Electoral vote predictions

Picking up on a comment by nova, here’s a link to a website where you can design your own electoral map. Then you can copy the URL into your comment for everyone else to see. Overall vote percentages, including minor party candidates, can be used as a tiebreaker.

If someone finds a better site to link, please add it into this post (or replace my link above).

Debate Night

This will be an open thread, live blogging the first Presidential debate.

From a variety of sources this is what we know:

The first presidential debate of 2012 will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo. The moderator is Jim Lehrer, executive editor of the PBS NewsHour.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said the 2012 presidential debates will be moderated by a single individual and take place from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Neither of the candidates will be permitted to give opening statements, but will be allowed 2 minutes for closing statements.

The first debate will focus on domestic policy. The specific topics will be announced several weeks beforehand, and the debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments focusing on each. The moderator will ask a question, and each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond.

It should go something like this:

A debate that will consist of a total of six time segments of approximately fifteen minutes each in length. The issues to be discussed by the candidates have been agreed to in advance of the debate. Lehrer said on September 19, as he announced the issues that would be debated on Wednesday, that the first three segments would focus on “the economy”, while the final three would discuss “health care, the role of government, and governing”.

Each candidate will be asked a question by the moderator, and the candidate will respond with his answer, representing his personal view on the question. Some new proposals may be introduced during the debate, and while the debate will have few direct interactions between the candidates, both candidates are expected to question the proposals of their opponent.

And then a little hopeful thinking from one of Nova’s links:

Who knows? Maybe one day there will be candidates who will see it as politically advantageous to reveal themselves in this way. In the meantime, take note of a meaningful rule change announced this year by the presidential debate commission. For the first time, in the first and third events, the candidates will each get two minutes to respond to the opening question for each 15-minute segment, and then “the moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion.” That could mean up to 11 minutes of free-wheeling talk between the candidates. In a 90-minute debate, that could happen six times.

That is not insignificant. And if the candidates use that time not to make speeches or repeat talking points, or to ignore an important question that was just asked, but instead to listen, engage and think in a way the audience can witness, we just might get a presidential debate that deserves the label.

What are you looking for in the debate? Do debates ever change the trajectory of an election? Why are there so few chances for third party candidates to participate? Will we hear any surprises, policy-wise, from what we’ve heard on the campaign trail?

And lastly, here are some body language tells we can all watch for…………hahahahahaha

1. An itchy nose could be a sign that someone isn’t telling the truth. If someone is scratching their nose, there could be an issue

2. Hands in pockets are a sign of insecurity

3. Crossed arms don’t necessarily mean a person is angry or protective: They could just be cold in the studio where the debates are taking place!

4. Touching the neck could be a sign that someone is threatened or feels insecure

5. Finger pointing is a sign of aggression and it can make the audience mistrust the speaker

Another telltale sign, experts say, is frequent blinking by a speaker. It might indicate that person is uncomfortable with the words they are saying.

Open Thread – Monday (Edited)

I’m still working but took a break this afternoon to do a little reading. I’m trying to finish Unbroken but I’m not there yet. Next weekend is the book review………..hint, hint. I’ve also been working on our taxes, that’s right we filed an extension (just like the Romneys), but I have even less money now than I did in April to pay what we still owe……………yikes. And we finally got the rest of the parts we needed to finish our big export order to Taiwan, which we’re trying to get out the door (that’s money in the bank). Anyway, I did read a couple of interesting pieces during my breaks this weekend that might spark a little conversation.

Last week Nova linked this piece from the Atlantic about why liberals shouldn’t vote for Obama. It was interesting but didn’t sway me. I’d already explored all of the issues and decided I’m going to vote for him anyway. The most important issue for me is health care reform and even though he didn’t get the bill I wanted I’ve decided repealing the ACA is too big of a threat for me to not support him.

One of the issues discussed was our drone policy, particularly in Pakistan.

Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn’t “precise” or “surgical” as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.

Then today I saw these charts and thought what the hell? I haven’t had the time to look into where exactly the information came from but according to them there have been exactly zero civilian deaths in Pakistan due to drone strikes this year. Can that be true?

This piece, “Is Karl Rove Losing It?”, is a pretty interesting take on Karl Rove and the author wonders if he really has as much power as he thinks he does. It’s probably just wishful thinking, those of us on the left aren’t too fond of the guy.

