define “astroturf”

by twit

One of the more annoying side effects of the leftish side of the blogosphere remaining so quiet about the “Ellie Light” fracas is that they have much longer memories than I do about various ‘astroturfing’ incidents, and they could contribute to a discussion about this far better than I’ll be able to.

So what is astroturfing?  This was one of the examples that I was thinking of:

Last month, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a congressional investigation of the DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates. The firm, which has a long history of astroturfing, was caught forging anti-clean energy reform letters — purportedly from groups representing women and people of color — to Congress.

When I think of “astroturf,” I think of something that is fake and pretending to be something it’s not.  Politically, it is a corporation or political organization pretending to be individual members of the public.  They pretend to be individuals who have spontaneously decided to speak out and have no apparent connection to the organization.

I doubt that “Ellie Light” is connected to a corporation or organization, along the lines of what Ann Althouse has said, because a skilled astroturfer just wouldn’t be so stupid.  So “Ellie Light” doesn’t really fit the definition.   I think that “Ellie Light” used a version of ‘astroturf’ tactics by pretending to speak as a local resident, but I find it hard to believe at this point that there was encouragement or payment for such a deceitful and poorly executed stunt.

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an Ellie Light list

by twit

The Ellie Light phenomenon was first reported by Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, by way of the Drudge Report:

“It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything,” said a letter from alleged Philadelphian Ellie Light, that was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The Philadelphia Daily News.A letter from Light in the Jan. 20 edition of the San Francisco Examiner concluded with an identical sentence, but with an address for Light all the way across the country in Daly City, California.

Variations of Light’s letter ran in Ohio’s Mansfield News Journal on Jan. 13, with Light claiming an address in Mansfield; in New Mexico’s Ruidoso News on Jan. 12, claiming an address in Three Rivers; in South Carolina’s The Sun News on Jan. 18, claiming an address in Myrtle Beach; and in the Daily News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on Jan. 15, claiming an address in Waynesboro. Her publications list includes other papers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, IowaPennsylvania and California, all claiming separate addresses.

and then there were more.  and more.  and more.  and then I found a new one (and another) (and another).  I checked and organized links from the Cleveland Plain Dealer articles and the Paterrico posts (including the comments) to look at all this and get a sense of the unfolding story.

so it appears to begin, much like everything else, on the Internet…

Internet

January 7, 2010. Politico. no address.

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This Memorial Day, why don’t we honor the Nazi dead while we’re at it?

by lestro

UPDATED! SEE BELOW!

There’s a column in Sunday’s Washington Post about something I am afraid to admit I did not know existed.

Apparently, somewhere in Arlington National Cemetery, there is a monument honoring the dead of the Confederate States of America. The monument was dedicated in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson and according to the article, presidents  have since honored the Confederacy’s dead along with those of the United States by sending a wreath on Memorial Day.

The question in the column is whether President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, will and should continue the tradition honoring a nation whose very founding was based on keeping blacks as subservient slaves.

Although it is tough to tell exactly where the author stands on the main issue of honoring Confederates, he expects the president to send a wreath because it is tradition:

Many of my colleagues in academia are urging President Obama to pull the plug on this tradition. I doubt that he will, for the simple reason that the men buried around the Confederate memorial sacrificed, suffered and died just as the black and white soldiers of the Union did. Most of the descendants of those Confederates, whatever their political stripe today, would be loath to deny their ancestors a simple gesture of recognition.

The author goes on to say that the president should send a wreath to the memorial as well as one to the African American Civil War Memorial as a sort of reconciliation.

But I disagree. The president should under no circumstances feel pressure to honor the dead of the enemies of the United States on the holiday designed to honor those who gave their lives for this great nation.

It is also important to note that this is NOT a tradition that goes all the way back. According to the Arlington Cemetery Web site,  (warning: music will play when the page opens. the player is all the way at the bottom of the page) the first President Bush ended said tradition in 1990 and it was not re-instated until the second President Bush started sending wreaths again.

Therefore, President Obama should feel no pressure in having to honor these traitors. It is shameful that President Bush restarted this tradition in the first place.

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Eight years wasted

by lestro

Today, the president announced plans to change the mileage standards on American cars, increasing them 30 percent in the next eight years.

Which, I admit, is a lot.  It’s going to take some serious work.  But it will be worth it on many fronts.

