Tuesday, November 30, 2004

More words on exit polls
Urban legend has it that Inuits have many more words for "snow" than we do. Apparently that is not true, but apparently we could all use a few more words for "exit polls" that more accurately describe their various stages. The Mystery Pollster, who's no longer a mystery, has a new post that more thoroughly describes the process on election day and sheds a little light on the nature of the changing numbers over the course of the day. They are not just bigger numbers, taking in more of the day; later in the day, they are a different animal all together.

This still doesn't answer the important question of discrepancy, and he makes clear that so long as NEP refuses to release their weighting models and numbers, we won't get any closer to that answer, even with the raw numbers coming out in a couple of months. But it does helpfully problematize conversations that try to refer to "exit polls" as if they were a single thing just because we only have a single phrase for all of them. (link via MyDD)
Rigging the System
Via Kos, I agree with this column. It is an important read, even if it is Steve Roberts. The point is this: defeating an incumbent in the House is near impossible, thanks to the redistricting efforts of both parties. It is a true conspiracy, perpetrated by sworn enemies who care more about maintaining what power they have than they do about going out and legitimately making the case against the opposition in a contested setting. I know this is no shock, but it has dangerous repercussions that are getting worse, with renegade House members running about answering to nobody outside the leaders of their own party.
Look at this year's election. Outside of Texas, only three incumbents lost their seats, a re-election rate of 99 percent. (Four Texas Democrats were defeated after being thrown into difficult new districts.) In California, with 53 House members, not a single race was even close.
In Tennessee, for example, no doubt a Republican state; still, Democrats maintain a 5-4 congressional majority. This makes me pleased of course to have more Democrats, but it's hardly democratic. While in power, Democrats stuffed all the Republican areas of the mid-state into one district, the 7th, a district that worms its way from near Memphis, touching the Southern border of the state, and the Westernmost county, all the way to the middle of the state, touching Nashville's Davidson County, and then all the way to the northern border of the state to take in Fort Campbell and its heavily military population. The congresswoman perched atop this safe seat can do whatever she pleases, so long as she has the support of her party leadership. She is not accountable to her constituents in any meaningful way. Luckily, the power is going to her head and she's considering a run for Senate, but absent that we may be stuck with her forever.
To the greatest Canadian. (via Wash. Monthly)

Monday, November 29, 2004


He stabs bats, eh?
Weird Al Yankovic: Bob

Special boyhood chums
I hate to pile on the Oliver Stone film without seeing it. Has anyone waded through it? Needless to say, I hear bad things. When was the last time he made a good film, was it Nixon? How long do they let you keep blowing through studio money, I wonder. I do especially like the way this story refers to the character widely known to be Colin Ferrell's male love-interest. Alexander as bi-sexual is hardly news. The story refers to the Jared Leto character as Alexander's "special boyhood chum." Ha!
--5:30 pm

Video Releases
I thought Daredevil was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. How could it warrant a director's cut release? It gets one tomorrow. Assuming that directors always wish their films had been longer, this sounds even more painful than the original. Did I miss something there?

On the other hand, Hero comes out, and that is one I wanted to see, but missed in the theater. Any opinions about either film?
--5:30 pm

Weekend Box Office
1. National Treasure
2. The Incredibles
3. Christmas with the Kranks
4. Polar Express
5. Spongebob...
also, Bad Education was #30 and Finding Neverland, #8
--4:00 pm

George Carlin Book
In the comments, Mark recommends the new Carlin book, When will Jesus bring the pork chops? Anyone else reading something they like or hate? I don't think I have read a book in months.

Pedro Almodovar
His last film, Talk to Her, is equal parts disturbing and compelling, and includes one of the more bizarre film-within-a-film scenes you'll ever see. So, I can't wait to see what he has done to earn an NC-17 rating in his new film, Bad Education. There is an NPR interview with him, about that film here. Official site of the film is here.
--1:30 pm

Oscar Speculation
Hopefully with Eternal Sunshine and Finding Neverland together, Kate Winslet will find a well-earned Oscar. I'm hoping for Eternal Sunshine of course, my favorite film of the year, but winning for either will be a nod to her performance in both. For oscar speculation, check out oscarwatch.com, and its blog, oscarwatch.blog-city.com. Top contenders for best picture, according to OscarWatch, are The Aviator, Ray, Kinsey, Sideways, Finding Neverland.
--1:00 pm

Article 19 Film Review: Finding Neverland
***************** (17 out of 19)
A very touching and interesting story--about writing, about grief, and about being a child. It's driven almost totally by Johnny Depp's great, reserved performance. Is he ever bad? If you've already seen the film and, like me, were wondering about its level of accuracy (it tells the story of JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan), you might be interested in this site, answering the question "Was the author of 'Peter Pan' a Pedophile?". Interestingly, the mother (played by Kate Winslet) of the boys he came to know and care for was actually still married when Barrie came into her life. And her husband actually outlived her by a few years, contrary to the film, which portrays her as a widow when they meet.

Anyone else see it and have thoughts? I thought it was fabulous and one of the best I've seen this year.
--12:30 AM

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Guaranteed public education? We don't need no stinkin' guaranteed public education!
The Christian Coalition led a fight to keep Alabama's State Constitution in the 1950s. It seems to have worked by less than 2000 votes. A recount is set to begin tomorrow, but not expected to help. Thanks to Bob for emailing the article. If you are not a regular reader of truthout.org, it's a good site.
Courts? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Courts!
Fundamentalist evangelical revolutionaries have found their ride to the promised land: the 2005-6 US House of Representatives. Via Steve Gilliard, the Palm Beach Post reports:
Reportedly, such leaders as the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Republican Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, flush with what they see as a successful right-wing revolution, believe they can make the federal courts virtually powerless.

Rep. Hostettler, addressing a special legislative briefing of the Christian Coalition last month in Washington, reportedly talked at length about a bill he plans to introduce. It would deny federal courts the right to hear cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage.

"Congress controls the federal judiciary," Rep. Hostettler was quoted as saying. "If Congress wants to, it can refer all cases to the state courts. Congress can say the federal courts have limited power to enforce their decision."

