2004, but I'm by no means certain. And there's this striking discrepancy between national polls — which tend to be done, by and large, by older, more-seasoned polling firms — and state polls — a number of which are done by less-established firms. The national polls have this a tie. The state polls, as you just suggested — the battleground state polls suggest and indicate that President Obama is ahead in all of them." "It seems striking that there would be this difference," he added. "And it is sobering, if you're a Romney supporter, to think that he is trailing or just tied in so many of those states." "I think it's unlikely — it's hard to imagine as a political journalist that all these many polls are off. But the discrepancy is unmistakable and puzzling."

It's really NOT puzzling if you have a grasp of popular votes versus electoral votes.

It’s Started


A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned. 

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election. 

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.


Strange Reasoning

David Frum, GOP speechwriter, is one of those rare reasonable Republicans.  He hates the Tea Party and the extreme turn to the crazy right that his party has taken.

Today he endorsed Mitt Romney, with some bizarre reasoning:

The congressional Republicans have shown themselves a destructive and irrational force in American politics. But we won't reform the congressional GOP by re-electing President Obama. If anything, an Obama re-election will not only aggravate the extremism of the congressional GOP, but also empower them: an Obama re-election raises the odds in favor of big sixth-year sweep for the congressional GOP – and very possibly a seventh-year impeachment. A Romney election will at least discourage the congressional GOP from deliberately pushing the US into recession in 2013. Added bonus: a Romney presidency likely means that the congressional GOP will lose seats in 2014, as they deserve.

Translation:  If Obama wins, congressional Republicans will go completely ape and destroy the country. They will deliberately tank the economy and then impeach the president. Therefore, to avoid this, we have to kick Obama out of office.

Better translation:  Give the terrorists what they want.

Sandy By The Numbers

The immensity of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern U.S. is difficult to comprehend, and the scenes of devastation coming from the impact zone are stunning and heart-wrenching. To help understand the extraordinary scale of this historic storm, I've put together a list of notable statistics from Sandy:

Death toll: 160 (88 in the U.S., 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba)

Damage estimates: $10 – $55 billion

Power outages: 8.5 million U.S. customers, 2nd most for a natural disaster behind the 1993 blizzard (10 million)

Maximum U.S. sustained winds: 69 mph at Westerly, RI

Peak U.S. wind gusts: 90 mph at Islip, NY and Tompkinsville, NJ

Maximum U.S. storm surge: 9.45', Bergen Point, NJ 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum U.S. Storm Tide: 14.60', Bergen Point, NJ, 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum significant wave height: 33.1' at the buoy east of Cape Hatteras, NC (2nd highest: 32.5' at the Entrance to New York Harbor)

Maximum U.S. rainfall: 12.55", Easton, MD

Maximum snowfall: 36", Richwood, WV

Minimum pressure: 945.5 mb, Atlantic City, NJ at 7:24 pm EST, October 29, 2012. This is the lowest pressure measured in the U.S., at any location north of Cape Hatteras, NC (previous record: 946 mb in the 1938 hurricane on Long Island, NY)

Destructive potential of storm surge: 5.8 on a scale of 0 to 6, highest of any hurricane observed since 1969. Previous record: 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003.

Diameter of tropical storm-force winds at landfall: 945 miles

Diameter of ocean with 12' seas at landfall: 1500 miles

Figure 1. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of Superstorm Sandy around 3:35 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (7:35 Universal Time) on October 30. This image is from the “day-night band” on VIIRS, which detects light wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The full Moon lit up the tops of the clouds. Image credit: NASA.

Figure 2. Preliminary death and damage statistics for Sandy as compiled by Wikipedia on November 1, 2012.

Figure 3. Precipitation from Superstorm Sandy for the 7-day period ending at 8 am EDT Thursday, November 1, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/AHPS.

Figure 4. Top five weather-related power outages in the U.S.

Figure 5. Strong winds from Sandy blow snow in West Virginia on October 30, 2012. Image credit: Facebook/Cheryl Clay

Sandy's snows
Several cities set records for snowiest October day on record during Sandy: Elkin, WV (7", previous record, 4.6" in 1917) and Bluefield (4.7", previous record 3.2" in 1993.) Heavy snows caused roof collapses in West Virginia, and snows of two feet or more fell in four states–West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia. However, Sandy fell short of setting the all-time record for snowfall from a hurricane. The Vermont Journal estimated that the Snow Hurricane of 1804 dumped up to 4 feet of snow in Vermont.

36" Richwood, WV
34" Mount Leconte, TN
34" Sevier, TN
33" Clayton, WV
32" Snowshoe, WV
29" Quinwood, WV
28" Frostburg, WV
28" Davis, WV
28" Huttonsville, WV
28" Flat Top, WV
26" Redhouse, MD
26" Garret, MD
26" Craigsville, WV
24" Oakland, MD
24" Alpine Lake, WV
24" Nettie, WV
24" Norton, VA
24" Quinwood, WV
24" Alexander, WV

Impressive loop of 1-minute visible satellite imagery spanning 6 days of Sandy's life.