Here’s what the pres said today:

And that’s why, in the next five years, we’re seeking to raise fuel-economy standards to an industry average of 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016, an increase of more than eight miles per gallon per vehicle.  That’s an unprecedented change, exceeding the demands of Congress and meeting the most stringent requirements sought by many of the environmental advocates represented here today.

As a result, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years.  Just to give you a sense of magnitude, that’s more oil than we imported last year from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria combined.  (Applause.)  Here’s another way of looking at it:  This is the projected equivalent of taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.

That got me to thinking: that’s a whole lot of foreign oil we would no longer be dependent on. And the sooner we start, the more we save. And it’s not only as individual consumers when our cars go further on the same amount of gas (for you American car owners, ask a foreign car owner what that’s like…), but also as a nation when we reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and maybe we can stop wasting so much blood and treasure fighting over sand dunes that happen to have oil deposits below them.

It got me to thinking about how this administration actually doing something about it. That’s a tremendous change from any prior administration since Jimmy Carter, who was laughed at for telling us to conserve energy (and wearing the sweater) and invested heavily in alternate energy until Reagan and his oil money knocked the whole thing down, setting us back about 28 years.

Within 130 days of taking office, Obama actually set new standards, which will work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Bush never did that, despite talking about it until his fool head nearly fell off.

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Make Trek, Not Wars

by lestro

I love this:

Inside the White House, a tight circle of advisers has already been selected and office space has been set aside in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. But aides said their surroundings would purposely not be called a “war room,” because of the combative image that the term suggests.

“We would like to put the confirmation wars of the past behind us,” one White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the selection process, “and have signaled that with our consensus-oriented, non-confrontational approach to appellate court nominations.”

LOVE it.

I absolutely hate all of the war metaphors we use in this country.  Everything is a war: war on drugs, war on terror, war on poverty, etc.

This creates an adversarial tone and belittles what an actual war is.  Besides, the government is losing the war on drugs and the war on poverty.  Which means stoners and the starving are winning!

That’s bad.

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This week in hypocritical bullshit

by lestro

The Republican Party and the Republican leadership is full of shit and every day they find new ways to highlight their own hypocrisy and bullshit.

Today, it was over the announcement that the president and his budget team had scrubbed an additional $17 billion from the federal budget as part of the line-by-line examination Candidate Obama promised last year.

The savings for the budget year starting Oct. 1 represent the sum of Mr. Obama’s promised “line by line” scrubbing of the federal budget, and the the proposed cuts amount to about 1.4 percent of the $1.2 trillion deficit that is projected for the fiscal year 2010…

The $17 billion would be saved by ending or reducing 121 federal programs.

True, it’s not a big percentage, but it is something.

Republicans, on the other hand, were snippy and snide about the whole thing:

“While we appreciate the newfound attention to saving taxpayer dollars from this administration, we respectfully suggested that we should do far more,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader.

Considering they had eight years to do something, forgive me if I can’t possibly take Boehner seriously in the least.

Sure, the president’s budget is HUUUUUUGE, and we can talk about that, but it sure seems hypocritical for Republicans to be complaining that the president isn’t cutting enough out of a government that their ex-hero, George W. Bush grew at levels we haven’t seen since Reagan and left a giant, bloated useless pile of money-sucking crap.

Where were you last year Johnny, you piece of shit? Where were your small government ways back then when you were holding the purse strings?

No wonder no one takes you seriously.

did I mention “suck it?”

by lestro

It’s a little early to be truly celebrating, I realize, but so far everything the Haters warned about has failed to materialize and just like with their economic programs, the economy has gone in exactly the opposite direction as they predicted.  Funny how that works out.

so, uh, SUCK IT YOU REPUBLICAN FUCKS!

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a key gauge of the broader market and the benchmark for many investors’ index funds, erased all its 2009 losses just before the close.

Stocks catapulted higher following reports that government stress tests of major banks would offer more cause for cheer than fear about the health of the financial system. Investors also gleaned some hope from signs of improvement in the housing market and the construction industry. And jitters about a swine-flu pandemic seemed to be easing.

The S.&P. 500 jumped 29.72 points, or 3.4 percent, to close at 907.24 points on Monday. This jump finally gave the index a 2009 gain of 0.44 percent after a grinding start to the year.