Apparently, the Hoosier congressman has not heard of the balance of power among the three arms of our government. He was quoted as telling the Christian Coalition members:

"When the courts make unconstitutional decisions, we should not enforce them. Federal courts have no army or navy... The court can opine, decide, talk about, sing, whatever it wants to do. We're not saying they can't do that. At the end of the day, we're saying the court can't enforce its opinions."
Gilliard tried introducing them to Marbury v. Madison. Not that they're listening.
Republicans in Congress Hate Education
The new budget slashes grant and loan money for low and middle-income students whose crime is wanting to go to college. The mandate takes effect, and conservative lawmakers (if they even knew this provision was in the bill) are showing their true feelings about funding education. From the Boston Globe:
About 85,000 of the 5.2 million students currently eligible to receive Pell grants will become ineligible. And 1.2 million others will get a smaller award under a new formula the government will use to determine how much families can afford to pay for college, according to estimates from the American Council on Education, or ACE. The change will take effect for students starting or returning to classes next summer or fall.

Higher education officials worry that the change, estimated to save the government about $300 million in next year's budget, will hurt students already struggling to pay for college.

"Nobody knows if the change will actually lead anybody to abandon their plans for postsecondary education," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president at ACE. ''The best-case scenario is that families will have to dig deeper to pay for college, perhaps by working more hours or taking out more loans."
The best case scenario doesn't sound very good to me... Why do Republicans in Congress hate regular American families trying to get ahead economically through education? We're all for the lowest responsible taxes, and for supporting our troops, but really whose tax cuts, and which military deployments, will this slash fund?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Delay Rule Voting Record
If you want to know how Republicans House members in your state voted in their recent decision to relax Party ethics rules for the benefit of Tom Delay, Josh Marsall points to a website that has the most up-to-date vote count I have seen. There is no documentation, so I can't vouch for the accuracy. But my horrid congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn is reported as voting yes. Ethics Shmethics. She's got to go.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Newsflash: Corporations support Republicans
I'm not sure what the big deal is. We can't be surprised, and anyway, now that we know we can raise big money one regular person at a time, do we even want all that dirty corporate money? PoliticalMoneyLine.com has compiled a list of corporations that gave over 90% of their political contributions to Republicans. Big name offenders include Exxon, Wendy's, and Outback Steakhouse.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Exit Polls Discredit Election
...in Ukraine. By popular demand. Colin Powell came out today and said the US would not recognize the election results. I am pretty sure this qualifies as irony.
Eyes on Falwell
David Brock's group is attempting to keep watch over Rev. Falwell's weekly pronouncements. He has a good start in a new post. I think this is a good idea: to advertise his extremist statements. Still, since he reserves most of his venom for groups that Americans already think of as extremist leftists (like NOW and Americans United), I'm not sure how much it will help. We're offended, of course, but let's also look for places where he says things that mainstream, non-partisan America can be offended about too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Republicans as Domestic Abusers [UPDATED]
I'm bumping this up from Sunday night, in case it got lost in Media Monday. I think it's interesting and worth discussion.--DB

Thanks to Doug for sending me the link to this fascinating essay on the post-election relationship between liberals and conservatives, comparing it to classic domestic abuse (guess which side of the violence we're on?). Like Doug wrote to me, I'm not sure exactly how far the analogy works, but it does present an interesting vision for how to proceed, and especially how not to proceed. Here's an excerpt. Read the whole thing, a guest post by Mel Gilles on Mathew Gross' blog (Mathew is the former head blogger of the Howard Dean campaign).
They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can’t stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can’t seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won’t; we will never be worthy).

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See them cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy.
Even as I thought it was interesting, I wasn't so convinced it was accurate until I realized I was actually worried about how bad Rush Limbaugh would ream us if he heard about that idea... Maybe there's something to it.

[UPDATE] Ok, so here's my question. How does this model translate into future action? Giving up on the political process is not an option--it will only get worse. How else to walk away from the abuse?

Monday, November 22, 2004

What did you see, hear, watch the past week that you loved, hated, were intrigued, or confused by? I wanna know. We all wanna know.

Film/Shocking Revelation--You'll never believe, but ancient Greek men had a love for the boys. Greeks today don't want to believe it. But a new Oliver Stone film dares to suggest that Greeks in the ancient days were not averse to some man-on-man sex. Who knew??
11:45 pm

The 10 Hippest Books
According to John Leland, author of "Hip: The History"
1. Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
2. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
3. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
4. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
5. Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed
6. The Confidence-Man, Herman Melville
7. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
9. Neuromancer, William Gibson
10. Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson
Darn, I think I've only read 2 of these, so I'm only 20% hip. I've read some of Leaves of Grass, so 25%. Other top 10 hip lists (hip music, hip films, and more) are the hip history website. Click on "essentials." An NPR story on Leland and his book is here.
--4:40 pm

Art begets Music begets Art
The Nation has a fabulous interview with Branford Marsalis about his musical homage to, and interest in, the art of Romare Bearden, on the occasion of Bearden's National Gallery showing in Washington. Over the New Year's holiday, I got to visit that show and his collage work especially is really fascinating. I don't know a damn thing about painting, but the imagery was haunting and breathtaking, and the juxtaposition of separate painted objects with their own identity reminded me of alot of music I listen to (especially Ornette Coleman) and have tried to write before, back when I did that kind of thing. There's Rothko-like attention to space and time, but the subject matter is cultural imagery and not (just) color.