Karl Rove is back as GOP party boss, but this time it’s clear that even the best-laid plans of the savviest political strategists often go awry.

That became obvious earlier this week, on Sept. 25, when Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin reaffirmed that he was staying in the race in defiance of Rove, who had demanded Akin’s withdrawal and yanked American Crossroads’ millions from his campaign after Akin touted the prophylactic character of “legitimate rape.”

When pulling the super PAC dough didn’t faze the stubborn Missouri Tea Partyer, Rove went ballistic. “We should sink Todd Akin,” he declared , according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Rove’s remarks did more than just reopen the schism between the GOP establishment he embodies and the Tea Party, which has begun to see him as a ruthless party boss. It also showed that the Republicans have another serious problem in addition to Mitt Romney’s disastrous candidacy: Karl Christian Rove.

And lastly this one suggests three reasons why Romney isn’t doing better than he is. I do realize it’s not over though…..believe me.

1. His stand on the auto bailout “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” has hurt him in states like Ohio.

2. He probably lost Florida when he chose Ryan as his running mate as the majority of seniors apparently don’t like their plans for Medicare…………even if they were excluded from the cuts.

3. His lack of connection with ordinary Americans exemplified by his 47% comments.


President Obama is nothing if not bold. Yesterday, in an abuse of language for which there is unfortunately a great deal of precedent, the president opined on SCOTUS’s recent hearing regarding the fate of ACA.

Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress

Unprecedented and extraordinary? Really? No law passed by Congress has ever been overturned by the court before?

Politics is politics, of course, and we all know the games of semantic deception that are regularly played by politicians. But, especially for a former professor of constitutional law, this is a particularly embarrassing departure from reality. Doesn’t it debase our politics even more than is already the case to have a Chief Executive who is so shameless in his disregard for the meanings of the words he uses and the reality he pretends to describe?

Bits & Pieces (Monday Night Open Mic)

Apparently, Obama Girl is becoming disillusioned with Barack. And doing it to the tune of “You’re The One That I Want” from the hit musical Grease! 



Kind of unspecific, but certainly not as head-over-heels as Obama Girl’s 2008 videos.

Ancient Japanese Fart Scrolls. Nuff said.

Why do Tiger’s Have Stripes? Alan Turing figured it out years ago!

ABC tours the Foxconn’s factory that makes all the groovy Apple stuff.

As a call back to a recent discussion a brief history of Coke cans. There was once a 32 oz can with a cone top and a bottle cap that required a bottle opener, like the classic glass bottles.

Barack Obama’s Black History Minute

Apparently recorded the same year he graduated from law school, and 5 years before he ran for the Illinois Senate.



He had a different speaking style then, I think.

Rebuttal to Andrew Sullivan

Earlier in the week we read the Andrew Sullivan piece which lauded President Obama’s accomplishments and criticized those of us on the left, pundits and citizens alike, for not focusing on the long game.  Sullivan barely touched the issue of executive over reach, indefinite detention of American citizens, rule of law issues and erosion of the Bill of Rights.  He plainly intimated that as long as “we don’t torture”, we’re good to go.  I don’t think so.

Here is a rebuttal to Sullivan’s piece I discovered in The Atlantic.  It’s interesting that it was framed as a question to candidate Obama considering we’re working on our own 50 Questions.

After reading Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek essay about President Obama, his critics, and his re-election bid, I implore him to ponder just one question. How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?

(1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (14) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (13) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.

Maybe we’ve already discussed these issues enough here and there is already agreement, but I thought the author of the piece raised questions that I’d like to hear the answers to.  If anyone thinks I’m happy about this, look again.  I was an Obama supporter in 2008 and even 2009, now, I’m not so sure.

Conclusion from The Atlantic:

Obama has transgressed against what is arguably Congress’ most essential check on executive power — its status as the decider of when America goes to war — and he has codified indefinite detention into law, something that hasn’t been done since Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. But at least he doesn’t torture people! How low we’ve set the bar.It isn’t that I object to Sullivan backing Obama’s reelection if his GOP opponent runs on bringing back torture. Is he the lesser of two evils? Maybe so. But lauding him as a president who has governed “with grace and calm” and “who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name”? If indefinite detention, secret kill lists, warrantless spying, a war on whistleblowers, violating the War Powers Resolution, and abuse of the state secrets privilege don’t fit one’s definition of “scandal,” what does?

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