In contrast, the Nasdaq composite index is up 11.8 percent since the beginning of January, buoyed by gains in technology companies. On Monday, the Nasdaq rose 44.36 points, or 2.6 percent, to 1,763.56.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 214.33 points, or 2.6 percent, to 8,426.74. Still, the Dow remains down nearly 4 percent for the year to date.

Also, this week in my paycheck I noticed my Obama Tax Cut – that’s right, a TAX CUT TO THE MIDDLE CLASS YOU TEA PARTYING MORONS – an extra $15 A WEEK thanks to the fact that I make less than $200,000 per year.

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But the Republicans, of course, disagree.

by lestro

He talked about it during the campaign, but who knew he’d actually do  it?

President Barack Obama will flesh out a proposal included in his February budget blueprint seeking to curb the practice of parking foreign earnings in offshore tax havens indefinitely.  By some estimates, $700 billion or more in U.S. corporate earnings have accumulated in overseas accounts in recent years.

The plan to be announced Monday will go further. It aims to change the legal treatment of offshore subsidiaries and structures that companies have used to avoid not only U.S. taxes, but taxes in other developed countries as well. In addition, the administration will strive to tighten rules that have encouraged thousands of Americans to open offshore bank accounts in an effort to duck U.S. taxes.

The plan would increase information reporting and tax withholding as well as penalties, and make it harder for foreign account-holders to win cases in court. The administration promised new enforcement tools to crack down on tax-haven abuse.

For too long companies claiming to be “American” have avoided paying taxes and that has to stop.

But the Republicans, of course, disagree.

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Sarah Palin’s campaign against special needs children

by twit

So Sarah Palin is turning down a large chunk of the federal stimulus money for Alaska:

The biggest single chunk of money that Palin is turning down is about $170 million for education, including money that would go for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students.

But this is Sarah Palin, who will always impress with her capacity to turn her particular brand of heartless politics into an immediately hypocritical statement:

Obama, who made the joke Thursday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” apologized. But the remark caused an immediate stir.

Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she was “shocked to learn” about Obama’s comment.

“This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world,” Palin said, whose son, Trig, was born with Down syndrome last year. “These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will.

and she should know!  since she is leading the fight to add more challenge and adversity to the lives of special needs children in Alaska…

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The zombie GOP

by twit

comes out to play at CPAC:

“We’re alive,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), who emceed the evening session, said. “We’re not going anywhere. Remember this is ground zero for the conservative movement.”

RNC Chairman Michael Steele competes with Bachmann to see who can make the most cringe-worthy statements:

“Tonight, we tell America: we know the past, we know we did wrong. My bad. But we go forward in appreciation of the values that brought us to this point.”

according to CNN, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (yes, that Michelle Bachmann) wins:

As he concluded his remarks, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — the event’s moderator — told Steele he was “da man.”

“Michael Steele! You be da man! You be da man,” she said.

although an alleged “you be da man” video is inconclusive at best

So perhaps Steele wins this round, considering the video shows him ending his speech with “Let’s get busy…  Let’s get out there and fight for those things that we believe in,” which considering the retch-inducing manner that Steele recently invoked a hip-hop costume for the ‘new GOP,’ it is quite the cringe-worthy double entendre to make…

but that was at the end of the day!

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Andy Card: still a tool

by lestro

In an interview Wednesday, former White House chief of staff Andy Card had something to say about the less formal approach to things the new president is taking at his old place of employment:

In an interview scheduled to run Wednesday night, Andrew H. Card Jr. told the syndicated news show Inside Edition that “there should be a dress code of respect” in the White House and that he wished Mr. Obama “would wear a suit coat and tie.”

But wait, there’s more!

According to Inside Edition’s Web site, Mr. Card also said:

“The Oval Office symbolizes…the Constitution, the hopes and dreams, and I’m going to say democracy. And when you have a dress code in the Supreme Court and a dress code on the floor of the Senate, floor of the House, I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.”

Once again, Card touches on the great fallacy of the Bush years: The president spent so much time asking himself “what would a president do?” that he forgot to do the business of the country.

Bush didn’t know what he was doing as president, so he was just trying to do what he thought the president would do.  Obama realizes he is the president.  Therefore, what he does is what the president would do:

Mr. Obama has also brought a more relaxed sensibility to his public appearances. David Gergen, an adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents, said Mr. Obama seemed to exude an “Aloha Zen,” a kind of comfortable calm that, Mr. Gergen said, reflects a man who “seems easygoing, not so full of himself.”