Branford shows that he really is too smart and too cool to be tied down to Jay Leno. Here's an excerpt, tying his own musical evolution to truths he has learned from Bearden.
In the last five or ten years I've gravitated more to German classical music more than anything else, because composers like Brahms and Mahler have been able to illuminate the beauty of melancholy, even when they're writing in a major key. And Mahler has the double whammy of being Jewish, and Jewish music also has that beautiful sense of melancholy. It was only when I heard Uri Caine's Mahler record [Urlicht/Primal Light] that I realized how uniquely Jewish Mahler's music is. Even Wagner's crazy ass has that same thing, and there's Schubert and Schumann--particularly the lieder, simple melodies that are so melancholic and so beautiful. What the German composers and philosophers understood--and what Bearden also understood--is that one cannot be a complete human being without embracing the melancholy in oneself. Bearden had some rough times. He had a nervous breakdown, he stopped painting and started writing songs. He had a crisis of conscience. And then he got on the other side of it and said this is what I am.
In the same issue, Arthur Danto pays tribute to Bearden.
--2:45 pm

Ryan takes on the Ryman, take 2
Remember a couple years ago, Ryan Adams made national news by acting like a child at his Ryman Auditorium show in Nashville, barking at a patron and demanding he be thrown out for requesting a Brian Adams song? He was back over the weekend for the first time since the incident. The Tennessean offers a review here. Apparently, he behaved himself. The Article 19 staff didn't attend the concert, but managed to partake of the free food and beverages at the after-party, due to our considerable community status. Nothing says Americana like smoked salmon dip, Ryan. Nice work.
--1:15 pm

Film/Weekend Box Office
1. National Treasure
2. Spongebob
3. The Incredibles
4. The Polar Express (disappointment?)
5. Son of Bridget Jones

Music/Website--Best Beatles resource on the Web?
Check it out.

Music/CD--Rufus Wainright's Want Two is a pretty audacious recording. I have become a big fan of his song-writing, and the rich orchestrations and thick harmonies of Want One are continued here. Almost every musical setting announces itself as terribly serious and important and may be suffer at times under this weight. But his melodies are soaring, as ever, and his voice shines through them. So far, I haven't quite latched onto any of the songs the way 4 or 5 grabbed me from the first half of the series, but there's time for that.

A few lyric highlights, to give an idea:
from "Gay Messiah"
He will then be reborn
From 1970's porn
Wearing tubesocks with style
And such an innocent smile

Better pray for your sins
Better pray for your sins
'Cuz the gay messiah's coming

from "Waiting for a Dream"
There's a fire in the priory
And it's ruining the cocktail party
Yesterday I heard the plague is coming,
Once again, to find me

There's a fire in the priory
And an ogre in the oval office
Once again, we all will be so broken
Now can I finally sleep again?

I haven't watched the DVD that comes with it yet, but it is a concert at the Fillmore, and seems to be more than just a couple songs. If so, this could really be quite the bargain.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

What are Republicans up to?
Kevn Drum has a run-down of post-election Republican congressional actions. It should only get worse. And I would add to his list the raising of the debt ceiling to pile on more deficit spending. Pushing the bill off to the future, Republicans show that their concern for the unborn doesn't extend to caring about their tax burden.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Co-Sponsor Kerry's Bill
John Kerry has a good idea, announced in a taped message. He wants Americans to "co-sponsor" his legislation to provide health care coverage to the 8 million uninsured children. He will try to bring the bill to the floor on the first day of the next session. Sign the petition here--this people-are-behind-it strategy won't work if we don't do it.

Meanwhile, Oliver Willis (via Atrios) is trying his hand at some Democratic branding on t-shirts.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Special Day
November 19. World Toilet Day.
Movie Quote Quiz Answers
The American Film Institute has released their 400 nominations for the top 100 movie quote list. Not sure when the final list is released. Films with the most quotes nominated are:
1. Casablanca (7) ["Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'"] ["Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."] ["Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of 3 little people don'ta mount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."] ["We'll always have Paris."] ["Here's looking at you, kid."] ["Round up the usual suspects."] [Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."]

2. The Wizard of Oz (6)
3. Gone with the Wind (5)

9 tied with 3:
Annie Hall
Duck Soup
The Godfather
The Godfather, part II
It's a Wonderful Life
Jerry Maguire
Animal House
Sunset Boulevard

The link above is to a big pdf with all the quotes listed, by film. Quote I had forgotten which I hope makes it high on the final list, from Young Frankenstein: "What hump?"
Santorum = Hypocrite
I wish Democrats could have held this information closer to the vest and unleashed it as Senator Santorum's reelection campaign nears, in 2006. Now he has 2 years to establish a convincing residence in Pennsylvania. I'm not necessarily sold on the idea that this is so scandalous, since Cheney claims to live in Wyoming, and Hillary Clinton became a New Yorker. The tax evasion (and tax draining) claims are worse elements of his lies about where he lives. (via Atrios)

There is no excuse for that weasel to be re-elected in a blue state like Pennsylvania. Specter has been long-serving and holds a few genuinely moderate positions, but Santorum is a right-wing punk. I am not a fan of Bob Casey (former Democratic Governor), but someone, please some respectable Democrat run for that seat. Why not Hoeffel making another run?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Article 19 Movie Quote Challenge
AFI is continuing their series of Top-100 lists with one called "Top 100 movie quotes." The list of 400 nominations is out. How many of the 12 most represented films can you name? 1 film has 7 quotes nominated, 1 has 6, 1 has 5, and 9 have 3 different quotes. Which film do you think has 7 quotes nominated and can you guess the quotes? What do you think the other films are? I'll put the answers up tomorrow. The winner wins an all-expenses-paid trip for 2 to the Oscars!! No, not really.
The 10 Best Toys?
Going on the reasonable theory that the best toys are the ones that are the most dangerous/harmful, I assumed this list would be full of fun-in-a-box. Sadly, this year's list of the 10 most harmful toys is full of things that don't even intend to cause damage (the megablaster cannon and cyber sword may be the exception). Where's the fun in that?

I do have to wonder how "carpet skates" as an idea slipped through the corporate vetting process.
Nashville hits the big time!
Our first big-time rapper stabbed someone....at a music awards show!

But we probably won't get our props until East Nashville rappers start having gunfights with West Nashville rappers.

What would be some other signs that we've finally become that urban center that is our aspiration?
Still Counting
Wow - I hadn't heard about how close this was. The Governor's race in Washington, after more than 2 million votes have been counted, and 6,000 more to go, shows the Republican Rossi up by 19 votes. Yup, 19. Might as well go ahead and start that recount. It will be required.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lies, Damn Lies, and Iraq
William Rivers Pitt on Falluja. Add this to the grisly murder of a wounded unarmed Iraqi by a Marine, caught on tape by an NBC embed, and the picture is ugly and devolving, not rosy and improving. Meanwhile the backdoor draft is making its way around front.