A one-day time lapse video from a New York City webcam showing Sandy's impact on the city. It's eerie to see the city suddenly plunged into darkness.

First round of damage assessment aerial imagery collected by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey on Oct. 31 along the New Jersey coast.

Figure 6. Flooding in Haiti from Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: The Lambi Fund of Haiti.

Charities mobilize for Sandy
The outpouring of charitable donations in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy has been one of the bright spots in the gloomy aftermath of the storm. The main owners of The Weather Channel have agreed to match donations of up to $1 million to the American Red Cross, if you text SANDY to 90999 ($10). I also recommend my favorite disaster relief charity, They are focusing their response efforts exclusively on the post-Sandy neeeds of people with disabilities.Check out the Portlight blog to see what they're up to; donations are always needed. 

Sandy's greatest devastation occurred in Haiti, where rains of up to 20 inches in 24 hours unleashed rampaging flood waters that killed at least 54, left 200,000 homeless, wiped out thousand of acres of crops, and killed massive numbers of livestock. For impoverished families in Haiti still struggling to recover from the earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Isaac in August, Sandy was devastating.  These crops are the very essence of rural Haitian’s livelihoods, and there are fears widespread starvation will result. A disaster relief charity in Haiti that I've contributed to for many years,The Lambi Fund of Haiti, is seeking donations to help farmers purchase local seeds so that they can replant their crops in the wake of this latest terrible Haitian catastrophe.

The Economist Endorses Obama

The Economist, the world's leading economics magazine, will announce its endorsement of Barack Obama, says Forbes.

The Economist said it would have chosen Romney if he had maintained his positions from the first debate, or promoted himself as the Romney that ran Massachusetts in a bipartisan way.  Even then, however, Massachusetts is a solid Democratic state, with very few Republicans in the state Congress on Beacon Hill. There is not a whole lot of partisan bickering in the golden domed State House of Massachusetts.

The problem for the magazine was that there were too many versions of Romney—and, as they have outlined — those versions come with a lot of dangerous ideas, including:

Foreign Policy:  On foreign policy matters, Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran and he has vowed to label China a currency manipulator, something the U.S. Treasury Department has said China is not.

Government Spending: Although he would slash red tape on the domestic front, Romney said he wants to start with huge tax cuts yet again and dramatically increase defense spending. With what revenues?  Magazine editors said, “He is still in the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking that America’s finances can be dealt with entirely through spending cuts. Backing business is important, but getting the macroeconomics right matters far more.”

Economy:  Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says.


Half Hour Of Ohio TV

The people in Ohio are getting KILLED with political ads.

This YouTube video is one half hour of TV programming (the local news at noon of the CBS affiliate, yesterday, in Columbus Ohio) — condensed to 3 minutes and 30 seconds.


Most of the ads are for conservative candidates and casuses.

If you didn't have the patience to watch the entire clip, I don't blame you. Here's what you missed:

  • Just over 10 minutes worth of political ads packed into a half-hour newscast
  • 22 consecutive political ads (including 1 voter ID PSA)
  • 5 ads attacking Obama (all from outside groups)
  • 2 ads supporting Romney (one from Romney campaign, one from Crossroads)
  • 2 ads attacking Romney (one from OFA, one from Priorities)
  • 4 ads attacking Sherrod Brown (all outside groups)
  • 1 ad supporting Sherrod Brown (from his campaign)
  • The rest of the ads were for local ballot issues or candidates


Christie and Obama


You know, one year ago, everybody on the right wanted Christie to run for president.  I mean, everybody.  And he would have easily trounced Romney in the primary.

Can't help wondering what it would have been like if Christie actually had run and won the nomination…. and then Sandy came along.  Somehow, I don't think would have been this cordial.

Ohio Looking Good

The state of Ohio is perhaps the most critical swing state this election, and the latest polls are strong evidence that President Obama's got it locked up.

Via Nate Silver on Twitter:

7 polls released in Ohio in past 48 hours: Obama +2, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +5, Obama +5, Obama +5. #notthatcomplicated

— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) October 31, 2012

Another sign things are looking good?  Republican pundits are complaining about biased polling again.

Harry Enten addresses this:

I learned a powerful lesson eight years ago: polling averages work. The averages have correctly predicted all state presidential contests except for five since 2000. They have accurately projected every Senate winner, save a few, over the last few years. The state polling averages say Obama is going to win.

There is a crowd, however, that believes the polls have too many Democrats. They look at the polling data and see the same, or even higher, percentage of poll respondents in states like Ohio self-identifying as Democrats than the polls had in 2008 – a year of record high enthusiasm for Democrats.

My personal opinion is that the polling averages are likely correct. I witnessed Democrats making the "skewed" argument in 2004 when polls showed "too many Republicans". The averages won, and George W Bush served another term. We'll see, though, if I'll be eating my words.