America, traditionally, is a meritocracy. You get ahead by earning it, by rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work.

Which, ironically, is what President Obama was doing when all this hoopla started.  George W. Bush, meanwhile, failed up his entire career, running business after business after baseball team into the ground before using his famous last name to vault him into an office he didn’t understand and couldn’t handle. But he sure looked the part, didn’t he?

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The First Dance

by twit

of a new era:

Inauguration Day!

by twit

the text of President Obama’s Inaugural address:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

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“in a move without modern precedent”

by twit

feel that?

With its benchmark lending rate effectively at zero, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday, in a move without modern precedent, publicly laid out an aggressive agenda for the nation’s otherwise secretive central bank and suggested that he’s hardly out of ammunition to fight the global financial crisis.

that’s a new era being born…

In a lengthy speech to the London School of Economics, Bernanke also gave explicit support to efforts by Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to create the largest short-term economic stimulus plan the nation’s ever seen.

Twitter gets hacked

by twit

via Wonkette, care of Towleroad:

Sanchez

and that’s not all…

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The Year Anything Was Possible

by lestro

To me, 2008 was The Year Anything Was Possible. I remember the moment it dawned on me. I had been thinking it all year long, but at about 8:27 p.m. (pacific) or so Oct. 29, I realized without a doubt that in 2008 the rules were being re-written and Anything Really Was Possible.

It had been a year of Believing and Hoping and doing the math over and over, but that night, I knew.

By the end of 2007 it seemed as though there was real potential on so many fronts. And as 2008 dawned, the depression and gray cloud that had hung over the US since the USSC handed Bush the White House finally began to peel back.

The end was finally in sight. His time was over. There really was light at the end of this tunnel. We only had to make it through 12 more months, 12 months in which we would see his influence wane as the next presidency began to take shape right before our eyes. On January 1, that still seemed like either Hillary Clinton (most likely) or Rudy Giuliani (equally as likely, really).

But just three days later, the rest of the country caught up to what many of us saw: a new candidate, who not only talked about change but actually, himself, seemed to represent the very shift this country needed – away from the bickering, away from the personal politics, away from the Boomers.

When, on January 3, Barack Obama, a half-black intellectual with a funny name shocked just about every pundit in the country by thrashing both Hillary and John Edwards in the Iowa Caucuses, the buzz began to build: this guy is different.  This guy could actually do it. Was it really possible?

On the Republican side, John McCain, the one-time Maverick who stood up to the establishment in 2000 and gave George W. Bush all he could handle in the primary (before Bush’s people [allegedly] started planting ugly rumors in South Carolina about Mac’s adopted orphan daughter and knocked the real war hero and bipartisan right off the map) was lagging. But thanks to Rudy’s ridiculous and ultimately suicidal decision to entirely forgo the first two contests, there was no clear leader, allowing smiley unknown Arkansas Conservative Mike Huckabee to sneak in and eke out a victory amongst the corn. Anything was Possible.

A few days later, Hillary came roaring back in New Hampshire, a state that was leaning heavily in Obama’s favor until he picked up the victory in Iowa – Anything Was Possible – and Johnny Mac once again found his name at the top of the pile and the buzz began to once again build behind the former war hero who at one time spoke his mind but had since become a Bush apologist. After being all but left for the wolves in late 2007, Mac was once again the guy to beat, especially after Rudy – whose decision to skip NH and IA meant no one had heard a peep from him in the media for weeks – finally folded like an off-suit 7-2 after Florida. Anything was Possible.

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Dap for Santa

by twit

via Wonkette:

Merry Terrormorrisms!

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Barack Obama, the battered wife

by twit

Obama recently responded to the outrage over Rick Warren with the statement that “what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable.”   This reminds me of the millions of abused spouses and children who try to do this, with the hope that if they are just nicer to their abusive family member, maybe the abuse will stop.

This is why it hurts so badly for Obama to have chosen Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation.  We know it won’t stop the abuse.  We know that it will only empower and enable the abusers.

A commentary at CNN describes some of the positions held by Rick Warren:

He adamantly opposes a woman’s legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

… Warren, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia.