At least Condoleeza Rice is the new Secretary of State....sheesh. Will Rumsfeld get a promotion too?

Monday, November 15, 2004

It's the Internet sensation that's sweeping the blogosphere! Everyone's talking about...Media Monday! Well, ok maybe not. But a boy can dream.

Use the comments to recommend/slam/rave/question whatever you're watching, reading, looking at or listening to.

"Peace, Love and Understanding" Cover Watch
A student made me a CD of a very odd modern cover of the Nick Lowe tune, by Emotive A Perfect Circle, on an album called "Emotive." (thanks, Doug). In not knowing them I am probably behind, I'm sure. But in searching for the name of the band, which I had forgotten, I ran across this cover: Joe Goldmark, on his 2001 CD "Strong Like Bull Sensitive Like Squirrel." No, I've never heard of him. But an unexpected arrangement indeed. There are way more of these (PL&U covers) than I knew about. Excerpts available at the Amazon links.
--11:50 pm

Do you think Bob Dylan got visited by the secret service in 1963 for writing this song, like the intimidation visited on some Colorado high school students for trying to cover it? What's wrong with this picture? Why are we going backward in our acknowledgement of freedom of artistic expression? When did we start pandering to every offended parent? Far from censoring it, they should be reading it in English class, and hearing it in History.

Bob Dylan--Masters of War
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music
--4:50 pm

Music: Comebacks
Is this really a good idea?
--4:35 pm

Reviews: Looking for Consensus?
Try meta-critic.com
--2:45 pm

Happy birthday, Georgia O'Keefe! (And Kenny B!)

Always wanted to read James Joyce's Ulysses? Read a page a day at this site. It only takes 2 years. By the time you read it twice, we'll have a new President!
--1:48 pm

Film: Random Thought
Remember when movies were advertised in the paper as being "held over" for so many weeks, so you could see that ET had been playing for almost a year, or Star Wars for almost 2. I always thought that was cool to follow. Why did they stop?
--1:40 pm

Music--New Releases
2 things have my attention from tomorrow's new releases:
1) Rufus Wainright's Want Two, the follow up to last year's brilliant Want One (I think it was originally intended as a double CD). He includes a DVD, like Elvis Costello did with North, more incentive to buy rather than download--a smart strategy. Why don't more do that?
2) I notice The Beautiful South have a new release, an import. Didn't know they were still making music.
--1:30 pm

Film: Top Grossing of the Weekend
1. The Incredibles
2. The Polar Express
3. After the Sunset
4. Bridget Jones 2
5. Seed of Chucky (?)
Is the Chucky franchise really that strong?
--12:59 pm

A college buddy of our own Stevie T is producing a new show on SpikeTV called Hey! Spring of Trivia. From the descriptions I've read, it looks really really funny. Has anyone caught the first 2 episodes? It's a Japanese show they've dubbed into English...Thursday nights. A reviewer for the Hollywood Reporter is predicting big things...
--12:50 pm

It's National Novel Writing Month. Who knew? If you want to blog your novel, or read others who are blogging their novels, the site is here.
--12:41 pm

Film: The Incredibles
Article 19 gave it 13 stars below. Stuart Klawans, reviewing in The Nation, seemed to like it more, even as he complained that the film "confirmed" unfortunate stereotypes, "and worse"(!). I don't see this take, as Andrew Sullivan does, as a telling example of the rift between liberals and mainstream America, but I do think it a bit silly. Frankly, I was more pissed about them passing on yet another corporate merchandising scheme masquerading as an essential tale of self-respect and family togetherness. Plus ripping off Silver Surfer Iceman. But maybe I'm missing something important.
--1:38 am

The NYT has a review by the wonderful, and maddening, Camille Paglia, of a new book on Frank Zappa written by Barry Miles, the Paul McCartney biographer. Keeping in mind what Elvis Costello says, that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture", this still sounds like a book worth diving into, as reviewed by Ms. Paglia. On the other hand, 1 out of 1 Amazon reviewers says "avoid it like the plague." So, maybe in paperback..
--1:05 am

Article 19 Film Review: The Incredibles
************* (13 out of 19)
What's with all the hype? I liked it pretty well--but it seemed awfully long for kids. The animation is amazing of course, but my expectations of the script may have been a bit high, from what I've been reading about it. It is a funny idea, with plenty of funny lines/scenarios for us old folks. The best news: that they're teaching kids to hate insurance companies; worst news: that they're teaching kids to hate lawyers. Other than that, I was left with this thought: kids have been bombarded with movies and TV teaching them life lessons about being true to themselves, that they're special, that their parents are great and love them, for generations (myself going back to Fat Albert). So, when is it going to start sinking in? I suspect that the moral, feel-good element of these films is just a bone they throw to parents in hopes that they won't feel too bad about being forced to buy so much crap. At any rate, if those lessons actually worked, there would be a lot more emotionally healthy people out there, right?

Also, Frozone is a pretty direct ripoff of the Silver Surfer Iceman. Can they do that?
--12:48 am

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Clinton Library
Set for dedication in just 3 days!
20,000 documents are available online. Unclear if the blue dress will be on display in Little Rock.
Dean v. Vilsack [UPDATE]
Kos says the DNC chair position seems to be heading to a showdown between Howard Dean and Tom Vilsack, Iowa's Governor. This is a classic change vs. more of the same decision. Vilsack would preserve Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus system, and pave the way for another Kerry run, while Dean would fundamentally change the landscape of Democratic politics, and finally usher out the end of the Clinton cronyism at work in the Party structure (without Bill himself at the helm, they seem like a less talented bunch). After 3 straight stinging general elections, it's time for a change.

Could it be a disaster? Could it shore up the Democratic base at the expense of moderates? Sure. But it's never been the Party chair's job to appeal to the broad population. That's what candidates are for. Besides, what do we have to lose? How much worse could it get? Imagine what Republicans will do to us when they actually run a man who is not a horrible candidate with a decidedly failing record.

Sadly, this position is voted on by a handful of privileged Democrats, about 450 of them. Why not let every citizen who gave a contribution to the DNC have a vote? I'm always getting mail telling my I'm a member of the DNC, thanks to the 25 bucks I sent a long time ago (that contribution has probably come nowhere near paying for all the useless mail I've gotten since). Why not let me have a vote in who leads the Party? 450 officials in a meeting in February sounds like the way Republicans would do it.

[UPDATE] There is a list of all DNC members who will be voting here. I was incorrect in the comments about who gets to vote. In TN, at least, the Governor and Democratic congresspeople are not on the list. It is other Party/elected officials.
Are you a good speller?
Take the test. I did not do as well as I hoped...

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Makes Sense
Instead of trying to win over religious wackos in the South, maybe the smarter thing to do is spend more time exposing them. Kevin Drum says our nutcases seek out media attention, and have willing partners--liberal media bias and all--while those of the dark side (Dobson, Falwell and Robertson aside) do not. Is he right?

Remember when we had the nerve to give Bush a bad time in 2000 for visiting Bob Jones University? I hope this new interest in values-speak on the Democrats' part is not going to blunt that kind of criticism. Just the opposite, we should be doing it more.
Random exit poll thought
If a significant portion of Bush voters are the way they have been portrayed: resentful of "culture", skeptical of mass media types, preferring the isolated world of their church (or whatever works for them), why is it not reasonable to assume that they would sneer at exit pollsters, rather than answering their 30-page questionnaire? Let's face it--there are significant differences between Kerry voters and Bush voters. Maybe that difference manifests itself by skewing the exit poll sample a handful of points here and there. The Penn statistician seems to indicate this is the only reasonable explanation, short of voter fraud. His analysis, leading to the conclusion that it's a 250 million to 1 shot, is admitedly based on the assumption that there was a totally random sample. Maybe the group of folks who refuse to participate is a growing one, and maybe they are more likely to vote one way than another?
Tony Campolo Interview
I don't agree with him on everything, by any means. But he's an interesting Baptist preacher. "Evangelical Christianity has been hijacked."
Environmental Watchdog on the Web
Check out www.bushgreenwatch.org. On the front page today is a notice of how quickly Bush's assault on the environment will pick back up: this week.
Senator Gordon Smith, an Oregon Republican, has announced plans to attach a rider to the omnibus bill that will override all environmental laws and prohibit any judicial review for a post-fire logging project on the Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon.

This would allow logging on ancient forest and roadless areas of up to 370,000,000 board feet of timber in a 20,000-acre area--enough trees to fill 74,000 log trucks. Citizens would have no right to appeal through the courts.

Also known as the Biscuit Project, such logging would endanger roadless areas, ancient forest reserves, wild and scenic rivers and salmon runs in the Siskiyou Wild and Scenic Rivers Area.

Federal agencies such as the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as independent scientific experts, have said Sen. Smith's rider will likely increase fire risks in the area for up to 30 years. It would also retard the regeneration of old-growth forests. Sediment flowing into streams will choke fish spawning areas.
Lots of great, well-organized info at bushgreenwatch.org; looks like a project supported by moveon.org.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Freaking Ridiculous
Let's go back to paper ballots dropped in a locked box and counted by hand. When they made a mistake with those, it was just one ballot. "Glitches" in this day and age, like this one, are indefensible. What will it take for us to get this right?
Not for the faint of heart
Democrat Brad Carson, who lost the Senate race in Oklahoma, but made it far closer than the Presidential race was there, has written a piece for The New Republic that should be must reading for all liberals. But it's tough to stomach. I wonder why no other country seems to face this particular predicament. I suspect it's more pronounced in Oklahoma than most anywhere, but is staggering nonetheless. We know about this, of course, but to hear it laid out like this--by someone who did everything he could to combat it, and had an absolute nutcase as an opponent, is pretty scary.

Free subscription is required to read it at TNR, but MyDD posted the whole thing, which they shouldn't do, but you can read it there. Here's a little bit:

For the vast majority of Oklahomans--and, I would suspect, voters in other red states--these transcendent cultural concerns are more important than universal health care or raising the minimum wage or preserving farm subsidies. Pace Thomas Frank, the voters aren't deluded or uneducated. They simply reject the notion that material concerns are more real than spiritual or cultural ones. The political left has always had a hard time understanding this, preferring to believe that the masses are enthralled by a "false consciousness" or Fox News or whatever today's excuse might be. But the truth is quite simple: Most voters in a state like Oklahoma--and I venture to say most other Southern and Midwestern states--reject the general direction of American culture and celebrate the political party that promises to reform or revise it.
The story he tells at the beginning is chilling.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I know we really need to get about the business of moving on, but...
One Ohio County is going ahead with a recount this evening, for their own reasons.

Meanwhile, Cobb and Badnarik are combining forces in the demand for a recount. Memo to Ralph Nader: This is the kind of thing that could help win the hearts of Democrats... David Shuster reports on how much more straightforward this kind of thing is in Ohio, as opposed to Florida. Chris Matthews is getting on the story, finally, on Friday.

And on the Randi Rhodes show this afternoon, blackboxvoting.org leader Bev Harris reported that her scheduled appearance on the Olbermann show (the only news man pursuing this story on the air so far) was cancelled each of the last 2 nights when she refused to back down from using the F word ("fraud").

[UPDATE] Ok, there's more. I am still a skeptic, honest, but this is a fairly convincing read, a statistician's report (pdf) on the exit poll-final result discrepancies. Basically we're left with a hypothesis that Kerry voters were more likely to respond to exit pollsters...becuase they're more likely to be single and have time for the 30-page questionnaire? Because they were more likely to be fired up/proud of their vote? I can buy those, but it would be nice if they would release all the raw data to see what the deal is.
Ohio recount may happen
David Cobb, the Green Party candidate, is preparing to ask for a recount in Ohio, which is his right as a losing candidate. But it costs money - over a hundred grand. They are taking donations here. I don't see a chance in the world that Kerry finds 130,000 votes, when we couldn't find more than a few thousand in FL in 2000, but it would be nice to get a more accurate count to know just what the margin is.