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a definition of an “Eisenstadt”

by twit

Specifically, when you make things up out of thin air, and it turns out to be true… see what you want to see…

For example, the idea that Palin didn’t know that Africa was a continent:

was a hoax apparently true based in some reality, but smeared with an Eisenstadt.  According to the New York Times on November 13, 2008:

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

What is so funny is that before the rumor was exposed as a hoax, Palin’s campaign staff confirmed that it was true there was a basis for the rumor.  ABC News reports on November 14, 2008:

Longtime Palin staffer Meg Stapleton told ABC News’ Kate Snow that Palin had fumbled over an Africa comment, but that it was a misspeak not worthy of the press coverage it received.

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The First Priority: Rebranding America

by lestro

The new administration faces a daunting task. President-Elect Obama inherits a country in crisis on almost every front. While the economic crisis dominates, it is a piece of a much larger puzzle, all intertwined and all completely fucked up by the Bush administration.

As talk turns to priorities for the first 100 days, the true scope of the mess we have to clean up really comes into focus. The economy, health care, education, energy, climate, a growing debt and deficit and, oh yeah, two wars.

So what we all want to know is, what will they attempt to take on first? What should they take on first?

Some will say the economy, some will say energy, some will say defense.

But the real first priority for the new administration needs to be a catchy slogan. They need an overriding theme and message to encompass the full shift and shuffle of government that needs to occur.

Like FDR’s New Deal. Or Kennedy’s New Frontier. Or LBJ’s Great Society. Even Bubba’s New Covenant.

All of those were coherent packages ranging over multiple issues and linking them under a single, simple brand name. Each was a collection of legislative proposals encompassing a wide range of agencies and interconnected issues that when taken as a whole represent the full scope of change.

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The Red Dawn Difference

by lestro

For all the talk of the youth vote being the demographic that put Obama over the top, the truth is that while their energy and legwork was unmatched, the real revolution in this election came not in the 20-somethings, but in the 30-somethings.

It is the Red Dawn generation, the forgotten demographic, that made the difference this time around. We are the 30-somethings who in the past eight years have grown into not only the dominant demographic in the media and commercial sectors, but have also started raising families and buying homes – the time when people start to seriously vote.

We are also the first generation to be raised completely under the ideals the Baby Boomer worked so hard to establish. We are done fighting battles of the 60s and don’t see the world the in black and white ways of our parents and we have reached the point in our lives when people become politically active.

The proof is in the exit poll results. This was not a youth movement, but one led by the tail end of Generation X and the Red Dawn Generation, those of us who came of age in the era of Reagan and Thriller and Mutual Assured Destruction.

In 2004, the youth vote made up 17 percent of the electorate. In 2008, they made up 18 percent. In 2004, they went to Kerry 54-45. This year they broke 66-32 for Obama.

The 30-44 demographic, however, where the real Change took place. In 2004 and 2008, they made up 29 percent of the vote, but in ’04 they voted for Bush 53-46. This year, they went 52-46 for Obama.

THAT was the group that won this election for Obama, not the youth vote. Fifty-two percent of 29 is way bigger than 66 percent of 18.

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My Selfish Racism

by the squid

I am not a sentimental person; but Tuesday night I was rocked to the core.

My wife and I are raising three mixed-race children; I am the black, she is the white.  We have a nice life, but sometimes I worried. I worried about how our children were going to identify themselves to others and I wondered how they will feel about me and their mother while growing up.

In our community, I am still a minority; however there is a wide range of people and experiences with which my children interact; but to know going forward, for the next four years, they will see a man of color – one the same hue as their father and uncle – being articulate, being vigorously debated, having state dinners, making decisions that matter for millions of people and who has a wife which reminds them of one of their grandmothers really affected me.

After Obama was elected, my wife and I spoke about race (as it occasionally comes up in our lives) and she said, “He is not African-American, he is half white…”  For the record, she said the same thing years ago when Halle Berry won the Oscar.

My wife’s point asks: What about the mother?  My wife doesn’t consider our children Black, but hers, and she feels the mother’s genes should be considered as well.  So my wife and I came up with a name for my wife’s condition: White woman with Black kids syndrome.

For the first time, Wednesday night, my five year old daughter said she was African-American; but to be accurate, our kids may have to identify themselves as half Black, a quarter Irish and a quarter Italian.

However,  America considers them Black because of me.

Now my children will see someone, who looks like me and who is not an actor, or a sports star or an entertainer, but as a person who has to make important decisions about life and limb much like their father, but only on a smaller scale.