Still, a potential recount in a deciding state. Why isn't this bigger news?

By the way...a Kerry inauguration in January '05 would qualify as a bigger comeback than the Red Sox down 3-0 and losing in the 9th of game 4 to the Yankees, right?
Fun for the whole family
Values Watch
Noted racist and anti-semite Bob Jones has a serious conflict with noted religious freak James Dobson (ahhh, here come the internal rifts, right?): Jones (via Kos) believes that liberals hate Jesus, and he's telling Bush about it, whereas Dobson is not willing to say he knows for sure whether we hate Jesus(he's pretty moderate that way), but definitely knows that liberals hate people who love Jesus.

A crack in the armor.

Meanwhile Kevin Drum went looking for religious guidance on the issue of abortion in, of all places...the Bible. Why look there? His research seems to indicate to him that fundamentalist Christians have over-stated their case by quite a bit. Would they do that?

Personally, I'm not sure we want to let the Pentateuch inform our ethic systems one way or another here, much less our criminal code; and I'm saying that as someone that doesn't even really like shrimp.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

One way to deal with it...
Via Wonkette, a very special personal ad at Craigslist
I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you.
Sadly, this may be setting a bad example for the kids, who are beating the shit out of the Bush-supporting kids for that time-honored high school tradition, calling them gay, for supporting Kerry.

Luckily there are adults around, right? Like Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom who reportedly (ok, it's Drudge...) said: "It's a good thing to see young people interested and excited about politics..." errrr, ok he said other adult things after that, but really why would that be the first thing out of your mouth after a handful of kids beat up some other kids with baseball bats and knuckles made of padlocks?

And, Stevie T, why did we never think of dealing with Big Sam this way when we were in high school? He was scary with his gargantuan truck.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Freshmen Freshpeople are so hard to predict
Tomorrow evening I'm co-leading a viewing-discussion of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with a colleague. A group of freshmen freshpeople in her class and a few other classes will be there. Our predictions about what they will say and think are wildly divergent. Many bets have been placed between us, and I expect to lose them all (she is always right about such things). But I'm curious what you think. Most questions involve the movie of course, but we will ask one (to set them up for later) before they watch it. It is a necessarily vague multiple choice with unsatisfyingly simple answers, but it must be. Here it is:

Think about the way you make choices (especially big, almost-certainly-life-changing ones) in your life, when faced with a do-some-thing or don't-do-it fork in the road (not competing positive choices, just do it, or don't do it). Which of the following influences are you most likely, ultimately, to depend on for guidance:

A) Facts
B) Your gut instincts/Desire
C) Memory/Experience
D) Advice from a friend who may have faced a similar choice

What would you say? And you can't combine the choices, split between them, add to them. You must choose one area as being the most influential over you. What would you expect college freshmen freshpeople (at a fairly conservative Christian University) to say? I'll fill you in on the results after we're done.
Gary Hart in yesterday's NYT
I was tempted to interrupt Media Monday to post some of this, but I really do need to force one politics-free day onto myself a week before I lose my mind. Anyway, a day late, is probably the best essay I've read post-election. It's a shame I first heard of him when he dropped out of the Presidential race way back when. If his brain works half as well as it reads, then I really like the guy. Here's a taste, but read the whole thing, if you haven't already.
As a candidate for public office, I chose not to place my [religious] beliefs in the center of my appeal for support because I am also a Jeffersonian; that is to say, I believe that one's religious beliefs - though they will and should affect one's outlook on public policy and life - are personal and that America is a secular, not a theocratic, republic. Because of this, it should concern us that declarations of "faith" are quickly becoming a condition for seeking public office.
There is also the disturbing tendency to insert theocratic principles into the vision of America's role in the world. There is evil in the world. Nowhere in our Constitution or founding documents is there support for the proposition that the United States was given a special dispensation to eliminate it. Surely Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. But there are quite a few of those still around and no one is advocating eliminating them. Neither Washington, Adams, Madison nor Jefferson saw America as the world's avenging angel. Any notion of going abroad seeking demons to destroy concerned them above all else.
He would have made a good President. At least, he'd make a good one now.
Ohio Update
Ohio Democratic Party officials are sending out a response to the multitude of angry folks demanding action over the (mis)counting of ballots. It gives an update about where things stand presently. The highlights:

• The 155,000 provisional ballots, along with the overseas absentee ballots, will be counted. But not until Saturday the 13th, when all absentee ballots with the proper postmark date have been given a chance to come in.
• Ohio did not use any Diebold voting machines during this election. Some counties use an older electronic system which has a verifiable check built in. The rest use punch card ballots.
• 93,000 punch card ballots did not register a vote for President, or registered more than one vote. These will be inspected if and only if there is a recount.
• Automatic recounts are triggered if the count is within 0.25 percent. That would mean the gap would have to close to around 19,000 according to this--I didn't bother to do the math myself (The gap is at just over 130,000 presently).
• A recount can also be triggered by a request. By a losing candidate. (It is not clear whether such a request could be denied, and if not, why not talk a losing 3rd party candidate into making the request?). Of course Kerry would not do this, but if the provisionals were to bring the gap down within 30,000, unlikely, I would sure recommend it.
• Every county election commission has been put on notice to search all results for potential errors like the 4,000 vote pro-Bush error that happened in one county.
More Maps
These are very cool. I've never seen cartograms before, I don't think. These are made by people at the University of Michigan. If you're feeling like a huge political minority these days (like I am), the maps they made will help.
Apologies to the World
Click on the gallery and scroll through...great stuff.
Link fixed.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Today, it's all things music/film/books/TV/radio related. Now that the election is over, it's time to branch out. Anyone who wants to send a review, recommendation or warning for something you're listening to, watching, or reading, new or old, or link to a site about such things that is a favorite, use this thread. Email me thoughts of more substantial size and I'll post them as a guest post. This will become a regular Monday feature.

Article 19 Film Review--"I [Heart] Huckabees"
*************1/2 (13 1/2 out of 19)
Interesting, funny, ambitious, and different. But left a strangely shallow aftertaste, considering how deep its basic subject matter is. Still thinking about it. Could revise the number up or down. Liked it better right after I left the theater. Music by Jon Brion (Eternal Sunshine...)is right on. He's quickly becoming a favorite. [UPDATE] NPR feature on Jon Brion from October 13 is here.

Best preview: Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"

Top 5 grossing films of the weekend:
1. Incredibles
2. Ray
3. The Grudge
4. Saw
5. Alfie

Random movie thought: I finally caught "The House of Sand and Fog" on video over the weekend. Have you ever seen a more depressing movie? Brilliant acting, a really unique story, but...ugh.

Elliott Smith - "From a Basement on the Hill"
The more of his stuff I hear, and the closer I listen, the sorrier I am he's dead.
Isolation pushes past self-hatred, guilt and shame
To a place where suffering is just a game.
But everybody's scared of this place and stayin away:
Your little house on Memory Lane.
Hard to believe a guy with verse like that would commit suicide, huh. The music is interesting and unpredictable at nearly every turn.

Elliott Smith feature on NPR, from October, here.

On perusing the new releases for tomorrow, Nov. 9--How bizarre that "new releases" this week include Bob Dylan, The Doobie Brothers, John Denver, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jethro Tull and Count Basie. Tells you something about who buys CDs anymore. The reissue market is alive and well I suppose. Meanwhile the kids get treated to the greatest hits of Britney Spears. Does she even have enough "hits" to make a whole recording? Which hits did they lose to pare it down to only the "greatest" of the hits?

Missed this when it came out a few weeks ago, but Jody Rosen has a review of both Tom Waits'("he's a genre unto himself.") and Bjork's ("Even Björk's most devoted fans, who relish her odd juxtapositions, may find themselves bewildered") new recordings. Bjork's especially is stunningly bold and different, which is saying something compared to Waits. Haven't decided if it all works for her, but it's quite a listen.

The best show on TV, HBO's Six Feet Under, is coming to an end after next season.

New video releases tomorrow include "Before Sunset." The preview did nothing for me, but I heard it is worth seeing. Anyone catch it?

What have you been watching/listening to? As I run across appropriate sites, articles, thoughts, I'll update this post through the day. It's Media Monday. How can I make it better? Suggestions welcome.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Did Church-goers Save W?
Donkey Rising has some analysis of voters. If the numbers are correct, it would seem that regular church-goers made up the same percentage of voters they did in 2000, and voted for Bush at the same rate they did then also. Not significantly higher in either case.
Bottom line: the President made gains across the board among voters, regardless of their degree of religious commitment but he made his largest gains among less religious voters.
That would be surprising, and makes me think of three things:

1. Churchgoing voters (well most of them) must not be swayed by events. Their myopic vision of moral concern trumps anything else, and has. They're not flocking to W because of security concerns or anything else. They have always been with him, ever since he said Jesus was his favorite political philosopher. He could have screwed up anything and they wouldn't care.

2. The social conservative, moral values movement that bumrushed the election (if they did) was not populated by church-goers. So who are these people? Non-church-goers who picked moral values as number one? Or did security voters turn the election, but they split their concern between "terrorism" and "Iraq" so that moral values voters end up looking like the largest bloc?

3. If the story coming out of the election is that evangelicals turned out and handed the election to Bush, and that they are the heart and soul of the Republican Party now, that may not be such a bad thing for us, even (or especially) if it turns out not to be any more true now than it was before.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Deal with the devil?
The political coalition that defeated us--the one that is today's Republican Party--strikes me as very odd. Social conservatives (somehow that feels like a charitable way to put it) plus fiscal, small-government conservatives plus military hawks beat the rest of us by a few million.

But, just like Democrats of good will eventually could not tolerate being the party of segregation and racism in the 60s, how will Republicans of good will feel about being more and more associated with religious fundamentalism? Shouldn't there be a point at which fiscal, small-government conservatives can no longer tolerate voting in their party if it means voting for reckless wars abroad and Christian extremism at home? Especially since their interest in the coalition--balancing budgets and reducing the size of government--has found no friend in their 8-year President?

Of all the conservative forces, they are the ones I think have the best chance at a conscience. They're rational, so they're not into ignoring science. They think long-term. Everyone's making noise about the potential conflicts within the Democratic party, but don't they pale in comparison to the rifts that should be emerging in the Republican coalition?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

OK I'm convinced
Kerry won.

Kenny B and I have argued about whether the election was rigged, using exit polls as evidence of Kerry's victory. Purposely rigged? I don't know. But I am starting to warm to the idea that the exit polls weren't really off so far, not because of electronic voting machine fraud, but because of the same old ridiculous punch-card ballots. Greg Palast says that if all the votes were counted, Kerry would win both OH and NM. He makes a good case.

Of course, our media can't get to that. There are so many more important things to report.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Exit Poll Stuff
Before voting started yesterday, The Mystery Pollster explained how exit polls work (or don't work, as the case may be). In case you're interested, as I am, in how they could have screwed up so badly this year. It's either them or the voting machines.
It was the war, stupid...
The war on gay people, that is. Isn't that what "moral values" is secret code for these days? I find it absolutely stunning, and frightening, that "moral values" was named the number one issue by voters yesterday. It outpaced the economy, the war we're dying in, and the other "war" we're waging with no plan or hope of victory.

But they can't pass state hate amendments forever. Those are why we lost. All part of the plan to get evangelicals to the polls in record numbers. Let's face it, the turnout really wasn't that great, compared to our hopes. Doesn't look like we'll approach 120 million, and most optimistic Dem predictions we closer to 125 million or more. The turnout kept up with population growth, plus about 4 million more people that voted for Bush, exactly the amount Rove said were out there in churches across the country. Andrew Sullivan believes federalism is the answer around the corner. Americans will simply have to choose the state where the laws reflect their values. Or else be unhappy. That sounds about right.