It was a selfish racism which, I felt, would deter America from electing a person of color. There have been times in my life where, as a father, I have held myself back with feelings of inferiority and hoped that my fear would not translate or be seen by my children.

Now I feel I have a little bit of help from Mr. Obama.  He won’t be able to pay my mortgage, but he may be able to alleviate a burden my children would have to bear because of me – and that was a point on which both my wife and I agreed.

The next chapter of American history

by twit

begins with record-breaking voter turnout…

FTW

image via Wonkette

via Politico on November 5, 2008:

More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election.

With ballots still being counted in some precincts into Wednesday morning, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations.

via MSNBC on November 5, 2008:

The percentage of Americans who voted was unmatched in at least a generation and perhaps since 1908, according to election experts. Secretaries of state estimated turnouts approaching 90 percent in Virginia and Colorado and 80 percent or more in big states like Ohio, California, Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Maryland.

via CNN on November 5, 2008:

Obama snared about 63 million votes to McCain’s 55.8 million, according to totals early Wednesday.

via MSNBC on November 5, 2008:

Obama won the popular vote, 52%-46% — the first time a Democrat won more than 51% since LBJ did it in 1964.

Fired Up? Ready To Go!

by twit

via TPM

So how long is this election going to take?

by twit

via MSNBC on November 4, 2008:

… keep an eye on the four states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. If Obama wins just two out of the four, it becomes nearly impossible for McCain to get to 270 — even if he wins Pennsylvania.

… if Virginia is called early for Obama, that will be a sign of a possible big night for the Democrats.

… probably the earliest that we might see the election called for Obama (i.e., him going crossing the 270 mark) would be at 11:00 pm ET.

via the Associated Press on November 4, 2008:

Long lines and malfunctioning machines greeted voters Tuesday as polls across the country were deluged by people wanting to cast ballots in this historic race between Barack Obama and John McCain.

this could be a loooooong night…  or maybe not:

ABC News Andy Fies reports: In Manassas, VA where the Confederacy won the first major battle of its war to preserve slavery, Barack Obama held the last rally of his campaign to become President of the United States.

… It wasn’t the Civil War battleground itself — better Known in the North as Bull Run — but it had that feel. Ninety thousand Obama supporters poured over a distant ridge onto a field below, leading up to and surrounding the stage.

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Halloween Greetings

by twit

From the Drudge Report:

ZOGBY: MCCAIN MOVES INTO LEAD 48-47 IN ONE DAY POLLING

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You Can Vote However You Like

by twit

via Breitbart:

Time: “You Can Vote However You Like,” inspired by rapper T.I.’s hit “Whatever You Like,” has swept across the Internet over the past few days, amassing nearly 300,000 hits on YouTube and booking them upcoming appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America and BET’s 106 & Park.

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the wheels on the bus

by twit

go round and round…

Even McCain can’t help but campaign for Obama:

From his interview to air tonight on Larry King Live. …

KING: You don’t believe Barack Obama is a socialist do you?

MCCAIN: “No”

while rumor has it, Palin is no longer welcome on the Straight Talk Express:

I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby.

and the mad scramble is on in the McCain campaign to blame Palin for everything:

John McCain’s campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.

And it has decided on Sarah Palin.

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McCain used to be so much more than a punchline

by lestro

One of the few agreements I have with Sen. McCain is his opposition to ethanol subsidies and tariffs. Ethanol is a boondoogle, a mistake and total bullshit. It takes more energy to make ethanol than the fuel actually  produces and the production of ethanol creates more greenhouse gases than are saved by using ethanol as a fuel.

It is stupid and our investment money can better be spent on other renewable technologies.

Since half the country grows corn, it made sense to look at it as a possible fuel source. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work very well.

However, with Iowa being one of the opening rounds in the upcoming presidential contest, intelligent policy can take a back seat to the need to pander to farmers by promising them continued ethanol subsidies, even though these subsidies not only continue the farce of corn-based fuel but also ratchet up our food costs by diverting stuff we can eat – something corn is quite good it – in favor of something we can put in our cars – something at which corn is middling at best.

Obama, meanwhile, is from Illinois, which grows a pantload of corn (Iowa ranks No. 1, Illinois comes in at No. 2) so he’s totally in the tank for ethanol.

Nobody’s perfect.

Recognizing the folly of ethanol (or at least taking a stand against stupid giveaways), John McCain is opposed to ethanol. It was one of the reasons he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee.

Or at least, McCain used to be opposed to ethanol subsidies. Back in 1999 he was opposed, although in this election season, McCain has said with the price of oil being so high, ethanol might make sense.

However, with Iowa polls showing a double digit Obama lead in a state with the “real America” profile Sarah Palin gets her panties in a bunch about, Johnny Mac is flip-flopping again:

But at a rally here Sunday afternoon, Mr. McCain seemed to suggest that government has a role in promoting corn ethanol.

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Postcard from Colorado

by twit

From the Associated Press on October 26 2008:

Local police put the crowd estimate at “well over” 100,000 people.

sounds familiar

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Vote 4 Hope

by twit

featuring the true genius of America:

via the Viral Video Chart

Eight years later

by twit

From the NY Times blog The Caucus on October 24, 2008:

A twist on the old Budweiser “Wassup” commercials, using the same guys as the originals, and incorporating Iraq, the economic meltdown and the electrified change atmosphere of this election.

and the original “Wazzup” commercial:

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postcards from the internets

by twit

With McCain down in the polls and Obama increasingly projected to win the presidency in a landslide, it apparently is time for the kicking to begin:

Paging the gateway meme: via TPM, from The New Republic: “Charles Fried, … one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States… announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot.” But that’s not all: “he asked that his name be removed from the several [McCain] campaign-related committees on which he serves.” and: “… he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”  hmm. sounds familiar

Gateway meme to the front desk, please: via MSNBC: “In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released Tuesday, 55 percent of respondents said they believed Palin was not qualified to serve as president if the need arose. Palin’s qualifications were the No. 1 concern voters had about McCain’s candidacy, ahead of the economy and the war in Iraq.”

et tu, Lieberman? via Politico: ““[T]hank God she’s not going to have to be president from Day One. McCain’s going to be alive and well,” he said.”

McCain is a crappy hedge fund: via Politico: “Republican donors, at the end of day, aren’t stupid,” said another Republican familiar with third-party activities this cycle. “They’re not going to throw good money after bad.”

McCain volunteer snaps, goes insane: From the Associated Press, a truly tragic story of Ashley Todd, age 20, who “will be housed in a mental health unit at the county jail for her safety and because of “her not insignificant mental health issues,” prosecutor Mark Tranquilli said.”

Maybe it was the Palin shopping spree that did it: From the Associated Press: ““That whole thing is just, bad!” [Palin] said. “Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are.””

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More statement than science

by lestro

The 20th century was defined by the battle between two global superpowers; the United States and The Soviet Union. Aside from the nuclear missiles and mountains of debt, one of the most noticeable strands of the competition between the two nations was the space race.

After the USSR launched Sputnick, the first man-made satellite launched into orbit, the two nations went back and forth, launching rocket after rocket in an attempt to one-up the other.

In 1961, President Kennedy urged us on to the moon – something for which the Soviets were aiming for as well. As the two programs battled neck in neck, it forced NASA to take chances to try and beat the Ruskies, like sending the first Saturn V rocket we tested all the way to the moon with a trio of intensely brave astronauts strapped to the top.

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The Resurrection of Hillary Clinton

by lestro

Or “Hillary comes around.”

Over the past year, we at the Kiwi have been a bit, well, harsh on Hillary Clinton, especially during the primary season.

It’s not that we don’t like her – I voted for her in 2000 – or that we did not think she was qualified for the job, it’s that (as we repeatedly stated) she did not represent the type of change the country needs at this time and because of the polarizing nature of her personality, name and history, we believed that even if she could eke out a victory (I still maintain she would have lost), it would be of the 50+1 variety, resulting in the same partisan gridlock we have seen for decades in Washington.

Plus, the country would have continued the same, stupid tye-dye era fights we’ve been waging since the Vietnam era, despite the fact that all that happened 40 years ago.

Even today, we see the attempts at this with the McCampaign’s continued focus on Bill Ayers and his doings back when Obama was 8.

That being said, as we have stated before, Hillary is absolutely needed in the Senate, where her wonkish ways, attention to policy detail and brutal political gamesmanship would come in very handy. We need her in there on Capitol Hill making the legislative sausage. And here’s hoping she becomes a Lion of the Senate in the Teddy Kennedy mold.

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