If you can fit it in every day for the next 4 years, you might say a little prayer for the health of Justices Stevens and Ginsburg and Breyer (and the greatest of these is Stevens). And for that matter, O'Connor and Kennedy, who at least help us keep some of the worst shit from getting through.
Random Thought Prediction
2008 Tickets: Hillary/Bill Richardson vs. Giuliani/Jeb Bush? (Too early for Obama?)
2012: If Hillary wins, a Northeast + Southwest coalition becomes the heart of the Dem. Party, so 4 years later, it's Hillary/Richardson vs. Arnold/Pataki (plus a 3rd party cultural conservative nut-job representing the Republican Party split over social issues). If Giuliani wins in '08, it's Obama/Bredesen (the ignore-the-south strategy finally repudiated)vs. Giuliani/Bush
Hunkering Down
We're an opposition party now. We have to start acting like it. Kos has a fabulous idea to that end, one I've had before: Howard Dean for DNC chair. And it's about time we had Democratic congressional leadership that doesn't come from heavy Republican states, while we're cleaning house.

Dean for DNC chair, Durbin (or Kerry?) for Senate leader. One good thing about being down 55-45 in the Senate (yes, there's one good thing): we no longer have to protect red-state Democrats with half-measures and meager criticism.

And, oh yeah, Bob Shrum should never again run a Presidential campaign.
The Plan From Here
With the gap in Ohio widening, not shrinking here at the end, I find myself sadly believing Republicans more than Democrats about how many provisional ballots there actually are in the state. I'm guessing Kerry wakes up in the morning to a hill that's just impossibly high, given the math, and concedes before the end of the day. But it wouldn't bother me if he knows that and still goes on and gives them hell and fights to the end.

Either way, I'm not expecting a good outcome. As I see it, we have only one option: move. No, don't move to Canada or New Zealand. I say we have to move to a blue state (those of us who don't live in one). We increase the population in those good states, and decrease it in these loser states, and the electoral votes will floow. Sure the evil ones will win the South even more handily, but hey all you can get is all of the electoral votes. Win by as much as you like.

Illinois looks lovely, Oregon seems quite beautiful. Maryland and Delaware also seem like very nice places. Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sludge has first exit poll info (no numbers yet)[UPDATE]
Says Kerry people are comforted with a small lead in both OH and FL. Of course it all means nothing. But I'd rather hear that we're ahead than behind.

[UPDATE] Jerome at MyDD has the numbers. They look promising. But it's just an exit poll. And it's just 2 pm eastern.
Early Exit Polls Warning
If exit polls get leaked early today, like 2000, you don't need me to tell you to be skeptical, but here's a reminder of how far off those exit polls were in the middle of the day of Bush-Gore.
I've never waited in line to vote before, that I remember. It's always been pretty quick, though I usually go in the afternoon while everyone's at work. This morning there was a line out the door. Waited 35 minutes. Not bad at all really.

How about you?

One more scenario to think about: should Kerry lose FL and OH, the best way to still win is by taking: PA, MI, WI, MN, IA, NM and either AR or CO (the last 2 would be the toughest in my opinion, but the others are all completely reasonable).
A bad sign
Election day polls haven't opened yet, and already a need for a recount in Florida. No, really.

Monday, November 01, 2004

What I'm looking for
Order of poll closings by state is here.

Phase One: Ohio closes at 7:30 eastern. If there is a relatively quick projection there, it could tell the story. It will be the first big thing to watch. Virginia is done at 7 eastern, and WV at 7:30. If either of them looks very close, especially VA, it could be a long night for W. Decent sized wins in all three for Bush would be a very bad sign, but not the end of the night, for Kerry.

Phase Two: Florida and Pennsylvania will be closed at 8 eastern (some parts of the state close earlier. Some results will come in quickly after that, although if lines are long, voting could go on for some time after that. Still, over the course of the hour it's reasonable to think we get projections in both. PA should go to Kerry and it shouldn't take all night to figure it out. FL may take longer. But if Kerry wins both, he's well on his way. Just PA and things are still ok. If FL is lost and PA drags out, or looks like Bush leads, Kerry is toast.

Phase Three: Arkansas closes at 8:30 eastern, and Colorado at 9. The longer they both go on uncalled for Bush, the better sign it is for Kerry. Also at 9 come big necessary states for Kerry: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and a quick NM win for either (closes at 9 eastern) bodes very well for the winner if it's Kerry. More and more necessary for Bush if he doesn't snag FL.

Phase Four: 10 Eastern, Iowa closes as does Nevada. I'm assuming these will split, but a sweep by either guy could wrap it up. If Bush doesn't win Nevada, things will not have gone well in CO or NM either. If Kerry doesn't win IA, he's ok if he took care of the big 3 (FL, MI, PA), but in some trouble otherwise.

Phase Five: Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, California close at 11 eastern. If Bush is still needing EVs from these states at this point, he's in serious trouble (unless he only needs 4 and what they say about Hawaii being close is actually true--I'll believe it when I see it). I believe by this time we'll know, and waiting on OR and CA will be a pleasant victory wait. Any close states left (WI, OH, FL) that matter will be called by now.

Phase Six: Hopefully this is just celebration and victory speeches. But if we're still waiting out an important state at this point, it will probably be close enough to require a recount, depending on state law. I suspect OH, MN, FL and maybe CO to be the most likely candidates for that horror. No news there. New Mexico will be close, but with only 5 votes, not as likely to matter by the time it shakes out. Just like 2000.

If any exit polls get released (leaked) during the day, and I hope they don't, I'll link to them here.

Final thought: Kerry is a good man. He fights with courage for things he believes in--for his country, against a mistaken war, against Nixon when he was at the height of his power, against Reagan when he was tremendously popular and Kerry was a first-term Senator. I can vote for him proudly. And will in just a few short hours.

No, really the final thought: Why do networks rush to call states anyway? Sure, we flip to the channel that calls states, but don't we linger on the channels that keep the drama of the story alive, so long as they don't look just out of touch with reality? I guess I know crap all about TV, but I'd rather watch results than projections and suspect most people would. Why do the networks not think so? Why do they want to be first in convincing us to turn the tube off because the story's over?